* ATTD News Letter Number 93
Sunday, November 12, 2006 *
Question: The other day I came across the following question by a 'seeker.' I was struck by how this question summed up my predicament. I could not have put it any better than this:
"I can see that everything appears in awareness.
I can also see that awareness proceeds on its own without any effort by anyone in the same way that my hair grows without any effort on "my" part. The person (name) and his various characteristics and even "his" body are all appearances in awareness.
It seems, however, that "I" am able to change the course of the appearances - during my days of work or leisure, for example, substantial planning seems to pay off in terms of at least partially predictable outcomes -- and it does seem as if "I, (name)" has something fundamental to do with it and that my ability to do this is closely linked to my history background, education etc. , i.e. what I normally would call "myself".
Deciding to do regular exercise, for example, seems to change the way the body feels and looks - my intuition tells me that the whole thing rolls along without any doer-ship, but the realization hasn't penetrated beyond the mind."
Leo, I would like to hear what you have to say about this statement.
Answer: Let's say it will be noticed that the body is out of shape. A thought may arise that the body could do with some exercise. Next a decision to go to the gym could come up. Nowhere in this 'chain of events' is there the need for an entity that takes the decision. If there was such an entity, it first would have to decide to take such a decision to be able to claim 'authorship.' It also would have to decide to decide to decide ad infinitum, thus creating an infinite regress.
What I always say is that non-doership does not mean that you are helpless, but that the 'you-agent' is fictitious. We say "I live, I think, I breathe" and so on but living, thinking and breathing is not done by someone; it happens by itself.
Let's have a look at thinking: Is there really a 'thinker of thoughts' independent of thought? Does this 'thinker' know what the next thought will be? Or is the thought only known when it comes along? This thought may get claimed in the next thought, which could goes something like "Oh, I just thought about such and such". But is the 'I' -claiming to be the thinker of the thought- not itself part of the thought?
Do not take this to literally please, as there actually isn't even a 'next thought'; only this thought right now. There is no past, which has led up to this moment. There is only THIS; including memories and other apparent evidence for such a past.
Nevertheless, there is the unfolding of this dream in which "the Tao, without doing anything, leaves nothing undone." As such there may be the appearance of doing exercises, making decisions, planning your day, falling asleep, waking up, gazing at the stars, reading these words, or registering the sounds around you. It all happens by itself. As the Zen saying goes:
Sitting quietly, doing nothing,
Spring comes, and the grass grows by itself.
| ||Free will versus determinism|
Q: Another dualism is free will versus determinism (the absence of
free will). Philosophers seem to accept both views as equally valid
even though they are contradictory. In other words, itís a complete
mystery. Yet Advaita says there is no free will. No free will also
contradicts another Advaita teaching, that what we are is absolute
freedom. If we are absolute freedom, how can we have no free will?
S: The absolute freedom that we are, I am, has nothing to do with the
concepts of free will or determinism. Free will and determinism are
interesting concepts that are entertaining to discuss and debate, but itís
not necessary to have an opinion about them to live in peace.
Just for the entertainment value, consider these questions: if we
have free will, can we choose determinism instead? Is there a person
who is separate from the universal process who can exercise free will?
If thereís still a clinging to the concept of free will, then go ahead and
exercise your free willóchoose only happy thoughts and feelings for
the next two weeks. Of what value is free will if it cannot be exercised?
In this I AM THAT I AM, there is neither free will nor destiny; and
there is both free will and destiny. Is there free will or does destiny
rule? All I know for certain is that I am. This I am is the peace thatís
being sought by exercising the intellect with questions about free will
and destiny. Know yourself as I am right now and your search is over.
| ||Awakened Poetry|
In the Land of Great Perfection
In the Land of Great Perfection
there are no Buddhas
and no sentient beings.
In the ground of Great Perfection
there are no moral dualities.
There is no near or far
on the Great Perfection path.
There is no attainment
of the Great Perfection goal.
There is no correct
Or incorrect behaviour
in Great Perfection.
There is no meditation
in the reality of Great Perfection.
| ||ATTD Links|
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