Consciousness blocks our intuition

Consciousness for Buddhism involves the production of thingness, that is, objective reality and subject which is non-objective.  It always blocks the intuition that Zen aims for.  This subject is always coordinate with an object but it is never the object nor can the object subsume the subject (notice this non-unifying duality?).   

Both of them reflect the absolute but neither individually nor together constitute the absolute.  Rather they are an illusion of the absolute like the moon in the water.  The Buddha said that consciousness is like a magician’s illusion.

The very chemistry of this relationship leads to dissatisfaction.  We could even say that there is a desire for the object but the object is always inadequate when compared with the subject.  In light of this predicament, consciousness cannot be our net for catching the big fish of enlightenment although we use it to try and penetrate the mystery of enlightenment.

The story of Zen is also the story of overcoming the spell of consciousness and directly intuiting the absolute.  We can also think of it as a leap into the abyss if not also a total and complete loss of faith in consciousness and its use.

We begin to get a clearer picture of Zen and its inscrutable mystery when we learn what it is actually trying to overcome as in overcoming the darkness to see the light.  Such darkness in Zen is also the five aggregates made up of form, sensation, perception, volitional formations, and consciousness.  There is no light here only reflected light (reflected light from things).  We are mistaking reflected light for light in and of itself.

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The Zennist

Author of The Zennist blog since 2007.

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