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Unstructured, contentless and ineffable Part 1
An Interview of Peter Fenner, Ph.D. by Alex Dijk for BewustZijn magazine
We ... set standards for our physical wellbeing that place a huge cost on the environment. We spend enormous amounts of money on our appearance: wearing the right clothes, trying to look young and attractive. In some weird way we want to be in optimum health, right up until the moment of our death! Globally, we expend vast amounts of energy and spend huge sums of money trying to retard the aging process and prolong life.
What a great asset it would be if we could just let ourselves age, for example, without holding on to some notion of agelessness or immortality. No one really believes that we can remain young forever, and still the illusion motivates us to spend enormous resources on trying to forestall the aging process.
The ecological alternative here is to discover how we already have everything thats needed to be fulfilled in the most comprehensive way possible. This isnt just a fanciful idea. There are hundreds of thousands of great spiritual masters throughout the ages that have shown us that this is possible. There are sages who lived in great bliss in severe environments without any heating or air-conditioning, without the latest gadgets, and without the security of knowing that quality medical care was close at hand.
The ultimate benchmark that these sages offer us is the possibility of making the journey through aging and dying without losing a connection with the supernal bliss of unconditioned awareness. For these sages, death itself was a non-event. As the 16th Karmapa of Tibet said on his deathbed in 1981, nothing happens.
But more significantly, we can make our own experiment right now. Here we are. Weve come together in this moment. How do we discover, first-hand, the very same reality that allowed the sages of the past and present to remain unperturbed in the face of the very same experiences that throw us into confusion, obsession, anger or fear.
The remarkable news is that nothing is needed in order to make this discovery. We dont need more time, to be somewhere else, to receive a superior teaching, or engage in a special practice. All thats required is to see that we can bethat we are, in factalready fulfilled. In this moment we dont need anything more. We dont need more money, a different body, a different partnernot in this very instant.
This momentright nowis giving us everything we need just to be here; unassumingly, effortlessly, being no one in particular, and with no need to be anywhere else. Thats the magic of this moment. This moment is perfect. Why? Because dont need anything more. Here we areyou and mein this tight, quite unique, perhaps slightly weird, but effortless conversation. We started with my observations about Buddhism and its relevance to ecology, and here we are, not asking for anything more. This moment is giving us everything we need just to be here, in the simplest way possible. We dont need to be entertained, right nowenough is happening. We dont need a flashy carwere not in it! In this moment, we dont need a different standard of living, or a better return on our investmentswe are clothed, fed and comfortable. We have everything we need, in order to rest with what is.
The beauty of this moment is that its effortless and uncontrived. The magic of this moment is that its ungraspable and ineffable. We cant say what this moment is. It leaves without a trace or history. In the very same moment that it arises, it disappears. We cant say where it comes from, or where it goes. We cant even say where this is, except that this is where it is: where ever that is! We cant think about this because there is nothing to think about. This is exactly what the sages mean when they say that this is ineffable.
And now we can also see that if we are here at the moment of our death, we have no fear. If we were to remain in this state, our death would be uneventful. The process of dying is nothing more than a continual letting go of everything at the conditioned level: our body, our friends, our possessions, our memoriesin fact, the entire known world. At our death we say goodbye forever, to everything that we know and we never return. If we are hereresting in unconditioned awarenesseverything can drop away with no grasping or attachment.
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