“and who shall bind awareness in a word?”
“Any device is good which works, and a thousand more have yet to be found and used as people have need of them. All, however, will have in common the emptying of the self, that into the space so made the light of life, the eternal More, may flow. Everything must be emptied out, the toys that we love, each cherished, loved ideal as well as each “fond offence”, all purpose and desire. The self, with its pride and regret of the past, its fears and boasts and desires of the moment, its hopes and ambitions for the days unborn, must be transcended.”
Indeed the preparations include the acceptance of all limitations of karma, for to refuse to accept them, or anything whatsoever, is to perpetuate the division between this and that of which satori is the end. Yet even the attempt to acquire satori must at the final moment be cast away. “The Tao,” says Alan Watts, “is not brought to birth by deep philosophical understanding or by any effort of action or emotion, although it is necessary and inevitable that one of these attempts should precede the birth. The birth itself, however, only takes place when the futility of the attempt has been fully realised, and that realisation can only come through making the attempt”. But this is only another of the countless paradoxes which, like a hedgehog’s prickles, stand erect at the entrance to satori. Another is that with the approach to satori the mind is enormously expanded and contracted at the same time. “Each single fact of experience is to be related to the totality of things, for thereby it gains for the first time its meaning.” The part is the whole, and the whole of it, and if that is not difficult enough to understand, be pleased to notice that the part is greater than the whole. For the whole is complete, which is finite; the part is unfinished, and that is infinite. . .”
“As a guiding principle, to progressively realize what is not absolutely True is of infinitely more value than speculating about what is.
No spiritual teaching is a direct path to enlightenment. In fact, there is no such thing as a path to enlightenment, simply because enlightenment is ever present in all places and at all times. What you can do is to remove any and all illusions, especially the ones you value most and find the most security in, that cloud your perception of Reality.”
I wish to emphasise this idea of ‘seeing’. It is not enough to ‘know’ as the term is ordinarily understood. Knowledge unless it is accompanied by a personal experience is superficial and no kind of philosophy can be built upon such a shaky foundation. There are, however, I suppose many systems of thought not backed by real experiences, but such are never inspiring. They may be fine to look at but their power to move the readers is nil. Whatever knowledge the philosopher may have, it must come out of his experience, and this experience is seeing. Buddha has always emphasised this. He couples knowing (ñana, jñana) with seeing (passa, pasya), for without seeing, knowing has no depths, cannot understand the realities of life. Therefore, the first item of the Eightfold Noble Path is sammadassana, right seeing, and sammasankappa, right knowing, comes next. Seeing is experiencing, seeing things in their state of suchness (tathata) or is-ness. Buddha’s whole philosophy comes from this ‘seeing’, this experiencing.
The one thing I wish to call to the readers’ attention is the term ‘wisdom’, pañña, or prajña in Sanskrit. This is a very important term throughout Buddhist philosophy. There is no English equivalent for it. ‘Transcendental wisdom’ is too heavy, besides it does not exactly hit the mark. But temporarily let ‘wisdom’ do. We know that seeing is very much emphasised in Buddhism, but we must not fail also to notice that seeing is not just an ordinary seeing by means of relative knowledge; it is the seeing by means of a prajña-eye which is a special kind of intuition enabling us to penetrate right into the bedrock of Reality itself.