Is this vessel mine or yours? pure or impure? full or empty?
Cook from p 60, Hixon from p 61
Is this vessel mine or yours? pure or impure? full or empty?
Cook from p 60, Hixon from p 61
This weeks reading was so wonderfully poetic. I would summarize by the following:
Upon transmission the vessel is found to be insubstantial; like echos from a bell no need for a container.
Not much to say. I disagree with hixon's assertion that each transmission goes deeper than the last. Certainly one is not higher than the other, certainly they are not on the same level, certainly one is no deeper than the previous. Walking along the ground you come upon stairs to the top of your bamboo pole which you must promptly fall off of into a pit only to wake up to the idea you haven't even taken a step.
What ounce of the past can you hold in your gourd? What cloud or star can you make ring with a striker? Start listening, they have never stopped ringing.
Like a potterer creates something around nothing, and thus creates nothing, so do we.
I specially enjoyed how the vessel which seemed to be the main subject of discussion dissapears at the end. We care about our minds, purifying them, improving our practice, but when he reach the "end" we realise that there was no mind to worry about, and so it dissapears, like the vessel in the story.
It also makes me think how the vessel doesn't break, to make the situation more dramatic. It just dissapears. It doesn't break as there was nothing in the beginning, so nothing could break. Same thing with our mind.
Also, I was wondering. Are there contemporary stories of transmission of the light, like detailing how in 2000 a master passed the light to a disciple?
Heh great minds think alike (or warped ones wobble alike... ) I was thinking the same thing. Ill post something on the readings soon as i read ops:Originally Posted by da5id
Throughout these two books a vein is slowly taking form : dropping preconceptions, letting go of the need to control, affirmations, intellectualisations, breaking barriers and limitations... and here the self, myself or the self others want me to be, in order to be just Self.
Am I ready to accept the elusive ? to be elusivity ?
In peace in the fathomless
Free from the desire to grasp
I read Cooks a few weeks ago and I found and Hixon's played well together for me.
this stood out to me from Hixon's writing:
Though Vasumitra was open and ready to receive, by something, when he wasn't searching, this new Buddha was filled up to the brim.The offered vessel is always impure, no matter how clean and clear the disciple is, no matter how spiritually advanced. There always remains the subtle impurity of falsely perceived duality-- between master and disciple, between enlightenment and something else.
Disappearing vessels? I thought we were through with magic with Micchaka? :roll: :wink:
The vessel is a symbol of buddha nature. Yeah, I got that.
Wine as a symbol of impurity. Yeah, I got that.
That the vessel disappears is a symbol of buddha nature not belonging to either of them. Yeah, I got that.
That Keizan says this story makes no sense to people today. Yeah, I really got that! But then Hixon helped me out a lot.
Is the ringing of a bell the vessel or what the vessel contains?
Neither are two, nor are they one.
They just are.
Same for students and teachers
Raising up/lowering down
Neither the who
Nor the where
Letting go of any symbols of attachment and allowing this moment, which is always here. Gourd and self gone within the light. Gassho
One line of Hixton's comment has resonated with me:
"When the teacher is ready, a student will appear."
I have heard the reverse of this many times, and I find Hixton's take on it both refreshing, and encouraging.
Still, I balk at the notions of pure and impure when there is no vessel to be called pure and impure.
Jordan, maybe it's more that when someone is ready to teach a student will appear.
Many good post above, Thank you. I have nothing that I can add intellectually, but did want to share what my mind cooked up as I read.
This time the picture of Vasumitra wandering about howling with his wine vessel reminded me of the ranting drunk homeless people I have encountered downtown, or the clearly crazy guy who walks down main street yelling at the world and no one in particular. Along with everyone else I tend to ignore them or look away, or in the more extreme cases watch them guardedly and pull my daughter just a bit closer to my side.
This made me pause and wonder, how easlily we disregard the mentally troubled souls walking the city streets......as silly as it seems I wonder is it possible I am the damaged one? Who is that crazy guy talking to, what does he see that I do not. Am I missing something? What if we all got it wrong and that guy claming to be Jesus ressurected was the real deal? Too bad the cops just sent him off to the funny farm. :shock:
O.k. enough being silly, I have fun with my thoughts some times. I just thought it interesting. Good thing I guess that Michaka saw through the craziness,
thank you for tolerating mine. :lol:
Wow D and you said you had nothing intellectually to add. Add you did ... a great teaching. Thanks! Gassho zakOriginally Posted by Dday
The line that went "gonnnnnnggggg" with me was from the Cook edition:
"You will receive my Dharma because it is your intrinsic nature. Not one thing is received from someone else, and not one thing is given to another."
So far in these stories of transmission I have noticed that each Master ends up telling the disciple/new master something to the effect that they have always been the same only one neede to rise up to the other and the other needed to flow down to the other. Here we read about how the disciple finds his master's head and the master finds his disciple's feet. One flows into the other, and the other and the other. It is the same Light being transmitted from the beginning, not a new light. It is just that finally the disciple can see it.
The imagery of this case calls the Sufis distinctly to mind, from the emphasis on a vessel of wine, a highly significant metaphor in Sufism, to Hixon speaking of the longing between student and teacher, master and successor, like Rumi's longing for Shams.
The passage in Keizan's teisho that sticks out most for me isEvery object, every being,
is a jar full of delight.
Be a connoisseur,
and taste with caution.
Any wine will get you high.
Judge like a king, and choose the purest,
the ones unadulterated with fear,
or some urgency about "what's needed."
Drink the wine that moves you
as a camel moves when it's been untied,
and is just ambling about.
Even though what Keizan is pointing to is that this impurity, as Hixon writes, is "the subtle impurity of falsely perceived duality," it strikes me too that we always remain "impure" because we cannot transcend the conditions of this world. This makes me think of the koan (I think it may be from the Mumonkan) of the ox passing most of the way through the window, but only the tail won't go through. The tail remains; the vessel nevertheless remains impure. The only impurity exists in the thinking mind... but the thinking mind can never be completely discarded, at least not for extended periods of time. It is part of our natural function.Even if you realize that the mind is the Way and clarify the fact that the body is the Buddha, it is still an impure vessel. In that case, it violates purity. even if you understand that it existed in the past and the present, and realize that it is fundamentally complete, it nevertheless remains an impure vessel.
I think too of all the brilliant teachers of Dharma the world has known who nonetheless had significant flaws, ones that many would consider marks of impurity: exploitative sexual relationships, alcoholism, monetary greed. Some people conclude that people with such flaws had no realization. I do not agree. Delusion and wisdom, samsara and nirvana, must necessarily coexist. "It is still an impure vessel."
It is not that I am saying that we have some fundamental flaw we cannot overcome, some "original sin" that taints us, but that what we, in our loftiest spiritual moments, deem "impure" is a fundamental part of our humanity.
We imagine how we might be better than what we are... but if things were as sterile as they are in our transcendent spiritual fantasies, nothing would function.
This world as we know it functions on impurity. Species develop through mutation, what is a waste product to one organism is a source of food for the next. Stinky, filthy swamps, full of decay, give rise to verdant life.
If it were not for the radioactive decay of light photons in the early universe, matter would never have existed.
What is "impurity"? What is it, that some of our greatest human heroes were saddled with qualities we find distasteful?
"It is still an impure vessel."
We live on a planet changed by the waste products of our burgeoning technology, in a solar system doomed to a final death when the sun expands and dies.
We live in bodies that get sick and die, and don't do what we want them to. No matter what sorcery we use, we can only fend off our eventual decay to a limited degree. We have thoughts we don't like and do things we wish we didn't do. We don't have the discipline and grace we wish we had. We say stupid things and embarrass ourselves. Oh, how much nicer life would be if we had no such impurities.
But would it really?
If everything were in perfect equilibrium, change would never happen. Life could not exist. That one slip, that one wobble, that one spot of chemical disequilibrium, sets the entire show in motion.
We are perfectly, seamlessly, this Earth and this Universe. We are the fulmination of strange and disgusting processes from the entire span of space and time. We do not need a Pure Land because we know we cannot excise ourselves from the fabric of the Whole and plop ourselves somewhere else. "All the way to Heaven is Heaven."
Vasumitra, mad, howling, passionate, full of longing, drunk, was a holy man with a golden aura, whose cup was the Holy Grail and whose drink was the lifeblood of all creation. His golden holiness and his madness, his filth and his resplendence, coexisted. To extract his clean and holy qualities from the impure vessel of drunkenness and madness, to distill and purify... to do so would be to kill the whole being that brought forth Light into the world.
"If I exorcise my devils, well my angels may leave too--and when they leave, they're so hard to find." -Tom Waits
Let us celebrate the absolute lack of need to remove the impurities we perceive in the world and in each other, because...
...it is still an impure vessel.