I recently spent the weekend in Canterbury, listening to a Tibetan Buddhist Lama, Taklung Matrul Rinpoche interpret The 37 fold Practice of a Bodhisattva. What a privilege. The calm alertness of the man, his thoughtfulness, openness and willingness to share were a delight.
The 37 fold Practice of a Bodhisattva is a treatise on letting go, it seems to me.
Many times the Rinpoche brought us back to the illusion of subject/object duality.
I think this a very difficult thing for us to get our heads around. We are so used to seeing ourselves in individualistic terms. Our subjectivity is built into our economic system – endless advertisements urging us to buy this or that so we can ‘be ourselves’, or even just to be someone! Our alternative healing ‘industry’ also champions the self; we all have our own truth and need a bit of me-time now and again. It is, in short, very difficult to get past the sense that we exist in our bodies, looking out through our eyes, subjects in a world full of objects.
Meditation and/or mantra, when practiced regularly, can ‘take’ the mind beyond self/other, subject/object, me/you (or even me/it) duality. Beyond separateness.
The Rinpoche spoke of the fundamental interdependence of all things. Nothing exists in and of itself. Not even the sun and the moon are what and where they are in isolation – let alone any of us. The Upanishads say:
‘He who sees himself in all things and all things in himself loses all fear.’
And: ‘Without subject there is no object. Without object there is no subject.’
The Tantra of the Hindu deity Lakshmi, who gives form to all things in existence (the Higgs Boson?) quotes the goddess as follows: ‘In this universe of forms there is only me. When I look out through your eyes and see another person, it is really me looking at myself. Through your eyes I behold the glories of this universe that is my own abundance in diverse forms. Therefore, identify yourself with me and become everything.’
Beyond separateness is often defined as emptiness. I think the notion of emptiness is maybe a rather negative one for a lot of us. It bespeaks exhausted supplies or absent loves – an empty fridge, an empty purse, an empty nest. I prefer to see it as a totality of connectedness; subject and object cancel each other out and there is (to quote) only everything, of which I, you and all are a part.
Then it’s on with the day – stuff to do, people to relate to, a world to be dealt with in all its ups and downs. Having experienced that peace though, makes it all so much more of a pleasure.
Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha