Friday, April 20, 2012

Emptiness in Manifestation

“The capacity of the mind is broad and huge, like the vast sky. Do not sit with a mind fixed on emptiness. If you do, you will fall into a neutral kind of emptiness. Emptiness includes the sun, moon, stars, and planets, the great earth, mountains and rivers, all trees and grasses, bad people and good people, bad things and good things, heaven and hell; they are all in the midst of emptiness. The emptiness of human nature is also like this.” …………. Dajian Huineng

Huineng has been traditionally viewed as the Sixth and Last Patriarch of Chán Buddhism. He was illiterate but had deep insight into the human nature. The above words of wisdom, though it appears to be contrary to traditional thought on the practice of meditation, is loaded with deep meaning.
This statement is steeped in non-duality. We are prone to think that manifestation and non-manifestation are two different attributes of the creative essence, but it is not.

The human mind is infinite in its scope as all that we perceive is only through our mind. To be more realistic all creations are rooted in our mind. The universe and all the multitude of manifestation from our immediate vicinity to the stars and galaxies are the result of conscious observation through the action of our mind. When Dajian compare the capacity of the mind to the vast sky, he has this intention in his mind.

His definition of neutral kind of emptiness needs to be amplified. The very act of calming the mind in meditation is to bring about greater awareness which transcends our sensory limits. The very nature of duality in manifestations is to appreciate the null point or emptiness that results when the two polarities are in perfect balance. This what particle physics also teaches us. Right from the very beginning of the Universe, particle, antiparticle annihilation was at the root of creation. Quantum fluctuation resulted in a minute excess of particles over antiparticles and these were the seeds of the Quark era of material manifestation.

My understanding of this explanation is that it is to our manifested mind that we see these fluctuations and the resultant act of creation but for a universal mind the balance always exits.
The good and the evil, light and darkness are all observation from an observing mind with opposing polarity. From our conventional world view this understanding is fraught with difficulty as the Ego consciousness dominates the observation.

It is a richer and more spiritually empowering experience if we are able to employ the mind and its sensory derivatives to understand the deeper truth through a rational and yet intuitive journey. The problem we normally face that whenever we come across a reality which through evolutionary conditioning is perceived as truth, it becomes an massively endorsed belief system. J. Krishnamurthy tells this story in his book “Total Freedom”:

“One day Mara, the Evil One, was travelling through the villages of India with his attendants. he saw a man doing walking meditation whose face was lit up on wonder. The man had just discovered something on the ground in front of him. Mara’s attendant asked what that was and Mara replied, “A piece of truth.” “Doesn’t this bother you when someone finds a piece of truth, O Evil One?” his attendant asked. “No,” Mara replied. “Right after this, they usually make a belief out of it.”

This what has happened in our traditional belief systems and in our thinking mind. True Zen should remove the cloak of ‘belief’ and wear the robe of 'enquiry' as to the true nature of manifestation with all its attributes. The true nature of Sunyata can only then be realized.

Love to you all

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