Monday, September 17, 2012

Alas, It's Not About "Me"

Scott Bradley

All Buddhas and ordinary beings are nothing but one mind. . . . Therefore the Buddha said, 'I didn't attain a single thing through Supreme Perfect Enlightenment.' . . . Your true nature is not lost in moments of delusion, nor is it gained at the moment of enlightenment. . . . Ordinary beings are Buddhas just as they are. . . . How then can there be Buddhas who save or ordinary beings who must be saved? If the true nature of all things is the same, how can such distinctions be real?
Huang-po (?-849)
There are no conditions to meet. There is nothing to save. There is nothing to become. All is well.

Huang-po also assures us that there are no Buddhas and no ordinary beings. "All these phenomena are intrinsically empty, yet this mind they are identical with is not mere nothingness. It does exist, but in a way too marvelous for us to comprehend. It is an existence which is beyond existence, a non-existence that is nevertheless existence."

Why, therefore, he continues to speak of Buddhas, "enlightenment", "true nature" and "mind", I am not sure. They nevertheless serve his purposes, and I am in no position to say otherwise. Only I find it more harmonious to not believe in even these.

This identification of the human mind, "the original mind", with Absolute Reality always puzzles me. Yet, given that it is the human mind that ostensibly experiences unity with Reality, I suppose it is only natural. Yet still it strikes me as being one more example of our relentless anthropocentrism. Somehow we must always plug ourselves into the Universe as somehow unique and special. It's all about us.

Personally, I find meditating on the fact that it is not about us — absolutely not about me — more identity-shattering than, say, 'That art Thou', 'I Am' or 'this mind is Mind'. I suppose that this is in some sense the case, except for the "Thou" and the "I". Somehow it just seems delusional to approach Reality through human identity. It's hard to realize Zero when we begin with one. As long as there is an "I", there is someone to save or someone who need not be saved — which, given human psychology, amounts to the same thing.

What’s all this about Mind, in any case? What’s so special about mind?

You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.

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