or, to paraphrase one US Supreme Court justice:
"I can't define it, but I know it when I see it"
Hi nemo. This is a good quote to illustrate how a set of words can point away from, as well as they can point to the reality.
"Seeing is believing" is another.
These quotes imply that "seeing sees 'objects' that are there to be seen".
Yet as leo has often quoted, the 'snake in the rope' illusion shows that this is not so. You may say that it is the 'rope' that is there to be seen, and the 'seeing of the snake is just a trick of the mind'.
Yet the seeing of the rope is no different to seeing the snake.
Perhaps you have seen a line drawing that appears to be a young girl. Which, looked at ‘another way’, also appears to be an old hag. There is no apparent 'choice' in this seeing. The way the image appears seems to switch 'spontaneously'. Now it seems it is the drawing of a ‘young girl’ and now an ‘old hag’.
Yet what has changed?
The lines are exactly the same, they have not changed. The 'meaning/idea/concept' that is 'young girl' has not changed. The 'meaning/idea/concept’ that is 'old hag' has not changed. Nothing has changed.
Depending upon the concept in awareness (as the lines are seen), what the lines 'mean' changes from instant to instant... so the lines are seen now ‘as’ a 'young girl’, and now ‘as’ an ‘old hag’.
There is no concept that can define
the condition of "what is"
But ‘Dzogchen’ could have gone on to say:
“Concepts alone define “what appears to be” (but is not)
Vision manifests only colour (and black and white)
“What is” ‘colour’, no concept can define, but I see it when I see. I see that the pattern of colours changes 'moment to moment'. How the colours manifest and change I know not. I see/know that 'in themselves', these ever changing patterns are meaningless. I cannot touch them, they have no 'substance'. They are the 'stuff' of dreams.
Similarly for 'smelling', 'tasting', 'feeling' and 'hearing'.
Knowing knows only 'concepts'.
“What is” ‘concepts’, no concept can define, but I know it when I know. I know that no concepts change and that all concepts are 'self referential', each defined by reference to all other concepts.
To what these words point, the Knowing knows... without doubt, without error.
'The use of the word 'concepts', is pointing to that which is known. It is not referring to the 'thought' that 'labels' a 'thing', but is the idea of the 'thing itself'. Perhaps 'archetype' is the best pointer.
Though seeing only sees and knowing only knows yet they (together with the other faculties of Consciousness), give rise to a single 'wholistic' experience that seems to change each moment... as the sensations and concepts in awareness change.
What this one is and how it comes to be or how these apparently separate faculties are give rise to a 'single' apparent experience is unknown.
Yet here it is.
All is good... Kye Ho!