Today I am going to put something utterly ridiculous sounding out there. You will scoff, snicker, joke, frown and outright laugh at what I am going to say. And as a human being it is impossible to understand. But deep down, our true self knows it to be true. It is the idea the the world has nothing to offer us (except sustenance). This is a quasi-philosophical Buddhist rant so if your not into that kind of thing then stop reading now. It will just piss you off or you may just form some kind of opinion before you even listen to the idea. In fact, I can see the wheels turning in your head right now, forming opinions, making judgements…yep, I see it! But thats okay because I do the same thing… but with one slight difference; I try to just look at it and know that I am human and that is why I am judging my judgements and forming opinions of my opinions instead of latching on to those judgements and opinions like they are the key to my very existence. Because they absolutely are not.
Every day we form opinions ( stay with me? I will try to stay under 500 words) and judgements about a million petty things. “I like this, I don’t like that”. “That person sucks, but I really like that person”. On and on we go. Of course we need to make these judgments every day just to keep alive. I don’t like drinking battery acid because 1. It taste bad (we are foodies after all) 2. It will likely kill me. We have to make these decisions. But the problem is, we don’t know when to stop. Like eating ice cream. I know I have to have some ice cream, right now. Eating ice cream is pretty much enlightenment. Especially the raw kind that Ra’Co Life makes. But we don’t have to keep eating it to confirm our existence. We eat a little then move on and forget about it. Imagine going through life constantly thinking about eating ice cream, What a waste of time! When would I find time to look at Instagram or to shop on Amazon? Seriously!
So right now I am going to lay some heavy writing on you from The Third Patriarch of Zen, Seng-ts’an. He was a major dude in the world of Buddhist practice. Major. These words are what he left to the world after he died. So they must have been pretty important to him, right? And the words basically say one thing, “Don’t get all hung up on your opinions and judgements. Don’t attach to them you dummies!” Ok, I paraphrase.
So here are the words. If you get bored (I hang on every word, but he basically says the same thing over and over, I understand), skip to the end of this post so I can bore you some more with what I mean about the world having nothing to offer you (except sustenance). It ties together I promise.
Verses on the Faith Mind
by Chien-chih Seng-ts’an
Third Zen Patriarch [d. 606 AD]
Tr. by Richard B. Clarke
Zen teacher at the Living Dharma Centers, Amherst, Mass.
The Great Way is not difficult
for those who have no preferences.
When love and hate are both absent
everything becomes clear and undisguised.
Make the smallest distinction, however,
and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart.
If you wish to see the truth
then hold no opinions for or against anything.
To set up what you like against what you dislike
is the disease of the mind.
When the deep meaning of things is not understood
the mind’s essential peace is disturbed to no avail.
The Way is perfect like vast space
where nothing is lacking and nothing is in excess.
Indeed, it is due to our choosing to accept or reject
that we do not see the true nature of things.
Be serene in the oneness of things
and such erroneous views will disappear by themselves.
When you try to stop activity to achieve passivity
your very effort fills you with activity.
As long as you remain in one extreme or the other,
you will never know Oneness.
Those who do not live in the single Way
fail in both activity and passivity,
assertion and denial.
To deny the reality of things is to miss their reality;
to assert the emptiness of things
is to miss their reality.
The more you talk and think about it,
the further astray you wander from the truth.
Stop talking and thinking
and there is nothing you will not be able to know.
To return to the root is to find the meaning,
but to pursue appearances is to miss the source.
At the moment of inner enlightenment,
there is a going beyond appearance and emptiness.
The changes that appear to occur in the empty world
we call real only because of our ignorance.
Do not search for the truth;
only cease to cherish opinions.
Do not remain in the dualistic state;
avoid such pursuits carefully.
If there is even a trace
of this and that, of right and wrong,
the Mind-essence will be lost in confusion.
Although all dualities come from the One,
do not be attached even to this One.
When the mind exists undisturbed in the Way,
nothing in the world can offend,
and when a thing can no longer offend,
it ceases to exist in the old way.
When no discriminating thoughts arise,
the old mind ceases to exist.
When thought objects vanish,
the thinking-subject vanishes,
and when the mind vanishes, objects vanish.
Things are objects because there is a subject or mind;
and the mind is a subject because there are objects.
Understand the relativity of these two
and the basic reality: the unity of emptiness.
In this Emptiness the two are indistinguishable
and each contains in itself the whole world.
If you do not discriminate between coarse and fine
you will not be tempted to prejudice and opinion.
To live in the Great Way
is neither easy nor difficult.
But those with limited views
are fearful and irresolute;
the faster they hurry, the slower they go.
Clinging cannot be limited;
even to be attached to the idea of enlightenment
is to go astray.
Just let things be in their own way
and there will be neither coming nor going.
Obey the nature of things
and you will walk freely and undisturbed.
When thought is in bondage the truth is hidden,
for everything is murky and unclear.
The burdensome practice of judging
brings annoyance and weariness.
What benefit can be derived
from distinctions and separations?
If you wish to move in the One Way
do not dislike even the world of senses and ideas.
Indeed, to accept them fully
is identical with true Enlightenment.
The wise man strives to no goals
but the foolish man fetters himself.
There is one Dharma, not many;
distinctions arise from the clinging needs of the ignorant.
To seek Mind with discriminating mind
is the greatest of all mistakes.
Rest and unrest derive from illusion;
with enlightenment there is no liking and disliking.
All dualities come from ignorant inference.
They are like dreams of flowers in air:
foolish to try to grasp them.
Gain and loss, right and wrong;
such thoughts must finally be abolished at once.
If the eye never sleeps,
all dreams will naturally cease.
If the mind makes no discriminations,
the ten thousand things
are as they are, of single essence.
To understand the mystery of this One-essence
is to be released from all entanglements.
When all things are seen equally
the timeless Self-essence is reached.
No comparisons or analogies are possible
in this causeless, relationless state.
Consider motion in stillness
and stillness in motion;
both movement and stillness disappear.
When such dualities cease to exist
Oneness itself cannot exist.
To this ultimate finality
no law or description applies.
For the unified mind in accord with the Way
all self-centered striving ceases.
Doubts and irresolutions vanish
and life in true faith is possible.
With a single stroke we are freed from bondage;
nothing clings to us and we hold to nothing.
All is empty, clear, self-illuminating,
with no exertion of the mind’s power.
Here thought, feeling, knowledge, and imagination are of no value.
In this world of Suchness
there is neither self nor other-than-self.
To come directly into harmony with this reality
just simply say when doubt arises, “Not two.”
In this “not two” nothing is separate,
nothing is excluded.
No matter when or where,
enlightenment means entering this truth.
And this truth is beyond extension or diminution in time or space;
in it a single thought is ten thousand years.
Emptiness here, Emptiness there,
but the infinite universe stands always before your eyes.
Infinitely large and infinitely small;
no difference, for definitions have vanished
and no boundaries are seen.
So too with Being and non-Being.
Waste no time in doubts and arguments
that have nothing to do with this.
One thing, all things;
move among and intermingle,
To live in this realization
is to be without anxiety about nonperfection.
To live in this faith is the road to nonduality,
because the nondual is one with the trusting mind.
The Way is beyond language,
for in it there is
Did you make it through? Magical, right?
So what does this have to do with the idea that the world has nothing to offer you (except sustenance)?
Basically, I think we are all trying to GET something out of our surrounding environment i.e the outside world. We as people are all about acquiring things; comfort, love, respect, money, security…on and on and on. We can never get enough. But the fact of the matter is, everything that we need (except the most basic bodily needs…food, water, shelter) is within us. The light that shines within us is not actually us but something greater than ourselves. And we ALL are this light and we all are connected. Roll your eyes, go ahead. Call me whatever you want. I don’t care and I will not judge you, because, yes, it does sound ridiculous. But it is true. The truth can only be found within ourselves and not outside of ourselves.
Like the Third Patriarch says, by constantly looking outwards of ourselves, forming opinions and judgements about what we see, and attaching to those opinions and judgements, we hold our selves back from the truth.
So look within. It is all there waiting for you.
Oh, and Happy Birthday to my nephew Oscar, you are the coolest. Eat some enlightened ice cream with your cake!