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Lions Roar : January 2009
SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2009 75 For 30 Years the Best of Buddhism in America: Teachings speed. Our world is geared to mechanisms to such an extent that we don’t even have to bother to think; we just push a button and it tells us what to do. We don’t even learn how to spell; we just press a but- ton and it spells for us. So in terms of education and intelligence, let alone spirituality, everything goes downhill. That is why functional- ity is a popular concept. Why bother to wear a tie if wearing clothing just means covering our body? But there is something more than that, something more than the conclusions the present world has come to about the reality of world. There seems to be something fundamentally wrong, so that we feel unhealthy, unwholesome. Pleasure has been cheapened, joy has been reduced, happiness has been computerized. So we cannot help but look back to where we came from, back to the original state, back to the back, the very back. Looking back doesn’t mean going back several thousand years, but looking back to before thinking began, before thought ever occurred. That is the cosmic, or pri- mordial mirror. Why is it primordial? Be- cause it is unconditional. Unconditional means that it is not caused by any par- ticular circumstances nor is it a reaction for or against any particular situations. Therefore it is unconditional. We could say the same thing of the ele- ments, in the physical sense. We can under- stand very clearly that earth, fire, water, air and wind are unconditional. They are not a product of reaction; they are self-existing phenomena that are there, always. If we are able to relax—relax to a cloud by looking at it, relax to a drop of rain and experience its genuineness— we can see the unconditionality of reality, which remains very simply in things as they are, very simply. When we are able to look at things without saying, “It is for me or against me,” “I can go along with this,” or “I cannot go along with this,” but when we can simply look at things very thoroughly and directly, just simply on the dot, we begin to develop some sense of awareness and precision. We are not moved by hope and fear; therefore we do not run away from things, and we do not cultivate them, either. That is the closest we could come to talking about the cos- mic mirror, the basic unconditional ground of space. A mirror does not reject or accept; it is willing to reflect anything, from the gross level up to the refined level, and it still remains a mir- ror, as it is. The basic frame of reference of the cosmic mirror is quite vast, and it is free from any form of partiality: kill or cure, hope and fear. We can have that; we have it automatically. The notion of cosmic mirror is connected with fundamental and perpetual basic goodness. The definition of basic goodness at this point is not having any beginning; therefore there is no ending. Therefore it is free from any norm, any form, anything that is created at all. It is free from creation; therefore it is basi- cally good. “Good” literally means, in the ordinary sense, “without fault,” or we could call it “flawless.” Basic good- ness is also free from decay. Why? Be- cause it is free from birth, therefore it is free from decay and death. So the very nature of the cosmic mirror is free from concept. “Cosmic” here has an unusual meaning. “Cos- mic” here means “vast.” Therefore it is unthinkable, beyond thought, beyond measure, beyond limitation, fathomless. And out of that cosmic mirror arises naturally the brilliance of the vastness—the shininess, the accommodating part, the all-pervad- ing part. That could be regarded as wisdom. But we have to be quite careful when we talk about wisdom. We are not talk- ing about wisdom in the sense of something we attain. We are not saying that originally somebody was ignorant, and then he at- tained wisdom. We are talking about wisdom without beginning, something naturally wise. Perceptions are natural expressions of that wisdom. All per- ceptions are basically the product, or not even the product but the manifestation, of the cosmic mirror, the atmosphere in which the cosmic mirror can take place. If there were no cos- mic mirror, you couldn’t have perceptions at all. PHOTOBYLIZAMATTHEWS