Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Experiment: The Flower Sermon

The sermon itself was a wordless one in which Śākyamuni merely held up a flower before the assembled disciples, among whom there was no reaction apart from Mahākāśyapa, who smiled.

What a trick, beginning and end.
If you are a flower who can perceive its own existence and perceives it to be self contained and inherently existent, the moment you bloom seems to be the beginning and the moment your last petal drifts to the black soil seems the last.
If you are black soil you have been built over the course of billions of years, shaped and changed by flowers and other bio matter living and at last decaying over you, by waters flowing over and pouring down, by eruptions from deep below and fires raging above, by the deification of life forms worming through you and striding upon you and by things which fall from the far heavens.
If you are black soil you do not track the life and death of a single flower, but rather count the rise and fall of entire populations of wildflowers, count them silently as you swallow seed and send bloom bursting forth towards the sun.
Can the life cycle of the flower be separated from the life cycle of the black soil?
Does it exist independently?

Can it exist independently?
Why, objectively, would the existence of a human animal differ from that of a flower?
If you are a ballroom of red, yellow, and white burning spheres and spinning bodies of minerals, metals, and vapors dancing the dance of gravitational force, you do not count the individual dancers. Not the blue bulb nursing black soil, not it’s burning yellow partner, nor it’s small pock marked attendant, nor any other. If you are such a ballroom you trace only the dance, silently keeping time in the perpetually motion.

Lay on your back in a silent place.
Cross your arms over your chest and close your eyes with a timer set for 24 min.
Breath deeply and slowly, feeling your belly rise first, then your chest.
The sound of your breathing should be undetectable.
Other than this breathing, do not move.
Without speaking it aloud, repeat the following mantra for the duration of the 24 minutes in your mind:

"Nothing ever has happened.
Nothing ever will happen."

The first line will be contemplated on the inhale, the second line with the exhale.

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