Knowing Your Onions!
‘Knowing your onions’ is to be knowledgeable about a subject,
being intelligent and well informed – knowing a subject inside out.
A. Some Buddhist traditions talk about the need for building a firm foundation first, to support the golden roof.
B. Some Buddhist traditions talk about the need to be introduced to the golden roof first, and then support it by firm foundations.
What is the golden roof?
It is unelaborated, pure consciousness. It has many names.
In system A, we do lengthy, elaborate practices to finally realise pure consciousness.
In system B, we are introduced to pure consciousness, and then maintain it through simple conduct.
As you can see, system A takes many years. In system B, we start at the top, and only refer to elaborate practices when we forget.
Some traditions work from the relative leading to the ultimate, whereas others start at the ultimate to truly understand the relative.
Our true nature – our essential nature – is unelaborated pure consciousness. Elaborations are only applied when we forget. Once pure consciousness is realised all, elaborations are dropped. If we hold on to the elaborations, we end up with a pile of onions that we don’t know what to do with!
Religion is organised elaboration. Pure consciousness is without elaboration, so there is no need for religion, unless we forget. Once we know our onions, then the golden roof needs no support.
To practise, without knowing what we are building, is futile diligence. I personally spent decades in idiot meditation, so my Dzogchen teacher told me. “How do you feel about that?” he asked. “Angry, but I accept what you say,” I replied.
Be very careful about what or whom you follow.
To repeat: words have meaning.
Once the meaning is realised, drop the words, or the words will go on and on …
and heaven will be an everlasting bowl of onion soup 😀