In ITs Totality IT is like the Great Void,
Lacking nothing, and not self-indulgent.
When you discriminate, you miss IT,
As such, IT’s Suchness is lost.
Let-go of conditions,
Forget about Emptiness.
Resting serenely in the Unborn,
Dualistic Dreams are long forgotten.
Huang Po once said that people are afraid of emptying their mind lest they plunge into the void, failing to recognize that their own Mind IS the void. This Void of which he speaks is not some objective “other” in the center of reality, directing cosmic traffic around it like a giant black-hole sucking everything in and making it all nothingness. Nothingness is not the Void; the Void is Self-Empty of everything, even the dark pit of nihilism. Within the Great Deathless Void there is no-thing to see, no-thing to perceive, even no self-grasping or self-clinging to any created-thing outside Itself. Discriminate about IT and you will never self-recognize IT, and in doing so ITs Essential Suchness becomes shrouded over with just about anything imaginable. IT is no-part of conditioned-existence; yet at the same time IT is never obsessed with ITs Natural Stateless-State of Sūnyatā—which is really a self-emptying of everything IT is not. The Void-Self is the imagelessness of the Dharmakaya; in this Absolute fashion IT IS the Deathless Void of the Unborn Buddha Mind, which in turn is the Imageless Mind of all Buddhas. Recollecting Mind’s Voidness as such, all dualistic dreams on the playground of phenomena just begin to dissipate on their own, like little children becoming tired of playing their games and returning to the serenity of their Unborn-Home.
Correct my thinking if mistaken, good thunder bolt, but the prohibition on discrimination applies only to Buddha trainees. In other words such prescription toward faith in Mind is not a total veto on discrimination but a reminder that such mind cannot recognize the Void-like nature of universal consciousness; which itself would be rather, as it were, to practice “one-sided” dualism.
Thus in suchness this rule of thumb does not apply to the Tathagatas, who, like Siddharta Buddha, manifested in this bollocks of Jambudvipa (plane of existence) through many forms freely, being able to hold the entire world in a tear drop, and acting with noble (ariyan) aegis even though in his other manifestations he was much doubted for being too worldly, or breaking the peace; the Blessed One thus employed discriminations as skillful means, and was not loathe to use them. Thus the salvific path cannot rightly be said to be avoidance of all discrimination, but total freedom.
I am quite certain the topic gets thick in the dialectics of Buddhist logic (sorry Tozen, I know you view dialectics as a mind disease), and those such as Methexis with a more _determined_ path to protect the Dharma might chime in with their own realizations, but this is how it seems at least as I reckon IT in my own abominable way.
If one is not sure of their own Buddha-nature, then one will continuously get lost in the maze of the discriminatory mind; in point of fact, your precious notion of ”freedom” is in itself the greatest discriminatory trap—freedom from what and for whom? The void of which you imagine is no one-sided dualism, but in actuality rather a breakthrough realization that voidness is itself self-empty of voidness itself and thus can never be discriminated, as is the case in your notion of “universal consciousness”—a quaint notion, whose origin is no doubt Brahmaic and not in league with the Zen of the Tathagatas and the undifferentiated Dharmakaya. To reckon IT in any other fashion is indeed an abomination.
Had I been more sensitive to the nexus of Orwellian double-speak and religious expression, perhaps I too could have conjured this notion of freedom as a trap.
But let us step back a bit and dismantle this complex and subtle realization which flees by its own definition from any label; words are but expedient means and the method of discrimination which is employed so that realization can be expressed and understood in this jambudvipa. Buddhas freely transit our world; indeed their actions are imperceptible and leave no trace because Nirvana itself is the very dharma world of the Buddhas. There is nothing particularly “old school” about this; such teachings emerge straight from the mahaparinirvana sutra:
“Great Nirvana is none but the Dharma world of the All-Buddha-Tathagatas. I also manifest myself in this Jambudvipa. People say that I first [as Siddhartha] attained Buddhahood. But since innumerable kalpas past, I had done what needed to be done and I only accorded with the way of the world. That is why I, in this Jambudvipa, displayed renunciation and attainment of Buddhahood. I also [seemingly] did not accord with the prohibitions and committed the four grave offences. People saw me and said I transgressed. But for innumerable kalpas past I have been according with the prohibitions, and nothing was amiss. Also, in Jambudvipa I was an icchantika. People all saw me as an icchantika. But truth to tell, I was no icchantica. If I had been an icchantika, how could I have attained unsurpassed Enlightenment? I also showed myself in Jambudvipa as disturbing the peace of the Buddhist Sangha. People said that I was a Buddhist priest who was breaking the peace of the Sangha. I also manifested myself in Jambudvipa as protecting Wonderful Dharma. People see this and say that this is protection of Dharma. They are all surprised. All Buddhas do this and there is nothing [here] to be surprised about.”
I do not imagine the Void as anything. That is what I mean by freedom.
“Great Nirvana is none but the Dharma world of the All-Buddha-Tathagatas. I also manifest myself in this Jambudvipa. People say that I first [as Siddhartha] attained Buddhahood. But since innumerable kalpas past, I had done what needed to be done and I only accorded with the way of the world. That is why I, in this Jambudvipa, displayed renunciation and attainment of Buddhahood. I also [seemingly] did not accord with the prohibitions and committed the four grave offences. People saw me and said I transgressed. But for innumerable kalpas past I have been according with the prohibitions, and nothing was amiss. Also, in Jambudvipa I was an icchantika. People all saw me as an icchantika. But truth to tell, I was no icchantica. If I had been an icchantika, how could I have attained unsurpassed Enlightenment? I also showed myself in Jambudvipa as disturbing the peace of the Buddhist Sangha. People said that I was a Buddhist priest who was breaking the peace of the Sangha. I also m!
anifested myself in Jambudvipa as protecting Wonderful Dharma. People see this and say that this is protection of Dharma. They are all surprised. All Buddhas do this and there is nothing [here] to be surprised about.”
I do not imagine the Void as anything. That is what I mean by freedom.
What is your point with all this???
Good friend, to observe that based on Buddha’s teaching, the veto on discrimination is provisional (itself a form of discrimination), and not to objectify/reify a poem by an itinerant monk attempting to inspire China at a time when a spasm of intellectualism was attempting to embrace non-dual teachings. Though you may not have initially seen it for some reason (as evidenced by your attempt to pigeon hole my observation as Brahmaic, to which I say, not this not this!) I am actually supporting your excellent analysis.
Just also to assuage Vajragoni’s worry that the term “universal consciousness” might be straying from the straight and narrow, Master Huang Po wrote:
All the Buddhas and all sentient beings are nothing but the One Mind, beside which nothing exists. The One Mind alone is the Buddha, and there is no distinction between the Buddha and sentient beings.
If you can read these words the universe is conscious, baby!
Nice try at a re-direct, but your “universal consciousness ” vibe truly speaks volumes of Brahmaic overtones; quite a far cry from any Mind-Only dictums. As a matter of fact, Blofeld’s original title for his Huang Po translation was, “The Huang-po Doctrine of Universal Mind‘, but he really ran into a lot of conundrums with that, and on subsequent editions, wisely discontinued its use.
This is super old, so it probably isn’t relevant, but this is something that can be clarified.
The reason the “universal consciousness” is not the answer, is because this implies the existence of a universe by default, but there is no such thing, the universal consciousness is itself a dream; a fabrication of Mind.
There is Mind-only, this means that there is Mind as Essence, which is unmanifested, without a fixed abode, this wisdom essence is Buddha; the unborn essence is thus called Mind; then there is function, which is what manifests; There is the fabrication of creation and extinction – function but then there is the function of suchness; in other words a function of essence based in ignorance, where there is dream activity of the alaya (the base of ignorance) and then there is the function of essence based in wisdom, where there is transcendent, signless functioning of the unborn mind that is pure and serene in its activity; its activity is without characteristics, without markings of any kind, there is only the bliss (which is further refined into a sensation of serenity) which is experienced by its activity.
Thus, the error lies in seeing it as a matter of “universal consciousness” that is the base, which is not the case and this would imply a universal frame of reference, but in actuality the function of mind has no frame of reference; there is no origin, no fixed abode, essence is entirely unborn and is thus called the absolute void reality, the one world of reality, from which all springs; yet it is never seen as an object as essence is always concealed in principle.
Thus, this functioning has no frame of reference, this frame of reference that is universal is actually the nest of ignorance, which is the alaya; you must break through this universal frame of reference if there is hope of breaking-through and decisive liberation into the dharmadhatu; which is the function of wisdom, which is really just what was mistakenly discriminated by the dreaming consciousness and when awakened, no longer is discriminated and thus is experienced as indescribable bliss, suchness.
In other words, function is the radiance of essence, but when “dreaming” the radiance of essence is discriminated; it ceases to be discriminated when awakened to essence and thus understanding the nature “essence” of this radiance, the function is no longer discriminated.
This is the same reality, yet seemingly so different, this is why nirvana and samsara are non-dual; this bliss ocean is the basis of samsara just wrongly discriminated through fabrications (thought-constructions) of differentiation; essentially discriminated through an aspect of relativity that was fabricated. There is no basis for Mind is purely such, it has no characteristic or singular nature of oneness nor of division, it is purely its own unborn suchness (which is cultivated through direct experience in dhyana, samadhi).
Thus you’re correct in there being a universal consciousness, but this is still a fabrication, a dream, a thought-construction, a mirage; nothing more. It is the base of ignorance that experiences things as a universal consciousness, the alaya, which is just the dreaming mind versus the dharmakaya, the tathagatagarbha when being worked through (as a very real and direct experience of dhyana is through the tathagatagarbha, this is the “womb” where the clear-light is experienced in deep samadhi). This is what awakens to its own reality of suchness through disciplined cultivation of the jhanas.
So just remember, there’s no frame of reference, thus there is no universal consciousness at the base for this would imply an existing universal frame of reference which is just a dream, there is no universal frame of reference because function has no frame of reference; essence is by its very nature non-abiding.
Glorious shit stick, but you can also use the leaves of Stachys byzantina in a pinch!
Alright, Vajragoni, you and me, mano-a-mano (Pali: mind to mind). If you can somehow extract from the affirmation op cit., that Huang Po wanted to chase away the hindus, please present your evidence.
The highest reality is not a mere abstraction.
It is very much alive with sense and awareness
and intelligence — and above all, with love,
purged of human impurities and defilements.
D. T. Suzuki