Sunday, July 15, 2012

Meditation on Growing Younger (video)

Amber Dorrian, Wisdom Quarterly

(Matt Groening/Highvoltageilene)
Buddhism has an interesting teaching. It is redeath. Time is cyclical, circular, spiraling. We imagine a straight line and do not see it bend away to come around again -- in much the same way, but not exactly the same way.
Death after death, there is life. Life keeps coming. One grows young again and again and again. What people mostly misunderstand is that it is not us. No one is reborn. What is reborn is a process. The process does not stop, so it cannot really be said to start again with each death and rebirth.
What is now? Some body, feelings, perceptions, willed formations, consciousness. They are altering every moment. They do no reoccur but utterly pass away. If we are them, we are dying. If we are something else, an owner or watcher of them, the owning and watching are dying. It's redeath, redeath, redeath.
The body passes quickly, but the mind passes much more quickly.
And with each death there is "again becoming." For all the aging, sickness, and falling away, there is rearising, health, and again-coming-to-be. What then would it be like to talk to ourselves, to say to the young ignorant version of the future that keeps reiterating?
My pets? They're all dead. My friends? Gone. My family? They wished you well. But all of these tend very strongly to come back again. They are not lost to us completely, just in this form, which utterly passes away as they hurtle toward destruction.
But what about me? Dead. My consciousness (awareness)? Gone. My feelings? They wished me well.
I'll be young again! But it isn't living "forever" if it isn't living for even two moments.
In the future I may become male or female or indeterminate (neuter or androgynous), any race, any nationality, any caste, any planet, any form (a deva, being of light, or dense), any kind of being in 31 very general "planes" of existence.
What would I say to that newborn? If it is a deva, it comes fully formed without birth parents. Similarly, if I slip into the Downfall, perdition, the Great Waste (subhuman planes of existence), rebirth is immediate, even if it is into an intermediate state, it comes fully formed. But on the human and animal planes, transformation and impermanence are very obvious.
Meditate. End all suffering.
There is no need to "meditate" to see youth fleeting. But meditation, whether as contemplation or profound stillness in non-discursive awareness, is necessary to see ourselves cyclically growing younger only to die again.
It works in our favor and can be taken for granted only so long as we have wholesome karma to exhaust. When the profitable is exhausted, we painfully face what the Buddha warned about suffering and taking the Dharma for granted as if it were always available to us.

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