We had a small group in our local sangha for our discussion last time, but a larger one when it was time for meditation, with a light and dry snow drifting down outside, which is what it’s doing now. I’m thinking of Billy Collins’s poem, “Shoveling Snow with the Buddha,” You can hear him read it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCrDVIfoKYY
We read and discussed the chapter, “Liberation Through Nonclinging,” in One Dharma.
Goldstein touches somewhat lightly on the skandas, or aggregates that form consciousness out of “direct cognizing of the object itself,” as he puts it, and then goes on to explain how our minds get clouded with ignorance. What does he mean by “ignorance,” you ask? Here are his words:
“It is when we are caught up in wanting, attachment, fear, or aversion, when we are lost in thoughts of past and future.” Notice his words CAUGHT UP IN and LOST IN. Of course we do want, and dislike, and think of the past and future. The ignorance comes in when we don’t REALIZE what’s going on. But when there is that little gap of awareness, that we’re free from the being caught up in, free from the lostness.
Goldstein quotes the Buddha: “Nothing whatsoever is to be clung to as ‘I’ or ‘mine.’ Whoever has heard this truth has heard all the Teachings, whoever practices this truth has realized all the Teachings.” Goldstein calls this the essential unifying experience of freedom.
“Suffering is rope burn,” says Goldstein. We try to hold on, and it hurts.