My meditation teacher once posed me a question asking how many objects are there in the world for a meditator to be mindful of? Being naive, I said “many” – as there are so many things at each moment to give attention to, not to mention the multi-tasking nature of the mind. His answer was six. Six?
Of the many variation of sound there is only hearing
Of the many variation of colors there is only seeing
Of the many variation of sensation there is only touching
Of the many variation of smell there is only smelling
Of the many variation of flavor there is only tasting
Of the many variation of mind states there is only perceiving
All these six are housed in one and yet they have never known or met each other. The function of hearing is to hear. It does nothing except hearing and thus will never know what seeing, touching or anything other than hearing, is. To each its own the function works, day in, day out, oblivious to what is around. They will never know as knowing is not their function. Perception never knows except the function of perceiving.
With these six in mind, the world is taken care of. It is in these six I found myself experiencing the world. But wait a minute – who am I then? If all the six senses does not know, where do “I”, who knows, stand? If body and mind does not know, what is that who knows?
In the six there is only one
Behind each consciousness the world is experienced. In each experience are found ideas – ideas that binds, and ideas that frees. Behind these ideas are found either ignorance or wisdom. Ignorance knows – knowing wrongly; Wisdom knows – knowing rightly. Right and wrong is neither good nor bad, except a distinction, differentiation the knowing. What recognizes both? Wisdom too. Wisdom recognizes ignorance, and thus arise further wisdom. It is like the analogy of attitude – when wrong attitude is recognized, right attitude comes into being. Wrong attitude can never know it is wrong, except to be recognized by the right. To put it simply, ignorance is wrong mindedness and wisdom is rightmindedness. Wisdom has the ability to recognize ignorance but not the reverse.
What is knowing the wrong thing? Seeing falseness as truth. Seeing what is inessential as essential. What is knowing the right thing? Seeing falseness as falseness; and seeing inessential as inessential and in that space truth arise
Ignorance nature is to continue ignoring, creating delusion along its way. Wisdom nature is to continue attending, thus undoing ignorance. Recognizing both ignorance and wisdom, Wisdom goes beyond, un-finding “myself” to the eternal unconditioned, uncreated, unmanifested, unseen or God. There are merely names to mean what is beyond the world, beyond the unthinkable including what can and cannot be think, what can and cannot be known, what can and cannot be experienced.