I have been working through my blogs to try to make my writings more accessible (discussed here).
There is an issue of separation that is causing me concern. To me understanding anatta is completely important, I both believe in anatta and am beginning to understand it – the first not being important.
So somehow I am looking for no-self, an apparently infeasible notion. This means I am trying to get rid of self (a sentence with a language problem already). So self arises because I become attached to various experiences that in Buddhism would be described as khandas, as a result I build up I – self. So I try not to attach but attachment occurs – attachment that could be called clinging. In about I could have given these as separate tags – anatta attachment and clinging, but I have called it anatta; as anatta was something I began to understand through Ajaan Buddhadasa this is discussed a great deal on the Tan Ajaan page as well as at the tag anatta.
But then everything on my Path is anatta, so is that my only tag for everything? An important area for me in blogging is the ego’s misplaced emphasis on intellectual processes. This arises from an establishment education process that focuses on presenting information or ideas, and not on the importance of creativity – mainly insight. There is an Insight page. Note my description as misplaced emphasis on intellectual processes arising from miseducation, I am not dismissing the processes of reason etc. out of hand but stating that the emphasis is misplaced. This lack of balance is common-place amongst those whose ego dominates – especially in western education. I was in discussions with one person in academia who was trying to seek insight. I noticed an inability to delineate between insight and intellect processes, and in his case he was unwilling to stop clinging to his descriptions of the academic intellect despite his desire to understand insight. But I will always remember an observation he made, he said my blogs were intellectual. Because my blogs often develop from an insight in meditation, I was initially emotionally offended but then I realised how helpful that comment was. Once you write the blogs (express the insight) they become ideas, they become static. The learning has moved beyond insight into ideation, and at that point need to be let go. Academia develops a process of clinging to ideas. It is the ideas that they write about, it is the ideas of the professor that the climbers adhere to to keep their jobs.
There are other academic processes such as dialogue. Dialogue is a wonderful means to an end, it is the way we learn from each other. But there has to be a purpose to this dialogue, and that is a mutual desire for learning from each other – it helps with enquiry. I prefer to think of dialogue as a genuine enquiry to reach a mutual conclusion. There are several ways that ego interrupts this process. Firstly the dialogue is entered with a view of imparting ideas, the person clings to their ideas and measures the quality of the dialogue by the way in whch the ideas are imparted to the other. It is a one-way process where the ideas are intractable; is this enquiry? I noticed one such intellectual process in which a dialogue would start and then halted on one side, nothing mutual about the dialogue; this was very frustrating and to this day I can see only limited value to this process. Fear can prevent this genuine enquiry through dialogue, a fear of losing the ideas that are being clung to, an intellectual fear. With insight such a fear does not exist because the ideas are not important, not being clung to, the enquiry and insight are all that matter.
In our society a significant group of ideas are our belief systems, and clinging to our belief systems as religion is a major cause of contention. Religious discussions become heated because one belief is considered superior to another and some are prepared to fight wars accordingly. It is necessary to move beyond the ideas of the belief system through genuine enquiry into the real understanding that is at the esotoric core of all religions but few of the religious establishment are willing to do that. Nor do they encourage their practitioners to do the same, so a religion becomes a belief system that is entrenched and a cause of violence. It is amazing to see in history religion being used as an excuse for war when at the core of all religions is peace, such practices are a clear demonstration of the dangers of clinging to ideas.
Belief systems occur around religions as well. On the alternative scene people are asked to have faith in all kinds of things – angels, elves, tree spirits and many such. There is belief in ghosts, after-life and so on with all kinds of consequences that come from clinging to such ideas. If you have experienced such then it is real, if there is no such experience then it is not. Theosophy is one such example. Madame Blavatsky, through automatic writing, wrote much in The Secret Doctrine, Leadbetter says that he sees chakras and we should have faith in his sight. Why? Why should we believe any of that? More importantly what is the point in studying such? It is just a bunch of ideas, they may be true for Madame Blavatsky and Leadbetter but does that make them true for others? I strongly recommend anyone to come to terms with their own experience of chakras, that experience has been beneficial for me. But it is up to you, your insight your experience.
Idea systems occur in other ways. In the 4 Agreements we are encouraged to recognise that our education is but a dream, a set of ideas that our upbringings encourage us to fall in line with – agree with. This dream includes mores, customs, delusions, beliefs, idea systems etc. Our education, instead of equipping us with insight, fills us with ideas and an acceptance of the status quo. In one way this is useful as mutually accepting ideas and status quo can produce stability. But on the other hand if we accept a system that is harmful to others then that is dangerous. Our education has been hijacked so that the status quo that we are taught to accept is in fact the corporate paradigm, in other words we are taught to accept that we will be wage-slaves in order to increase the phenomenal wealth of a few individuals. Further in accepting the paradigm we ultimately accept that wars will be fought in order to help increase the wealth of those individuals. By accepting the dream we agree to war. Through enquiry we can learn to see what that dream is and reject it.
But here is an important rub. What happens to those people who begin to reject the dream? Where do they go? They run to alternative belief systems, and replace the dream they have from their upbringing with another dream. This new dream, one such description might be rejecting the corporate paradigm, might well be a more accurate description of what is happening, but it is so important for such people to see that they are replacing one dream with another, one set of ideas with another, one belief system with another. And one worse characteristic of such replacements is vehemence. The Trots replace their indoctrinated acceptance of capitalism with vehement diatribes about socialism. You must, you must, you must. Others who have rejected the system’s dream replace it with other idea systems and then say “you must, you must, you must”. I have a you must “Insight and Enquiry through Meditation”. To me it feels imperative that people replace their dream with these three yet by insisting on them I am also creating idea systems so from me there is no “you must”. There is a dream we grow up with, there are alternative dreams that we can accept but what if there was a state of being in which there is constant enquiry, not clinging to any ideas? What if through meditation or otherwise we could develop minds in which continuous insight was a way of perceiving all the idea systems that we come in contact with?
Clinging to ideas is what an intellectual does. People who believe in belief systems do the same, some of those belief systems are religions. But it is the intellectual adherence to a set of ideas that is common throughout. All of this on intellect, religion and belief systems I have tagged as “intellectual”, yet this intellect is part of clinging and this clinging starts to disappear if we start to understand anatta.
Here is an image. There is an inner world and an outer world, at the boundary between the inner and outer are sets of ideas. We cling to this surface of ideas because we are afraid to make the journey inner. It is comfortable to do what we are told, to live our lives as others do, to conform, to live on the surface. But that comfort has been rocked because accepting the way things are means accepting war and hurting others. An inner journey will hopefully put an end to such acceptance; all of this is summarised in tags – anatta, intellectual and coorporatocracy. Anatta – inner, intellectual – surface, corporatocracy – outer.
About TagsPosted: 14/09/2013 in Insight
Tags: 4 Agreements, Anatta, Corporatocracy, enquiry, intellect, khandas