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Book of Eights: Chapter 5

FosdickFosdick in its eye are mirrored far off mountainsAlaska, USA Veteran

Alas, no verses in this chapter liken the habits of people to those of monkeys. I am so fond of this metaphor that I sometimes wonder if it has not become a 'view' of mine. But then, I also sometimes think that it may do a disservice to monkeys.

Chapter 5 discusses and illuminates the letting go of all views, and I guess that the views referred to are largely religious views, those which are not supported by objective evidence that can be weighed and balanced, but only by individual and collective thoughts and feelings with no substantive basis outside of the mind and senses. By this token

What one relies on in order to see all else as inferior
Is an entanglement, say those who are skilled.

I guess I am most struck by the verse (referring to monastics, and more broadly I suppose to anyone seeking wisdom)

Nor would they think of themselves
Inferior or superior (to others)
And they shouldn't take themselves as equal.

That's great. Not better, not worse, and not equal. What's left? Unmitigated Thusitude, no doubt about it.

Who has gone beyond
Does not fall back (on belief),
Is one who is Thus.

lobster

Comments

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Don't think of a monkey! ;)

  • FosdickFosdick in its eye are mirrored far off mountains Alaska, USA Veteran
    edited August 30

    @lobster, you always have a good word. The monkey is thus, we are thus, but "who has gone beyond" has realized and knows that he/she is thus, and does not fall back into ignorance. That eliminates the monkey, presumably.

    Monkeys are nothing if not ignorant - in my equally ignorant youth, I once had one that jumped into a toilet and pulled the lid down on himself, only his little hands still visible beneath the lid. --- I can relate to that.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @Fosdick said:
    That eliminates the monkey, presumably.

    Above my pay grade. I feel that is a rarity achieved by those unusually dedicated and devoted to practice. Enlightenment is awareness of/in non-monkey 'space' shall we say but the complete absence is not required or possible for every unborn awaree ...

    Monkeys are nothing if not ignorant - in my equally ignorant youth, I once had one that jumped into a toilet and pulled the lid down on himself, only his little hands still visible beneath the lid. --- I can relate to that.

    Tee hee.
    Good metaphor for those of us wondering why we manage to remain in the samsara toilet ...

    Nor would they think of themselves
    Inferior or superior (to others)
    And they shouldn't take themselves as equal.

    Positionless. Beginner Mind.
    We as ego/persona/expression/being are unique.
    As Buddhas we have no equal, no qualities of being this, that or the other ...

    Emptiness is form and form is emptiness ... as I like to hear - often ...

  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran
    edited August 31

    This chapter spoke to me quite powerfully. Especially this quatrain:

    Letting go of what is taken up,
    The person free of grasping
    Doesn't depend on knowledge
    Or take sides when factions disagree,
    Or fall back on any kind of view.

    It reminds me of the thought-less-ness of my mind after sleeping. When the fragments of dream have dissipated, there is just blissful emptiness as I twist at the coffee pot first thing in the morning.

    The whole process of inner letting go which I have been encountering over the past few months has left me feeling light and clean... first dropping many fears, then dropping many goals. Now this, but I have to say I don't yet feel ready to drop views :)

    Letting go is one of those things which we encounter again and again during practice, from the first bit of craving to wholesale pieces of memory when we are done with them. A baby doesn't have any views when it comes into the world, in a way we seek to return to that purity of being. But letting go of views seems to me something that should be done gradually, with care, when the moment is right and the bonds of clinging to views are weak.

    Letting go can be done with every out breath, up to the very last...

    It is odd, like this poem has made me aware of something inside which is a clinging-to-views. I notice every time today when I'm called upon to express an opinion that I'm offering a view... when I think of letting go of views, it's almost like I feel places of attachment. Very curious.

  • paulysopaulyso usa Veteran

    hi kerome.im learning to be selective in views.right view,is helpful construct of mind in the eight fold component raft,a later revise form of buddhaawakening non clinging.i will one day buy this book.no ncling to views that is unimprtant,cling to views that is relevent to the path,suchas dharma to un binding and ease.my 2cents opinion.

  • i will one day buy this book

    Today is 'one day'. o:)

  • paulysopaulyso usa Veteran

    and some days is no days.just having fun.but lobster im really curious of the authors commentaries.im just waiting for it to show at the bookstore.dharma practice of patience?and p.s. karome,my opinion was in context of the first turnning of the wheel.the book seems to be the relative initial turning.the second turning,personally , inspires me.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    @paulyso said:
    and some days is no days.just having fun.but lobster im really curious of the authors commentaries.im just waiting for it to show at the bookstore.dharma practice of patience?and p.s. karome,my opinion was in context of the first turnning of the wheel.the book seems to be the relative initial turning.the second turning,personally , inspires me.

    These discussions are created especially for discussion by those reading the book.
    Until you have the book and can read it along with us, it's probably best to refrain from opinion.

    Thanks. :)

  • FosdickFosdick in its eye are mirrored far off mountains Alaska, USA Veteran

    Fair warning: I will post a thread on chapter 6 late Monday, unless someone beats me to it or thinks I should hold off.

  • FosdickFosdick in its eye are mirrored far off mountains Alaska, USA Veteran

    Another part of the text that catches my eye:

    The person free of grasping
    Doesn't depend on knowledge

    It puts me in mind of other religious (mostly Christian) writings in which 'knowledge' is denigrated and presented as undesirable. I think the difficulty is mostly semantic - what is meant by 'knowledge' ?

    To me, from childhood, the word has always denoted factual knowledge: Philosophical or religious knowledge has always been something else entirely, something concocted by those "who make up views in the world". Not to say that the latter has no value or use, but only that it is something upon which one cannot and should not depend or cling to because, among other things, it is built on shifting sand.

    But what of factual, objective knowledge? How much can one depend on that? Factual knowledge also changes and evolves, science changes and evolves, what we think we know today will change next year, next decade, next century.

    What is knowledge, in the context of this teaching?

    lobster
  • If I might suggest ...

    Factual, everyday knowledge is required for us and the chicken to cross the road. If we forget this we are rendered crazy, incapable, 'intoxicated' in Sufism. That convential grounded knowledge is important to our well being.

    Then with that base/basis we can lose it. In Buddhism through meditation and mindful awareness ... What do we lose but do not abandon if we wish to be, 'in the world but not of the whirled' to misrepresent Bodhi St John ... ?

    We lose

    • our rigidity
    • our attachment to god, dog thinking, opinions, certainty etc
    • knowledge based on ignorance, cultural norms, preferences etc

    We are on the path to seeing the bull for what it is, our ox nature for what it is and the pristine Truth for who She is.

    Buddha Nature here we come ...
    https://jessicadavidson.co.uk/2015/10/02/zen-ox-herding-pictures-introduction/

    Find and barbecue ...
    http://www.buddhanet.net/oxherd1.htm

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    @Fosdick said:

    Nor would they think of themselves
    Inferior or superior (to others)
    And they shouldn't take themselves as equal.

    That's great. Not better, not worse, and not equal. What's left? Unmitigated Thusitude, no doubt about it.

    I read it as not necessarily pointing to anything transcendent, rather it could just mean giving up the game of comparing yourself to others entirely.

    I don't know if this is right or not, but when I watch professional athletes for example, I don't generally compare myself to them at all. I could obviously say that I am superior to them in my own athleticism :glasses: but the thought doesn't occur naturally, only if I consciously bring it to mind. I imagine that sort of mindset could be reinforced and expanded upon in practice so it becomes more all encompassing.

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