Discriminating Consciousness and Wisdom
Constantly calculating and making plans, flowing along with birth and death, becoming afraid and agitated – all these are sentiments of discriminating consciousness. Yet people studying the path these days do not recognize this disease, and just appear and disappear in its midst. In the teachings it’s called acting according to discriminating consciousness, not according to wisdom. Thereby they obscure the scenery of the fundamental ground, their original face.
But if you can abandon it all at once, so you neither think nor calculate, then these very sentiments of discriminating consciousness are the subtle wisdom of true emptiness – there is no other wisdom that can be attained. If there were something attained and something realized besides, then it wouldn’t be right. It’s like a person when he’s deluded calling East, West, and when he’s arrived at enlightenment, West is East – there is no other East.
This subtle wisdom of the true emptiness is coeval with the great void: the void is not subject to being obstructed by things, nor does it hinder the coming and going of all things within it.
In the sutras this evening, Ta Hui is raising the most fundamental questions about meditation.
A few things need to be understood before we can discuss the sutras. The first is about your thinking process, which Ta Hui calls discriminating consciousness – in other words, your mind.
The mind is constantly involved in thinking, in judging, in evaluating. Its whole function seems to be to keep you involved in thoughts, which are nothing but soap bubbles – or perhaps soap bubbles have more substance to them than your thoughts.
Your thoughts are almost like writing on water…no thought leaves any trace on your mind. Your mind is almost like the sky: the birds fly, but they don’t leave any footprints in the sky. The sky remains as it was before the birds came and after the birds are gone.
To become aware of this is to enter into another dimension of your consciousness, beyond the discriminating consciousness. The discriminating consciousness consists only of thoughts. Beyond it is a consciousness which consists only of watching – not thinking but only witnessing, just seeing…not for, not against, nor appreciating, nor condemning – simply seeing, just the way the newborn child sees.
Look for a moment at the newborn child: he has eyes, he has consciousness. He looks all around, he sees all the colors, the flowers, the light, the people, their faces, but do you think the child recognizes the color green as green? Do you think he discriminates between a woman and a man? Or that this is beautiful and that is ugly?