Sunday, July 25, 2010

cloud land

Longchenpa's trilogy Kindly Bent to Ease Us, Written in the 12th century and translated by Herbert V. Guenther. Part Three: Wonderment contains a chapter called "Cloud Land" which begins as follows:

Again, listen to my explication of the Victorious
One's Statement that
(All that is) is like a cloud-land, so that (this
topic) also may be experienced.

In the sky (-like) space of primoridial sheer lucency
An ornate city, (Being's) spontaneous capabilities,
appears and
Is present in what has neither beginning nor end
nor a center nor a periphery

Out of dynamic reach and range of this (openness
and lucency) there arise in the sky of the mind,
which is the loss of pure awareness,
The cloud-lands of the six kinds of beings that have their origin
in the subject-object division.
They are present without having a founding basis of
their own, and their manifold forms
Have been born from subjectivity gone astray in and
through inveterate tendencies.

When this is understood, it is the primordial reach and range of
When it is not understood, it is the present mind
(having become mistaken about itself and) gone astray.
Since it cannot be grasped in any way that would do justice to it,
What other analogy than a cloud land could be found for it?

What are those inveterate tendencies? If I know anything about Buddhism, the core issue is mistaking appearances for things, attributing the quality of one's experience to an outside object or set of circumstances. Lucid in a cloud-land, one doesn't have to loosen the harness of attribution, it's clear there was nothing but vapor to harness in the first place. Still, winds are blowing, strong ones, and who can say why?

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