Responsiveness

  • Posted by James Corrigan on 29 November 2022 at 9:49 am

    Hello All, I wanted to zoom-in yesterday evening, but plans went awry. The subject announcement caught my attention because of its mention of “live a life of service.” I would like to bring to the group’s attention, a human phenomena from Buddhism that is not talked about much there, except in the most basic form, yet Buddhism is replete with samples galore. I am talking about “Great Responsiveness” (mahākarunā in Pali). Below is a short excerpt from a book that I have been writing, that explains what it is, and adds a hint as to how it is developed via a certain meditative practice. My interest in the subject started out being just the desire to document the practice, which is not discussed within Buddhism because it requires a paradigmatic understanding that completely differs from today’s deterministic materialism. But along the way, I realized that the novel paradigm could very well be the solution that so many are seeking today — this network in particular. Here’s the quote:

    In the Tibetan Book of the Dead, whose title in Tibetan is “The Great Liberation by Hearing in the Intermediate States,” mahākarunā is defined as:

    … ‘great responsiveness’ (mahākarunā)… refers to a totally unbiased mind that aspires to the liberation of all sentient beings from suffering, equally. Compassion is said to become ‘great responsiveness’ only when, through proper training of the mind, such an altruistic aspiration becomes spontaneous and no longer requires any conscious effort for its arising. The measure of having realized such a state is that one spontaneously feels a sense of intimacy and compassion towards all others, with the same degree of commitment and intensity that one feels towards one’s most beloved.

    And so, this is like the responsiveness of a mother towards her child — without any thought, wavering, or fatigue. The same text adds:

    … ‘great love’ (mahāmaitrī)… refers to an altruistic mental attitude that is unbiased in its love towards all beings and is also spontaneous and natural. It is said that such a spontaneous sense of universal or unqualified love can only arise as a result of a systematic meditative training and an understanding of emptiness.<sup>⁠1</sup>

    It is this understanding of emptiness — which is the total absence of an intrinsic self-nature with respect to all phenomena — that is the necessary prerequisite for the spontaneous manifestation of mahākarunā as the impulse of mahāmaitrī. This is our path, and inner spontaneous sound techniques of meditation are our tools.

    People like us have dualistic compassion, whereas the Buddha’s responsiveness does not involve subject and object. From a buddha’s point of view, compassion could never involve subject and object. This is what is called mahākaruṇā—great responsiveness.

    (Mahākaruṇā is an…) uncontrived state of mind which, no matter what suffering being it may focus upon, feels an uncontrollable wish to free them from their pain with exactly the same intensity of love that a mother feels for her only child. (Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche)

    Everything arises from a nondual self-less Naturing as an act of unconditional love, and the fundamental understanding of every spiritual tradition is that we are not separate—or something “other”—from that source. We do not have a true self-reality, being instead a perspective upon the whole—a loving glance, if we allow ourselves to be so. So aren’t we all just Love? Unconditional spontaneous responsiveness being its only objective? How could we not love each other? And ourselves? If only we would train our minds to be so.

    <sup>1 </sup>“The Tibetan Book of the Dead,” Composed by Padmasambhava, Revealed by Trenton Karma Lingpa, translated by Gyurme Dorje, and edited by Graham Coleman and Thupten Jinpa, Penguin Books, 2005, pages 455 and 484

    The rest of that article and the book is on Medium.com, but I am attaching the article in full in pdf form, if anyone is interested.

    • This discussion was modified 1 year, 7 months ago by 636f9dffeb25d bpthumb.jpg James Corrigan.
    James Corrigan replied 1 year, 7 months ago 1 Member · 0 Replies
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