Smashing The Lotus Programme
Our motivation for liberation has to be more powerful
than the dream state in which we live.
On the path to realising our true nature – enlightenment – there are two aspects. One is understanding our true nature of emptiness, which is quite simple. The other is cutting through the veils that obscure that true nature; this is more difficult, as it means being aware of our ‘right’ conduct at every moment.
Following a spiritual path or philosophy can be merely entertainment; we want some good company, and that’s fair enough. But in order to take the path or philosophy to heart, it has to be personal; before we can help anyone else, we have to get our own mind straight and unbiased.
I’ve noticed many middle-class people taking up Buddhism as an intellectual exercise, or because someone they know is Buddhist, or because they are attracted to the exotic rituals or charisma of the teacher. We learn to acquire answers which elevates us above the rest of society.
It is rare to meet a person who actually acknowledges the first noble truth, that they are suffering. It’s easy to look at the suffering of others and to want to help them, but this doesn’t automatically mean that we can empathise with that suffering or do anything about it.
I speak from personal experience here; if we come across as Mr Angry, there are many who turn away, because they feel uncomfortable. Where has their compassion gone?
However, this very anger – or whichever uncomfortable emotion we may be feeling that is causing us suffering – is a powerful motivation to tread the path to enlightenment. “I’ve got to do something to end this!”…and suicide is not an option.
It will depend on how we look at the world. If we see it as heaven, we’ll just enjoy it, forgetting that we’re on a path to freedom and ignore how others may be feeling. If we see it as hell, we may want to do something about that. I feel I have been reborn in hell, to witness and experience unbearable suffering which turns out to be a great motivator. This is the real value of the Kali Yuga!
There are people who are suffering through unfortunate karma, and may find bad conditions imposed upon them. There are others who are smug with pride, having good karma: they are the lotus eaters* – those who are led astray, enjoy and forget. This is how good karma can turn to bad karma, and so we go round in circles. People have been deceived for thousands of years.
What if God is the “Graven Image”?
(this may seem a little (a little ?!) provocative but every possibility should be examined. If we were totally confident in our view, we would never be disturbed, regardless of whatever someone else says. We’d remain happy, and we certainly wouldn’t want to kill people for not believing the same thing. The idea of ‘God’ causes much conflict in the world because it is a belief, causing hope and fear to arise.)
What if the thing that we imagined God to be was engraved on our minds to distract us, and turn us away from the truth of our own reality? An idea that has enslaved people for thousands of years. What if the idea of God being an outside creator was meant to put us to sleep? What if this very belief made us into lotus eaters?
In reality, we are whom we seek. It’s as simple as that.
The idea of perfection doesn’t need a ‘God”; it is purity itself – god-like. What would be the point of God if there were no witnesses? The witness is all-important. We are that pure witness via pure awareness that is empty of contamination. The whole point of our existence is to realise what we are!
If we use the idea of a unconditionally loving God as our inspiration to love unconditionally, then that would be a perfect image. But we don’t do that, do we? We have God on our side – against others.
No one can forgive us but our own regret. Slowly, we refine our understanding of our true selves – this godly nature – perfect pure awareness which expresses unconditional love, in the sense that it is not partial. And we don’t have to be religious, or belong to a religion, to do that.
Perhaps we need a new ism…“Realism!” – that which is real can never changed and does not rely on a belief.
We are in danger of relying upon the experiences of the teacher to synthesise the elements of the human condition for us – some of which we haven’t yet experienced – thus reaching conclusions without investigating the precise ways in which we have been suffering. The result of this is that we come to rely on their conclusions rather than our own.
*“…to eat of the mysterious plant. Those who did so were overcome by a blissful forgetfulness; they had to be dragged back to the ship and chained to the rowing-benches, or they would never have returned to their duties.The Greeks called several non-narcotic plants lōtos, but the name may have been used in this case for the opium poppy, the ripe seed pod of which resembles the pod of the true lotus. The phrase “to eat lotus” is used metaphorically by numerous ancient writers to mean “to forget,” or “to be unmindful.”