Saturday, August 10, 2013

Stone Human Stares At Stone Happiness.

“What sort of person stands on the ground where there’s neither coming nor going?”
Kyūhō answered, “The stone sheep versus the stone tiger: sooner or later they’ll get tired of staring each other in the eyes.” The stone sheep won’t flinch. The stone tiger won’t jump out of hunger. That’s the point – encountering things beyond thinking.

-Kodo Sawaki

Ever walk around completely restless? The coffee doesn't work like it did yesterday, Saturday just doesn't deliver the weekend, and you're wondering who you are and what you are doing? 

That's me. That's why I haven't written in a couple days. I did write this: 

This quote:
As for internal conditions, such things as ignorance, desire, and karma constitute the conditions, while the skandhas, dhatus, and ayatanas give rise to constitute the results of conditions. they aren't separate, but this is how foolish people imagine them. This is what is meant by internal conditions. Pg. 115, top
Red Pine's note says that these "foolish people" are Hinayanna practitioners that constitute the world as their internal conditions. It's saying that ignorance, desire, and karma give rise to skandhas (senses and sense objects), dhatus (knowable things), and ayatanas (inner and outer sources) aren't separate.
Projection extended to internal and external or cause and effect is interesting, but it doesn't address the Buddha's answer to Mahamati when he asked how he could avoid views of simultaneous or sequential:
Mahamati, all things are characterized by two kinds of conditions: namely, internal and external.

Before the Buddha slips into verse he closes with two statements:
Mahamati, a sequential occurrence does not occur because it is characterized by an attachment to an imagined reality.
It does not occur sequentially or simultaneously, Mahamati, because the individual or shared characteristics of an external existence does not exist.
His critique is of causes and conditions appearing as simultaneous or sequential. That internal and external are merely perceptions of our minds is a moot point in a yogacara text. The 3 natures, the 8 levels of consciousness, the four possibilities, although discussed and outlined thoroughly, are also projections of our mind. Yet, they were explored in the text.
All this said, in a sutra full of intricate conceptual models, this concept of cause and effect being internal or external is without much explanation, and is explained by taking apart the concepts of sequential and simultaneous.
Finally, what I have come to is that the Buddha's discourse on causes and conditions in the Lankavatara isn't so much about what cause and effect is as much as what is absent from cause and effect, which the thoroughly established nature points to in any object, whether it's internal or external. It's like the rope in the dark that appeared to be a snake; there simply is no snake present in the rope, and if we investigate further, there is no rope in the rope either. It's the emptiness of emptiness again. 

Wow! What a complicated way at coming to the revelation that I'm having a shitty day! Stone happiness will not flinch and the stone human will not jump out of suffering. 


  1. Yes, I get there and realize, Oh, that's the problem. Crappy day. Did this follow on getting published, same day?
    I like getting published.
    That's probably why I'm writing this.

    1. It was the same day. Turns out I don't like getting published. The piece looks etched in stone! Flips my stomach just thinking about it.