Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Going Without (2): Massive Obstacles?

- Attachments

- Delusions

- Extreme Views

- Instinctive Impulses...

These are the truly great obstacles -- things that don't exist.

The hip-joints exist. The spinal column exists. The head exists. The ears, shoulders and arms, teeth, lips, eyes and nose exist. The earth and sky exist. Water exists. The stars exist. Big cranial nerves connecting the spinal cord/brainstem/cerebellum and the ears exist. All exist together.

But attachments, illusions, views, mental impulses, misconceptions, ambitions, expectations, beliefs, superstitions... these are all things that don't exist.

Old Testament Jews believe in the real existence of an entity called for example God or Jehovah, who chose them as a people and gave them a promised land called Israel. Apparently God had an exchange -- involving the believer's willingness to murder a son -- with an ancient Jew called Abraham, who is still revered today not only by Jews but by all orthodox followers of the "great mono-theistic religions" -- Judaism, Christianity, and Islaam.

Enlightened followers of the non-theistic non-religion of Gautama, by contrast, strive every day to spring this body, which exists, free of the influence of every kind of un-reality. How?

Just by sitting.

It is the simplest practice in the world, but it is far from easy.

Yesterday somebody I regard as a brother non-buddhist non-monk said to me in an email, in connection with the discrepancy that tends to arise between our professed practice of autonomous just sitting and our actual practice of mutual unconscious expectation: "We tend to create our own confusion and then look for ways to get out of it... We end up fighting with ourselves."

As FM Alexander used to say: "The most difficult things to get rid of are the ones that don't exist."


Blogger oxeye said...

Mike - Just so you know..
Even when you don't express yourself as clearly as you might like to. I still have great respect for you.
And If I say some things to you that are unskillful. please forgive it..

Thursday, August 02, 2007  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

Oh Oxeye, you've gone and me me cry now. (This is not ironic, but true.)

Thursday, August 02, 2007  
Blogger Pete said...

A solipsist was arguing with some friends about the nature of reality and whether or not the universe existed. Frustrated that he was getting nowhere with his arguments he jumped out of the window and killed them all.

Thursday, August 02, 2007  
Blogger Michael Kendo Tait said...

‘We fight with ourselves' and also each of those individual words are heavy with significance from which it is also necessary to vanish in expanding and lengthening upwards and out and away-from, without end.

Not something we can do here in virtual textville but only with the whole form, the whole of existence in concert, for instance, on a cushion...sometimes.

This is the way to be non-monkey, to be fully human, to be non-Buddhist and beyond even that concept.

'Crr..ick! says the spine 'you can pass away' and then this cloud-hung, earth-bound (and nappy-strewn) home comes into view.

But I’m afraid to report that my own practises are erratic right now, my robe needs washed, I indulge myself sometimes and often sit disrespectfully, without incense and sutras, in my pyjamas, tired, stressed and overfed in dusty rooms. Jim White writes 'Just to see how far, providence will stoop down just to save me.'

It always stoops down, always, even for irreligious monkeymen like me. 'Thy will be done' indeed and as Master Eihei Dogen by way of one Chodo Cross would have it:

‘Remember, true reality spontaneously emerges, and darkness and dissipation vanish at a stroke.’

To quote a friend and fellow cushion-squasher who hit the target with the expression:

‘It’s a fuckin’ miracle!’

Thursday, August 02, 2007  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

Thank you, Pete.

MT: Heard any good jokes recently?

Friday, August 03, 2007  
Blogger Andrew said...

Solipsism is such an attractive philosophy...I wonder why more people don't believe in it?

Saturday, August 04, 2007  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

Thank you, Andrew.

For any fellow Brummie bashers out there who didn’t know the meaning of solipsism without looking it up, I refer you to the teaching of our sister J. Armatrading:

I sit here by myself
And you know I love it.
I don’t want someone
To compare it with.
It’s not that I love myself;
I came in this world alone.
Just me myself I
Me myself I ....

As -isms go, I have heard much worse.

Saturday, August 04, 2007  

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