Monthly Archives: September 2012

Knowledge is an Obstacle to Knowledge!

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Buddha's Teaching

There are oysters that live at the bottom of the ocean. A little bit of the light we enjoy up here is able to reach down there somehow. But the oysters have no chance to see the blue ocean; for them the blue ocean doesn’t exist. We human beings are walking on the planet. When we look up we see the constellations, the stars, the moon, the blue sky, and when we look down we see the blue ocean. We consider ourselves to be much superior to the oysters, and we have the impression that we see everything and hear everything. But in fact, we are a kind of oyster. We have access only to a very limited zone of suchness.

Our perception of something tends to be based on the ground of our precious experiences. We have experienced something in the past and we compare it with what we encounter in the present moment and we feel that we recognize it. We paint the information with the colors we already have inside us. That’s why most of the time we don’t have the direct access to the reality.

Often it is our own knowledge that is the biggest obstacle to us touching suchness. That is why its very important to learn how to release our own views. Knowledge is the obstacle to knowledge. If you are dogmatic in your way of thinking it is very difficult to receive new insights, to conceive of new theories and understanding about the world. The Buddha said, “Please consider my teaching to be a raft helping you to the other shore”. What you need is a raft to cross the river in order to go to the other shore. You don’t need a raft to worship, to carry on your shoulders and to be proud that you are possessing the truth.

The Buddha said, “Even the Dharma has to be thrown away, not to mention the non-Dharma”. Sometimes he went further. He said that, “My teaching is like a snake. It is dangerous. If you don’t know how to handle it, you will get bitten by it.”

One day in a meeting, a Zen master said this: “Dear friends, I am allergic to the word ‘Buddha.’ You know, he is a Zen master, and he talks about the Buddha like that. “Every time I am forced to utter the word ‘Buddha’ I have to go to the river and rinse my mouth three times.” And many people were confused, because he was a Buddhist teacher. He was supposed to praise the Buddha. Fortunately there was one person who understood in the crowd. She stood up and said, “Dear teacher, every time I hear you pronouncing the word ‘Buddha’, I have to go to the river and wash my ears three times.” This is a Buddhist example of a good teacher and a good student!

References:

  • Buddha Mind, Buddha Body — Thich Nhat Hanh (Book)

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Sex or Food: The Body Remembers it All!

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Today, we are living in a culture where it is not necessary that you have lived with one partner all your life. Things have changed. I mean, a partner comes with an expiry date. When you made the relationship you thought this is forever, but within three months you think, “Oh, why the hell am I with this person?” Because it is all going by what you like and what you do not like. Because of this, it is always off and on, off and on. When it is broken and when it is unstable, you will go through enormous pain and suffering, which is totally unnecessary. If you do this exercise of falling in and out of love too often, if you go on playing around with too many people, after some time you will become numb, you do not like anybody because there is something called Runanabandha.

Runanabandha is a certain aspect of karma; it is a certain structure of karmic substance. It happens because of a certain amount of meeting and mingling that happens between people. Wherever there is a certain amount of meeting and mingling, some runanabandha is created. Especially when two bodies come together, the runanabandha is much deeper. It is a kind of recording in the body; the body is keeping a record of everything that has happened. If intimacy happened with another body, it is keeping a record of that particular kind of energy.

Now because the body remembers, if there are multiple partners, the body slowly gets confused over a period of time and this confusion will tell in your life in a million different ways. Your mind is confused, but you are living with that somehow. If the body gets confused, then you are in deep trouble.

In many ways, one of the major reasons for the level of anxiety, the level of insecurity, and the level of depression that is going on right now is just that the bodies are confused. After some time, you do not need any reason to go nuts. People are just going nuts without any reason because the body itself is confused.

Body gets confused with multiple intimacies, that is one thing. Another thing is the type of food that you eat. Whenever a little affluence comes, people think they have to eat everything in a single meal. In India, orthodox people never ate more than two or three items in a meal, and those three items were always matched together, not mismatched food. People understood the body so well that in our homes, they knew that when they cook a particular vegetable, they will make only a particular kind of curry. When they cook this vegetable, another kind will never be made because traditionally, they understood that if they put this and that together, the body gets confused.

As young boys, we were trained – if we go to the market, how we should pick up the vegetable. These days it is totally gone, but when I was young they trained me – when we go to the market, “If you buy this vegetable, you do not buy that because these two cannot be eaten within a span of two days. If you have eaten this, you should not eat that,” because the body will get confused. Once your body gets confused you will go haywire in so many ways. This understanding was always there.

What I see is, if you go to any affluent dinners, it has become madness. Recently in one of the events, someone was very proudly announcing that they have 270 different varieties of food. People take a little of everything and eat. The body gets confused with this kind of food.

So these are two major things – people not eating properly and an indiscriminate sense of intimacy with other bodies – which will create certain confusion on the body level which will take a toll over a period of time. “So have I committed a sin? Is this a punishment for me?” It is not on that level. Every action has a consequence. This is not a moralistic reality; it is a certain existential process. If you do certain things with your mind, certain consequences will come. If you do certain things with your body, certain consequences will come.

These are things that have been deeply understood and life was structured in a certain way around that. Now, in the name of freedom we want to demolish everything and suffer. Maybe centuries later we will realize that this is not the way to live.

References

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