As we begin a new year, I want to share with you a video that many of you have seen me share over the past two years. The Wayseer Manifesto resonates deeply with who I am, and with what we’ve taught for the past 32 years. It speaks to who I am and what sets us apart from the masses.
Neurological oppression often prevents us from embracing the Implicate Order, known as the Way. But what if this video were to unlock something within you?
There are times, when all it takes is one simple, yet profound statement that changes everything in our experience. The recognition that our faulty perception is responsible for so much of the suffering in our lives and in the lives of those around us, can be a sobering wake-up call.
What if we learned that the world, as we perceive it, really is nothing more than a harmless enigma, and that by opening our hearts and minds to see that, we can free ourselves of the self-imposed limitations and terrifying, painful or negative perceptions that we’ve accepted as “reality”?
As we begin a new week, let’s strive to do so with the simple recognition that all phenomena are inherently empty… simple holographic projections… and that our experience will always represent nothing more than the current state of our subconscious minds. By releasing the chaotic data… letting go of the clutter, the fears, and the attempts to interpret that data as though, as Umberto Eco puts it, “it had an underlying truth,” we free ourselves to experience the world as it always could have been.
What is habituation, and does it have any connection with suffering and attachment?
The Buddha taught that there were two causes for suffering: the karmic actions we take, contaminated by our delusions; and the delusions themselves. Another way of looking at this is to realise that, as we read in A Course in Miracles, “Whatever is not love is fear.”
Anger, attachment, greed, desire and ignorance arise out of fear. When we seek happiness outside its true Source, then we are acting out of fear. When we experience pain, due to the consequences of external conditions, causes or past actions (karma), if we try to avoid that pain (delusional behaviour) we suffer.
Once we recognise the impermanent nature of things, we learn to no longer grasp at them, or attempt to avoid them. We see them as they are – transient experiences or conditions, which arise as a result of other interdependent causes and conditions.
In general terms, attachment arises from one of four types of grasping: grasping after opinion, grasping after sensory pleasure, grasping after rule and rite, and grasping after the theory of “self”.
In more general terms, we can say that grasping after those things we imagine to bring us happiness, and grasping to avoid those things we perceive as causing us pain are the foundational conditions, which give rise to attachments.
But there is another cause of suffering, and form of attachment that we don’t often think about — attachment to habituation. And that’s the subject of today’s Dharma video. In today’s dharma video we explore the nature and result of habituation in our lives.
Healing is a natural aspect of transformation. But healing cannot begin in the hands of the unhealed healer. Upon recognising the presence of the unhealed healer in ourselves, we must begin within.
When we experience someone who is ill, or who has undergone surgery or some other difficult emotional or physiological circumstance, we recognise that our experience of their condition is an opportunity for us to heal something within our own minds.
The wheezing, hacking cough of the co-worker, may be an opportunity to realise there is something we need “to get off our chest”. The emergency heart surgery of a loved one, may represent unforgiven hurts that we’re afraid to let go of. That pain our neighbour feels in her back, may be a reminder of a burden we’re carrying, that’s weighing us down.
This isn’t to say those persons are experiencing their conditions because of us. Their conditions are, for them, an opportunity for them to heal something in their own lives.
My experience of Parkinson’s Disease may be a feeling that I am constricted by rigid and inflexible circumstances, beyond my immediate control. A weakened immune system may reflect that I feel like I have lost my ability to “fight back” in the face of injustice or lazy dharma practitioners. Even the thyroid condition I experience could be a need to address the feeling of complete imbalance in my present experience of life, and the toll I imagine those circumstances to be taking on me.
When we come to understand that all of these beliefs arise from the chaotic data, playing on the hard drive of our subconscious mind… that they are, in essence, bullshit… healing spontaneously occurs.
And so we don’t focus on healing another. For pretending to be able to do so is little more than an ego trip. All healing can only occur within.
What’s more, there’s really nothing to “heal”… it’s just a matter of forgiving ourselves, and returning to the present moment.
A few years ago, I posted a question on Facebook, and asked how many people believed that Horus, one of the oldest gods of the ancient Egyptian religion — the Falcon-headed Avenger, was a real being. Fifty people commented saying, “Of course not.”
Speaking at a workshop after the film, “The Avengers”, I asked how many people there believed that Odin, Thor and Loki actually exist, 47 out of 49 people said they did not.
But there is a vast disconnect in the intelligence, rationality and spiritual maturity here in the West, where we are all too quick to suspend reason, and demand that the whole world believe a legend that has been shown time and time again, with empirical evidence sociologically, historically and anthropologically to have been an adaptation of the ancient legends of the “man-god” mythos.
When I made the decision, a few weeks back, to limit my public teaching, and return my focus upon those who are dedicating their lives to the pursuit of the contemplative practice, one of the things that I was forced to do was to dismantle Western Buddhist University, principally because I was unable to gain the support and assistance of Buddhist clergy and teachers from other traditions, to help make the curriculum at WBU an inclusive, open and uniquely relevant, Western expression of the Dharma. And with no administrative assistance, no financial support, and no community involvement, that which was not valued was lost forever.
This journal is intended to serve both as a means of teaching those who are interested, as well as providing the almost daily tutelage that students in our monastic formation program require, as they prepare for ordination. It will be a simpler teaching on the surface, but will stir and awaken much deeper understanding for the student who applies herself or himself.