Comparisons and Contrasts

Don Mak The outstanding feature between these major thinkers from diverse spiritual traditions is how they both employ the negative-way to drive-home their Weltanschauung. Nāgārjuna downplayed conventionalities in their reliance upon other dependent structures thereby betraying their lack-of-self-substantiating truth rendering them void and essenceless.  The nada as found in John of the Cross also bespeaks the limits of human faculties (Intellect, Memory, Will) that, in the face of the Unborn Read more [...]
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Nada and Silence in John of the Cross

We have extensively covered the rich apothatic spirituality of John of the Cross in a prior series. Our focus now is on the significance of this Nadayana and its twin sister, Silence. John’s negative path is a cradle of nothingness in that no-thing can withstand the awesome splendor of the Unborn Absolute: To reach satisfaction in all Desire satisfaction in nothing. To come to possess all Desire the possession of nothing. To arrive at being all Desire to be nothing. To come to the knowledge Read more [...]
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Nāgārjuna and the Two Truths

Nāgārjuna is perhaps the most celebrated philosopher-sage of Mahayana/Mādhyamika Buddhism. Despite the enormous popularity very little is actually known concerning his Biographical details apart from the generally-held belief that he lived during the 2nd century CE. While rooted in rich mythical soil, his name is in reference to the “Nagas” from whom he received the Prajnaparamita teachings. The Śatasāhasrikā-prajñāpāramitā, which the Buddha had especially entrusted to the Nagas Read more [...]
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The Way of Negation

Apophaticism is employed as a Way of Nothingness, not in a morose and nihilistic fashion, but simply as a vehicle that points to what is ineffable. In Christian parlance it bespeaks the unknowable qualities of the Godhead; the best way to come to this understanding is to UN-know all nominal paradigms and thus come to the Absolute under Its own terms—THAT which is devoid and self-empty of all knowable constructs. In Buddhism this Way is engaged as śūnyatā, also one of self-emptying but not Read more [...]
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Nothingness in Nāgārjuna and John of the Cross

Our offering for this autumn season is a series based on the Negative-Way as found in the notion of Nothingness. Two proponents of this Way are Nāgārjuna and John of the Cross. From the Mādhyamika thrust of Nāgārjuna it is considered as śūnyatā, and from the mystic-pen of the Discalced Carmelite John of the Cross it is coined as nada. Thus we have emptiness clearly exhibited in two diverse spiritual traditions yet containing a kernel of comparability, although singularly expounded in Read more [...]
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It’s Here…

The following is a composite compilation of the new hermitage CONSTRUCTION High-loft window known as a roundel DELIVERY MOVING TO LOCATION WITH A VEHICLE KNOWN AS "THE MULE" My new hermitage is sold as a unit named "Writer's Haven", a selection from a wide assortment of models sold by Jamaica Cottage Shop from Londonderry, Vermont. The process from start to finish was a marvelous one. The hermitage is Read more [...]
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It’s Coming…

The groundwork has already been prepared some time ago. The mid-summer rains have compacted the foundation of crushed-stone most nicely. A few more weeks and it shall arrive. Meanwhile, an ever-attentive *Buddha keeps vigil for its arrival. *The slab upon which this Buddha sits has always been there since my purchasing the property 15 years ago. Its former use is unknown. Somehow it just seems appropriate housing its new occupant. The Stone Buddha in his original perch before purchasing Read more [...]
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Contemplative Sojourn VII

Greetings from Vajragoni here at Unborn Mind Zen! Another blog season has come to its conclusion. The most recent series, Buddhism’s Black Holes, was a venture into the mystic associations of Icons and Relics in spiritual traditions. Prior to that was a series based on the Sutra of Perfect Enlightenment, refashioned in a version in Light of the Unborn entitled, The Sutra of Primordial Enlightenment. This Sutra is a good introduction to the Sudden and Gradual Ways towards Enlightenment. The Read more [...]
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This blog is a mini-study into the nature of Icons, particularly within the Eastern Orthodox tradition and sundry Buddhist traditions as well. Perhaps when one first brings to mind the image of an icon, one is immediately drawn to those Orthodox representations. Within Eastern Orthodoxy precedence is given to apophatic-theology: Our negative statement about what God cannot be embodies within itself a statement about the existence of God, affirmation of that existence lying within our apophatic Read more [...]
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Śarīra is a beautiful word essentially connoting a Buddhist relic, “although in common usage it usually refers to pearl or crystal-like bead-shaped objects that are purportedly found among the cremated ashes of Buddhist spiritual masters.” (Wiki) The Mahaparinibbana Sutta makes reference to them after the Buddha’s cremation, after which they are referred to as dhātu and are “held to emanate or incite 'blessings' and 'grace' (Sanskrit: adhiṣṭhāna) within the mindstream and experience Read more [...]
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