Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Mind's Puppets

(another fragment from the Rat Shit Zen Sutra)

-World Honored One, I have heard materialist teachers claim that our minds are just illusions created by the random interaction of material elements, that they are transitory, unreal: that dust is more real in the sense of being actual, accessible to the senses and to knowledge, than any supposed “Mind” or “Consciousness.” It has been said that “mind” is just a name for something like a puppet play. How do you answer such teachings?

-Mahamati, if your materialist teachers claim that objects and dust and other assorted “material elements” give rise to mind, then they must believe that mind is of the same nature as these so-called material elements, or in other words that mind is no different than a stone or a piece of wood. Yet a moment’s reflection is enough to dispell this falsehood, as it is only in and through the mind that one can ever experience a “material” element or an “object,” not the other way around. If consciousness emerges from material elements the way flames emerge from wood, then it must be acknowledged that consciousness is latent in material elements, and mind-nature emerges whenever the right causes and conditions are present. But this also implies that mind-nature and the nature of matter are not two. Correct?

-I think I follow you, O Bhagawan. Your intelligence dazzles me a little.

-Well, Mahamati, if mind nature and “matter” are in essence one and the same, then the materialist teachers are only senselessly debating words. Can a barren woman give birth to a son?

-I think not, Great One.

-If a woman gives birth, this in itself proves she is not barren. If matter can give birth to mind, this proves that matter is not devoid of mind. How can “seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, smelling” emerge from objects, when it is only through these senses that one experiences a reality one then divides into so-called subjects and objects? Mind is that through which all subjects and objects arise. If matter is the source of mind, this is the same as saying that matter is itself basically Mind. Having said this, we are back to realizing that “Mind is all there is.” No basis exists for two opposed views on this question. The opposed views turn out on analysis to be one and the same view. All of the senses are just Mind.

-Wow, Bhagawan. That was an amazing display of logic. I feel a little breathless now.

-As to your mention of a puppet play, the puppets are certainly mindless objects, unable to speak or move by themselves, which proves my point. The spectators are imbued with mind, and so is the puppet master who keeps the puppets speaking and in continual motion. The puppets do nothing by themselves -- they are moved by the hands of the puppeteer; the spectators burst into tears or laughter based upon what they see the puppets do and hear them say. Seeing and hearing are part and parcel of “mind nature.” If you say it is the other way around, then senseless woodless puppets would be more real than the puppet master, who carved and painted them with his own hands and makes them sing and dance at his whims! The puppets would more of the true essence than people watching, who laugh and clap and cry. But this claim ends in sheer absurdity, Mahamati. Stupid speculation! Do not follow materialist teachers, as they will only scam and bewilder you with words.

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