Monday, December 20, 2010


Because you yourself are the divine mandala,
naturally manifest to yourself,
Do not offer worship to the deity,
for if you worship you will be fettered by it…
Do not renounce samsara, for if you renounce it,
you will not attain buddhahood.
Because the Buddha is not elsewhere
he is naught but awareness itself.
Samsara is not elsewhere;
all is gathered within your own mind.
Do not practice conditioned fundamental virtues,
for if you do you will be fettered by them.
Renounce conditioned fundamental virtues,
such as building stūpas and temples.
There is no end to contrived doctrines,
but by leaving them they will end.
Not renouncing the yoga of abandoning deeds,
should you renounce deeds, you will become a tathāgata.
So it is that you must know the path
of the authentic buddhas in everything.
A day flares for a moment when it is new; it flares for a moment when it dies. The sun brings shadows and dreams in equal measure.

Between dawn and dusk, any benevolent vision of this world that we, like the sun, illuminate with compassionate activity seems useful. But still, we should consider this as illusory, volatile, and impermanent. The fictitious merit we accrue, and dedicate to fictitious beings is subject to exhaustion: it rises and falls. All our plans are naught but stored tears. 

The stupas will crumble, and the temples will fall to dust. 

This we know, or will certainly come to know, in the due course of the demonstration of the days.

In this circumstance, the supreme act of altruism seems to arise when mind sees mind. 

Since most of us regard coming to know the nature of mind for the hypothetical benefit of all  hypothetical sentient beings as downright difficult -- if not with apathy, then with indolence -- we enter into diplomacy with what we call our "kindness." Rather than go for broke, we pick and choose chapters from the Big Book of Conditioned Fundamental Virtues. We do this between puppy love and a broken heart. We scatter this amongst birth, school, marriage, job, divorce, hospital, and croak pile. Today, we'll do this; tomorrow, we'll do that. This requires an enormous outpouring of energy, yet offers only momentary satisfaction. Before we know it, stupas are crumbling, temples are decaying, and we are all used up.

This seems so wasteful.

The nature of mind remains unchanged regardless of what one does or does not do.

Consider the difference between watching a movie, and becoming a movie producer. Consider the difference between mindful practice, and stagecraft.

To create and sustain illusion requires constituent decision-making, and component acts. Most people consider that it requires imagination, but that is not necessarily the case. As every schooled playwright or screenwriter already knows, there are only thirty-six possible dramatic situations. Every human circumstance can be thus categorized and anticipated. In Hollywood, for example, all the major motion picture studios actually use computer programs to evaluate and construct scripts. They plug in the characters, and the machines do the work.

How could it be otherwise? All phenomena arise from a cause.

It does not matter whether one is producing a tragedy, a comedy, a romance, a whodunit, or a war movie.

One produces with the expectation of gain.

The money that one gains will be spent. The accolades that one gathers will be forgotten. But, the benefit of just watching?

The benefit of watching is simply to know the movie is a movie.

While it is good to appreciate stagecraft, it is better to not become too wrapped up in that appreciation. There is no injunction against enjoying the production -- laughing at the funny parts, crying at the sad parts -- but, when you leave the theater, you do not need to bring the script with you.

There was a wonderful sunset but it is over now.


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2 reader comments:

me said...

A perfect post, thank you.

If only the popcorn were not so damn expensive!

Anonymous said...

Bought serial movie tickets for my nephew as a Christmas gift. The popcorn tickets were sold out.