Omniscience – This Will Blow Your Mind!
Omniscience: having complete or unlimited knowledge, awareness, or understanding; perceiving all things.
Theists believe that God is omniscient. Buddhists believe that a Buddha is omniscient. This is presented as The Great Mystery, way beyond our current capacity to understand. What I am about to say is not meant to disturb any mind or belittle teachings: it is just something to consider.
If omniscience is thought of as a great mystery, then it separates us from the reality of now. When we think of omniscience, we may see it as meaning the unchanging knowledge of everything in the universe, beyond time of past, present and future.
What if omniscience merely means knowing the omniscience of the universe – within our own mind?
We have a choice: we can see omniscience either as an unknowable, unachievable, distant state or as pervading wisdom awareness that we can access within us right now.
In essence, our mind is empty and pure, and therefore has no boundaries. It is also cognisant, having a knowing quality. Because of this realisation, unconditional compassion arises for all one’s mistaken views and those of others. Understand that everything appearing within emptiness (our universe) – including thoughts and matter – is made up of parts. When something relies on other parts for its existence, and comes about through causes and conditions, it cannot be said to have any reality of its own – despite the fact that we believe it to be real. It is merely a series of temporary events, of creating, dwelling and dissolving, the energy of which is the spark for the next creation, be it an idea or a solar system.
Once we understand how things arise, dwell and cease, we understand the essence and nature of every sentient being in the universe. We won’t know the details, but we will understand the general principle of ‘existence’ (and if there are ‘aliens’, they will have the same potentials and misconceptions as us … more or less).
If we take into consideration the possibility of rebirth, and the fact that we have had infinite incarnations, then every sentient being has been our mother, father, enemy, friend. We know what it’s like to live in a world dominated by hatred, greed, stupidity, desire, jealousy and pride – and we also know that there is a realm of wisdom and love which is impartial and manifests the unconditional compassion that is our essence force. As Yoda meant to say, “May you be with the force”. 😀
The point is to consider which of these omnisciences is more beneficial to our practice. Is it the one that is, for now, out of reach? Or is it the one that is within our own recognition and experience, right now?
Likewise, if we are reviewing definitions, when the texts speak of a realised person manifesting 100,000 emanations, is this literal, or does it simply mean that a wise person who expounds the truth influences many, who in turn, echo this truth to others. Perhaps 100,000 just means ‘lots’: we are all emanations of something!
By taking another look at what we mean by ‘omniscience’, we may bring the teaching right into our own back yard where we can evolve and live, solving all problems by utilising whatever manure is available – as manure is the source of all fruit.
This approach, without a focus on the unattainable and supernatural, makes the Buddha’s teaching easier to access and realise – although applying it may be challenging, moment by moment. Now, we are not relying on a belief, but on actual recognition and understanding.
Can it really be that simple? That’s for each to consider for themselves. Don’t we all have a deep longing for an omniscient universe of love that includes everyone? This is the positive emotion deep within every sentient being (which turns negative when self importance arises).
The Buddha’s teaching could be described as ‘ordinary’, without elaboration or confusion.
Of course this does bring up other questions, such as …why all the ceremony, rituals, observance, service, sacrament, liturgy, worship; holiness, eminence celebration, performance, act, practice, order, custom, tradition, convention, institution, formality, procedure, protocols?
Universal knowledge is within us all.
We are that omniscience.
We’re just a bit busy at the moment 😀