Sameness and difference: buddhist and western understandings of identification. Freiburg, 2007

James Low
Public talk
Freiburg, Germany
Evening of Thursday  21st June 2007
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Transcribed by Yashomitra [Jonathan Baker] and Wendy Chozom
Edited by Barbara Terris

From the point of view of buddhism the mind is considered to be not something which can be filled, but something which reveals. The traditional example for this is the image of a mirror…
Repeated negative thoughts become like a huge old sofa – very  heavy to move, and very tempting to sit in! We can collapse into our neurotic beliefs and feel quite at home; you then see the world from that point of view. Of course a lot of other things are going on simultaneously but you are now seated and facing in this particular way. Doing something new doesn’t feel quite as interesting as the repetition of the delicious limitation of this neurosis…
Rather than seeing our ordinary lives as something stable, secure and reliable, through the practice of meditation we come to experience our mind as this ungraspable experience, open and empty like the mirror which is always the same.
Within and through this openness – this absolute naked absence of any furniture – all furniture, all movement, all gesture – reveals itself moment by moment, as this or that, or this or that. In that way our participation in the world is always one of aliveness.
We’re not operating on an automatic pilot. We are not taking things for granted. Rather, by the freshness of our contact with the living world, we are touched and moved. Subject and object are then ceaselessly dancing and creating infinite patterns.


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