On the third day of Christmas my True Self gave to me,
Three Dharma Seals
(Two Satyas and the Buddha by the Bodhi Tree)
I have always had a strong longing to be within and amongst Nature and a great willingness to learn about the natural world, it is my purest spirituality and my first. In my childhood years I was an avid twitcher (bird watcher) and had numerous animal and plant encyclopaedias, in my later teen years I took up being an amateur entomologist, and would go on long walks alone in forests and meadows just to see how many species of ground beetle I could come across. Later I decided to study Microbiology at undergraduate level, and though it was biochemistry heavy, it was the natural history of this amazing microcosm universe that fascinated me. Biology and Evolutionary Biology books filled by book shelfs long before any other kind.
One of my favourite quotes is Theodosius Dobzhansky’s “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution” and so it won’t come as a great surprise that when contemplating the Three Dharma Seals, my subconscious paid homage to the quote and, “Nothing makes sense except in the Light of the Three Dharma Seals” arose.
The Three Dharma Seals (found in the Samyukta Agama) are:
- Impermanence (anitya)
- Non-Self (anatman)
Impermanence and Non-Self are two sides of the same coin; impermanence deals with temporal aspect of reality and non-self deals with spatial aspect of reality.
All conditioned things are in constant flux, changing always, and bound to causes and conditions which too are changing in their nature. Nothing is permanent. All conditioned things are too composed only in relation to all other conditioned things. A flower is composed of non-flower elements; and I am composed of non-self elements. If I were to describe myself fully I would literally have to describe all things of the Universe, those that exist and those which are potentiality. And since all this is impermanent I could never keep up!
For me, this is not just philosophy, but is part of a technology of the meditative practise; following the breath, observing the chatter of the mind, sensing the tensions of the body, settling into Life. And this is not just a contemplation of wisdom; but of Love, since the realisation and actualisation of the Dharma Seals is to develop the non-discriminative mind. This, as daily life, makes it completely obvious that we are pulsing with the same pulse of the Cosmos. A non-self, non-permanent fellowship.
Nirvana is mentioned as the 3rd Dharma Seal. And I will mention something here but will address Nirvana more deeply as part of a separate post another time. Nirvana is the collapse of all notions, the dissolving of you, the “ground of being”, and is limitless and vast in actuality. This quite obviously means that it can never be fully expressed with words, but also that nirvana is not something you can ever “get” you can’t hold the weightless, your mind cannot contain the limitless. But rather, it will blast open all that ever bound you to anything.
What I have found to be most profound in practice for me so far as I follow the Way, is that often, and it usually happens spontaneously perhaps when in chit chat someone over a vanilla latte, is that all of a sudden I will see clearly what I may erroneously have called myself in them, in another’s eyes; and I see t hat which I may have erroneously called them as part of myself. Hence, what is recognised, but not necessarily conceptualised and even rarer-vocalised, is non-me-me in the other, and the non-other-other in me.
This, on several occasions, has helped me find deep happiness and stillness in what would otherwise have been deeply upsetting times.
The Dharma Seals make the small big, and big small. They allow me tune into limitlessness.
I am not the same for two consecutive moments,
I am made of things that are not me,
I let go of those afflictions of which are not True.
Limitless we sit.
Once again, Thank you kindly for taking the time to visit Only Yoking,