(A transcript of recent Second Life meeting)
I see many familiar faces and some new faces... of course these aren't our "real" faces, they are only the faces we selected for the Second Life avatar, for the character in the virtual world. And this virtual world offers the ability to put on a different "persona" or mask - a mask that is more to our liking, changeable...
And in this "virtual" world, there are forms moving about, places to go, things to do... we may find that identification extends to that avatar - it can be offended, it can prefer to be alone... we want this avatar to be attractive, to join the latest and greatest groups, attend the coolest events...
We might even start, if only for a second, projecting this image of ourself onto this avatar...
So let's begin by talking about this form we've taken ourselves to be.
The organism begins in the combination of two cells.
These cells are formed from the food eaten by the mother and father.
This food was formed by the cells of the animal and vegetable which was eaten.
These animals and vegetables were formed from the grass and the grain, the sunlight and the soil.
The human body is formed from these.
And these are made of the elements.
The elements are made from molecules.
Molecules are combinations of atoms, protons, neutrons, electrons.
Basically empty space and energy.
Energy is moving emptiness - lightning, electricity, gravity, sound...
But there is an intelligence.
This emptiness is formed into planets which spin in perfect orbit.
The tree sprouts leaves according to the environment.
The cells in the body die and regenerate.
Blood flows, the heart beats.
The brain and nervous system, made of this same emptiness, work to present a solid world, a body made of nothingness, a "form" out of "emptiness"...
And out of this arrangement, the sense of I AM appears. This is the sense of beingness, the sense of existence... consciousness appears... from this sense of I AM comes I AM a person, I AM a man or woman, I AM born and will die, I AM suffering... I AM a separate person inhabiting this body...
The brain and nervous system perceive the world.
Even the brain and nervous system from which the sense of I AM appears is made of molecules and chemicals.
These molecules and chemicals all appear under a microscope.
The scientist tries to describe the world according to the rules within the system of appearance.
The brain, the microscope, the chemicals, the books on spirituality, the ideas about enlightenment, all formed from this same nothingness, this illusory world...
That which filters and displays form from emptiness is itself the very same emptiness. And the knowingness or consciousness which witnesses all this is also part of this illusion.
So we have nothing to hold on to, nothing to grab, nothing to stand on, nowhere to hang our identification, no image of ourself to project to the world. The very concepts we use to describe our "reality", and the forms pointed to as proof, are in essence nothing - empty - non-existent except as an appearance through the senses, brain and nervous system, which are themselves made of emptiness.
The mirage appears to contain water, but is found to be an illusion. The mirage continues to appear to be water, however we no longer try to get water out of it, we no longer refer to it as a source of water, we no longer struggle to reach it to quench our thirst.
And if all is emptiness, who can stand apart and point to emptiness? If all is emptiness, does emptiness actually exist? Even emptiness is only a concept...
So we are truly left with nothing, ARE nothing, meaningless, no goals, no life, no purpose, not even the concept of nothingness remains - the story was always only a story, only imagination, a playing with illusion - so much so that there appeared to be someone who was imagining, someone playing this character.
We have nothing to lose, nothing to gain, nowhere to go, nowhere to remain... where can we go inside an illusion? What PART of the illusion can we take hold of as real? Where is the one who needs to understand? What is there to understand? Where can Truth be found?
So where is the question of a search? What is left to say? Any attempt to describe or talk about it is just more appearance made of nothing. Any path or steps to find an answer is one step too many... an attempt to describe reality by referring to illusion, an attempt to find Truth in the false...
The mirage can never quench our thirst - there is no Ultimate Truth to be found in the appearance, no Ultimate State to be reached by seeking knowledge or wisdom within the impermanent and illusory world. We can only ever just see the mirage as a mirage
Even the sense of I AM is part of the mirage.