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Re: Signatures on flowing waters

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  • jellybean0729
    If you continually look to the empirical data to identify yourself or your environment, you are no doubt to any school of buddhism looking at conceptions - and
    Message 1 of 4 , Nov 6, 2006
      If you continually look to the empirical data to identify yourself or
      your environment, you are no doubt to any school of buddhism looking
      at conceptions - and as the Tibetan texts say Nangtsul dang gNes Tsul
      mi thun pa (the way things are and the way they appear are not the
      same). Sitting and doing zazen, giving something to someone, any
      event that one thinks I have done this, is conceptual. And conceptual
      things are part of Kundzob Denpa, Samvritisatya, or "conventional"
      truth. But can there be TWO truths? Can this truth be true when there
      is another skin to the onion? The ultimate truth? What is that
      ultimate truth? Even this "I" or "ME" is conventional, it is only
      nominally existant.

      That is the essence of emptiness as Nagarjuna has taught, not that
      emptiness is some other inherently existent thing, but that it is the
      other quality onto conventional phenomena. Things do not simply "not
      exist" when we analize them down to their parts, and those parts'
      parts...we don't find that emptiness is itself the inherenly existent
      thing behind things. We find that the things that we analized work
      exactly as they did before we started to analize them. Emptiness is
      that they don't exist in some other fashion: one that Suzy says is
      this, but Tommy experiences as that! If you're depressed, try eating
      your favorite food and see if that blissful meal changes the fact
      that someone you love dearly has passed away and left you feeling sad
      and lonely. Don't think cookies and ice cream have that kind of power!

      Now, so what, right? So what about this "word play". How does that
      change your life or make you free...or create Buddhas? There must be
      something to that that Nagarjuna, Shantideva, Je Tsongkhapa and our
      own Precious Lord Buddha understood - no, experienced to have such a
      profound effect on their teaching.

      Today, there are many religions that experience through faith or
      logic levels of spirituality that bring them to grasp at selfish
      actions less and less and "give up" to others more than before. They
      may have a moment of focus that gives them a broadening of the
      landscape of their mind. Now, their mind has not been broadened, but
      maybe their "cross-hairs" aren't as focused in that moment. Parts of
      the brain that are normally active become less active, and latent
      areas awaken and begin to render new function that has yet to be
      experienced. This may be a physical indication of what is happening
      on the inside, but nonetheless something is happening, something to
      which all these religious experiences have in commmon. Where is the
      difference? Is it God? Shiva? A saint? That would mostly depend on
      the "path" to get to that level. Surely one seeking Shiva doesn't
      have a "higher experience" seeing Jesus, and likewise a Christian
      isn't going to believe that their experience was the Powerful Kali
      coming to them in a vision. And Buddhists can experience the same
      thing and label it with their vernacular.

      However, mediation on emptiness is not (something as other schools
      would say is "taboo" and shouldn't be discussed)just another
      conceptualization. It is the coming to see directly that the images
      and experiences you are having are nothing more than a product of
      your own mind! Yes, like an angel sitting on the holodeck of the Star
      Ship Enterprise or somewhere wearing virtual-reality glasses and
      believing the experience they are having to be Reality! Emptiness is
      withdrawing from those projections...but those projections-where are
      they from?

      They are from your past deeds! From your karma! Karma has taken root
      in the mindstream and must render its results when all the conditions
      for its ripening come about. You will be forced to see yourself
      experiencing the feelings of your fingers hitting the keys of this
      keyboard, or tasting the coffee that you had finished before you
      began to type or read this, and you will most certainly be forced to
      believe that the one who is reading this (you) is inherently real,
      though analytically not stable, always changing.

      That's what makes everything that you experience seem so real! The
      word Tib: Kundzob Denpa or Snskt: Samvritisattya don't
      mean "Conventional Truth" or "Conventional Reality". They mean fake
      truth. That's an oxymoron! Fake or Artificial. Why we say
      conventional in our language is simply to show that humans call these
      boxes that these words are being displayed upon "computers", but it
      is deceptive because the idea of "computer" is a concept. This thing
      infront of me has the characteristics of what the quality
      of "computerness" is in my mind. Therefore, I see this thing that
      seems to function in a way in which that quality dictates and label
      the thing "computer". Now, go further with that idea- for there is
      liberation in them thar hills! What about the idea of "box"? Or
      screen? or glass? or cords and wires? or black? or square? You come
      to the same ends - nothing! All of these labels are your own
      construction! We have all participated in labeling things and then
      sharing the "recipe" with others. Conventionally speaking, if I asked
      you to show me the computer, you don't hand me a shoe - no matter
      what philosophical teacher tells you you can! The shoe doesn't have
      the bases of information that we would see as befitting those of
      the "computerness" thingy.

      If you can see that the phenomenal thing that you are examining is
      nothing more than a series of shapes and colors and understand, no
      SEE that the process of "creation" thereof takes place within your
      mind, your getting very close! This is where the Zen school may have
      a lot to offer. I have talked to so many students of the Zen school
      that seem to know as much about emptiness as they did when they
      begin: zilch! Sure, you cannot replace an experience with a name, but
      we are humans and need to use the conventional world in some way. For
      instance, a monk says to his student, "go to the airport and pick up
      my uncle." The student says, "what does he look like?" The monk
      replies, "Go to the airport and pick up my uncle." The student asks
      with confusion "is he tall, short? fat or thin? Is he old or young?"

      Certainly we cannot replace the experience of the uncle with simple
      labels and language, but they become sign posts to let you know if
      your anywhere close so as not to grab that asian woman by the arm and
      drag her towards your taxi! When you fall down, you use the same
      ground upon which you fell to get back up! We have fallen onto the
      ground of samsara and must use it to stand back up into Nirvana.

      This is all deceptive because it appears as truly real. Emptiness
      shows that things do not exist in a manner from their own side. The
      cookie you ate when you were depressed did not change your mood
      because it had a power that was being sent AT you. If it did, your
      mood would have changed. That shows that the cookie is empty! Empty
      does not mean non-existent, it means non-permanent in a sense. It is
      the other side of the coin that you need to see about the things that
      you examine.

      If we can see the UNFOLDED universe around us, emptiness would show
      us the ENFOLDED universe within. Nothing around us is permanent, and
      nothing is causing itself...for then it wouldn't cease. As Nagarjuna
      liked to say "if it was selfpowered, why would it have a cause? It
      wouldn't need that cause and the two could exist apart from each

      Now, the path of seeing...what does that mean? The path of seeing is
      a direct perception of emptiness- the actual witnessing that the
      whole phenomenal perceptual process is a projection from YOU. Yet, it
      cannot be done with a conception of "I", or "ME" or even "That". You
      ain't having it if you can say "I am experiencing emptiness", because
      you just created more conceptions - what's behind the curtain Toto?
      Not another curtain! You must be able to study intensely what this
      thing "inherent existence" is to understand what its ABSENCE is!
      Emptiness is a negative, not another positive conceptual phenomenon
      to analyze. It is not something that just hangs out there. Emptiness
      is not a quality that exists apart from "form". You have emptiness,
      this computer has emptiness, the tast of coffee has emptiness. When
      any one of those things ceases in the world, its emptiness is gone! A
      lively girl isn't so lively when she dies. Her "life force", a
      characteristic which made her seem lively when she was overcome with
      it, is gone...and so is her ADJECTIVE! Now, the corpse has its
      emptiness. and when the corpse has sufficiently decomposed and on all
      points of decomposition through to its final disintegration has
      emptiness. But the absence of the corpse, no physical thing there,
      does it have emptiness? If its a concept, you have a terrific tango
      to dance. Think about that one.

      Now, on all those different spiritual experiences, those different
      focusings-of-the-mind onto concepts...seem to be incredibly valid
      underneath the label. I mean, if all these people are experiencing
      something, surely there is something about that thing that has a
      reality of its own. What is the owner of that thing? Who is
      that "light" or that "warmth" that seems to take away my experience
      of time and space, or that i seem to connect to and become "one"
      with? (pardon the dangling preposition) This is karma, too! You have
      to put into the mechanism what you want to get out of it. This level
      is a blessing. But your blessings increase and your are on your way
      out of Samsara if you see behind THAT curtain. And your little dog

      With love and blessings to all and may this explanation be of benefit
      to countless beings; may those that understand this precious "thing"
      directly experience it in their meditations, see for themselves and
      then teach it to others that are ready for it, and all be free from
      the binds of Samsara forever.

      Marc Preston Moss
      (Sonam Tsering)
    • jellybean0729
      Any path that does not treat the ultimate continues a perpetual regress and will never find the path out...like five people standing in a room looking for the
      Message 2 of 4 , Nov 6, 2006
        Any path that does not treat the ultimate continues a perpetual
        regress and will never find the path out...like five people standing
        in a room looking for the keys to a car. Are they under the cushions
        of the couch? Are they under a book on the cocktail table? Are they
        on the bookshelf? In a jar or container? The quest is still in the
        room, and yet the keys may be outside the house altogether! The
        thought has not yet occured to look elsewhere, in this analogy behind
        conceptual theories and into the nonconceptual.

        Here's the catch, you can go behind those conceptual theories only to
        produce more conceptual theories. The point is that its ALL going to
        be conceptual theory. Flowing waters are empirical data that we can
        see and experience. And yet, all these conceptual ideologies are just
        signposts to lead us to make the right decisions and avoid the wrong
        ones to create the ripening of the karma we will need to experience
        this EMPTINESS directly in our meditation. In that moment, you won't
        need to have a validation from any GURU or MASTER because you know
        that you have experienced the Dharmakaya wisdom of the Buddha
        yourself. You know you have put the bobby-pin in the right place on
        the mechanism and are rendering it functionless as it slowly breaks
        up and falls apart. The negative deeds that the "fight or flight"
        part of the brain have projected as "out there" are now failing to
        produce a negative consequence "from them." They are not that way
        from their side, they require the organization of the data YOU THINK
        YOU SEE WHEN YOU LOOK AT THEM to label them, this or that.

        You simply are inseparable from the ripening of your karma now. In
        fact, as Geshe Michael Roach said so well "you are simply the total
        sum of the ripening of your karma now". If you aren't separate from
        your past deeds, who are you? Mr. or Mrs. TEFLON? Stainless from
        these happenings? Or you are a Buddha. A Buddha has seen how the
        mechanism works and knows that only the MIND that grasps to things
        and the self as REAL can render things to become manifest realities
        to the perceiver. Once one has seen emptiness directly, without the
        conceptions that veil the experience, one has seen that the mechanism
        will soon be out of order. You come out of that experienced and are
        still seeing things as inherently real - the virtual reality glasses
        are still working dear angel, but they will cease to work because you
        know that the plug has been pulled!

        All the other religious experiences, even the Buddhist ones, simply
        give us a scratching post upon which we sharpen our spiritual claws.
        We do the right deeds and say the right things to bring us to a point
        where our spiritual IQ is heightened...and then the conditions are
        ripe to experience this emptiness directly. There has never been a
        buddha statue to get up and eat the orange or smell the flowers that
        you have placed before it. However, who is really getting? You have
        seen yourself give to someone, and the knowledge of emptiness is that
        that statue is NOT OTHER THAN A BUDDHA. This becomes powerful karma.
        The direct perception of emptiness has a "combination", like a lock.
        If you do the right things and cultivate the right understandings,
        you will find the combination and Voila! You'll experience the elixir
        yourself! This is not something that is unique to Mahayana...and I
        believe not just to Buddhism as a whole. But, the language that
        Buddhism uses tries to convey a more neutral position than to say
        that it is a loving God and then condemn or destroy others that don't
        get it! It becomes confusing living in a world made up of labels and
        words when you know that the labels and words can never describe that
        experience that you have had.

        If the senses (eye, ear, nose...etc) are simply channels for
        awareness, then they render information from coming into contact with
        the objects they detect. Without the interpretations of the data into
        labels and placing those labels back out there, we find
        simply "awareness data". Just shapes and colors. This is much like a
        mirror. Since a mirror cannot place labels onto things, it simply
        reflects the data that is before it. The nonconceptual aspect of
        perception and the mirror - things appear before them and they simply
        reflect. Something not appearing before your mind will not render an
        awareness; nothing triggers the "fight or flight" response, and no
        sensation of it arises. The mirror MUST reflect objects that pass by
        its surface. An object that doesn't pass by renders no reflection.

        Next time you are looking into a mirror, try to see the
        surface...past the reflection, or through it. Can you see it? Can you
        see the shiny surface without the images in it? Doubtful. Then, try
        to meditate on the mind, the subtle-most awareness...and look past
        the images that are within your sense fields as though they were
        images in the mirror. Tell yourself "I refuse to succumb to seeing
        mere reflections," and then drop the projections. This takes sooooo
        much time and practice. Eventually, you will find that even the "I"
        is a reflection in that mirror and is not inherently real. It is the
        arising of karma that beleives the self to be "existen". Sure, it
        exists: common experience shows us that we can eat and we can run and
        type and all sorts of things.

        Surely, the flowing waters analogy is beautiful. Someone treading
        water that can't swim well will create ripples and bubbles and all
        sorts of commotion. But where do all those ripples go to? The SHORE!!
        If the person stops fighting and just simply floats, in time he/she
        too will float to the shore!

        Marc Preston Moss
        (Sonam Tsering)

        Please don't get caught up in my words...or anyone's words. They're
        just words.
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