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Sunya & Tathata#5-The Matter Myth

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  • Gabriel Hartnell
    Sunya & Tathata #5- The matter myth This doesn t scare me- all this nothingness. It doesn t effect me one bit, not anymore. It doesn t make me wish I could
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 25, 2000
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      Sunya & Tathata #5- The matter myth

      'This doesn't scare me- all this nothingness. It doesn't effect me
      one
      bit, not anymore.
      It doesn't make me wish I could dive headlong into that void and
      embrace emptiness;
      become a part of it- annihilate myself. Mabye annihilation is what I
      SHOULD be
      looking for, but I kind of like it here now. The mysteries of life
      used to get me down.
      They used to petrify me. They used to make me hope for death. Hell,
      they used to
      make me INVITE death. To leave this dilapidated physical existence
      behind and
      somehow solve the mystery- what happens when I'm not me anymore? And
      more to the
      point- what am I anyway? The mystery doesn't scare me anymore, but it
      does interest
      me.'

      Sunya stopped typing, wiped her glazed eyes with a black woollen
      sleeve and took a
      mammoth swig of by now ice cold coffee in a desperate attempt to keep
      herself awake.
      The ceaseless pitter-patter of rain outside drew her attention to the
      window almost as
      if the bursting heavens possesed some kind of mind control facility.
      She was
      hypnotised by the deep, heart jangling rumble of thunder, by the
      incessant random
      tapping of raindrops on her windowsill- by the descending gloom
      outside which in
      some freaky, enigmatic way felt warm and soothing to her.
      She shivered and wrapped her arms around herself, disuading herself
      from reaching to
      the closet for ANOTHER death black gothic style garment with which to
      repell the chill.
      Zen masters advocated much more self sufficient ways of keeping snug
      in the middle
      of a boisterous storm- 'when you feel cold, make yourself warm. When
      you feel warm,
      make yourself cold'. Balance it out with your mind.
      "What the hell?" Sunya snatched another layer of clothiing from its
      crooked hanger and
      reminded herself she was living in a more industrial age- "Those Zen
      guys don't live in
      the UK..."
      And neither did Zeph. Funny- here she was, having an online
      conversation with
      someone on the other side of the world, and though she was surrounded
      by this dull
      but strangely homely downfall, he was probably fobbing off the
      piercing attentions of
      the sun with ice cold drinks and a buzzing electric fan. Stranger
      still when she
      considered that though here it was the middle of the night, for Zeph
      it was probably
      early morning. Everything, indeed, as Einstien had postulated, is
      relative.

      Sunya jumped as the computer bleeped annoyingly like one of those
      irritating little
      driod in the star wars movies. Zeph had replied-
      'This is the problem I have also been trying to solve- who am I? And
      what am I doing
      here? Wait- those are two questions. I suppose the first is the most
      vital right now.
      I always have this worry that I'm not me at all. Well, to be honest,
      sometimes its a
      worry and sometimes its the complete opposite. The thing is that
      apparently, in
      Buddhism, there is this thing called emptiness. Everything is empty.
      I
      mean- does that
      mean nothing exists?'

      Sunya thought for a moment. In a way, it was a romantic nation to
      think nothing
      existed. It would be amusingly ironic if in the end- mabye in death-
      one was to discover
      that the whole thing had been a game- some big cosmic joke, and then
      you're like-
      jeez- I've just spent a whole lifetime believing everything I did and
      everything I thought
      was true and real, and um... it never was. What a waste of time.
      She frowned- THAT was the kind of thinking that had got her slitting
      her wrists only a
      month or so ago. 'Emptiness' must have meant something different.
      She retrived one of her sister's books from underneath a clumsily
      assembled stack of
      discared coffee cups and take away boxes which she really should have
      bothered
      taking to the bin on the other side of the room before they went
      mouldy.
      She flicked through the pages- only the ongoing theatrics of the
      storm
      outside and that
      heavy intake of caffine keeping her from dropping off.

      "OK, here goes-" She typed as she read- conspicuously attempting to
      sound like she
      was speaking from her enlightened mind than merely from the pages of
      a
      book,
      though of course if it was true that everything in the universe was
      just an aspect of
      everything else, she WAS the person who had written the book. She
      frowned. That was
      a feeble excuse.
      'Zeph- this is what I... OK, to be honest, this is what the book I'm
      reading reackons-
      Our mind has been accustomed to viewing things in a distorted manner
      for so long
      that it is difficult to gain a clear picture of reality.
      Because our wisdom is so limited, it is hard enough to recognize our
      mitaken beliefs,
      much less the actual state of things.
      We ask ourselves- 'what exactly is this 'I' that I am always talking
      about?' and we have
      great difficulty formulating an answer. Our delusions are so thick
      that we cannot even
      explain what we are accustomed to seeing.
      From beginningless samsaric lifetimes up until now we have been
      thinking of our 'I' as
      something inherently unique and independent.
      In fact, this supposidly independent 'I' has no real existence.
      The non-existence of this false 'I' is what is meant by emptiness.

      She sat back- pleased with herself. She had solved the conundrum.
      She eased herself into a comforting, sleepy daze as she closed her
      eyes and listened to
      the melodic raindrops. 'Listen to the good raindrops...' she thought
      to herself-
      inadvertantly reciting a Zen parable- '... all landing in their
      rightful place...'
      She allowed her dogged persuit of the mystery to waver and drop from
      her comletely
      like the proverbial weight off the shoulders. Now there was only the
      rainfall...

      "Wait a minate." Her eyes bolted open as she realized all this wasn't
      so cut and dry- "I
      havn't solved the mystery- I've only copied down some passage wrotten
      by some other
      guy who did."
      This was highly dissapointing, but the funny thing was, when she had
      FINISHED typing
      out that passage and listened to the rain, everything had fallen into
      place, although try
      as she might she couldnt quite manage to convert that feeling of
      finality- of
      accomplishment, into words. As soon as she tried, she lost the
      meaning. It was as if
      you can't have one without the other.
      Meanwhile, Zeph- still bemused, had replied-
      'Sunya- So I am empty, so I'm NOT really me? That was what I ws
      afraid
      of. Are you
      sure?'

      Sunya had seen the answer; FELT in in fact, by now, but language
      corrupts- that's the
      thing. She began typing in sporadic bursts with Zeph prompting her
      with his usual
      spate of inquisitive questions-
      'No, I'm not sure at all, but I think perhaps that's the thing.'
      'What's the thing?'
      'That I don't know. Perhaps not knowing is the best way of knowing.'
      'I don't get it.'
      'Neither do I- that's the point.'
      'What point?'
      "Well, that to FEEL things is better than to KNOW them. Emptiness is
      a
      slithery thing-
      like Nargajuna said- 'emptiness wrongly viewed destroys the feeble
      minded like a
      mishaped serpent or a misapplied spell'.'
      'Which means WHAT, exactly.'
      'I dunno, but I THINK it means that the moment you try to pin
      emptiness down, you
      loose it- it slithers away- the moment you add words to it, it isn't
      empty anymore.'
      'So you arn't thinking about emptiness any longer? But how DO you
      look
      at emptiness?'
      'Well- try closing your eyes and listening to the rain.'
      'What rain?'
      'Oh, yeah. I think you could say this- emptiness is no different from
      form. Form is no
      different from emptiness. What is form is emptiness- what is
      emptiness
      is form.'
      'They're both the same thing?'
      'Yes- yes.' Sunya had had a brainwave- 'In Taoism, Lao Tzu says that
      nothing can exist
      without its opposite. Back follows frount, dark follows light. If
      there was no such thing
      as dark, could we even imagine a thing called light?'
      'I guess not.'
      'So unless we have form, can we have emptiness?'
      'So the two intertwine- I am me, but I'm not...'
      'Mabye you're you to you but a totally different you to others. Mabye
      to some there is
      no you. Mabye sometimes to YOU there is no you- like when you sit
      back, close your
      eyes, listen to the rain and the YOU drifts away. All there is is the
      rain.'
      Zeph was pretty much confused by this point- 'Um... mabye I need to
      go
      and meditate
      on it...'
      'Yeah- that would work- letting go of the 'I'; that's what its about,
      right- and seeing
      things as they really are.'
      'Seeing both emptiness and form as one.'
      'OK- before I corrupt my insight futher with words, this is my take;
      all I can imagine
      emptiness being is... is something abundantly full.'

      Zeph and Sunya said... no- TYPED their goodbyes before the corrupting
      hand of
      language contaminated their chance realizations futher and logged off.
      Sunya lay back on her bed with that cool, familar sound of raindrops
      swirling around
      her like some mystical shroud which had been keeping the true nature
      of the world
      secret all this time and only now dispursed sufficiently to give her
      a
      peek into how
      things truly were.
      She basked in the moment. She had made a step- a good step, and it
      felt nice- a piece
      of momentary bliss. Her confusion had abated, for the moment at least.
      She wasn't sure if she had understood emptiness yet- perhaps that was
      too much.
      Perhaps, afterall- to understand emptiness was a flawed concept, just
      like to bend a
      spoon is impossible- you just have to realize there is no spoon.
      She scoulded herself for plagerising movies again and closed her
      eyes.
      It was far
      easier to comprehend the forms of the universe being transitory if
      you
      sheilded them
      from your feild of vision.
      In the morning, she would relay the whole thing to Tathata- tell her
      all about
      emptiness and how she understood... wait a minate- if language
      corrupts, attempting
      to TELL her sister about her realizations would only demonstrate that
      she didn't yet
      fully understand.
      She thumped the matress and barely prevented herself from cursing
      aloud.
      She wouldn't be able to prove her theories to her sister or even
      share
      them- not
      satisfactorily at least.
      Spirituality is a funny thing- it gives you insights, but it just
      doesn't let you share them.
      She supposed that was why you have to walk the path for yourself.

      Comments etc as usual to gabriel.hartnell@...
      or post it to the group
      See ya!
      Gabriel
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