Faith In Mind: Oneness and Duality

One thing is not different from another.

The deluded mind clings to whatever it desires.

If we awakening we can see how all things are connected, how separation is an illusion. When we attach to or reject anything, we are dwelling in duality with whatever that object is. If all things are one, then seeking Enlightenment outside of ourselves makes no sense. That creates a duality.

The Diamond Sutra says there is no Dharma form and there is nothing that is not the form of the Dharma. This seems paradoxical but the point is that we shouldn’t be attached to existence or emptiness.

Using mind to cultivate mind –

Is this not a great mistake?

When we practice we are using our minds to work on our minds. We are using our delusions to transcend delusion.

The erring mind begets tranquility and confusion;

In enlightenment there are no likes or dislikes.

Before awakening, it’s easy to separate things between ‘enlightenment’ and ‘delusion’, or ‘sacred’ and ‘ordinary’. Once again, these are just labels. There is no sacred that can be separated from the ordinary. In the Platform Sutra the sixth Patriarch tells us that to leave the world is to remain in the world, that the true practitioner doesn’t need to go away to the mountains to practice, but can practice here and now. We can flow with causes and conditions no matter what they are.

Enlightenment is right here, not somewhere else.

The duality of all things

Issues from false discriminations.

Some examples of ways we engage duality: you and I, the Buddha and other beings, wisdom and ignorance.

In the Platform Sutra the sixth Patriarch lists thirty-six pairs of opposites that often lead us deeply into duality.

The Heart Sutra says: “There is no wisdom and no attainment; with nothing to attain, bodhisattvas, relying on prajnaparamita, have no obstructions in their minds.”

So, once again, Sengcan is telling us that we aren’t practicing to attain anything, we are practicing just to practice.

A dream, an illusion, a flower in the sky –

How could they be worth grasping?

Nothing is real and permanent. We tend to want things to stay around forever, but nothing ever does. The concept of Emptiness doesn’t mean there’s nothing so much as it means that there’s nothing to hold onto. Everything is impermanent.

Gain and loss, right and wrong –

Discard them all at once.

Again, don’t attach to labels. Thinking in these terms doesn’t serve us very well a lot of the time.

If the eyes do not close in sleep,

All dreams will cease of themselves.

“The eyes” are our awareness. When we lose our awareness, when we aren’t here in this moment, we are dreaming. Dreaming is being carried away by our wandering thoughts. The idea that our eyes aren’t closing just means that we are very diligent in our practice. We are striving to keep our minds open so we can awaken from the daydream.

If the mind does not discriminate,

All things are of one suchness.

The essence of one suchness is profound;

Unmoving, conditioned things are forgotten.

If we can stop discriminating all the time, then we can see everything. There is no difference between you and I, between inside and outside. It’s all unified as a whole. We can leave behind this sense of small self and dwell in our true nature.

Contemplate all things as equal,

And you return to things as they are.

This just refer to non-discrimination. When we stop labeling and judging things all the time, then we can see things as they really are.

When the subject disappears,

There can be no measuring or comparing.

If we can let go of these judgments and preconceptions that we’re carrying, then we can experience a state beyond the self. This is enlightenment.

Next: Faith in Mind 7

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