Friday, October 25, 2013

Groundlessness

The search for Truth is, generally speaking, the search for a ground of being, the foundation for existence, the fundamental reality which remains unchanged. No matter which method of investigation: science, philosophy, meditation, etc... all search for meaning is a search of the first cause, that which has no cause but on which all else depends.

In the spiritual path this becomes searching for the true nature of experience, the search for God, the True Self, the Soul, a transcendental reality in which we are free of suffering and in which we are blissfully happy and eternally free from suffering.

If only we could become aware of this Ground of Being would be enlightened and happy forever! If only we found what was truly REAL could we see this world as unreal. This world, this reality that we experience, in which everything is impermanent, everything we create, everybody we love is taken from us. This world where even our own being will suffer old age, disease, and death. If only we could find something real which lasts that we truly are. That is the set of beliefs and concepts most bring with them onto the spiritual path, generally.

In basic non-dual teachings it goes something like: you are already your true nature perfect and divine, all you must do is recognize your true condition as it always has been. Enlightenment is not about attaining anything, but recognizing that which is already the case. This makes sense if there is a ground of being that is the self of all things.

So how do you go about finding and recognizing this ground of being? Is it real hard, does it take many years of devoted and disciplined meditation? The beauty of non-dualism is that if we relax it can be recognized right now in direct experience. In fact, there is no other way. It is already the case. We just have to recognize what we are not and disregard it. Anything that comes and goes, anything that is impermanent, we are not. Anything that we can observe as an object, either outer or inner, also we are not. Can you observe the sense of self? If so, it is not the true Self.

So you see that there is a very logical set of beliefs operating here, and that they bring results. They are a method of inquiry, like a scientific method, but more like using the mind to observe the mind to find out the nature of mind. But it is very important to see that there are these subtle conditioned beliefs still operating here where we take for granted that there is something Real to look for.

What one usually does at one stage is having discarded all contents of the mind and experience as because of its transitoriness, there is a revelation. After everything has been discarded that which has always been there is revealed. But there are still those beliefs that shape how this is experience is interpreted.

We believe that we have discovered a True Self, or God, or the Ground of Reality. We have landed on the ground. Oh this is the Truth! Everything else, everything we have discarded, this world, this dynamic reality with all its colors and shapes and sensations and objects is not real anymore. Only the subject is real. Only the witnessing awareness is real. Everything else arises within this witnessing awareness.

Wow! And what a relief! Wow! This awareness that I AM is eternal and everything is just a dream arising in this awareness! It is a lucid dream! My whole life was just a dream character but I am the whole dreamer of the whole dream! And this is confirmed in direct experience!

But we have used a method to arrive at this experience, and that method has a set of unexamined beliefs in it as well. But the method does not need to be questioned now, because now the proof is in the pudding. We have arrived at a very compelling unitive experience, where what we were seeking was found. Right? We found the ground of reality. We know this to be true now. And we definitely want it to be true.

So like a lucid dream, one is only lucid as long as one doesn't forget that it isn't real. But of course the mind and the ego take ownership of the experience and interpret it. So now that we have found ourselves to be that which we were seeking all along, now we can give up seeking, investigating, etc... We have found. We are "saved", or "born again." We no longer are interested in 'looking', 'meditating', 'spiritual inquiry', 'investigating', because it is the dream character which does that and we are not the dream character. Doing anything like that means that you are not enlightened.

Since we used the mind to observe the mind we found that the essence of the mind is awareness and that thoughts distract us from knowing this essence. But because of our unquestioned beliefs we have carried over from our conditioning we now think that we found the true nature of the whole universe to be awareness. This actual universe is a dream, rather than the universe as it exists in my mind is a dream. Awareness must be the ground of being that we are looking for.
And how can that experience be topped? How can there be a higher experience than experiencing the ground of being, the absolute reality?

Immediately the egoic mind claims this experience and tries to include itself back into it somehow. It starts telling a 'story' that if identity is a dream character, then there must be a real 'dreamer' who is dreaming up the dream character. It now thinks it has found itself as that which it was looking for. "You are already that which you seek." You have heard that before, haven't you?

And it has upgraded its own identity. Before the mind was just a collection of transient thoughts, but now it identifies as some 'changeless awareness' in which is a container or space in which transient thoughts come and go within. At this moment, the seeker (which is the ego) has found what it has been seeking (itself as the ground of being) and now the individual is no longer a seeker. Now the individual will condemn seeking and look down on seekers. He will say such things as "there is nothing to seek, no goal, nothing to find.... etc."

 This is a natural stage of insight on the path, and 'changeless awareness' is a very compelling non-conceptual thought. This is a great experience and is a sign of great success, but it is dangerous stage because major denial pops up here, right when the ego thinks that it is beyond denial. One can become stuck at this stage for lifetimes.

 But the basic delusion of this state is a very subtle dualism and the beliefs I pointed out earlier which allows for denial. This dualism is the 'thought/awareness' dualism, as if there is a spacious field of awareness in which anything that changes is labeled a 'thought'. Thoughts are sent here to trick us into believing that we are not already free of ego. Everything that we disagree with is labeled a 'story.' We disassociate from thoughts and we identify with awareness. Thoughts are seen as obscurations.

 So the next step would be to keep inquiring and investigating this awareness. Is awareness really unchanging? Is it always there? Is there ever lapses in awareness? Are we ever unaware? Do we ever sleep? Does our awareness change if we drink alcohol, suffer a brain injury, take a psycho-active medication? If we remove every quality that is changeable from awareness what is it that is left? What remains that is unchangeable? Is awareness actually the ground of being on which we can trust to stand on? Do we have actual proof that this awareness will survive death, or do we just have tremendous faith that it survives death because it is so compelling? How honest with ourselves are we willing to be? Could it be that everything seems to arise and have its being and return to its source as pure awareness simply because everything we have ever known is a hologram in our brain, and that is the biology of non-dualism? Could it be that we see everything as not separate from us because we are seeing a hologram in the brain? Or is this just a story? If it is just a story, is dismissing it as a story also a story? Does it make us uncomfortable to entertain the idea that maybe this isn't enlightenment? Is it the ego which is uncomfortable?

What if the Buddha was right and that there is no first substance that we could call "spirit", "self", "soul" or "god"? What if this reality right in front of your face is as real as it gets? What if there is no escaping the fact that everything is impermanent? Would that disappoint you? What could we say about the ultimate reality or ground of being if everything is impermanent? What if we put aside concepts or reality and unreality, existent and non-existent, aside and just looked at what is happening?

Do you see a field of pure awareness that doesn't change? If so.... if you can see it, if you can observe it, it isn't you, because an eyeball cannot see itself and teeth cannot bite themselves. Could it simply be the natural radiance of perception itself that you see and not an ultimate ground of being? Close your eyes and look inside. Do you see an infinite spacious void behind your eyes, or is that merely a thought or visualization on what you want to be there? Is there anything eternal behind your eyes looking out? What if awareness if to experience like wetness is to water? The universe is aware of itself.

"The only constant is change itself." What if impermanence is the ground of being? What if the fact that everything is in a state of becoming something else is the absolute nature of reality? Then everything becomes a continuous stream of change where enlightenment is not an attainment of a static experience.

And How is this continuous stream of experience known? Is there anything there which knows it? Yet isn't it undeniable that it is known? Yet it is unfindable. Not being found, it is not a substance, it is not a material, it is not a dimension, it is not a creator... And what does it know? It only knows that nothing permanent is happening as this singularity of a moment, and that the next moment is aware of itself.

I propose groundlessness. Not clinging to an ultimate reality or true identity, not having absolute conclusions, not demanding reality be static and unchanging, but to be open-ended, a process that evolves, with space for many viewpoints and experiences in their diversity and abundance. And none of it has an identity. It still remains a lucid dream, but there is no dreamer, nor is there a space or substance called awareness that makes the dream. These are all beliefs.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Stream Entry

Oh Victorious One,
Having made the Mind the object of your meditation,
Having collapsed all dualities and closed all gaps in experience,
And directly apprehended the Truth of your true nature,
As nowhere and everywhere, neither can it said to exist nor not exist,
You have entered the Great Path
That will inevitably lead to complete enlightenment, Buddhahood,
In no more than seven lifetimes.
Never again will you be born into any realm lower than human;
ie. hell being, ghost, animal, jealous god, etc...
This is surely good news!

Having directly beheld the primordial nature of the whole Universe,
In which it self-arises uncaused as a seamless sphere, complete, undivided,
Ignorance has been liberated. There now is not enough karma to keep you wandering in Samsara. You are lucky indeed, Oh Fortunate One. You have entered the stream of the path that leads to complete liberation.

Forever have the first three fetters been liberated:
Deluded belief in a separate self. Now you know that your personal identity is a deluded dream character with no inherent reality whatsoever, an optical illusion of consciousness.
The second fetter is skeptical doubt. Now you know through direct experience that the teachings of the Buddha are true and compassionate fingers pointing to liberation from suffering, delusion, and ignorance. The path is no longer a matter of belief or having faith is teachings that you don't understand. You have first hand knowledge of the Truth of the teachings. Confidence and conviction are yours.
The third fetter is attachment to rituals. From now on you know that progress on the path does not come from anything outside of yourself, or any action you can do. No magic formulas, complex rituals, secret mantras, have any power other than what is projected onto them to liberate us. It all comes from the Natural Mind which is our very nature. No concepts, cosmology, thought systems, world-view, etc.... is inherent in the Natural Mind but superimposed on it. All is a dream.

Now the rock has been removed, the knot loosened and partially untied, the rest of the fetters will fall off if one is open to new insights, the final stages to enlightenment can happen all at once, or slowly over the next seven lifetimes, but know for sure oh Primordial One that it is now inevitable. Deep in your heart you already know that you are none other than the Primordial Buddha and you are an actor in a play where your role is a suffering sentient being. But deep down you know better, you know the Truth!!!


Dear Stream Enterer, the stream you have entered is the eight-fold path that leads inevitably to Buddhahood. How fortunate you are! How lucky you are to be a human being who can understand these teachings that lead one out of samsara, who at this moment is fully capable of recognizing your Natural Mind. The odds of having this fortunate birth in this body where you are not being tortured, starved, etc... but free to practice these teachings, is unfathomably slim. How lucky you are to have this body in which to attain perfect enlightenment and final freedom after wandering through samsara of suffering since beginningless time. 
How lucky you are to not only attain human rebirth, but to have realized your true nature while in this life, and to have entered the stream to enlightenment.

Oh Fortunate One,
Now that you know what is possible, as your Wisdom Eye has opened and you intuitively understand all of the Buddha's teachings, you are now committed and motivated to attain enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings. You now know that true happiness is not found by seeking pleasurable sensations and avoiding unpleasant ones. You now let go and fully allow the stream to carry you to its final destination. You will take a huge circle of friends with you!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Magic, Ritual, & Meditation as Art.

In many non-dual circles the prevailing dogma is that magic, ritual, and meditation, are all empty actions with no doer to do them or anything which can be achieved by them. This irreverential attitude is also extended to thoughts, concepts, ideas, and appearances since the Truth exists beyond all thoughts, concepts, and ideas.

However, knowing the truth there is rejoicing and celebration. This joy is expressed through inspired acts. Inspired acts are art. Just as nature is the art of the Universe, our expressions, our creativity, is the art of our knowledge. To do a ritual or worship in order to beg for blessings and grace, in hope of attaining some lofty knowledge is not art. But to perform a ritual or worship or meditate or whatever as an expression of gratitude for the infinite joy of being beyond existence and non-existence is art.


Embody the truth, be an artist. Be creative. Like nature creates.

Although the self only exists conventionally but has no inherent existence absolutely,
It's conventional existence is not denied. It is a work of art!
Self improvement is a fool's game if it is not done as art for the enjoyment of others.
Self improvement will never cause happiness, but happiness is its cause.
The conventional self and the rituals it does, the meditations it does,
the insights it has, are all worthy and precious works of art, yet all empty.

Since it is a thing's emptiness which allows it to change and become something else,

Since it is a thing's emptiness which allows it to be created and to be destroyed, yet its  purity never being altered in the whole process, we could say that emptiness is creative.
It is not inherently creative, however, since it only creates things which are empty of any inherent existence, all the while its conventional existence remaining undeniable. What art! Like a musical song, it ceases to be as soon as it comes into existence!

Knowing that all things are impermanent, all created things become destroyed, all that is born dies, the artist creates prolifically with no attachment to his creations. The artist delights in his senses as an act of worship and gratitude. Nothing is to be renounced, only understood and liberated in realizing its ever-present purity.

Sacred Geography, Nature is Alive

Nature is the beloved lover,
The teacher, the embodiment of pure Truth
In form.
Nature is the body of Love.

The ground you walk on is sacred.

The air you breath is alive.
The water you drink is empowered and blessed.
All atoms and particles are aware in their own way.

All of nature exists effortlessly

Unfolding of Bodhicitta.
Bodhicitta is the intelligent designer,
Which does not exist as a painter separate from the painting,
But like the dancer who becomes the dance.

A mountain, a tree, a boulder, a river is a home to many

sentient beings. Also a mountain, a tree, a boulder, a pebble,
a river, is a body of a sentient being.
Sentience and form are inseparable.

In Neolithic and Megalithic times,

Our ancestors built massive stone structures.
Dotting the landscape above the ends of underground springs,
Like lightbulbs on the end of electric wires.
The megaliths like giant capacitors, beacons
of charged energy permeates the landscape like a
Grid of sacred geography.
Temples, altars, stupas, stone circles,
Magic wells, all bless the landscape
and keep out negative and harmful forces.

In modern times, the stone circles our ancestor's erected have been knocked down and scattered. The mountains have been razed, the rivers dammed and poisoned, the air choked, the forests and earth raped for her resources. Many Gods who call various landmarks their home have been disturbed and are not happy. The bodhisattva also has compassion on them, and gives them offerings.


The Grid of sacred geography our ancestors built needs to be restored, our temples again covered with Gold, the enlightened incorruptible mineral, to again heal the Earth, Nature, our Beloved Lover and bring peace, prosperity, joy and true happiness to all sentient beings. The wizard healer uses his wand or hand or a feather or some such thing to dowse these energy currents that run through the Earth and above the Earth and to connect stray lines that leak our dissipated energy to power spots and sacred mountains, building monuments like lighthouses to raise the vibration of health and happiness throughout the whole landscape and all who inhabit it.


Vision

When things are perceived to be inherently real,
Existing from their own side,
The eyes jump from object to object,
Like the flashlight of a thief in the night
In a dark house.
Attention darts from thought to thought.
One following the other hiding the brilliance of pure perception.

When the eyes flow smoothly,

Objects appear as objects in a dream.
When thoughts are no longer grasped at,
Space is discovered. Attention on space,
The eyes do not see objects.
When the eyes see space and not objects,
Vision is liberated, and the eyes become smooth.

Pure Knowing and Space are inseparable.

They are the King and Queen in Tantric Embrace.
Non-dual from the very beginning.
No distinctions are there between perception and field of perception.

You are the Kind King!

Listen closely Oh Fortunate One,
To be in your own presence is to be
In the presence of the ineffable Buddha-mind,
Self-liberated from the very beginning,
Without flaw,
The timeless purity
Is already yet now the case.

Listen Oh Compassionate One,

No priests, priestesses,
Scholars, Gurus, Teachers,
Lineages, Transmissions,
Or lack there-of,
Can separate or unite you
From/With your True Nature,
The essenceless essence of
The Union of Emptiness and Clarity.

Gurus, Teachers, Lineages, Transmissions,

Priests, Priestesses, and in fact all Dharmas,
are not to be seen as above you, Oh Dear One,
Not to be seen as superior to you, wiser than you,
Or less than you, inferior to you,
But to be the very embodiments of your true nature.

Oh Brave Voyager,

The True Transmission is not from Diety to Guru to student,
But from your true nature in this very moment.
All Deities, All Gurus, All lineages, All Teachers of the True Way that leads beyond suffering and delusion to true wisdom and bliss
All are all inseparable from your very presence in this moment.
All are the display of your enlightened Mind.
The Yogi on the Mountain gazes wide-eyed at the empty sky,
Dumb-struck by pure awe, beyond all concepts, of pure knowing.
Like this, Oh Illustrious One, bask in the radiance of your own presence.
This presence has never arrived or left.
This presence is unfindable yet undeniable.
This presence is not given by teachers or gurus,
Not revealed by practice and efforts.
This presence is not given through empowerments and transmissions,
But is the source of all empowerments and transmissions.
Look Now and Behold!


Oh Ineffable One,

Never again go from teacher to guru,
Like a beggar begging for teachings, supplicating them,
You are not a beggar,
You are the Kind King!
All teachings come from your very nature.
Honesty, sincerity, calm patient expectation, and clear vision
reveal all secrets.

Oh Radiant One,

Be absorbed in vision
and know the purity and clarity of vision.
Look through and beyond objects, or the space in front on which they depend,
filled with your vision, see the essence of vision, the essence of seeing.
You are not separate from that which you see, and that which you see is not separate from you.

Eyes not fixed on objects yet relaxed,
All visions are reflections of your enlightened mind.
All sounds are echoes of your enlightened speech.
All form, this universe you find yourself in,
Is none other than your enlightened body.

Oh Noble One,

You are the King!
Take your throne in the center of this Universe on
The Mountain of Clear Light.
Radiate your infinite compassion
To all beings, so that they too may be liberated by the Truth.
This, because they are none other than you.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Be beyond concepts.

Oh Noble One,
    Even though the present moment cannot be found,
    be present.
    Even though time manifests in an instant,
    be timeless.

Oh Radiant One,
    It is a fact that every point in space is the center of the Universe.
    Even though you cannot be found there,
    Continue to abide as the center of your Universe as the deity.
    And never be lost.


Oh Timeless Voyager,
     Although all phenomena are empty of any inherent existence,
     arising like dreams from nothingness,
     they still continue to continuously appear.
     Like emptiness itself,
     Be infinitely creative
     and in this way allow the river to carry you and never sink.

Oh Illustrious One,
     Your field of perception is a symbol of your body,
     Your body is a symbol of your energy,
     And your energy is the symbol of your omniscient Mind.
     Know that everything is a symbol of reality
     and never be confused or distracted.


Oh Kind Friend,
     Rest your weary heart and mind in the shade beneath the
     wish-fulfilling tree at the center of the Universe.
     There is always a room available there for a weary traveler.
     Welcome Home.