Self and World

On Sunday, Sam led an exploration of the “optical illusion” awareness of consciousness in which “self” and “world” can each be perceived as being the foundation underlying experience.

He played excerpts from several talks, which are listed below:

Martin Aylward 2016-06-20 The Ambiguity of Self and World; 26:50-36:50

Eugene Cash 2012-12-14 Intimate Mystery; 0:00-9:40

Eugene Cash 2015-05-06 One Heart: Relative and Ultimate; 1:04-7:26

Eugene Cash 2015-01-02 The Paradox of Reality; 1:30-3:20

Eugene Cash 2015-01-02 The Paradox of Reality; 7:10-12:43

Here is a list of quotes which relate to these explorations:

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d tow’rs, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.
– Shakespeare, Tempest


Fayan was going on pilgrimage.
Dizang said, “Where are you going?”
Fayan said, “Around on pilgrimage.”
Dizang said, “What is the purpose of pilgrimage?”
Fayan said: “I don’t know.”
Dizang said, “Not knowing is most intimate.”
Fayan was suddenly awakened.


Even if you consume as many books
As the sands of the Ganges
It is not as good as really catching
One verse of Zen.
If you want the secret of Buddhism,
Here it is: Everything is in the Heart!
– Ryokan (ref: Eugene Cash 5-6-15) One robe, one bowl


This we have now
is not imagination.
This is not
grief or joy.
Not a judging state,
or an elation,
or sadness.
Those come
and go.
This is the presence
that doesn’t.
It’s dawn, Husam,
here in the splendor of coral,
inside the Friend, the simple truth
of what Hallaj said.
What else could human beings want?
When grapes turn to wine
they’re wanting
this.
When the night sky pours by,
it’s really a crowd of beggars,
and they all want some of this!
This
that we are now
created the body, cell by cell,
like bees building a honeycomb.
The human body and the universe
grew from this, not this
from the universe and the human body.
― Jalaluddin Rumi, The Essential Rumi


To those who do not know and to those who do, the world is real. But to those who do not know, Reality is bounded by the world; while to those who know, Reality shines formless as the ground of the world. Such is the difference between them.
– Ramana Maharshi, Reality in 40 verses, no. 18:


Spontaneity bypasses the process of the conceptual (aspect) of mine.

Our ubiquitous error lies in mistaking concepts for reality, for instance our idea of a body — which is only an idea — for an actual body. There is absolutely no reason to suppose that the reality it may have bears any resemblance to our concept.

That which we perceive is a projection and not a thing-in-itself. That, surely, what the Buddha meant when he told us, in the Diamond Sutra, that we should not cherish the notion of things having intrinsic qualities or not having intrinsic qualities — for “qualities,” or their absence, are notions, concepts, projected onto “things”.

Spontaneity is no more undoer “our” control than our blood pressure, but by understanding the unreality of concepts in general and of the body -concept in particular the way for spontaneity should be laid open.

But spontaneity is clearly the aim of the Zen Masters and is the explanation of almost everything recorded of them in word or in act.
— Wei Wu Wei


So you should view this fleeting world—
A star at dawn, a bubble in a stream,
A flash of lightening in a summer cloud,
A flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream.
– from the Diamond Sutra


The whole universe is the unresting pursuit of things as the self and the pursuit of the self as things.
—Dogen

Commentary: When one pursues things as the self, the self becomes the standard and things are not established. This is the place apart from forms. Also, pursuing the self as things is the situation in which things are the measure and the self is not established. This is great and vast, life and death.


All the scriptures are meant only to make a man retrace his steps to his original source. He need not acquire anything new. He only has to give up false ideas and useless accretions. Instead of doing this, however, he tries to grasp something strange and mysterious because he believes his happiness lies elsewhere. That is the mistake. —- Ramana Maharshi, Teachings in his own words p. 63.


When you look at anything, it is the ultimate you see, but you imagine that you see a cloud or a tree.

Learn to look without imagination, to listen without distortion: that is all. Stop attributing names and shapes to the essentially nameless and formless, realize that every mode of perception is subjective, that what is seen or heard, touched or smelt, felt or thought, expected or imagined, is in the mind and not in reality, and you will experience peace and freedom from fear.

Even the sense of ‘I am’ is composed of the pure light and the sense of being. The ‘I’ is there even without the ‘am’. So is the pure light there whether you say ‘I’ or not. Become aware of that pure light and you will never lose it. The beingness in being, the awareness in consciousness, the interest in every experience — that is not describable, yet perfectly accessible, for there is nothing else.
– Nisargatta Maharaj, I am That p. 201.