Krishnamurti and Dogen: The Movement of Discontinuity and The Trap of Neediness

There is a Movement of Discontinuity

This short excerpt on J Krishnamurti’s understanding of the movement of discontinuity reveals to me how much my view is conditioned by that which apparently continues from one moment to the next. I see my wife and the mental/emotional habit is to see her as the one I know and have known for some years now. It is the same with most everything in my life; I take it for granted that most things will be as they were the last time I encountered them. Here, Krishnamurti points out that it is, however, exactly the discontinuity that gives life the quality of being that I thirst for: the new, the unknown, the unfamiliar. These qualities allow me to wake up to the depth of the present moment; to the fact that life is being created anew every moment and no moment is dependent on the previous one. Each new face of phenomenal existence is free to show up differently than ever before. As Krishnamurti points out, it is our faculty of psychological memory that connects and WANT to connect what was with what is so that it feels safe.

K on discontinuity

source: J. Krishnamurti and the Nameless Experience
By Rohit Mehta

The Trap of Neediness

It is important to not fall into the trap of “neediness”. When I feel that something is missing in my life I am usually quite occupied with finding a way to get that which I feel is missing. This effort generally involves thinking about what it is that I once had but have no more (so thinking about the past) and then projecting into the future how I can manipulate events, things or people in order to get the desired object (or person). All of this takes my awareness away from what is right in front of me now and so I miss the fullness of life that is always part of my life. There is a state of mind that is aware of the present moment as a moment that is unique and full of all I need if I am able to let go of my preconceptions, regrets etc.

The word “happiness” can be felt to be too limited to express what is meant here. For me the Sanskrit word “ananda” (which is usually translated as bliss) is more appropriate as it actually includes all the ups and downs and the full spectrum of human emotions, but on the background of the intensity of awareness of the present moment. In that awareness even so-called tragic, or painful events take on a different quality altogether and become part of the amazing fabric of this mysterious existence we are all in together. Then we welcome all the different facets of life and wouldn’t want any to be missing. Thus the deep sense of loss when someone dies or leaves us is not avoided and so there is no pulling on someone when they move away from us for whatever reason and we are able to accept that sometimes our paths move in different directions and there need be no blame or recriminations.

The following excerpt from “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind” speaks to this quality of being in a way that is unusual for our normal understanding but I hope you will find some of the inspiration in his words that I find. The “flashing into the vast phenomenal world” that is spoken of here is something that I have felt since my late teens when I asked myself how all can be one but appear as many. I heard about finest energy principles (tanmatras in Sanskrit) and the Hindu concept of a Trasarenu, which is the combination of 6 celestial atoms, and the smallest time unit of a Truti, which is the time needed to integrate 3 Trasarenus, or 1/1687.5th of a second. This gave me the sense of smallest particles that flash in and out of existence millions of times a second. I then read of similar phenomenon known to quantum physics, I saw that there are possibilities beyond our linear thinking such that the One can seem to be in two places at once but perhaps only because of a lag in our perception. Here is where words leave me and so I leave you, the reader, to be inspired by the Zen view of this.

Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind (excerpt):

” According to Dogen-zenji, every existence is a flashing into the vast phenomenal world. Each existence is another expression of the quality of being itself.

“Everything is just a flashing into the vast phenomenal world” means the freedom of our activity and of our being. If you sit in the right manner, with the right understanding, you attain the freedom of your being, even though you are just a temporal existence. Within this moment, this temporal existence does not change, does not move, and is always independent from other existences. In the next moment another existence arises; we may change to something else. Strictly speaking, there is no connection between I myself yesterday and I myself in this moment; there is no connection whatsoever.

“Dogen-zenji said, “Charcoal does not become ashes.” Ashes are ashes; they do not belong to charcoal. They have their own past and future. They are an independent existence because they are a flashing into the vast phenomenal world. And charcoal and red-hot fire are quite different existences. Black charcoal is also a flashing into the vast phenomenal world. Where there is black charcoal there is not red-hot charcoal. So black charcoal is independent of red-hot charcoal; ashes are independent of firewood; each existence is independent.

“Today I am sitting in Los Altos. Tomorrow morning I shall be in San Francisco. There is no connection between the “I” in Los Altos and the “I” in San Francisco. They are quite different beings. Here we have the freedom of existence. And there is no quality connecting you and me; when I say “you,” there is no “I”; when I say “I,” there is no “you.” You are independent, and I am independent; each exists in a different moment. But this does not mean we are quite different beings. We are actually one and the same being. We are the same, and yet different. It is very paradoxical, but actually it is so. Because we are independent beings, each one of us is a complete flashing into the vast phenomenal world. When I am sitting, there is no other person, but this does not mean I ignore you, I am completely one with every existence in the phenomenal world. So when I sit, you sit; everything sits with me. That is our zazen. When you sit, everything sits with you. And everything makes up the quality of your being. I am a part of you. I go into the quality of your being. So in this practice we have absolute liberation from everything else. If you understand this secret there is no difference between Zen practice and your everyday life.”

From the Chapter “The Quality of Being”, pgs 104 – 106, Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind.

4 thoughts on “Krishnamurti and Dogen: The Movement of Discontinuity and The Trap of Neediness

  1. Pingback: Zen: shin ku myo u | New Earth Heartbeat

  2. Pingback: Then… | heartflow2013

  3. Pingback: Zen: shin ku myo u | heartflow2013

  4. “…If you understand this secret there is no difference between Zen practice and your everyday life.”
    Exactly so! Just a little bit of awareness and the world, you, me… enter a shifted existence… all shiny new. ☼
    Om shanti shanti shanti ♥

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