10 August 2006

Heart Sutra Rocks

I was going to write about cairns again, and how they mimic our lives - piling up bit by bit, from nothing until they become real and tangible, markers of a trail, a life. But that seemed to be stretching a metaphor to the breaking point. Which I often do, but it just doesn't work here.

Cairns are just piles of rocks, aren't they? When does a pile of rocks become a cairn? And if you move all the rocks, spread them around, where is the cairn?

What about us? Are we more than just piles of our experiences, emotions, ideas, the five senses (or Buddhist skandhas )? How do we become who we are? When do we start thinking we are more than the sum of our experiences?

I like to think of myself as seperate and independent from all that is around me, but I'm still just a pile of experiences, senses, and dreams. I am never the same from day to day.

I am not sure that without all that is around me, I can be me. Can I exist outside of all the things that make me, me? If you strip away everything you think makes you, you - are you still, well, you? The Buddha didn't think so. He basically said: "Peel the onion, see what you find."

I should quote the Heart Sutra about now:

...form is no other than emptiness, emptiness no other than form.
Form is exactly emptiness, emptiness exactly form.
Sensation, thought, impulse, consciousness are also like this.

but you can go read the whole thing here if you want to do so. It's worth a quick trip through the blogosphere.

When you feel inadequate, when you think you've failed, when you believe the lies your ego tells you, ask yourself: Who is this ego? Who is it that has failed or been found inadequate?

And, finally and most amazingly, who is the you to whom your ego lies?

Peel the onion.

Thanks beyond earth and sky to you. Om shanti ya'll!



MaMo said...

I'm enjoying reading about the cairns. Your own little slice of Tibet .

Jamming is my favorite Bob Marley cut -

Have a great weekend.


Yorkshire Soul said...

Sometimes I find cairns to be a bit pointless, it's like 'Oh, I've climbed a mountain, now I'll pile some rocks up'.

But, last week up on Mallerstang in the fog and driving rain I was very grateful for a line of beautifully contructedm rather arty cairns, that led me safely away from the sheer cliff edge.