A Dialogue on Emptiness (fwd)
jlaari at tukki.jyu.fi
Fri Sep 30 06:41:46 MDT 1994
one friend, Buddhist dialectician, sent me this posting. Are there any
interesting themes or questions? I mean, if questions concerning marxist
ethics and 'metaphysics' and relations between them are of any interest,
then this one very distinguished form of dialectics, I believe, should
be of some interest for those trying to figure out how to proceed with the
Project...? I've been told, that this Dialogue shouldn't be considered
neither as an exact interpretation of the concept of emptiness in
buddhist logic nor as a hint of real historical interaction between India
and Greece (there surely have been some interaction in the old times), but
rather as nice heuristic piece of writing.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 28 Sep 1994 16:57:38 -0700
From: Kent Palmer <palmer at netcom.com>
Subject: A Dialogue on Emptiness
AN UNLIKELY DIALOGUE BETWEEN MILREPA AND PARMENIDES
by Kent D. Palmer, Ph.D.
[Copyright 1994 Kent D. Palmer All rights reserved.
Copies for individual study allowed on the Emptiness
Milrepa is sitting meditating and having a particularly hard time
concentrating when up walks a foreigner? Its Parmenides from
Greece and he has come a long way. He has the signs of travel
from a long journey on him.
Parmenides: Howdy! I'm here to disprove the existence of
Parmenides: Is that any kind of answer from a world famous Guru
sitting at the top of a mountain?
Milrepa: I'm having a bad day. It is hard to be insightful all
the time. Everyone expects miracles all the time.
Parmenides: You ARE Milrepa, aren't you?
Milrepa: Would just anyone be sitting out here in the cold
meditating like this?
Parmenides: Just checking. I heard you guys believed in something
called EMPTINESS out here and I've come to set you straight.
Milrepa: Oh. Maybe this won't turn out to be such a bad day after
all. By all means sit down and set me straight.
Parmenides: Thanks for the invite. It HAS been a long journey.
It's hard having to go all over the world straitening people out.
But some one has to do it.
Milrepa: Where do you come from?
Milrepa: Never heard of it. Is that near Delhi?
Parmenides: Well . . . . Kinda. It's kinda hard to explain how I
got here. Could we just jump right in to the business at hand?
I've got a lot more stops to make.
Milrepa: Sure. Shoot.
Parmenides: Well its like this. I had this vision see. And this
Goddess came to me and clued me in on some secrets about the
universe and I wrote it all down in this poem for you and others
who need to know this kind of thing. Would you like to see the
Milrepa. Looks like Greek to me. Maybe you could just tell me it?
Parmenides: Well. I guess. Uh. Don't know quite where to start.
Milrepa: Try beginning with this vision of yours.
Parmenides: Oh good idea. Well I got into this chariot and I went
up into the heavens and met this Goddess, whose name I don't
really know at a big door . . .
Milrepa: A big door in the heavens?
Parmenides: That's right you seen it too? Anyway this Goddess
clued me in see. She said there were only three paths. Let's see.
They were BEING, ILLUSION, and NON-BEING. BEING is the only true
path. Illusion is kinda a path but not one you want to take. And
NON-BEING is a non-path so we don't have to worry about that. So
really she was saying there was only one path -- the path of
BEING. When I told everyone back home about it they all said Yea.
Great stuff. We'll all take that path and see where is leads.
Everyone got together and we started building a thing called a
worldview all based on BEING. We got rid of everything that even
looked a little bit illusory and we refused to have anything to
do with anything that was associated with NON-BEING. Things have
been going pretty good since then. Everyone agrees that What "IS"
is and what "IS'NT" isn't and everything in the middle isn't
worth much. And once everyone got the idea things have been going
Milrepa: Well that's quite a story. If things are going so well
why did you come all the way out here?
Parmenides: Well I heard you folks were developing some strange
ideas that might conflict with our project of worldbuilding some
day. So I thought I'd come out here and set you folks straight
before things got out of hand. I heard that you folks were
talking about something called "EMPTINESS" and that sounds an
awful lot like NON-BEING. Now it would be a bit embarrassing for
me if everyone thought EMPTINESS were real and they got off track
back home. No telling where that might lead. So why don't we just
sort this thing out right here and now so we don't have to worry
about things in the future. I mean we've got a good thing going,
why rock the boat.
Milrepa: What do you get out of all this?
Parmenides: What do you mean?
Milrepa: Sure a long way to go to avoid something that may not
happen for a couple thousand years or so.
Parmenides: You've got to take the long perspective. I want to
build a worldview that will last. We Greeks believe in building
things to last. Look at our temples. We even write things down to
pass them on just so no one will forget what we have done.
Milrepa: Its all I can do to get from instant to instant. I have
been spending all my effort to wipe away Karmic attachments and
you tell me you are trying to leave an indelible mark on
existence. I think we might have conflicting goals.
Parmenides: Well where did you get this dang fool idea about
EMPTINESS any who.
Milrepa: Well you see there was this prince. He led kinda
sheltered life. His father didn't want him to know what things
were really like. He never saw anyone poor or sick or dead in his
whole life. But one day he was out in a carriage and he went buy
some of his father's subjects who were poor, others who were
sick, and even one who was dead. That was kinda a shock to him so
he gave up his palace and everything and tried to learn what life
was really all about. He went from one extreme to the other. Next
thing you know he was wandering around in the forests talking to
all the Hindu ascetics and becoming an ascetic himself trying his
hardest to figure out what existence was really all about.
However, it was a real problem. You see we have been in the same
boat as you folks for a long time. Everyone was sure that
everything was permeated by something called SAT. It is a word in
Sanscrit that kinda covers everything. It sounds like something
similar to your BEING. Everything other than SAT was MAYA. So
everyone was trying their darndist to realize pure SAT that we
call COSMIC CONSCIOUSNESS or Brahman. It was a head long race to
become ONE with everything through identifying with the SAT in
everything. And it was a lot of work. But the Buddha kept trying
to get there along with everyone else.
Parmenides: You guys sure do a lot of work with this Asceticism
stuff. Why don't you just act natural like us and talk about what
everyone sees and thinks. Why do you keep pushing yourself so
Milrepa: Well I guess that was a problem. Everyone was working so
hard to out do each other with their ascetic regimes that it
became very exhausting. So the Buddha decided to take a rest. He
sat down under a Bodhi tree and BOOM it hit him like a flash.
Everyone had to work so hard to achieve SAT because it didn't
really exist. He realized in a flash that SAT was an illusion and
we all thought it was real because we had all agreed it was real
and not because anything was actually there. He called the
illusory nature of SAT Emptiness. He started teaching everyone
about that and it was like a revelation. We were all trying to
achieve something that did not exist anyway, we had all just
talked ourselves into thinking it existed as a community. In fact
it sounds like you folks are in a similar boat. Maybe you should
find out something about Buddhism.
Parmenides: Hey. Wait a minute. I came here to clue you guys in.
If I go home and tell everyone I just had a fantasy and it was a
big mistake or something they wouldn't like it. Anyway how do you
know I made a mistake. Maybe this EMPTINESS of yours is an
Milrepa: Well that could be. But I did some investigation on my
own and I think I have some good reason to think that SAT / BEING
is an illusion and that Emptiness something else.
Parmenides: What did you find out? Could you clue me in?
Milrepa: Well I live in Tibet and it is easy for me to go over
the mountains into China. No one knows that that country exists
but me. But it is a country over there just as big or bigger than
India. I learned to speak the language and I asked them about
SAT. They said they didn't have any word for SAT in their
language. For them it was as if SAT did not exist. They had
nothing in their language that corresponded to SAT. I poked
around a bit and found out that they actually had lots of
Languages. And most of them didn't have anything like SAT. But
there were a few languages that did have something like SAT but
because the official language didn't have it the equivalents to
SAT these equivalents when they did occur didn't have much of a
role in Chinese culture. That was strange because in India it
seems like everything revolves around SAT. That made me start
doubting that SAT was real. I mean if it appears in some
languages and not in others then how can it be something really
Parmenides: Are you telling me that BEING is just an artifact of
my language that I have blown up and projected on the world.
Milrepa: Well that is one way of putting it.
Parmenides: Hmmm. I never thought of that.
Milrepa: Anyway that is what got me thinking the Buddha might be
on to something.
Parmenides: But Emptiness is such a slippery concept. I heard
someone say that emptiness was empty or something weird like
Milrepa: Well Emptiness has to be structured in a very specific
way to counteract the illusion of Being/SAT. First of all
Being/SAT covers everything. It is a bit hard to say something
else that covers everything. In fact for a long time we thought
there could only be one concept that covered everything. That is
what made SAT so unique. But that is where the Buddha's
cleverness really shown through. He reasoned that the real
problem with SAT was exactly that it was a concept. He realized
that Being's only flaw ("Achilles heel" Parmenides interjected,
Milrepa looked at him strangely) was its conceptual nature. So he
invented the fist non-concept to cover everything. He had studied
homeopathy when he was young. He knew that if you took something
that caused a disease and made it infinitesimal through agitation
then it would cause the opposite effect and would cancel the
disease that had symptoms similar to those caused by its gross
form. The tincture of Being is Emptiness. The symptoms of Being
are Clinging and Craving and lostness in illusion. One dose of
Emptiness and those symptoms disappear. Emptiness started out as
a concept. It was the concept of a lack of Being but through the
process of agitation and trituration it became a non-concept that
had all the opposite qualities of Being and actually annihilates
the miasma of Being. That process of agitation is the destruction
of the conceptual structure of Being. Watch out you don't get
caught up in that. It is something that happens in these parts.
Parmenides: I don't understand this concept of a homeopathic cure
Milrepa: It is very simple. Lets take the concept of Tropes. Do
you know what they are?
Parmenides: Aren't those METAPHOR, METONYMY, IRONY and
Milrepa: Yes. Now metonymy is the withdrawal of BEING and irony
is the negation of BEING. You put these together at the same time
and you get SYNECDOCHE. So Synecdoche is the anti-non-metaphor.
To get emptiness you must start with BEING or SAT. You withdraw
SAT and what do you have?
Parmenides: Well lets see. BEING is presencing or ALETHEIA
Milrepa: Oh isn't that interesting. You see Being as an
UN-COVERING a withdrawal of covering.
Parmenides: Oh. I never thought of that. You are right.
Milrepa: Well lets begin with covering.
A-letheia is a withdrawal of covering.
If we see that in reverse we realize that BEING withdrawn is the
production of an illusion. That is METONYMY.
Non-Being is a negation of Being. That is an IRONY.
Parmenides: Hey that's the two paths mentioned by the goddess.
She mentioned ILLUSION and NON-BEING. She didn't say what
relation they had to each other. Just that one path was to be
avoided and the other one was not really a path.
Milrepa: A non-path path? What was this goddesses name anyway?
Parmenides: Well she really didn't say. I called her Peithia
because I was persuaded by her story.
Milrepa: Anyway if we take metaphor and metonymy at the same time
what do we get?
Parmenides: Oh I have no problem playing this kind of game. I
would call the combination of the two NOTHINGNESS, it is the
combination of ILLUSION and NON-BEING.
Milrepa: Quite right. I can understand that. So there is really
another path that your goddess didn't mention. By the way have
you ever met here since?
Parmenides: Well how many visions like that do you think one man
Milrepa: She didn't tell you the whole story the fist time. So I
thought she might have come around again to finish the job.
Parmenides: Do you think she was keeping something from me?
Milrepa: Let's just say that if you meet stray goddesses by
doorways in the sky the best thing is to ask them their name just
in case you have some questions later.
Parmenides: I'll try to remember that.
Milrepa: Never mind. Lets carry on working on trying to derive
Emptiness. We now have four paths: BEING, ILLUSION, NON-BEING,
and NOTHINGNESS laid out in a square of contraries and
contradictions. That kinda covers all the bases don't you think?
Parmenides: Well it is sorta hard to think how you are going to
get anywhere else from there? It seems like a complete ordering
Milrepa: ILLUSION and NON-BEING are contradictions. BEING and
NOTHINGNESS are also contradictions. BEING AND ILLUSION are
contraries. BEING and NON-BEING are also contraries. Likewise
NOTHINGNESS has the same contraries as BEING.
Parmenides: I understand that. I taught logic to undergraduates.
Milrepa: Ok. Well what's missing?
Parmenides: What do you mean "What's missing?" NOTHING is
missing. It is a complete ordering.
Milrepa: That's right nothing IS missing.
Parmenides: Say that again.
Milrepa: There is a hole. It is in the middle of the square of
contraries and contradictories. That hole is nothing.
Parmenides: Oh. I didn't think of the hole. Well I guess you are
right. But actually there is nothing there.
Milrepa: But does that make it any less a part of the square?
Parmenides: OK! There is a hole I admit it. If there was no hole
then there could be no square.
Milrepa: You are doing quite well you know.
Parminedes: What do you mean.
Milrepa: I mean you are starting to learn something and I can
tell you are beginning to enjoy it. I thought you came here for a
fight and look we've started dancing.
Parmenides: Ok. Ok. Let's get on with it. I still have a long way
to go to get home.
Milrepa: Ok. So we all recognized the hole. And the hole is just
as real as the square. In fact the square could not exist without
the hole. In fact without the hole we could not distinguish BEING
from its contraries and contradictory.
Parmenides: Granted. But I did not come here to talk about holes.
Milrepa: Ok. Now that we have established the existence of the
hole and that the hole is as real as the square. Now let's see if
we can derive emptiness. Emptiness is more than nothing. Lets
think about it together.
Parmenides: This is your show. I just came all this way to ask
some questions, it appears. I thought I was going to be the
center of attention. But all I can do is play the part of the
skeptic. Not much fun for me. At home I'm the center of
attention. In fact they've built a whole worldview around my
vision -- you know the one you are destroying right here on this
mountain top. But I am safe as long as you don't derive Emptiness
from the square with the hole in it. I can go home and tell them
all I discovered another path not worth going down -- You know
the path of NOTHINGNESS.
Milrepa: You could leave now and you would not have to find out
if your whole theory bites the dust.
Parmenides: Well. Actually I would really like to know if it is
true or not. I mean I started having these visions because of my
seeking after the truth. If I turn back now I will have betrayed
my inner most self. I think I would rather know the truth than be
right. And that is a hard thing for me to say because basically
I've got it made. How many people you know have a whole worldview
named after them.
Milrepa: You know I can identify with what you have just said. I
had a teacher once. When I first started out on the path. He told
me to build a castle. He pointed out where he wanted it. I worked
very hard and made it all very nice for him. When I showed it to
him he said it was very nice but in slightly the wrong position.
He asked me to tear it down and move it somewhere else. So I tore
it down and rebuilt it there. Again the same thing happened. In
fact I built that castle many times over, here there and
everywhere until I collapsed in exhaustion. My teacher just kept
having me move it everytime I built it. But all through that I
really only wanted to please my teacher. And finally I learned
that he was trying to teach me something about my self. That
where ever I built it there would be something wrong. And that
learning meant continually starting over again realizing ones own
faults and ignorance. I could never know what was in the mind of
my teacher and every castle had flaws.
Parmenides: Well the castle we are building back home is big
enough to contain the whole world because it is all built out of
ideas. It is easy to move around because it is just in every
bodies heads. And it gives us a LOT of control over things which
we like. But I am just a bit worried that it might obscure our
vision of how things really are just a tad. But I am sure that
problem can be corrected over time.
Milrepa: I hope so for all our sakes. But it is my experience
with illusions that they are just a little addictive and as you
get hooked on them it is harder and harder to see beyond them.
There are just too many corrections to apply all the time.
Parmenides: I hope you are wrong. But we've got plenty of time to
find out. We are in this for the long haul. Now that we have
discovered Being and founded a new era with no Gods, Myth, or
Poetry, and all that hokey stuff I think we are on to something
Milrepa: I thought it was a Goddess that told you all this.
Parmenides: Uh . . . Well that is just a way of speaking. We are
all rationalists now. We have reasons for everything we do.
Milrepa: Sounds wonderful. Maybe we should get on with our
thinking along together. Are you with me?
Parmenides: Well. With some trepidation. Well . . . Yes. Let's
Milrepa: Well then you tell me. Where is the emptiness?
Parmenides: You're asking me? Are you kidding. You want me to
tear down my own creation.
Milrepa: Well remember my teacher? He made me tear down my own
constructions over and over.
Parmenides: OK. I guess I'll think about it. But don't expect
Milrepa: At least you are trying. That is what counts.
Parmenides: Now lets see. There can't be anything outside the
Milrepa: I think that is right. It covers all the bases, like we
Parmenides: And it is not any of the corners of the square
because each of those are really very definite concepts, right.
Milrepa: I can follow that.
Parmenides: And we have established that the square has NOTHING
inside of it. And that the NOTHING is just as real as the square
because if the hole was not there then there would be no square.
Milrepa: Yep that is as far as we got, the fist time around.
Parmenides: I give up. We have accounted for all the elements of
the square an even the hole in the middle. I don't see any other
Milrepa: You sure give up easily.
Parmenides: If you were going to lose the glory of your place in
history you would have a difficult time thinking of ways to make
it happen faster too, I reckon.
Milrepa: Ok. At least you tried. Even if it was a token effort.
It at least make me feel like we are in this together.
Parmenides: I said that down deep I wanted to know the truth. I
didn't say I wanted to root out the truth that might pull me down
into the forgetfulness of oblivion. We had a King called Oedipus
that wanted to know the truth too bad once and it got him in one
heck of a lot of trouble. We Greeks recognize the truth when it
comes our way but we don't go out turning every stone upside down
looking for it overly excessively.
Milrepa: Well I guess that makes sense. Lets consider the square
again. We said that Being and Nothingness were contradictories.
What happens if we force them together so they coincide.
Parmenides: The whole point of the square is to keep them apart.
Milrepa: But can we really tell them apart? Being and Nothingness
might change places and we would never know.
Parmenides: But I know what Being is because I talked to the
Goddess and she told me. BEING IS WHAT IS.
Milrepa: That sounds a bit redundant. Is there any other way of
saying that without repeating yourself.
Milrepa: That leads me to be suspicious.
Milrepa: Because I am not sure you are saying anything. Sounds
like a tautology.
Parmenides: It is not a tautology because in the process of
becoming identical it must move through a phase of difference.
Milrepa: What is that phase of difference?
Parmenides: Well now that you mention it I think it might be
Milrepa: That makes sense. But does that mean you really have two
kinds of Being?
Parmenides: Well I never thought about that before. But you might
be right. There is BEING which is frozen and changeless that my
Goddess taught me about. But she forgot to teach me about
NOTHINGNESS. I suppose that when I say that IS is that I am
moving through NOTHINGNESS back to BEING in order to return and
reaffirm the SAME.
Milrepa: Well which kind of BEING (frozen block or mixed with
difference) are we talking about here?
Parmenides: Well it depends on your point of view. NOTHINGNESS
could appear to be the OTHER of FROZEN BEING from one point of
view. Or from another point of view NOTHINGNESS could be a
PROCESS KIND OF BEING and the FROZEN KIND OF BEING could be like
a NOTHINGNESS. That is to say the FROZEN KIND OF BEING is a kind
of DEATH which the PROCESS kind of BEING slides into at the end
of its round of processing. This is kinda confusing but I can see
that there are really four things in these contraries that appear
depending on your point of view. There is STATIC FROZEN BEING and
its opposite NOTHINGNESS. There is DYNAMIC PROCESS BEING and its
opposite DEATH IN STASIS.
Now if these four elements as part of the contradictories were
brought together what would happen?
Milrepa: Please tell me. You are the philosopher here.
Parmenides: Well let's see. I guess NOTHINGNESS AND PROCESS BEING
are really two ways of looking at the same thing. STATIC FROZEN
BEING and DEATH IN STASIS are really two ways of looking at the
same thing. This means we do not just have a square but we have
viewpoints on the square as well. Things are starting to get
Milrepa: Things usually do if you fret with them long enough.
Parmenides: Well lets look at it this way. Say that STATIC FROZEN
BEING has DEATH IN STASIS inside of it. We can say that cause we
know that if STATIC BEING is separate from time which causes
ILLUSION then it is like a kind of DEATH IN STASIS. And say that
PROCESS BEING has NOTHINGNESS inside of it. We can say that
because PROCESS BEING has to pass through NOTHINGNESS as pure
Otherness in order for BEING to become the SAME with itself. So
what happens when what is inside becomes identical with what is
outside. Well PROCESS BEING cancels with NOTHINGNESS and TIMELESS
BEING evaporates into DEATH IN STASIS. This is like our two
viewpoints collapsing into each other.
Milrepa: That all sounds very strange. But let us suppose that
occurred. What would happen next?
Parmenides: Well This is like the self-destruction of the two
antitheses. PROCESS BEING would stop because it would have become
identified with pure Otherness. It could no longer be the link
for the Eternal Return of STATIC to itself. And if Timeless
STATIC BEING became identical with DEATH IN STASIS then mortality
and immortality would have intersected. In our tradition we have
heros who are born of mortals and immortals and like Achilles
they always die. So I think that probably bodes ill for any
identification of DEATH and STATIC BEING. Sounds like another
I think this means that if we try to bring the two
contradictories of the square into proximity we discover that
there are really two viewpoints on them which are being made to
coincide and this causes the contradictories to self destruct
before they ever can actually be forced into proximity.
Milrepa: Well that is interesting. That means the self
destruction did not come from the opposite contradictory but from
within each of the two contradictories. But what were those two
viewpoints that turned up.
Parmenides: Must be the difference between the viewpoints of gods
and men. The whole thing sounds a bit like my meeting with the
unknown goddess. She told me that everything was FROZEN STATIC
BEING. That must have been her viewpoint since everything to me
looks like it is in the Process of Manifestation. But to her
perhaps things are STATIC. Maybe she is seeing the world
multidimensionally somehow so that what looks like it is moving
to me is still to her. On my side I see immortality as the
challenge of my own death and from her side she perhaps saw Time
as Nothingness in the heart of manifestation. This would explain
why Death is inside of FROZEN BEING and Nothingness is inside
I had to leave the earth and go into the heavens to see the
goddess. So at that doorway Heaven, Earth, Mortal, and Immortal
met. I think we might call this the Fourfold basis of the World.
A great door way whose basis is the Earth and whose lentil is the
Heaven at which Mortal and Immortal meet. I see the world as a
process of manifestation in which difference is constantly
overcome by our will to power. The most different thing is the
realm of the gods. So within process is a drop of pure
difference. The goddess sees a static kind of Being within which
death is embedded. The goddess sees a static kind of Being but
within that she sees our difference from her which is Death.
So suddenly I understand better my meeting with the goddess. That
door was the point of mutual mirroring of the Fourfold. It was
the point where the reversibility between the viewpoint of the
gods and the viewpoint of men appears in existence. If we take
the Death within Static Being and the Nothingness within
manifestation and make them identical within each viewpoint then
it is like collapsing the viewpoints together and it is like
annihilation of the two contraries without their ever touching.
In other words the Fourfold basis of the world collapses.
Parmenides: Yes but look how sublime our conceptual model has
become. We have posited a square of contraries and
contradictories with a hole in it. Then we asked what would
happen if we made the contradictories come together. We said that
was impossible from the beginning and it has turned out to be
true. It is impossible to make them come together because if you
try they self-destruct from the identification of the kernel of
the other within each and what really collapses is the viewpoints
of the mortal and immortal.
Milrepa: So where are we now:
Parmenides: Well the world has started to collapse. But only one
set of contradictories has annihilated. Let us look at the
remaining set: ILLUSION and NON-BEING. These are more difficult
to think about.
Milrepa: How shall we begin?
Parmenides: Well one thing we discovered in the collapse of the
other set of contraries was that there were really two kinds of
Being: STATIC FROZEN BEING and manifestation as BEING MIXED WITH
TIME. Now when we think about it these two contraries only
existed to keep apart the ones that just canceled. Now if Process
Being and Static Being can cancel like that and something still
exists that means that there must be other kinds of Being besides
those two. So that means that what we are dealing with here is
some kind of progression. Now when we realized that there was a
difference between STATIC BEING and MANIFESTATION then the
viewpoints of mortals and immortals appeared. Death appeared in
the midst of the way the world was from the point of view of the
Goddess and Nothingness appeared at the Heart of Manifestation.
These viewpoints collapsed instead of the actual contraries
coming together and the kernels in the centers of the
contradictories annihilated with the external aspect of the
contradictories. All very complicated but at the same time
Parmenides: So now I propose we look for further kinds of Being
to appear as the square self-destructs.
Milrepa: Ok. I'm with you.
Parmenides: Well we can say that the self-destruction itself is
different from the two kinds of Being that Self-destructed. That
is fairly obvious. Let's call that kind of being BEING CANCELED.
It is a pretty strange kind of catastrophe. It is a catastrophe
that effects everything all the time. It is a continual
catastrophe that is always possible at the heart of things. We
would expect it to take down ILLUSION and NON-BEING with it
because they were just there as a means of distinguishing FROZEN
BEING and NOTHINGNESS or DEATH and PROCESS BEING. ILLUSION and
NON-BEING might be expected to have something to do with the
other part of the fourfold. The fourfold is comprised
traditionally of Heaven, Earth, Mortals and Immortals back where
I come from. We have seen the two viewpoints of mortality and
immortality collapse together in the first part of the
catastrophe. Now I suppose Heaven and Earth are going to cease to
be distinguishable. And you know in our tradition heaven and
earth arise from Chaos. And Chaos is almost identical with
NON-BEING in our tradition. So I am starting to see heaven and
earth collapsing back into Chaos and I am thinking that Illusion
might just evaporate. That gives me the willies because it makes
me think that perhaps we were producing that illusion as a side
effect of creating the House of Being. Certainly if NON-BEING
submerges back into CHAOS then ILLUSION will not be sustained.
But as the boat capsizes I get a vision. I get the vision of
CHAOTIC ILLUSION. Maybe this is a fourth kind of Being beyond
cancellation. It is the moment at which the illusion evaporates
and heaven and earth sink back into chaos. It is just a moment. I
can barely glimpse it. But I think it might be there. After that
there is only the unthinkable. It has to be unthinkable because
the goddess told us that NON-BEING was a path we could not take.
We cannot go into the CHAOS and live. And sadly we cannot live
without the illusions we have spun concerning the world. Now we
are left high and dry. Nothing but the wreckage of a worldview at
our feet. And history will forget my name.
Parmenides: What can I do?
Milrepa: We didn't identify the emptiness yet. Where does the
emptiness appear in your collapsing house of Being.
Parmenides: Well now that I understand how fragile the whole
thing is I realize that it was all empty from the beginning.
Milrepa: Yes but where was emptiness in your conceptual model.
Parmenides: Clearly it is at the center of the vortex of
Milrepa: What is it like there?
Parmenides: Very still. It is like the center of a hurricane.
Milrepa: I think you have realzed something very significant.
Parmenides: Perhaps but it spells defeat.
Milrepa: How so?
Parmenides: My glory was based on the structure of the House of
Being lasting forever. Now there is nothing.
Milrepa: Exactly! But that nothing is not merely a missing
element in your conceptual scheme, or a hole in the center of a
perfect conceptual scheme, or the inability for anything in your
scheme to move, or the inability for contradictories to collapse
together, or . . . That emptiness is something that tells you
something about YOU and YOUR project. Your project is empty. It
will collapse and suffering is inevitable if you are living.
Milrepa: Emptiness has a specific place. It is at the center of
the vortex of annihilating contradictories. That place is really
nowhere. You cannot find it like you can the hole in the center
where the nothing lived. But it is a palpable presence underlying
the whole scheme. It is the presence of an impossibility. It is
the lurking haunting hint of an unthinkable state of affairs.
Parmenides: This is not why I came here.
Milrepa: We often get more than we bargain for. Sometimes as in
this case LESS. But you came for victory and you found that there
was no one here to fight. You are the one who discovered how to
deconstruct your own scheme. Not me. I was just sitting here. You
disproved your self. You have no one to blame but your self. And
that self does not exist to be blamed. If you had been content
with your victories at home none of this would have happened.
Parmenides: But what do I do know.
Milrepa: Build new castles else where and then tear them down
again. Emptiness must be realized always anew. It cannot be
captured in any conceptual schema. We build conceptual schema
only to indicate it and since it always slips away we have to
keep building new ones continually.
You see WE ARE that square you built as the House of Being.
The conceptual schemas are the frozen and static structures. The
process of building them is the process of manifestation. When
they collapse this is cancellation. And at the heart of the
project is a glimpse of new creations or flaws in our
construction which we can only see if we engage on the project of
building and destroying to rebuild. But the entire project is
empty. And if we become unattached to it we live in that
emptiness instead of half built or half unbuilt illusory
Parmenides: I see that. I thought I was building a worldview
forever. I forgot myself in that project. When I remembered
myself the project vanished. The self I remembered was completely
empty. It was the center of the vortex of building and
unbuilding. It was defined by the vortex but if you took away the
vortex then nothing would be there.
Milrepa: You got the message. What are you going to do now?
Parmenides: I hear there is work world building in Persia. Maybe
I'll check things out there. The world construction business
seems to be booming these days.
Milrepa: If I was here I would say good bye.
Parmenides: Since I never arrived I will continue my travels.
Milrepa: Illusions, they come and they go.
[Any similarity to persons living or dead are pruely coincidental.]
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