The traditional wording of this week’s slogan is a bit obscure – Seeing confusion as the four kayas / Is unsurpassable shunyata protection. I’m not sure if Norman Fisher’s version is any better – See confusion as Buddha and practice emptiness. Although the wording of the slogan may seem abstract, what it is pointing to is quite accessible intellectually. Actual experience of it may be a bit more complicated and/or evasive. But first, some definitions: The four kayas refer to the four stages of perception or how we perceive the world. It seems closely related to what we call the five aggregates (we can talk about how the two compare at the sit). Shunyata refers to a sense of openness. It is non-judgmental awareness and is closely related to what we call non-self.
This slogan points to the need to understand the mechanics of the mind. It is about learning, observing and practicing experiencing how the mind operates – mechanically. The mind is a pretty well-oiled machine. It operates out of its own mapping without paying us – or the present moment – any attention. It moves automatically and habitually. This means that the mind follows whatever sequencing we have around emotions such fear, anger, sadness, happiness, peacefulness, etc.; people, such as family, friends, co-workers, enemies, neighborhood business workers, etc.; places, such as work, school, home, dentist office, grocery store, department store, etc.; and things, our cars, phones, favorite objects, food, etc. regardless of whether we are aware of the sequencing or not. The problem is that this sequencing is controlling our lives. Unless we pay attention, we cannot interrupt, change, delay or prevent our reactivity or actions within the sequencing.
It is hard to see this sequencing when our intellect seems clear and knowing. We rarely find the space to question to truth of experiences, opinions, views or perceptions that seem fundamentally correct. The easiest way to see the fallibility of perception is when we are confused. There is a gap in confusion that allows the liberating qualities of emptiness to protect the mind and thus “this being” from the mindless habits of mind. This possibility shows up in confusion because the mind has not connected all the dots (that is why there is confusion). In my opinion, this slogan is saying – use that confusion to see the mechanical nature of mind. Be like Buddha – sit and observe the mind. Allow the confusion to protect you from the absoluteness of mind. We spend the bulk of our lives in absolutes – let the moments of confusion be an opportunity to awaken. And how do we do this…….?
Be Kind To Yourself During Times Of Confusion!
See you tomorrow night – Tuere