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Kindly Bent to Ease Us

Guenther: Being

Part One: Mind

terça-feira 20 de fevereiro de 2018, por Cardoso de Castro


The primary aim of the experience in the Developing and Fulfillment   Stages is to pave the way for insight   into Being as it comes as ’thereness’. This Being is not something and, by implication, also not nothing, hence also it is nowhere else than in its ’thereness’. We may note that the word ’in’ here does not mean that its ’Being’ is in [169] something other than itself, like water   in a jug, which would turn Being into something. The inadequacy of every language is most conspicuous in this case.

The most innocuous way to point to Being is to speak of it as an ’open dimension’ or ’openness’ (stong-pa). That something ’is there’ (snang-ba) cannot be said to be its fault for ever having come into existence. ’Thereness’ has never come into existence but just is, and as such is a ’no comment’ fact. The indivisibility of ’openness’ and ’thereness’ lies in their fact of Being, not in the seemingly being-so-and-so of the one or the other. What is there as ’this or that’ certainly has come or is coming into existence in functional correlation, and also goes   out of existence, and very much can be said about this. But while things, in their relativity to each other in their being so-and-so and this-or-that, are transitory and relative to each other, their Being is not affected by this their ’being so-and-so’ and ’being this-or-that’. Hence, the fact that all that is is relative to each other, is not itself relative to the fact or absoluteness of their Being—relativity and absoluteness mean the same.

There has always been the tendency to ’absolutize’ Being (as if its ’absoluteness’, its very facticity, needed some ’proof’ or rationalization). This tendency has always, and inevitably, resulted in the ’relativization’ of Being as being something ’beyond’ or ’behind’ the phenomena which then are ’explained’ as deriving from it, like gastric juice from the stomach. Absolutization, as well   as its relativization effect, belong to speculative thought that postulates an ’absolute’, be this a self, or the Self, God  , Spirit   or any other invention.

The absoluteness of Being (not its absolutization as something) is identical with the thereness of Being (not of some ’sort’ of being that is either so-and-so or this-and-that), and in this its ’thereness’ it exposes itself to possible judgments (comments, propositions) about itself. Strictly speaking, this self-exposure (thereness) is both self-objectification and self-encounter. The latter is possible only through the former, [170] but ’object’ is not the same as ’subject’. How can it be possible for Being to encounter itself, in view of the fact that there is no other ’Being’ that it might encounter, and in view of the fact that encounter is always with some ’other’? In other words, ’direct’ self-encounter is impossible, there can only be an ’indirect’ self-encounter, and this at once poses the question of what kind is this ’other’ or ’object’ that it can serve as the vehicle of Being’s encounter with itself? The image of the mirror comes in handy. Thereness is the mirror in which Being ’mirrors’ itself, and this means—and cannot mean anything else—that the ’mirror’ is not something alien to Being but is, so to say, of its own making so as to serve as a means of presenting itself to itself and, in so doing, ’judging’ (commenting upon, making propositions about) itself.

Any judgment presupposes ’cognitiveness’, which is not something added to Being, but already implied by it. Being, which as Being is said to be utterly open, is, as cognitiveness, termed ’Mind  -as-such’ (sems-nyid). Its ’judging’ is termed ’mind’ (sems) which, as should be clear from all that has been said, is not so much an entity but an intentional operation. In this judging process, thereness (snang-ba) is turned into an ’object’ (snang-ba’i yul), an apprehendable something (gzung) to whose solicitation a response (’dzin) in the form of a subjective demand comes forth, first selectively, then discursively. This procedure marks our customary subject-object   division, which is a way of acting that, because of its subject-object character, is necessarily an ego-activity. Subject and object are merely poles in a coherent structure, not independent elements or entities that have to be related to each other by devious means.

In one sense  , this intentional operation which is termed ’mind’ (sems) is a ’going astray’, a ’getting progressively lost’ in the maze of the fictions of its own making (’khrul-pa). In another sense, it is a loss of or decline (ma-rig-pa) in the lucidity and lucency of the pure cognitiveness (rig-pa) that is ’Mind-as-such’ (sems-nyid). Thus, Mind-as-such is ’cognitive’ [171] in an undimmed light, and operates as ’pristine cognition  ’ (ye-shes) that deals with thereness (snang-ba) as ’pure’ thereness (dag-snang). But ’mind’ is a loss of this lucency and, quite literally, a ’groping in the dark’ (gti-mug), fancying ’what is there’ to be something that it is not—an ’object’ with which it as ’subject’ has to cope—thereby turning ’pure’ thereness into ’impure’ thereness (ma-dag-pai   snang-ba).

If we understand ’cognitiveness’ as the operationally of Being—an operationality which is in no way different from the ’openness’ of Being—we can understand the loss and decline in the lucency of cognitiveness as a malfunctioning of the operation of cognitiveness as pristine cognition.