Dalai Lama meeting part 2

Pe insula noastră preferată din Thailanda, Ko Jhum, am întâlnit un tip foarte interesant, Michael Pecot, din California care și-a vândut toate proprietățile și de câțiva ani călătorește încet prin toată lumea.
Voi publica în premieră,  cu acordul acestuia pe www.tudormaxim.ro,  o parte din experiențele sale din lume.
Toate acestea vor face parte dintr-o carte.
The Dalai Lama Speaks Part 2
Emptiness, Impermanence and Dependent Origination

I feel so lucky that this week the Dalai Lama is giving two enlightening discorses to the Tibetian students that forieners can attend. In it he throughly exponds on his forty years of experience of deep meditation in relation to The Heart Sutra. This sutra explores the integral Buddhist concepts of emptiness, impermanance and dependent origination which interestingly are exactly the things I have been trying to understand more deeply lately. I couldn’t be more excited!

He begins by explaining the concept of emptiness. This concept describes that on the deepest level reality is illusory and is not acutally as it appears. A Christian cleric recently explained this very interestingly this way. He said that our five perceptive abilities allow us to interact with the “external” environment in a very limited and specific way. The molecules and electrons in our hands interact in such a way with the molecules in a rock for instance, giving it the feel and appearance of being dense, hard and solid. But science tells us explicitly that all matter is composed of approximately ninety eight percent empty space.

So in reality our senses trick us into thinking that matter is of a certain consistency when on the sub atomic level it is obious that it is not. Things are not as dense as our senses make it appear and most of matter consists of “emptiness”.

The ancients realized this through inward contemplation and expressed it by saying that the world is an illusion, or Maya. It’s interesting how similar the realizations are. One coming through right brain science and rational thinking and the other through intuitive left brain inner contemplation. Perhaps there are two different paths to the same information.

His next topic is impermanance. This is something even most westerners know on some level from the process of living life. Things change. Day turns to night, happiness turns into sadness, relationships are here one day and gone the next, people live then they die etc. But Buddhist having observed the mind intensly for thousands of years have taken this obious realization to a deeper level.

As they looked at and tried to find the apparent “I” inside the mind they began to see that even that entity was impermanent as well. Ultimately they realized that there was no actual cohesive entity that could be called an “I” at all since it changed constantly from moment to moment and was in a state of constant flux and change like everything else in nature.

This doesn’t mean an ego is of no value or a sense of I doesn’t exits at all. It does but just not in the way we think. It is like a tool that can be enjoyed and used to accomplish great things, like solving problems, building amazing technologies and organizing societies, but ultimtely on the deepest level it is not our true identy. Even though a rock can be used to build a wall it hides the deeper reality of being mostly empty space. Buddhists are more focused on the deeper realities underlying what appears on the surface.

So this trick of the mind and senses compresses conscious awareness into a small space and until it appears as a voice in our heads that thinks its a separate entity. It continues to constantly converse with itself defending its positions to support its sense of separate identy. Buddhists attempt to find the spaces in between thoughts where our true identity lies, the I of pure perception. This direct perception is unfiltered and untainted by endless dialog and pierces the veil of Maya’s delusion.

He finally concludes that this idea of an “i” that we cherish as our identity only really exists in one place, our minds. It is only a fiction created to a large degree by culture and the limited identification with our body’s perceptive mechanisms.

The only thing that is permanent at all is perception itself which continues in all beings forever and never changes or dies. It is omnipresence. This is who or what we truely are, the BIG I. This is where “God” or the “Kingdom of Heaven” can be found. Christ tried to teach us this but misdirected religious politicians and clerics perverted this gem of wisdom to manipulate and control people for their own selfish reasons. Instead they packaged Christ as a human being, made him into a product they could pitch to the masses, and substituted the form for the consciousness contained with it. Sad, but all too typical of human madness.

Finally he explains the idea of dependent origination. It is a concept that says that on the most basic levels there is no independent existence to anything, including our sense of selves, and that all things are connected and mutually interdependent and inseperatable.

Physics supports this premise as well in string theory. It states that the entire universe is composed of a gigantic field of energy which can be observed as vibrating bands or waves that endlessly intertact with and are inseperable from each other.

From this perspective the entire universe it seems could be thought of as one massive living breathing organism. Perhaps it could even be a living being that has intelligent design built into its structure. It may mimic in macro-cosmic form the structure our bodies which are are composed of billions of cells that make up one organism, our physical bodies. Whew, lots to think about and digest!

Anyway, after two days of talks and approximately four hours of discourse I I hope I have a much better grasp of these ideas and can rest easier grasping that all things are in an eternal state of change, intrinsically interconnected and mostly composed of empty space. Ha, that’s a mind full!
Maybe this is why the Buddhists advise not being attached to what is impermanent. It is sure formula to suffering and disappointment. So reassuring, ha!

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