Concerning the “Engaged” and the “Engagers”!

People who speak about “engaging” with any sort of mundane matters, societal or political, do so because they do not experience themselves the reality of the world of viveka, of meditative and attentional isolation, nor understand its benefits or even necessity for substantial progress in Dhamma practice and experience. The subtleties of mental phenomena, happening mostly in a manner that is totally unconscious to the individual, can be translated into a feature of speed, and can even be quantified as such. In other words, unconscious, autonomic, and spontaneous mental existence is not deep or hidden in any existential sense, but only in the sense that its functions occurs with such high speed that the natural human attention is incapable of detecting or keeping up with. The evolutionary benefits of reserving conscious attentional states only to urgent physiological and emotional conditions is self-evident, and the exercise of conscious attention over other secondary functions that could otherwise unfold in an autonomic fashions, relieves the brain of too much toil. Imagine the sorry state of a hippocampus that keeps detecting and redetecting every breath and every heartbeat! But the Buddha taught that liberation is contingent on bringing awareness to precisely every mental inhalation, exhalation, and pulse, that are of any emotional or cognitive substance or significance, much of which also unfolds unconsciously and in an autonomic fashion.

A continual non-stop and thorough training is needed in order to be able to accomplish this, and the disaster is that it is not like learning how to swim or ride a bicycle that you do once and then never unlearn. No: the sharpness, agility, absorption, and penetrating speed of the attention, is a skill that you immediately begin to lose the moment you stop exercising it, just like muscle work for sportspeople or finger dexterity for a flutist or pianist. The training of the attention in this field requires, out of necessity, that the senses are withdrawn from sensorial stimulation, and more powerful in its command over the attention than all other senses, is that of thought and ideation. Exposure not only to societal or political affairs, but even to normal everyday socialisation, even if it was devoid of any particularly dynamic conceptual purport, is alone sufficient to seriously challenge the composure, agility, and momentum of such transcendental introspective attention. And, indeed, not only in the field of meditative renunciate practitioners whose ultimate and most pressing goal is deliverance from all conditioned existence, but even in serious and purposeful sportspeople and musicians, withdrawal from social and sensorial distraction is a given, a necessary condition for such progress as corresponds to their seriousness and purpose, and YES, it is indeed such as make them appear antisocial to the eyes of their friends and relatives, who wish to have them participate in this family gathering and that dinner party, and who fail to understand the value of their sincere inward purpose, or even appreciate the fact that they live devoted to it and that as such it requires their isolation from destructive and harmful distractions. It is not a value-judgement over the miserable nature of these mundane, meaningless, and hopeless mundane distractions, as much as it is simply attending to the necessary needs of the task at hand, and which one willfully, voluntarily, and independently chooses to commit to in earnest and sincerity, and who need at best the help and support, or at least the understanding of those around them.

Look at any successful and accomplished sportsperson or musician, and you will in the majority of cases find the support and encouragement of family and friends behind that success. A sports coach or music teacher will even scold the trainee for having neglected his training by once, just once, compromising the appropriate diet or number of training hours, and at a young age, the parents will be there to ensure that this mishap does not happen again. This is the cost of excellence and success, and such rigour and consistency in training, sustained over a long expanse of time, is what it takes for success to occur. That’s why excellence is excellence, a rare thing, and not just a normalcy that anyone can accomplish. But this difficulty of excellence does not mean that we have to give up on pursuing it, and indeed, in our Buddhist terms, the slightest progress towards excellence is itself a substantial form of transcendence toward ultimate deliverance, with immediate and incomparable benefits that are hard to imagine by those who never experience them themselves. The plebeianisation of excellence, on the other hand, will not make everyone excellent, but will only deform the nature of the very goal and the requirements of its pursuit, even to the point of replacing it with its opposite: withdrawal, renunciation, aloneness, seclusion, disenchantment with the world and everything in it – in a word, saŋvega, become replaced by “engagement!”

This is how we end up with a situation where the serious, purposeful, and sincere practitioner, monastic or lay, whose goal is yet one of freedom from the world, becomes expected to “engage” with it! And instead of support, or at least understanding from others for his devotion to his training, rather he finds scorn and antagonism! We have to ask ourselves: what does it mean, exactly, that even those who are themselves in robes, supposedly themselves renunciates, supposedly even teachers, supposedly father and mother to young dependent practitioners, are themselves the ones who are encouraging the trainees to become “engaged”, not in that which corresponds to the most basic requirements of their training and success, but rather in that which precisely distracts them away from it?

People who speak about “engaging” with any sort of mundane matters, societal or political, do so because they do not experience themselves any spiritual success, or any progress toward such success. They do not know of the incomparable bliss of renunciation and of attentional isolation. They are thirsty and have no access to the cool stream, because it runs further, up and beyond, from the low station in which they abide. They are the plebeianisers of Dhamma! Those who thus speak and thus act are not sons and daughters of Buddha, at least not of the same Buddha that you and I follow and revere. Those who thus speak and act do not have footing in Theravada; at least not in its Asian present home. Those who thus speak and act are made of the world, driven by the world, and are not going anywhere beyond the world.

Adoration to Buddha, Teacher and Revealer, to his transcendental, emancipatory Dhamma, and to the Sangha that keeps his message and upholds his way, above and higher than all else that is in this morbid existence. Adoration.

Viveka Always!

… in fact,
wisdom is not necessarily inherent in the pursuit of wisdom!
And the only reason one pursues wisdom is that,
one
is yet to have it.
What is inherent in the pursuit of wisdom, then,
is precisely the absence of wisdom!
It is a paradox.
But it is immediately resolved
knowing that wisdom is not a thing to be acquired,
but rather a process of gradual transformation,
precisely,
of gradual vanishing!

That aside,
what will be found to be inherent
in both,
the enjoyment of wisdom and the pursuit of it,
is aloneness.
And should there be other features
inherent in the experience of wisdom;
aloneness is the most visible,
the most solid,
the most necessary,
the most inescapable!

Through the great mount of seclusion,
it was once said,
lies the path to wisdom.
But also,
there is no going back,
no going down,
from the intemperate,
non-mild,
inhospitable,
icy,
peaks.

Ariyo

No freedom, no certitude, surpasses that experienced by one who is willing to die facing what he must face in order to accomplish what he must accomplish. No hardship can erode his resolve, no setback or weakness can bring about self-contempt in his eyes, and no fault can taint the sublimity and heroism of his heart.

Noble, is he who not only dares death, but can no longer bear life, except by submitting to the fate that is upon him; precisely, to transcend not only the animal, but also the human, that is bounding him to this morbid earth; to rise above the station even of gods, oblivious in their blissful power; to free himself totally from all chains of existence, every atom of it, and to deliver the last bit of his presence, from the shackles of suffering and subservience to nature and life.

Noble, is he who is to conquer death and to amount to eternity, not by inscribing himself in the memory of progeny, but by himself alone, through his very inward being, in this very life, in this very moment, and so long he still exists.

On “needing” … needing ‘anything’!

There is not a creature whose life is not afflicted by need. And why does my hands tremble and tremor now, had it been not for my severe malnutrition; the weariness of the muscles of my arms having carried an alms bowl full of rice across the village! The body alone, needs. Death and decay is constantly upon it. It feeds, only to avoid death. The bitter taste of decay and repugnant smell of decomposition, is in the chewed food. Then it trembles. It cannot sustain itself. But it brings the mind down. It is the consciousness that faints. The psyche will not die; it never does – but it is reborn. Alas.

What one needs is what one suffers. Nothing is freer, nothing is purer, than needlessness. Freedom and cleanliness together are in the situation of needlessness, total and complete. Imagine him who is thus free and clean; he is one who has no needs anymore. It is so, because this is how the world gets you; it finds what you need, what you ‘think’ you cannot live without, and then enslave you with it. And what is the “world”? It is “others”, those who have what you need; those who can and do give it to you – whatever it is, whomever they are.  They know that you need, they know that you will suffer without having what you need, they know that they can hurt you by denying you of it, they know that you fear losing it, they know that you fear losing them, they know that you fear them. This whole world and everything in it is governed in this way. This is what needing begets; the opposite of freedom and purity: fear.

And for the people, there is a million need: needing pleasure, excitement, stimulation, and companionship; this is at the core. And so there is a million fear: fearing pain, boredom, restlessness, and loneliness; this too is at the core.

But they say: a “bhikkhu”, that is, a “mendicant”, a “son of Buddha”, one who has “gone forth”; gone forth where?!

The body won’t sustain the mind without nutriments and oxygen circulating continuously in the blood stream. Otherwise the consciousness faints. It really faints; I know that for certain! So the problem is not one of pain; pain is welcome; pain is a servant of the noble heart. But for the consciousness to live one and to be used for the sake of transcending its own conditioned existence, the body needs food and safety. So there is also safety: that it is not bleeding, that it is not seriously ill and exhausted, that it is healthy, at least enough, for the task at hand and which is now, Lo, the only one which gives any meaning and value and purpose of life.  If we add to this that going about naked is likely to expose one to manifold forms of violence, then there is need also for clothes to cover the body.

Food, physical safety, and clothes; narrowing it all down to three needs, offers a glimpse at freedom and cleanliness, yet involves also a great deal of fear. For food, perhaps comes about more easily, but not so with clothes, and certainly hardly with safety! There are many reasons for this: the “people” are not benevolent or malevolent; they are all conditioned; and nothing stimulates the impulse of cruelty and violence more than the appearance of weakness and helplessness! Men abuse women, women abuse children, children abuse animals, and all abuse the lone, wandering, silent mendicant! [Despite of the tremendous power residing within his heart, invisible, unseen to others]. A bare skeleton walking about is a ghost that scares people to death; but a skeleton covered with but a tiny sheet of flesh and fabric; that is a fragile human, one which provokes either reverence, or cruelty.

Then there is need and needing, and the suffering, enslavement, servitude, fear, and self-contempt, of need and needing. And I long to needlessness; I long to the freedom and cleanliness of needlessness; I long yet to more aloneness, more seclusion, more poverty, more relinquishment, and more renunciation. This is the right way, this is the fateful way. I long to go forth, even after having gone forth! I long to live the going forth, more fully, more earnestly, more deeply; this is the right way, this is the fateful way. For pain is welcome; pain is a servant of the noble heart.

Suddhāvāsa (In The Pure Abodes)

 ____________________________

 

We will all meet again,
at last,
upon returning to our pure being.
There in the Pure Abodes,
we will all find each other once more.
Remembering the countless past-lives
when our radiance was yet veiled
by the darkness of desire,
blindness,
and suffering.
But we will understand one another,
with boundless
infinite forgiveness.
And we will celebrate our graceful memories
of one another,
when despite of our bodies,
despite of our physical form,
and despite of the world,
we yet amounted to the purities of the Pure Abodes.
Thus will we remind each other:

“Remember when you returned no aversion to me even though I was cruel to you?!
“Remember the life when you awakened every day before dawn to make bread for me?!
“Remember when I was in great distress and pain and you helped me without asking for anything in return?!
“Remember when even though your heart was aching, you nevertheless carried my burden for me in silence?!
“Remember when I appeared at your doorstep in the early morning, holding my empty bowl in modesty, and you gave me with a contented blissful heart the best of the little that you had?!
“Remember when I begged you for an undeserved forgiveness and you immediately gave it to me?!
“Remember when I lived for so long as an angry fool in the warmth of your patience and tolerance?!
“Remember when you advanced to the threshold of danger only because it was there that you could save others from it?!
“Remember how you remained humble despite of others’ glorification of you?!
“Remember how you remained kind despite of the injustices done to you?!
“Remember how you remained open-hearted despite of the evil surrounding you?!
“Remember how you remained compassionate despite of the power that grew in you?!
“Remember how you once gave away everything you have to dwell in the pure freedom and release of the heart of non-possession and homelessness?!”

And so
the radiant gods of the Pure Abodes
will sing their collective song:

“Oh that was you?!”
“Yes that was me!”
“Yes that my heart remembers!”
“Oh that now does make me laugh!”
“And that no longer brings tears and sadness in me!”
“For that I venerate you!”
“For this I thank you!”
“It has never been you and me!
“It has always been the human being!”
“I have forgotten everything about my sorrowful human past!”
“But I remember everything about your benevolent human past!”
“How foolish it all was!”
“What a tremendous battle of the heart!”
“The vanity is over!”
“Gone now is all delusion!”
“The light is indescribable!”
“The bliss, eternal.”
“It is over!”
“It is all over.”

Thus,
my friends,
will we celebrate together
our ultimate radiant freedom,
in the Pure Abodes.
Remembering and smiling
at many thousands and thousands of lives,
that we spent prisoners,
in a realm of perpetual suffering,
a realm of form and desire,
attachment and clinging,
yearning without ending,
seeking but never finding,
losing after gaining,
grieving after delighting,
and death,
after birth.

Thus we all of us,
every single one of us,
will finally meet again.
There in the Pure Abodes,
shall we celebrate together,
our final freedom,
from ignorance,
from delusion,
from desire and aversion,
from all anguish,
envy and hate.
There in the Pure Abodes,
there shall be no more you and I,
there shall only be deathlessness,
a blissful radiance that sweeps every space,
with imperturbable peace,
transcendent presence,
and unconditional compassion.

What Samsara …

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

 

Adoration to the Saint

A Saint would be in no need to hide anything; none of his private actions, feelings, or thoughts, are harmful, resentful, aversive, or desirous. Nothing arises in his heart that can possibly be shameful, reactionary, confused, or uncertain. Imagine what it takes! Imagine what it takes!

Adoration to the Saint.

All the Buddha’s Teaching (Dhamma-Magga-Phala)

The Heart that does not Blame

Like the bare soles of a wandering mendicant,
Or the experienced hands of an aged farmer;
Callous,
Insensitive to the touch,
Unaffected by hardship –
So grows the heart
That blames none for its suffering.

Like the faring of a caterpillar,
Or the flight of a butterfly;
Delicate,
Free of cruelty,
Incapable of hurt –
So grows the heart
That blames none for their suffering.

Injustice & Freedom .. Through the Dhamma Prism

Justice and equality are such strange, impossible things; to the extent that, the more one is preoccupied with them, the more one falters, not only in their actual enforcement, but even in their abstract definition!

Not at peace is he who identifies “others” as the cause of his pain.
A blind man is he who is unable to see the suffering of all other beings.
Not free is he who searches & struggles to find his deliverance
in external forces, outside of his own heart.

The opposite of fear is not courage,
the opposite of fear is,
compassion!
Amidst the great flooding of cruelty & fear,
compassion, & nothing else,
is Noah’s Ark.

The Bitter of Saint!

download (2)

When the last reverence dies out in the heart,
And the sublimest of words loose their effect,
And this entire existence appears
As a fruit without a smell,
Yet bitter to the
Still
Feeling tongue,
Prison-like,
To the soul that,
Still,
Yearns to freedom –
And at a crucial junction
In the forest of rotten trees
And foul air,
Where many daemons and ghosts
Are said to hunt the innocent!
At that critical junction,
An unassuming sage appears,
In whose heart neither reverence,
Nor fear,
Can still be found.
And he speaks thus:


Read the whole poem.

Bhavanirodha (Pāli verse & pictures!)


Na hi bhavena bhavāni samūhanati

29258441_929973000499752_7290182638172635136_n


Nibbidena ca virāgena ca nirujjhati

6f589dace0f3afdab90a4c17a187a111


 

Punishment vs. Forgiveness

If you punish offenders,
they will grow full of hatred and resentment;
you are possibly making them become villains!

If you punish offenders,
you will grow accustomed to cruelty;
possibly making yourself a villain!

If you forgive offenders,
they will become struck by shame and guilt;
you are possibly making them become saints!

If you forgive offenders,
you will grow accustomed to release;
possibly making yourself a saint!

Through the Great Mount of Seclusion

1.
Our social sentiments are profound agents of tanha. Our shared delusions and fevers strike deeper than private ones. The craving and aversion of the social self must be relinquished. The path of cessation must eventually ascend the mount of seclusion; for the gate to the Eternal, stands at the peak of the great mount of seclusion. What is Nibbāna, if not the realisation, acceptance, and no more resistance, of the truth of how much alone we are, how much unfree, how much lost, how much far away from home?! This is what the human being is, it is not something that is optional about his entire existence. Nibbāna is not going back home or becoming free or safe, it is only coming to terms with the fact that no home, freedom, or security, exist for us here, neither in space nor in time! The idea about pabbajja is to become liberated from the yoke of searching for a physical and emotional home and freedom – but only through taking the path of the great mount of seclusion, does the sublime striver become liberated also from the ego’s tyrannical search for the safety and stimulation of companionship and intimacy! We are alone, so terribly alone! Whatever happens, we will remain alone. Likewise we are unfree and vulnerable, always! Liberated is he who has transcended the maddened desire to escape from his mundane aloneness, captivity, and vulnerability. Liberated is he who awaits and expects as a visitor, as a liberator, and as a supreme security, only Nibbāna and nothing else.

2.
For a full human and a sublime striver, living in society is like having to take care of a thousand delinquent! There is only one solution to this problem; to renounce all responsibility for the happiness and suffering of others, and to cultivate the courage and the patience to endure their subsequent revenge!!