Thursday, June 08, 2006

Interdependence and Illusion


When we're watching a movie in a theater, we can relax and enjoy the show because we know it's an illusion. This magical display that we're watching is the result of a projector, film, light, screen, and our own perceptions coming together. In separate momentary flashes of color, shapes, and sound, they create an illusion of continuity, which we perceive as characters, scenery, movement, and language. What we call "reality" works much the same way. Our ability to know, our sense perceptions, the seeds of our past karma, and the phenomenal world all come together to create our life's "show." All of these elements share a dynamic relationship, which keeps things moving and interesting. This is known as interdependence.

When we look around us, we can see that nothing exists in isolation, which is another way of saying that everything is interdependent. Everything depends upon an infinite number of causes and conditions to come into being, arise, and fall away moment by moment. Because they are interdependent, things don't possess a true existence of their own. For instance, how could we separate a flower from the many causes and conditions that produce it -- water, soil, sun, air, seed, and so forth? Can we find a flower that exists independently from these causes and conditions? Everything is so intricately connected it is hard to point to where one thing starts and another ends. This is what is meant by the illusory nature of phenomena.


~ Dzigar Kongtrul, It's Up to You
This is one of the clearest explanations on these topics that I have ever read. I'm becoming a big fan of this man's writings as I slowly wade through the book.


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