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SUNYA&TATHATA#3:The web of life

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  • gabriel.hartnell
    SUNYA & TATHATA #3: The web of life The dizzying sticato flicker of the monitor screen was all that kept Sunya awake. Every time she drooped easfully into a
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 28, 2000
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      SUNYA & TATHATA #3: The web of life

      The dizzying sticato flicker of the monitor screen was all that kept
      Sunya awake. Every
      time she drooped easfully into a luxurious state of semi conscioussness,
      it would yank
      her back violently into reality.
      'Reality'. That was perhaps a misleading term.
      She had gritted her teeth and relayed to her little and yet
      bewilderingly at once both
      mature and innocent sister the tale of last night's ill advised flirting
      with the grim
      reaper.
      Of course, she had understood. She understood everything, that girl,
      without, it
      appeared, much effort.
      She probably would have understood if Sunya had told her 'Sorry, Tath,
      but I held a
      wild party in your room with my drinking mates and they, er, dropped
      alcohol all over
      your philosophy books'.
      She's most likely understand if she'd told her; 'Sorry, Tath, but I held
      a REALLY wild
      party in your room with my piromaniac friends and they, er, BURNT all
      your
      philosophy books.'
      Hell, she'd even understand if she'd said: 'Sorry, Tath, but I held a
      REALLY, REALLY
      wild party with my paranoid delusional serial killer mates and we, er,
      decided to
      reinact a scene from the texas chainsaw massacre and, you know, you were
      in the
      room at the time; sorry about the blood and the... severed limbs and
      stuff..'
      Sunya rubbed her eyes and scoulded herself for harbouring such black
      humour.
      Existence itself is suffering, right? Then what's wrong with such
      humour?
      Existence is a funny thing. Funny mainly in that it... doesn't really
      exist.

      Actually, this was getting all too much for Sunya, and since barely
      twenty four hours
      had passed since her 'revelation', that was mabye a bad sign.
      Tathata had leant her a book of Buddhist scripture, which, after many
      failed attempts
      to decifer the meaning of the opening few verses, Sunya had deemed a
      perfect
      headrest.
      'Well, what is it the Zen masters say; when you've read the scriptures
      and its cold, use
      them for firewood, right?'
      Sunya's comment would have been a fairer portrayal of the enlightened
      mind if she
      had indeed ventured to read the mammoth tome BEFORE condemning it to its
      current
      reincarnation as a particularly uncomfortable pillow.

      At least Tathata wouldn't tell mum of her big, stupid sister's self
      destructive exploits.
      Sunya had made her promise to keep it to herself, and Buddhists don't
      lie, right?
      Sunya quickly skimmed through the book to a section on ethics which
      proved just as
      cryptic as the rest of the thing. Actually, she wasn't quite sure.
      'Its all ten of that, sixty three of this, eighty seven of that.....'
      She felt like she was in a
      maths class. Which had reminded her; class.
      She had homework to do, and to be honest Tathata's book, although the
      thinking
      behind its lending was nothing but compassionate, had made her
      APPRECIATIVE of
      the fact that she had other labourious things to do.
      'If I read any more of THAT I'd probably end up killing myself.' The
      irony was entirely
      lost on her.

      She scrambled around in her folder to retrive a crumpled collection of
      lecture notes
      and flicked on the modem with a weary hand.
      What was the point of all this, anyway? OK, so it wasn't worth dying
      for, that was for
      sure; she'd established that.
      But that didn't make all this... being alive make any more sense?
      It was like, you live, you die. What's the point of doing HOMEWORK?
      That said, the alternative was NOT doing homework and getting a
      bollocking from her
      tutor tommorow.....
      'No..... ANOTHER alternative is killing myself like I was GOING to and
      not having to
      even SEE my tutor tommorow, or any other time...' But some deep, inner,
      gut
      wrenching, heart felt, completely purposeless motivation... um...
      PURPOSED her to
      stay alive, and, better still, awake to get this thing done.
      'Driven by destiny, yeah, that's me.' Sunya's sarcasm was even more
      clumsily hidden
      that her irony.

      So she'd got to a search engine, and gathered her notes into something
      at least
      RESEMBLING order.
      Funny thing was, whenever she got this far, only one thought crossed her
      mind in the
      form of an old and admittedly slightly amended proverb;
      'If you can't be bothered to suceed under your own devices; cheat.'
      And that meant study guides.
      Sunya was supposed to be researching artistic symbolism in Franco
      Zapharelli's
      classic rendition of Romeo and Juliet. This was the bane of doing a film
      studies course.
      The positive side was that lectures involved watching movies. They were
      free, it was
      dark, you could sleep if the film was bad.
      The negative side? You had to REMEBER what you'd seen in vivid detail
      (DESPITE
      being deep in the land of nod throughout) and write rambling,
      complicated essays
      about it. Oh, and there was no popcorn.
      'How the hell do you spell 'Zapharelli?' This was not a good sign. The
      first thing
      examiners tended to notice was if you'd spelt the essay time correctly.
      Sunya was staring at a big, fat 'fail' mark.

      'Mabye I'll just search under 'Zaph' and see what we get.... 287
      matches. I'm gonna
      need more coffee. OK, Zap, Zip... What's this?'
      E-GROUP CONCENING THE SPIRITUAL ADVENTURES OF ZAPH: UNCOVERING THE
      IDEAS OF BUDDHISM FROM AN EASILY APPROACHABLE ANGLE, OPEN TO NOVICES
      AND ADEPTS ALIKE.
      'Well, this isn't exactly my homework, but mabye if I read some of this
      stuff I'd
      understand where my sister's coming from....'
      Sunya possesed both a heedless soul and a wandering mind, which didn't
      bode well
      when all through the world there are various metaphorical clifftops and
      perpetual
      spiritual darkness, but sometimes with a good measure of luck, potential
      lemmings
      become... well... learned lemmings.
      She connected to the site and began reading people's posts. People like
      her. People
      not particularly 'religious' but deeply spiritual. People not
      grotesquely 'doctrinal' but
      unquestionably moral.
      A lot of what she read reminded her of her, which brough about a strange
      feeling of
      no-self.
      Both the homework and the scripture she used as arm rests, and
      concentrated intead
      on the screen. 'Better the middle path, Tathata always says'. Perhaps
      she was getting
      the hang of all this philosophical stuff.

      One person's posts struck home more than others.
      One other lost soul staggering around in the vastness of space, or
      should that be
      VIRTUAL space, searching for some philosophical concept to call his own.
      For some
      solace to label 'home'.
      His: Zeph was his name: comments on the spiritual realizations of the
      e-group's main
      protagonist seemed uncannily similar to her own, perhaps only because
      neither he or
      Sunya had the faintest idea of what was going on here, and, futhermore,
      what weird
      and often forboding transformations were going on in their own psyches.
      In his most recent post, Zeph just said:

      I don't get it.
      So I'm not me.
      Who am I then?
      Am I nobody?
      That's not good, is it?
      I mean, if there's no self, who am I?
      Am I dreaming all this?
      But wait: I can't even dream all this, because if there was someone
      dreaming, surely it
      would have to be me, and how can I be dreaming about me if I'm not me?
      None of this makes sense.

      Sunya concured, and the thought came to mind that if she wasn't she, and
      he not he,
      and the world a mere illusion, then the world was like a computer game.
      You're just staring at the screen all the time, and all this stuff goes
      on and sll these
      things happen, and really none of this happens at all.
      It's all just happening on a screen that you're transfixed to and you're
      so caught up by
      it; so fooled by it, that you never once think to turn around away from
      the screen and
      take a loom at the real world.
      Mabye that was what spiritual realization was about; turning around away
      from the
      screen and looking at the real world.
      She swiftly typed all those wandering thoughts down as best she could,
      which
      admittedly was not very well, and sent them off via E-mail to Zeph.
      Strange how quickly things can travel all the way around without even
      really moving.
      In fact, without really even EXISTING in any kind of real shape or form
      in the first
      place, and yet STILL there they appear on someone else's desktop on the
      other side of
      the globe in seconds and have a profound effect on their REAL, physical
      lives.

      After that, Sunya turned off the computer quickly as if a dozey druid
      recognising a
      cursed chalice a little too late and swiftly disposing of the item
      before he came out in
      blotches and boils.
      That computer metaphor hit home a bit too brutally. It caught the feel
      of that nihilistic
      philosophical direction Sunya had spurned many a time in the past; that
      idea that
      nothing truly 'exists'.
      Being and nothingness: a phrase coined by Sartre: was quite apt here.
      Alan Watts had said that 'In your fundemental existence you are the
      total energy of this
      universe playing the game of being you. The fundemental game of this
      world is the
      game of hide and seek.'
      Sunya had spent a lifetime hiding. Mabye it was time to seek. Mabye it
      was time to
      turn away from the computer screen of life; to forget the 'game' for
      once and embrace
      the reality around her, if it was any more than unreality at all. Mabye
      it was time she
      give her brain a rest and get herself thinking straight again, or at
      least NORMALLY.
      But that computer metaphor; the internet metaphor: was enough to
      convince her of
      something she really didn't want to know.
      That everything of this world is intrinsically empty.
      She wondered if Zeph thought the same.

      OK THATS THE CHARACTERS INTRODUCED, SO WE CAN GET INTO SOME PROPER
      'ISSUES' IN PART FOUR; WHICH SHOULD BE AROUND NEXT WEEK.
      (SORRY I TOOK A BIT LONG TO POST THIS ONE)
      ANY COMMENTS; AS NORMAL TO
      gabriel.hartnell@...
      OR JUST POSTED TO THE E-GROUP. ALL ARE VERY MUCH APPRECIATED
      LATER
      Gabriel
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