“‘It is Great Knowledge that understands this, and Great Knowledge is not apart from the presence of the self and ‘its’ thoughts.” Tarthang Tulku, Time, Space, and Knowledge
Following this quote there is a brilliant paragraph that I’d like to write more about next time. I think what I can say about that quote is:
1. It touches something. It’s not completely original, but this approach has lots of value and power. It speaks to the quality of already-knowing, already having accomplished.
2. Although the self is very problematic, it is itself trapped in wisdom. I guess this follows 1): if there is some awake mind in all of us, then the self can’t escape that.
3. The self and ‘its’ thoughts- I like this a great deal. Thoughts happen, but they are not exactly ‘ours’. This feels liberating to me. We don’t own them, and, in turn, they don’t own us. They’re like natural events, like the weather(which is a traditional analogy).” Intro to TSK
Great Knowledge that understands what? Some passage from the space section of the first TSK book. For the purposes of this post, let’s go with this- great knowledge understands that space is something more than just a lack of thing between things (that there is something to the space thing).
The self trapped in wisdom, like a fly stuck in honey
The self considers thoughts a possession
There you go
a poem by Buddadhasa—
“Are You Humans or Men? You can be human when you have peace of mind
like a peacock is beautiful because of their feathers.
If you have a bad mind, you can only be men.
You shouldn’t have been born.
Peace of mind, brightness, calm-
If you have all of these, you can call it [success]
because you always do the correct thing and do not lie.
You are truly joyful.
A bad mind is dark and hot.
If someone meets a person like this, they’d think them possessed by a demon.
Because of your lies, you do wrong and have a tortured mind.
Inside, you plot and scheme.
Please think about this,
if you don’t want to become the slave of plans.
Avoid them through calm.
Make your mind bright before you die,
and you should be born as a human.”
As read through this, and try to find that calm the author mentions, a giant door slams somewhere overhead, and I twitch. Hard to find that calm.
I like the “make your mind bright” part especially. The author can be straightforward sometimes, to the point of seeming fatherly or judgemental. Still, there’s a lot of good stuff in many of the poems.
Also, it’s said that peacocks have beautiful feathers because of their ability to eat (and transmute) poison.
poison –> beautiful feathers
calm –> being human
x —> being calm?
Somehow being able to transform experience into calm is like turning poison into beauty.
Already having accomplished- there are parts to the human personality, or the mind and body, that are larger or more expansive and mysterious than we are aware of. I think that’s one paradox of self-inquiry or contemplation. Even if you think about yourself a lot, it can be hard to know yourself well. There’s so much film covering it, so much sidetrack.
Speaking of the practice of contemplation, here is a list of exercises from the first TSK book.
“Because we’re going through the part of the space chapters with a heavy concentration of exercises, I thought I would just quickly mention these exercises. I think the names alone are interesting and informative:
1. The Giant Body
2. Internal Details
3. The Microlevel
4. Just Interactions and Shining Outlines
5. Released to Space
6. Opacity versus Translucency
7. Mind-Body-Thought Interplay
8. The Translucent Person
9. Participation as Observer; Participation as Embodied Person
10. Participation and Space” intro to TSK
Clearly, the body and feelings could be useful to people who want wisdom (and mind training might be interesting to people who are involved in body practices).
Transparency and translucency are part of the investigation into space. This is worth noting!