Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Finding a standpoint

I was talking to a dharma friend today. She guessed we were almost in the same standpoint regarding buddhism.

I immediately asked myself where my standplace was. When I first contacted the Boundless Way school I was making a slow attempt of transition from theravada to chan/zen. I didn't know if I would succeed and through this time I've been strongly based on the teachings of the Pali Canon. With time I've learnt to discuss, question and defend certain viewpoints, creating in this way a kind of identity, which as with all sense of identity is subject to decay and death.

Some place in the process I feel like I lost contact with something essential. Something I can only get in contact through abandoning what I've learnt, what I have, what I am... standing alone, naked and in silence, shading light into it until it reveals itself, wandering along, finding no standpoint, just as leaves do not say "my true nature is green" or "my true nature is yellow" in this boundless empty field.

It has nothing to do with buddhism or any other -ism. Becoming proficient in defending a certain view has nothing to do with it either. If it had, it would be like setting boundaries to the boundless. It cannot be done, no matter how hard one tries.

Seeking a home, seeking a refuge I was worried about where my standpoint was and thus my mouth was dry like a desert. My feet treading the boundless way, the sky as the limits of my head, where could worry find a standpoint?


  1. David, thanks for this post _/\_

    The urge for definition has filled me sometimes too, and sensations or things I had learned through practice that couldn't be explained from my frame of reference (say, Theravada Buddhism) were wasted because of this need.

    Now I try not to explain everything with words, and it seems ok, but doubts arise continuously: Should I work harder? Am I doing this right? I haven't concentrated well in some weeks now, is it ok? etc etc etc

    PS: A little know-it-all detail. It's desert, actually, instead of dessert (unless your mouth was dry like a chocolate brownie, in which case I'll shut up).

  2. Hiya, D.

    I pay homage to Gautama,
    To he, who out of compassion,
    Taught the true Dharma
    As the relinquishing of all views.

    Nagarjuna, from the Mulamadhyamakakarika.

    Of course, there is the long-standing tendancy in Buddhism to swing to the extreme of interpreting things like this to mean that we should not have any viewpoints and opinions, or that we should suppress or destroy them, as if our human lives and experiences were meaningless.

    I think we can come to directly understand that existence does not rely on our viewpoints even in the midst of viewpoints.

    Anyway, I'm very grateful for the viewpoint that Master Nagarjuna echoed.



  3. A member of the sangha came round for zazen last night. We ended up doing tai chi.

    One day maybe he'll come round for tai chi and we'll end up doing zazen.

    In the summer, the goat-herds seek refuge in a hut on the hilltop; in winter, they bring their goats down the mountain and seek refuge at home.

  4. They do that as well in England? That's what herds do in the north of Spain...

  5. Ok, so the only time I've actually sought refuge in a goat-herd's hut was when I was lost at night-fall above the snowline in the Himalayas! Not quite England...

  6. Pablo: of course I was talking about brownies. I never make mistakes when writing in English ;)
    Harry: "If you find the Buddha, kill the Buddha; if you find the patriarchs, kill the patriarchs"
    But taking the standpoint of no-standpoint is again like eating dry brownies with the nose (if you understand this, please, explain)
    Kaishin: I like the example of the goat-herds. It makes me think of the ox-herd, wordless teachings, from England, Spain, Irland, Iceland and the snowline of the Himalayas.

    Gassho to you all

  7. Hi David,

    By all means 'invest in loss', but if it was limited by a standpoint or a lack of standpoint then it would not be being transmitted where you are standing (or whatever) right now.

    Boldly sticking that brownie right up our nose might be a more genuine effort than cautiously sniffing around it.



  8. I have a standpoint. I say, "Brownies are good orally!"

    I know this standpoint, as with all standpoints, will bring me pain eventually.

    However, it is likely to bring me less pain than sticking a brownie up my nose.

  9. Hi Michael,

    hee hee...

    I'm sure you'll remember your young chap teaching himself to eat... if he's anything like my crew then quite a lot was stuffed purposefully up the nose... and everywhere else (regardless of my assumptions)!