For one who sees, there is no thing - mission 02
Seeing our own seeing
The title of this post comes from the Buddha in the Udana - For one who sees, there is no thing. What can this mean? There is seeing, but no 'thing' that is seen?
There's a school of Buddhism called the Yogacara, or the Mind Only school. So you might think that they believed everything was made up of ‘mind’, in a literal sense. But actually it’s more that they just weren’t into speculation.
They took this really helpful view, that all we have is our experience, all we can know is our own knowing, and anything beyond this is pure speculation.
So right now there's a visual image of a laptop, and tactile sensations of my fingers tapping keys, but is there an actual laptop out there, outside of my experience?
How could I know?
Rather than alienating us from the so-called ‘world out there’ this view brings us into an immediate intimacy with our self and everything in our world. Suddenly what seemed to be ‘out there’ is very close, in fact it is a part of us, arising in our experience, in our perception.
Their starting point was this – we have our experience and that is all we have, if we are to find reality, this is were we have to find it. If we are going to wake up, we have to wake up to our experience.
What is seeing?
I love the quote above, it makes me laugh, do we really believe we are the centre of the universe? That because we experience a world of colour, shape, light and shadow then that is what the world is made of?
What he is saying is that we live in a world of colour, shape, light and shadow because we have eyes, because we have a visual sense. If we had different senses, our world would be different.
And wouldn't it be an amazing coincidence if all that exists 'out there' happened to coincide with the very sense organs we have? That the world was made of tastes, sights, smells, textures and sounds?
Todays assignment is for those of us lucky enough to have eyes that work.
Take an object, or a small scene and just sit with it a while.
As you are looking at the object become aware that what you are experiencing is a perception, a visual perception.
What is actually there we cannot know. But this visual perception is clear and intimate.
How does this reflection change what you see?
Record what you notice in some way - this can be done with a pen and paper, a camera, an audio recorder. Feel free to share in the comments section below.