Monday, March 13, 2017

The sea of bliss.

The heart of darkness and light.
Until we have seen someone’s darkness, we don’t really know who they are. Until we have forgiven someone’s darkness, we don’t really know what love is. 

To one trapped in a bondage of the mind, there is a darkness to move beyond that can cloud our sense of being and our capacity to love.  The idea of moving beyond seems to imply movement toward a goal: something not present. There is, however, another way to understand this obstruction: this darkness that impedes our capacity to love.  A drop of water, dark or not, taken out of the great sea, is certainly divided from it’s indiscriminate source but when it returns to the source, it becomes absorbed and can’t be found. It is then lost in the sea of love.
This is an easy example that displays the difference between duality and unification. Bodhidharma illustrated this by speaking of the body of all truth, where everything is One. His commentary on the Lankavatara Sutra teaches there are two aspects of life: the discriminated, perceptible and the unified, ineffable — bound together in a manner too marvelous to understand. He says, “By tranquility is meant Oneness, and Oneness gives birth to the highest Samadhi which is gained by entering into the realm of Noble Wisdom that is realizable only within one’s inmost consciousness…The beginning chapter of this sutra concludes in this way... “In this world whose nature is like a dream, there is place for praise and blame, but in the ultimate Reality of Dharmakaya (our true mind) which is far beyond the senses and the discriminating mind, what is there to praise?”

So where is the source of hope and tranquility? Our hope lies imperceptibly beneath impermanence at the heart of decay. And what is that heart? Huang Po (Obaku in Japanese; 9th century China) was particularly lucid in his teaching about this. In the Chün Chou Record, he said this:

“To say that the real Dharmakāya of the Buddha resembles the Void is another way of saying that the Dharmakāya is the Void and that the Void is the Dharmakāya ... they are one and the same thing.... 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.”

This perspective, however, is a bit like looking in a rear view mirror that reflects darkness once you’ve found light. While in the darkness, no light is seen. To go looking for the void beyond darkness takes us into the sea of nondiscrimination where compassion and wisdom define all. And once there, in this eternal void: the source of all, we fuse together with all things and realize that dark and light are just handles defining the seeming division between one thing and another. We are then absorbed by the vast and endless sea of bliss and tranquility. We are in a home we never left.
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