Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Keys to the Logic Machine

Master Dignaga (540 AD)

After having thoroughly digested Tao Open and secret sayings, returning to basic psychology, delving into quantum physics theories on images, and beginning studies on A Course in Miracles the past year, I'm revisiting one of my favorite studies: Buddhist logic. I'm re-listening to courses on the Asian Classics Institute (acidharma.org). I've gone through all the teachings, the homework, quizzes, and final exams for the first 15 courses. Yet, I've found myself returning again and again to ACI Course 13: The Art of Reasoning. 


The Art of Reasoning deals with The Commentary on Valid Perception by Master Dharmakirti (650 AD).  The big founder of Buddhist logic was Master Dignaga (480-540 AD). Master Dignaga laid out the rules for debate, logic, and how to get to the direct perception of emptiness. After his passing, people started questioning the purpose of logic and Master Dharmakirti came along and wrote the principle commentary. Valid perception is a code word for the ultimate aim of Master Dignaga.  


Master Dharmakirti (650 AD)


But even the commentary is so difficult to understand that then a Tibetan commentary was written about the commentary. Keys to the Logic Machine by Purbuchok Jampa Tsultrim Gyatso (1825- 1901)is one of the latest commentaries for students in 20th and 21st century. These teachings have been translated by Geshe Michael Roach, who teaches the subject like a true master.


Purbuchok Jampa was the teacher for the 13th Dalai Lama, the one who foretold of the collapse of Tibet decades before it happened when he was in his strongest position. 


Logic is very difficult. It requires a high degree of concentration and focus. Even over the course of studying ACI 13 the past few years, I have noticed how my understanding shifts, ascends, and deteriorates depending on my ethics and how well I'm keeping my vows. I have literally re-read passages of sections I believed I understood, and not even been able to understand what it was saying a week later. Then I have tightened my vows and watched my understanding return. At the very least, it made me aware of how fluid my mental capacities are, and how easily I can slip. It's a lot easier to slip in understanding than to climb back up the mountain.


Logic is also very difficult because they say it's the key to direct valid perception of truth. It's very easy for me to slip back into the world of judgment and duality. Over the last week I have been preparing myself. I shut down on my news watching, sports, ignorant reactions and actions. I've re-upped my daily meditations, trimmed my diet to only what's necessary as fuel, and I'm now working out at the gym so I have a stronger more flexible body and mind. With that in mind, I delve back into this very simple (but not easy) path. 


The most striking thing about Keys to the Logic Machine is that it has a few functions 1) see emptiness or direct valid perception 2) stop judging people 3)keep teachings of logic safe in world. All three are related to valid perception of reality. And in order to understand that object of indivisibility, I have to work with mental images. Mental images are the things I stick on top of stuff and mistake for the actual thing: i.e. every person and thing in my universe. 


Now returning to this subject with some understanding of quantum physics and wave functions, I'm beginning to look at the Buddhist analysis of images. 


In physics there are two basic mediums of energy: wave or particle. Essentially we're talking about the difference between a potential (wave) and a point (particle). My understanding is that a wave is non-local (or very close to it) while the particle is local. Waves operate in the zero-pt field of energy, where all energy plays and "appears" to move, start, and stop. They say consciousness collapses wave potential of a non-local energy into a particle or point. This happens at a subtle level but is applicable in all situations. 


For example, I am walking down the street yesterday and I see this object. It's not clear to me what this is. It's close to the ground. As I get closer I notice its furry. It is a wave potential of 'cat.' It's 'cat-ness.' As I get closer to my focus it shifts and clearly becomes 'a cat.' It shifts from wave awareness, to a particle. The mind takes it from 'cat' to 'a cat.' My view of 'a cat' is based on my previous views of cat. In fact, I'm never seeing the cat in front of me. I'm always seeing my mental image of 'a cat' from my mind. 


To scientists and visual artists, this seems obvious. But according to quantum physics, that is the universe. And in Buddhism, it is the study of how mental images work is the key to opening the mind (logic machine). Studying mental images isn't the end goal. But once I truly understand them, then I begin to understand dependent origination and work my way back to valid perception. 


In A Course in Miracles they state that all learning goes along this path. From duality to non-duality and finally pure non-duality. In pure non-duality there is no separation between Subject and Object. The verb is merely a loop feed action of the conscious mind. In poetic terms, every person and object in the dream is a reflection of the dreamer. There is no second dreamer influencing my dreams. The nightmares and monsters are a reflection of me. My consciousness is subject and object. Well in waking life there is a loop feed like in a dream. The subject (me) and the object (out there) are coming from same feed because the object is a mental image from me. That doesn't mean I let anything happen in my world because it's all from me. I try to challenge and shift the monsters in my dreams, but with the awareness that I am playing a role in its creation. There is no monster machine below ground that is making the painful things in my world or dreams. 


What's remarkable is that science and religion agree. From Jesus to Buddha to Einstein, they all agree there is a holographic universe. The universe is a holograph and holds the principles of a holograph. Holograph depend on a surface that shoots out images. Each part of a holograph is the same as all other parts, because they're not real. They are things projected on to a screen. The purpose of analyzing the holograph isn't to make better 'fake images.' But to see reality and wake up from the dream. The dream goes up and down, causes pain and happiness, but it follows the inconsistency of the holographic plate. There is nothing to this holographic 'dream' universe but to wake up from it. There is no other reason. 


The reason I'm here is to undo all of my guilt and mistakes according to A Course in Miracles. The best way to undo them is to practice this forgiveness with the understanding that I'm only forgiving another part of the dream that is coming from me. Ultimately I am forgiving myself and undoing all my guilt. I am forgiving the nightmare I created as a way to end the karma of guilt. But to do that effectively, I must know the aspects of my mental images and dreams. I have to truly understand the way things collapse from waves to particle, from non-local to local, and from a general type to a specific object. 


I'm hoping to get in deeper with this and blend it with quantum physics holographic studies. We will see how this goes. 





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