Wednesday, June 25, 2014

I DON'T love you! (video)

Amber Larson, Dhr. Seven, Ashley Wells, Wisdom Quarterly
One of the funniest British cult classic movies ever made on religion -- Bedazzled -- with a tip of the hat to Zen Master Lee Kwai Quach (Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Raquel Welch)

I'm not in love. I won't be sunk, attached, hopelessly clinging. And yet, somehow, I'm still not free.

Where is my liberation, my enlightenment, my experience of nirvana?

Isn't detachment the key? Isn't indifference, callousness, withdrawal, and aloofness the key?

No, if craving (thirst, grasping for, and clinging) is the problem, simply turning our backs is not at all the solution.
The reason one withdraws is to draw out the thorn in one's heart. Physical seclusion is not the Way, not the answer, not the solution. At best it is a vital aid to the real thing -- mental withdrawal. But the mind/heart needs something to draw into, to be absorbed by. That's why the meditative absorptions (Pali jhanas, Sanskirt dhyanas, Japanese zens, Chinese chans) are so important.

But I thought shaving my head and not looking at or talking to anybody -- or being looked at or talked to by anybody -- was the Way!

Superficial stays superficial. A saffron robe does not a Buddhist monastic make.

Well, then, what? Shave the eyebrows, too? Get a mantra tattoo? Call my significant other "Boo"?

That and more will never do! The problem is not without; the problem is within. The question is sometimes asked, Do beautiful objects -- alluring, pleasing, attractive, and charming -- cause attachment, or is it the beholder?

Himalayan Theravada monastic experience (
Himalayan Ladakh (SylvainBrajeul/flickr)
The answer is obvious if one thinks for a moment. Although it feels like objects (people, songs, entities, foods, flavors, scents, art, etc.) get a hold on us, it cannot be the objects because fully-enlightened beings utterly freed by insight of all clinginess and attachment perceive and experience beautiful objects just like we do. Sayalay Susila ( points out that if object actually had the power they seem to have over us, there would be no release. But because it is us -- our dependently arisen attraction, aversion, and delusion -- then it is possible to become completely free. We are not at the mercy of the Sensual Sphere (Kama Loka), not even the Subtle Sphere (Rupa Loka) or the Immaterial Sphere (Arupa Loka).

It is our job, if we wish to undertake it, to make an end of suffering. Suffering will never end by itself. It may take a break or be delayed, but it is coming back. It is the nature of things that certain action produce painful results. It cannot be otherwise. Until we free ourselves of this karmic round of endless rebirth and disappointment, we can be sure disappointment (dukkha) is on its way.

Rooftop of the World: Puebloan Peoples, Spituk Monastery, Himalayas (Skaman306/flickr)
(Sylvain Claire/sc-pictures/
We say, "Okay, we'll bare it. It's worth it to experience more pleasure. But this is exactly the trap. We gain no satisfaction. We keep wandering on and on and on trying to break even, like hopeless gamblers, always meeting with disaster, never remembering that we consciously made this bargain.
"It is because of not seeing this truth -- the dependently originated nature of things -- that not only us but the Bodhisattva (Buddha-to-be) wandered endlessly for aeons in plane after plane of existence," miserable and exalted, obscure and famous, weeping and laughing, sunk in ignorance and delusion, chasing after pleasant experience, running from misery, ensnared by lust, bitten by hate and frustration, utterly confused and defeated by ignorance, which is the greatest ill of all. And now that we have time to meditate, time to study, time to and talent enough to ask questions and understand, what do we do instead? Search for love, fulfillment by personal relationships, as if we had NOTHING HIGHER TO LIVE FOR.

What are we waiting for? For reality to change? For a better teacher -- like Marshall or Maitreya -- to come along offering us everything, our defilements and enlightenment at the same time? Mahayana already does that. Hey, have sex. But have tantric sex, and enlightenment's included. Hey, have wealth. But have humility, and enlightenment's included. You're already enlightened, so relax! Blah blah blah, meanwhile the wheel of suffering grinds on in very subtle and very overt ways. Liberation is available right now. It won't happen by itself. It would've if it could've. Buddhas are guides:

"By ourselves is harm done.
By ourselves is harm left undone.
Benefit and harm depend on us."

"No one saves us but ourselves,
No one can and no one may;
We ourselves must tread the Path;
Buddhas only point the Way!"
  • QUESTION: "We aren't supposed to want love? Should I live alone for the rest of my life? I am new to this blog. Please forgive me if you have answered this question."
This is a great question. The conundrum arises from assumptions. What do we mean by "love"? Universal altruism, loving-kindness (metta), compassion (karuna), unselfish joy (mudita), and impartiality (upekkha)? These are five expressions of love that ancient Indians (Pali/Sanskrit) and Greeks (agape, "unconditional love," etc.) had a better grasp of than we do...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We aren't supposed to want love? Should I live alone for the rest of my life? I am new to this blog. Please forgive me if you have answered this question.