Inquiry into The Desire For Form

With the inquiry into the desire for form, the inquiry into reality itself begins. Up to now, we looked into ourselves, now we find out whether what we think about the experienced world is actually true or not.

The Desire for Form is the 6th fetter in the Buddhist framework of the Ten Fetters.

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When the Mountains are No Longer Mountains

Before one studies Zen, mountains are mountains and waters are waters;
after a first glimpse into the truth of Zen, mountains are no longer mountains and waters are no longer waters;
after enlightenment, mountains are once again mountains and waters once again waters.
(Dogen)

With the inquiry into the 6th fetter, the phase begins when mountains are no longer mountains. The world will look different when this fetter is inquired into and finally falls away. The spatial vision will change into a more 2D-vision.

Be careful when driving or cycling, and also as a pedestrian. Distances look different. I added a few dents to our car in this phase.

Also, what you experience as the body will be different. This all might sound a bit scary but actually it has always been the way you are now going to experience it, we only read a lot into our experience. You’ll get used to it and in the end, everything will be just fine.

The desire for Form (Rupa-Raga)

The desire for form came up when formless objects were experienced after the 7th fetter was in place.

In order to experience forms, a subject was assumed that experienced the objects. The fact that objects were experienced served as proof for the subject.

In this fetter, it is not about the ‘me’ experiencing objects but having the sense of “standing” in the centre with every other object arranged around us. Objects are everything that can be discerned, something, that’s seen or heard, a thought, a feeling.

How to Look Into the 6th Fetter

In this step, we look for the subject that seems to experience objects.

The subject is confirmed in a nearly unnoticeable way. Altogether, this fetter is already quite subtle.

Play with it:

Look at an object, let’s say a lamp in the room. You’ll notice that the attention is first on the object and very quickly, within seconds, goes back to ‘you’, and then back to the object. It is like a quick referring back. The eye muscles are making a tiny movement when this happen.

What is referred to?

And what happens when you try to stop the referring back?

When you noticed this referring back which may take some time, find out where this “checking back to base” is going to. What does it check in with?

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