2 Sept 2010. Soon I will be back to Malaysia.
Someone asked me while I was at the airport waiting for the ticket to be confirmed whether if I have really been to Tibet? It took me awhile to answer him not because he was being cynical but because, like him, I too felt that soon everything will be like a dream. As in a dream, did anything actually happen, except in the illusion of the mind?
My teacher told me once that of all the myriads of experiences we have in life, there are actually only six of them. Irrelevant whether we are somewhere, someplace, with someone or something, we are constantly dwelling within the six experiences – seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching and mind experiences. I have never once got out of these. All experiences are dwelled within these senses. They are the bases for me to experience the so-called world. Without them, the world does not exist. So to say whether I have really been to Tibet is really a question I need to ponder deeply!
That reminds me of a friend who told me of a story about a monk who has never heard of what a train is, not to mention sitting in one. While in it for the first time, he asked the benefactor innocently why the house he is staying in is trembling! To him, there is no concept or idea of what a train is and thus the meaning of train was totally out of his mind except the experience of trembling. And even that, it is an old idea as trembling is not a norm where he stays.
Can I say Tibet is in my mind? You betcha. And can I too say Tibet is outside my mind? That too is possible as where there is inside, there is bound to be an outside – inseparable except seen from a different perspective. Unless I put it that Tibet is neither inside nor outside the mind, but of the mind. Then there is no longer a dispute as all meanings are derivation of the mind.
What about the experience of Tibet then? The fresh air, the snow-capped mountain, or the longer journey to the base camp of Mount Everest? Is it real? Storylines are rampant, in fact never ending. What is more important is our response to it. No matter how beautiful a storyline is, if our response is of stress or ancient emotions, we are always back to where we were – never left ourselves, no matter how illusionary far we are from our base.
In that sense whether I am here in Malaysia or Tibet for that matter, I have never left anywhere – as I am always within the confinement of my mind, in short, perception, feelings, consciousness or mental activities – all being played out again and again – though different in appearances, the content always remains the same. Until wisdom sets in, the entire experiences are based from old conditionings of ignorance and delusion.