Listen to yourself and notice this relationship of sati (mindfulness) to the thought process or the emotional reactions you are experiencing, and then use the expression "they are what they are" or "it is what it is" as a way of looking, not judging. So it is what it is, the suchness. I remember reading about Zen Buddhism where they talk about suchness. I thought, " What is suchness?" because it didn't mean all that much to me at the time. In Pali they have the word tatha. The Buddha refered to himself as the tathagatha, that which means suchness, that which is now, rather than "I'm Gotama, the Buddha, born to Queen Maya and King Suddhodana in Lumbini, and when I was born I took seven steps on seven lotuses." So after his enlightenment there was no Buddha, no Gotama, nothing, nobody, but that which is now, the suchness of that which is present now. So this word tathata has the sense of as-is-ness, suchness.
In Thai "suchness" is pen yang nun eng. Ajahn Buddhadasa - at Suan Mokkh monastery in the south of Thailand - was great. I asked him once what he would want with him if he were isolated on a desert island, and he said just a little note saying pen yang nun eng : "this is the way it is", tatha.
"When cognizing what is to be cognized, he doesn't construe an [object as] cognized. He doesn't construe an uncognized. He doesn't construe an [object] to-be-cognized. He doesn't construe a cognizer.
Thus, monks, the Tathagata — being the same with regard to all phenomena that can be seen, heard, sensed, & cognized — is 'Such.' And I tell you: There's no other 'Such' higher or more sublime.
Now, we come to the fourth and last topic: tathata (suchness, thusness). "Merely thus," "just such": everything is such as it is and in no way different from that thusness. This is called "tathata." When tathata is seen, the three characteristics of anicca, dukkha, and anatta are seen, sunnata is seen, and idappaccayata is seen. Tathata is the summary of them all -- merely thus, only thus, not-otherness. There is nothing better than this, more than this, other than this, thusness. To intuitively realize tathata is to see the truth of all things, to see the reality of the things which have deceived us. The things which delude us are all the things which cause discrimination and duality to arise in us: good-evil, happiness-sadness, win-lose, love-hate, etc. There are many pairs of opposites in this world. By not seeing tathata, we allow these things to trick us into believing in duality: this-that, liking-disliking, hot-cold, male-female, defiled, enlightened. This delusion causes all our problems. Trapped in these oppositions, we can't see the truth of things. We fall into liking and disliking, which in turn leads to the defilements, because we don't see tathata.
What we must see constantly and deeply is that good is a sankhara and that evil is a sankhara too. The pleasant and unpleasant feelings, sukha and dukkha, are both sankhara. Getting and disappearing, losing and winning all are sankhara. There isn't anything which isn't a sankhara. Thus, all things are the same -- tathata. All things are just suchness, just this way, not otherwise. Further, we can say that heaven is a sankhara and hell is a sankhara. So, heaven and hell are tathata -- just thus. Our minds should be above heaven and above hell, above good and above bad, above joy and above dukkha in all respects. Tathata is the fourth area of understanding or paññä, the wisdom that must be developed to a sufficient degree. We must study reality on both the physical-material level and on the mental-spiritual level, until our knowledge and wisdom is adequate, natural, and constant.
The Zen master Hakuin was praised by his neighbours as one living a pure life.
A beautiful Japanese girl whose parents owned a food store lived near him. Suddenly, without any warning, her parents discovered she was with child.
This made her parents angry. She would not confess who the man was, but after much harassment at last named Hakuin.
In great anger the parent went to the master. "Is that so?" was all he would say.
After the child was born it was brought to Hakuin. By this time he had lost his reputation, which did not trouble him, but he took very good care of the child. He obtained milk from his neighbours and everything else he needed.
A year later the girl-mother could stand it no longer. She told her parents the truth - the real father of the child was a young man who worked in the fishmarket.
The mother and father of the girl at once went to Hakuin to ask forgiveness, to apologize at length, and to get the child back.
Hakuin was willing. In yielding the child, all he said was: "Is that so?"
BlueLotus wrote:Okay thanks. I just don't understand how an unenlightened person can experience such a level of equanimity while still being deluded by the 3 defilements