Reality and God
Tenth in a series. Subtle forms that appear without the usual factors… I may be digressing from the official Buddhist interpretation, but I go on: Subtle forms that appears without the usual factors, such as long-lived beings having unknown origins or phenomena such as space that are seen by some to be the support of phenomena should not to be perceived as ultimate reality or permanent because they are empty of inherent existence. This includes God. This would have to include God.
Chandrakirti states in his famous exposition Twenty Emptinesses, point eight; Emptiness of the Uncomposite: “ When arising, cessation and impermanence are not among its characteristics, a phenomenon is known as being uncomposited. They are empty of themselves. This is the emptiness of the uncomposite.”
One may object by noting that if there are no causes and conditions for forms or ideas to arise, it must mean that it is real. If the causes and conditions, the primary formula for identifying illusory phenomena, upon penetrating analysis cannot be discovered, then by default this must be something real? No. The truth of the emptiness of the uncomposite, in other words, that which has no causes or conditions, such as the descriptions of God in the bible or other holy religious scriptures, or phenomena such as space or the tantras is under scrutiny.
Space is also empty of inherent existence. Simply by being open space acknowledges through this strict analysis that it is empty of inherent existence from its own side. Even many schools of Buddhism see space as being the support of phenomena, and here we pull out the support of that too as illusory, if there is a clinging by the innate view. They are also not the excellent support. Even that which cannot be included in the statement, "Everything that comes from causes and conditions, is empty and illusory”, is also empty and illusory.
Keep remembering that it does not mean it is conventionally nonexistent. It means that it is empty of the very characteristic that is attached to your innate view that causes you to grasp and cling toward something that it cannot provide. It cannot be the support of that, and so, even though you might have a strong faith in God and say that God IS, your innate view damages your correct relationship to that process. This is equally true for the innate inappropriate grasping of “I AM” or any other form of higher relationship.
We are capable of discovering our error by this marvelous method of non-affirming logic. We have to take away what it is not, in order to discover what it is, until the mind moves into dissolution, the state without foundation. That is correct investigation, and that is what the analysis induces. Returning from that extraordinary experience, you are quite convinced that the definitive state has been penetrated, even if that is still not the correct view. We call that a transitional correct view and there is still more layers to be reversed.
Now, please do not be confused by the aspect of your innate view that might happen to be unskillful in how you regard God. This very point in the analysis, in my opinion, addresses the unskillful, damaged view that forces you to see God as being an ultimate support of your belief in illusory phenomena that binds you to uncontrolled rebirth.
Subtle forms that appear without the usual factors, such as long-lived beings that have unknown origins to ordinary beings or phenomena that are seen by some, not all but some, to be the support of phenomena, are not to be worshiped as being real and permanent. These do not fall under this point as they are more easily shown to possess causes and conditions upon more careful penetration of higher functioning mind. There are also a number of categories of living beings that seem to be all-powerful such as the Greek and Roman gods. There are some similarities and some dissimilarities between gods and God.
However, the mature believer in permanence perceives that God is not something that can be identified as having come from this cause and that condition, that God simply IS. According to the analysis, that understanding of God, “that God is”, means that arising, cessation and impermanence do not automatically bestow it with reality simply because it is uncomposited and beyond dismantling.
Your belief being challenged here is not that “God is not”, but the very inner programming that causes you the obstacle of craving permanence. That defective underlying belief should be addressed. It will never be healed in reality if we affirm that everything else is illusory and continue to rest in a illusory relationship by craving to grasp onto God, or Allah, or Brahma, or Yahweh, or in Native American, Wakan as self existing and causeless from its own side. Your conceptualization of a being of unknown origin that simple IS, alive without causes or conditions, should mature beyond the unexamined defective relationship that you might presently have with deity.
I have sensed fear in many believers of one permanent thing to be worshiped, who are capable and ready to skillfully dissolve the innate view that takes the transitory to be permanent. Remember, we are not damaging your careful illusory relationship with God, you will be a better Buddhist, Christian or Muslim without the clinging and grasping toward the permanence you desire as the highest saints overcame their fear.
Regarding the method used in Vajrayana Buddhism that incorporates this analysis into the practice, His Holiness the Dalai Lama says, “The emphasis is not on the union of calm abiding and special insight, (which belongs to the non tantric methods of inducing a state of emptiness in the conceptual mind) but on a union of appearance and emptiness qualified by the vivid appearance of one’s own mind in the form of a deity and the conceptual realization of emptiness – simultaneously. This is a distinctive assertion of tantra: namely, that an empty phenomenon can appear to a consciousness that is realizing its emptiness conceptually”
God is not the excellent support for your innate view craving for stability. That is a transitional energetic clinging to a virtuous object and at this point in the analysis of the nature of reality, you should no longer be seeing God through the filter of the defective programming of a human realm innate view. God or other uncomposited phenomena are not the excellent support that you are confused into thinking they are. It does not mean that they do not exist or that they do not act as another kind of support, but not in the way you think do. To be continued…