Monday, October 10, 2016

Coming and going.

“The Master arrives without leaving, sees the light without looking, achieves without doing a thing.”—Lao Tzu: TaoTe Ching

The quote above has special significance to anyone who has unveiled their true nature. And I use the term “unveil” instead of achieve with intent. Indeed our true nature, for all practical purposes, is buried deep within and must be uncovered. It never comes and never leaves. Until that moment our sense of self is anything but permanent. It comes and it goes, riding the waves of good times and bad, dangling on a string of judgments. The importance of the principle is of such significance that it represents a pillar among various Buddhist sects in metaphorical terms of guests and hosts. If you Google “Zen, guest and host” you’ll end up with more than 780,000 hits all of which examine the matter from every conceivable direction.

The essence, however, is very simple even though the means of “achieving without doing” can boggle the mind with infinite permutations. In essence “The Master” is your very own mind; the one that sees without looking. The impediment to unveiling this master is a mind that is seen, not the mind that sees. The Buddha taught that our true mind can’t be seen, it can only be experienced through samadhi: the awakening of our never-leaving body of truth. While difficult to explain, when awakening occurs there is no turning back. THEN we know what before was only a figment of our imaginations.

When we think of truth we imagine matters in rational terms; the product of our mind that is seen. While this distinction may appear esoteric it is central to genuine awakening—Hard to ascertain but incredibly powerful when experienced. The difference between the two was laid out by Nāgārjuna in his doctrine of two truths:

“The Buddha’s teaching of the Dharma is based on two truths: a truth of worldly convention and an ultimate truth. Those who do not understand the distinction drawn between these two truths do not understand the Buddha’s profound truth. Without a foundation in the conventional truth, the significance of the ultimate cannot be taught. Without understanding the significance of the ultimate, liberation is not achieved.”

Nāgārjuna taught that “true things” concretely exist and can be perceived as such by the senses, while “false things” do not exist as they are perceived. The difference? Relative truth keeps ultimate truth concealed. Things appear to our logical mind to contain an independent, self-nature, that are flawed by bias and preconceived ideas, but in his Fundamental Verses on the Middle Way (The Mūlamadhyamakakārikā) Nāgārjuna provided a logical defense that all things are empty of such a nature but are instead interdependently related. Even emptiness itself has no inherent, independent self-nature. Consequently, what we imagine is simply not possible. While the rational mind of relative truth is necessary to lead us to ultimate truth, so long as we do not let go and see clearly, we will forever be in bondage. It is the experience of awakening to our true nature (not the appearance) that sets us free to enjoy the fruits of the master that never leaves.
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