Monday, December 06, 2004

Subject Object Projections

Understanding the teachings on the illusory nature of the Subject Object distinction used to be rather theoretical for me. Yes, I heard the words, I understood the theory, and it made sense. But, when the chips were down, when suffering arrived, this understanding was nowhere to be seen.

In recent years with the blessing of my teacher, Shangpa Rinpoche, and the precious Mahamudra teachings, the nature of things has moved just a touch out of the realms of theoretical understanding, and a little into just seeing what is.

I remember that the teaching which had made the most impression on me in years gone by was that experience was a continuity, rather like a rubber band, and that due to delusion, we put a twist in the rubber band, and that therefore one side of the twist is viewed as subject, and the other viewed as object. It made perfect sense of what this delusory way of seeing was, but it wasn't a seen reality.

It's interesting reflecting on this metaphor now, a number of years later. When I look at experience, what do I see? I see all manner of arisings, seemingly there ... appearances of different flavours - thoughts, sights, feelings, concepts etc etc. And looking at those appearances, I see nothing substantial there at all. Whichever the appearance, whether of a thought, a feeling, a moment of peacefulness or mindfulness, whatever it is, it evaporates in awareness.

Endless arisings, endless emptiness. Whatever appearance .... emptiness.

Are there objects in experience? No. No objects, just appearances of the perception of objects, arising in mind. Is there a 'me', a subject, who perceives these appearances? No, just empty appearances themselves. Sometimes a 'me' seems to arise, especially when a particularly beguiling appearance seems to arise. This sense or feeling of 'I' seems to arise, but like all other appearances, it's empty, yet seemingly there.

The object was never there, only the empty arisings of the perception of the supposed object.

And the 'me' was only there in the misguided arising of a thought of 'me', also empty yet seemingly appearing.

Not so much a rubber band with a twist in it, as 'one taste', of empty luminosity ... a shadowplay .... there, and yet not there.


Meredith said...

Dear Chodpa,
Notions of life as illusion takes a bit of surrender. It seems easier in the realm of "thought, a feeling, a moment of peacefulness or mindfulness...that evaporates in awareness", but more difficult with more concrete objects, such as 'me' or 'you'. And yet, it is our perception that creates this thought or object, gives it form and function, personality and value. Allow perception to evaporate, and there is emptiness. Sweetly, when perception of you empty arising of illumination radiates.

Anonymous said...

'Sweetly' is a beautiful way to describe that ... letting go, all is accomplished.

Thank you.