The Moving and the Non-Moving
June 16, 2015 § Leave a comment
In filmmaking, an immediate transition from one scene to another is called a cut. A gradual transition is called a dissolve with the start and end of the dissolve called a fade out and fades in, respectively. It is interesting to consider that these techniques may have evolved from the eye’s tendency to blink when we turn to look at something new. Blinking may be the natural way for us to fade out one scene and fade in another.
In Evans-Wentz’s “Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines” there is a section in the ‘Yoga of the Uncreated’ that refers to the analyzing of the ‘moving’ and the ‘non-moving’. When I first read this years ago I did not understand it. I thought it referred to some advanced practice I was yet unprepared for. I now think that the moving and non-moving is something that can be observed in meditation at any time.
Transitions similar to those in films are observable in meditation where one moment you’re attending to the breath and the next you’re lost in thought. If you carefully watch these transitions you’ll note they are quick cuts from one state to another. One second you are alert and concentrated, the next you’re in a mental world far removed from the present moment lost in thought and daydreams. We may consider these transitions as ‘moving’.
We are constantly moving from one thought to another, and one thing to another, throughout the day. In meditation we can observe this movement and thereby slow it down. Turning the awareness to that place where the movement starts does this.
The place where movement starts is nowhere other than your own mind where you are first distracted from your meditation. There you watch yourself transition from an alert meditative state to an alternate state that arises as you follow a thought. This transition is a quick one that draws and merges you into the thought so it might take a few tries to see it.
Becoming aware of this movement is the first step. Turning your awareness to it just as it starts is the next. Here is what Dayi Daoxin wrote about this in “The Fundamental Expedient Teachings For Calming The Mind That Attains Enlightenment.”
“…the moment when you realize this (movement) occurring then immediately concentrate on the fact that the place where it arises ultimately does not come into being. When this mind does begin to attach itself, it does not come from any place in the ten directions and when it goes there is no place at which it arrives.”
Through self-study you discover that the mind before it moves does not originate from any place. And when movement stops, it does not arrive anywhere. It is just ‘here’ all the time but you cannot see it directly. This is your mind before thought arises. It is non-moving mind and you are identical to it.
The moment you try to think of the non-moving it becomes the moving mind. Hence you can never conceptualize your non-moving mind but only obscure it with thought. Daman Hongren in his, “Treatise on the Supreme Vehicle,” puts it this way:
“Why is there no light? The light is never destroyed; it is just enshrouded by clouds and fog. The pure mind of all living beings is like this, merely covered up by the dark clouds of obsession with objects, arbitrary thoughts, psychological afflictions and views and opinions. If you can just keep the mind still so that errant thought does not arise, the reality of nirvana will naturally appear. This is how we know the inherent mind is originally pure.”
The originally pure mind is not lost. It is right here, right now. All we need do is stop following after thoughts and things, then it naturally appears.