The Car Washer: Meeting Myself

It has probably been about three weeks that I have observed the car washer not doing the job that I have paid him to do. Instead of the regular three times a week, his washing made it to only twice a week. I took notice of this fact and also acknowledge that a certain uneasiness has crept into the mind. As I was walking along the road passing by my car this morning, I saw another car with the windscreen wiper up indicating that it has been cleaned, but not mine. Most of the cars in my area are cleaned by a group of washers at the same time and thus the mind immediately conjured the idea that he is not doing his job on my car again.

I took the opportunity to seek him out to convey the message of what happened, mindful beforehand that whatever emotions that were to come out from it is something I have to deal with instead of making him wrong. Somehow after seeing him, the feeling was uneasy and upset. As I brought awareness to that feeling, reminding myself that it is not directly connected to the story of the scene, I came to get a glimpse that it is because of the meaning of wrong I have put into the event that the experience of upset came to be – the fact of what happened is one, interpreting it as to judge him wrong is another. It was indeed a revelation as I was able to bring scrutiny to the pattern of the mind instead of the past where I would hold him sentence for a period of time.

But more intriguingly is what follows after that tiny realization. As I was lying down on the yoga mat exercising in the comfort of my own room, reflecting on what I have realized, I came to a deeper understanding that what sparks of the whole scene of event is the deep-rooted idea of right and wrong. And it came from the view that “I paid him to do the job” instead of “I appreciate him for the job he is doing”. One came from demand, the other from love – one is to him, the other for him. Hence, if I was also to turnaround the meaning towards myself, the similar effect would take its equation,  –

  • Cause (A): He is paid to do the job
  • Effect (A): He is doing it to me again (not washing my car)
  • Cause (B): The job he is doing is for me to appreciate him
  • Effect (B): What he is (not) doing is for me to understand him (as to bring compassion to it)

Both have different connotation of ideas and each carries opposing effects of feelings. It is insane to expect Cause A to have Effect B as that is not how nature works. Hence if I was to have the idea of Cause A, I am to expect Effect A as it’s consequent, thus the misery. Not that one is better than the other, just that both are opposing realities – one is against reality, the other is in support of reality.

I can realize this mentality only if I give notice to what is occuring in my mind. One frequent observation I take notice of late is the expression of “thank you”. I notice that wherever I am appreciating what others are doing, there is a loving verbalized expression of thank you in comparison to “it is your right to do the job and thus no expression is required”. Expression of thanks is simply an innate appreciation brought into exclamation, of gratefulness brought into expression – thus “thank you” is not for anyone “out there” though it may seems to be, not because we wanted to please another, nor is it because of guilt.

It also dawn upon me that if I do not take notice of the meaning of wrongness occuring in the mind, I would not have any other choice except to feel upset.  Similarly when upset is in my experience, I can’t help but to link wrongness to upset, thus perpetuation that feeling further. Amazing isn’t it? What we are constantly doing unto ourselves!

Thus it has been said that there is only me, the world is merely my own reflection. My belief is my attitude and I am fully responsible for it. I can choose to recreate what I am experiencing, only if I realize that my past is conditioned, and I am choosing again from love, not because of past; not because I see what is past is bad and wanting to rectify it to make it good again. Spirituality is to go beyond good and bad and to see Truth out of both.

Lured into One’s Den

The den lured into again
This time no longer luring
But being lured
By oneself into oneself
Having its own game
Entangled in insanity
Thinking there’s someone
Yet a mere delusion
Of maya doing its perfect job
Of luring being lured
Of storyline simply meaningless
Yet unrealized
The game perpetuates
Suffering, self beating
For something yet nothing
Only if only wisdom stayed
Else nothing is something
A game of deceit
A self deception
I am truly sorry
Do forgive me
I love you
To myself, for myself
For everyone…

who reads this.

Knowing is not Nothing – Tribute to my Teacher

Knowing and not knowing is tricky indeed.
I can only know what I know, and
Do not know what I do not know.
When I know that I do not know,
It is already Wisdom half-won
Hence knowing is not nothing.
Not knowing that I do not know is dangerous
As that is where judgments come to be. 
When I make an assumption,
It is from a mind that does not know that it does not know;
But due to its limiting view, thinks it knows
Yet knowing itself may not be wisdom-owned
For ignorance also knows –
Except from a deluded point of view.
Sayadaw Tejaniya is a precious gem of a teacher indeed. He constantly shows me the distinction between the nature of wisdom and the nature of ignorance. He leaves no stone unturned to answer questions that I thought I already knew the answers to – his replies always bring me to acknowledge that the mind is in the state of “I do not know that I do not know”.
These words he said to me changed the way I perceived meditation, “Forget about meditating. Simply check whether you are having the right attitude towards what you are experiencing – that (in itself) is meditation.”  At that time, I couldn’t understand what he meant; it was only years later did I grasp the full meaning that wrong view leads to wrong meditation and right view to right meditation. The invitation to check my attitude is for me to figure out whether the mind is having the Right View or Wrong View; in other words, to comprehend if the knowing mind is motivated by wisdom or ignorance. 
It is true indeed; how much wisdom can arise from meditation tainted by a Wrong View?  This realization shocked me because I had thought that I understood Meditation fully; after all, I did have 30 years of meditation experience before I met him.
Sayadaw’s presence in my life has caused me to redefine the meaning and purpose of meditation. His razor-sharp clarity fine-tunes my thinking where I err and brings me to new levels of understanding.  For this, I am deeply thankful.
I once asked Sayadaw if it were possible for me to experience the level of wisdom he possesses, if I had not met him in this lifetime. His wise reply? It all depends on the kind of parami (perfection) each individual has cultivated in the mind – some have the wisdom to discern on their own and others need guidance from a teacher.
His answer reminded me of the Buddha’s experience. The Buddha is unique in that he was aware that there was a lot he had yet to understand, despite his teachers’ confirmation that he has learned everything there was to know. Yet the Bodhisatta, as he was called prior to his Enlightenment, somehow knew that there was something else that He has yet to realize. And this knowing was what caused him to continue searching till He found the Ultimate Truth.  Not many of us have this capacity to even recognize that we do not know it all.
Sayadaw Tejaniya is exceptional in that he has the wisdom to know that he does not know fully yet.  Sayadaw has brought me to realize that the missing ingredient in my meditative effort is to consistently know that the mind does not know; instead of being in the state of not even knowing that it does not know.
For it is in the knowing of not knowing that meditation truly begins.