Patrick Carré: reality in all its forms

- through Francois Leclercq

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There are some for whom the realities are multiple and the reality unique, and there are others for whom the realities are multiple and the reality unique. These are only ways of speaking, and I have chosen the second to try to "keep a chronicle" of reality not only from a point of view that I would call Buddhist, but also from the personal point of view of a French Buddhist fascinated by the study and practice of Buddhism. For a little more precision, I will add that as a Buddhist of the Large Vehicle, I do not admit the absolute truth neither of the realities nor of reality. "Real" and "reality" are just words, and as such they have no truth whatsoever, though I could find no better word to designate the end of error and illusion than the word "real". Finally, to finish with these stories of words, I will say that very precisely I call “real” what there is of unreality in realities. By the way, hello!

I still want to linger a bit, to digress from the chronicle of a real that would be contemporary to go back a little on what precedes by trying to understand why the realities are multiple and the real one, why the realities (illusory) and the real (non-illusory) are not true and why, finally, the word " real designates – if the expression has a meaning and I'm not there trying to pay myself words – the unreality of all reality.

It is no longer possible today to speak of a reality which would be the same for everyone, of a reality which would be such as it appears and such as we perceive it, of a reality of which we could affirm that it is the same as an object external to the mind and a representation within the mind. I believe that here, there is nothing to prove: it is "life" and experience that speaks.

A world per individual and per moment of consciousness

We could all the same object that it is impossible that the objective world does not exist. But to this the Great Vehicle of Buddhism will reply that it is impossible for an objective world to exist elsewhere than in the consciousness of each individual: "It is the spirit of each being, says the Sutra of Lanka, which invents the reality of subject and object. And again: "Error to perceive external objects!" There are no objects, only spirit. »

Thus, there is one world per individual and per moment of consciousness, a world entirely mental and constructed, particle by particle, by the karma or the force of all previous acts – the acts of this existence as of all the others. , the number of which is, so to speak, infinite. All of this takes place in the minds of everyone, whether human or non-human, and the oceans, mountains, galaxies and universe that are usually granted, without even thinking about it, the irrefutable reality of large objects enduring, these great objects literally occupy our minds as karmic effects analogous to their causes and nothing else.

Perhaps it will still be objected that, everything being spirit, everything is real since there is only spirit, as can be read in more than one sutra of the Great Vehicle. But who says that the spirit really exists? More than one Buddhist it is true. But for more than one Buddhist too, the spirit, like all entities, does not really exist. Shantideva writes it clearly: “The mind is not in the [sensory] faculties nor in their objects nor between the two; consciousness is neither interior nor exterior and it is found nowhere else. What is neither in the body nor elsewhere, neither mixed nor isolated, is absolutely nothing. Therefore, beings are naturally beyond suffering [in nirvana]. »

Beware, the world is not a dream, it is as a dream, comparable to a dream where everything seems real, but nothing is. In the same way realities, comparable to dreams and magical illusions, seem real when, through and through, they are not.

To not really exist is not to not exist at all. There is no nihilism in Buddhism, and this view of things, as well as the opposite belief, called "eternalism", are heartbreaking errors. You can very well be chased by a bull in a meadow and, not content to take to your heels, simply fly away. All you have to do is dream. But beware, the world is not a dream, it is like a dream, comparable to a dream where everything seems real, but nothing is. In the same way realities, comparable to dreams and magical illusions, seem real when, through and through, they are not.

“Insubstantial, things are born of thoughts. As these thoughts are empty, what they conceive does not exist", we read from the first "stanza" of the Sutra of Lanka.

The true truth is always paradoxical

How then do we directly access the truth of these paradoxes? First by studying them intellectually, then by thinking about them enough to reach the strange certainty that it is necessary to pursue the reflection beyond the words, and for that to access the non-verbal and non-conceptual sphere of what it is. agreed to call "meditation". The corpus of axioms and reasonings of the Middle Way (in Sanskrit madhyamaka) is certainly the best place where to find answers on the logic which makes the fig with all the logics by letting them only speak, express themselves thoroughly, until the moment when they reveal their nature of pseudologies, in other words of lies caused by ignorance. Interested readers will find, if they have the desire and the leisure, much useful information, "profound and contemporary, polemical and harmonic reflections" in the first volume of Karl Brunnhölzl's trilogy, In the heart of the sky (Padmakara editions, 2013).

The “reflection” technically begins when the reading and re-reading of certain developments no longer brings anything. One then has to ask oneself by which end one should take life and days if they are also empty of essence – in other words if they neither exist nor are. Then begins a race not against the clock, but against the erroneous, immemorial ways of thinking, which occupy the whole conscious and, in part, the unconscious, or, in Buddhist language, the consciousness of the universal background (in Sanskrit alayavijnana) which includes conscious, subconscious and unconscious. Rimbaud said that “I is another”; the Great Vehicle says that "I" is... all the others - in fact, a (very) convenient illusion. The teachings specify that the "I", or the "me", or the "ego", or even the "self of the individual", just as the "self" or the "essence" of things do not have no reality in absolute truth, in other words "phenomena have no essence".

For the record, the essence of a thing is (thank you Spinoza!) what makes, when that is given, that the thing is necessarily posited and, when that is taken away, that the thing is necessarily taken away. More simply, the essence of a phenomenon is its principle of existence, its guaranteed reality and its assured truth. We can therefore see how impossible it seems to position oneself, or even to do anything with these good and beautiful truths in the form of paradoxes that I would call ruthless and radical.

Isn't it pitiless, indeed, to hold realities only for unmasked illusions, dreams taken for the day before or, still, coagulated ignorance? Isn't it radical to decree that any is this or that, that nothing can't we say about it, think about it, cry about it? It's quite ruthless, certainly, and frankly radical, yes, but it's not at all sad! It is even inspiring and liberating. However, to overcome the fear of nothingness, which is only the fear of being nothing, in addition to the fear of being, which can cause fear of life as difficulties, disappointments, nervousness and serial suffering, and finally to pass beyond being and nothingness, it is recommended to meditate.

Some strongly "mystical" Buddhists are said to attain enlightenment simply by stating one of these apparently nihilistic truths... But - allow me, on this point, to insist with all the teachers of whom I have listened to the teachings – there is absolutely nothing nihilistic about these truths and Great Vehicle Buddhism is not at all nihilistic. On the contrary. If he criticizes the belief in being, he criticizes infinitely more the opposite belief, the compulsion of non-being which would be – supreme ablation – the solution to all problems.

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Francois Leclercq

François Leclercq is the founder of Buddhist News, a website which aims to disseminate information and practical advice on Buddhism and spirituality. François Leclercq was born and raised in Paris. He studied Buddhism at the University of Paris-Sorbonne, where he graduated in social sciences and psychology. After graduating, he devoted himself to his passion for Buddhism and traveled the world to study and learn about different practices. He notably visited Tibet, Nepal, Thailand, Japan and China.

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