15 August 2011

Contemplation: No Place to Escape

After reviewing the guidelines for practice, take this as your object of contemplation:

Now, the mind does not arise alone but in relation to objects. The intellective faculty is the cause, the data of phenomena is the condition, and the mind aroused is that which is produced. This faculty and data, subject and object, become, change, and pass away, suddenly arising, suddenly vanishing, again and again being born and passing away anew, not abiding moment to moment, like flashes of lightning, swift as rapids.

The foam of form, the bubbles of sensation, the flames of perception, the boundaries of conditioned states, the illusions of consciousness, all the objective counterparts of awareness, including land, fields, house, family, property--all are gone in an instant. Momentarily there, suddenly they are gone. The whole world is impermanent; the whole world is just suffering.

When the physical elements come together, there is no place to escape. One should only focus the mind on discipline, concentration, and wisdom, to vertically break up delusion and horizontally cut through the sea of death, crossing over the stream of existence. Scripture says, "In the past, I did not see the four truths, just like you; that is why I went around in circles for a long time." The "burning house" is like this; how can you be addicted to indulgence and amusement?

Chih-i, Stopping and Seeing, pp. 28-29; see also, Lotus Sutra chapter 3.

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