Annual India Tours
These lectures were transcribed by T Vd Broek. Heartfelt
gratitude is offered for all the hours of work spent on this Dharma activity.
These talks are offered free of charge. They have been slightly edited.
Unknown Nanaimo Spring winter 93 (FebMar)
About a month ago I tried to make a clear differentiation between relative reality and ultimate reality. On the side of relative reality, about a month ago, we took the little leggo and I tried to emphasize in investigating the leggo, we didn't loose any of the parts. You didn't take any of it away. You just observed what was there. Those leggo blocks were to be seen a one way to cut the pie of our state of being.
Last time we then went into working with the concept that an object appears very real, the live tree and tried to relate to the fact that it appears very vividly as a tree. The tree is a vivid appearance for us. But if we allow ourselves to be deeper, we can recognize the fact that we can change that tree at any point in a variety of ways. Although it appears very strongly, it is mutable and changeable. Given the right circumstances or take the water away, it will wither, add water it will grow well, and so on. It was to recognize there is a terrific interdependent phenomena there which is fully responsive to circumstances around it. So, again you did not take anything away from it. You did not add anything in there. You were observing and becoming more conscious of it. And this is important. These little exercises we are going through are important ones.
The emphasis is on interdependent existence, that all phenomena are interdependent but we can all recognize them as carpet, or whatever. But they are all interdependent. The vision you try to have arise in our mind, is the incredible inter relatedness. Your body sitting here is an expression of that. But isn't it true, that as you sit in this room, you think different intellectual thoughts but do not go into that I am a feeling entity, that you are actually are complete communion with the world around you through the breath, the warmth and so on. I am trying to set the environment for this evenings talk.
We often talk in the western sense of the empirical approach, like let's observe and get the facts clear. The Buddha of 2500 years ago presented this. He was very educated and had a high developed intellect. When he sat under the bodhi tree, he gained the full realization of the nature of reality. In presenting that, it was an observed reality that he presented. It was not that God created the bush, that the bush had no cause whatsoever. It was a realistic vision that the three was the product of causes and circumstances. So when you look at the bush, the bush has it's causes and circumstances. If the bush has white flowers, we do not expect pink flowers on it unless something changed it. There are causes to look at so there is a reality here which is ascertainable. The relative reality. It's relative to the causes and circumstances that creates it.
It has been easy to ascertain relative reality. But, what is the final reality! We do have this fluid inter related reality that we are part of , but what is the ultimate reality? Like we have a mind that is clear, precise, can realize things. If it was to strive for finding the ultimate reality, the final position you should arrive at, and understand what it is. If you investigate that, now, this is where we step out of relative reality. And you have to differentiate between those two. The ultimate reality has to be the final nature for all phenomena, for whatever is investigated. And it has to be pervasive. You cannot say this reality applies here but not over there! Because then it is relative reality, relative to this area. It has to be 100% inclusive.
When you look for the ultimate reality, it has to be that as the various things fall away, that aspect or thing is left. Because that would be the final thing. If I started pulling the leaves off and tried to get down to the final essence, we would end up with a big mess. All we would find is the incredible interdependent nature. You would have to find a thing which was left!
As in consciousness, we are sitting here right now with an aspect in front of us. My aspect of the bush is not the same as yours. We have it from different perspective. So what are we seeing? We are seeing an image. But obviously we are not seeing the whole tree. I can see that section of it, and I can guess what the rest of it may be like. So sometimes the knowledge of what this is based on only a little part of it. So there is image. But none of us get the same image so that cannot be the final nature of it because it is relative to your position.
The next phase is where the investigation of the ultimate nature of reality has to be deep. If it were superficial, it would be blatant. Therefore, it requires a mind that has understanding, and then there is depth there. Like I can look in a window and see an image. The more knowledgeable mind realizes there is actually two images there because it is thermal pane glass. Then my knowledge of the object can add aspects to the object. It is an insulating barrier and such. So my depth of understanding what that thing is that reflects light gets bigger as I sit here and understand it. That is what depth means. It is a mind that understands.
And in this sense we want to talk about understanding which has ramifications or implications for our existence. So because we are all intelligent, with your mind as you look at that object, if you were to say if my mind penetrated into that, what can I find is the knowledge of that plant entails, what can I find out that will stand out as being the nature! I know if I penetrate with my inquiring mind into it, as I do, I will get things appearing, but they are relative to the other parts of it. So I go right through it looking for the nature. I went deeper and went into the stalk and root of it, as my mind went into it, it dissolves. I get an aspect or an appearance, but I know because I am intelligent, that it is not the final place where my mind can rest and say, bush! It is just a functioning aspect that appears. No final nature of the bush came up. Actually the more I penetrate into it with my inquiring mind, the bush literally dissolves in that nothing can stand up and scream, I am the bush! All dissolves because of their relatedness or relativity, the interdependence of it on other aspects.
And remember, we are talking ultimate, not relative. On the ultimate, that tree is evaporated. Nothing can stand out. All is interdependent, and being interdependent made it equal with everything else on that level of interdependence. So literally, other than aspect, the nature of that bush has completely evaporated. Doesn't mean it killed it. Doesn't mean it is dead or something which is the first assumption we come to is Jhampa just killed it. No! You mind is then mixing relative reality and ultimate reality.
When we are talking of letting our enquiring consciousness, our state of being right now to inquire into the ultimate nature of phenomena. So as you sit there you are allowing your consciousness to penetrate into that. As it does, it does not come up with bush as a final entity. Something that can stand up as my penetrative intelligent inquiry mind went into it.
If you allow yourself to go into it, all the parts, you mind can expand like an explosion in a sense. Just your realization of where can I find something that will demonstrate itself after having been investigated, and it will all evaporate. And that is why they say the ultimate nature of reality is like voidness. It is not to to say that there is not things appearing. It is saying that if your consciousness in it's inquiring starts to investigate where would be the final expression of the plant, the intelligent or deep mind as it tries to touch the real nature of the bush, won't because it is a relative phenomena right down to the molecules and sub atomic particles. It means the final nature is not ascertainable which means that your conscious experiencing mind as it appreciates the ultimate nature will dissolve aspects. It did not negate them. It just that on an ultimate level when my conscious experience tries to into into the final nature, then there will arise what can be termed as the clear light consciousness. It didn't kill me, didn't kill phenomena, it did not destroy anything, it was just my mind seeking for that final resting place where what was appearing could be relied upon.
And as my inquiring mind went to strive and settle upon appearance that could be relied upon, something that could stand up and say this is it, this is the final resting point, the final things is you end up with what is called a vacuity or voidness, and it can be termed as clear light. Because it is a conscious experience, it has to be because we are conscious in it. So you can differentiate between a relative appearing reality which is aspect and has function and yet when we investigate into it, it evaporated in it's relative nature. So as a conscious experiencing person, it is important that we recognize that we do not mix relative reality which is a fully vibrant alive bush, and ultimate reality, which is the final nature. And the final nature dissolves as you strive to find a final resting place to put that ultimate nature on.
Tomorrow sometime when you are sitting at your place of work or where you live, start penetrating at what you are looking at with your eyeballs and examine the appearance before you. Examine it's interdependent nature. Then go into it. As much as we knowledgeable about it, we can get to it's parts and go through it's relativity and look for the final nature. Try to penetrate it with wisdom consciousness. And your intelligence will start to create a more vision of reality in that there is a relative appearing object, it is functional, it's interdependent and created from causes and circumstances, all fully realistic, and as you move through that you will find that there is not ultimate essence to the object. Just a relative wall.
And in working it, it is just that you are starting to recognize ultimate nature as in what is the final nature. The final nature cannot be ascertained in that there is just an appearance, a name you can give to the appearance, nothing has been destroyed. That is the relative nature. And secondarily, by penetrating into it, you will have it dissolve and that is the final nature which is termed like a vacuity or clear light.
And the clear light has no aspect. It is just clarity. In that sense it is like void of any intrinsic aspect that can be identified. Clear. Clear space so to speak.
Copyright 1994 Daka's Buddhist Consulting
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