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The Joy of Uncertainty.

edited November 2010 in Philosophy
Well, as I'm here I thought I'd post a thread. Maybe people can get some benefit from it. :)

Previously, one of the biggest dissapointments in my practice would be my inability to construct a consistent 'world view' from it. I would meditate on something, have a positive outcome and then try to keep that positive outcome with me in the following days. Yet inevitably it would seem to fall apart. Whatever maxim I was using to interact with other people would eventually 'stop working' and I'd be back to he confusion and the stress. I would feel frustrated that I wasn't making any 'progress'.

Recently though I've been reading up some of the writings of the Zen Masters ('The Gateless Gate' among others) as well as the Diamond Sutra and the Heart Sutra. Meditating on Emptiness has left me with one predominant thought at the moment... what if the great certainty is uncertainty?

The Buddha says that all things are empty of permanence, including ourselves. I think we often feel our mind is a solid 'device' of some kind. We think we're pulling the levers and turning the wheels and we're trying to drive our 'self' to happiness. My thoughts have recently began to wonder... what if The mind is more like a river? It flows and passes. Never made up of the same water and simply 'reflecting' experience within itself, but never controlling or creating it. A zen poem:

The wild geese do not intend
to cast their reflections.
The water has no mind
to receive their image.

So what if uncertainty is the great treasure? If I stay mindful during the day, then I shall observe my mind, hopefully avoid doing harm to others and learn a great deal. But what about when I wake up tomorrow morning? What is the better mind? To wake up, and try hard to act upon my previously learned lessons? Or to wake up as if I had never learned anything, ready to learn it all anew?

So what do you think? Is relying (to use an odd choice of word) on the uncertainty of things a positive thing for one's practice? Bear in mind I might think something completely different tomorrow. :D


  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited November 2010
  • IronRabbitIronRabbit Veteran
    edited November 2010
    Mind, or consciousness is most definitely a stream of thoughts and ideas arising and falling away. It is true, we regard mind as a solid "thing" in which we dwell as the identity we recognize as ourselves in this lifetime. It is all trickery though, for our mind is much like our stomach and organs - though not physical, performing a function for the life form it serves. Mind seems to "contain" memories good and bad as if it is a vessel - but it is simply a construct devised through storing and linking information in neural pathways to provide the life form it serves with the comfort (or horror in some cases) of an identity. Wisdom is beyond learning and storing information. Self is beyond identity and memory. Emptiness is not what results from pouring liquid from a vessel or a mind void of thought. Emptiness of independent self is, was and shall ever be the point of meditation. Emptiness is form - form is emptiness.
  • edited November 2010
    Uncertainty is a great motivating factor.

    We are uncertain of our next rebirth. Engender bodhicitta now.
    We are uncertain of the time of our death. Engender bodhicitta now.
    We are uncertain of our mood in the morning. Engender bodhicitta now.
    We are uncertain of the next moment. Engender bodhicitta now.

    Our precious human rebirth is a "great treasure"; take advantage of it, as we are all uncertain of what is to come.
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