Wednesday, August 12, 2015
With the wider meaning, all living beings have some degree of sentience, i.e., awareness. Otherwise they would not be living beings. Traditionally, with the earlier and less sophisticated narrower views of sentience, only people were considered sentient beings having our kind of self-consciousness as our definition of intelligence, and animals and plants were not considered sentient. No recognizable self-consciousness meant no consciousness and therefore no sentience or intelligence. However, life means interaction, relationship, stimulus and response, so I include all living beings in the category set of sentient beings because responding to the environment, no matter how simplistic or limited, is the sign of "feeling" and the presence of awareness and is thus being active in the response to the environment. Therefore to me, all living beings are sentient.
Next is the question of the degree of sentience. Obviously, there is a spectrum of sentience with mammals at one end and perhaps mold or plankton at the other end. Here, I think the question of self-consciousness is relevant. While all sentient beings are sentient, not all are self-conscious to the same degree. However we have to watch for species-centric bias because as mammals, we humans can't even access the ranges of sentience on the sensory spectrum that some other mammals can. For example, we can't hear the range of sound that a dog or dolphins can. So there may be many areas of the field of sentience that we are unaware of. An open grass prairie and a redwood forest have different feelings to them for us, and these different feelings arise from them, not just our imagination. The different feelings that we are sensing are our limited perception of the sentient fields of those different plant communities.
In Buddhism, there is the concept of Buddha fields or Buddha lands which are of infinite variety and relate to all the fields of sentience of all the sentient beings. In addition to Buddha lands being other dimensions or other planets or galaxies, they are also other being's fields of consciousness, such as the Elephants' Buddha land where beings can communicate with stomping on the earth or dolphins' Buddha land where beings communicate by whistling, clicking, sounds.
When trying to assess a degree of sentience in terms of self-consciousness, the Buddhist model of the 5 Skandhas is helpful. All living beings have the activity of all five skandhas, (1) sensory data, (2) feeling-reception of senses, (3) perception (4) complex activity for identifying and responding to the perception, and (5) consciousness. It is the degree of the complexity of the fourth skandha's unconscious formations and complexes that conditions the degree of self-consciousness of the fifth skandha. From our human perspective, ants, bees, and other hive creatures appear to lack an individual self-consciousness as we would understand it, yet we perceive what appears to be some kind of group- or hive-mind self-consciousness.
Again, we are high up on the predatory food chain and have "conquered" the planet according to our own species-centric assessment, yet there is much we do not understand about other creatures, both animals and plants, and when we destroy our own ability to live on the planet by pollution, climate change, or nuclear war or power radiation, there are other species of sentient beings who will survive, and then from their perspective they will be the meek who have inherited the earth.
Sunday, August 02, 2015
I can identify with the frustration shown in this video. I can appreciate the sense of wanting to control a space as a group identified as people of African ancestry when one's whole life has felt like it has existed in a space controlled by people of European ancestry. But the seeds of racism are clearly present within that small and temporary, but racially defined, space.
When "us" and "them" become fixed into a determinative group identity, then conflict and fighting between the groups is inevitable. "Black" and "white" are just variations on the theme of "us" and "them," but it is more pernicious than many forms of "us" and "them" because the categories are perceived as "natural" and "biological" with a real biological basis for the negative projections about the "them."
Obviously there is a lot more I could say about this issue that involves the arguments regarding the institutional racism with its built-in "white privilege" that we are confronted with every day, especially when seeing the institutional racism at work in and through the entire system of law enforcement in this nation.
Also there is much to be said about how to actually address institutional racism and stop it. How are we going to overcome our own mental slavery to the very idea of race? How are we going to liberate ourselves from our own erroneous conceptualizations about humanity and our place within the human family?
But I will leave it here for now on the point that for those of us who oppose institutional racism, we need to see each other's views on the notion of race itself and learn to talk with each other about those differences if we are going to work together and be successful at ending institutional racism.
Saturday, May 09, 2015
Interesting to eavesdrop on the inner musings of a Christian grappling with the big picture of reincarnation/rebirth. As a Buddhist it is just now self-evident to me in the way that gravity has become self-evident after Newton put together the conceptual framework that allowed the new idea to be "perceived."
1. It is important to know that the Buddhist frame for karma-rebirth is not the same as other religious views of rebirth, such as the classical Hindu, the Albigensian or Rosicrucian Christian, Egyptian, Neoplatonist, etc. So, as you note, modern physics is catching up to Buddha’s view of reincarnation without individual entity, soul, or self. But in the Buddhist view this also means no universal soul or self as well.
2. As it stems from the first, the idea of karma-reincarnation is as complex and nuanced as genetics and understanding the genome, or understanding global weather patterns and climate change. We “understand” plate tectonics, but can’t predict an earthquake or volcano. We “understand” weather but can’t predict the formation of hurricanes or tornadoes and can’t foretell how the jet stream will modulate. Likewise, we can “understand” karma in a general way, but can’t predict how it will be formed in new rebirths in a specific space-time reference.
3. Karma and rebirth have absolutely nothing to do with morality or “learning from my past lives.” So the idea that memory should be there so we can learn from our past lives is an erroneous assumption. Karma means action, and the law of karma is no more “moral” than the laws of thermodynamics. When we put a hand into a flame, it hurts or worse depending on how long the hand is in the flame. We don’t say the flame is evil or that it was an immoral act or that the pain and blistering are “retribution” for our “sin” of putting our hand too close to the flame. Likewise, karma has nothing to do with the concept of “sin”, though unfortunately the idea of karma is too often translated into Western parlance using such ideas as sin or moralization.
4. The selflessness of karma and rebirth are very difficult for beginners and those attached to the idea of a self to realize. For example, take the idea “So when we die, there’s really no need any more for the ‘self’ to continue.” That represents a Western view of rebirth, because in the Buddhist view the statement is based on the false assumption that there was a self to begin with in this life. The idea of a self, is just that, an idea, an image, i.e., a self-image. Our mental processes are creating selfie images constantly and stringing them together by means of memory and this concatenation of self images is put together and called my self. But outside the mental image, there is no objective self. So since there is no self in this life, there is no self that is reborn in another life.
5. So what is reborn that warrants the prefix “re”? In the Buddhist context we can say it is the Dharmakaya, the body of reality, if we want to use religious terminology or to be poetical we simply say it is the ocean that is reborn as the wave. In the physics context we could say it is energy that is reborn. In the Christian context we can say it is God that is reborn. Every birth is the rebirth of that which is. But there is more, because there is the identity factor that connects one birth to another. And in the Buddhist context this identity factor is what creates the illusion of a self or soul passing from life to life. In our modern context of physics, we see this selfless continuity between lives in the field of wave dynamics. When a wave travels through the ocean there is no physical “thing” that is moving across the face of the waters. At any one location on the surface, such as indicated by a log or a duck, we see the object merely go up and down as the wave passes horizontally. The wave is not a “thing” at all, but the pattern of force traveling through the water creating the image of a wave. Likewise, a single life constitutes an up and down motion on the surface of the water but over “time” the up and down motions of the surface create the image of a wave traveling through the ocean, and this wave is just a force, not a thing. Thus, our rebirths are the expressions of the karmic forces that have been created and thus there is continuity without any soul, self, or entity passing from one life to another. What is reborn is just the karmic force or influence, not a thing. There is connectivity, but no “tissue,” other than what we might call God, Energy, Reality, Dharmakaya, Tathagata, Suchness, etc.
6. The burden of our forebears that we bear today is exactly right as one important dimension of the meaning of karmic fruit. We reap what we have sown and that sowing is both on the physical dimensions of earthly continuity and on the mental dimensions of continuity, but for us who live in the dimension of earthly continuity, it is more than enough to realize that our actions today will definitely bear the fruits of their development in the future generations. We are necessarily bound to those fruits as they take shape in and through the forces of space-time.
7. The idea of “sin” is very important to confront, as it is the very idea of sin that maintains sin as an influence in law of karma. This is an extremely nuanced philosophical truth that is easily and readily misunderstood by philosophical beginners and people who believe in the literalization and objectification of evil. In Buddhism, the basic “sin” is ignorance. It is the primal ignorance that creates the separation from reality that is the source of all good and evil, i.e., the source of sin. In Christian myth this is represented in the story of eating from the tree of knowledge. This myth is alive in each of us, first as our own consciousness develops form the moment of birth to our self-consciousness, and also moment to moment in our current self-consciousness. It is our own sense of separation from God (to use the Christian terminology) at any and every moment that is the continuity of eating from the tree of knowledge and is the sin of the present moment. The original sin of the separation of self and other is at the root of all suffering. Knowledge rests upon the bifurcation of our perceptions so that we can perceive reality though a frame of reference. However, the simple polarizations of perception, such as high-low, left-right, large-small, become confused with the other simple polarizations such as pain and pleasure to form complex polarizations such good and evil, and then we become self-deluded about the ontological reality of the complex polarizations because these complex bifurcations become the basis for our mentally constructed self, our self-image of our self consciousness and the separation from the “other.” Thus, the original sin is believing in the reality of our individual self as separate from others as well as separate from total reality because we have based that self on our frame of reference that includes the complex polarization of good-evil. In Zen we have a saying, that the True Good is the Good that transcends, or is not subject to, good and evil. In other words, the True God is the God that transcends the deluded dichotomy of God and Devil.
8. The idea that nirvana and heaven or analogous is correct. But suffice it to say, in both Buddhism and in Christianity both nirvana and heaven are grossly distorted and misunderstood by people who have only a superficial realization of Buddhism and Christianity, which unfortunately, means most of the people who “believe in” these religions without actually practicing and awakening to them.
Lastly, for now, the importance of understanding that all theories “are fabrications of human imagination” can not be overstated. In Buddhism, this is stated as the “mind-only” teaching of the One Mind. All views, perspectives, and constructs of consciousness are only manifestations of mind. This is not the philosophical notion of idealism, but a psychological recognition that there is no way to bootstrap ourselves out of our psyche. The very idea of a “physical world” is an idea of our psychology. This fundamental realization is so disorienting that most people flee from it in confusion or fear. It is much safer for our the stability and fixation of our self-image to believe in the stability and fixation of a physical world. However, as noted in the post, even the most sacred ideas of the physical sciences “simply break down on both infinitely large and infinitely small scales.” This is because the simple bifurcation of large-small breaks down when taken to its own ends. In fact, all oppositions and bifurcations break down when taken to their extreme ends, and this is one of the ways we can learn that the bifurcation and opposition is itself a construct of the psyche and a manifestation of mind.
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Monday, February 23, 2015
The Great Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra is the classic short sutra of Mahayana Buddhism. It is concise and condensed to minimalist perfection. Who would dare to mess with it?
I guess that means me.
While the Heart Sutra sets the standard, the one thing I have always been unhappy with are the very shortcuts that give the sutra its conciseness. It takes shortcuts with reference to the 5 skandhas, the 18 dhatus (realms of senses), and the 12 nidanas (links of causation).
For the 5 skandhas, we always (ad nauseum?) hear the formula "form is emptiness; emptiness is form" stated and restated. But when do we hear "sensation is emptiness; emptiness is sensation" or "consciousness is emptiness; emptiness is consciousness"? We don't because the Heart Sutra just says "the same with sensation, perception, mental reactions, and consciousness." That shortcut of "the same with" is just what I object to.
Then when we come to the 18 dhatus and 12 nidanas we get "and so on to."
Well, I've "fixed" the problem. LOL!
There many English translations of the Heart Sutra here is the one my sangha, Rocks and Clouds Zendo, uses with the shortcuts removed and the lists restored to their full contents.
The Great Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra
Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva, practicing deep Prajna Paramita,
clearly saw that all five skandhas are empty, transforming all suffering and distress.
form is exactly emptiness, emptiness exactly form;
sensation is exactly emptiness, emptiness exactly sensation;
,perception is no other than emptiness, emptiness no other than perception;
perception is exactly emptiness, emptiness exactly perception;
mental reaction is no other than emptiness, emptiness no other than mental reaction;
mental reaction is exactly emptiness, emptiness exactly mental reaction;
consciousness is no other than emptiness, emptiness no other than consciousness;
consciousness is exactly emptiness, emptiness exactly consciousness.
no color, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, no object of thought;
no seeing, no hearing, no smelling, no tasting, no touching, no thinking;,
no ignorance and also no ending of ignorance,
no mental reaction and also no ending of mental reaction,
no name and form and also no ending of name and form,
no six sensory abodes and also no ending of six sensory abodes,
no contact and also no ending of contact,
no sensations and also no ending of sensations,
no craving and also no ending of craving,
no grasping and also no ending of grasping,
no becoming and also no ending of becoming,
no birth and also no ending of birth,
no old age and death and also no ending of old age and death;
no suffering, no cause of suffering, no cessation of suffering, no path to cessation of suffering;
no wisdom and no attainment.
with no hindrance in the mind; no hindrance and therefore no fear;
far beyond delusive thinking, right here is Nirvana.
All Buddhas of past, present, and future live by Prajna Paramita,
Therefore know that Prajna Paramita
is the great sacred mantra, the great vivid mantra,
the unsurpassed mantra, the supreme mantra,
which completely removes all suffering.
Therefore set forth the Prajna Paramita mantra,
set forth this mantra and proclaim:
Gate gate paragate parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha!
Saturday, January 10, 2015
From, Nothing is Hidden: The Psychology of Zen Koans by Barry Magid:
Difference and boundary are not words that we normally value in Buddhism; they tend to stand in for everything we imagine we are supposed to overcome in the name of oneness and non separation. But how we handle difference will be one of the hallmarks of our mature practice. We can't eliminate difference and we can't blend opposites into a conflict free synthesis--or mush.
(Book review here.)
Fascinating. The valuation of words is a topic in itself. Generally, in the Zen lineage of the Buddha Dharma, words are distinguished between being living words and dead words. So, are the terms "living" and "dead" themselves words of difference or words of distinction? Is there a difference or a distinction between the words "difference" and "distinction"?
I would say that when we see "distinction as a difference" then that is distinct and different from seeing "difference as a distinction."
This is what the Sixth Ancestor Huineng was teaching in Chapter 10 of the Platform Sutra when talking about the opposites. We usually look at polarities and bifurcations as opposites that are different and separate. But Huineng teaches us that seeing the opposites as a unity whose mutual distinctions are not indicative of actual or fundamental separation is the Dharma view.
Speaking about a difference between two things (dharmas) that concludes fundamental or primary separation is giving voice to dead words. Speaking about distinctions without concluding a separation at the root is giving voice to living words. To paraphrase Huineng, if one is turned around by differences, then that is delusion. If one turns around the differences, then that is the Way.
The root is the one that is equal to zero. The twigs and leaves are distinguished.
As Layman Pang said about the snowflakes in Case 42 of the Blue Cliff Record:
Layman Pang bid adieu to Yaoshan. Shan ordered ten people who were Zen travelers to go together to the main gate to see him off. The Layman pointed to the snow in the middle of the sky and said, "The excellent snow; flake by flake it does not fall at another spot."
At that time there was Zen traveler Quan who asked, "At what spot does it fall?"
The gentleman hit once with a slap.
Quan said, "A Layman too cannot get careless."
The gentleman said, "Like this you call yourself a Zen traveler. Lao-tzu has not liberated your dependence."
Quan said, "Layman how do you make it alive?"
The gentleman again hit once with a slap and said, "The eye sees like a blind person; the mouth speaks like a mute."
Xuedou separately said, "At the first questioning point, yet grab a snowball then hit."
To discourse about it, the old wind-bag Huineng said (from Chapter 10 of The Platform Sutra):
“You who are ranked [as Dharma heirs], if you awaken in accord with this explanation; in accord with this functioning; in accord with this practice; and in accord with these doings; then you do not lose the root of the lineage.
“If there is a person asking you about a meaning, and asks about existence, go to the paired opposite of nonexistence; if asking about nonexistence, go to the paired opposite of existence. If one asks about the worldly, use the paired opposite of the saintly (the sage); if asking about the sage, use the paired opposite of the worldly. The mutual causation of the Way of dualities, gives birth to the meaning of the Middle Way. So, for a single question, a single pair of opposites, and for other questions the single (pair) that accords with this fashion, then you do not lose the principle.
“Suppose there is a person who asks, ‘What is taken for and called darkness?’ Reply and say, ‘Light is the proximate cause and darkness is the contributory cause. When light is ended, then there is darkness. By the means of light, darkness manifests; by the means of darkness, light manifests. (Their) coming and going are mutually proximate causes and become the meaning of the Middle Way.’ Other questions are without exception like this. You who are ranked among the descendants transmitting the Dharma, by relying on this teaching of turning around the characteristics you do not lose the taste of the lineage.”
For this reason too, Zen Master Dongshan set up the Five Positions as another way to deal with this question of the appearance of differences within unity.
Sunday, January 04, 2015
Often Zen students, and even some Zen teachers, are confused about the Japanese terms kensho, "to see the nature" (Japanese けんしょう ; Chinese 見性 jianxing) and satori, "to awaken" or "awakening" (Japanese さとり; Chinese 悟 wu), and assume that the terms describe enlightenment as if there is only one kind of enlightenment. In this way, some students may project onto the teacher the idea that because the teacher has experienced an awakening that is called kensho or satori therefore the teacher is fully enlightened and in some manner omniscient or infallible. This is a grave error on the part of the student, and if the teacher encourages such projections, then the teacher is putting the student into a straight jacket and chains.
In Buddhism (i.e., the Buddha Dharma), the Sanskrit term for the full enlightenment of the historical Buddha is anuttara-samyak-sambodhi (variously translated into Chinese as 阿耨多羅三藐三菩提;, 無上正等正覺, etc.). Leading all beings to realize for ourselves this awakening is the goal or aim of every Buddha manifesting in every world. In discussing the Buddha's awakening, confusion arises when people misunderstand primary aspects of awakening: (1) that awakening is essential and indispensable to the path of the Buddha, (2) that awakening is sudden and immediate in that it transcends temporal-spatial perspectives, (3) that from a temporal-spatial perspective cultivation of the path takes place both before and after awakening, and (4) that there are different degrees of awakening. Here I want to mainly address the fourth point, that there are different degrees of awakening, with some comment about how the fourth point relates to the other three points.
The term anuttara-samyak-sambodhi reveals within itself four basic degrees of enlightenment:
Because there are these distinguishable degrees of awakening, Zen Master Hakuin related stories of his own multiple great satoris as well as many minor satoris. The traditional depictions of training stages such as the Eight Jhanas, the 10 Bodhisattva Bhumis (Stations) or the 10 Ox Herding Pictures depict variations of the steps of cultivation both before and after awakening.
When we talk about step-by-step cultivation before awakening, we are talking about learning of and opening our mind to the possibility of awakening, developing our faith and confidence in awakening as a real experience, and taking the steps necessary to realizing awakening in our actual life. However, no matter how much we may wish it were so, there is no plain and simple formula for this step-by-step cultivation that is like a step-by-step process for learning to crochet or drive a car. Because awakening is essentially an unraveling of or seeing through our delusions and bifurcated false conceptualizations, and because our delusions and bifurcated conceptualizations have both a social and individual component, the general formulations of the step-by-step cultivation before awakening can only address those socially shared aspects of our ignorance with the final unraveling of our individual delusions and illusions occurring in an unformulated process. That is why Zen teacher Robert Aitken would say enlightenment happens as if by accident, but that our training makes us accident prone.
When we talk about step-by-step cultivation after awakening we are talking about the realization of the different degrees of awakening from initial bodhi to fully matured and complete anuttara-samyak-sambodhi. In Zen, the system known as Dongshan’s Five Positions (A.K.A., Tozan’s Five Ranks) is one such description of cultivation after initial awakening.
A Zen student should practice with a teacher who has at least an initial awakening kensho, and this is essential. A student may practice with another student who has not “seen the nature” but should not consider that fellow practitioner in the way as their teacher. Students should only look to someone with a modicum of awakening, whether called kensho or satori, at their teacher. However, students should not be deceived (by themselves or another) into thinking that all awakenings are equal and fungible or that training after initial enlightenment is unnecessary. This is why Zen Master Torei said:
Look! Why did the Buddha kindly, clearly, and in detail point out for you the stages of the Way? All of them are means to advance and progress in true training after Satori – the skillful means of no means, the grades of no grade. The same holds true for Tozan’s ‘Five Ranks’, for Rinzai’s ‘Four Positions of Person and Circumstance’, and his ‘Four Positions of Guest and Host’. All are stages after Satori. (From Yoko Okuda’s translation of The Discourse on The Inexhaustible Lamp of the Zen School by Zen Master Torei Enji.)
The words of the Buddhist scriptures and the Zen ancestors are the superbly skillful means of measuring the degree of our awakening. To read the Sutras is to check our own understanding against the words of the Buddha, and if there is anything that we do not understand or comprehend, then that is the measure of the shallowness or depth of our own degree of awakening. This is why Torei said:
So as to test the Dharma-Gates you have attained to, you have to check them against the Buddha's Sutras and the Treatises (Shastras), and study these again and again in detail and with insight. Always ask yourselves whether what you have attained tallies with what is said in the Sutras and Treatises.
Sunday, December 28, 2014
Western/American Buddhists need to address justifications of their existence as a distinct group within Western/American culture. The cultural conditions of India were not the same as the cultural conditions of China, Korea, and Japan, and none of them are the same as the cultural conditions of the West. It is necessary for Western Buddhists to reach some form of accommodation with Western values and sociopolitical structures and functions in order for Buddha Dharma to take root and thrive in the Western cultural ground. In China, the two main streams of cultural conditions and values that Buddhism had to address were Confucianism and Daoism. In the West, the two main streams of cultural conditions and values that Buddhists must address are the Judeo-Christian God-based theologies and scientific materialism.
On the one hand, we in the West need to engage in the two-pronged hermeneutical process of first identifying the teaching of the Buddha Dharma and then correctly interpreting it. On the other hand, we need to make accommodations to Western languages and perspectives that allow for the transplantation of Buddhist ideas without corrupting their meaning. Already in the last 50 years, we have seen examples of both successful and corrupted accommodation strategies. In my view, one of the most promising bridges for transplanting Buddha Dharma to the West and making sense of the apparently confusing variety of Buddhist schools and practices is the One Vehicle.
Avalokitesvara bodhisattva again addressed the Buddha and declared, “World Honored One. it is such that the World Honored One articulates as if the Listener-disciple Vehicle and again as if the Great Vehicle are only the One Vehicle. What is the intimate idea of this?”
Buddha told Avalokitesvara bodhisattva saying, “Good Son, it is as if from within the Listener-disciple Vehicle, that I proclaim and articulate the own-nature of every kind of the various things (dharmas), and actually designate the five clusters (skandhas), or the internal six loci, or the external six loci, and such are the classifications. Then accordingly, from within the Great Vehicle, I articulate that Dharma that is identical with the One Dharma-realm and identical with the One Universal Principle.
"For that reason, I do not articulate that the nature of the vehicles is different, or from within them that there are such words by which the false meanings may give rise to discriminating one classification [of vehicle] as aggrandized and one classification as diminished. Or again, that from various vehicles, different principles of the Way are designated that oppose each other and thus are unfolded to convey and generate disputations. So within this is what is called the intimate idea.” (T16n0676_p0708a13 to a21)
[Note: The internal six loci are the six "places" of sensory reception, and the external six loci are the six "places" of sensory data, and together the six inner loci and six outer loci are the twelve loci, the twelve ayatanas (十二處) or locations within the field of the mind.]
Saturday, November 15, 2014
I have finished the first draft of my English translation of Guṇabhadra's Chinese translation of
I've written the following dedication for the translation.
Separately, I composed the following verse in praise of the One Vehicle.
Ode to the One Vehicle
Everyone of the multitude of beings in every case has Buddha Nature
And without exception are led to enter the Way of the One Vehicle.
Always silent and always illuminating.
Directly pointing to one’s own mind immediately reveals true nature,
And opens the knowing and seeing of the Buddha.
With the worldly and the sacred one and the same,
Only the Bodhidharma lineage transmits the inheritance by means of mind.
The mind is the fountainhead of the Dharma.
Then thought after thought in every case is the One Buddha Vehicle.
If that mind is entirely extinguished,
There is no vehicle as well as someone in the vehicle.
All things are completely the evidentiary things of the One Mind.
The One Mind is completely the One Mind of all things.
All things completely then are True Mind.
By flowing unobstructed, consequently all things are wonderful medicine.
Therefore all things are like appearances in the mirror.
The essence of the one true heart-mind
Is indeed one’s own essence of true suchness.
That which is Dharma knows the One Vehicle.
In every case consider the Dharma of the One Vehicle as the real truth
Likewise, the One Vehicle necessarily includes the various vehicles;
While the various vehicles do not reach the One Vehicle
Because the various vehicles immediately are the One Vehicle,
Those who gain the One Vehicle
Gain the unexcelled unified equality-enlightenment (anuttara-samyak-saṃbodhi),
Always abiding in the Dharma-realm,
Able to touch and yet immediately to pass through.
Saturday, September 27, 2014
In an important essay on our Summer of White Supremacy , author Bridgett Davis surveys the United States of Fear that many of our citizens must live within. However, by its own terminology and frame of reference, the article contains the seed of its own failure because it adopts the falsehood at the core of white supremacy, that is, it assumes the very core of the model of reality, i.e., the premise of "race," that white supremacy created to foster its ideological goals. As long as we continue to assume the framework that race exists, then we have adopted and clothed ourselves in the framework of the white supremacy movement, and we are subtly promoting the very perspective that we are against.
Put another way, a black and white television is a colorblind television; so if we don't want to be colorblind, then we need to get out of the framework of seeing the world of human diversity in the colorblind terminology of "black" and "white." The very slogan "the denial of black humanity" actually does deny the humanity of everyone in the category of "black" by its own framework. Humanity can not be divided into "black humanity" and "white humanity," and to divide humanity so only falls into the scheme created by white supremacy. Thus, even as one would argue for the equal humanity of black humanity, one has already given into and adopted the falsehood of the ideological model of the white supremacists, i.e., that there is a "white humanity" and a "black humanity" instead of only one humanity that comes in many different colors, none of which are "white" or "black."
Here's a simple test. If you think you are "white," then just place your hand on a sheet of plain white paper and tell me that your hand is the same color. Obviously, it is not. When you can state the color of your hand as it really is, without using the word "white," then you will have liberated yourself from the colorblind state of mind that the white supremacists have brainwashed people with for centuries.
Similarly, for those who of you who think you are "black." When you can state your own skin color without using the word "black" and refer to people of European ancestry without the fake name "white", then you will have liberated yourselves from the colorblind state of mind that the white supremacists have brainwashed us with for centuries.
Until we throw off the imaginative and linguistic shackles of the mind that force us to view people and speak of them as "white" or "black," we will never be able to free ourselves from the worldview created by white supremacists and prevent white supremacy from continuing to reign supreme in our land.