Thursday, June 01, 2006

The perceiver and the object perceived are one.

Without mental formations, there can't be consciousness. It's as if we're discussing a formation of birds. The formation holds the birds together, and they fly beautifully in the sky. You don't need someone to hold the birds and keep them flying in one formation. You don't need a self to create the formation. The birds just do it. In a beehive, you don't need someone who gives the order for this bee to go left and that bee to go right; they just communicate among one another and are a beehive. Among all the bees, every bee may have a different responsibility, but no bee claims to be the boss of all the bees, not even the queen.* The queen is not the boss. Her function is simply to give birth to the eggs. If you have a good community, a good sangha, it's like this beehive in which all the parts make the up whole, with no leader, no boss.

Thich Nhat Hahn discusses thoughts without a thinker in "The Four Layers of Consciousness" Buddhadharma The Practitioner's Quarterly, Summer 2006

Artwork by Darren Waterston

*While reading this my monkey mind couldn't help thinking of Homer Simpson, Exhibit A for the case of thoughts without a thinker: "What are you going to do? Release the dogs? Or the bees? Or the dogs with the bees in their mouths, and when they bark they shoot bees at you?"

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