The subject and object part 2:
Part 1 is here: https://freestone.wordpress.com/2008/10/14/the-subject-and-object/
Below is a follow-up of IDP Saturday class this week.
There are billions of moments in one snap of fingers. There are moments you hear. There are moments you don’t hear. Your ears hear, but you don’t hear. The moment you hear, subject and object are unified. The moment you don’t hear, the subject and object are separate. When the subject and object are separated, what is created in between is the limited space that we human beings tend to identify as the (illusionary) self. Because of that (illusionary) self, at that moment, you don’t hear. If you stay in that state for too long, you get hit by a car.
When you are sleeping, your ears still hear. But you don’t hear because your being is sleeping. But if you don’t have dreams, it is easy for your being to wake up to the sounds. So dream is the thing that stands in between your body and your being. When your being wakes up, you can hear again. So indeed, thinking is dream like. Dream is things that come up randomly. So if you are trapped in thinking, it is like day dreaming. Your thoughts are scattered.
Breathing is one fundamental activity we human beings do. If you are thinking, you cannot breath naturally. The activity of breathing is the same as the activity of the mind. You inhale, and you expand. You expand to the maximum, and you cannot expand anymore. Then you start contracting. You exhale, and reach the minimum. But you cannot stay there long either. You start inhaling and expanding again. In class, during the discussion of Right Effort, we talked about making efforts and relaxing and letting go. This is the same kind of activity that the mind does. We see here two activities are functioning. One is the living activity. The other is the dying activity. What is the living activity? The moment you realize that life is precious and you need to work hard to make yourself, your parents, your friends, your loved ones, and everyone else to be happy, that is the living activity. So you start expanding. You expand to the maximum until there is no need to expand anymore. Then you realize that such an active pushing forward is (very subtly) a distortion or mistaking of reality. You don’t need to tell your ears to listen. Your ears already heard the sound before you have a chance to tell them to listen. To hear the sound, you have to give yourself up. Then you can hear. Otherwise, you cannot hear. So you have to do the dying activity. You realize that you need to just receive, just follow the flow. So you start contraction. Then you can rest your tiring body and become spacious. When you reach the minimum, you don’t need to contract anymore. Then you realize that you have taken so much love in this world, thus you need to work hard. So you start expanding again.
So mind activity is the same as the breathing activity. When there is no thinking, mind follows the activity of expanding and contracting naturally. We can see here why breathing activity is fundamentally difficult. The other fundamentally difficult activity is sex, which we also covered recently. We can see the same expansion and contraction activities between a couple.
If I understand correctly, when you are just doing things and not thinking, you are in a state that subject and object are not separated. Being mindful, I guess, doesn’t have to be in a state that subject and object are separate. But it seems that the way people interpret mindfulness tends to lead to a state that subject and object are separated, e.g. the person stands on the side of the subject and are mindful of the object. I am just speculating here since I don’t do mindful practice particularly myself.
So when we are doing sitting meditation, we inhale. We are hearing all the time. We exhale. We are hearing all the time. You are not separated. (Here we can see why sitting still and not to be bothered by the pain are important in sitting meditation.) By practicing this, after we stand up from the cushion and start engaging in daily activity, our minds inhale and exhale, but we are always connected and not separate.
These are just some words to help the practice. So it is better you discard them immediately. Knowledge is only for people who acknowledge thinking unconditionally. So I fill you with more knowledge. As you get more and more knowledge, you will reach the limit of knowledge and realize that knowledge is very limited. If you can just put it down now, you will experience the limitlessness immediately. All the knowledge is for people who have problems. If you don’t have self, you will have no problems. You then don’t need all the knowledge here.
Here is the link for the gmail drunk emailing prevention (which came up during the discussion of Right Effort). What is funnier than I told in class is that gmail will ask you several math question to test if you are drunk or not. So if you cannot solve the questions, google will say: “Dude, you are too drunk. Stop sending email and go back to your bed.” 🙂 It was said that the western culture relies more on external things. I think this is a wisdom too. For a Buddhist, it doesn’t matter what social circumstance is, you should always be able to go beyond it. But for a society in general, it is better to have a better social structure so a higher percentage of the population can live in a way more akin to the natural way of human beings, e.g. the peaceful way, and thus have a chance to discover their own nature.
Note: the content here will always be continously revised. So please don’t take my words for it.