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Old 05-08-2012, 10:27 PM   #294
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Lightbulb The bell that does not exist

So what is the bell that does not exist? When our mind perceives the bell, it does not see a bell that is merely labelled by the mind. It sees something slightly beyond that, ever so slightly more than that. It sees something as existing from the side of the bell, something existing from its own side, from the side of the object. If you concentrate, if you analyze carefully how the bell exists, that it is merely labelled by the mind, you can see that there's nothing coming from the side of the bell. When you look deeply into the meaning of "merely labelled by the mind," you can see that nothing exists from the side of the object. When you concentrate on this, you can see how its existence comes only from your mind. But the way the bell appears to us, the way we believe it exists, is slightly beyond its reality, slightly more than its actual mode of existence, which is being merely labelled by the mind. That's where the hallucination begins. Starting from there, the rest of the way it appears is a total hallucination. The way it appears, the way we believe it to exist — as something slightly beyond that which is merely labelled by the mind — is our biggest hallucination, the biggest suffering in the lives of us sentient beings. That's what keeps us continually circling in samsara, dying and being reborn, dying and being reborn, experiencing the same beginningless problems again and again...There's no beginning to our experience of samsaric suffering and so far it has not ended. Why do we still suffer? Because we have not yet realized emptiness, the ultimate nature of phenomena — that things are empty, that things exist merely in name. We have not discovered reality; we have not discovered the wisdom that cuts the root of all delusion and karma, the true cause of suffering, the cause of samsara...We have not eradicated ignorance, the unknowing mind...
We have continually been creating ignorance, the root of samsara. Instead of meditating on emptiness, practicing mindfulness, we have been making our mind more and more ignorant. That's why we continue to suffer. So, what is this bell (or any other object you care to look at)? It is nothing other than that which is merely labelled by the mind. But our minds are so replete with negative imprints left by past ignorance, the simultaneously born concept of inherent existence, that even though things exist as merely labelled by the mind, we hold on to them as if they exist from their own side. We apprehend them as inherently existent, as not merely imputed by the mind. Therefore, this bell is merely labelled by the mind. But because of the negative imprints left on our mental continuum by past ignorance, the concept of inherent existence, the apprehension and belief that phenomena exist from their own side, as soon as our mind creates the label "bell," as soon as it merely imputes "bell" on the base, the negative imprints left on our mental continuum project the hallucination that it exists from its own side. It's like when you take a roll of film to be developed — the images from the negative are projected onto special paper, mixed with chemicals, and a picture appears to make the photograph — or like putting a film into a projector and beaming the images it contains onto a screen. Whatever the object — a bell, your I — the moment it's labelled by the mind, the negative imprints project upon it the adornment of inherent existence. The thing is that we're unaware, or we forget, that what we're seeing is merely imputed by our mind. Basically, there are three things in the evolution of all this. First of all, as a start, our mind merely labels the object. Second, the negative imprints left by previous concepts of inherent existence project the appearance of inherent existence that the object we're looking at now exists from its own side, that there's a real bell there — not a bell from our mind, but a bell from the side of the bell. This is a totally, totally wrong idea — a complete hallucination projected onto the bell. Third, we allow our mind to believe that this is one hundred percent true. We allow our mind to hold on to this, to grasp this, as completely, one hundred percent true — that there's a real bell over there, that that's the reality. This is ignorance. At that moment, we are making our mind ignorant, unknowing. We are making our mind ignorant as to the actual nature of the bell, which in reality is totally empty from its own side. What exists is merely labelled by the mind. The bell, which is totally empty from its own side, exists merely in name. Being unaware of this is an example of how we make our mind ignorant.
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