Monday, March 27, 2006

no death, no fear

In no death, no fear, Thich Nhat Hanh deals with complex issues of existence-and-non-existence by using simple examples from nature such as a flame:

“Looking deeply into a box of matches, you can see the flame. The flame has not manifested, but as a meditator, you can see the flame. All the conditions are sufficient for the flame to manifest. There is wood, sulfur, a rough surface and my hands. So when I strike the match and the flame appears I would not call that the birth of a flame. I would call it a manifestation of a flame.

The Buddha said that when conditions are sufficient you manifest yourself. When conditions are no longer sufficient, you stop the manifestation in order to manifest in other forms, with other conditions.” (pgs. 71-72)

I found many of his examples very New Agey. He suggests several meditation mantras. One of them involved trying to annul corporeal identification. Unfortunately, I tried it on a cold breezy day. As I felt the cold air freezing my face, the suggested idea that my ears were not I, did not work. Unlike many New Age writings, this book does not explore consciousness nor the state of “ku.” But all in all, I enjoyed reading it and learned something from the idea of thinking in terms of “manifestations.”
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