1 Getting the goose out of the bottle


Our minds are like a motion picture of images and sound. Our beliefs are an illusion.

Where is ‘I’?

Each person believes that the ‘I’ designated by language is our self, or our ego. Language is always used to explain language. History is communicated through language. Our trouble begins with ‘I’. ‘You’ observe ‘I’. ‘I’ suffer. If ‘I’ becomes another language perhaps nobody will suffer. ‘I’ suffer and ‘you’ suffer. Is ‘I’ you or is you ‘I’? If we experience problems we think ‘why me?’ If ‘I’ wins the lottery we don’t think this. ‘I’ is trouble. This language is trouble. If the body disappears, or it is in a crematorium, where is ‘I’? Where is ‘me’? Language has power. Identification with language can cause us to suffer or to be happy. Our identification with language has great power to make us suffer.

A man’s practice was to develop compassion. One day Quan Yin bodhisattva had transformed himself into an old man. He came to the man’s place and asked him, “What is your practice?” “I practice compassion,” he replied. Later the bodhisattva came again, saying “I am getting old and I have forgotten, tell me again, what is your practice ?” The man replied, “I practice compassion.” A while later the bodhisattva returned and said, “I have forgotten your teaching, please tell me again, what your practice is?” The man lost patience and shouted angrily, “I am practicing compassion, you stupid old man!”

Does your mind follow dharma or does dharma follow your mind? Does mind disappear or does dharma disappear? No language; no dharma; no mind. If someone has lost their mind have they also lost their dharma? If we are unconscious, or in a coma, have we lost language? Why can we not find mind anywhere? Where does our mind come from? Mind is always working. Language and dharma are created by the mind.

Outside a temple two monks were arguing. A flag is tied to a tree and swinging in the wind. One monk said the flag was moving, the other argued that it was the wind moving. The master appeared and said it is neither the flag nor the wind which is moving.  It is your minds which are moving.

Who is inside and who is outside?

The mind is there, but we can’t find it. So why do we practice? Our spiritual software is still there, hiding inside our brain. Through meditation we uncover great energy inside our mind. This energy is similar to our natural reality, but before we can see this we need to see our software of language. This language software is our key to the power of enlightenment. Language is data and data and language are changeable. Sometimes we can transform our mind, and we become more flexible and happier.

How do we keep our balance?  

A prisoner was to be executed for a serious crime. He was blindfolded and against his hand was pressed a sharp object, and water was dripped to the ground. Believing he was bleeding, the prisoner died. It was fear which killed the prisoner. Nothing had really happened to him. This is the power of language. Sometimes nothing has happened at all.

We can keep our balance by not being easily angered; by avoiding drugs which cause people to lose their tempers, their appetites, and their minds. Drugs can lead to crime. We also need to keep our physical balance, and we need tolerance and compassion. This ‘I’ means ego. Thoughts of ‘my beliefs’ show that our thinking is not balanced. If I listen to meaning, not opinion, then meaning will come. Don’t take too much from the earth and damage the environment. Balance is very important. If we are obstinate we lose our balance. Young people are living in an illusory world on the internet. The mind is like an illusory world anyway. Therefore, we can wake up through the internet. There is a lot of information on television and the internet. This is a modern trend. How can people awaken from the internet?

We have to use logical language but in the end we should forget it. Buddha pointed his finger to the moon because he wanted us to understand the moon, not the finger. The sutras are Buddha’s finger. This is the path to awakening. The sutras are like a bridge. Once we have crossed this bridge we have to forget the sutras. We should not become attached to this finger, although we still need this finger. This is the path to awakening. Language shows us how to reach things.

A Zen master ran outside of the temple in the middle of the night shouting ‘Fire! Fire!’ All of the students ran outside. The master grabbed one student and said ‘you lit the fire!’ ‘It wasn’t me!’ said the student. The master said ‘you are an arsonist!’ The student said ‘No! No! I am not an arsonist!’ The Master said, ‘I have a very stupid student. Go back to sleep. Why don’t you carry you?’

A new sutra for the 21st century.

We need a new language. Computer language, the language of the internet can be used to describe how to practice. To awaken to the ultimate reality of all dharma, or to find out your own true nature we can use language software, the marks of language.

A Koan: A man has a baby goose. and he puts it inside a glass bottle. The goose grows quickly and becomes very large. The man cannot take the goose out of the bottle. How can we take the goose out of the bottle without breaking it, or killing the goose?

If we want the truth we need to practice in order to realize what we are ourselves. Our mind is always rigid, like software. How do we attain the eternal? We need observation and insight. The three poisons are desire, aversion and ignorance. We are always looking for insight, Samadhi, and wisdom.  Perhaps attachment is fertilizer, not poison.


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