Thusness

What is Thusness? Are we always able to perceive things just as they are? If we speak of Thusness just as it is than logically the question arises what is wrong in perception as it is. Let’s try to understand it.

Thusness is release of the stream of Karma, which is possible thanks to performed accumulations.

Thusness becomes visible through the entry into the stream of Karma, at that stage when our accumulation of virtue and wisdom allow us to remain in a free and unstressed state of mind. This state of tranquility called Samadhi. Perceptions of a person who has not reached the condition of serenity are distorted by mental constructions, therefore it is almost impossible to study Thusness at this stage, just as it is impossible to explain integral to a first grader who has not studied basics of mathematics.

Let’s consider the connection between the concept of Thusness with the notion of Karma.

Karma is the process during which the actions form the consciousness of the doer. Entering the stream of Karma involves: skillfulness of action, skillfulness of perception and the disappearance of a sense of “I”. The Buddha talked about his comprehension of Thusness in the following way: “Rafters are destroyed, there is no builder. Who will build this house again?” Dhammapada.

Thusness is attained through the yoga of non-meditation, that is, through understanding of Vipassana (Anitya, Dukkha, Anatman) Anitya is the measure of inconstancy. Dukkha is the susceptibility to suffering. Anatman is the lack of a Sense of “I” – that is, things do not carry any individual unique or enclosed subject, but move and change.

How these things are set in motion? The answer is interdependent appearance of the twelve Nidanas, that is  Thusness.

The teaching of Nidana consists in the following:

ignorance (1) leads to the formation of Samskaras (2); samskaras give rise to individual consciousness (3); the latter connects with form and forms the embryo (4); the embryo accumulates energy in the sense organs (5); sense organs come into contact (6) with their objects; the contact leads to perceptions (7); perception produce attachments, indifference, and disgust (8); they form desires (9); desires direct actions (10); actions (karmas) lead to a new existence (birth) (11); and the birth leads to destruction and death (non-existence) (12). The direct meaning of this teaching is that existence and non-existence arise from the ignorance. They determine each other, forming links in the chain of causes and consequences.

Does Thusness justify bad karma? Of course not? Because bad karma by definition is always created and motivated by the link “Individual consciousness” (desires, etc.). Entrance in the causative-consecutive chain of nidanas reveals their emptiness. To enter inside something means to see its empty Nature via vipasana. We enter inside the links and see that there is nothing there, we see destruction of all explanations. And what is there? The answer is Thusness!

Thusness is negation both as objective and subjective status of reality. Thusness is that any event which appears freely according to the cause and consequence can have two aspects of perception – samsaric and nirvanic. Samsaric aspect is formed as the sense of “I”. Nirvanic aspect perceives all phenomena including manifestation of its own form and other skandhas like Thusness (as is is), and there is no sense to bring it near or remove it from oneself, as there is no object in in such perception.

Thusness tells us that all things, neither approaching, nor moving away, do not fall into contradiction with the law of Karma, which encourages us to be selective.

By Marina Sukhanova
Translation from Russian by Helga von Krauzinsh