What a Fool Believes

The Lanka places a great premium on the nature of perceptions—what a fool believes he sees or does not see, i.e., existence or non-existence. It also reinforces again and again that the Tathagatas are free from all these discriminations, even going beyond the attempt to render their very “existence” and accompanying afflictions as somehow being nonexistent, their “teaching does not [even] recognize the [very] existence of afflictions much less their annihilation. To Hui-k’o, bodhidharma said, “Show me this mind of yours, and I will calm it for you.” (Red Pine, pg.176) The Noble truth of self-realization is totally beyond all dualistic categories. It’s all about an “inner-perception”, or “undivided” awareness: “the way of attainment refers to the distinctive characteristics of personal realization that transcend the projections of speech and words, that lead to the passionless realm and the stages marked by self-awareness, that are free from erroneous speculations, that overcome the maras of other paths, and that shine forth from inner awareness.” (Red Pine, pg.179) As seen through the lens of UnbornMind Zen, this is the route wherein Mind reclaims (Recollects) the Nirvanic Element of Its True Nature.

Another factor leading to all erroneous discriminations is “words”. Words, in themselves, are vastly overrated. “Words are not connected to anything other than the imagination that gives rise to them…” (Red Pine, pg.134) Love how the Lanka goes even further by stating that they are not even “essential for communication, in this or other worlds: Nor, Mahamati, do words exist in every world. Words are simply fabrications. In other buddhalands, the Dharma is expressed by staring or by facial expressions, or by lifting the eyebrows, or by blinking the eyes, or by smiling, or by opening the mouth, or by clearing the throat, or by thinking about something, or nodding…a simple stare enables bodhisattvas to attain the forbearance of non-arising and incomparable samadhis.” (Red Pine, pgs. 134-35) Gautama Buddha’s greatest communication was manifested through a simple twirling of a Lotus Flower, yet it expressed a whole universe of meaning for Maha Kashapa who simply “smiled” in return. “From the night I attained perfect enlightenment until the night I enter nirvana, between the two, I do not speak, nor have I spoken, nor will I speak a single word, for not speaking is how a Buddha speaks.” (Red Pine, pg.175) This is the very pillar upon which Zen teachings are based. Akin to words is meaning. “And what is meaning? It is what transcends all the characteristics of projections and the characteristics of speech. This is what is meant by meaning. It is thus in regard to meaning, Mahamati, that bodhisattvas dwell in solitude and proceed toward the city of nirvana as a result of their own understanding of wisdom from learning, reflection, and meditation. And once they have transformed their habit-energy, they contemplate the distinctive characteristics of the meaning of the various stages leading to the realm of personal realization.” (Red Pine, pg.185) So, the Lankavatarian notion of meaning is not what is constituted within the “Worldling” view of the word, where an undue infatuation with the “meaning behind things” only induces a quagmire, from which there is no escape since it produces further karmic propensities in the mind of the one who is obsessed with “meaning”—as we have seen, the Lanka goes so far as to state that one will even be creating a self-made hell. So, the nominal quest for meaning is a discriminatory one and lags far behind the awakening “into the exalted state of Nirvana”—which is not a quest but a self-realization.

Consciousness itself is perhaps the main culprit when it comes to discriminatory formulations since it is the main carrier (like a virus) through which all phenomenal activity arises and ceases. “Mahamati, what arises and ceases is consciousness. What neither arises nor ceases is knowledge.” (Red Pine, pg.187) A better translation here for knowledge is “Buddha-gnosis”. It is the very Gnosis of the Buddha wherein all “movable feasts” truly cessate, empowering the Maha-Bodhisattva to Recollect the Unmovable, THAT which “neither goes in nor out—like the Moon in the water.” (Lanka) It is a Gnosis that penetrates even projectionless (imageless) realms thereby attaining mystical powers of the Tathagatas. Without the proper Buddha-gnosis to guide one through the vast maze of samsara, one is left enveloped in the thread of ongoing discrimination (dependent origination), like fools “wrapping themselves in cocoons of delusion.” (Red Pine, pg.190) Yes, the alternative is the “solitude of the inner” and a deep and abiding self-realization that, through the stage of imagelessness where Mind-only is, one will awaken with eyes that hear and ears that see that “neither being nor non-being is taken hold of.” (Lanka)

This entry was posted in The Lankavatara Sutra, Zen and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*