Instant Karma

The Lanka once again makes reference to not equating words with meaning:

“Mahamati, if one person points to something with their finger, and a foolish person looks at their finger, they won’t know what they really mean. In the same manner, foolish people become attached to the finger of words. And because they never look away from it, they are never able to discover the true meaning beyond the finger of words.” (Red Pine, pg. 220)

Love the allusion, “finger of words”, reminiscent of the classic Ch’an/Zen metaphor of the “Finger pointing to the Moon.” Indeed, one must not mistake the finger for the Source ITself. Any “truth” that is dependent on “letters”(words) is mere “prattling” since “truth is beyond letters”. An adept, therefore, is not to become attached even to the words of the Buddhist canonical texts—for if one day those texts were to totally disappear where would the truth be then? That’s why the Blessed One states, “For this reason, Mahamati, it is declared in the canonical text by myself and other Buddhas and Bodhisattvas that not a letter is uttered or answered by the Tathagatas”. One can see from this how the foundation of Bodhidharmas’ mission of Mind-only was formulated. Indeed, it represents the inner-essence of the Lanka’s essential teaching: That one comes to the Truth not through words but through the self-experiential awakening of self-realization—thus, Noble Wisdom.

The Lanka hones-in on the exact nature of the struggle, that “every mind-world arises from Avidya (ignorance), desire, karma, and projection.” Critical of what neither arises nor ceases, the Blessed One assures Mahamati that his teaching “does not fall prey to such categories of existence or nonexistence. Mahamati, mine transcends the categories of existence and nonexistence. It is not subject to arising or ceasing. Neither does it exist, nor does it not exist. (Red Pine, pg.222) It’s all about these mind-projections—a conjures trick, all illusory; all phenomenal reality can be likened to a Disney-like creation, where the imaginative fancy rules the day and perpetually sends one down the rabbit hole with Alice. To rely upon these thought-forms is to assure oneself an endless ride on the diurnal wheel of rebirth, samsara, and the accompanying pain of dependent origination that accompanies it. Whereas, once instilled with Noble Wisdom, one is assured of nirvana itself:

“What neither arises nor ceases is what I call nirvana. Mahamati, nirvana is to see the meaning of what is truly so and to get free from the net of thoughts of previous projections. To attain the personal realization of the noble knowledge of a tathagata, this is what I call nirvana.” (Red Pine,pg. 223)

Hence the very cycle of causation is broken, since all causality is in reality a hallucinatory episode within the clouded mind. This is known as concatenation—essentially meaning the “linking together” of all discriminatory reality—meaning in this context that all phenomenal reality is linked together through the chains of dependent origination.

Being entrapped in “the net of thoughts of previous projections” can be likened to karma. Karma is always dependently originated; there is no escape from instant-karma for the sensory-bewitched mind that is incessantly ensnared in that linkage to all previous projections. The way to break-free from karma is brought to light in the final section (LXXIX) of Chapter Three, i.e., to cease discriminating, as best relayed through Suzuki’s translation:

“[When] one ceases to cherish the discrimination of existence and non-existence which rises out of one’s own mind; one sees that things, either of this world or of a higher world, or of the highest, are not to be described as permanent or impermanent, because one does not understand the truth that there is nothing in the world but what is seen of the Mind itself.”

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One Response to Instant Karma

  1. Jure says:

    This:

    “Hence the very cycle of causation is broken, since all causality is in reality a hallucinatory episode within the clouded mind. This is known as concatenation—essentially meaning the “linking together” of all discriminatory reality—meaning in this context that all phenomenal reality is linked together through the chains of dependent origination.”

    has been for me the most mind-blowing realization while reading the Lanka.

    Lanka is an attack on a myriad of illusions, for some – different parts are more effective. For me, that was like a hydrogen bomb on my ontological model of reality.

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