Mind Games

Sections LXXX-XC entitled “Final Questions” by Red Pine actually combines the former Suzuki chapters 4-9 into one chapter, 4.

At the beginning of this Lanka series mention was made concerning the various stages that comprise the Bodhisattva path, and that “stages are provisional and are meant to be transcended if not abandoned.” Section LXXX reveals these stages to be just that—provisional—in that it provides the developing bodhisattva a focusing device to measure their ascent to full self-realization of Noble Wisdom, but in the final run the “sequence of stages and all the phenomena in the three realms are nothing but perceptions of one’s own mind. But fools are unaware of this. And because they are unaware, I and other buddhas talk about a sequence of stages and talk about the phenomena of the three realms.” (Red Pine, pg.235) Wonderful revelation here that, in the absolute sense, these stages are not some set of concreted realities, but are, in reality, further—if refined—mind perceptions. Even the ideation at the apparent 6th stage, wherein one discerns the Samadhi of Cessation—thereby opening the door to final nirvana for those of lesser abilities—this “cessation” is really just another “perception”… a further perception that this “nirvana thing” is somehow self-existent. Yet, the Maha Bodhisattva is not obstructed with this mere ideation, “And because conceptions of nirvana do not arise, they transcend projections of grasping and what is grasped and realize that these are nothing but perceptions of their own mind.” (Red Pine, pg. 235) The Lanka goes even further here by asserting that anything that arises or ceases—any phenomenal perception (dharmas)—is not conducive to the Buddhadharma. As their self-realization becomes enhanced, the Maha Bodhisattva awakens to the state-less state of what Suzuki terms, “absolute-solitude.” This absolute solitude is synonymous with the noble realm of Tathagata-garbha, or UnbornMind Zen—wherein the Undivided Awareness Power of the Unborn Mind and Spirit fully recognizes Its pure suchness, or Tathata—and is no longer hindered by the constrictive grasp of the body consciousness and its accompanying perfumed traces of habit energy, all the “sights, sounds, smells, feelings, emotions and thoughts from the beginningless past” appearing and disappearing in the dreaming dungeon of the perceiving and projecting mind. Hence, “And because they transcend the mind, the will, and conceptual consciousness, they achieve the forbearance of non-arising. Mahamati, the ultimate truth includes no sequence of stages. The absence of all projections, this is what is meant by detachment from dharmas.” (Red Pine, pg. 237)

The concluding gathas (verses) in this section is a real eye-opener, “The tenth stage thus becomes the first/ the first becomes the eighth/ the ninth becomes the seventh/ and the seventh becomes the eighth, ect…but which is free from projections?” (Red Pine, pg. 237) It’s as if the Buddha is playing Mind Games with Mahamati (as well as with the reader). Any “linear” gradation is not important where “imagelessness” (what Red Pine calls projectionless) prevails. The truth of “absolute solitude” occurs when the “discrimination of all images it quieted.” There are no real “stages” then…just the stuff that dreams are made of…

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5 Responses to Mind Games

  1. Jure says:

    One must be strong in practice … never say “victory” too early, that much I learned. If I think I grabbed something projectionless, Mara will serve me another projection, called “the projection of that which is projectionless”. But eventually, I promise to succeed. I made to myself, this promise – and during dhyana time, tears came to my eyes because I got the unshakable confidence, that eventually, it will realized. I don’t know when, since speaking in terms of the time-chain here is not appropriate, but I promise to realize it for myself, personally.

    “To attain this uncommon realization it is necessary to exhaust the way of thinking completely. If you do not pass through the gate of the ancestors and do not exhaust the way of thinking, whatever you do will be like a ghost clinging to weeds and bushes.” (p 166, Mud and Water, Teachings of Zen Master Bassui)

  2. Bodhichild says:

    Dear Jure,

    Well stated.

    I’d like to offer you another take, based on an upcoming blog series on “The Ten Grounds, Chapter 26, from the Avatamsaka Sutra”:

    “The vocation of a Bodhisattva is to teach and transform living beings, tame and subdue living beings, and cause all living beings to accomplish Buddhahood, all at the right time. Sometimes if one speaks inappropriately, and teaches living beings before their roots have ripened or the time is right by blasting Dharma at them, they cannot receive it. They get scared, have doubts, and they never want to listen to the Buddhadharma again. Bodhisattvas teach and transform living beings at the most approppriate moment. It is like planting seeds: if planted at the wrong time, they will not come up, and the planting will have been done in vain. If one plants the seeds at the exact time they should be planted, they will grow. Right at the time the seeds of Bodhi should be planted, Bodhisattvas break open the mind-ground of living beings, teach them to bring forth the thought for Bodhi, and plant the seeds which gradually grow, ripen, and yield a harvest of liberation.” (Flower Ornament Sutra, The Ten Grounds, Chapter 26, Part 1, pg. 4)

    The Lanka can at times appear to be blasting the Dharma, yet remember it was written primarily for advanced MahaBodhisattvas. It is meant to be digested in small morsels over many readings, reflections, and even years.

  3. Jure says:

    Thank you.

    (more) balance is needed

    the faith is very strong, but more patience is needed

    Patience and balance.

  4. Zerthimon says:

    I must say, a great movie that shows what the “projection mind” can do, is “Who’s Afraid of Virgina Woolf”, from the 60s. – Mind games …

  5. Bodhichild says:

    That’s one of my favorites–an excellent Burton-Taylor vehicle–great observation.

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