O Thou Blind Virtuous!

O thou blind human!
For only if you knew
In what unfathomable depths;
Into what farthest,
Deepest,
Ancient,
Primordial recesses of your own consciousness;
Does aversion strikes
And covers
Its most original, devilish,
Wild, insane,
Stark-staring roots;
You’d then never again,
Ever,
Speak so proudly and certainly,
Of love and of kindness;
Or,
Of any virtue for that matter.
O thou blind, virtuous, human!

Elucidations on “the Home-Builder”: (Avijjā → Sankhāra → Viññāna & the Upādānakkhandha)

The consciousness finds itself, meets itself, discovers itself, only in so far as it is already trapped inside a temporal, fragile, sensitive, trembling body. It is not readily able, or able only with great difficulty, to ignore that situation! This indeed is a situation of bondage par excellence; especially given that this consciousness -mysterious- is capable of such feats as far transcend the temporality and conditionality of the body. It is for this reason that “self-consciousness” is the most vital aspect of Buddhist training and deliverance, given that the liberation of the consciousness from the clutches of the body, and all that comes along with the body, the whole package (khandha) involving also emotional memory and egotism, self-concern and self-obsession – the liberation of the consciousness from such package happens only by means of an alienated and dispassionate recognition and awareness of them, not merely in conceptual abstraction, but in real time ceaslessly as they unfold.

It is indeed amazing how the slightest substantial progress in sati or self-awareness opens up directly at the cosmological; it is indeed amazing how they connect: the awareness of the most simple and worm-like mechanisms governing the functioning of our body and the package it comes with, and the awareness of the most grand picture of the cosmos and everything in it. It is indeed amazing how the two perfectly mirror each other and exhibit the same essence – a “pattern” can be found in the function of everything that exists, and a manifestation of that pattern one way or another. The cosmos is driven by some rhythm, and all that manifests is but a dance. The consciousness liberated from the clutches of body and ego doesn’t fail to see this picture equally in everything big or small; however much big or small. Everything that exists is produced; is a product, an outcome – and a process too; it’s never a thing; it is only headed toward such endless transformation through which it will inevitably cease to be recognisable as whatever it is that it once was before. Even dissolution and disappearance is a, just a phase! For the cosmos is not exactly real(!) and as such we couldn’t possibly thing of it as anything other than a definitively zero-sum game. Nothing disappears or vanishes, nothing is ever lost, subtracted, or added to the cosmos – and this is not only because it is primordial and infinite, but more so because it is a phantom in the first place! A phantom in which nothing, nothing whatsoever, is in any way independent or distinct from another. The stars of the galaxies and the worms under a rock; they are the same thing, sankhara, and they are made, conjured, for absolutely no reason other than to function as a “home” for the consciousness; a trap.

It is in this sense that the consciousness which succeeds in transcending the body, transcends existence too. And it is for this reason that the most thorough and extreme degree of alienation and dispassion with regard to one’s body and its hedonic and emotional impulses and habits are necessary, in order for emancipation from all existence to happen.

Adoration to Buddha! Adoration to Buddha! Adoration to Buddha!
For indeed,
It is nothing more than seeing sankhara in all things.
It is nothing more than recognising
In earnest
That a consciousness which is itself made,
Produced,
Conjured,
Is delivered only by means of withdrawing,
extracting itself,
Out and away from all that is made, produced, and conjured.
Adoration to Buddha!

How Upadana Conditions Bhava

Observe the Mimosa Pudica in the two following videos. Observe its behaviour! In the first it responds positively to the touch of sunlight, in the second negatively to that of human flesh:

This behaviour of the plant, and the echo of which you can easily discern pervading every human inclination, may be regarded as a very basic, primitive form of “upadana”; and it acquires physiological and emotional dimensions with more complex forms of life such as animals, and with human, abstract and conceptual dimensions as well (someone expresses an “idea” to which you respond with love or hate). Upadana is thus substantiating your experiences like that; the natural situation where you get stimulated by what you experience, and respond to it spontaneously, automatically, habitually, independently from self-awareness and self-regulation, just like that plant, inclining to what you like, repelling away from what you don’t like.

Bhava arises out of that. Each time you act in this way, not just physically or verbally, but also mentally, through emotional and conceptual habitual responses, you reinforce or give a further push to all these behavioural habits. Thus they become more established, more deeply rooted, digging deeper and deeper into the foundations of the heart simply through the repetition of behaviour. These behavioural habits can thus gain such momentumthroughout one’s life to the extent that they may become chronic to the consciousness, hard to change even if one wanted to be free of them, and then, even death won’t stop them! Just as they reinforce themselves through one’s own oblivious and conditioned life, they carry on further beyond death into another life, and they continue to reinforce themselves there, with no counter force to stop them, and so on, endlessly. Hence the connection with subsequent rebirth in various different realms which correspond to the nature and qualities of one’s heart by the time of death. This is a condition of samsaric existence.

The Buddha taught that human, unlike the plant above, or other animals, can become aware of those habitual, engrained behavioural tendencies, and can understand their ramifications and consequences on both the psychological and cosmological levels, and that through this awareness he can practise in such a way as to become alienated from them, dispassionate about them, non-reactionary to them, so that they find no psychological foundation upon which to sustain their roots, but gradually grow weaker and weaker, unsubstantiated, all the way up to their total and final cessation. Precisely that, is nibbana or Buddhist salvation, the end of bhava, bhava-nirodha. May it be the reward of all beings, unless they have other plans!!

What Samsara …

The food chain!
Multiplied by
Procreation.
Fear & lust,
And bhava
At the foundation and core.

 

The Present State of Dhamma-Understanding

Authenticity and inauthenticity are not to be measured by the sutta, but by each utterance in it. A sutta can involve both authentic and inauthentic utterances, and more prominent in its confounding effects than inauthenticity, is ambiguity, with which the text is rife. So it is not necessarily the case that Abhidharmic and Vedic influences are found in the text due to inauthenticity, but often, Abhidarmic and Vedic influences are found in the interpretation of the text due to its characteristic ambiguity. And this is understandable, because only an accomplished practitioner can allow himself or herself to embark on a completely intuitive, fresh, reinterpretation of the text; and i suspect that even an arahant will meet numerous challenges and exclaim often: “I haven’t a clue what this (sentence, phrase, section, or entire sutta) is talking about!” etc. An interpreter whose practice and training is still ongoing, on the other hand, is in dire need for a point of reference, or points of reference, to aid him in the understanding of that which he cannot fully independently grasp, and in as much as we struggle now to pin down “sankhara”, previous generations in the distant past did just as well, probably even in times before any teachings were committed to writing.

Read the full article.

What is “Bhava”

What is its effect

How Simple is Paticcasamuppada! (The Hedgehog version!)

● Salāyatana (nose + olfactory potency) ↓
● Phassa (nose contact with odour) ↓
● Vedanā (pleasure) ↓
● Tanha (craving) ↓
● Upādāna (substantiating experience, now with another salāyatana, the gustatory) ↓
● Bhava (seeking: again, more!) ↓
● Jati (the natural consequence of further expedience and further being).


● Salāyatana (body, touch potency) ↓
● Phassa (body contact with object, the cat’s tail) ↓
● Vedanā (pain, discomfort, etc.) ↓
● Tanha (aversion) ↓
● Upādāna (substantiating experience, arouses spikes) ↓
● Bhava (seeking: not again, no more!) ↓
● Jati (the natural consequence of further expedience and further being).


& the great folly that is conditioned existence …

Dhamma & Mundane Knowledge


For an arahant, what is a star? “It is that name given by people to that phenomenon which emits light in the night sky.” Precisely and exactly what is experienced, what is perceived in experience, nothing more, nothing less! For everything in the universe is made up of the six elements, only the six elements, the same six elements! Nothing is going to be surprising or impressive, then! The arahant is not moved by the discovery that the sun, too, is a star only too close to us!


My inclination is to believe that none of the cosmological physics mentioned in the suttas has even been ever uttered by Buddha himself! Rather I see him avoiding this kind of wondrous talk about unobservable, distant, non-experienceable phenomena – I see him even discouraging those around him from exercising the mind in search after non-evident phenomena and possible realities! As rare and strange as these suttas which involve talking about the physical cosmos; as many and clear as those in which the Buddha emphasises the importance of retracting the mind from speculative conceptualisation and directing it to the observation and discernment of evident mental experiences, here and now.

But there is no founder of any spiritual, transcendental doctrine, that has not been presented by his followers as possessed of some kind of omniscience or another, including those, like the Buddha, who openly stated (as recorded in the same text) that they have no such capacity, and declared that there are such questions to which they haven’t answers. And is the Pali Canon, like the texts of other ancient doctrines, rife with mythological depictions of the physical universe? The answer is certainly “yes”! Or at least not “no”! And in relation to such passages in the text I myself tend to negate their relevance, rather than emphasise them, or again like in similar cases of other doctrines, make efforts to patch together from the scattered sentences across the ancient text a fabric of some miraculous foresight of present scientific findings, which ends up only embarrassing as these contemporary findings themselves eventually lose currency given the emergence of new, observable, empirical data.

This is precisely the case with regard to the Big Crunch, a theory once envisaged by scientists as a possible if not likely scenario for the evolution of the cosmos, to the pride of Indian cosmology in which the theory would perfectly fit. But it was for a rational reason that scientists once believed in it, that which has to do with our present understanding of gravity, and how the sum of mass in the universe should logically pull matter closer together ad infinitum or to a point of singularity or something like this. But now, is there really any such Big Crunch? No, not any more! Because as recently as 1998, it was discovered that the universe is actually expanding continuously, and at an accelerating rate, and that despite of its unimaginably colossal mass, all matter in the universe is growing more distant from one another rather than getting closer together! Will there be a crunch one day? Maybe, who knows?! But certainly we’re not going to develop “faith” in something like that simply because some text says that the Buddha (and ancient Indian cosmology in general) speaks of such cycles. And if we did, we cannot possibly claim that this pertains in any way to science. Rather the opposite, this would be a belief that is contradictory with present scientific evidence, not dissimilar to beliefs in biblical narratives about the age of human on earth and the shape of the planet!

A shrewd and careful observer will not be inspired by the Buddha’s cosmological prowess (in the physical sense), and will notice the absence of any cohesive and robust physical understanding in what is purported in the text to be the Buddha’s speech. And judging by what’s in the text, it will seem rather that the Buddha, just as other ancient great religious figures, didn’t have a clue about what was going on in the heavens above them!! But then, having confounded one domain with another, transcending the heart with transcending matter, the enlightenment of Buddha becomes questionable in the eyes of those who are not yet established in Dhamma. And already, some people ask me: “Do you really believe that someone who didn’t know that the Earth is round can be enlightened?” To which I answer: “Yes! Even today anyone who doesn’t know that the Earth is round can be enlightened!” Because the enlightenment of the Buddha had nothing to do with transcending matter, but only transcending the heart, and its hopeless, agonising seeking and longing and yearning! And while “we” know that physical concerns have nothing to do with Dhamma, many people don’t, or even disagree and insist that him who we may call “Sammasambuddha” must necessarily be omniscient (ergo Gotama is either omniscient or isn’t samma)!

The point is that the Buddha’s limitations in the area of physics does not make him in the slightest “less” sammasambuddha; rather the opposite! I mean to say that depictions of the Buddha as cosmologically omniscient only reinforce the already widespread delusion that he was extra-human! It reinforces the perception that the Dhamma to which he awakened and the Path which he followed to realising it is not something that we, too, can accomplish; or that we can accomplish only with great difficulty that borders with the impossible. While in truth, to me, the only reason the Buddha is sammasambuddha is that he was utterly human, and that the Dhamma and the Path are not personal properties of anyone, and that they are realisable by anyone, anywhere, and always – this is the whole point.

My attitude regarding these matters is this: The Buddha, Gotama the great arahant and teacher, is most probably innocent of all this speculative confusion! His worth and his accomplishment must be judged based on the task to which he applied himself and no other: The discovery of the existential root of all dukkha, and the experiential transcendence of it before death! And it is this, it occurs to me, that is the biggest of all crunches: Death, and the exhaustion of human life before escape from further conditioned existence is guaranteed!

Transcendence Only

Transcendental ends are easier to reach than mundane ones.
And the advantage of a transcendental solution is that it lasts. A mundane solution never lasts.
And, in the first place, there are no mundane solutions.
There are no mundane solutions to mundane problems.

Acinteyya: the non-crossable limitations of the psyche

Bhavanirodha (No Future!)

__________________________

Only the present moment and nothing else!
Why?
Because there is nothing else!
And because the future
is not as much fearful or promising
as we believe.
Fear and hope are just bad habits.
The future is innocent
like all things
that do not exist
are innocent and pure!

And what is it really
that is fearful or hopeful bout the future?
That what we fear or desire
“there”
will one day become
“now”?
And that what we desire
“now”
will not come to pass
“then”?

But there has never been
“then”,
there has always been
now,
just now,
always now.
The future never betrayed us,
it’s we who always betray
the present.
The future always comes in time,
it is we who are never ready to receive it.
The future doesn’t exist in the future,
it can only be experienced
now.

Whatever hopes and dreams and fears and worries
and the myriad other feelings which weigh down the heart
that deprive us from receiving our precious gift of life
will never join us in our journey after death.
In a single moment of break-up
they will all vanish forever.
And what is it that will remain then?
Nothing,
except for the force
the momentum of one’s yearning
or the momentum of one’s peace.

Yearning leads to life,
to rebirth,
to the perpetuation of being,
and to the everlasting thirst,
for a never possible future,
with endless hopes and dreams and fears
and the myriad other feelings
which weigh down the heart
that deprive us from receiving
again,
our precious gift of life!
And again and again and again!

Peace leads to release,
total escape,
even beyond heaven.
For one who sees
that there is no future –
the restlessness in his heart
is wholly extinguished.
He is safe and at peace,
in every present moment,
He ‘has’ no future,
he takes nothing with him.
He too no longer exists.
At last,
he becomes innocent and pure,
like all things
that do not exist.

Only the present moment and nothing else!
There,
is the cessation of being.

Faith in Nibbāna

_____________________

More important than happiness,
is Nibbana.
More important than safety,
is Nibbana.
More important than freedom,
is Nibbana.
More important than comfort,
is Nibbana.
More important than power,
is Nibbana.

Nothing exists
that can conceivably be
more important
than Nibbana.
Because Nibbana
is the only thing
which can conceivably
bring meaning,
purpose,
and value,
to human life,
and to all existence.

More important than heaven,
is Nibbana.

May you attain Nibbana,
only Nibbana,
and nothing other than Nibbana.

Budho!

Budho! Budho! Budho!

The contacts of the body and the senses with this sensorial world, the spontaneous emotions which follow the experience of contact, the memories and impressions which such contact stirs in the mind, the spontaneous thoughts and imagination which arise on the basis of all that, and finally the fluent, loud, and torrential flow of the will in action, conditioned by all of the preceding, even though we will still call it ‘free will’ – all this is to be viewed just as a dream, and as the contents of a dream, that is, virtual, unsubstantial, lacking true essence or existence.

“Buddha”, one who has “awakened”, even though He was still in this same dream-world of rupa, kāma, moha, and dukkha. But He is no longer fast asleep, thinking or feeling it is real where it is not, acting as if it is Himself that is in there, and others too, their selves, where there is nothing but images, sounds, tastes, smells, bodily sensations, and ideas, along with all the thoughts, feelings, memories, emotions, and will, which these induce and condition. He has awakened from this dream state even though he is still in this dream world. That is the miracle of Dhamma and of Nibbāna. He goes around knowing that this world and this body and this self, is just a fleeting, passing-by dream, and that all these experiences of contact, of emotion, of thoughts and imagination, of memories, and of the will, are likewise just an inherent part of this same dream world, dream state.

In this dream world, there is nothing to lose! It is just a great amalgam of elements which are all at constant play and interplay. Nothing goes missing, nothing is lost, the whole remains intact even though nothing remains the same. Except for the arahant, for he successfully liberates the will and the consciousness from this morbid web of becoming and dissolution, he departs for good leaving behind the cruelty and sorrow of this world. Adoration to all arahants.

Budho! Budho! Budho!