Fragments of Reality!

19/06/2014

I have not been able to do much writing here over the last few months and that is because I took time off trying to find a new home in the ‘wild’, one as far away from so-called civilisation as I can go considering the limited means at my disposal.

And one of the remotest areas we have here in East Africa, a solid 10 to 12 hours drive from either Nairobi or Kampala, is the Kidepo Valley National Park, situated in the border triangle between Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan. A landscape reminiscent of the Mara and Serengeti, occupied mostly by ancestral tribes and clans such as the Karamajong, Turkana and Toposa.

It is perhaps not as majestic as the grand vistas of the Himalayas – which I would have preferred – but nonetheless impressive with its ‘Big Sky’ views of endless plains, archetypal tribal communities and abundant wildlife. Should do wonders for my photography and if you would like to see more of that, please visit my FB https://www.facebook.com/RazorFishImages for regular photo updates and new releases.

Back to my reading of core Buddhist literature and the contemplation of life and phenomena in realities expanse. And that contemplation should as of now become a little easier considering the landscapes and vistas prevailing in this region:

Karamoja, Uganda 01

Karamoja, Uganda 06

Karamoja, Uganda 04

This first new post contains mostly excellent quotes from some of my favourite books such as the Tibetan Book of the Dead (TBD) and John Blofeld’s translations The Zen Teaching of Huang Po as well as Ch’an Master Hui Hai – Zen Teaching of Instantaneous Awakening. The focus here is on the nature of all appearances and phenomena and with that the question as to the nature of reality at large. From an intellectual position and based on the sense perceptions of an assumed Ego Self, reality as it presents itself to us can only be explained as the fragmentation of the One Mind into a perceived dualistic Subject-Object Dichotomy. This further leads to purely mind generated intellectual and conceptual interpretations of our own existence and with that the misapprehension of reality at large.

In explaining this, the Tibetan Book of the Dead leads the way. The following quotes (from Chapter 4, the Introduction to Awareness and chapter 11, the Great Liberation by Hearing) are here presented out of context as they represent universal wisdom in my opinion:

Now with regard to the diversity of relative appearances: They are all perishable; not one of them is genuinely existent. All phenomenal existence, all things of cyclic existence and nirvana, are the discernible manifestation of the unique essential nature of one’s own mind. This is known because whenever one’s own mental continuum undergoes change, there will arise the discernible manifestation of an external change. Therefore, all things are the discernible manifestation of mind. […]

For as long as this diversity of appearances is being perceived and diversely elucidated, differences as to the nature of appearances are apprehended, and consequently, bewilderment [confusion] comes about through attachment to those respective views. Yet even though all those appearances, of which one is aware in one’s own mind, do arise as discernible manifestations, Buddhahood is present simply when they are not subjectively apprehended or grasped. Bewilderment does not come about on account of these appearances – but it does come about through their subjective apprehension. Thus, if the subjectively apprehending thoughts are known to be of the single nature of mind, they will be liberated of their own accord.

Karamoja, Uganda 05

In whatever form phenomena arise, they are not real. All substantial things are unreal and false, like a mirage. They are not permanent. They are not changeless. So what is the purpose of my attachment to these perceptions? What is the purpose of my awe and terror? That which is non-existent, I am seeing as existent! In reality, all things that I perceive are the perceptions of my own mind. Yet, the essential nature of mind is primordially non-existent, like an illusion. So, how is it possible for things to exist externally, in their own right? Since I have not understood this before, I have always regarded the non-existent as existent. I have regarded the unreal as real. I have regarded illusions as truth. This is why I have roamed in cyclic existence for such a long time. […]

Now I must realise that all these phenomena are completely devoid of substantial existence, even for a single instant. In reality, they are like a dream, like an illusion, like an echo, like a celestial city, like a mirage, like a reflection, like an optical illusion, like the moon reflected in water. It is absolutely certain that these phenomena are not truly real, but that they are false. Through this singular resolve, I will blow apart my apprehension of their true existence.

Book07

Karamoja, Uganda 02

And the next set of quotes are from the book Ch’an Master Hui Hai – Zen Teaching of Instantaneous Awakening as translated and compiled by John Blofeld. This quote is actually from the authors introduction to the main subject matter, since I feel he has been able to describe The Great Matter and The Final Insight into the Fabric of Reality right to the point:

The Ch’an [Zen] masters say in effect: Let us get to the root of things. Once we have heard, studied, or intuitively discovered enough to know what Buddhism is about, let us relinquish everything in a tremendous effort to focus our minds on what is real. So long as our minds are out of focus, the objects of the senses, the sensations to which they give rise, and the stored results of those sensations, will impinge upon them, setting up endless chains of action and reaction. The process of correcting this wrong focus, or false vision can be counted gradual only in the sense that most people require long and careful preparation; but true perception, when we have learnt how to be ready for it, will burst upon us in a flash.

Though our minds remain out of focus by no more than, so to speak, a millionth of an inch, everything will still seem to us very nearly as it seemed before, despite our careful preparation. However, when true focus is attained, reality will flash upon us, the whole universe of phenomena will be seen as it really is, its power to hamper and afflict us will be instantly destroyed, our remaining stores of karma will be burnt up in that flash, and nothing will remain for us except the duty of pointing the way so that others in their turn may achieve the ultimate vision just as we have done.

When that final intuition bursts upon us like a blinding light, we shall discover that nothing exists or ever has existed except in our minds. That, indeed, our minds are not our minds but mind itself; that this Mind is perfectly quiescent, a pure void in that at is utterly without form, characteristics, plurality, subject, object, or anything at all on which to lay hold; and yet that it is certainly not void in that it is the beginningless beginning and endless end of all the phenomena which from moment to moment contribute to the unceasing flux of what we call ‘existence’. This void is at once the container and the contained, the one and the many, the neither-one nor-many, the doomed and the deathless, relativity and ultimate truth, samsara and nirvana, without a hairsbreadth of difference between any of these or other pairs.

Perceiving this, we shall seem to others to have taken a sudden leap, as though from somewhere to nowhere. Indeed, a ‘sudden leap’, though inaccurate, is perhaps the best term with which to describe the process. Yet, in truth, we shall have leapt from nowhere to nowhere, hence, we shall not have leapt at all, nor will there be or has there ever been any ‘we’ to make the leap!

Nothing will have changed except our point of view!

Book24

Karamoja, Uganda 07

Welcome to the Real World!

 

Advertisements

3 Responses to “Fragments of Reality!”

  1. Ruben.A said

    I enjoyed reading your blog and philosophy interests me a lot,please feel free to read my blog entry http://wp.me/p23lua-1A I think you might enjoy mine, I write also under the banner of philosophy and just want to share my thoughts. I must warn you that my writings have a root of Christianity and I do bring God into the end of my blog, but I think you might enjoy the reasoning and subject itself, just as I enjoyed your blog even though I would net necessarily agree with everything, thanks for the entry!

    • Ruben,

      thanks for visiting my Blog on Zen Buddhism and the link you left to this post. As a self educated man, I have been studying philosophy all my life but must admit my conclusion today is this: western and near eastern philosophy and corresponding religious believe systems have no real answers; never did and never will present us with a conclusive explanation to any of our more fundamental questions. They had 2.000 years to make their case and failed!

      For the past 8 years I have been studying Mahayana, Tibetan and Zen Buddhism which on a higher level of understanding and intuitive insight, qualifies neither as religion nor philosophy but as advanced psychology. Here at least we have the opportunity to find some answers without resorting to artificially constructed intellectual, conceptual, dualistic and discriminative mind activity. Because that form of thinking is the real obstacle in the effort of trying to explain our existence in this world or the universe at large:

      • As long as we utilise sense perceptions combined with our minds capacity to operate primarily as a difference engine, analysing the endless stream of sensory data presented to us by a perceived external reality, we will never find any real answers. And that is because from a Buddhist perspective, the external expanse of reality as perceived by us is nothing but a projection of our own mind and exists entirely as the immediate result of our general mind activity.

      • Consequently, the only thing we will ever find in this perceived external universe are the manifestations of our own dualistic and discriminative thoughts. Once we can intuitively apprehend that these two realities – a perceived outer universe in contradistinction to our internal mental continuum – are really one and the same, then what is there we might want to find? Other then Mind itself…

      • I would like to suggest that you read just two books relating to the highest form of Buddhist teachings, one would be the Tibetan Book of the Dead (TBD) and the other would be the Lankavatara Sutra. Even when I read these years back for the first time, I found myself laughing, because I just realised the true meaning of Occam’s Razor: All things being equal, the most simple answer to any query we might have tends to be the right answer…

      • Buddhism – just like Quantum Physics (String/ Super String and M-Theory), really just says that on a fundamental sub atomic level of reality, all that we perceive exists only as energy in motion. And whereas Quantum Physics still proclaims that the individual particles of this energy field are so small, we will never be able to prove their existence – Buddhism simply says that these particles are in fact invisible, because that energy field is Mind itself.

      • This means Mind is all there is to consider in our evaluation of ‘reality’, because we ‘live’ in that Mind and we are the Creator and our own Creation at the same time – we are ‘God’ so to speak (see also the movie ‘What the Bleep do we know?’ and ‘The Secret’ for a more popular interpretation of this understanding). And that also means whatever we are right now perceiving as the external universe, is something we collectively and individually created to begin with. What can we possibly find there other then the manifestations of our own thoughts?

      Thanks again for your comment!

      Best

      Elk

  2. RonMamita said

    Happy greetings,
    thank you for being here, and thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences!

    Love & Wholeness
    Ron

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: