Global Warming & the Buddhist Path. Q & A!

Q: Venerable, I haven’t seen you saying anything about global warming!

A: Because I am a Buddhist monk.

Q: Buddhist monks shouldn’t be concerned for this problem, and other problems like it that affect all of us?

A: They already have the ultimate solution!

Q: Really! What is their solution to global warming?

A: Meditate!

Q: That will solve the problem of global warming?!

A: It will not solve the problem of global warming, but will solve that of your obsession with it.

Q:  … But … but … global warming will still be coming?!

A: Maybe. What is sure though is that, Death, is certainly coming. You are worried about the possible advent of global warming, and nonchalant about the certain advent of death?

Q: But it is possible to do something about both problems right?

A: No, it isn’t possible.

Q: How so? The Buddha said …

A: The Buddha said that the more one becomes intent on the removal of circumstantial forms of suffering, the more one becomes susceptible to psychological forms of suffering.

Q: … um … I don’t get it!

A: The more you wish to be safe, the more you fear danger. The more you wish to be comfortable, the more you fear hardship. The more you wish to be happy, the more you fear suffering. The problem is not in external sources of danger, hardship, or suffering; the problem is in your fear of them, and in your wish to escape them.

Q: So we should stop avoiding circumstantial suffering; we should just sit there and endure it?

A: Avoid it if you can, but don’t fear it.

Q: So it’s okay to avoid global warming?

A: You can avoid a mosquito bite with a net, heat with a fan, backache by stretching, boredom by playing, hunger by eating, thirst by drinking, but you cannot avoid something that you yourself do not yet even experience; this would be like fear of ghosts; an obsession.

Q: But if I don’t do anything about it I will eventually experience it?

A: Maybe!

Q: So I have to do something about it.

A: Only if you are obsessed with it.

Q: It’s not that I’m obsessed with it it’s that it will …

A: If you weren’t you would not have even remembered it.

Q: How so?

A: Because so is dhammatā.

Q: What does that mean?

A: It is in the intrinsic nature of the mind to forget about unimportant or non-urgent things. This is precisely why you forget about, Death! Because to you, it is not important or urgent. That’s also why you here speak of the possible threat of global warming, but never, of the sure threat of Death.

Q: But global warming will kill us! Shouldn’t we try to avoid dying, to … to live?

A: Within reason.

Q: What do you mean “within reason”?

A: It is not reasonable to fast so as to avoid food poisoning, or to travel on foot so as to avoid a road accident. And though we know these dangers to be real, and know nothing of the reality of the danger of global warming, yet you think it reasonable to spend your time fighting it. This is what obsession is.

Q: So it’s unreasonable to guard against possible future dangers?

A: It is reasonable to take a coat in case it gets cold, or an umbrella in case it rains, but it is not reasonable to stay at home and never go out because tornadoes and earthquakes are hypothetically possible. This is what obsession is.

Q: Okay so let’s say that I stop thinking about global warming; what will happen then when it comes?

A: If it ever comes, only then will you experience it, and only then can you avoid it if possible.

Q: And if it wasn’t possible?

A: Then you will die.

Q: What the … ?

A: If this is the issue for you, then the problem is not global warming, a snake bite, tornadoes or earthquakes; the problem is your fear of all and every form of pain and suffering, and death, irrespective of how it happens.

Q: So instead of fighting this or that circumstantial source of suffering, I should work on my own emotional reactions to danger and suffering in general?

A: Such, is the teaching of Buddha.

Q: And what happens after that?

A: With training, you gradually transcend your own emotional reactions, and therewith, transcend your obsession with all and every dangerous or harmful object or stimulus. The bliss of such is indescribable.

Q: Is this the purpose of Buddhist practice?

A: Yes, adding to this the transcendence also of positive emotional reactions of liking and attachment, and enticing or attractive objects or stimuli, not just negative ones eliciting aversion and fear.

Q: … I can imagine this to be blissful, but what about other people?

A: In Theravada or early Buddhism, the psychological outcomes of this practice can only be experienced by those who undertake it themselves, it cannot be shared with or transferred to others anyhow.

Q: So I live in peace and bliss while others continue to suffer?

A: Yes.

Q: How can I be at peace when others are still suffering?

A: Because you know that you cannot change their suffering on their behalf, just as you know that you cannot change global warming on humanity’s behalf, and that it is only an obsession. The object or stimulus “others” likewise ceases to exercise any reactionary emotional impact on your mind, neither positive nor negative.

Q: But these are not “objects” or “stimuli”; these are human beings! Isn’t this apathy?

A: The Buddha held that suffering is important for the spiritual development of human beings, and that without it, there cannot be any development of wisdom, gnosis, and deliverance. The severe antagonism and aversion to circumstantial forms of suffering, and vehement dedication to their immediate removal, is one of the most persistent ills, rather than virtues, of society, from a spiritual point of view. Apathy, along with “nihilism”, are common misconception about what the Buddha taught.

Q: How would you characterise this state of not caring about others then?!

A: Virāga, meaning dispassion. And I’d say that it is incredibly blissful! However it is possible to care about others, and even to experience feelings of goodwill or benevolence, compassion and kindness, with regard to them, only, without substantiating this care and these feelings with emotional reactions or developing obsessions or attachments with regard to them.

Q: But you are saying that concern for others can also be an obsession?

A: If it is emotional, yes. Then it would be identical in essence to the obsession with global warming!

Q: Venerable, I cannot live without concern for others and without helping others, NEVER.

A: Put together everything you think you cannot live without; there, is your prison cell.

Q: What do you mean by that?

A: What you cannot live without is what your ego requires. It is just another obsession. That’s precisely why you say that you cannot live without it, because it is about you, it has nothing to do with altruism or “others”. Just as it is with global warming. You transcend it in the same way you transcend other emotional obsessions.

Q: How many obsessions there are in the mind then?

A: There is nothing in it, but obsessions! If it didn’t have obsessions, it wouldn’t exist. Existence itself, is dependent on the obsessions of the mind, and its continuation depends on their perpetuation.

Q: So when I transcend all my obsessions existence will cease?

A: Yes, mundane existence.

Q: And what will happen then?

A: No one, not even the Buddha, could tell, because this is not something that is comprehensible with our mundane and temporal minds, even if they are already liberated. The only sure thing, is that the consciousness never comes back, ever, to a temporal mundane world of dangers and fears, love and hate, attachment and separation, and endless suffering, restlessness, and loss. Because the mind that inclines to this and that, develops obsessions about this and that, has been wholly transcended.

Q: How do I know that all this is true, and not just another thing “the reality of which we know nothing” as you say about global warming?

A: Because if you practice correctly, you will see with your own eyes the gradual transcendence of all your emotional habits and mental obsessions, and you will experience the therapeutic and blissful impact of that gradual transcendence, and eventually you will discern that a certain final destination of ultimate bliss, when all has been transcended, exists. Just as you believe without doubt, that a train in which you are commuting, will surely reach its terminus, on the basis of its present and continually progressing and unhindered movement in a forward direction.

Q: I am interested in this path. I wish to pursue this path. I wish to try and see if what you say is true.

A: The training requires a certain measure of self-discipline and perseverance, as in all other forms of experiential practices: music, sports, etc.

Q: I’m up for it.

A: Will you not yearn and long to return to fighting global warming, and other such problems like it that affect all of us?!

Q: No.

A: Will you not yearn and long to help others? Will you not die without helping others?!

Q: Not for now; not until I have checked the truth and effectiveness of this path you describe in my own experience.

A: Very well then. So be it. Come. Shave your head there, put these white garments on, keep this alms bowl with you at all times, leave everything else behind, and let us go to meditate in this silent and secluded mountain.

Q: :)))

[to be continued]


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.

Well-being (Bhavanirodha)

It can be narrowed down to an attentional state. The capacity to find interest in or to attend to any sensorial experience, so long, it involves a degree or another of stimulation. This is the definition of well-being in mundane terms; the mundane samādhi if you will. It takes only the absence of excessive degrees of socioeconomic stressors to thereby find wellness in ones being. This is the condition of the primitive and ancient human I believe; and was precisely the condition out of which their incomparable sharp intuition and wisdom regarding further, transcendental questions, were based. It seems that it is through their general mundane well-being that they finally stepped further, beyond, into the spiritual and transcendental, and finally realised a further mode of transcendental wellbeing: contact and connection with the beyond. That transcendental well-being can be narrowed down to attentional states too, and also those of finding interest and being able to maintain attention, yet, with experiences that are not only unstimulating, but further, ones which gradually wean the consciousness of its innermost, ingrained, primordial and hopeless desire for self-stimulation, precisely, bhavanirodha.


The stench of Death is in every good feeling,
Because it is the ego that feels good.
Remove the ego,
And there are no feelings;
Neither good,
Nor bad.
That’s why it is only in a consciousness that
Neither seeks nor objects,
That the transcendence of death has been reached.

Dream: A Task to be Done?!

minerva.jpgPāli Pāli Pāli!
Copy Cut Paste!
In Devanagari and Brahmi scripts!
“Read so that you can listen!”
A dry forest?
In Sri Lanka?
And it’s sunny too above the trees!!
“What’s going on?”
I say.
And behold …
There appears Minerva
In full shining white
At me!

What is ‘Moha’?

Hard it is to separate a lover from his beloved,
A mother from her child,
Or a faithful countryman
From his home and motherland.
But harder still than all that
Is to separate the consciousness
From a wandering,
Incidental thought.

And though love can turn into hatred
Amongst lovers,
A mother eventually overcomes her grief
Over her lost baby,
And a patriot may flee the battlefield
Before the advance of the enemy;
None know how to withdraw
From a wandering,
Incidental thought.

Adoration then,
To the Buddha,
Who taught us how to understand,
And how to see,
That vast,
But subtle,
Ocean of ideation.
And how to alienate the consciousness,
From its overwhelming,
Ceaseless activity,
That does not stop even in one’s sleep.
For it is precisely such flood,
(No stream!)
Of subliminal thought,
That conditions all our spontaneous love and hate,
Lust and fear,
Excitement and depression,
And so too,
Our innermost faith.
Thought manipulates the strings,
Our strings,
Of emotion and action,
And only to our and other’s hurt and sorrow,
And lasting Oblivion.

This consciousness is sick,
Is ill,
Is infected and is defiled,
By the cosmic parasites of the mundane imagination.
And every emotion it conditions,
Every feeling and every impulse and every passion,
Every theory and every truth and every faith,
That comes out of this imagination,
Is the pain and decay and the death of the consciousness,
Which no natural fever can overcome;
No vomiting, no diarrhoea can purge.

Adoration to the Buddha,
To the Victory,
To the Great Cleansing,
To the Innocence,
To the Innocent,
To the Path;
To the Path of an irrevocable Freedom,
From the vice of imagination,
From the vice that is the imagination;
From Evil,
From the Devil
From the Devil within.

Viveka Always!

… in fact,
wisdom is not necessarily inherent in the pursuit of wisdom!
And the only reason one pursues wisdom is that,
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,
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,

Toward “The Principles of Buddhist Education”

Superstitious and ritualistic; is what becomes of the multitude having been indoctrinated by a social-religious moralistic education.

Rational and conceptualising; is what becomes of them having now, progressed, and become indoctrinated by a secular education.

In both cases, truth, remains to be a conjured thing; a matter of evaluation and re-evaluation, a matter of perspectives and opinions, a matter of blind or calculated faith.

In both cases, the human heart is devoured by doubt and hesitation, uncertainty, perplexity, prejudice, and defensiveness of the self and antagonism of the other.

In both cases, there is but the perpetuation, or even intensification, of suffering.

Self-observant, self-aware, intuitive, experimental – is what becomes of one who is exposed to an experiential Buddhist education.

Here, truth becomes an experience, a matter of direct observation, a matter of recognition; a familiarity with reality, an experiential faith.

Here, the human heart knows as true only that which is subjectively true, it has no perplexity about what it is or doubt about its reality; for it is only and exactly what is already experienced! It’s scope, the scope of truth and of what may ever be regarded as true, does not overstep the bounds of experience, does not cross into the realms of conceptualisation and imagination.

Thus the human heart becomes certain of itself and of its knowledge, for such arise automatically, on its own, extending equally in so far as its experience goes. It declares no ultimate truths, and so it abides in peace with those whose experience is otherwise, and whose truths are, therefore, other truths.

This is the path to the diminishing, and ending, of suffering.

You choose:

Suffering → emotion and perplexity → thinking or imagining → more emotion and perplexity → more suffering → ad infinitum ∞.


Suffering → dispassion and calm → observation and contemplation of experience → more dispassion and calm → less suffering → …

And not ad infinitum, but with a constant reduction of suffering, and with a feasible and foreseeable end of suffering.

You choose!

It’s Always the Ego! (viññāna-nirodha)

That which feels good
Is Always
The ego.

That which feels bad
Is Always
The ego.

That which feels,
Feels anything,
And ascribes “good” and “bad” to what it feels
Is Always
The ego.

The question is not
Whether it is easy or difficult;
The question is whether
It is at all possible,
To not identify with such ego,
And to transcend all conditioned feelings.

And whether it remains an option still,
For one who has developed such faith,
To pursue anything in the world
Other than precisely such transcendence!

Adoration to the Buddha.


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.

O Thou Blind Virtuous!

O thou blind human!
For only if you knew
In what unfathomable depths;
Into what farthest,
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,
Speak so proudly and certainly,
Of love and of kindness;
Of any virtue for that matter.
O thou blind, virtuous, human!

Apology and Lesson

This note is primarily for apology, which I owe to those specific individuals whom I have previously encouraged to participate in a certain public online forum in which I myself no longer participate and no longer appreciate, and who have found the experience to be rather negative and unpleasant, leading away from Dhamma understanding rather than reinforcing it. This issue has come up few times by friends whom I value, and I wished to clear my conscience and carry the responsibility of my fault by apologising sincerely for having acted without wisdom or foresight in a way that negatively affected others, and further, having not paid the proper attention to the many cautioning remarks and criticisms I received respecting my own participation in the said online discussion forum as well as for having at a time spoken highly of it.

Read the full message.

Saŋvarasammappadhāna (the Right Exercise of Restraint)

The point about saŋvara or restraint is that it naturally invites self-awareness: you are prohibiting or depriving yourself from a certain pleasurable stimulus or from acting based on a spontaneous impulse, which you would naturally and impulsively seek or follow. This means that you are necessarily being conscious of both the stimulus and, most importantly, your own desire or impulse in relation to it. Without that awareness, the practice of saŋvara fails; one finds oneself habitually and unconsciously plunged in the sensorial and emotional experience, the consumption of it as it were.

Such self-awareness should actually be the very purpose of the practice of saŋvara, with benefits which far exceed those of merely preventing a negative state from happening. For the transcendence of all negative states, of ego and of the evolutionary nature which mobilise our impulses, up to a point of final cessation, does not come from their behavioural suppression, but only from transcending them precisely as impulses; transcending the seeking itself.

What self-awareness does is that, in the moment of it, it reduces or even neutralises the momentum of stimulation and desire, and on the long run, it reduces or even neutralises the very arousal itself; the very capacity or potential for stimulation. This is precisely what nirodha is, the ultimate goal of Buddhist practice, far beyond the circumstantial or behavioural suppression of negative conditions or states.
A wrong exercise of saŋvara that does not recognise self-awareness as the purpose of it, not only fails in bringing about this gradual process of nirodha, but moreover, does not even guarantee the reduction of the power of desire and stimulation in the future, and may even intensify its recurrence and momentum.

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,
Is delivered only by means of withdrawing,
extracting itself,
Out and away from all that is made, produced, and conjured.
Adoration to Buddha!