Is Evil The Catalyst For Enlightenment?
Catalyst: a substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction without itself undergoing any permanent chemical change.
There will always be good and evil in the universe, with confused beings in the middle choosing to lean one way or the other.
In realisation, there comes a point when we need a boost, and there it is … evil! Be it gross or subtle, it gets us going – one way or another. We can thank the evil in the world for sustaining our path to enlightenment. Why? Because it makes the obstacles obvious.
I’ve spent over four decades on spiritual paths, trying to find out what the path was. We are given lots of things to do … sit, sit, sit … and lots of answers to acquire … smug, smug, smug … It wasn’t until I realised that suffering wasn’t just my own fault, but that there are those who are working against us (and that got my dander up) that my motivation to practise went sky high.
The Buddha’s first requirement is that we recognise suffering; otherwise, it’s business as usual. This means recognising and experiencing that we are suffering. Like others, I started my spiritual quest by joining an organisation that had a particular view of life and offered answers to my questions that were more expansive than my own. For me, however, it turned out to be just a club – a sticky club – and I found all the subsequent groups to be the same. We learn new terminologies and practices, and become more and more adept and involved, and in a way, this sustains us. But for me, it all felt artificial; something was missing.
Probably like you, I saw the world as mad, becoming dumber, and more aggressive. Chaos was everywhere. Then I realised that this was maybe intentional! Suffering makes money, and strengthens power and control. There is an establishment – an old boys’ network – that holds onto power. This is sheer evil as it uses the people to maintain dominance. Wow!
So while we ‘spiritual’ people are giving money to the ‘poor’ in far away places, and feeling good about it, those in power are creating more of the same all over the world under the guise of globalisation. Wealth does not filter down, it filters up!
Feel-good teachings are not totally satisfying: they overlay suffering, merely putting a dressing on the wound. Even though the cause of suffering is ignorance of our true nature, we have to realise that we live in a world of suffering, and it is we who are unconsciously propagating it through our consent to go along with the crowd (or any club/tribe to which we choose to belong).
Now that we know, what can we do? Well, now the teachings are relevant!!! The stupidity of evil is that it doesn’t realise what great work it’s doing in opening up our minds, because now it is obvious that suffering IS present. Before this realisation, the teachings were merely a philosophy and theory.
Recognising evil at work,
evil is obsolete.
This can, however, be refined. All relative consciousness is a barrier to ultimate consciousness: from an ultimate viewpoint, all obstacles being a barrier to the reality of ultimate truth is an evil. But the very moment that evil (in the form of external or internal barriers) is recognised is the reality of the two truths as a unity – they are inseparable because they are recognised simultaneously. So thank you, evil! 😀
Even meditation becomes an obstacle to enlightenment: nobody became enlightened by meditating, but only by breaking the meditation by not holding on. We need help in breaking attachments to everything. The moment before the Buddha’s enlightenment, he was attacked by demons and seduction, symbolising fear and desire.
It’s like perceiving a imaginary, ferocious dragon which, of course, scares the daylights out of us. If we turn our back in fear, this image gets larger and larger in our minds. If we step forward to investigate, it becomes smaller – so small that we can place it on the palm of our hand and blow it away. As long as we live in a dream world, there will be dragons everywhere.
It is said that Buddhism can only be destroyed from within. The idea that Buddhism can be eradicated through bad practice is a misunderstanding: it is Buddhism that has to be destroyed to realise the essence of Buddhism, which is pure awareness, beyond any names or methods. We have to disconnect all the software and hardware: that is going beyond the alaya (the reference library of karma).
Break everything and step outside.