The Cloud of Unknowing in Light of the Unborn

Of all the texts of genuine Mysticism no other work has been translated as numerous times than the Anonymous, The Cloud of Unknowing. IT was written by a 14th century Western Mystic and even unto this day his true identity is unknown. The vast majority of speculation states that he is a contemplative monk of some religious order but which one is highly debatable. I’ve always considered him as a Carthusian monk and the following translator concurs with this assessment: But what one may call Read more [...]
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Honeycomb Empty Space

[5: Conclusion and Recapitulation] Above, in response [6.22] to the questions of those lacking in faith, when explaining the dust contemplation, the emptiness contemplation, and the quiescent-activity contemplation, I briefly raised one [6.23] or two things about which some people have doubts. There may still be others who blather on in various ways, but who has time to converse with them? For them, I can only [6.24] feel compassion and deep pity. For one who has faith, all the explanations Read more [...]
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Reciprocal Quiescence

[Section 4: Questions] Question: The passages you have been citing [5.18] pertain to the attainments reached by the buddhas themselves. Of what relevance could these things be for the mental states reachable by an ordinary being such as yourself? Answer: The realization [5.19] of the mind of the Buddha is actually something that practitioners can reach by way of their own mental activity. The Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom calls this “contemplation resulting in [5.20] realization." Read more [...]
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Quiescence within Activity

[Section 4: Quiescence within Activity] When you have clearly seen emptiness at all times, whether walking, standing, sitting, lying down, and even when eating, [4.26] you must then reflect as follows: “The Dharma is without duality, but if I am now using the mind to see emptiness, this would constitute a duality [between mind and its object]; who, then, [4.27] is able to see emptiness?” In this way turn your gaze back onto the emptiness-[perceiving] mind itself, which is [in truth] entirely Read more [...]
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The Mind of Emptiness

[Section 3: The Emptiness of External Objects] There are yet other people who, when practicing the contemplation of dust, do not even [3.24] see any dust; from the very beginning they straightaway see the emptiness of all things. This is most excellent. Such people need not [3.25] contemplate things as dust any further. When you have succeeded, at all times and places and even while eating, in seeing everything as dust, [3.26] then turn your gaze back upon your own person, where [you will Read more [...]
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Scriptural Confirmations

[Section 2: Questions] [2.27] Question: What passages in the sacred teachings [endorse the dust contemplation]? [2.28] Answer: In the first fascicle of the Lankavatara Sutra it says: “What you analyze into motes of dust you will no longer falsely imagine as a truly existing material [3.1] form.” And the Diamond Sutra says: “Pulverize the entire universe into motes of dust.” And the sixth fascicle of the [3.2] Treatise on the Mahayana Compendium (*Abhidharma-samuccayavyakhya] says Read more [...]
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Dust to Dust

Next, having first gazed upon the dust visible in a beam of light [1.12] coming through a window, when walking, standing, sitting, lying down, and even while eating, you must constantly imagine this dust within the beam of light. [1.13] [To meditate thusly] is the greatest form of repentance. [Translator’s note: Sinful actions take place in dependence on the body. If one contemplates that one’s body is nothing but dust, then sin has nothing upon which it can depend. [To meditate thusly] is Read more [...]
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Introductory Material (Dust Contemplation)

[Section 1: Introduction] The introductory line of the Dust Contemplation is missing some variables and thus has been stitched together: [1.1].. . way is not cut off. . . [1.2] . . . wisdom. When we say “wisdom,” the general meaning ...[1.3]... wisdom. According to the holy teachings [of Buddhism], the wisdom that is free of attachments must be gradually cultivated [1.4], Only then can it be fully accomplished. It is for this reason that the Treatise on Buddha-Nature says: “An Read more [...]
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The Dust Contemplation

In keeping with our annual Ash Wednesday tradition, it is time to commence again with an auspicious Dharma-series. This year the offering is quite apropos as it is indicative of those very “ashes” themselves: The Dust Contemplation. During the time period 2009-2013, the renowned Haneda manuscripts were published and are now housed in the Kyo-U Library in Osaka. Indeed, a most momentous occasion for Dunhuang studies: This collection of over seven hundred documents, assembled by Haneda Toru Read more [...]
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A Unique Cosmogonic Narrative

I love to read the cosmologies of different cultures, certainly the Buddhist ones come to mind but in researching the Dharma Thakur cult their own offering is marvelously represented in the liturgical text, Śūnya Purāṇa. It is presented here in its entirety for our archives. Notice perhaps the best portrayal of the Primordial Void wherein dwells the Unborn Lord, Ullūka the owl, (Dharma's mount—he is a sort of all-seeing Wisdom-Eye), the cosmic-tortoise (seen in many diverse and indigenous Read more [...]
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