We have too much ‘interest’ in the karmic bank!
From time to time ego-fixation has to be challenged. If we do not do this, we will not see the ego at work, and we won’t see the need to change anything.
Spiritual practice is a antidote used to eliminate ego clinging and self cherishing. A spiritual practitioner sees suffering everywhere and wishes to remove this suffering. In this modern age, it’s more difficult to see this suffering as we spend all our time covering it up.
Ego-fixation is maintained 24 hrs a day. This is what keeps us in the dream of concepts.
In the normal run of things, we are aware of our body and the world around us through the five sense of touch, taste, smell, sounds and sight. This information is transmitted to the brain, and then to the mind consciousness.
This action builds up a karmic bank of impressions, names and experiences. We hardly notice that we have also built up a storehouse of reactions of likes and dislikes. This “hardly noticing” is called ignorance.
If we look no further, we will not notice that we have locked ourselves into a cycle of existence which is very limited. Therefore, we are imprisoned in our minds and bodies, and we happily maintain this prison… “For we know not what we do”!
These bodies and minds are merely vehicles, and if we give them too much interest, becoming fascinated with them, they can create obstacles for us. We become too attached to them, and over time, believe this body and mind to be us. We reify the body and mind, meaning believing them to have a real permanent existence of their own. These strongly-held beliefs create inner obscurations or obstacles. These inner obstacles have become demons: they obscure pure perception – our primordial purity.
Shantideva said, “Whatever harm there is in the world, whatever the fear and suffering, all these arise from ego-fixation. That is the greatest demon. There is nothing to fear in outer demons. It is through our ignorance, attachment and aggression – through these poisons within us – that the demons can appear as outside entities.”
All phenomena are, by nature, lacking in inherent existence. They are all, in essence, empty. By not realising emptiness (or primordial purity), sentient beings are taken over by awareness and focus outwards: as a result, all kinds of phenomena appear.
Within that sphere of awareness (clarity), it is possible for demons to exist. Everything arises because sentient beings have not realised the true nature of reality. Clarity is consciousness at a high level, but it lacks purity.
We are so used to clinging to our ‘acquired’ ideas, and are so familiar with our ‘clothing and under garments’ (bodies/minds and chakras) that we do not notice that we are more than meets the eye.
It is very simple to say, “Oh, I know I am a being of light..!” …easier said than done…!
We are all aware, or conscious: that is what ‘being sentient’ means. But conscious of what? Here we have to differentiate between what we have read or heard, and what we actually experience.
Do not be too quick to make claims, as every thing can be looked at much more closely, and taken apart, until it cannot be taken apart any more…like sharpening a knife on a wet stone…until nothing is left of the stone – or knife.
However – there are quicker ways!
Rarely does consciousness look within to find its source. Oh, we will talk about it, but that is merely philosophy speculation. This where we need help: I have never heard of anyone finding their source without help. If there wasn’t external help, you wouldn’t even begin to look.
We can know all the right words and be able to trot out a religious mechanical prayer – and still steal someone else’s meditation cushion….I’ve seen this all happen!
Thinking that everything is so wonderful because we are having a great time, is only putting a plaster on our suffering. Actually, things are wonderful, but they have to include the warts and all, when things are not going so well. This is called the yoga of one taste.
We can go deeper…much deeper.
Going deeper is finding the subtlest quality of consciousness. In truth, consciousness is still in the conventional level of reality. However, through meditation, when looking for that subtlest level of consciousness, nothing is in fact found. At the subtlest level, nothing could ever be found, as we are at the purest level. We are pure awareness, aware of the consciousnesses in the mind.
In absolute reality, nothing inherently exists: everything arises from causes and conditions.
It is in the non-finding that absolute reality is realised.
But remember, this very non-finding means there is still a perception – but it is now pure perception. There is nothing to discuss here, as it is beyond complicated bells and whistles, or ‘nyam’ (meditation experiences).
There is nothing to discuss here, as it is only experienced in meditation…or rather, in non-meditation.
In fact, there can be no experiencer and nothing to experience…there is merely experience, because we are at the origin – a non-state…ordinariness. If this is ordinary, what does this make everything else? A distortion!
All spiritual practices are a means to an end, which is realising one’s true essence.
We have a choice of a long or short journey: if we get too fascinated with the practice, that in itself creates an obstacle. This is why have to be taught to break the practice, so that we do not become attached to it.
As a Zen master would say, the harder you try, the longer your journey. The pure essence, which is empty of any fabrication, is called Emptiness. It is not an empty void, but luminous and radiant, and within it, everything can arise. When the relative and absolute reality are a unity, this gives rise to unconfined compassion. That is when knowledge appears that is not from the outside world, and this is also when we have free will.
There are two forces in the universe – pure and impure. The pure comes from enlightened beings (those who were once sentient), and through their compassion they are sending out blessings. It is said that an enlightened being can create 100,000 emanations, to help sentient beings. All we have to do is ask. That is called supplication.
And so to the impure forces. These forces hate compassion: they do not know emptiness or primordial purity. They feed off the negative emotions that we generate, such as fear, anger, jealousy, pride and aversion.
When we are in one of these negative states, we not only harm ourselves, but we attract the impure beings. Like attracts like! This is how beings are being controlled. We control our own world, but it is also being manipulated by these impure forces. Sentient beings potentially have two sides to their nature, the good and the evil. At an absolute level, such distinctions do not exist…but we live at the relative level, and so they do exist
Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have the altruistic attitude to benefit sentient beings. They offer a positive “spray” to the world. In the same way, there are other beings who have negative wishes, and who want to cause unhappiness. They do not wish to help beings.
As we have spoken about before, the nature of reality has the 3 qualities of Empty Essence, Lucid Nature and Compassionate Energy. Demons arises when an “I” is present in the form of the 3 poisons – Desire, Aversion and Ignorance. These ego-created negative forces are the demons.
If we want liberation, we cannot ignore these facts. This is a relative world of confusion in which we have to work, in order for transformation to take place.
Speculating, guessing and arguing will only serve to keep us in an habitual confused loop. To get out of this looping will take more than the same old concepts we keep holding on to now. We can’t fight a concept with a concept: we need something much more powerful.
If we think we know more than the ancient esoteric teachings that are here to liberate sentient being from delusion, then we are fooling ourself. Trying to re-invent the wheel is possible, but you will only end up with a wheel!
This is why one needs to test, study and analyse much more closely to verify their reality.
Deep down, we know the truth, but in this age it is obscured…and is constantly being obscured.
The karmic bank that was spoken of at the beginning is obscuring our true ordinary natural essence.
It is now the filter through which we see everything – and, unfortunately, the bank is now full of mistrust as well!
It is not at all easy to let go, but this peeling away will lead to our bankruptcy, which the ego does not want. Bankruptcy is enlightenment!
Real knowledge is always available to us. All we need to do is keep the tap of deep appreciation for the teachings (devotion) turned on. Blessings of clarity and compassion will flow.
The impure element in the universe wants the tap turned off. The impure forces hate meditators, and will attack them and seduce them. The trick is to be beyond fame or blame, with one taste.
Some practitioner pacify these negative forces and so incorporate them into the practice, as the forces also long for peace, but just cannot help themselves. They are asked to leave, which they do, when they realise this practitioner will not be dissuaded from their practice, as their motivation is the wish to help all sentient beings.
A practitioner is unmovable. This is the path of a Bodhisattva.