Tuesday, November 08, 2005

What face did you have before you were born?

Some of you will disagree with the metaphysical significance of this quote but it is marvelously subtle. Heidegger would undoubtedly have loved it.

In the present moment, when (your mind) remains in its own
condition without constructing anything.
Awareness at that moment in itself is quite ordinary.
And when you look into yourself in this way nakedly (without any discursive thoughts).
Since there is only this pure observing, there will be found a lucid
clarity without anyone being there who is the observer;
only a naked manifest awareness is present.
(This awareness) is empty and immaculately pure, not being created
by anything whatsoever.
It is authentic and unadulterated, without any duality of clarity
And emptiness.
It is not permanent and yet it is not created by anything.
However, it is not a mere nothingness or something annihilated
because it is lucid and present.
It does not exist as a single entity because it is present and clear
in terms of being many.
(On the other hand) it is not created as a multiplicity of things
because it is inseparable and of a single flavor.
This inherent self-awareness does not derive from anything
outside itself.
This is the real introduction to the actual condition of things.

I often think of existence as a gift, not in the nominative sense but as a gerund; indeed this is the Thomistic definition of participation. However, the realist philosophers have never fully articulated what this means in terms of our continuity with eternity, if indeed that can even be asserted.

Duns Scotus, perhaps, came closest to understanding what might be described today as the non-local meaning of the continuity of all things in God. He described God’s knowledge of us from all eternity as an “ens diminutum”, which indeed is not nothing. There is a profound mystery in the notion and significance of participation in God’s being and identity, which is so difficult to articulate metaphysically that generations of philosophers have been stymied by it.

Neale Donald Walsch issued a great reminder in this regard: “Remember that there is something you do not know about God.” Many of our theologians would of course agree with this but they do not act as if it were a reality to be constantly referred to. As George Wright once sagely observed in a similar vein: “people treat projection as if it were a disembodied lawnmower.” Meaning they know it is there but they don’t think it applies to them.

Note: -Padmasambhava brought Buddhism to Tibet in the 8th century

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