Saturday, April 8, 2017

Primal ignorance and primal enlightenment.


When all of the pieces fit together
In a previous post: Our overturned world, I shared Patañjali’s view of the five kleshas as being the causes of suffering. His perspective that the very first klesha: ignorance of the true nature of reality, was in truth the only cause of suffering. When this primal ignorance is overturned the other four fall into place. That being the case, the question becomes, what is the opposite of primal ignorance? When ignorance falls away what is our natural (primal) state of mind and what is it that results and produces a state of transformation?

Some time ago I wrote about two opposing states of karma: Karma and the Wheel of Life and Death, and Karma and the Wheel of Dharma. The Buddha compared two paths: one leading to the discriminate states of life versus death and the other leading to our true nature—pure consciousness without any discriminate properties, known as Buddha-nature: the realm of unity or natural enlightenment. Can that realm be perceived? And if so what does it look like? The point was made that the entire universe is a function of consciousness, or said another way: the universe is nothing other than the primordial mind in manifestation. The Buddha taught in the Mahaparinirvana Sūtra, “Seeing the actions of body and mouth, we say that we see the mind. The mind is not seen, but this is not false. This is seeing by outer signs.”  Of course the mind is the source (consciousness) and as such can’t see itself. We only see manifestations.

In that same Sūtra he taught that, “If impermanence is killed, what there is, is eternal Nirvana. If suffering is killed, one must gain bliss; if the void is killed, one must gain the real. If the non-self is killed, one must gain the True Self. O great King! If impermanence, suffering, the Void and the non-self are killed, you must be equal to me.”

Now we come to the key point: unapplied consciousness has no properties. It is pure and indiscriminate. Only when consciousness is applied can discrimination occur. Until then everything is unified and whole. A favorite sūtra of Bodhidharma was the Lankavatara and here it says, “In this world whose nature is like a dream, there is place for praise and blame, but in the ultimate Reality of Dharmakāya (our true primordial mind of wisdom/consciousness) which is far beyond the senses and the discriminating mind, what is there to praise?” Elsewhere Bodhidharma taught that the Dharmakāya was just another name for the Buddha and said, “When all forms are abandoned, there is the Buddha ... the void is not really void, but the realm of the real Dharma. This spiritually enlightening nature is without beginning ... this great Nirvanic nature is Mind; Mind is the Buddha, and the Buddha is the Dharma.”

All of the above harmonizes with Nagarjuna’s Two Truth Doctrine and the teachings of many other Zen Masters that we have two minds (one a mind of manifestation with discriminate properties and the other the great Nirvanic Mind without discrimination of any kind). In truth these are not two but rather the unified integration of ignorance and bliss. Rationally it appears as if there are two, but think of these two dimensions as you would a roof with an outside and an inside. There is only one roof. From the outside there is light and everything appears as discriminate, but from the darkness in the attic (where no light exists) nothing can be seen, thus no discrimination. This is, however a very poor example since the mind that can’t be seen contains nothing and everything at the same time. Everything comes from there but until the moment of applied consciousness, theres nothing perceptible. Its an everything/nothing mind.  The great Nirvanic Mind is not perceptible since its the ground out of which all perception emanates. It can only be experienced but in itself is “…far beyond the senses and the discriminating mind.” Here there is no life or death, no self or other, no birth or death, no misidentification (asmita), no attachment (raga), no anger following loss (dvesha), no misunderstanding life and death (abhinivesha), no versus of any kind. THIS is what a transformed mind is and when you awaken to this realm you discover nothing other than what has always been: your true selfthe Mind of the Buddha. This is when all of the pieces fall into placethis is the true nature of reality.
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