The cause of suffering
In general, we are controlled by our emotions. The emotions arise because of ideas we hold about our projected self. These ideas are re-enforced by the environment in which we live, which is due to our karma. Our karma is the fixated imprints created by our reactions that we hold on to in the mind, defending this projected self. Those reactions are the emotions!
This is the cause of our suffering. Even if it’s just a feeling of unease, we are not totally at peace, which our true being. To arrive at the cessation of suffering, all we have to do is acknowledge that we are suffering and recognise the cause of that suffering.
We have to break out of this vicious cycle of existence that keeps us unenlightened. To do this, we have to pinpoint and recognise the moment of the cause of suffering. Here, we enlist the help of our good friends…the emotions themselves!
The very moment we notice an emotion arises – pride, jealousy, anger-hatred, fear-aversion, desire-hope – we have already travelled several stages away from our true nature – pure awareness. By the time an emotion arises, we have totally forgotten pure perception, our ‘just being’.
We have not only forgotten our true nature, but we have identified with a imaginary ‘me’, becoming caught up in past reactions and judgements, and because of that an emotion bursts into life and creates havoc and unhappiness! This seems to happen spontaneously, because we have not noticed the stages.
Through the practice of meditation, we can reverse this process spontaneously! Once we have a glimpse of pure awareness (which is shunyata/emptiness), we walk in spaciousness. Anything that then arises within that space is clearly seen. It’s like an instant reflection…OH!
The very nature of emptiness has five qualities or wisdoms: mirror-like, encompassing, equanimity, discriminating and all accomplishing. These wisdoms brighten the mind, and relate to the five Buddha families.
Until we are fully enlightened, we will have emotions of some sort, but gradually we will experience them (in the very first instance) as these wisdoms. It is only when we forget our true nature and identify with a me, that these wisdoms turn into negative emotions…the cause of our suffering!
While we are sentient, we can still be enlightened to the nature of reality. This is not ‘enlightenment’, but just part of the process, as we still have those pesky imprints of karma in the mind. However now, we can welcome these as an opportunity not just to react, thereby exhausting karma…final job done!
When will this happen?
We will know everything!