Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Beyond Karma and Rebirth: Action, Non-Action and Transcendence

As in the I Ching, or Book of Changes, yin and yang, action and non-action are the two keys to unlock the significance of daily life. Just like an on-off switch can control something as complicated as electricity, so do action and non-action, movement and rest allow us to respond properly to life's change. (Yi Wu, I Ching: Book of Changes and Virtues, 1998) In each instance the understanding the transcendant source is what is important. As long as we choose to either act in sincerity or receive in humility appropriately, without desire, without preconceptions, we stay true to this source. In each case, moving or resting, outside change, the surface, karma, is most important as seen in relation to the transcendent source. If we do not return to the source then we again delude ourselves in the surface world of karma. Here we see again that it is not the surface world of change and interaction that is important but it is honoring the source within ourselves and other people. As long as we concern ourselves with the thin veil of outer change, as opposed to the infinite world of the source within ourselves and within others, we live in the illusory, disconnected world of karma. So when we act, we do so from deep sincerity, creating in the receptive world. When we practice non-action we do so with complete humility, allowing all the creative influence of outside objects to perform their deeds without obstructing them. In each case the surface world is not the important thing. It is desirelessness, true self, true nature as manifest through sincerity and humility, which is the primary concern. It is this true self with which the true scholar is concerned. It is this true self manifest as we cultivate to become a Sage within our inner world, and King without in the outer world that is significant. The superior person remains with this deeper unchanging self in every circumstance.
Thus we see in the Hua-yen, T'ien-tai, and Ch'an Schools of Buddhism the one truth, the one mind, and the inside nature as the highest level of learning. This infinite unity, the underneath, is the inside nature of all things. Thus understanding of the unchanging is to gain a transcendent perspective on change, or Karma. This is a perspective from which we can see more clearly our responsibility and our unique role in this life. One thought can lead to 3,000 worlds. The scholar must seek the way to non-thought and embody non-thought in this life in order to reach the one transcendent thought. Grounding ourselves upon and returning to the one transcendent thought, we can know the essence of 3,000 worlds. If the True scholar trains his/herself in this way then he/she has the unchanging key to understand and respond to the changing world before him/her. This scholar can become timeless. This scholar understands the essence of his/her life, the change around him/her and his/her responsibility.

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