07.09.12 : Everything | How To Hold Infinity In Your Hand | Difference Between Faith & Respect | The Amazing & Amusing Adventures of Sam & Sara
- Quote: Everything
Everything the same;
(All phenomena of mind and matter
are equally empty of any fixed self
in the absolute truth of emptiness,
yet also totally different due to
constant change as relative truths.)
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Get The Amazing & Amusing Adventures Of Sam & Sara! Realisation: How To Hold Infinity In Your Hand
To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.
- William Blake
(Opening Verse from 'Auguries of Innocence')
This celebrated stanza is often seen to be very Zennish in nature. As with the Zen teachings in verse, poetry in general is often seen as flowery, mystical or plain incomprehensible. However, effective spiritual poetry is never written to confound, but is articulately crisp and crystal clear in its messages, even when metaphors are used to condense them. Now, how would a Buddhist interpret Blake's words? How can an entire universe be witnessed within a grain of sand? It might not be literally seen straightaway, yet, for the single grain to exist, countless cosmic causes and conditions must come together to allow it to come into being, and to sustain its existence. The microcosm thus contains and reflects the macrocosm. This is the Buddha's teaching of interdependence, of how all can be in one and one in all.
Next, he speaks of seeing the heavenly in an earthly flower. Again, due to the interconnected nature of the scheme of things, 'as above, so below'. Perhaps usually taken for granted, even that deemed ordinary is extraordinary when perceived in the light of mindfulness. Even the simple yet full experience of a flower can inspire great bliss. Indeed, there is nothing that holds no wonders when there is heightened awareness of everything. This reminds us of the classic Zen story of how the Buddha once held up a golden lotus flower, thus imparting a silent teaching to Maha Kasyapa, who realised and smiled at its essential message, the very heart of the Dharma, that cannot be verbally expressed; but only personally experienced. Words can only do so much (or little) to guide us to the wordless truth.
Just as the Buddha held the infinitude of all in a flower, Blake wrote of holding infinite space in a finite hand, in this centre of 'here'. Whatever it holds, be it a grain of sand, a flower or whatnot, it is paradoxically both something specific (as a form), as an aspect of conventional truth, and everything (nothing specific; being empty of fixed forms), as an aspect of ultimate truth. A flower is conventionally a flower. Yet, ultimately, for it to be, as before, boundless conditions like water, light, nutrients, air and heat are needed. Each condition dependently arises from infinite conditions elsewhere too, with every one constantly changing, morphing into something else since beginningless time, and continuing to do so indefinitely. In this sense, to admire the marvels of a flower even for a second is to behold the centre of infinite time in this 'now'!
To perceive everything from anything,
And the extraordinary in the ordinary,
Behold all things before you here,
And all time before you now.
- Opening Verse Reworded
How Is One In All & All In One?
Share Articles: tde@... Excerpt: Difference Between Faith & Respect
For one to take refuge,
there must be respect.
For one to have respect,
there need not be refuge.
Since faith and respect are different, respect for other religions does not mean we must have faith in their doctrines. For example. I have met with some Christians who take interest in certain Buddhist practices, study them, and even practice them. They take particular interest in Buddhist methods for achieving one-pointed meditative concentration as well as how to increase love, compassion and patience. Since these practices are common* to Christianity and Buddhism, I express my admiration for what they are doing. [*Ed: The commonalities are to some extent only. E.g. Buddhist teachings of perfect compassion encompass all sentient beings, including animals, hungry ghosts and hell-beings, while Christianity sees animals to be 'created' for consumption, spirits to all be demonic, and hell-beings to deserve condemnation for eternal suffering.]
To Christians, however, who become interested in the view of emptiness, I lightheartedly respond that this is distinctly Buddhist and has little connection with Christian doctrine. Why? Probing emptiness requires looking into dependent-rising, and if its implications are understood, it becomes difficult to accept a single, permanent, unchangeable God as the creator of the world. If one tried to have faith in Christianity and in Buddhism, one would be asserting the existence of a Creator God and at the same time the nonexistence of a creator God. That s impossible. Therefore, while respect is both feasible and beneficial, faith is another matter…
Indeed, from the viewpoint of religions that assert a creator God, Buddhism has a philosophy of deprecation, seen in its denial of a creator God, as well as a philosophy of exaggeration, seen in its assertion of former and future lives. Conversely, from a Buddhist viewpoint religions asserting a creator God have a philosophy of exaggeration, as well as a philosophy of deprecation in their denial of the cause and effect of karma over the course of countless lifetimes.
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