Self

07. “most secret working”

Obediently, the disciple then asked: “What, then, is my own mind (or nature)? What is my inner self? What is ultimate reality?” For this is the question that had really been troubling the disciple.

The master said: “You must see into the secret working.”

“What is the secret working?” asked the disciple.

The master opened and closed his eyes. And this, we are told, opened the inquisitive monk’s mental eye to the secret working of ‘pure experience’.”

– D . T. Suzuki: ‘The Buddhist Conception of Reality’

Our inner evolutionary potential is that of “the primordial cosmic atom.” At “the first flutter of the manvantaric life breath,” – the outbreathing of the Great Divine Breath, so to speak, spoken of in “The Secret Doctrine” – i.e. at the very beginning of the Universe, the Primordial Cosmic Atom (the One Element) becomes differentiated.

– The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, Letter 15, 1882, Theosophical University Press Edition

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14. “world of appearances”

…although the spiritual world is within us, it is also outside us. Just as it was enough to learn within ourselves in order to discover this world, so it is enough to learn how to outside ourselves in order to perceive the spiritual world behind the world of appearances.

– Pierre Hadot: ‘Plotinus Or the Simplicity of Vision’, 1963

Actions with attachments bind us to the world of appearances; to the continual doing of more actions. But there is another way of performing action, and this is without desire and without fear. The doer of the non-attached actions is the most conscientious of men. Freed from desire and fear, he offers everything he does as a sacrament of devotion to his duty (surrenders all his actions to the Lord). All work becomes equally and vitally important. It is only toward the results of work – success or failure, praise or blame – that he remains indifferent. When action is done in this spirit, Krishna teaches, it will lead to the knowledge of what is behind action, behind all life; the ultimate Reality. And, with the growth of this knowledge, the need for further action will gradually fall away from us. We shall realize our true nature, which is God, sat-chit-ananda.

– Bhagavad Gita: ‘Yoga of the Despondency of Arjuna’

Thus also, on account of the existence of the former (qualities), (admitted) owing to reference and so on, there is absence of contradiction, (as) Bâdarâyana (thinks). Thus also, i.e. although it be admitted that intelligence only constitutes the true nature of the Self, also the former nature, i.e. lordly power like that of Brahman, which is intimated by reference and the rest, is – with a view to the world of appearances – not rejected; and hence there is no contradiction. This is the opinion of the teacher Bâdarâyana.

– The Vedanta Sutras of Bâdarâyana, Commentary by Sankara, tr. by George Thibaut, 1896

15. “sense attractions”

The downward spiral to one’s ruin consists of the following process: Brooding on (or merely thinking about) worldly attractions develops attachments to them. From attachments to sense objects come selfish desires. Thwarted desires cause anger to erupt. From anger arises delusion. This causes confusion of the mind and makes one forget the lessons of experience. Forgotten lessons of experience cloud the reason, which results in loss of discrimination (between Truth and non-Truth, Real and not-Real). Finally, losing the faculty of discrimination makes one veer from life’s only purpose, achieving union with the Divinity within. Then, unfortunately, one’s life itself is wasted. But when you can move about in a world that surrounds you with sense attractions, and yet be free of either attachment or aversion to them, tranquility comes and sits in your heart – and you are absorbed in the peace and wisdom of the Self within. Serenity, Arjuna, is the point at which all sorrow ends!

– Bhagavad Gita: ‘The Path of Knowledge’

If one sits motionless but with one’s mind ever thinking of sense attractions, that too is engaging in action. If you think that merely being motionless is being actionless, you are being a hypocrite and deluding yourself.

– Bhagavad Gita: ‘The Path of Action’

37. “At home with voids, reality, and self sums, products of zero “Not that”, it is “no thing”, “nil”, “nothing””

Meantime, when once we know from nothing still Nothing can be create, we shall divine More clearly what we seek: those elements From which alone all things created are, And how accomplished by no tool of Gods.

– Titus Lucretius Carus: ‘On the Nature of Things’, Book 1 (‘Substance is External’, ‘The Void’, ‘Nothing Exists per se Except Atoms And The Void’). See Marshall Clagett: ‘Greek Science in Antiquity’ 1955 and revised 1963.

Although yu, yet wu. Although wu, yet yu. “Although yu, yet wu” is a denial of Being. “Although wu, yet yu” is a denial of nothingness. In this way, it is not that there is no thing, but that things are not truly (substantial) things. If things are not truly (substantial) things, in what way are they “things”?

– Seng-chao (Sengzhao)