Posted by: Soh

I wrote this in Facebook in reply to a friend Din Robinson to whom Thusness wrote his "7 stages of experience" (originally 6) in 2006:

Din: "as soon as you take any action or any need for training, then you are perpetuating the myth of a "you" that exists in time and space, not that there's any wrong with that!"

My reply:

This is not true. This is as ridiculous as saying "as long as you take any action to keep fit, such as going to gym, then you are perpetuating the myth of a "you" that exists in time and space"


or

"as long as you take any action to pass your exams, such as studying hard, then you are perpetuating the myth of a "you" that exists in time and space"

or

"as long as you take any action to survive, such as eating and sleeping, then you are perpetuating the myth of a "you" that exists in time and space"

or

"as long as you take any action to cure your disease, such as seeing the doctor, then you are perpetuating the myth of a "you" that exists in time and space"

No-self/Anatta is not about denying thinking, action, carrying water and chopping wood... and this is the key difference between genuine anatta insight from dualistic conceptual understanding. The very notion that "action" and "intention" implies, or necessitates, an "actor", and therefore for non-action the intentions and actions must also cease, is precisely using dualistic thinking to understanding anatta...

Action never required a self (in fact there never was a self or a doer apart from action to begin with: only a delusion of one), and action does not need to perpetuate the myth of a self. The myth of a self is not exactly dependent on action or lack thereof. Sure, action that arises out of the dualistic sense of actor/act where there is an "I" trying to modify or achieve "that" is a form of action produced by ignorance. But not all actions necessarily arise out of an underlying sense of duality. If all actions arise out of a sense of duality, then after awakening one will just wither and die as he cannot even feed himself.

When one is operating with a dualistic way of understanding, one thinks that action implies a self that is doing an act, and one thinks that non-action implies that the self ends with the action. But genuine insight into non-action is simply the realization that never was there a real actor behind action, so there is always in acting just that action - whole being is only the total exertion of action, and this is always already the case but not realized. That is true non-action - there is no subject (actor) performing an act (object).

Futhermore: The myth of a self is not dependent on practice and lack thereof. (Oh but, 'right practice' and 'contemplation' does a lot to deconstruct that myth!) The myth of a self is however dependent on ignorance, and only wisdom ends that ignorance, just like turning on the lights lead to the natural cessation of irrational fear and thinking of monster in the dark room by a child.

There is always only action without a doer. No doer does not deny action, it denies agency, and realization of such leads to the direct, immediate, experience of total exertion/total action where doer/deed is refined till none in one whole movement. There is nothing passive about non-action. Non-action is simply action without self/Self. All actions performed without sense of self/Self is in fact non-action. Without the subjective pole (actor), the objective pole in contrast to the subject (being acted upon) is also automatically negated. Yet clearly, the total exertion - pure action... goes on.

Dogen calls this practice-enlightenment. You do not practice For enlightenment (as some future goal separated from you). Your very practice of actualizing insight of anatta itself is practice-enlightenment. Sitting down is practice is actualization is Buddha-nature is enlightenment. Shitting too can be practice/actualization and that very act is Buddha-nature is enlightenment. Your very practice/actualization/act of just sitting, hearing the wind blowing, sight of scenery, walking on the street, chop wood carry water (without any delusion of self/Self) - that itself is practice-actualization-enlightenment, that is the total exertion where entire being is just entire sound, entire scenery, entire action.. This is non-dual practice and non-dual action.
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