Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dimensions of Self

Time rules over all our doings. An idealist does not necessarily ignore the objective aspect of reality, but his eyes are always fixed at one point which stands by itself, and his surveyings are done from this absolute point. The doctrine of abruptness is thus the result of looking at the multitudinousness of things in absolute unity.

D.T. Suzuki in his 1927 essay, The History of Zen is explaining the difference between the two schools of Zen Buddhism that developed during the 7th century. Hui-neng is considered the founder of the Southern school and Shen-hsiu is the Northern school’s founder.

The Southern school teaches that enlightenment is instantaneous and the Northern school takes to position that enlightenment is gradual and requires a lot of time and concentration. Hui-neng was an advocate of absolute idealism while Shen-hsiu was a realist and refused to ignore a world where time rules over all our doings. The difference that exists in those schools is inherent in the human trait of selective significance.

The concept of Zen as well as God is connected to the development of ego consciousness. The ego as it emerged in physical form through the centuries needed to feel its own dominance and control so it imagined a dominant god that exists apart from us and nature. Nations often act as group egos that form their own picture of god and its own concepts of power. When a tribe or a nation decided to create a war it always used a concept of god to lead it as well as protect it.

The concept of god was an important aid to man’s emerging ego. In the process of developing its own specialization the ego forgot the cooperative connection to the earth. The concepts of god that spoke of oneness with nature did not serve the emerging ego as it experimented with physical reality. The ego does know and understand the connection with animals, man, and the earth and as it expands it does remember those connections.

That inner self is always in the background in dreams as well as in the spiritual and biological integrity of consciousness, so the ego has a choice how to experience other aspects of the self. Consciousness, God, Zen are all spontaneous as Hui-neng described and they are gradual and need time as Shen-hsiu believed. Personal beliefs about the nature of self created experiences can be defined in religious as well as spiritual terms. We are unique in our own self-created limitations about the nature of self.

The self fragments and is expressed through consciousness in order to experience differences. All differences have value in terms of expansion. One self can manifest enlightenment spontaneously and another does it gradually. As the separation between the ego and the inner consciousness decreases, the always present inner dimensions of self flower in their own desires.

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