Thoughts On A Spiritual Practice of Transformation and Transcendence

16 Jun

A spiritual practise means transcending the cognitive patterns that create our ordinary reality. As I discuss in my book, The Buddha’s Radical Psychology: Explorations, one must see through the conventional dualistic dichotomy of the relativistic subject/ object consciousness to welcome the original unity of the Buddha Mind or Original Mind and let it unveil itself into one’s awareness without our wanting or trying to analyse or grasp it. As one unveils and allows the primal unity, which is the background for the myriad foreground cognitive constructions -including that of the ‘I’, me, mine- one finds the true actuality of their humanness which is the pure, undistorted consciousness of the luminous, awakened mind.

When identifying oneself with the ‘I’ and the other multitude of identifications, one’s world is constantly vulnerable to the self-induced tensions created by the perpetually  alternating cognitive pairs of opposites – like/dislike, good/bad, fortunate/unfortunate and so on. When one first intuitively communes with the Buddha Mind, there begins a transcendence of one’s perspective from the subject/object constructed ‘I’. In so, one begins to realize the blessedness inherent in the emptiness of the Buddha Mind where every contradiction is resolved and space/time reality loses its authority. By discovering the Original Mind something decisive happens. Gone is the dependence on the external sense based world which had been regarded as the sole reality and in which the ‘I’ floundered never finding a satisfying worldly foundation or ground and, also, where one’s emotions remain entangled, constantly fluctuating and stressed. Gradually, the world anchored in the ‘I’ becomes recognized as an illusion and remains an illusion as long as it persists as an absolute character. Instead, representing an advanced mature ego stage, is the ego consciousness of the Original Mind -the Emptiness. This stage is only available to one who regards the subjective ‘I’ reality has a mere illusion and one lets go of it. Once the illusion ceases to be the substantive reality, it is understood as the mechanism of cognitive manifestation. Then the relative, subjective ‘I’ reality becomes transparent, and the Original Mind is unveiled. The complete lifting of this illusion becomes the ultimate goal as one progresses on the inner way. The mature person then constantly perceives the Original Mind behind all of their and others cognitively constructed world, like the refraction of light in the prism. By transcending the structure and patterns of ordinary consciousness and breaking through the illusionary patterns of the usual rational consciousness, a person can become one again ‘seeing’ the Original Mind.


While on the practical side, learning to acquire skills and knowledge to successfully thrive within the space/time worldly existence is necessary,but if one’s practice  merely enhances and strengthens the worldly ego, all possibility to transcend the ‘I’ obsession is doomed to failure. While living with ease in the world is indeed a benefit of an integration with the Buddha Mind, this is not a primary aim of practice. Instead, the goal of the transcendental is to overcome the illusion of the dichotomous objective and subjective consciousness and the unveiling of the original unity into one’s awareness without wanting or trying to rationalize and grasp it. Right training in the Middle Way is undertaken only in the service of rediscovering the Original Mind. For, if one’s trainings are directed only toward enhancing their egotistic relation and success in the world, that merely strengthens a person’s illusionary autonomy which serves to only increases one’s estrangement from the Original Mind and the universal truths understood from that perspective. What keeps one alienated from the Original Mind consists not only in being fettered by psychological complexes; the rigidity of habitual cognitive patterns, and debilitating physical propensities but also by the infatuation and dominance of that illusionary point of view. So any renewal is achieved through the transformation of the whole person and this implies not only an intellectual and spiritual conversion but also the transformation of the body and its posture and movements.


The suffering of humans is created because humankind is blinded by their exclusive preoccupation with the dominant world of space/ time and the accompanying illusionary created cognitive manifestations. Instead, with the Original Mind, one comprehends an existence beyond the misconception of the cognitively created world of space and time. This is the way to maturity, the way that yields benefits in proportion to one’s success in integrating with the Original Mind. The obstacles on the inward way are the very cognitive structures of a person’s unexamined consciousness which have complete control of the person’s life experience. The door that opens the experience of the Original Mind is available when the domination of the ‘I’ with it’s companion subject/object perspective is transformed and one’s unfettered consciousness breaks through and contacts the Original Mind- the interbeing of life then becomes understood.



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