The Universe Is Neither Kind nor Unkind; That’s Our Job

Some say the universe is kind and caring.

Really? You want to look around and stand by that?

God loves the the birds in the field until a raptor swoops down and eats it, or another bird kicks its eggs out of the nest; well sure they got to eat too… not kind or unkind, good or bad..

No, it’s not that the manifest universe has the trait of being kind or not kind. Ask a gazelle mother and a lion mother. It wont work out for one of them today.

Watch a documentary about gazelles, you want the baby you followed from birth to survive. Now flip the script and watch the mother of a starving lion cub hunt. The lion cub you watched play, whose big cute eyes you looked deeply into, whose proud and strong protective mother you rightfully admired.

That’s how it is.

Buddhism 101, biology 101.

The manifest universe of samsara, of the relative, isnt kind or not kind. It is an evolution of Mind, the One Thought.

In that thought WE are the universe’s way of being kind. We have the potential to be that kind mind of the universe.

And being kind is active. It isnt just you are so special that you feel bad for the poor slobs.

Being is a verb. We make love, we show kindness compassion. All active. We take action.

In our world we may not take direct part in the dance of gazelle and lion, but we are stewards of the environment.

We do take direct part in the suffering of those around us.

Like guan yin, we hear the cries of the world, of those who are suffering.



If you support a culture of greed, and anger you are greed and anger.

If you claim you are spiritual but are too pure to do everything you can to actively support, work for and vote for Democrats at this juncture in history, you are a hypocrite.

I mean it. Look deep inside if you have and wont share. Many of us dont have resources, it is hard now, very rough and scary, I understand that. Sometimes the best way to deal with fear is take positive action. But if you do have resources, however limited, whether time, energy, attention, money, your voice, use them for justice. Your money and your deep samadhi and your voice wont mean shit when the environment is a nightmare landscape, your water is toxic, the air is poison, your economic system crashes, and your democracy and any sense of truth and decency and honor and responsibility is sold out to those that exploit racism and fear to gain power and riches.

We have a chance. Be part of it.

Please.

In Zen we say the relative and absolute are an identity. To say the great vision of Oneness means ultimately we are all energy and Mind is 100% true, but it is only half the Truth.



We dont reject the world of the senses, of experience, what is in front of us, we dont pretend we live in a peaceful state of nirvana if we dont, that our suffering and that of others is beneath our high viewpoint of One-ness or some such nonsense.

If as some say it is like a dream, this One Mind and our experience, then it is our dream, and in our dream we have a choice. 

Even after satori the Zen masters insisted it leaks away without post satori practice. And that includes compassion and action. Read Hakuin if you are into Zen. He wasnt afraid to talk truth to power, to get involved.

Yes ultimately it is all Mind and yes in the long run all suffering passes. Yes, quantum mechanics is consistent with a vision of Oneness, non-duality, Mind. So: Is that your true constant in the now experience? Really? Well if so, how do you share it? Or is it just emotional and mental masturbation, another delusion?

No, you’re too  spiritual for that, aren’t you? 

All Now, No Now

Is “now” really only an illusion?

Certainly a universal now that you can perceive as a universal now is impossible. As I mentioned in a recent blog, whatever we are responding to as occurring “right now” is a conglomeration of recent energy states that we integrated into a story based on our conditioning (physical, biological, intellectual, psychological). As the Lankavatara sutra says, we project our delusions and illusions and then we take them as out there in reality.

Quantum mechanics demands that there can’t be a zero time, there is Planck time, which is exceedingly short, way shorter than anything anyone can comprehend or any technology can even get hope to get anywhere near. This is in part related to Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle: if something could be stopped in time and space, a frozen now that we could capture and measure,  we would know both its momentum and position at that time, and that isn’t allowed.

Also, a time called “now” where all things that are simultaneous to one person’s experience are simultaneous in the experience of all observers, regardless of movement and orientation, is an illusion. Relativity theory quantifies that!

A photon travelling at the speed of light is not in time. The photon’s clock slows to infinitely slow (time dilation; or if time were smooth it would, that is, but as in quantum mechanics maybe it just “approaches” infinitely slow…). The photon also gets infinitely thin, flattened out (space contraction; or it would if space were infinitely smooth, so again, it approaches infinitely flat…). That is, until it hits your eye. Then it is a point particle interacting with your photoreceptor after having travelled perhaps millions of years and trillions upon trillions of miles from a distant star, maybe even a distant galaxy far, far away).

So is there no now? Just the illusion?

Or is it ALL now? As Nyogen Roshi said in his talk today, the infinite now, no beginning no end.

 

How long is now?

A building I saw in what was formerly East Berlin a few years back

Now as no time and all time may be much the same, I think. So short it can’t be measured and so vast and universal it can’t be measured. Bigger than big, shorter than short.

 

Related is the identity of relative and absolute, as a poem we chant is called. This is on a tee shirt I got from Nara, a Buddhist Temple in Japan a bit outside Kyoto. It says, in essence, in the many, One, in One the many. They translated it as in a drop of blood the whole universe. I have also heard it as in a drop of water (or in an atom or particle, or string) the whole universe, but that’s not the pattern you see there on the tee shirt. It is in pattern and spirit I think more like the Heart Sutra (we also chant): form is exactly emptiness, emptiness exactly form. Or the identity of the relative  and absolute.