One Taste: Is There Right And Wrong?
How to argue, and not argue
The Buddha said;
“Just as the great ocean has one taste – the taste of salt – so also this teaching and discipline has one taste – the taste of liberation”.
But what does that mean in practical terms?
When talking on a conventional level, we argue about this as opposed to that, which leads to more of the same. Everything has the one taste of our personal bias, so the Buddha obviously wasn’t talking about that 😉
There are many commentaries about “one taste”, so we have to pick our way through to see what makes sense to us. Here are few examples;
“The absence of inherent existence of the mind of an ordinary sentient being, an arya
or buddha, is the same in nature”.
“The final reality, the tathagate essence, the emptiness of inherent existence of the
mind, is inseparable in the sense that all conventional phenomena are of one taste in
emptiness. They are all inseparable in emptiness”.
“All phenomena are of one taste in that they are without arising ultimately”.
“In emptiness there is no I, the creator of negative actions. In emptiness there is no creating of negative actions. In emptiness there are no negative actions created. Even though there are infinite phenomena, in emptiness nothing exists at all. There is no this and that, no me and you, nothing. In emptiness everything is one taste. From this emptiness, everything comes into existence. Whatever exists is the manifestation of emptiness.”
Commentaries originate from a particular level (yana), and our realisation will depend upon our understanding at the moment.
From a Dzogchen view, we are pure awareness, empty of contamination. This is our true reality. Being pure awareness, no concepts of good and bad are present as no judgement is formed yet: this can clearly be recognised in meditation. “One taste” is just taste, empty without comments of ‘sweet’ or ‘bitter’. Judgement comes afterwards.
Tibetan Buddhism describes emptiness as having five attributes, or wisdoms lights:
The wisdom of equality
These wisdoms are manifestations of emptiness.
Although emptiness does not entail judgement, note that there is ‘discriminating wisdom’ – having the ability to discern – because we have to be able to recognise whatever is an obstruction to the clarity of mind. It is the recognition of such an obstruction that denotes a transmission taking place: the noise in empty silence. We now can judge whether something is beneficial or not, but in the light of spiritual wisdom.
The teachings are transmissions.
We are the receivers.
The receiver recognises it is receiving: it’s switched on!
It’s just a matter of tuning in.