2020-07-14: Be, See, Free, We (2 of 5) The Signless Door of Liberation
3:20PM Jul 14, 2020
So the topic for the beginning of this week long series of talks, is the doors of liberation. And the word doors implies that there's a something to pass through or something that's the clear demarcation to something on the other side. And this idea that it's also idea there's a clear complete going someplace. It's not partial. So it's not partial freedom. It's kind of a full freedom, full liberation that's possible.
And it said to be three doors to walk through or to move through. That different people for different reasons, different doors open for them. As the movement to this more complete experience of liberation can happen, that for some people, it's the door of this signless, door that has no sign, no attribute. For other people that the door of wishless, having no desire. And some people that's the door of emptiness, where there's no attribution or involvement with self, seeing things are empty. And why some people go through one door rather than others. No one really knows perhaps. At different times different doors open for people. And they're, you know, closely related these, almost like maybe three different perspectives on the same movement of release that's possible. But there are catalysts. It's like certain insights that are catalysts for kind of deep, letting go.
So for today the topic is the signless. And maybe in modern terms, in English terms, we would consider what's called a sign, in the Buddhist language, Buddhist kind of teaching, to be an attribute of something that we attribute to something and the mind is attributing things. We are projecting onto things, ideas, concepts of what things are, and sometimes that's quite innocent. And it's also expected that we would do so. So if you see a door and you know, and you can see the entrance with two doors, one has a sign entrance and one exit. That's an attributing meaning of purpose, a function to a door, which we've already attributed by looking at it, that's a door. I think there was a time in humanity maybe hundreds of thousand years ago, there were no doors. And if someone just propped a door up against the tree, they had no clue that this was a door. But if a modern person saw a door up against a tree, we kind of basically know what doors look like. So there's a door up against the tree and that's kind of odd. The door-ness, the attributes of it being a door is in the mind that does so and we think it's inherent in the door, because our society around us is doing this sharing and that attribution, but in fact, the mind is involved in doing it, sees this as a sign or an idea or a concept of projection. Oh, that's a door.
That's innocent enough and as I said, entrance and exit doors, we're expected to cooperate with those kinds of attributions. And it's useful to do so we don't get kind of bottlenecks around, you know, everyone going in and out to the same door. So it has a usefulness. And it's innocent enough there. But there's all forms of attribution, all forms of projection of ideas onto ourselves, the world around us, to people that are a source of tremendous suffering, bias and prejudice, racism. Objectifying someone as there's our sexual object, you know, what a horrible thing to do, it's all kind of it's a projection attribution of something out there that we place on it.
And so we're involved in Buddhist language we're involved in sign making, and not only making signs making attributions living with them, but it can get quite extreme where there's a lot of fixation and tension involved in these signs and attributes. And some people, the mind is constantly involved in the world of about-ness, to be thinking about things. Thinking about later today, thinking about yesterday, thinking about my friend, thinking about work, thinking about what's for dinner. A mind is usually thinking about something. And whenever the world is about something, there's involved in a world of signifying, of signs, of attributions, of ideas, of projections, that actually takes work. The mind is actively involved.
And if we're fixated on and attached to these ideas we have, there can be a lot of suffering around them. As practice quiets as the mind gets still there and still are calmer and calmer, there's less and less projection, attribution. And this is not a strange thing. People take vacations or take a day off from work, they go sit in a park and just look at the river going by or their grass growing or something. And some people just feel the tensions of work, tensions of the week falling away, and the mind is no longer racing and thinking and worrying about things constantly. And just so nice to just let go of everything and the sitting in the park. Ordinary people who don't meditate on a day off can just so much can drop away. And so much of the signifying, and attribute eating, and projecting onto things that happens with work, or difficulties at home, maybe falls away and it's so nice to sit in the park and be left alone.
Meditation is to have that experience in a very profound, deep way. This profound letting oneself alone, this profound feel experiencing of the mind not doing the work, of projecting, of signifying, of making attributions on everything and wanting. And we don't pick up the signs, we don't get involved with them. And one of the ways that this operates when there's way that that this opens up to people, is when in meditation, we have a profound, when really profoundly in the present moment, really kind of found our way to just being here in a very visceral complete way. And the experience of here, is felt to be very changing, ever changing, moving and flexing and coming in and arising and passing. There's a constant movement and we realize that then it's the signifying, it's a projection of the mind that sees permanence, or constancy. Not, you know, eternal permanence. But at least for today or for these next five minutes, we have ideas. This is how things are. When we see everything moving and changing and flexing, at some point, the mind realizes that it's movement to signify, to project, to have a fixed idea of things. That is not really accurate. In the moment. It doesn't really land anywhere. Things are constantly shifting in such a way that by the time that we have attributed or interpreted something, as being this is how it is, put a name on it or label on it. It's already shifted and changed to something else, our perception or experience, the constant shift and shifting nature of perception.
And this is sounds like being very busy, it's very relaxed. It's like looking at a river going by where the current and the wavelets are constantly moving. And it's the constant movement, which kind of is so deeply relaxing.
So to have that experience in meditation with a lot of stillness and quiet at some point, for some people, the mind lets go of its tendency to want to, tendency to project to attribute names to contribute concepts, to attribute signification, to what that flowing changing nature of phenomena is. And that movement of signifying, of having signs, releases. And that feeling of release, can be quite compelling for our whole system and something very deep just let's go, deep holding, deep attachment. And then a person has gone through the door of the signless.
And that's kind of nice. And one of the things that's nice about it is to realize that we don't have to be so involved in constantly, constantly with our thinking or signifying, attributing our projection that the mind can take care of us quite nicely with it. When the mind is free, without us needing to ride or be intensely fixated on what we're thinking about.
And I'll end with this kind of metaphor for this. If you're walking, going for a long hike and you go across a long flat plateau, maybe miles and miles of flat plateau, and you're thinking about how the edge of the plateau it's kind of steep cliff, you have to walk deep, you know, come to and look over the edge. And the whole way over there, you're worried about the steep, the big cliff. And then you come to the big and there's no need while you're on the flat plateau, to be thinking about what's going to happen at the end. Thinking about how you're going to take care of yourself and worry about yourself. When you come to that cliff, eventually, after many hours, lo and behold, your psychophysical system knows somehow don't get too close to that edge of the cliff. Stay back, five feet, six feet, 10 feet, so you're safe. That doesn't have to be thought about so much. The whole system just knows how to do that. And those hours of thinking about the cliff and worrying about and all that and how you're going to take care of yourself weren't really needed because the psychophysical system to some degree, just knew how to take care of itself and get close to the edge. So I don't know if that's the best example. But maybe it just gives you some sense. I'm trying to point to some ability, that when the mind is free, when it's no longer, actively signifying and projecting and it still operates. It operates and often in a way that we can take care of ourselves, that doesn't have to be so much self involved. That a liberated mind will know how to take care of itself. We don't have to be so actively involved as we are when we're fixating on the projections, significations of things.
So this signless. Tomorrow I'll talk about the wishless.
So thank you for listening and being here. And I look forward to our time tomorrow.