The path is not autonomy per se but what drives the path is the autonomous essence that arises. It can develop from our meditation practice but that is not the only way.
As elder zandtaomed spoke of inner guide, an inner guide that arose from meditation, an inner guide we can seek love-wisdom from in meditation. It comes from the path, and arises from meditation as do the Dhamma comrades.
Autonomy enables love-wisdom, without autonomy there can be no love-wisdom; zandtao thinks that is very powerful and has not seen it written anywhere - scary. Autonomy uses mindfulness to grapple with experience to develop love-wisdom; autonomy is that aspect of consciousness that enables consciousness to evolve through grappling with experience to develop love-wisdom - thus evolving consciousness.
Yet at the same time autonomy works with love-wisdom to develop awakening, but without autonomy there is no direction towards awakening.
Where does autonomy come from? Reconnecting with Dhamma – touching sunnata. Let’s look at sunnata with Stephen and see if it can shed more light on autonomy. It did but in a kind of negative way. Sunnata, or shunyata for Stephen’s Sanskrit use, tends to confuse because of its translation as emptiness. That translation must not be ignored.
But to help understanding zandtao is going to look at another word – consciousness – as described by Eckhart in Awakening the Inner Light (4 talks put together as one). In awakening the inner light Eckhart spoke of the mystery of consciousness. In many ways it is sensible to avoid the word consciousness because science has limited the understanding of the word, but if we combine Eckhart’s description of the mystery with the Buddhist description of sunnata then there is a coalescing of appropriate description.
Zandtaomed first wrote of this in his advice here, even for one of his blogs it is long. Eckhart describes consciousness as the great mystery – the great unknown, and zandtao has fallen in line with this by using the word “describe” and not falling into the trap of using the word “understand”. For zandtao consciousness cannot be understood, when zandtao undertakes a quest into the unknown that quest is to partially understand some of consciousness; hopefully he manages to do that with his z-quests – quest into the unknown of consciousness.
The great mystery of consciousness cannot be fully known, how can sunnata as emptiness be known? Zandtao also uses Nature to describe this consciousness, and this maybe is what Buddhadasa means by Dhamma – as in reconnecting with Dhamma in the 4th tetrad (zandtao takes it as this but cannot confirm that it is what Buddhadasa meant). Nature is important to zandtao because Nature provides the path – path works together as Unity because paths come from Nature; this is a strong justification of the path – knowing it is right because it comes from Nature. For zandtao humanity’s consciousness is part of Nature’s consciousness, and at the core of Nature’s consciousness is sunnata, it is this core that is the path. This is how zandtao has put these things together within the mystery of consciousness, but this is not knowledge or facts, it starts as informed speculation based on experience in z-quests and his dhamma practice of atammayata, MwB and Companion, and the Seeker Story.
But it is more than informed speculation because it arises from Eckhart’s 2nd mystery of consciousness – evolving consciousness. And this is where autonomy arises. In this 2nd mystery Eckhart describes as part of consciousness the role of humanity - to evolve that consciousness. As our practice reconnects us with consciousness, then there develops in us a quest, a quest directed by consciousness. This quest arises from autonomy that arises from reconnection with consciousness – and the 2nd mystery of evolving consciousness. Comparatively speaking, autonomy, as with the Dhamma comrades, arises from reconnecting with Dhamma – arises from sunnata.
But we can give greater rigour to this informed speculation. It arises from evolving consciousness, it is therefore intended by Nature. When we experience what arises as informed speculation on our quest, we experience it as insight – as wisdom – often with an ah-ha moment. This is consciousness awakening. What arises does not have the characteristic of known – as with much of science, but it has greater rigour than science because it arises out of evolving consciousness. The autonomy we gain through our practice develops wisdom that is the evolution of consciousness.
Zandtao avoided the word consciousness because of the way science limits the use of the word. But there also needs to be clarification with use of the word in Buddhism. For consciousness as vinnana is one of the 5 khandhas, the human aggregates. So is this the consciousness zandtao speaks of?
Looking at Eckhart’s mystery of consciousness also gives rise to an understanding of the threshold of autonomy that zandtao experienced, that led to the separation of his work from zandtaomed to the Prajna portal. With zandtao’s studies and writing before crossing the threshold, zandtao was learning from established teaching – Buddhadasa, who had taken his understanding from the Buddha. What zandtaomed has done, what is at the core of his advice, is determined by his MwB dhamma practice.
Meditation, its experience and practice, has always been at the core of zandtao’s development even when he was creative - writing as Wai Zandtao. Meditation led to the experiences in the Chiswick Loft, however this was not a developed practice. Because of the state his mind was in at the time, simple focus enabled the reconnecting with Dhamma and sunnata. But this waned as bill lacked development – bhavana. During the mid-life review meditation returned as meditation rather than the connecting with the muse of Wai Zandtao’s earlier writing, and this meditation led to bill becoming Buddhist. Bill’s Buddhist studies took him to zandtaomed where he began to practice Buddhadasa’s MwB, develop his understanding of MwB through the Companion, and then connect it with his life experience through the Seeker Story. This became the dhamma practice of zandtaomed. And from this dhamma practice grew zandtao’s autonomy.
In Viveka-zandtao, zandtao developed the quest into the unknown with his faith in the path. This led to the crossing of the threshold of autonomy into the Prajna portal. Without the dhamma practice there was no autonomy and no threshold. Crossing the threshold of autonomy and this z-quest on the secular path with Stephen Batchelor has led to the 3 prongs:-
Autonomy brings with it the possibility of awakening though recognising love-wisdom and tathata. This autonomy arises from dhamma practice. Awakening cannot arise from study alone, it requires the dhamma practice to develop the autonomy that leads to awakening. That does not mean meditation is a requirement, for some people autonomy and the Dhamma Comrades can arise naturally – how zandtao does not know. Without autonomy there is no awakening; without bhavana autonomy stagnates (bill could not move on from the Chiswick Loft until he developed). This bhavana can take many forms including study, but without autonomy bhavana through study or bhavana through intellect alone does not lead to awakening .
Autonomy directs a quest into the unknown to evolve consciousness. As zandtao crossed the threshold of autonomy there developed some egoic confusion leading to the Diamond sutra warning of maintaining dhamma practice. In this z-quest the quest is taking us near sunnata, and this is also causing confusion. We need to consider this confusion.
Let us consider the 3rd prong of avyakata, above it is described as the metaphysics of the Buddha’s unanswered questions - zandtao noted “not studied”. Yet confusion arose as zandtao crossed the threshold of autonomy, confusion also arises as zandtao considers sunnata. Yet autonomy brings the need to investigate.
Zandtao has accepted limitations both of his mind – and the human mind in general. For example studying Eckhart can at times lead to confusion even though later might lead to understanding. Early studies of Buddhism brought confusion that later became understanding. At the time these were questions not to be answered, if you like pro-tem zandtao-avyakata. Throughout this chapter zandtao gives greater clarity on how this confusion arises and what to do.
The sun provides life on earth, yet as we get close to the sun we die. The closer we get to understanding the sun the more we can understand about life but there are limitations – the limitations of the sun itself, the limitations of sunnata. Avyakata could be the limitations of sunnata. Have people attempted to answer the Buddha’s avyakata since? Zandtao expects so, have they learned? Equally zandtao expects so, have there been answers? Zandtao doubts it. People have investigated sunnata. Have they learned? Yes. Have there been complete answers? Zandtao doubts it. There are limitations of the journey to the sun – limitations of the journey towards sunnata. As the quest for the unknown takes us closer to the sun – sunnata – there is danger, but that confusion can later become understanding if that is the intended path and there is good Dhamma practice.
Emptiness, void of self, or whatever description, can be confusing; it is the journey into the sun. But know our limitations, take time, and the understanding our autonomy takes us to can develop if it is meant to. For zandtao sunnata can be a guide. Autonomy as the guide of sunnata can now take zandtao to Eckhart’s evolving consciousness yet to begin with this second mystery of consciousness could not be accepted as consciousness; now it is for zandtao.
The Buddha chose not to answer the unanswered questions, was this because he didn’t know the answers? Or was it because he wanted us to know that there were limitations as to what can be understood? Zandtao feels it is useful to recognise that some questions are not meant to be understood - for himself he thinks of them as zandtao-avyakata. These zandtao-avyakata can change with time, and will likely give rise to egoic confusion. As autonomy quests into the unknown we must be aware of confusion arising from zandtao-avyakata.
Stephen appears to have approached this avyakata barrier or wider metaphysics as a no-go area that is a diversion from dhamma practice. Zandtao does not accept this no-go area. For Stephen it appeared that there were ticket barriers of understanding within the metaphysics, an entry requirement of understanding, and this entry requirement was tied into the egotism of institutionalism. Of course such an entry requirement is not an acceptable institutional practice, the path goes where and how it chooses. Perhaps it is this ticket-entry rather than metaphysics that Stephen could question; his choice?
Out of dhamma practice grows autonomy, and the autonomy’s quest into the unknown can lead to awakening through recognition of love-wisdom and tathata. This quest can lead towards sunnata, and areas other than sunnata that Stephen might describe as metaphysical. That is for autonomy to decide. Allowing the desire for secularisation to restrict the autonomy’s quest into the unknown is a limitation in the journey to sunnata, the spiritual journey to the sun, the source of life. Does that happen for Stephen?
How much of autonomy is liberation? Is this not better considered as “Can there not be any greater liberation than autonomy”? This is an autonomy that is free from conditioning – free from attachment. This is not an autonomy of self - self-esteem, a self that grew from upbringing as childhood conditioning. This is an autonomy that arises from sunnata as the guide of the Dhamma comrades, the guide that “feels, knows and sees what is”, the guide that comes from recognising love-wisdom and tathata. Autonomy is the liberation that is sought.
This understanding has led to an updating of zandtao’s MwB practice. The first change is humility at the end of step 12. This should always have been there as humility is always a good practice for calming egos. But when there is autonomy in play there is a great risk of not being humble. “Atammayata leads to autonomy”. This is the beyond. If we can develop a state in which no sankhara can be formed – a big if, then the autonomy of the path is free; there is liberation. In step 16 zandtao had added “Deep knowing - wisdom”. There was already “Deep seeing – tathata”, both of these combined come from “knowing and seeing the way things are” in the first discourse, Dhammacakkappavattana sutta.
Eckhart in his discussion on the Silent Sermon spoke of source as unmanifested formless and timeless; zandtao can see this as Eckhart journeying to the sun, the spiritual journey of sunnata. Having some understanding of source as unmanifest, formless and timeless, is a journey within zandtao’s limits, but he struggles with the heart sutra’s “form is emptiness, and emptiness is form” – leave that confusion (for the time being?). But the Heart sutra speaks of “Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha”, go beyond conditioning with autonomy – especially with Tinna Tinh.
There is some personal confusion concerning the threshold of autonomy that led to the Prajna portal. Zandtao has spent much of his retirement determining what he now calls his dhamma practice that is now established as MwB and Companion with the Seeker Story - what is zandtaomed advice. As described above this dhamma practice built up autonomy that led to zandtao crossing a threshold that zandtao is now calling the threshold of autonomy.
Confusion arose in his mind because of the way it happened to him – through the study of Thay’s “Awakening the Heart”. It happened when zandtao began studying the Diamond and Heart sutras – after studying the earlier suttas in Thay’s book which were from the Pali Canon. Zandtao’s mind dangerously speculated about this connection. But the autonomy has nothing to do with the types of Buddhisms, however it is concerned with consolidation of dhamma practice, the development of autonomy, and a quest for the unknown that was established in Viveka-zandtao immediately prior to his crossing the threshold of autonomy.
Zandtao described this as dangerous because it is an intellectual danger associated with drawing conclusions typical of the Rinpoche’s hierarchy of 1) Theravada 2) Mahayana 3) Vajrayana - at a meeting in Bangkok a Tibetan Rinpoche described this hierarchy of Buddhisms. Zandtao does not accept the hierarchy, but has far too little understanding of all 3 to make any additional judgement – even if judgements were appropriate. Was it a meaningful coincidence that the threshold happened when he began studying the Diamond and Heart sutras? Perhaps so, although he had long included sunnata in his studies because Buddhadasa did. Zandtao sees any meaning attached to this coincidence as intellectual egotism, the intellect making sweeping inappropriate judgements. In the Pali Canon there are the 2 suttas on sunnata – Cula-sunnata sutta (MN 121) and Mahasunnata sutta (MN 122); perhaps zandtao should study these now that he has reflected on the HHDL on the Heart sutra in the Prajna portal.
“Emptiness is the track on which the centered person moves. - Tsongkhapa” [Stephen's BwB 36.1]. Zandtao likes this, it adds to an understanding of path.
In the chapter on Emptiness rather than becoming Stephen looks at conditioning, the ongoing causes and conditions that we perceive as events. “Clutching at ourselves and the world in this way is a precondition for anguish. By regarding things as absolutely separate and as desirable or fearful in themselves, we set ourselves the task of possessing something we can never have or of eradicating something that was never there in the first place. Noticing how things emerge from and fade back into an unbroken flow of conditions begins to free us a little” [Stephen's BwB 36.10 ]. Again zandtao likes this, as we focus on an event we create anguish; move beyond conditioning. This is perhaps why conditioning is in this chapter on emptiness “Whatever emerges in this way is devoid of an intrinsic identity: in other words, things are empty” [Stephen's BwB 36.11].
Zandtao also likes this following attempt at moving towards anatta. “As a human being I am more complex than a pot or a daffodil, but I have also emerged from causes and am composed of diverse, changing features and traits. There is no essential me that exists apart from this unique configuration of biological and cultural processes. Even if intellectually I agree with this, intuitively it may not be how I feel about myself. In any event, dharma practice is concerned not with proving or disproving theories of self but with understanding and easing the grip of self-centeredness that constricts body, feelings, and emotions into a tight nugget of anguish” [Stephen's BwB 36.14]. Again zandtao likes this, concise understanding like this is why Stephen’s work and selective interpretation cannot be dismissed out-of-hand. The “biological and cultural processes” that lead to our conditioning lead to the fundamental understanding of releasing egos that can typically be done through the Seeker Story or otherwise. When Buddhadasa talks of “removing the I and mine from the 5 khandhas”, what he is asking is what is left? Does there need to be anything personal (atta) other than the aggregates for us to live our lives? And when we “know and see the way things are” (love-wisdom and tathata) we can feel, know and see Tshongkapa’s “track on which the centred person moves”.
In a similar way to Buddhadasa’s “removing the I and mine from the 5 khandhas”, Stephen tries to find the self in meditation. Buddhadasa asks if there is anything individual other than khandhas, Stephen looks inside:- “Each time I think I’ve pinned it down, it turns out to be something else: a bodily sensation, a mood, a perception, an impulse, or simply awareness itself” [Stephen's BwB 36.18]. “It is simply ungraspable, unfindable. I am who I am not because of an essential self hidden away in the core of my being but because of the unprecedented and unrepeatable matrix of conditions that have formed me” [Stephen's BwB 36.20]. “The more I delve into this mystery of who I am (or what anything is), the more I just keep going ....” The mystery of consciousness and the quest into the unknown. “There is no end to it, only an infinite trajectory that avoids falling into the extremes of being and nonbeing” [Stephen's BwB 36.20].
From [Stephen's BwB 36.22] to the end of the chapter Stephen describes how he uses emptiness - his journey to sunnata. “To know emptiness is not just to understand the concept. It is more like stumbling into a clearing in the forest, where suddenly you can move freely and see clearly” [Stephen's BwB 36.24]. Can emptiness be known or rather can it be glimpsed as this second sentence says? “To experience emptiness is to experience the shocking absence of what normally determines the sense of who you are and the kind of reality you inhabit. It may last only a moment ....” [Stephen's BwB 36.24], a glimpse before “the habits of a lifetime reassert themselves and close in once more. But for that moment, we witness ourselves and the world as open and vulnerable.
"This calm, free, open, and sensitive space is the very center of dharma practice. It is immediate, imminent, and dynamic. It is a path, a track.” Have faith in this path.
Emptiness “is not something we “realize” in a moment of mystical insight that “breaks through” to a transcendent reality concealed behind yet mysteriously underpinning the empirical world. Nor do things “arise” from emptiness and “dissolve” back into it as though it were some kind of formless, cosmic stuff” [Stephen's BwB 36.27]. This is where the language of emptiness becomes so confusing. For zandtao the path is going beyond conditioning, this is transcendence – a glimpse, touching sunnata, the state of lokuttara (discussed in Viveka-zandtao). But for zandtao it is not a different reality that seekers gain entry to, it is not a path requirement that a new reality be entered. However where does autonomy and the Dhamma comrades arise from? They come from the glimpses – the transcendence, a transcendence that is not a different reality but part of this Unity. Can we not experience the transcendence of ah-ha moments, of the development of wisdom, without such experiences having to be relegated to metaphysics (zandtao’s words) – without “equating emptiness with such metaphysical notions as “the Absolute,” “the Truth,” or even “God””? [Stephen's BwB 36.28].
For zandtao glimpsing and transcendence are integral to the 2nd prong of conscious awakening:-
But it does not mean that all that is not Dhamma practice is relegated to avyakata, or to Stephen’s metaphysics. Transcendence does not mean becoming God or the Absolute, it means void of self. Stephen’s 2-pronged boundary is far too harsh, and for zandtao disables some understanding.
Delusion, imagination and fantasy can happen with transcendence and misunderstanding. The transcendent joy associated with glimpses are integral as motivation for the path. It is not an entry-level measurement such as “have you experienced all the jhanas?” Stephen knows that world far more than zandtao, maybe that is why he wants to marginalise it as metaphysics? Can seekers develop delusions because they want to be accepted as “next level”?
Zandtao does not want to participate in an intellectual setting of boundaries. Glimpses of touching sunnata are essential for the seeker to become conscious of the path – of love-wisdom and tathata. Sunnata is unknown – unknowable in its entirety; but a journey to sunnata – quest for the unknown – can produce learning – wisdom. It is not a metaphysical unknown that cannot be learnt from, it is not an omnipotent God out there to whom we ascribe all answers yet who cannot be questioned. Our own consciousness can develop evolving wisdom – evolving consciousness itself but it is not a metaphysics that cannot be accessed in some way through Dhamma practice and possible awakening. Touching sunnata can be glimpsed – accessed – through good Dhamma practice, not only should there be no barriers to this access but there needs to be a quest for such glimpses – a conscious recognition of questing wisdom and tathata. But there is no institutional entry requirement for such access. Possibly people within the institutions have knowledge, possibly they have wisdom because they have dedicated their lives to this quest – and in zandtao’s view 100% dedication in the end is a requirement for following the path. But such dedication is not necessarily being an institutional member nor does it require jumping through institutional hoops. Without love-wisdom and tathata that is independent of dogma, where is awakening? Without autonomy where is awakening? Without a quest into the unknown – a journey to sunnata – where is awakening? Yet this is Buddhist language. A seeker does not have to be a member of a Buddhist institution. A seeker’s quest looks for wisdom where it can be found. Zandtao’s quest took him through Buddhism and found help there. Zandtaomed advice is based on the teachings of a Buddhist, Buddhadasa, who was a slave to the Buddha. But love-wisdom and tathata is not uniquely Buddhist, and nor is being a member of a Buddhist institution a requirement. Maybe this is why Stephen’s selective interpretation led to a marginalisation of all that he classified as metaphysical. Recognising love-wisdom and tathata within the journey to sunnata is a central prong on the path, develop the autonomy that can recognise this.
“Emptiness does not deny that such things ( - pots, bananas and daffodils) exist; it merely describes how they are devoid of an intrinsic, separate being” [Stephen's BwB 36.30]. No separate egos, just unity – again an indicator from sunnata – a glimpse that can easily arise if we are immersed in nature.
“From the patterning of the DNA derived from our parents to the firing of the hundred billion neurons in our brains to the cultural and historical conditioning of the twentieth century to the education and upbringing given us to all the experiences we have ever had and choices we have ever made: these have conspired to configure the unique trajectory that culminates in this present moment. What is here now is the unrepeatable impression left by all of this, which we call “me.” Yet so vivid and startling is this image that we confuse what is a mere impression for something that exists independently of what formed it.
So what are we but the story we keep repeating, editing, censoring, and embellishing in our heads?” [Stephen's BwB 36.31 ]. “As we become aware of all this, we can begin to assume greater responsibility for the course of our lives. Instead of clinging to habitual behavior and routines as a means to secure this sense of self, we realize the freedom to create who we are. Instead of being bewitched by impressions, we start to create them” [Stephen's BwB 36.33]. And here we have a confusion that can arise from the nihilism of the word emptiness. As we realise that through our upbringings all that conditioning requires is the “repeating, editing, censoring, and embellishing in our heads”, we start to seek liberation. In zandtaomed terms from our Dhamma practice we develop the Dhamma comrades and the autonomy that leads to love-wisdom and tathata. This gives us the “freedom to create who we are”. This is the freedom that is void of self, not coming from the conditioning that arises from a history of impressions, but coming from the creativity that arises from consciousness devoid of conditioning. If we answer where does the “freedom to create” come from, and we answer emptiness there is an obvious confusion. If we answer the autonomy that seeks to recognise love-wisdom and tathata as built by the Dhamma comrades, there is perhaps less confusion. But where do the Dhamma comrades come from? Sunnata. Such is the problem of rationale and language, and it is not necessarily a problem of understanding per se. If we use our autonomy to work towards “feeling, knowing and seeing things the way they are” rather than a journey to sunnata, perhaps it is easier to live with the confusion of the mystery.
In summary let's examine sunnata and confusion, and we can do this because in the development of this chapter zandtao experienced disturbance in his daily life - as well as the recent disturbance in his daily life as he crossed his personal threshold of autonomy and moved into the Prajna portal. Disturbance or confusion arose in zandtao's daily life but these were not new egos. Zandtao has never claimed to be ego-free, and developed a notion of accepting “warts’n’all” in Viveka-zandtao. What happens in disturbance is that these egos become unbalanced and are too dominant in zandtao’s daily life.
What are these egos? That is zandtao’s business but he knew they were ahimsa – that was important to his compassion; of course harm to himself is harm to Unity leading to mostly ahimsa. These egos are covered in his MwB Dhamma practice where upadanas, kilesas and clinging to the 5 khandhas are released as part of the routine, but there have been egos that he has been unable to release that he has categorised as warts’n’all. These egos have been integrated with minimal impact in his daily life except during disturbance – a balance that zandtao lives with and accepts. Disturbance is not acceptable and disrupts his life, this is a characteristic that egos have – if allowed they gain life for themselves and disturb.
There has been a pattern as to when these disturbances occur, observation and recognising when ego occurs is good practice and part of the discipline. They have occurred as zandtao has quested into the unknown and tried to understand that which he is not capable of fully understanding – sunnata and consciousness. Recently the first disturbance arose when zandtao considered Eckhart’s mystery of consciousness and struggled with Eckhart’s 2nd mystery – humanity’s role in evolving consciousness (something zandtao now accepts); this was discussed here. The next occurred when he crossed the threshold of autonomy that has become the Prajna portal. And there has been recent disturbance about sunnata during this Secular Path investigation.
Let me examine this last disturbance in detail. In the z-quest on Stephen there had been an investigation into sunnata, this had not led to disturbance. Zandtao tried investigating the 2 sunnata suttas (App D
), but for zandtao this led nowhere - at the moment? But then he began to study Buddhadasa’s “Heart-wood from the Bo Tree”, then disturbance started because zandtao’s own egos were confronted by the way Buddhadasa wrote. Disturbance is simply ego struggling to survive, in each of the situations where disturbance has occurred zandtao’s path has taken him to a place where his egos were confronted.
Zandtao’s initial consideration of “Heart-wood from the Bo Tree” has been included as App E. Whilst the process of consideration led to disturbance what was written in this appendix was simply a set of quotes from Buddhadasa’s book. Unlike z-quests there was no bouncing off of Buddhadasa. Because of this lack of fruitful evaluation then it is best to read the original, and study for yourself.
Here is how zandtao assesses why he became disturbed, it is not complex. In the first section Buddhadasa taught that kilesa and upadana are a product of non-anatta. If we choose to have some self (accept warts’n’all) then kilesas and upadanas arise. Be sunnata, develop a state of satipanna (prajna) – truth-discerning awareness. Simply be sunnata or choose self.
So of course zandtao saw there was no choice – I don’t choose self. And disturbance began. Zandtao could not confront his egos, he could not release his egos, and there was fight to release - resistance - the egos causing disturbance.
Within the way he setup this struggle he could only cause disturbance; his setup I do not choose egos - this is confrontation. If there is I choosing then egos increase because self is ego. How can I choose sunnata? This is also ego so more disturbance. So although there are two choices sunnata or self, "I choose self" cannot release egos, and how can I choose sunnata?
Then he examined his dhamma practice and throughout the disturbance he was meditating only one in three days, and he remembered the warning of the Diamond Sutra. This is another pattern of his disturbances. As he moved into investigating sunnata and consciousness he had not focussed on his meditation. The path had taken him to this investigation, had given him the protection needed to investigate through Dhamma practice, and yet zandtao’s ego had caused imbalance leading to limited meditation. Disturbance disrupted sleep in his daily life, and because of the disrupted sleep zandtao’s ego excused his meditation. It sneaks up on you, ego sneaks up on you.
If it wasn’t clear before, it is clear now - hold to your Dhamma practice. It is Dhamma practice that will release the egos. The Diamond Sutra warning – no confusion only Dhamma practice. In the Prajna portal hold to your Dhamma practice.
It is both ludicrous and amusing that this z-quest is essentially about Dhamma practice, has developed the 3 prongs which includes “Awakening through Dhamma practice, and that the Prajna portal has the Diamond Sutra warning on each page; yet zandtao had allowed this level of disturbance to enter his daily life. Recognise the tricks of ego and do the Dhamma practice especially when questing.