Monday, June 6, 2016

The Moon is Always the Moon

"There is neither increasing nor decreasing" --The Heart Sutra

Writing on the essential topic of the Prajnaparamita, the Heart Sutra, Buddhist monk and teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, notes in his commentary, The Heart of Understanding, that there is neither increasing nor decreasing. He says we, for example, "worry because we think that after we die, we will not be a human being anymore, we'll be a speck of dust."

We think that in terms of increase and decrease--to live or to die. But this is not so; Hanh teaches us that rather, the sutra means to say that big and small are concepts in our minds; they may not have any reality in the world, because everything depends upon everything else by the Buddhist principle taught as interpenetration, or inter-being.

Thus everything contains everything else. In the sun is contained the rain; in the moon is contained the moon herself, and everything that makes up the idea of the moon. It then cannot be destroyed, the idea alone is too small, too insignificant.
Mara, when in balance, is no danger any more than the Buddha. So, "when they assassinated Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr., they hoped to reduce them to nothingness", Hanh writes. But no thing can be reduced to nothing.

Existing is matter within the elements of other things, of other persons, in the very molecules that constitute form. These molecules, persons and others in history, exist and continue to exist, perhaps more greatly than before, precisely because "they continue in other forms."
We, ourselves, continue their being. So let us not be afraid of decreasing. It is like the moon. We see the moon increasing and decreasing, but it is always like the moon." Suchness.

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