Saturday, December 14, 2013

Things are not what they appear to be, nor are they different.

“True vision isn’t just seeing seeing. It’s also seeing not seeing. And true understanding isn’t just understanding understanding. It’s also understanding not understanding. If you understand anything, you don’t understand. Only when you understand nothing is it true understanding. Understanding is neither understanding nor not understanding.

When the mortal mind appears, buddhahood disappears. When the mortal mind disappears, buddhahood appears. When the mind appears, reality disappears. When the mind disappears, reality appears. Whoever knows that nothing depends on anything has found the Way. And whoever knows that the mind depends on nothing is always at the place of enlightenment.”

These are the words of Bodhidharma in his famous Wake Up SermonTrue of great sages, these words appear abstruse and difficult to fathom but they are consistent with the experience of awakening. When that moment arrives you reach a point where nothing appears to exist. In such a state you become aware of both nothing (the absence of things) and everything (the presence of things). It is the true seer in us all that notices the difference between one state and another. That seer both exists and doesn’t exist. It exists in a pure uncontaminated state as a non-thing but doesn’t exist as a thing. Most of the time we are ensconced in perceptional awareness of things. We see only what can be seen: objective matter and remain unaware of nothing. Nothing can’t be seen, only experienced through a state known as no mind (wu xin in Chinese, Mu Shin in Japanese).

It is said that when everything appears, the mind appears. When nothing appears, the mind disappears. When the mind appears, we live within a state determined by cause and effect and subjected to karma. When the mind disappears we live in the enlightened state of a Buddha, far beyond cause and effect. In this no mind state there is no discrimination: all is unified, whole and complete. In a mind state, everything is subjected to discrimination between this and that: the realm of choice and karma. Mu shin is shin: Shin is Mu shin. Emptiness is form. Form is emptiness. Both united yet different. Both divided yet united. Emptiness is empty. Formlessness is form.
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