The Dead are not Alive, and the Living will not Die

You may observed that I have been, of late, quoting the Buddha and Yeshua in my blog, and if you find it offensive, I invite you to recognize that all resistances arise from non-understanding. Where there is understanding, resistance fades away. My teacher frequently reminds me to observe experiences through the perspective of understanding the causal relationships of phenomenon and doing so, allows me to move from being personal to nature – seeing experiences as a natural unfolding of nature rather than “I”.

The title is riddled with deep meaning, taken from the Gospel of Thomas. Coincidentally the Gospel starts with the statement made by Yeshua: Whoever discovers the interpretation of these sayings will not touch death.

We both knew that the dead are not alive and isn’t it something so obvious that needs no interpretation? That’s the beauty of riddle – behind the form lies the essence. Form and essence are always in contradiction, like for instance, words. Words are merely words if we do not understand the meaning behind those words. So the statement in the title is merely another statement if we do not probe deeper what Yeshua is trying to convey.

Remember the analogy of Darkness and Light in my previous blog? The former is, the latter exist. Anything that exist has to die, for if there is no birth where is death? So all existences are transient by nature, and if they are transient, it is with certainty that there is no absoluteness in it accept its conditioning.

That reminds me of a statement found in the beginning of A Course in Miracle:

Nothing real can be threatened.
Nothing unreal exists.
Herein lies the peace of GOD.

Anything that can be threatened cannot be real brings me to understand that anything that changes has no substantiality, no realness in it. How can I say I exist when existence itself is beyond my control? How can “I” – what I thought is permanent existing on a body that is entirely breaking apart each moment and to be arise again the next moment? And what about the mind? How can I say the mind is me when I would not even know when and what it is going to happen in the next moment? I can only know how it works by observing the causal relationship of the conditionings but I can’t change or fix it. I can only pop in a new cause or a few causes and allow the effect(s) to take its natural course.

So if the body and mind is devoid of “I” how can it be called “alive”?
When I identified with my body and mind I am never, never alive, though I may seems to live and die in the end.
When I finally go beyond the body and mind, beyond the conditioning of all things, in that “space” there is no death. That is when the “living” will not die.

To quote a sentence from the Dhammapada:

Heedfulness is the path to the deathless. Heedlessness is the path to death.
The heedful do not die. The heedless are as if dead already.

Beyond the illusion of Ego lies deathlessness….

Ideas, Views & Beliefs

I have been observing the mind for quite awhile now and recognized that what I know is all I know. I can’t know what I have yet to know except to know that I don’t know. So I can only knows what I know and don’t know. I can’t know beyond these two. Will there be any possibility that there is an area call I don’t know that I don’t know? If I know such area I am still in one of the space of knowing what I don’t know and not really experiencing I don’t know that I don’t know. You have to digest a slowly to understand the tongue twisting lines of what I have just shared. It is not possible to don’t know entirely as it is already preceded by knowing you don’t know. I am not talking of knowing in the context of object but the subject itself.

So what is it that I know? Know is something that already existed in mind. If it has not existed in mind, the mind would not understand what it is been shown except as an entire new experience totally. Upon experiencing it, it becomes a knowing, sometimes comes with understanding. Bear in mind that knowing and understanding is not related at all. So knowing is a second hand knowledge of what has been experienced. Yeshua calls it the second symbol. Just a symbol, nothing great about it.

In truth what we knows are merely a bundle of ideas, concepts, thoughts, views or mere beliefs. They are devoid of substance. And yet, at the same time, they can be useful tools directing us to the Truth. It can also direct us away from the Truth!

There are ideas that set you free and there are ideas that imprison you. The Buddha mentioned Right Views and Wrong Views to mean pathways that lead to freedom or imprisonment. Quoting Yeshua again:

A wise fisherman cast his net into the sea. When he drew it up it was full of little fish. Among them, he discovered a large, fine fish. He threw all the little fish back into the sea, and he chose the large fish. Anyone here with two good ears should listen.

In my system, or rather the personality of who I am, are merely a bundle of two kinds of ideas – Right Ideas and Wrong Ideas ( I am using idea the same as views, beliefs, concepts etc). Other than that I can’t exist. So it is true to say existence comes from the appearance of ideas.

If you wish to be free and peaceful, keep questioning your ideas, particularly manifesting in your thoughts. Most of them are not real and true. Only when you are present to your thoughts are you able to meet it with understanding. That is what I meant when I say knowing and understanding is entirely different. It is the same as saying knowledge and wisdom is far apart.

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