Some of you may enjoy what has been passed down to us by the ancients, in this case the discourse of the Buddha to a senior monk, Subhuti. Here is a passage from Thich Nhat Hanh’s “Zen Keys” in which he explains the meaning of a certain part of the ancient text Vairacchedika-prainaparamita, also known as The Diamond Sutra. Since our consciousness is the content of our consciousness, by allowing new content into our awareness we change our consciousness. Enjoy!
Thich Nhat Hanh in “Zen Keys”:
There is no discrimination in reality in itself. But “reality” in the world of concepts is full of discriminations: subject/object, I/Not-I, etc. This is not truly reality but an erroneous image of reality. The origin of this erroneous image is called discrimination or imagination(vikalpa) in the Vijanavada school.
This flower, for example, which is near the window, is a true flower in its non-discriminated reality. Because we discriminate it is no longer revealed. In its place stands an erroneous image of it. The word “empty” which at first signified the absence of permanent identity, now acquires another meaning: the image created by the concept does not represent any reality, it is imaginary.
The A Which Is Not A Is Truly A
In the Vajracchedika-prajnaparamita we find many expressions given in the form, “The A which is not A is truly A.” Let us take several examples: “Living beings, I say that they are not living beings, this is why they are truly living beings.” “The Buddhist doctrine, I say is not the doctrine of Buddhism, this is why it is truly the Buddhist doctrine.”
What does that signify? It is quite simple. Reality is only reality when it is not grasped conceptually. ‘What we construct through our concepts is not reality. It can also be said, “This flower, which is not a concept, is truly a flower.” Here again is found the rejection of the principle of permanent identity, and a tendency to see things by means of the go-between of conceptualization. The practitioner of the Way must enter into direct contact with reality, without allowing concepts to separate him from this reality. Reality cannot be conceived, nor can it be described in words. Reality is reality; it is thus. This is the significance of the word thusness (tathata).