Our senses distinguish…. That is not an incomplete sentence.* I was going to write ‘Our senses distinguish things’.. but I stopped myself. Our senses make things.. through distinguishation. Wow, that is an ugly made-up word! Lol. Distinguishation. Perhaps differentiation is better.
So, our eyes see brown, our hands feel roughness, our nose smells cinnamon**, our tongue tastes wood***, our ears hear… cracking?,… our mind makes soup with them and it becomes Bark. Bark soup. Now, it is our brains making bark… but surely the bark had to pre-exist for it to make our mouths taste cinnamon. We didn’t just make that up!!
So, Is it possible that the Universe is simply a creation of our brain’s soup making? Is it possible that soup is made from the Universe?
I remember reading about a Zen teacher who said that when our minds cease to exist, the Universe ceases to exist. This is a tough pill to swallow.. surely before I was born and certainly after I die, the Sun will still rise in the East.. for billions of more years.. it doesn’t rely its existence on me! OR does it?! How could it? It is such a super-selfish way of thinking.. The Universe literally exists for me… because of me!!
Now, it is not that way, not exactly. But there is something there… Something to think about.. Why would a teacher of Zen teach something that seems to reinforce the importance of EGO? Surely he should do the opposite! Lol.
I thought lots about this. Why would he say that?
Lets think about it…
The Buddha said that our lives are like dreams…. Not dreams, but like dreams… they are illusionary.. they are real, but not what they seem. Where does this life-long illusion come from? Our Ego-mind. Our perception that we are separate from the Universe. ‘There is the Universe and then there is me.’ This separation is illusionary, so when we realize this, not simply understand it, but realize this, both our ‘mind’ and the ‘Universe’ cease to exist.
The Buddha, when he realized his Enlightened nature, he did not disappear into thin air! Lol. He taught, he walked, he ate and urinated and defecated. And if someone yelled over to him ‘Yo Gautama, over here dude!’****, he would understand that he was being called. Although he realized his selfless nature, he still understood what Gautama meant.
So, when we die, the Universe, our illusion of the Universe dies too. Is there a real Universe beyond the illusion? Is not the illusion based on something? The Buddha said our lives are like dreams, but he did not say they are dreams.
So, if a Zen Master picks up a rock and asks you if that rock exists.. how do you answer? If you say no, it doesn’t it is just an illusion, he may hit you upside the head with it, perhaps saying ‘How’s that illusion feel now?!’ Haha. If you say yes, it does exist but you do not know its reality beyond its illusion, he may throw it at you and make you duck, saying ‘if you do not know what ‘rock’ is, then how did you know to duck. You know rock.’
* Well, perhaps it technically is an incomplete sentence, I don’t know.. I am a scientist not a writer, lol.
** Cinnamon is just a type of tree bark, though not the one pictured above.
*** Why are we licking bark? lol
**** Gautama is one of the Buddha’s names.