The World Begins with Views & End by Views

The world begins with views and ends by views. A more precise statement will be that because of views, the world comes into existence. And for the world to cease altogether, it will also have to be because of views – but views that lead to the end of it rather than furthering its existence.

I have of late found a new understanding pertaining to the nature of the mind. I came to realize how views or ideas make me able to do certain things whereas at other times another idea has the capacity of making me disabled in doing other things. In common language usage I would have said I can’t do this or I can do this but in reality there is no “I” having a role in it. It is not my choice. It is rather the ideas leading the way.

I came to realize that when a person has a higher threshold of pain than another, it is not because of the person’s skill or ability to bear it but rather it is the idea that he is having that makes him able or not able to do so. And when I use the word idea or view, I am to mean everything that involves my perception. And since perception is universal; to mean, occurring all the time without interval; then it is also made to mean that at any one moment of time, ideas are running me. I can’t escape from ideas; I am run by ideas, instead of me running those ideas.

Hence every action that arises is merely effect of a certain idea. Ideas set the nature of the action. It can be one idea or a combination of a few ideas regardless. If only I am able to clearly see this truth in each and every person, I can never be upset for what they have done as I would have realized that what they did were merely unconscious results of the ideas generating in their system that they are made to act. It is like puppet being pulled by the strings – the movement is not made by the puppet but the one who moves the strings; in this case, ideas. Hence ignorance of ideas is a major cause of our distress.

If I am aware of a limiting idea and were to introduce an opposite to it, I will be free but yet that freedom is not a true freedom as it is just another idea that seemingly erased what is already there – moving from a smaller box to another one which seems bigger. A good example is the placebo effect. True freedom is when one sees the illusion of ideas and transcends it. To transcend is to mean non-interference except having pure awareness of observation where wisdom arise naturally into fold by itself. I can’t dictate when wisdom will arise except to allow the state of non-doing to take place. Only when wisdom arises will a new incepted idea come into space, having wisdom as its root. Otherwise all other ideas have delusion as its base. In this aspect, I will see right view or right idea as having wisdom as its root and wrong idea, ignorance.

Wrong idea will incur further wrong idea whereas right idea (those with wisdom as its root) nullifies it. When right idea is introduced into the mind, it becomes a little program that brings about more right ideas that finally brings light at the end of the tunnel. It is one right direction of little freedom towards True freedom. It is because of not having right idea that clinging comes into being.

Desire or aversion; in short, clinging; can only arise from wrong view or wrong idea. Where there is right idea there is no reason for clinging to exist as the idea is leading towards freedom, not attachment. Hence to see attachment as wrong is missing the mark as what is causing it is idea itself. For instance, when we say we are attached to our item we are to mean we are having an idea that the thing can be held on to. In other words, the attachment is a derivative of wrong idea and that causes us to be attached to the idea we have of the item rather than the item itself. The item can never be attached too except in our mind – ideas. We have never touched the world except engage in our own game in the mind.

Though the house, car, money or relationship belongs to me, the belonging is occurring all the time in the mind, not out there. They merely exist as ideas. What is intangible – the mind – can never meet the tangible – the materials. Solve the mind, the world is solved. There is no necessity to give up the world out there, except the world that is within – wrong ideas.

The world out there can be a market place for unlimited inceptions of ideas into our mind. And the only safeguard I really need is wisdom itself. Without which, there is no possible way that I can come out clean from wrong ideas except deepening its grip. Understanding this is peace, is true freedom.

I am Your Devil Advocate, Your Angel

I entice you
luring you into my den
you feel helpless
troubled and restless.

One part of you quivers
ready to go wild for it
and yet another voice whispers
biding you to be cautious.

I am your devil advocate
a mirror of you
reflecting your past
of choices you err
only now another chance given, to choose again.

And here you are in dilemma
once more
of the direction you are called to take
of desire
and another of fear.

To give up one
is to give another to grow
for both are inseparable.

Do you not see
both fear and desire
are merely shadows
coined by you in ancient time
made to believe they are real.

To choose either one
is to make the unreal real
for both have their own stories retold
many a times
of betrayal, hurt, disapproval and loneliness.
For there are no relationship
except relationship with oneself

To give up both
is to restore what you have lost
found hidden in both.

Oh dear one,
if only you could see
I am merely a devil advocate
reflecting what you have err.

For when you wake up from your dream
you find an angel instead
of misperception you have surrendered.

Welcome me
for I am your lover
and your worst enemy
showing you what is in you.
I can’t hurt you except what you see in me.

For I am merely
a mirror
here for you
to return to the Beloved.

Can I Not See?

I can’t see you for who I think you are if not for the function of perception running in the mind. My perception projects exactly how I see you. How can it be otherwise? Whatever projection I have about you is entirely a perception running in me. This perception is derived from whatever accumulated ideas I have about the world. As I do not have the clarity to filter or to question ideas that come through me, I literally buy into what I perceive each moment without much wisdom. What I think is right is in accordance to my old ideas and what I think is wrong too, is in accordance to my old ideas. There is nothing new to what I am receiving except strengthening what is already in me. The more I am unconscious to those ideas the more I allow those ideas become my beliefs, making it my reality, as my righteousness. Do I not see this?

Do I not see how I perceive you is from what is within me? Do I not know what I judge or praise of you has nothing less than what is within me? Do I not see the world I put meaning to come from within? And that the world is only an effect of the cause beginning from me? I am not separated from the world as the world of ideas I have in me is being defined and retold again and again in my own stories about the world out there.

Each moment of experience, from anything as mundane to anything extraordinary, is accompanied with my own ideas, each unique of its own. It never and will never leave me as I have never questioned or inquired about them before. As such, every moment of experience is a matter of fact, a story unfolding, which at its end becomes a complete drama of its own. Where it ends, another story begins; like the soap opera series that run for seasons, sometimes for years, in the tube. In those dramas I see the storyline in linear experience, usually a plot at one time. Whereas in my own inner story the plot thickens in each moment, many a times having multiple dimensional schemes or conspiracies in it, hence making the stories in me more juicy, complicated and very real. To each person I share about my story I skilfully tailor it to their needs and temperament, making sure that they are convinced by my manipulative skill. Rarely do I failed in the mission, except in moments where I exaggerate to convince those who are not convinced, and if that fails, I’d label them as enemy against me. For all I want from them is to reinforce what I think is true as a reality so that I can be loftier than anyone else. Do I not see this?

When I see others telling me their stories, I am not seeing my own stories about them. When I judged others about their complaints, I am not aware of my complaint about them. What difference am I from them, they from me? If I am not authentic with myself with regards to what is running in the mind, I would have continuously setup an unseen new trap, a righteous one, that is more detrimental to what I see about the world which I think has nothing to do with me; for what comes into my space becomes mine, irrespective whether I keep silent, move away or comment.

I have never left you for ‘you’ is an idea that I am creating in me. Neither have I left the world as the world is the source of my ideas. Nothing more than just a tiny mad idea of each moment turned into a dream (or a nightmare!)

Waking up to each Teaching

Elephant and the blind men

Every teaching that comes into my space is not for me to protect but to realize, and in that realization is the teaching protected. The teaching is not for me to keep but only as a tool to use. The mere act of keeping translates in me my fear of it being attacked and hence the need to defend it. As I defend, as in protect what I thought needs to be protected, I am unknowingly attacking what I am protecting, whilst in reality, the teaching needs none of my protection. Hence my so-called good intention, born out of ignorance, unknowingly does more harm to the teaching than prolonging its sanctity by attacking its existence, making the teaching vulnerable to the world.

Not that the teaching loses its essence but rather the essence is blocked by the illusion of fear and with that the teaching is no longer seen in its truth but as false under the pretence of fear. And since this reality is not seen, what is false will be taken as truth. Hence, the drama of ownership of one’s faith and dispute over others.

The teachings of each great teacher are effects of what they had personally realized put into words to convey their personal realization. It is by no means meant to be protected for how could it be possible for a worldling who has yet to realize protect what is being realized? It equates to an act of hiding what one does not know what to hide.

Each teaching is not meant to be infused but rather to be reflected upon intelligently and put into practice. A discussion on the relevant topic thus puts one in an advantage as that brings the mind to see the teaching in a different perspective. It is always the case of we only know what we know and thus if we do not share what we understand we could only be understanding from our point of view which may or may not necessary be true. Until our wisdom comes into full fruition of which needs no one to confirm its arising, we have no other choice except to share our experiences with a knowledgeable, if not realized person. Even then we have to muster whatever little wisdom we have to accept or to question what is being discussed or shared, without any reason of rejection but to put it into litmus test and see its resilient over the test of time.

Herein lies the fine line of deception – to reject others’ opinion of the teaching is to deem one is holding steadfastly to his view of what he thinks is right – which is a form of protection but not realization. For when one truly realizes, there is only a sharing of truth and no reason for defense; and to accept what other opines without inner inquiry is to deem one being led into blind faith. Both are extreme by nature.

The wise way of a spiritual pilgrim will be like how my kindred friend puts it – if what she hears is not to her level of understanding, she will not object but to have an open mind about it until she self-realized it for herself whether what is being said is true or not. In this way she does not block herself from seeing the teaching narrowly.

The demand of the teachings requires that we take nothing for granted. Only through inner inquiry and self realization that the teaching becomes self evidence within us. The teachings itself now takes on the form of a living spirit, a continuation of what has being realized from those trodden in the past. It is no longer separate and hence no real external protection is required as it has been internally protected.

The 7As Path to Freedom

Ananda, the close attendant to the Buddha, once exclaimed with joy how easy it was to understand the matrix of the mind; of which the Buddha himself retorted that, without the arising of the Awakened One, such statement cannot be possible.

Looking back on my own journey, I fully understand where the Buddha was coming from. Without right information and right practice, it is impossible to bring forth understanding, not to mention realization. The journey itself is profound, and most times, difficult. Without graduation of proper steps, missing the mark is potentially high. The word sin, to mean missing the mark is an appropriate statement to denote the metaphor of an archer aiming his arrow at the bull’s eye. Imagine the little space at the centre in comparison to what is around it. To hit into those area is much easier than to land itself at the bull’s eye. And that is exactly what a spiritual journey can entail when one is not accurate in his or her path.

Within my own limited observation, there is a pathway that all of us have to begin and continue with. And that too, can only come into the picture when one takes full responsibility of one’s mind – if not all the time, at least as frequent as one can.

The pathways are the 7As in sequential order:

The ability not to forget to be in the present of one’s own mind and body experiences. For many this is tiresome – not that it is difficult to remember – but rather it is difficult to stay connected to the inner being as the mind is consistently addicted to the external experiences. Ironically, all our experiences are within but somehow the mind interprets the experiences as external, eg. smell – we deem the outside object as the cause of our like or dislike, not realizing that the cause in actuality is within us. The object is merely the effect of our inner perceptions.

Once one is aware of the present, one is called to be awake to what is occurring at the mind level. This is a skill that needs to be trained. Many a times the initiator tends to give attention to the concept rather than the reality of what is here at the moment. Even experienced practitioners tend to miss the mark at this level. For instant, seeking for companionship to share in the spiritual journey is an effect of loneliness, which is more a truer experience occurring in the present. All others are storyline camouflaging what is needed to be addressed and aware of.

When one passes the test of the above two, one is confronted with another difficulty – to recognize it exactly as it is instead of taking personal identification over or with it. This level is pretty tricky as the mind can be sly to conjure numerous meanings out of what is. For example the feeling of hurt. It is difficult to acknowledge hurt as an experience instead of identifying oneself being hurt by someone. Hurt is a painful experience, no doubt about it – but most of the time we don’t acknowledge it as that – just as an experience – and instead we want someone to be responsible for it. Other times we brush it off, seeing the feeling as trivial or even wrong to have. To recognize hurt as a painful experience is wisdom at work as there is a clear acknowledgment that it is something that only oneself is experiencing and has nothing to do with any other person. It is also to acknowledge that these are the stuffs that makeup the personality of each individual and whether they are worth sustaining. One can’t remove it by pushing it away. Only through the process of acceptance can it be transcended.

This fourth level too has its own hardship. Closely connected to acknowledgment, acceptance has the ability of holding the bull by the horn, in its literal sense. It is the ability to take it fully as it is, in other words, accepting the experience with detachment, to mean not taking it personally. The word detachment and acceptance seems contradictory – but that is exactly how the healing takes place. In this world of duality, the opposites are merely a different perspective of another. When there is resistance, there is holding on as its opposite, occurring at the same time.

Acknowledgement may not necessary lead to acceptance, hence it is considered a level of its own, for one to address. It is like finally making an effort to open a closet of unwanted stuffs – whether one can accept it is another thing all together – both are leading on but may not necessary occur concurrently.

Note that at every level, commencing from the first, the ego has every opportunity of setting in, interrupting or ending the process for wisdom to finally come into fruition.

In this final process, when acceptance comes into fullness, one is able to catch a glimpse of what is in stored – that the things that we have been pushing away in the past, seeing them as real, turns out to be an illusion created by past conditioning – that in it there is no reality, no you or me, except an imagination of the mind. It is at this point that wisdom takes over – the issue disentangles itself, without one needing to do anything about it. The experience is liberating, a revelation and self-evident. One may then realize how the nature of the mind works – that it is not by running away is the world healed, but by facing is the world understood. Awe is an appropriate word to imply it is not one’s doing, which is ego-centric by nature, but God’s will – to mean the opposite of ego, or in the Buddhist context, wisdom that is free from defilements.

“Awe should be reserved for revelation, to which it is perfectly and correctly applicable.”
– A Course In Miracles.

When awe is comprehended, it dawns upon one how the mind game perpetuates its own suffering. One sees the absurdity of the game – that all projections are denials of what is within. And this denial is the cause of suffering. When more attention is being paid to the mind, one sees the familiar pathways the mind consistently takes that brings about ancient pain. One will be naturally led to take heed of the mind and not succumb to its conditionings. Freedom is eminent at this level. It is by not realizing the nature of the mind that one is trapped continuously by its conditioning. (read also Nothing but Toys)

At one with God. Not that there is something or someone for one to merge but rather one came out from the dream one created by oneself. A play of delusion, a fabrication of lies that one unconsciously formed throughout the journey of ignorance – of non awareness, awakefulness, acknowledgment and acceptance.

And it is in this experience of atonement that faith in one increases to pursue the journey of awareness closer and deeper and hence the 7As snowballs itself, leading one to finally finding oneself – awakened, enlightened. And naturally, awareness becomes the refuge for oneself, for the world, for the highest benefit of all.

“Know what is in front of your face, and what is hidden from you will be disclosed to you.
For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed.”
– Pursah’s Gospel of Thomas

Everywhere but Here

The Debate

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.

A Different Country, a Different Attitude

25 August 2010. A different country, a different attitude. And the cultural shock is an opportunity for forgiveness to take place. More often than not, wrongness comes into the picture first, followed closely by blames and judgments.  Only when right-mindedness comes into present, that all these are seen from the perspective of love, of forgiving oneself and others for what they have not done, as what was seen were merely projections from the perspective of the ego, of the unawaken state – of perceptions that were conditioned by the past.

I was waiting in queue with others in the group at the Ximing train station for the coach to Tibet to arrive anytime. We purposely took the initiative to line up earlier at the gate so to escape the last minute hassle of pushing and tugging in entering the train platform, which we earlier heard was reputably notorious for messy rush and inconsiderate line hopping.

True enough, when the train was about to arrive at any minute, locals just came to the front and squeezed themselves in to be at the gate. Horrified by their attitude, all judgments come into reign. What I learned in the past about forgiveness was totally gone in my presence. All I experience was separation of bodies that were seemingly threatening my peace, and my righteousness of what they should and should not do.

So easy is it to forget the call of the spirit for Love’s presence, of forgiving and letting go. The more I see myself in this way the more I see the urgency of the practise of awareness of what is going in the mind, moment to moment. The purging of my old deeply ingrained ideas need to be addressed. Not purging as in changing my attitude right away as that only tantamount to resisting what is in me, but rather in recognizing with wisdom the unprofitably of such mentality that would subject me to constant suffering and disease.

Wisdom is key and wisdom is not something I can merely create. Only when I choose to see things from right-mindedness, can wisdom arise within the mind. And that takes a sense of inner responsibility of what is already going on here in the mind instead of projecting what is out there away from the mind.

And if you were to ask me what gain do I have in visiting Tibet, I would say it is another journey of forgiveness, just like any other journey that I have taken, within my vicinity. No doubt Tibet is a nice place to visit; in fact, a reminisce of some sort, of many past lives of being a Tibetan; but that does not heal my past if the journey is just for the sake of entertaining my ego, of knowing who I am in the past. What is past, except a memory that holds no meaning of wisdom or understanding or even freedom?

As I sat in the bunker bed in the train, I could not help but be thankful and appreciative to those who came along in the journey, and to all the benefactors who made this journey possible for me; from financial support to all kinds.

To them, all my prayer of love and deep gratitude.