Thursday, September 23, 2010

On The Occasion Of The Autumnal Equinox

The season has changed into Autumn and we witness the slow decay and death of summer life as the light angle is lowered and rain approaches.  It is a time of great leveling and return; a remembering of the equanimity of birth and death in nature.  This season is one of reflection and understanding for the power of dissolution and return to the source. 

“Whatever appearances manifest are equal as sense objects; simply what is evident to the sense faculties.  Whatever thoughts arise are equal as mental events; simply conscious states that leave no trace.  Both are equal in the moment; simply the bonds of denial or affirmation.  In actuality, they are equal in the final analysis; nothing but appearances that have no basis.  Sense objects are equal in their distinctness; upon examination simply leaving no trace.  Ordinary states of consciousness are equal in essence; upon analysis nothing but space.  Objects and mind are nondual; simply pure open space. Whoever understands things in this way is a descendent of Samantabhadra; a sublime spiritual heir of the victorious ones, a master of awareness in the highest sense."  
Longchenpa wrote these words.
Autumn is a mythical time in which we can see the dying, death, and dissolution of summer life.  We enjoy the bountiful harvest of summer’s growth and we give thanks.  From ancient times through to now, the allegory of alchemy has illustrated this cycle of birth, death, and dissolution through the seasons.  We can see this in the marsh and forest colors.  Stage 1 is Blackening, in which putrefaction occurs with reduction to pure material.  Earth and water are freed.  Stage 2 is Whitening, in which sublimation occurs with discovery of reflected inner light, the moon, water of life.  Stage 3 is Yellowing, which is a return to complete purity with direct light from the sun.  Stage 4 is Reddening, which is coagulation, a return to form.  
The cycle of seasons can be stated as processes;  Calcination-form to ash, Dissolution-ash to water, Separation-water to essence, Conjunction-essence to recombination, Fermentation-recombination to new being, Distillation-new being to increased purity, Coagulation-pure being to precipitation of new body.  These processes can occur through the evident connections of elements and qualities.  Earth is cold and dry. Water is cold and moist.  Fire is hot and dry.  Air is hot and moist.  These elements can change into each other through the qualities they have in common- cold, hot, dry, and moist -based on the primal material and awareness.  We have discounted our perceptions of elements and qualities in favor of scientific views which objectify the worlds and separate us from them.  When we stand before the marsh we see earth, water, fire, air, and space in wildness.  Why not use these metaphorical expressions to explore the inner space of awareness and the consciousness of objects that are clearly apparent; arising, remaining, and dissolving so easily, spontaneously.  Happy autumn and best wishes for an abundant harvest. 
Posted by michael

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