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Sunday, February 8, 2015

Verse 3.12 — and so it ends

The great treasure is to be free of thought and thinking.
To know that there is originally no buddha
Is to be where wanting has never been.
With this special teaching that rots the roots of samsara
Wake up from the realm of misery. 

And so it ends. 

Experience arises. Because of our conditioning, it’s almost never exactly what we want. We want things to be a little different from what they are — a lot. We push away what we don’t like, cling to what we do like or ignore what we don’t care about. Each of those reactions involves an effort.

When we discover the possibility of making no effort — no effort whatsoever, the whole edifice of ordinary experience crumbles into dust. It crumbles because ordinary experience rests on these three fundamental emotional reactions: attraction, aversion and indifference. 

Buddha? Full awakening? What’s that? In a certain sense, we discover that we were never asleep to begin with even though it feels as if we have woken up from a bad dream.

Wanting? What’s that? Where there is nothing to grasp or oppose, wanting doesn’t even enter the picture.

The great treasure is to be free of thought and thinking. 

This line, like many others, is susceptible to misinterpretation, particularly when taken literally. Perhaps a slightly different take on a much-used metaphor will help. 

Look into the sky. The expanse of the sky does not obstruct the floating white clouds. Nor do the floating white clouds, or even the heavy dark thunderheads, obstruct the expanse of the sky.

When we take that in, something shifts and there is no more struggle.

When we know this experientially, that is, when we can be both the sky and the clouds, then, even when we are in great physical or emotional pain, when our world is a complete mess and we don’t know what to do, when nothing makes any sense and we have nowhere to turn, we are no longer dreaming in a realm of misery. We are free and at peace. Samsara has come to an end.

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