A Day in the Life

A day in the “apparent” life of a Lankavatarian is just that…it transcends all notions of apparency that usually dwarfs most people between the ironclad mountains of realism and nihilism. As such, a Lankavatarian is “marked with the mark of suchness.” “I focus on the personal realization of detachment, on transcending deluded views, on transcending the views of what exists or does not exist that are perceptions of one’s own mind, on obtaining the threefold liberation, on being marked with the mark of suchness, on examining self-existence based on personal realization, and on transcending the views of the existence or nonexistence of what is real.” (Red Pine, pg. 195) Suzuki marvelously breaks this understanding down in his monumental work, Studies in the Lankavatara Sutra:

“…the difference between the wise and the ignorant is that the former are free from the Viparysa while the latter are not. Viparysa literally means “inversion” or “error”; it means imagining things as they are not, taking error for truth. The wise not hampered by this imagination see that the world is like Maya and has no reality, but at the same time they know that it is there, that it is not pure nothingness. Why? Because they have gone beyond the relativism of being and non-being…the wise have a correct view of things for they are free from errors in their perception of an objective world, which exists only in relation to their own mind. An objective world is really an error in so far as it is discriminated as existing externally and individually. Or we may say that an external, particularized world is an illusion as long as the ignorant are unable to break through the fetters of wrong discrimination; whereas to the wise the phenomenal world is true in its suchness (tathata). What, therefore, is an error to one is truth to the other, because the latter is entirely free from all forms of discrimination.” (Studies in the Lanka, p.118)

With this realization, the Lankavatarian does not fall into the phenomenal trap that something needs to be attained: “I am not concealing anything when I say that knowledge is not obtained from an objectified world because it would consist in nothing but the assertion of projections. When you perceive that what exists or does not exist is nothing but a perception of your own mind and that external existence does not exist, you know without perceiving objects. It is because nothing is perceived that the knowledge of something knowable does not arise. Even among the three liberations, knowledge is not obtained. Those whose discriminations consist in the habit-energy of beginningless fabrications of existence and nonexistence would not know something like this. They are unaware of such knowledge.” (Red Pine, pg. 199) This helps to clarify the confusion that occurs when faced with “attainment”; attainment is predicative of thingness—someTHING needs to be attained in order for attainment to function as a qualifier. Within the realm of the Lanka’s Transcendental Knowledge, therefore, noTHING is “attained” since “there is nothing in the world but what is seen of the mind ITself.” So, any mention of “attainment” places one squarely in the face of discrimination that falsely equates self-realization with defiled phenomena in any form. What the Lankavatarian cultivates is Noble self-realization, what Red Pine translates as personal attainment: “The way of personal attainment is for practitioners who free themselves from the different projections that are the perceptions of their own minds.” (Red Pine, pg. 201) So, a day in the life of a Lankavatarian is a perception-less one. It is not held spellbound by the phantasmagoric voyage of samsara. Rather, it makes a station-stop along the truly free and deathless shore of suchness (tathata).

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