To exist or not to exist?

The word “existence” has been bugging me for quite awhile and to express what is in mind brought me to the phrase of the Tao Te Ching:

The Tao that can be told is not the eternal tao. The name that can be named is not the eternal Name.

Hmm… what I am going to share here has no meaning other than the finger pointing to the moon. Not the moon as yet but the pointing is already relevant to its purpose:)

It is incorrect to ask whether to exist or not to exist, as it is beyond my choice or your choice to said that. Existence is an effect and thus cannot be altered. In other words, we can’t choose either except to look into the causes that created existence. Again it is about conditioning as it is the conditioning that brought about existence. Conditioning leads to existence. No conditioning, no existence. Period.

Understanding the limitation of the mind, by default, we tend to equate Ego and God, or Samsara and Nibbana (Buddhist) for Existence and Non-existence. There is a tendency to see Existence as Conditioned and Non-existence as Unconditioned. It is of no wonder the  idea of suicide exist as one thinks that by dying everything ends.

We understand what is existence, as we all are! What about non-existence? Imagine a fish existing in water. Remove the fish out from the water. Does the fish still exist? It may not be a good analogy to depict non-existence but the point here is that non-existence is a sort of existence. It is just the opposite side of the coin of existence – it can’t be separated, so to speak. Existence and non-existence co-exist together – it is a matter of which side you are in, for instance, solitude and noise – both are happening in the mind simultaneously. When you are enjoying solitude, you are already abhoring noise – but not obvious to you at that time simply because there is no noise as yet.

So when condition is appropriate for the opposite of existence to arise, which we call it as  non-existence, one will be propelled to experience the contrast of existence – the so-called non-existence. So non-existence is an experience. What is it? I can’t tell except for you to experience it! But what is important here to know is that non-existence is not Unconditional. It is a state. A conditioned.

It is interesting to note that Enlightenment, or Unconditional, in Buddhism, is neither existence nor non-existence. It is beyond both.

So the question to exist or not to exist is still within existence. The more appropriate question will be conditioned or unconditioned, or, duality or non-separation?

When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, and the upper like the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so the male will not be male and the female will not be female… then you will enter the Kingdom.
– Yeshua

Conditioned and Unconditioned

I used to get a little uptight whenever I come across the word “conditioned” in Buddhism and felt so “lofty” when the meaning “unconditioned” came to mind – though at those times I don’t really get what it means except whatever limiting ideas I put upon it, thus seeing conditioned as wrong and unconditioned as right. What an ignorant judgment!

And throughout those years I was so attracted to the word “unconditional love” – trying so hard to be one but failing most of the time :(

The wiser part of me (or Holy Spirit, if you come from a different faith) came up with the following illustration to let me see that there is no right or wrong to both words except its definition. And there is no better way of illustrating it other than Darkness and Light.

Darkness Is, Light Exist.

Darkness is unconditional as it always Is. Darkness needed nothing to make it exist, for in reality, it does not “exist” except is. Are you following me? It will be easy to see this truth when we come to Light. Now for Light to come into existence, it must have something for it to arise, for example, the Sun or even the collision of meteor etc. In other words Light is been conditioned by something. Once it is been conditioned, it has the nature of ending for the word “conditioning” already implies a situation that can only come into existence due to a certain nature. For instance, fire can only exist when a matchstick and a source of friction comes into contact. Fire is not hidden somewhere awaiting for contact. It just arise due to conditioning, and thus temporal by nature.

In the modern new agy stuff we are been encouraged to view Darkness as evil and Light as purity – I am not disputing what are been shared but we missed the point of Reality when we see something as good and bad. Everything has its essence of Truth – only when we give opportunity for enquiry. I wish to share with you here a teaching on Tao about Darkness:

The tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name.

The unnamable is the eternally real.
Naming is the origin
of all particular things.

Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.

Yet mystery and manifestations
arise from the same source.
This source is called darkness.

Darkness within darkness.
The gateway to all understanding.

– Tao Te Ching (A New English Version) by Stephen Mitchell

Coming back to the topic of Conditioned and Unconditioned, it is logical to say that all existence are conditional by nature and thus not lasting, devoid of self and unsatisfactory.  All existence are unreal, so to speak, for it only exist due to conditioning. What is it beyond existence, you may ask? Unconditioned, my friend, as spoken by great sages like the Buddha or Yeshua (he uses the word eternity).

I invited you to consider the following which may invoke repulsion, defense or disillusion but allow yourself to enquire, deeply – Your existence is unreal. Beyond your existence lies the Unconditioned.

Those who seek should not stop seeking until they find. When they find, they will be disturbed, they will marvel, and they will reign over all.
– Yeshua

May you see this Truth. Peace be unto all.