General Question

hoteipdx's avatar

In your experience, does everything contain all other things? Or, does every manifestation of reality reflect all other manifestations of reality?

Asked by hoteipdx (251points) August 3rd, 2008

Two Sides of a Coin that does not Exist

All things reflect, interpenetrate, and indeed contain all other things. This is the organic nature of the universe, and is called mutual interdependence in classical Buddhism. Affinity and coincidence are its surface manifestations . . . the other is no other than myself. This is the foundation of the precepts and the inspiration for genuine human behavior.

To acknowledge one’s own dark side with a smile and to acknowledge the shining side of the other person with a smile—this is practice. Keeping the shining side of one’s self always in view and holding fast to the dark side of the other—this is not practice.,

—Robert Aitken, Encouraging Words

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25 Answers

jrpowell's avatar

Must be the beer.. That confused me.

lapilofu's avatar

I don’t even understand what that means. “Contain all other things?” We’re obviously not talking about physical containment, because it’s pretty clear to my that my fingernail does not physically contain all other things. Ditto for reflecting and penetrating. So what does this actually mean?

arnbev959's avatar

Atman is Brahman.

timothykinney's avatar

Too much thinking.

But since you asked, this question is really dealing with interdependent origination. The universe, if viewed karmically, moves from one infinite moment to the next without pausing. Since this is so, all beings and the phenomenal world arise and dissolve together from moment to moment. Because of this we say that nothing exists because of itself.

It is your karmic attachment to all other things in the universe that makes you alive. Reality is like a mirror reflecting your mind reflecting reality. In this we can also see that “everything contains all other things”.

If you want to experience this, I recommend spending some time in a forest, just listening.

tinyfaery's avatar

Holy! I’m a friend of pete’s at the moment (get my drift).

The first one.

arnbev959's avatar

From Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha:

“I’m not kidding. I’m telling you what I’ve found. Knowledge can be conveyed, but not wisdom. It can be found, it can be lived, it is possible to be carried by it, miracles can be performed with it, but it cannot be expressed in words and taught. This was what I, even as a young man, sometimes suspected, what has driven me away from the teachers. I have found a thought, Govinda, which you’ll again regard as a joke or foolishness, but which is my best thought. It says: The opposite of every truth is just as true! That’s like this: any truth can only be expressed and put into words when it is one-sided. Everything is one-sided which can be thought with thoughts and said with words, it’s all one-sided, all just one half, all lacks completeness, roundness, oneness. When the exalted Gotama spoke in his teachings of the world, he had to divide it into Sansara and Nirvana, into deception and truth, into suffering and salvation. It cannot be done differently, there is no other way for him who wants to teach. But the world itself, what exists around us and inside of us, is never one-sided. A person or an act is never entirely Sansara or entirely Nirvana, a person is never entirely holy or entirely sinful. It does really seem like this, because we are subject to deception, as if time was something real. Time is not real, Govinda, I have experienced this often and often again. And if time is not real, then the gap which seems to be between the world and the eternity, between suffering and blissfulness, between evil and good, is also a deception.”

“How come?” asked Govinda timidly.

“Listen well, my dear, listen well! The sinner, which I am and which you are, is a sinner, but in times to come he will be Brahma again, he will reach the Nirvana, will be Buddha—and now see: these ‘times to come’ are a deception, are only a parable! The sinner is not on his way to become a Buddha, he is not in the process of developing, though our capacity for thinking does not know how else to picture these things. No, within the sinner is now and today already the future Buddha, his future is already all there, you have to worship in him, in you, in everyone the Buddha which is coming into being, the possible, the hidden Buddha. The world, my friend Govinda, is not imperfect, or on a slow path towards perfection: no, it is perfect in every moment, all sin already carries the divine forgiveness in itself, all small children already have the old person in themselves, all infants already have death, all dying people the eternal life. It is not possible for any person to see how far another one has already progressed on his path; in the robber and dice-gambler, the Buddha is waiting; in the Brahman, the robber is waiting. In deep meditation, there is the possibility to put time out of existence, to see all life which was, is, and will be as if it was simultaneous, and there everything is good, everything is perfect, everything is Brahman. Therefore, I see whatever exists as good, death is to me like life, sin like holiness, wisdom like foolishness, everything has to be as it is, everything only requires my consent, only my willingness, my loving agreement, to be good for me, to do nothing but work for my benefit, to be unable to ever harm me. I have experienced on my body and on my soul that I needed sin very much, I needed lust, the desire for possessions, vanity, and needed the most shameful despair, in order to learn how to give up all resistance, in order to learn how to love the world, in order to stop comparing it to some world I wished, I imagined, some kind of perfection I had made up, but to leave it as it is and to love it and to enjoy being a part of it.—These, oh Govinda, are some of the thoughts which have come into my mind.”

Bioplasmic's avatar

In my experience, I am less and less convinced that there is any separation into things.
There is only Oneness and unity of being.The multiplicity is an illusion within the ipseity.

One night I awoke with a fright after being thumped hard in the face.
Looking around there was no one in the room.
It was my arm and fist, I’d cut the circulation off by lying on it awkwardly, turning over it hit me.

xxporkxsodaxx's avatar

I am everywhere and nowhere, I am everyone and no one, I do not exist within time, yet aging affects me.

See, other people can be confusing too.

Harp's avatar

My experience is fundamentally no different from your experience, hoteipdx. Things are as they are, and that is the truth that constantly unfolds for me, for you, and everyone else on this thread.

But as soon as you latch onto an idea like “everything contains (or reflects) all other things”, you’re no longer in the realm of experience; you’re in the realm of ideas. When Aitken, or any other Zen teacher, writes something like this, his intention is not to give you a piece of information about reality. These kinds of words are meant to throw you back into your own experience, make you question all your models of reality, but not to give you a new model.

The idea “All things contain all other things” is no more true than the idea “I am here, and you are there”. They’re both ideas, and ideas can never get at reality.

ninjaxmarc's avatar

The philosophy of the Jedi…...

stratman37's avatar

@pete: POOF! That was the sound of my mind being blown.

nina's avatar

Well, if your subscribe to the theory of holographic universe – than it is so. But to actually experience it – has not happenned to me.

But please, do keep thinking – complex thoughts are good for you, maybe not on an empty stomack…

arnbev959's avatar

@stratman37: It’s a great book.

steelmarket's avatar

Imagine, if you will… Helen Keller is given a spoonful of seawater to taste. From her experience with the taste, she develops an entire science and philosophy of oceans and decides to write a textbook.

Our attempts to conceptualize the universes is similar in its scope and vanity.

hoteipdx's avatar

I like the Hellen Keller analogy.

fortris's avatar

Was this a question? Because it sounds like a phycology lecture. But I will feebly attempt to anwser,

a bag!

Am I right, no, because there is no answer, or spoon.

Reality is based on your perspective, and your perspective only. Mine is based on my perspective only. For all you know, my reality could involve chicken people and human ants. Think of life as a video game, there is a set amount of animations and dialogue, but you can easily replace them with other character skins and sound bytes. But no one can prove this because if it is true, no two realitys are the same and we can’t test his because different ones would be translated from persective to perspective, hence, we can all communicate, but two identicle realitys would sound the same anyway.

Does your brain hurt as much as mine? And thats MY philosophy that I made up!

hoteipdx's avatar

Fortis is right in suggesting that my question assumes reality has some objective characteristics. I realize that violates some postmodern perspectives, but I tend to think some things actually, are. As somebody with some zen practice under my belt, I hesitate to jump on zen cosmologies. My question was really asking, “Does this bold statement by a zen master actually square with your experience of reality?” I was not asking if it is true or false.

fortris's avatar

My brain is now officialy for show. It has been blown, twisted, distorted and destroyed. In my opinion, thinking deeply has only made me deppressed in the past (are we the only ones in the universe, is there any form of consciousness after death?) So please do yourself a favor and just enjoy life.

Harp's avatar

It’s important to distinguish between reality and interpetations of reality. fortris, you might want to disregard the following given your tender condition :)

Experience is one thing, but how the mind parses and plays back that experience is quite another. Experience is this very moment; Reality is this very moment. This moment is common to us all, and none of us exists outside of it. This isn’t complicated; you’ve always known this.

But we humans describe this moment to ourselves, and it’s here that we lose track of the wholeness of reality. The descriptions, our personal narratives, are quite literally afterthoughts to experience. The narratives break down experience into thinkable, rememberable bits; it’s in the process of composing this narrative that self and other and the world of things are all born.

In this moment itself, there is no self, no other, no things. There is no one who experiences and no thing that is experienced. There is just this. I’m not describing some altered state of consciousness here. I’m talking about the only reality you have ever known.

This reality can’t be broken up into separate pieces, which is what Aitken is saying. No matter which ¨bit¨of reality we think we’re dealing with, reality in its entirety is right there.

SeekerSeekiing's avatar

Couldn’t it be both? Everything I experience does contain all other things and every manifestation of reality reflect all other manifestations of reality?

I’m not sure what you are asking?
I am laughed at for my belief, but I hold fast to it.
I believe that Love hold the universe together. It’s the only thing that is real—everything else is an illusion.
This love is the imperfect way we love one another. It’s the movie love. It’s the knight in shining armor love. It’s every poem ever written, every romantic play, or love note on a yellow post-it. It’s the way we marry in conditional love [vowing monogamy or divorce] and it is the unconditional love we sometimes feel and see.
That type of love is based on conditions that exist between all parties. The love we feel and see is just a faded photograph of the source of love. The one love. The creator love that created us….all love is a reflection of that. All is from that source. One source, one love—we are all related. All major teacher’s said something about this…all pointed towards it. In our better moments we know it. In our weaker ones, we don’t want to know it. We are the same. I breathe you in, you breathe me in. One source—love.

deaddolly's avatar

Made my brain hurt.

I think everyone has a dark side…some choose to let it loose more than others.

Zyx's avatar

@Harp: This place has three dimensions and is tied in a knot. Where is your “reality” now?
@SeekerSeekiing: could you maybe tell people you’re not high because people like you give people like me a bad name.

@Harp again, it is impossible to say anything with certainty because anything is possible. I may not be able to prove this entire universe is only a song or that I am a demon that lives in nine realities at once, but you can’t disprove it either. And how can you trust your senses if they are all you’ve ever known? I’m just saying it’s not at all important to make distinctions between reality and interpretations of reality because we wouldn’t actually be able to tell the difference. The only way we could say anything with certainty would be to have always been omniscient and omnipotent. CANNOT KNOW ANYTHING FOR SURE.

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