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Friday, February 29, 2008

The Limitless Sky of Pure Being.

This journey that we find ourselves upon is like floating through the limitless sky. Sometimes it is blue as the bluest eyes as far as one can see and other times there are amazing sights to see such as rainbows but the sky behind them remains the same. other times it is cloudy blocking out the sun but the sun is always there, just above the clouds.

Sometimes it is black with little twinkling stars that shine at us as if especially for us but they do not belong to anyone or anything, they just are. Nor do they remain motionless although it may seem to our limited mind to be thus, they are in motion perhaps subtle motion in orbits but constantly changing position just as all things change. Our own planet twirls around in constant patterns much like ones mind follows habitual patterns. Even our giant galaxy is in flux.

Despite all this knowledge learned through science it is all empty of any inherent form or definition. In the final analysis, we really know only a tiny dust particle resting upon a pin head worth of information about the mysterious Universe. This information is nothing more than symbols that our limited minds use to try and explain our place in the Universe.

Yet try as hard as we might our place is forever in motion rotating other planets and galaxies that in turn rotate around us. We are constantly chasing the mysteries of the Universe that will always be a step ahead of our minds because mind can not perceive the totality of the vastness of Pure Being. It is like what the Native Americans say is, "Chasing the wind." It is nice to understand some of the physics of our Universe and I am indeed partly a man of science and appreciate Buddhisms embrace of science. However, sometimes science can become an obsession and an attachment to the ego that forever chases which often ends up frustrating us and creating despair and feelings of isolation.

Each moment we breath we are constantly arriving at a new present moment in this limitless sky of emptiness pregnant with beauty and joy. Sometimes we only see the dark clouds and turn around thinking that we can never make it through them. We perceive them as impenetrable obstacles that will surely crush us into a million pieces. However once we let go of our perceptions and begin to move toward them we realize that even the largest, darkest cloud (painful emotions, stress, etc.) can be penetrated and we emerge out the other side to continue on our journey. Yes passing through these clouds can be bumpy and scary at times but with a mind concentrated upon the true nature of that cloud we can realize right understanding. We can see that these clouds/obstacles are mostly made of nothing and can fade away into the limitless sky as quickly as they formed.

Perhaps some of these clouds knock us around enough that our bodies do break apart (cancer, heart attacks, etc.) and die but that is merely the end of the body, not the end of the Universe which our energy will always be apart of. We came from star dust and will return to star dust. Just like planets are born and die only to be reborn again somewhere else within the limitless Universe, so too then there is a good chance that we too will be reborn in one form or another.

Perhaps that will take the form of a gas that creates a new planet to sustain sentient beings or perhaps we will take the form of a rock, a mineral to benefits other sentient beings. Still too we could be reborn again as a sentient being living in some form not recognizable by humans off on a distant planet from Earth. The possibilities that exist within this great project of the Universe and beyond into the indescribable parinirvania are limitless.

Nothing to be or not be, this is the Self.

PHOTO CREDIT: "Light of the Dharma" by Anya Langmead. Her other works are brilliant and just as beautiful. I hope to buy a print one day. Check out the rest of her stunning work here.

~Peace to all beings~

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tinythinker said...

Amazing picture - really! And a good reminder of the folly of chasing certainty. It seems like both the rigid harcore among the "fundamentalists" on the religious and the rigid hardcore among the "new atheists" on the secular side seem to be fixated with the search for certainty. Even though each side claims to have room for doubt (either through faith or falsifiability), the objective, to know the one true real underlying answer (or at least to show that this answer is not what the other side claims it to be), remains.

G said...

Nice words, James.

The biggest phantom that causes our suffering is the illusory self, however. Buddhism teaches that all things are not-self (anatta), and inherently empty of any durable substance (shunyata). The idea or belief that one is a self is called 'sakkya-ditthi' in Pali, and is an object in consciousness. The vague feeling or conviction of being a self, that is only let go of with complete enlightenment, is called 'mana', or conceit. There is no self (or 'Self') outside of these two mental phenomena.

Meditating on this supposed self, it can be seen to be a delusion, the result of faulty identification by the mind with aspects of its own processes, along with the body. This isn't the result of philosophy or imagination - however beautiful - but he result of meditating with a still & wise mind.

I was with Anya Langmead until the last words: "Nothing to be or not be: this is the Self."

What "Self"?!

Ah well, another example of the imperfection of all created things, I guess!

Be well in the Buddhadharma,
G at 'Forest Wisdom'.

Anonymous said...

Don’t believe one optimistic word from any public figure about the economy or humanity in general. They are all part of the problem. Its like a game of Monopoly. In America, the richest 1% now hold 1/2 OF ALL UNITED STATES WEALTH. Unlike ‘lesser’ estimates, this includes all stocks, bonds, cash, and material assets held by America’s richest 1%. Even that filthy pig Oprah acknowledged that it was at about 50% in 2006. Naturally, she put her own ‘humanitarian’ spin on it. Calling attention to her own ‘good will’. WHAT A DISGUSTING HYPOCRITE SLOB. THE RICHEST 1% HAVE LITERALLY MADE WORLD PROSPERITY ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE. Don’t fall for any of their ‘humanitarian’ CRAP. ITS A SHAM. THESE PEOPLE ARE CAUSING THE SAME PROBLEMS THEY PRETEND TO CARE ABOUT. Ask any professor of economics. Money does not grow on trees. The government can’t just print up more on a whim. At any given time, there is a relative limit to the wealth within ANY economy of ANY size. So when too much wealth accumulates at the top, the middle class slip further into debt and the lower class further into poverty. A similar rule applies worldwide. The world’s richest 1% now own over 40% of ALL WORLD WEALTH. This is EVEN AFTER you account for all of this ‘good will’ ‘humanitarian’ BS from celebrities and executives. ITS A SHAM. As they get richer and richer, less wealth is left circulating beneath them. This is the single greatest underlying cause for the current US recession. The middle class can no longer afford to sustain their share of the economy. Their wealth has been gradually transfered to the richest 1%. One way or another, we suffer because of their incredible greed. We are talking about TRILLIONS of dollars. Transfered FROM US TO THEM. Over a period of about 27 years. Thats Reaganomics for you. The wealth does not ‘trickle down’ as we were told it would. It just accumulates at the top. Shrinking the middle class and expanding the lower class. Causing a domino effect of socio-economic problems. But the rich will never stop. They will never settle for a reasonable share of ANYTHING. They will do whatever it takes to get even richer. Leaving even less of the pie for the other 99% of us to share. At the same time, they throw back a few tax deductable crumbs and call themselves ‘humanitarians’. IT CAN’T WORK THIS WAY. Any 'humanitarian' progress made in one area will be lost in another. EVERY SINGLE TIME. IT ABSOLUTELY CAN NOT WORK THIS WAY. This is going to end just like a game of Monopoly. The current US recession will drag on for years and lead into the worst US depression of all time. The richest 1% will live like royalty while the rest of us fight over jobs, food, and gasoline. Crime, poverty, and suicide will skyrocket. So don’t fall for all of this PR CRAP from Hollywood, Pro Sports, and Wall Street PIGS. ITS A SHAM. Remember: They are filthy rich EVEN AFTER their tax deductable contributions. Greedy pigs. Now, we are headed for the worst economic and cultural crisis of all time. SEND A “THANK YOU” NOTE TO YOUR FAVORITE MILLIONAIRE. ITS THEIR FAULT. I’m not discounting other factors like China, sub-prime, or gas prices. But all of those factors combined still pale in comparison to that HUGE transfer of wealth to the rich. Anyway, those other factors are all related and further aggrivated because of GREED. If it weren’t for the OBSCENE distribution of wealth within our country, there never would have been such a market for sub-prime to begin with. Which by the way, was another trick whipped up by greedy bankers and executives. IT MAKES THEM RICHER. The credit industry has been ENDORSED by people like Oprah, Ellen, Dr Phil, and many other celebrities. IT MAKES THEM RICHER. Now, there are commercial ties between nearly every industry and every public figure. IT MAKES THEM RICHER. So don’t fall for their ‘good will’ BS. ITS A LIE. If you fall for it, then you’re a fool. If you see any real difference between the moral character of a celebrity, politician, attorney, or executive, then you’re a fool. WAKE UP PEOPLE. ITS ALL ABOUT THE MONEY. The 1% club will always say or do whatever it takes to get as rich as possible. Without the slightest regard for anything or anyone but themselves. Vioxx. Their idea. Sub-prime. Their idea. NAFTA. Their idea. Outsourcing. Their idea. The commercial lobbyist. Their idea. The multi-million dollar lawsuit. Their idea. $200 cell phone bills. Their idea. $200 basketball shoes. Their idea. $30 late fees. Their idea. $30 NSF fees. Their idea. $20 DVDs. Their idea. Subliminal advertising. Their idea. The MASSIVE campaign to turn every American into a brainwashed credit card, pharmaceutical, love-sick, celebrity junkie. Their idea. All of which concentrate the world’s wealth and resources and wreak havok on society. All of which have been CREATED AND ENDORSED by celebrities, athletes, and executives. IT MAKES THEM RICHER. So don’t fall for their ‘ good will’ ‘humanitarian’ BS. ITS A SHAM. NOTHING BUT TAX DEDUCTABLE PR CRAP. Bottom line: The richest 1% will soon tank the largest economy in the world. It will be like nothing we’ve ever seen before. and thats just the beginning. Greed will eventually tank every major economy in the world. Causing millions to suffer and die. Oprah, Angelina, Brad, Bono, and Bill are not part of the solution. They are part of the problem. EXTREME WEALTH HAS MADE WORLD PROSPERITY ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE. WITHOUT WORLD PROSPERITY, THERE WILL NEVER BE WORLD PEACE OR ANYTHING EVEN CLOSE. GREED KILLS. IT WILL BE OUR DOWNFALL. Of course, the rich will throw a fit and call me a madman. Of course, their ignorant fans will do the same. You have to expect that. But I speak the truth. If you don’t believe me, then copy this entry and run it by any professor of economics or socio-economics. Then tell a friend. Call the local radio station. Re-post this entry or put it in your own words. Be one of the first to predict the worst economic and cultural crisis of all time and explain its cause. WE ARE IN BIG TROUBLE.

They call him James Ure said...

Tiny Thinker:

I agree that some hardcore Atheists can be just as difficult to deal with as fundamentalists.


I wrote Self in the capital letter to represent the Higher Self meaning the Universal Self.

I was trying to convey the idea of vast, limitless Oneness with it but perhaps I chose the wrong word to do that.

tinythinker said...

Well, I think all the really uptight people from any rigid perspective or dogma (whether it had to do with religion or not) would be well-served by an extended visit to your blog and enjoying a lot of the wonderful images and peaceful thoughts you share.

Also, I agree that there is a difference between 'the self' as in the belief in an instrinsically existing individual in the historical dimension, 'the self' as in ephemeral manfestation of one's being through the occurence of the necessary conditions (but which has no intrinsic/separate reality), and 'Self', as in awareness of the vertical dimension (or ulimate reality) of which we are a part and which recognizes the totality manifested in each part of the whole. I don't see a problem with the latter two uses. The only thing more difficult than being attached to the idea of self is being attached to the idea of no-self :o)

G said...

Hi James.

Must admit I don't know what 'Universal Self' you're referring to. Do you mean the entire body of the universe, including the heavenly, hellish & psychological planes?

In Adviata Vedanta Hinduism, the 'Universal Self' indicates that element of the individual (or 'Atman') that is permanent & is one and the same as the Absolute Self ('Brahman'). Buddhism has neither, surely, as it is based on the experience that everything is anatta & empty?

As to atheism & theism, Buddhism isn't much concerned with either, as these are simply opinions to be clung to. The Buddha taught us to meditate upon our own self and see through it, then turn this 'eye of wisdom' on the universe and see if there's any durable self or 'Self' to be found anywhere else. Thus far, 'I' haven't found anything but the thought 'I' and the vague feeling of 'I'. Beyond these, there seems to be an unending abyss of emptiness, free of all personal biases and suffering. Completely letting go into this 'abyss' seems to be the challenge that the Buddha (& many of the so-called 'mystics' such as Meister Eckhart & Jalaladdin Rumi) sets before us.

May 'we' all see beyond 'we', and then there will truly be no barriers between 'us', just this wide-open void that lies at the heart of our delusional separate selves!

Be well in the Dharma,
G at 'Forest Wisdom'.

(Despite all this, James, the bulk of your original writing was most beautiful. Please don't take offense at my ramblings!)

They call him James Ure said...

Tiny Thinker:

Thank-you for your compliments. I agree with what you've said about the Higher Self.


I think a more suitable term for Buddhism would be the Buddha Nature.

Thank-you for your kind words. :)


G said...

James & "tinythinker":

If we can put aside our attachments (whether to the idea of a 'Self', 'self' or 'not-self'), what do we find here, right now? Do we find a 'Higher Self' (whatever that might be!), a self, or the absence of either?

Your previous comments, "tinythinker", rightly refer to attaching to ideas and concepts. But what remains when the way things are (Dharma/Dhamma) is observed in this moment with a calm, unattached mind?

Until we take the time to render the mind still, letting go of all assumptions & beliefs, the truth of this moment will remain veiled behind the delusion of selfhood (or the mere belief in 'non-selfhood'). Dissecting the self with the scalpel of insight will reveal that which lies behind the mind and body, which is, of course, ultimately beyond all our attempts to classify 'it'. Nevertheless, some descriptions of the way things are may turn out to be somewhat closer to the truth than others. Hopefully all of us can reflect on this and discover the truth for ourselves and share such insight with this suffering world!

Be well in the Dharma/Dhamma,
G at 'Forest Wisdom'.

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