A Very Difficult Subject
Confusing or conflating our awakened essence
with religion, culture and politics
can make a mystery remain a mystery.
The two videos yesterday – one by Tulku Urgyen and the other by Mingyur Rinpoche – reveal that the Buddha’s teaching is all about awareness; resting in pure awareness. There is nothing more than remembering this.
It is not about adopting another’s culture, religion or politics. It is all about the true nature of mind which is beyond language. We do not have to learn Tibetan, Greek, Hebrew, Pali or Sanskrit to know our true nature.
Of course, if we are interested in languages, cultures and politics that’s fine, but we must be aware of conflating – mixing two or more elements that can obscure the objective, which is realisation.
Adopting another’s religion and culture is our choice, but we have to be aware that this isn’t essential. If it helps us to recall and remember, that is wonderful, but other cultures may have grander ideas than our own: we only have to walk into a monastery to see what it takes to build such a splendour.
To support Tibet is an admirable ideal as this country held the tradition of the Buddha’s teachings, but Tibetans were forced to flee and set up elsewhere in the world. Tibetan teachers have to maintain their tradition and culture, which includes monasteries, monks and nuns, supported by lay people. The Tibetan culture is grand, lavish and colourful and creates a living for artisans and shop keepers. This is the same with theistic traditions; they too are full of art. Teachers are always coming up with new projects: the Buddha’s teachings, however, are about the nature of mind.
A mystic goes beyond ordinary sentient awareness, to experience and realise pure awareness, the pure consciousness of being. Then it is no longer a mystery, as the mystery is experiencing what we are.
Mystery: something that is difficult or impossible to understand or explain.
Mystic: a person who seeks by contemplation and self-surrender to obtain unity with or absorption into the Deity or the absolute, or who believes in the spiritual apprehension of truths that are beyond the intellect.
Conflation happens when the identities of two or more individuals, concepts, or places, sharing some characteristics of one another, seem to be a single identity, and the differences appear to become lost. In logic, it is the practice of treating two distinct concepts as if they were one, which produces errors or misunderstandings as a fusion of distinct subjects tends to obscure analysis of relationships which are emphasized by contrasts. However, if the distinctions between the two concepts appear to be superficial, intentional conflation may be desirable for the sake of conciseness and recall.