Tag Archives: ignorance

Seeking Realization

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The Seeker

Realization is not an action somebody accomplishes. The idea of realizing the self implies a path from an unrealized self to a realized self. Realization of the self as a goal cannot be permanent. Something permanent has no beginning and no end. Hence the goal is already there, the self is always realized. The intention to realize the Self is itself a hindrance. Our nature is always free but we are making huge efforts to become free. Who is making these efforts and trying to realize the self? It is the I-thought that has wrongly identified itself with the mind that veils our happiness and makes realization of the self a goal. This implies two selves. A non realized self and a goal, a realized self. And here starts the whole process of searching. Going to a guru, performing rituals, reciting mantras, doing prostrations, meditating, reading books and taking all kinds of hardships upon us to walk firmly on the path towards realization hoping to reach our goal in this life. The irony in all this striving for realization is that we have never been separated from our true self. We falsely believe it to be found somewhere, to experience it, to realize it, because we search with our mind and the mind can only exist in duality. So, our task is to find the real nature of the mind. We will discover that there is no such thing as a mind. It is in understanding that we are not the body, neither the mind that we will unveil our true self and the I-thought will be transcended eventually. We already know this freedom. If we wouldn’t know it, why would we spend our lives searching for it? But we must take care not to use wrong tools. It lies in the palm of our hands. It is beauty and love in its purest essence. We are that, lets embrace it in silence and cut those chains that hold us prisoners.

Love,

Shanti

What is the use of searching if you are what you search?

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Everything that comes together must fall apart. This is a law that cannot be avoided. It is a source of suffering that permeates our whole existence. As long as we cling to things we will suffer from being separated from them. As long as we build up something we will suffer from its collapse. Throughout history, we have repeated this pattern of union and dissolution countless times and it has generated so much unneeded suffering. Everything we can grasp with our senses will die. Nothing is permanent. The more we search for permanence, the more we will be disappointed and perpetuate our suffering. This perpetual search for permanence in this life has its origin in the ignorance of our true self. It is only by dying to the now that we might find something permanent in our life. But what are we really searching for when we try to perpetuate things? What do we expect? Is it happiness we are searching for? Can we really find happiness “outside”? Isn’t this impermanent happiness we try to find outside but suffering in disguise? Did you ever find lasting happiness that did not turn to suffering in the phenomenal world called Samsara?

Please do not simply read this. Go into it deeply and try to find a source of everlasting happiness “outside”. If you find a girl and you fall in love you might think that you have found happiness. But does this happiness not fade after several years? It might perhaps not but you certainly know how much suffering the death of a beloved one is causing and how much pain a separation is causing. And this is definitively unavoidable.

Have you ever asked yourself the reason for searching happiness? If we search something it is always something that we know. It is something that we have lost. If I search for my wallet or my keys, I know what I am searching for. Have you ever searched for something that you didn’t know, before you have searched for it? How would such a thought come about? It is very important to inquire deeply into this question. You might want to become something that you have never been before. You might want to become famous and you have never been famous. You might want to be beautiful if you feel ugly. You might want to become rich. But the very core of these longings is a quest of happiness. In the ignorance of your true self you search for happiness “outside”. You think that fame, fortune, beauty or social position will bring you happiness. And when you have achieved all that you wanted to, you still feel unsatisfied and you might have a lot of psychiatric medication in your cupboard to balance out the fears of loosing what you think you have achieved until now. And so the search and the suffering continues for the rest of your life.

The funny thing about that is that we all search for something that we have already and that we always had. We are happiness and we have never been separated from happiness. It is by dying to the now, by loosing everything that we imagine to have or that we long to get that we will eventually find true happiness. For happiness, as our true nature is beyond what is graspable, it is beyond what is perceivable and it is beyond words. We are what we are searching for and we have ever been what we have ever searched for, hence we know what we are searching for because it happens every night in deep sleep and we sometimes perceive it briefly during the day when the mind is very calm and aware in the now, but we have to die to it to really fulfil our deepest wish. Life is not possible without death, in the same way happiness is not possible without abandoning all those worldly concerns and dying to the self, dying to the now… simply being… and you will know that you have never been separated from the whole.

Love,

JC

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Nagarjuna

There is no reality in a dream but nevertheless we believe in the reality of the things seen in a dream. After waking up, we recognize the falsity of the dream and we smile at ourselves. In the same way, the person deep in the sleep of the fetters (saṃyojananidra) clings (abhiniviśate) to the things that do not exist; but when he has found the Path, at the moment of enlightenment, he understands that there is no reality and laughs at himself. This is why it is said: like in a dream.

Moreover, by the power of sleep (nidrābala), the dreamer sees something there where there is nothing. In the same way, by the power of the sleep of ignorance (avidyānidrā), a person believes in the existence of all kinds of things that do not exist, e.g., ‘me’ and ‘mine’ (ātmātmīya), male and female, etc.

Moreover, in a dream, we enjoy ourselves although there is nothing enjoyable there; we are irritated although there is nothing irritating there; we are frightened although there is nothing to be afraid of there. In the same way, beings of the threefold world (traidhātukasattva), in the sleep of ignorance, are irritated although there is nothing irritating, enjoy themselves although there is nothing enjoyable, and frightened although there is nothing to be afraid of.

— Nagarjuna – Mahaprajñaparamitopadesa – Chapter XI

 

Like a Dream

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Floyd Henderson

The level of peace that a child enjoys in that state of “ignorance,” prior to programming and conditioning and being assigned false identities, is never realized again in its lifetime, in most cases. The exceptions are those such as you, the ones who take these steps and return to that “state” of peace that exists when we are once again free of learned ignorance and the influence of the illusions of the body-mind-personality triad.

— Floyd Henderson

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Free as a child

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Krishna and Arjuna

THE BLESSED LORD SAID:

Fearlessness, purity; of heart, persistence in the yoga of knowledge, generosity, self-control, nonviolence, gentleness, candor, integrity, disengagement, joy in the study of the scriptures, compassion for all beings, modesty, patience, a tranquil mind, dignity, kindness, courage, a benevolent, loving heart—these are the qualities of men born with divine traits, Arjuna.

Hypocrisy, insolence, anger, cruelty, ignorance, conceit—these, Arjuna, are the qualities of men with demonic traits.  The divine traits lead to freedom: the demonic, to suffering and bondage.  But do not be concerned, Arjuna: the traits you have are divine.

The demonic and the divine are the two kinds of men in this world.  The divine I have told you about; now learn about the demonic.

Demonic men do not realize what should and what should not be done; there is no purity of heart, no virtue, no truth inside them.  They say that life is an accident caused by sexual desire, that the universe has no moral order, no truth, no God.  Clinging to this stupid belief, drawn into cruelty and malice, they become lost souls and, at last, enemies of the whole world.  Driven by insatiable lusts, drunk on the arrogance of power, hypocritical, deluded, their actions foul with self-seeking.  Tormented by a vast anxiety that continues until their death, convince that the gratification of desire is life’s sole aim, bound by a hundred shackles of hope, enslaved by their greed, they squander their time dishonestly piling up mountains of wealth.

“Today I got this desire, and tomorrow I will get that one; all these riches are mine, and soon I will have even more.  “Already I have killed these enemies, and soon I will kill the rest; I am the lord, the enjoyer, successful, happy, and strong.  “Noble, and rich, and famous.  Who on earth is my equal?  I will worship, give alms, and rejoice.”  Thus think these ignorant fools.  Bewildered by endless thinking, entangled in the net of delusion, addicted to desire, they plunge into the foulest of hells.  Self-centered, stubborn, filled with all the insolence of wealth, they go through the outward forms of worship, but their hearts are elsewhere.  Clinging to the I-sense, to power, to arrogance, lust, and rage, they hate me, denying my presence in their own and in others’ bodies.

Through all the cycles of birth and death, I hurl these depraved, cruel, and hate-filled men into demonic wombs.  Trapped in demonic wombs, deluded in birth after birth, they never reach me, Arjuna, but sink to the lowest state.  This is the soul-destroying threefold entrance to hell: desire, anger, and greed.  Every man should avoid them.  The man who refuses to enter these three gates into darkness does what is best for himself and attains the ultimate goal.

But the man who rejects the scriptures, chasing his own desires, cannot attain the goal of true joy or true success.  Therefore, guided by the scriptures, know what to do and not do; first and understand their injunctions, then act uprightly in the world.

— The Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 16 (transl. Stephen Mitchell)

(image source: Cover illustration of “Bhagavad-Gita as it is”)

Divine traits and Demonic traits

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Annamalai Swami

There are so many thoughts in the mind. Thought after thought after thought. But there is one thought that is continuous, though it is mostly sub-conscious: ‘I am the body’. This is the string on which all other thoughts are threaded. Once we identify ourselves with the body by thinking this thought, maya follows. It also follows that if we cease to identify with the body, maya will not affect us anymore.

— Annamalai Swami – Final Talks – p. 14

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Body identification

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Anthony de Mello

Happiness is our natural state. Happiness is the natural state of little children, to whom the kingdom belongs until they have been polluted and contaminated by the stupidity of society and culture. To acquire happiness you don’t have to do anything, because happiness cannot be acquired. Does anybody know why? Because we have it already. How can you acquire what you already have? Then why don’t you experience it? Because you’ve got to drop something. You’ve got to drop illusions. You don’t have to add anything in order to be happy; you’ve got to drop something. Life is easy, life is delightful. It’s only hard on your illusions, your ambitions, your greed, your cravings. Do you know where these things come from? From having identified with all kinds of labels!

— Anthony de Mello – Awareness

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Happiness cannot be acquired