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This blog is created by a Buddhist living in Singapore. He embraces the Mahayana spirit of Bodhicitta, deeply respecting all Buddhist Traditions as expressions of Kindness guiding us on the path towards human perfection ~ Buddhahood.

He likes to post stuff that he had read or think is good to share here, sometimes he adds a little comments here and there... just sometimes..

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“Sariputra, if there are people who have already made the vow, who now make the vow, or who are about to make the vow, ‘I desire to be born in Amitabha’s country,’ these people, whether born in the past, now being born, or to be born in the future, all will irreversibly attain to anuttarasamyaksambodhi. Therefore, Sariputra, all good men and good women, if they are among those who have faith, should make the vow, ‘I will be born in that country.’”

~ Amitabha Sutra

When I obtain the Buddhahood, any being of the boundless and inconceivable Buddha-worlds of the ten quarters whose body if be touched by the rays of my splendour should not make his body and mind gentle and peaceful, in such a state that he is far more sublime than the gods and men, then may I not attain the enlightenment.

~ Amitabha Buddha's Thirty-Third Vow

Friday, February 15, 2008

Labeling and Natural Functioning

Written by Mike Graham, 19 Jan 2008, last edited 7 Feb 2008

The mind is a wonderful tool and it has brought us so much - computers, internet and BitTorrent. It does have its place. Mind function and thought - under 'proper adult supervision' - is there doing its job. It is it's Natural function. There is no 'me' in any of that. No problem. No suffering. No separation. No Worries.

An engineer sorting out a machine that does not work, or designing a water tower that needs to be built, or me figuring out how some electrical wiring works - all Natural Functioning. But even there, the resolution often lies in non conceptual awareness - the pure looking, without thought - a moment of clarity, space, stillness. Great insights can occur then. Like with Einstein. Or small insights, like with the electrical wiring.

The Natural Functioning of Seeing is there, without a separate concept of 'me'. The Natural Functioning has always been there. The Natural Functioning of the Seeing itself is a Functioning of Awareness which is beyond brain function - the 'no-thing' that is beyond the brain. How many things would be seen without the Aliveness, without the Awareness?

Then the thought 'I see' comes up, or the thought 'I think', which brings in the apparent separate entity 'I' and attributes the seeing/thinking to that. But the seeing, which is a function of Awareness, has already occurred. There was no 'I' there at the instant of seeing.

The vast bulk of our life is Natural Functioning and occurs without thought. Even if 'we' are thinking of something else at the time the Functioning still occurs. We do not need to think 'chair' to register the chair, or think 'door' to register the door. There is a knowing there which does not need the words or the concepts. If we come across something that we do not recognize, or does not make sense, the mind is used to help sort that out - that is Natural Functioning. There is nothing personal in that - no 'me' there at all in this Natural Functioning.

We walk around the city, drive cars, clean our teeth. We see stuff - and only a very, very small part of which we label. Mostly we just see - and the knowing is there without reference to the database in the head. You see a red light and stop the car - without having thoughts about red lights, deceleration or remembering which one is the brake. All without reference to the 'me', or any reference point. You drive into a sudden 'opening' in the traffic stream - by seeing, then acting, as one - without a mental process of thinking about it.

We learn stuff - and the mind helps a lot in that. Then as learning progresses - thought drops away, the concepts drop away - leaving just the Functioning.

Roger Federer playing tennis is pure Natural Functioning. Even though the mind was involved in developing these skills, the mind function has fallen away - all that is left is the Natural Functioning and knowing - without reference to the past and without labeling/conceptualization and without any 'me'. He does not think 'ball' every time he sees one. He does not even need a concept called 'ball' - who needs a concept when you have a knowing about the actuality?

Using the mind in this way is Natural Functioning. It is the way we learn and is built into us. It is our Natural Functioning. Just as learning is built into the cats in their 'catty' way - as their Natural Functioning.

You can look at a clock and tell the time, but without the translation into words and concepts. Just seeing.

Labeling takes us into conceptual thought, references to the past and in the main adds nothing to what is already seen and known. Knowing that the name of a fish is 'Guppy' and its scientific name is Lebistes reticulatus adds nothing to what has been seen. We do not understand anything more at all - but we think that labeling is necessary and think that it is knowledge.

Labeling a certain sensation/feeling as 'anger' or 'anxiety' takes us into conceptual thought, into the past and the future and away from the Actuality.

'Witnessing the anger' as a 'spiritual practice' does nothing at all as that is purely conceptual. The anger does not exist - it is just a concept. 'Anger' is just a label and labeling it as such does not bring us any more understanding of what is actually there. The Actuality is the feeling/sensation/energy movement and not the label, the concept - 'anger'.

Add to that the 'witness' that does the 'witnessing' - is also conceptual and a label that adds nothing. The actuality is that all there is - is 'seeing' - there is no entity doing the seeing - pure seeing by awareness itself, which is not an entity. Labeling and conceptualizing makes it appear as if there is a separate entity there.

The vast bulk of our life is Natural Functioning and is without labeling - only a very, VERY small proportion of what we see is labeled. We survive very well with minimal labeling as there is an effortless, instant knowing there. The knowing is already there with the seeing. How else can the label be added, literally as an afterthought, yet again?

Having said all that - there is a place for words, labels and conceptualization.

But not in 'running the show'.


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