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Perceptions

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kanji

Everything exists according to its own nature. Our individual perceptions of worth, correctness, beauty, size, and value exist inside our heads, not outside them.


Bamboo and Sparrow, Kao K'o-kung,
14th century

Out from somewhere projects a cliff top. Two branches of bamboo appear before our eyes. And a little bird stands quietly, unconcerned with what may be on the mountain or in the bamboo grove behind him or the abyss before him.

What is the significance of the bamboo leaves, or of the bird? Are they beautiful? Are they useful?

Note the eager, categorizing grasshopper-mind struggling to classify them. In vain. Before this moment of eternity frozen in a nonspan of time, this mind falls silent.

The bamboo leaves, the bird, the cliff top are. They exist as bamboo leaves, bird, cliff top. This is it. No whence; no whither. In the abysmal void they take their place with the countless forms that rise from that void and sink back into it. Large, small, mobile, immobile—each manifests its own nature.

 

 

And so with you. Can you sit as quietly as the bird and the bamboo and the cliff top? Can you feel yourself as a form that has come out of formless energy and is a part of it; that exists in its own right, apart from any of the classifications given to it? Can you be just aware, like the cliff top, the bamboo, the bird, frozen in a nonspan of time? A nonself. A being. A formless form. A . . .