Wednesday, September 3, 2008

when a tree falls... a forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? that's the question, right? the one on tshirts and stuff. i've seen a tshirt that says if a woman nags and there's no husband to hear it, is she really nagging...or something like that. but i've been thinking a lot about this question...because there are a lot of changes people go through in a way that no one else may witness directly...and everyone tends to have a different interpretation of what or why things have changed...and that made me think of the tree falling in the forest.

i have more to say on this, but first some coffee...


Ken said...

Good question to ask. Sound as sound is a perception. Perception requires a mind. There is a whole system of thought about perception that the Buddhist tradition has produced in a metaphysical book called the "Abidharma". This book is one of three in the Tripitaka(the three gems) and is some of the very earliest Sutras(teachings). I have mentioned before the idea of interdependant Coarising.

While this teaching is very subtle I will bastardize it with a summary below. It requires a very detailed analysis by meditation to really understand the chain of cause and effect. There is NO way to express in words that realization. The canvas on which all of this plays is emptiness. While emptiness sounds like a negative priciple it is essential to the becoming. If there is no space then where can a thing come into being. This will make absolutely no sense if you are a materialist. It is easy to get wrapped around the axel when asking questions like which came first object or subject. Coarising shows they come into being as a duality. There are 12 distinct processes that will lead to suffering.

Here it is:

(1) ignorance, which leads to
(2) faulty perceptions of reality, which provide the structure of
(3) knowledge, which addresses
(4) name and form, or the principle of individual identity and the sensory perception of an object, experienced through
(5) the six domains (the five senses and their object, along with the mind), whose presence leads to
(6) contact (between objects and the senses), followed by
(7) sensation, which, being pleasant, leads to
(8) thirst and then
(9) grasping (as of sex partners), which leads to
(10) the process of becoming, culminating in
(11) birth, and at last
(12) old age and death.

Remember this is a metaphysical text. The idea of birth to most is physically being birthed into life. To me this also means to birth the ego. It can happen to the same physical person time and time again, sorta like the monkey mind. One of the techniques in meditation is to be aware of sounds around you but to refrain from trying to identify what made the sound or name it. This is training to cut this chain of becoming. What is born, dies. This is impermanence. That which is never born never dies.

The reason this is difficult to realise is we all make assumptions about our experience and one of those assumptions is the existence of objects as fixed and immutable. Our ego is one of these mental objects.

I apologize to any reader who after reading this summary never approaches this text without any bias that may have been produced by it.

To me the idea that these ideas were writting about 2500 years ago is astonishing. The mind is like a chinese finger puzzle. While almost all other civilizations were dealing with the world by force here were some people(mostly men) trying to end the cycle of violence regardless of who got the credit or glory.

earthmama said...

you made me cry... ok, not really. but that was beautiful nonetheless. thanks for sharing friend... i really enjoy when you post guides for meditations.