A Psychology of the Unborn?



Like little children of three or four 

The Master instructed the assembly: “As you’ve all been hearing me say, everyone has the innate Buddha Mind, so all you need to do is abide in the Unborn just as it is. However, [following] the ways of the world, you get into bad habits in life and switch the Buddha Mind for the wretched realm of hungry ghosts with its clinging and craving. Grasp this thoroughly and you’ll always abide in the Unborn Buddha Mind. But if, wishing to realize the Unborn, you people try to stop your thoughts of anger and rage, clinging and craving from arising, then by stopping them you divide one mind into two. It’s as if you were pursuing something that’s running away. As long as you deliberately try to stop your rising thoughts, the thought of trying to stop them wars against the continually arising thoughts themselves, and there’s never an end to it. To give you an example, it would be like washing away blood with blood. Of course, you might get out the original blood; but the blood after that would stick, and the red never go away. Similarly, the original angry thoughts that you were able to stop may have come to an end, but the subsequent thoughts concerned with your stopping them won’t ever cease.

” ‘Well,’ you may wonder, ‘then what can I do to stop them?’ Even if suddenly, despite yourself and wholly unawares, rage or anger should appear, or thoughts of clinging and craving arise, just let them come—don’t develop them any further, don’t attach to them. Without concerning yourself about whether to stop your rising thoughts or not to stop them, just don’t bother with them, and then there’s nothing else they can do but stop. You can’t have an argument with the fence if you’re standing there all alone! When there’s no one there to fight with, things can’t help but simply come to an end of themselves.

“Even when all sorts of thoughts do crop up, it’s only for the time being while they arise. So, just like little children of three or four who are busy at play, when you don’t continue holding onto those thoughts and don’t cling to any [particular] thoughts, whether they’re happy or sad, not thinking about whether to stop or not to stop them—why, that’s nothing else but abiding in the Unborn Buddha Mind. So keep the one mind as one mind. If you always have your mind like this, then, whether it’s good things or bad, even though you’re neither trying not to think them nor to stop them, they can’t help but just stop of themselves. What you call anger and joy you produce entirely yourself due to the strength of your self-centeredness, the result of selfish desire. Transcend all thoughts of attachment and these thoughts can’t help but perish. This ‘perishing’ is none other than the Imperishable. And that which is imperishable is the Unborn Buddha Mind.

“At any rate, the main thing is always to be mindful of the Unborn Buddha Mind and not go cooking up thoughts of this or that on the ground of the Unborn, attaching to things that come your way, changing the Buddha Mind for thoughts. As long as you don’t waver in this, no thoughts will arise, whether good or bad, and so, of course, there won’t be any need to try to stop them, either. Then, aren’t you neither creating nor destroying? That’s nothing but the Unborn and Imperishable Buddha Mind, so you’d better grasp this clearly!”

Today’s blog compliment’s yesterday’s and heightens the realization that Bankei’s Zen singularly addressed the human condition by regulating it in light of the Unborn. This is not some form of Pop-Zen psychology, but is truly indicative of something more primal and innate in man’s psycho-physical component that needs to be recognized and addressed before abiding freely and unattached in the Unborn Buddha Mind. Of course, the metaphysical cognizance of the problem stems from transcending the skandhic-spawned mechanism altogether and simply recognizing Pure Mind as the sole Reality, one that brings perfect-clarity of Spirit-Mind to fruition. Intellectually this is grasped as true and there is a need to abide in this Self-recognition above all else; Recollecting Self AS Self is the solution to the predicament.  But Bankei is addressing the problem on the common-human experiential plane, one that continually conflicts with the Awareness-Principle throughout this samsaric-trek across the vast stratum of Bardo-Realm One (see the blog-series, The Lankavatarian Book of the Dead). Even if one is some advanced Lama living in the reclusive-wilds of the Himalayas, this conflict will never subside until full Undivided Anuttara-Samyak-Sambodhi. The best way, says Bankei, to quell the systemic-tide of the incessant thought process is to never be about “creating nor destroying” it. As long as one’s spirit is incarcerated in the skandhic-cocoon there is need to be eternally vigilant by being Recollectively-Present in the Unborn at all times. It’s interesting, as Bankei points out, how young children are better adapted to this endeavor than adults. They are never fixated on any given passing phenomenal escapade, but just nimbly allowing them to pass-by as they occur without becoming fixated on it. It’s only later on, when after being recorded in the Alaya-receptacle, that they can rise to the surface again as the years advance. This is the fault of present-day psychoanalysis as it digs deeper and deeper into the alaya-vijñana, reopening old wounds with the incessant refrain, “Haven’t ya found it yet?” Yet, in finding them one can begin to relive the pain over and over and over whilst simultaneously becoming dependent on the psychotherapist for the rest of one’s days. This can be referenced as being caught in the claws of Mara forevermore. Instead, Bankei prescribes not going back again and again, in effect, enabling the junk in the Alaya-receptacle to keep flooding through ad nauseam, but to be as little children at play oblivious and unconcerned as thoughts continually pass on by. In effect, Bankei says to be a natural born killer of the dark inhabitants lurking about in the phenomenal-playground by just abiding freely under the protective-shield of the Unborn. All things are naturally resolved in the Unborn. It’s like Recollecting that bright sunny day when you romped freely at play, somehow knowing intuitively who you really are…paraphrasing Wordsworth, “trailing clouds of glory, from the Unborn That Is our Home.”

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