Posts Tagged ‘4 Agreements’

Don’t cowtow to science

Posted: 01/04/2014 by zandtao in Mandtao, ONE planet, Science
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Mandtao 20/4/12

It is clear that Bruce is extending his arms to understanding but does that mean that science is? Furthermore does it mean that science has left behind its baggage or even that Bruce has left behind his science baggage? At this point I can only ask.

However for understanding to fit into science there is much that has to change with science, and if we limit our understanding by that which science is willing to accept we miss out on much that is genuine. Cowtowing to science is restrictive. In the first part of his book, The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz described how our conditioning changes us and fits us in. We agree to accept the conditioning that parents provide in the home, teachers in school, and the keepers in religious institutions. Significant in this agreement is that we accept science as knowledge, and often measure our intelligence by benchmarks developed from this knowledge. Whilst I believe that the primary purpose of our school system is to prepare the 99% for wage slavery, it is an important secondary purpose to inculcate the 99% into the acceptance of the restricted system of knowledge that we have come to know as science. We agree to both these purposes because we have accepted that society has developed with the interest of all the people at heart. Whilst I have never accepted this I am pleased to hear the progress of the Occupy movement who in general do not agree with either of these purposes.

Rather than cowtowing to science with its dubious masters, what about starting from Nature? Where else better than the sea? How many seas are there? One with many names. It moves in and out, in and out, its motion is fundamental. At any point in the sea that point moves in the direction of the tide, but in addition that point would become part of a wave. The sea is a unity with dual attributes of point and wave.

Now what about light, through light we can see – it has a functionality. How does that light function? Some of physics would describe that light coming from a point source, and yet other physicists describe light as a wave motion. Through calculation we can determine that light has a speed, a speed at which the point emantaing from the source would be travelling.

Suppose we ask what is light? We get no answer, we only get a description of properties. What is electricity? What is sound? Again no answer, simply a description of properties. Can we not describe as fundamental properties of all a point and wave duality? So rather than not having a description which is the scientific position now, we start with an axiom that in all aspects of life there is motion or momentum that is both point and wave. This is not too distinct from established physics where the principle of conservation of momentum applies ie continuous motion.

So if we start from the sea, axiomatically we might start differently but quickly we join with established science through momentum. Point and wave as fundamentals is also accepted as scientific, but in both cases we would not describe them as axiomatic because the scientific framework is different. Science starts by postulating building blocks that it calls atoms. But then through scientific method the nature of those fundamental building blocks has been refuted, and yet science patches over this. It does not say let us re-examine our framework.

And with Bruce we have another fundamental axiom of biology exposed, that of genes controlling life. What do we have instead? The gene as a blueprint. Cells contain genes and protein, and this protein has receptors which receive information as signals through the cell membrane that then cause the genes to actuate. Where do these signals come from? Life in general.

What about man? Compare this with man, s/he has a blueprint. Through perception of what happens around her/him signals actuate the genes, and if there are no signals no actuation. Man, cell. The same process, is this unreasonable? But what if we start with man? Man is conscious of life through mind that perceives. Where does the mind get the perception, through signals that happen as a result of perception and these signals get passed to the brain to the cells. So the question is not where is the brain of man, the brain is a known physical central unit that transmits the signal to the cells in the body. The question is where is the mind of man, and here we have point and wave. The mind centres on a point often seen as resting in the heart, and yet through perception mind spreads out from the point as waves to perceive through the centres including the skin, the cell membrane of man.

There is no inconsistency with this new science and what can be considered from religion, however the framework is different because of the axioms. Yet the axioms of science have been exposed as false. There is no fundamental axiom concerning what is light, sound or electricity. There is an unresolved position concerning the building bliocks as to whether they are masses or energy, and in biology the central dogma is an empty shell. We are expected to cowtow to science not because science is based on axioms that then produce a well-integrated body of knowledge. No the agreement is that we accept science as our knowledge system and not question science’s inconsistencies.

Starting from life as motion which is both point and wave we have an axiom that meets easily with established science and prevailing religious knowledge – back to Bacon.


Posted: 01/04/2014 by zandtao in Mandtao, Science
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Mandtao 20/4/12

What is the set of knowledge we know as science? Basically it is a set of axioms that is then developed through logical thought analysis and experimental method. Science is so complex because we have invested a great deal of money in scientific education and scientific research. At first glance this appears perfectly reasonable. But on closer inspection this apparent reason leads to much questioning, as the third agreement says “Don’t make assumptions”. What is an axiom? It is an assumption, it is the hedge fund of assumptions inasmuch as what is packaged as a robust knowledge base can all be deeply questioned when you see that the fundamental axioms are not based in truth but based on conjecture – perhaps a loan that should never have been given?

I am going to look at two of these. The first is the one I have just been discussing – the central dogma of biology that the gene is the command centre of the cell (talk – biology of perception). As Bruce says, if the gene is removed the cell functions; it would be sound to dismiss this central dogma. This axiom is a hedge fund.

Now the other axiom that has been undermined is that of the atom consisting of protons, neutrons and electrons. Sub-atomic investigation leads to continuing postulation of yet smaller atomic particles. In the Tao of Physics Fritjov Capra pointed out that it depended on the viewpoint of the observer whether an atom functioned as a mass or whether the atom functioned as momentum. In a throw-away line somewhere Bruce described the atom as consisting of energy. I don’t think we can say that, I would suggest that on occasions the atom behaves as a particle and on other occasions it behaves as energy. I put this forward as an axiom. If this is an axiom what implications does it have? Physics as described in terms of particles has been investigated for a long time as evidenced by my being taught atomic structure at school in the 60s. But what about energy? Let us examine kinetic energy, the energy of movement. This is calculated as 1/2 mv squared, it is worked out in terms of what happens to a particle of mass m.

But how does that relate to the chi? This is energy that is all-around and we can tap into this energy through various techniques such as Tai Chi or Chi Gung. I remember someone on an online forum saying that someone doing Tai Chi in the US was once described as playing with spirit. Is this chi energy not the energy that exists sub-atomically? This is an axiom of new physics, the particles of established physics and the sub-atomic energy, known as chi, that as yet we have not determined a way of measuring. But that does not say that science does not have a way of measuring any chi, because the chi in humans can be measured as three pulses as explained here.

Despite over two thousand years of medical understanding that has repeatedly been verified in practice western science does accept this energetic medicine. It is worth considering the theoretical basis of acupuncture as a means of accepting the dual axiom of particle and energy. Starting from the axiomatic approach that energy flows in the human body, acupuncture then started to consider what did this energy flow along – channels – these are also called meridians. What happens if you block these channels? Disease. So if we can unblock these channels so that the human energy flows naturally then health returns. If one accepts the axiom that human energy flows in the body, this is a perfectly sound explanation for disease. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has a long established analysis of the flow of energy in the body, and has numerous different branches that perform treatment. For example acupuncture uses needles to unblock these channels. TCM doctors over time have developed charts of these energy channels, they know particular points along these channels which are beneficial for particular illnesses. In fact as far as I understand it now, Chinese acupuncture hospitals don’t teach so much about the flow of the chi but teach recognition of the channels and effective points. Shiatsu or acupuncture applies pressure at these points for alleviating illness, and independently Thai Traditional Medicine (TTM) uses the notion of sen lines (Thai equivalent of chi) and so by massaging along these sen lines TTM doctors release illness.

For millenia in China and Thailand these medical systems based on the energy axiom have functioned. Then along came western medicine based on a particle or static view of understanding. This view started with the axiom that the human body is a static organism, and that if one experiments on this static body certain results happened. This led to a medicinal approach to recovery whereby the static illness is removed by applying medicine statically to relieve the illness – allopathic medicine. In China the two medicines run side-by-side, this fits in with the axiom that I put forward that there is an axiomatic duality of particle and energy. In Thailand the two medicines co-exist but not comfortably, and the majority of the medicine fits the western model.

But what is most significant is that the western model is not able to explain a significant portion of our diseases – the major ones, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s etc. None of these can be dealt with by static medicine. But energetically they can be explained. The human body is not static, energy continually renews the organs and if we provide our bodies with the appropriate energy to renew these organs we can cure illness. We can get our energy from the environment or we can get it from food. It could equally be argued that food is a static substance and the causal link between good food and regaining a healthy body has been recognised to be curative. This recognition sadly is only minority, and that minority look on as people suffer the awful indignity of a chemotherapy death whilst rejuvenated health is available through healthy food and lifestyle.

The axiom of new physics can be applied elsewhere, and health is a good example.

Where does Bruce fit into all of this? I contend that the gene could be considered a static component of the cell, the gene is a blueprint that does not change. But within a cell there are two components, the static component of the gene and the energetic component which Bruce describes as protein. Now the protein is what interacts with the signal, and the signal is energetic by nature – this doesn’t feel quite right

Lies and beliefs

Posted: 21/12/2013 by zandtao in Insight, ONE planet
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“Can you see the consequences of believing yourself? Believing yourself is one of the worst things you can do because you’ve been telling yourself lies your whole life, and if you believe all those lies, that’s why your dream isn’t a pleasant dream. If you believe what you tell yourself, you may use all those symbols that you learned to hurt yourself. Your personal dream may even be pure hell because believing in lies is how you create your own hell. If you’re suffering, it’s not because anybody is making you suffer; it’s because you obey the tyrant that’s ruling your head. When the tyrant obeys you, when there’s no longer a judge or a victim in your mind, you won’t be suffering any longer.”[p71] THe Fifth Agreement

One of the biggest problems on the Path is humility because the Path shows itself in a personal way heightening self-importance. Throughout life in general people are taught and seek agreement. Once the Path breaks through, then enquiry leads to breaking these system agreements, but often these agreements are replaced by other agreements.

The usual source of such agreements is some counter-culture guru or teacher, and one example, although there are many others, is David Icke. From being a system icon, a sports presenter, the Path opened him up and he became a counter-culture teacher. Over the years the number of people who agree with him has increased. However whilst he does present a great deal of healthy questioning, much of what he presents is a set of ideas. He tells people not to believe him, to find out for themselves, but he does not present them with the tools to doubt. The personal revolution that David Icke symbolises is not the ideas that he presents but the questions that he asks and the doubt that he throws on all the system agreements that we have all been spoon-fed.

But the beliefs and lie that we personally subject ourselves to are not just simply the beliefs and lies that society subjects us to through education and conditioning. Nor are they simply the beliefs and lies that counter-culture presents us with, they are any beliefs and lies that we hold to. This is a major danger on the Path.

Now the Path has major strength, it needs to have. Once the Path teaches you to doubt all the agreements you have been conditioned with, then there is a great possibility for conflict. This often starts with the family. Now the family tends to be a conservative structure. Whatever parents believe for themselves they don’t want to teach their children to be in conflict with society as there is a lot of hurt that way. There is also a tendency for parents to want their children to learn tools that will help them survive in society. Because so many people do not follow the Path, such social skills are often agreements that the Path conflicts with. And so your first source of conflict is your parents. Equally as children grow at some stage intuitively children reject what happens in society as what happens is so far from the Path. This rejection has different strengths in different people. In my own case I never voiced this rejection either socially or with my parents. Beginning in the sixth form but more at university this rejection voiced itself politically but I can only remember such awareness leading to arguments with my father. For most of that time my awareness resided in the bottom of a bottle.

Once the Path did rear its head, my rejection reared itself as anger against repression – repression at home and repression in society. Fortunately this anger was greatly subsumed by the circle of friends I developed at the time – through the Arts Centre, with whom I was able to discover more about myself and about the society I lived in. But I was still an angry young man, and I lived with and displayed that anger throughout my life.

This anger I felt justified with as it was deeply felt and was based on my Path conflicting with society. I often considered obnoxious aggressive behaviour was acceptable because I was right. Quite simply my Path was at the beginning stages, and I hadn’t developed compassion and insight. One idea I held to was that I was on the Path. Believing I was on the Path I didn’t question enough my behaviour allowing myself to be a drunk, to varying degrees, whilst “on the Path” for 12 years. Throughout that time my lack of questioning of my behaviour allowed itself to manifest as drunkenness, as my ego clung to the notion that I was on the Path so such behaviour didn’t matter. My ego was clinging to an idea, the idea that I was on the Path.

On reflection I was on the Path to a certain extent but my clinging led to a complacency my ego exploited – allowing me to be a drunk.

How can someone be a drunk on the Path? This can only be understood by understanding the relationship between Path, mind and ego. For me there came a point at which I realised I was on the Path, the realisation hit me and that was it. This is not some intellectual assessment based on reading the right dogma, or some other such mental trickery it is a realisation – often traumatic. The problem with discussing the Path is attempting to describe it. You know you are on the Path, it is a deep realisation, but other than this realisation there is no other way of describing it. And what makes this difficulty so much worse are the myriads of people who falsely claim they are on the Path, whether by misplaced desire or deceptive intention. Belief is a significant factor in this. Belief is intellectual. One’s faith is a set of ideas. I believe in the bible is just a statement that you accept the ideas and words that are written in the bible. Many people’s faiths come from a collective agreement in these ideas, and with these agreements come certain compelling forces – we must believe because everyone else does, we must believe because the priest tells us to, we must believe because good people believe, we believe and we get collective strength, we believe and we don’t have to question any more. For the majority of people a religion is the set of ideas that are agreed to and adhered to through these compelling forces. But for some this faith is more, it is the Path – aaggh I don’t know. It’s quite simple, I don’t know. I can read Eckhart Tolle or Neal Donald Walsch, and assuming that it is not fiction can know they are on the Path because the description of their experience is so similar. Of course I could be deluding myself.

The monk I read the most does not talk of the Path in this way, but to me he has stepped out of dogma and onto the Path. It feels real to me but again I could be deluding myself. How many religious people are on the Path? Like the monk I study, maybe some are. Saul on the road to Damascus became Saint Paul, born-again Christians occur, but how many of these have found a set of beliefs they adhere to passionately, and how many are on the Path. By their practice very few born-again are, they just sound like they want to be.

But what is this Path about and what is its relationship to mind? And the answer is Unity – Oneness. We grow in a world where we are educated to be separate. We are educated to see the individual self as the most important – I always saw education as self-realisation. This self is also a set of ideas that we believe in. We believe we should do this, we believe this is important, that is important, and the
result is that we create ideas that cause separation. Once we forget ideas, ideas as beliefs ideas as self, and work together as Unity then we can achieve happiness.

The mind is a tool, and this tool can be used to increase our happiness by working in Unity with Nature, or we can use that tool to create separation by allowing the process of ego to identify with ideas of self or ideas as belief. If we identify with ideas that means there is an other, a duality, those that identify with the ideas and those that don’t. Then there is the degree to which we identify with these ideas. These are my ideas, you must believe my ideas, if you don’t believe my ideas there is something wrong. Sometimes these ideas are concerning money and power, and when that money and power work alongside the ideas of self then we have those with power and those without. And we can have war if the ego and the false motivations are strong enough.

But fundamentally it stems from ideas, ideas that separate, ideas that we cling to and forget that the Path of Unity is all that matters.

The problem of ideas is so seductive to the ego especially if those ideas are your “own”. Even more difficult these ideas can be formed as a consequence of being on the Path. Because it is the Path we know the ideas to be truth. But they are not truth, they are a temporary manifestation of the Path. The Path mut formulate ideas in order to communicate, but once formed they are ideas. If they are held to as belief, no matter who has said them, they become divisive.

I used to hold this idea, I used to believe this, they are to a lesser or greater extent the problem. The Path is the Path is the Truth. As soon as we talk of something that we have learned from the Path, then it is an idea. Many ideas continue to be true through a long period of time such as our world is run by the corporatocracy, the 1%, for their own benefit. But in the end that is only an idea that will change.

As soon as we cling to an idea we restrict, both ourselves and others. Hey, that’s a good idea. Go with it, enjoy the idea, and move on the Path. Don’t cling, don’t hold on to the memory, don’t try to be the memory. Be fluid. Hold no agreements, just move on. As I am writing this it is true, but once written it is not true. You are reading this – maybe someone is, if this rings a bit true to you think about it, evaluate it, use your insight, does this hold true for you now? I hope so. But then forget it, and if the idea comes up again, ask the same question is this true now? It is not true always, no idea is. The Path is and understanding on the Path is gained through Insight and not through intellect, a tool of the mind.

Let go of the ideas.

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Mandtao, Matriellez.

4 Attentions

Posted: 14/09/2013 by zandtao in Insight
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In the second part of the 5th Agreement Don Ruiz discusses the 4 Attentions.


Dreaming without awareness. “The adults prepare us to be a part of our society, and I can say without a doubt that it’s a society ruled completely by lies. We learn to live in the same dream they live in; our faith gets trapped in the structure of that dream, and that dream becomes normal for us. But I don’t believe that they did this with any bad intention. ” [p76]. This lack of intention is prevalent throughout the work on 4 Agreements (and 5th), and this irritates me. Whilst the victims are not aware there are victims who are taking advantage of other victims. Using the description of society’s ethos as the corporate paradigm it is quite clear that there within the category of unaware people there are victimisers and victims. The people who are victimising might be equally unaware of the dream, but their intention is to exploit and that exploitation is still part of the dream. But the hurt they cause cannot be ignored simply because they are unaware of the dream process. Because someone is deluded in thinking that collecting fiat money in offshore bank accounts is meaningful, it dies not mean that this person is guilty of victimising, a victimising that includes wars. The hurt, death and destruction that are caused by the way they use their lies does not change because they are unaware. And if these victimisers were beginning to become aware through the 4 Agreements (5) then the damage they do would start to be reduced. But such an important part of life for those who are not aware of the dream should not be dismissed simply because the perpetrators are unaware of the dream. Compassion is part of the awareness that we are dreaming.

“If we had said, “No, thank you, I am already God,” we would still be living in Paradise, but we answered, “Yes, I want to be like God.”” [p79] I am not God, I am an integral part of Nature. This statement has the same worrying arrogance that was ACIM – A Course in Miracles. Tan Ajaan teaches Idapaccayata, that all is cause and effect, and he describes the “God” of Buddhism as Idapaccayata. No problem with this. If I didn’t have such an ego I would simply be part of Nature, part of the global cause and effect. There would be no dream in this ego-less state, quite simply how many people can say I am God without accruing some ego? There would be a constant change accepted through Insight – cause and effect. I don’t like this use of God, as I didn’t with ACIM – although in ACIM it seemed to me that belief in ourselves as being God was the source of power for miracles, such a risky state of mind especially for the arrogance of educated westerners.

However wanting to be like God is a worse state of mind, always searching. Doing the best you can isn’t searching, that appears to me to be the only valid use of perfection. Accepting who I am and doing the best I can with that, how perfect is that?

“Awareness is the key to coming back to life, and it’s one of the main masteries of the Toltec. Awareness takes you out of the dream of the first attention, into the dream of the second attention, where you rebel against all the lies that are ruling your head. You rebel, and the whole dream starts changing.” [p81]

Second Attention – Warriors:-

“Toltec call the dream of the second attention …. the dream of the warriors, because now we declare a war against all the lies in our knowledge [p83]”.

“Perhaps we no longer believe in Apollo, we no longer believe in Zeus, we no longer believe in Osiris; but we believe in justice, we believe in liberty, we believe in democracy. These are the names of the new gods. We give our power to these symbols, we take them to the realm of the gods, and we sacrifice our lives in the name of these gods [p83].” This is not acceptable as written. It is good that we forget traditional Gods – his use of the Greek myths, but the tone of this tends to dismiss justice, liberty and democracy. No dream is acceptable if there is no justice liberty or democracy within it, nor for that matter compassion etc. But it is not acceptable to hold these as belief systems. If we are using Insight – seeing the Truth, then there is justice freedom and democracy in the way we live, however if we take positions such libertarianism then we have a problem. Beliefs such as libertarianism create prisons for our Insight, barriers for communication as they become the castle walls to be defended at all costs – creating rhetoric dementia (Doris Lessing in the Shikasta novels), wriggling sophistry and often ludicrous positions – positions of idealism that hurt people in the name of the
ideals. If it is these belief systems that the Toltecs are referring to then there is no problem but Truth has justice liberty and democracy within it.

“Human sacrifice is happening all the time, all around the world, and we can see the result: We see violence, we see crime, we see jails full of people, we see war, we see the dream of hell in humanity because we believe in so many superstitions and distortions in our knowledge. Humans create wars, and we send our young to be sacrificed in those wars. Many times they don’t even know what they are fighting for. [p84]” When I first read his description of human sacrifice I didn’t grasp it, but this paragraph so wonderfully describes what happens as a consequence of the acceptance of the dream of the corporatocracy.

You might describe my use of corporatocracy as a belief system, it certainly appears to be so. The word corporatocracy is a description of a political system in which the rich in Big Business and Finance control the politicians to further enable their profits. But examine the social reality, is this not happening at the present moment in time? A moment later, examine it again, has this changed? At the time of the First World War was it a corporatocracy? Much less so. Powerful finance families (Rothschild, Rockefeller etc.) were in control but countries were much more central in their means of control as they fought for their cake in Africa. At the end of that war the finance families did not want to lose their profits so the peace treaties left Germany with some power. Between the wars finance capital bolstered business during Hitler’s rise to power, and during the Second World War these businesses benefitted through huge profits whilst human sacrifices abounded. Since the Second World War profits have accrued to these families, whilst various wars have been fought. Recent global financial catastrophe saw huge mismanagement of the banking system yet western governments gave away huge amounts of money to bolster the banking system under the pretence of “trickle-down capitalism” creating jobs, and those individuals in charge of the banking system simply took that money and put it in their own offshore accounts. This is corporatocracy evolving but it is simple – see the Truth of corporatocracy at this moment in time. But don’t hold to the word as a belief system, analysis must continually evolve the understanding – continually evaluate the Truth.

So why bother with this analysis as it risks becoming the dream of a victim? Because a warrior must examine the Truth of the society or world they live in. Failure to do this is failure to see all the Truth. Political ideals are a huge problem because when they are fixated they become belief systems, and hence a hindrance to our happiness, a hindrance to seeing the Truth. Using Insight to analyse is a permanent process, adhering to words like corporatocracy is not a problem so long as that adherence is a process of understanding. And if socially our world starts not to be controlled by Big Finance then our analysis must be ready to change its view of what is the Truth. Insight is essential for this and meditation can help with the seeing.

“The way to measure the impeccability of your word is by your emotional reaction. Are you happy or are you suffering? If you’re enjoying your dream or suffering your dream, it’s because you’re creating it that way. Yes, your parents, your religion, the schools, the government, the entire society helped you to create your dream, and it’s true that you never had a choice. But now you have a choice. You can create heaven, or you can create hell. Remember, both are states of mind that exist within you.[p85]” This is so important because it makes you responsible for your happiness. Of course the corporatocracy and everything else creates problems but you don’t have to internalise these problems, and especially you don’t have to make them problems for others. This is the Trots issue again; they rant and rage at everyone for not accepting their belief system – their dream. But they don’t have to impose on others, they don’t have to make others unhappy. Their knowledge can be beneficial because their understanding can help us break free of early conditioning, but the truth is if they are so unhappy why would anyone want to copy them? Instead of helping people break free, their ranting and raving has the opposite effect – alienation. Surely the measure of your control of the dream is your own happiness, if you are not happy where is the validity of your dream? Whilst it is evidently true of Trots, it is also true of others who want to impose belief systems. Some of the alternative belief systems produce happiness, even if that happiness appears “spacey”. But other alternatives just produce anger and frustration. In fact many of these political “alternatives” I agree with because once you start to question then the system pack of lies simply collapses leading to these “alternative” idea systems. But that collapse doesnt help you if it is not replaced with happiness, and doesn’t that happiness come from an internal acceptance of what is – Insight – in 4 Agreements terminology “seeing the Truth”? If not, how else do you get it? Does filling your head with ideas bring happiness?

“You start to realise that you are the artistic creator of your life. You are the one who creates the canvas, the paint, the paintbrush, and the art. You are the one who gives meaning to every stroke on the canvas of your life. You are the one who invests all your faith in your art. And you say, “The story I’m creating is beautiful, but I don’t believe it anymore. I don’t believe my story or anybody else’s story. I can see that it’s just art. [p88]” I don’t fully grasp this, or is it that I don’t agree? What do I agree with? I am the artistic creator of my life, for sure. I must take responsibility for everything that I do. Does that mean that my self creates – definitely not as self is not real. I am part of Nature and when self is not blocking that Nature creates the artwork. But it is an illusion because Nature creates it as a temporary dream for BillZ, the quality of that dream depends on how much self is in the dream. Can any dream be real? The dream of anatta? In other words, if there is any dream there is no anatta, no enlightenment, only increasing awareness as we pay attention to awakening from the dream and seeing the Truth. Because the dream is temporary it is not real – anicca. I don’t believe in it because I don’t believe in anything. It is in this life that I experience. I don’t believe it because I don’t grasp at what I do, what I experience I just get on with it. What I do is what I do, it is for me and that’s it. What is there to believe in? When I want something I establish a framework, a target, and this wanting causes problems; if I don’t want anything and just do that’s enough.

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Other blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Mandtao, Matriellez.

About Tags

Posted: 14/09/2013 by zandtao in Insight
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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.

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Other blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Mandtao, Matriellez.

More on 5th Agreement

Posted: 14/09/2013 by zandtao in Insight, ONE planet

Be sceptical, learn to listen – don’t believe.

The truth doesn’t need you to believe it; the truth simply is, and it survives whether you believe it or not. Lies need you to believe them. If you don’t believe lies, they don’t survive your skepticism, and they simply disappear.” [p68] (download) Lies disappear if you don’t believe them – I like that. I think this says something about rebirth but I am not sure, does it say rebirth disappears if you don’t believe it? There’s more to ask on that.

All of us tell lies in one way or another, and it’s not because we want to lie. It’s because of what we believe; it’s because of the symbols we learned, and the way we are applying all of those symbols. Once you are aware of this, the fifth agreement makes a lot of sense, and it can make a very big difference in your life.” [p68] (download). It can make a very big difference in your life. Stop believing, they are lies. Truth is beyond belief, it is an experience; it is. When you know something is true, that’s it – end of story; chi exists. But when you believe something your mind can take you all over the place. Inelia Benz? David Icke? Space Barbie? Where do you stop believing? Don’t believe any of it. If you have seen George Bush is a lizard then you don’t have to believe it, it is true. But don’t believe it because David Icke says so – no matter how much truth he says elsewhere. Control your mind, stop the imagination that can take you to all flights of fantasy. If it’s your experience that’s enough, imagination, fantasy and belief don’t matter.

Scepticism! Doubt, we have to unlearn all the conditioning – all the agreements we have made since we have been born. All of them including the acceptance that there is I. And even when we have begun to see through the lies we have to continue to be sceptical because the I that deludes us gets subtler. It deludes us by creating lies around the learning we have gained through unlearning. We have a magnificent bells and banjoes moment earlier in life, it rocks our world. That is brought on by scepticism – questioning. But then we cling to those bells and banjoes until very soon we have outgrown that learning and clinging to it becomes a lie. Don’t cling to the words, words are symbols. Be the truth that is beyond the words, remove the restrictions that the words of that earlier revelation have put on you to get nearer to being the truth.

It’s not about being right or wrong. You respect whatever somebody says because it’s another artist speaking. Respect is so important. When you learn to listen, you show respect for the other artists — you show respect for their art, for their creation” [p69] (download). I have always had a problem with “being right”, I especially remember being right in China. The manic depressive pipsqueak in charge there kept causing conflict. He was the boss doing it his way, and the other was education. There was conflict, he had the power, I lost. Even though in the end it turned out that I was proven right and he lost his job, he had already sacked me and they didn’t employ me seeing me as a loose cannon. Being right. But do I respect his manically-depressed dream? No. Why? Because he was not questioning, he was not trying to follow the Path. To respect there has to be at least an attempt to follow the Path, then you respect them and work with the Path process. But there is much in this world that is completely divorced from the Path where the dream of the majority of people has never been questioned. If by artist it could be meant that in some way the person was being creative – trying to follow their Path of creativity – then respect is appropriate. Judgement comes in when you make the call about creativity – about the process of following the Path.

This process of following the Path could be interpreted as recognising the dream. When you look at the dreams that people in this society have, you can see different attitudes with regards to this dream. Firstly there are people who have begun to awaken from the dream and you show them respect as they are trying to create their own reality – by following their Path. But for the majority there is the socially-accepted dream that people subscribe to. However I don’t consider all these people the same. For some they don’t see that they have subscribed to a dream, and they do the best they can. I would like these people to begin to awaken from the dream but at least they are not consciously living a lie. But there are far too many who are conscious they are living a lie. How many people subscribe to the dream that is the rat race even though they know that the rat race is harmful – it is just easier for them to be greedy than to face the reality within that dream that their compromise is hurting others. I note here that the people living the dream but doing the best they can are following the 4th agreement and that deserves respect. How are those people doing in relationship to the other agreements?

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Other blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Mandtao, Matriellez.

Discussing the 5th agreement and anatta ….more on Buddhadasa page

Blogs:- Zandtao, Mandtao, Matriellez.

Bouncing off Adyashanti. Enquiry….more on Buddhadasa page

Blogs:- Zandtao, Mandtao, Matriellez.

I woke up a bit depressed, …. and then the sleep was disturbed by the kilesa. Was I depressed? ….more

Has been significantly revised here.


I was going through in my mind how I would recommend someone at the beach to live – just as one does. Now the Four Agreements (Appendix D) is excellent on how one responds to what people and society throw at you, but in many ways the 4 Agreements does not guide us on how we deal with ourselves. What stops us from doing good and behaving well is an internal matter, and the good practice of the 4 Agreements requires an internal personal change, but it does not expressly say how to do it. The 4 Noble Truths does so I am writing this – a beach guide to the 4 Noble Truths, to be read in combination with the Four Agreements.

Now before you can do anything on this stuff you need to meditate – this is part of magga (Appendix B) – there might be some people around whose minds are naturally in harmony with Nature but for the rest of us …. To describe what to do in meditation is easy, to do it and learn from it is hard. Here is the description the hard part is up to you:-

1) Meditate twice a day – when you get up and before you eat after you get in from the day – work. Make this a daily routine.
2) Always try to increase the time you meditate. When you begin it might be very hard – but even two minutes at the beginning is good. Sit, allot your time, and stick to it. When 2 minutes is easy, increase to 3, 5, 10, 15 etc. But whatever time you set stick to it – an alarm helps for this.
3) Posture – don’t get hung up about posture but some are better than others. It is definitely important to keep your back straight whether sitting in lotus or sitting on a table chair. Back straight.
4) Breath – All you have to do in meditation is follow your breath. When you breathe in – from the tip of your nose – wherever, down deep into your stomach and then up and out again; just follow your breath. That’s the technique of meditation – that’s all it is.
5) Distractions – ha ha, here’s the problem. It sounds easy and it is not – it is very hard. Sitting for 2 minutes at the beginning and trying to follow your breath can be difficult. What happens – your mind wanders. It starts thinking about something else. If you see that happening, gently stop the mind wandering and bring it back to following the breath. Noise on the street, gently stop wandering and bring it back to the breath.
6) Excuses – I could have included this in 5) because excuses are just more rational forms of distractions. There are no excuses. Meditate and ignore those excuses. They will always be there no matter how long you have meditated, they just become more subtle. The mind tricks you, distracts you and makes up excuses, all to stop you from meditating. You must train the mind, that is what meditation does.

And if you meditate, follow the 4 Noble Truths and carry out the 4 Agreements, you are happy. That’s it. Simple!! No it isn’t, but it is simple to describe.

Getting on with it

Are you meditating? No. Then you are wasting your time reading this, and even though Don Miguel Ruiz doesn’t say this, I would also suggest you are wasting your time with 4 Agreements; you need to be training and controlling your mind. I don’t know whether I will be a reinforcing pedagogue and keep returning to this point but if I don’t, it is a proviso throughout your life – are you meditating?

Now to the 4 Noble Truths. Great people have written about them, I have listed HHDL’s book [B1] and Ajahn Sumedho’s book [B2] in the bibliography to this post. Both good books. But this is a beach guide, and by a beach guide I want one thing for sure – no dogma. In the appendices you can find dogma, and you can follow the dogma to find references along with the books which can all be very helpful. But dogma sucks without understanding, and beach people don’t want to sit and talk about dogma. But if you are a serious truth-seeking beach person then you actually want to do something – OK most beach people are not serious. But do you want dogma? No. Is dogma necessary? Mostly no. Dogma can help on the way to understanding but far too often people get hung up on dogma and don’t make it to the understanding – and this includes some who wear robes. Dogma is an institutional problem and serious beach people have rejected institutions for sand sea and Nature.

OK, desire. The 4NT is about desire, life is about desire. And we don’t deal with it. Men think with their dicks, this is desire. The 1% screw the world and destroy our planet, they are addicted to desire. On a personal level it is all about desire. And what do we do about it? We say, if I want it I must go out and get it. This desire gets hidden in all kinds of nice words like career, ambition, supporting the family, and many mental subterfuges but basically we want something and that leads us – thinking with our dicks. Life would be so much more pleasant if we had few desires, could fulfil them and we were happy with doing that. For me this is the 4NT. And the key to understanding this is that we are happy doing it, not pretending to be happy but actually being happy. And what do beach people desire? To be happy.

As with all of this to describe how to do it is easy – few desires, fulfilling them and being happy doing it. But the practice is far from easy, it is a lifelong struggle. But the thing in that struggle is that if you don’t get hung up about it it is fun. If you don’t force it, it is fun. One problem with some of the beach people is that they get drunk on the beach, and then they tell me I am bored because I don’t get drunk, don’t chase women and the usual stuff. When they start that it my cue to leave, but last week I met a better one of these beach drunks who had got blotto for two days at a leaving party, and then spent the next two days sitting on the beach feeling sorry for himself. For two days he wasn’t there lost in drink, and for two days he was too ill to enjoy being there in Nature’s beauty; I apologised to him when I laughed a bit. For me these were just a normal 4 days of happiness trying to do the best I can (4th Agreement).

If you can accept this – few desires, fulfilling them and being happy doing it, then the real question is how do you do it? Again there is a simple answer – the 4th NT Magga. But I don’t want to go there, because this magga tends to get wrapped up in dogma. Now magga means Path so Path is clearly an answer to “how do you do it?” But what is this Path? In the intro I talked about the most important part of the Path – meditation. Moving on from there I want to consider desire.

All around us there are stimuli that bring up desire. Luckily for me at my beach there are few bikinis. Assuming that a bikini arouses a sexual desire in you, do you immediately go up to the woman and ask for sex? Some of the drunks do!! No, such a request would be gross. But a woman in bikini can still cause arousal in men even if they don’t act on it. The better drunks don’t go up and ask but they do notice and their arousal leads to frustration especially if they talk about it. So the desire causes a problem – unhappiness. The drunks became attached to their desire and this led to frustration and unhappiness.

Now I have no complete answer to the bikini problem. I enjoy the beach, the swimming, the rays, being in Nature, the books I read – whatever, so I am not continually distracted by the bikini. But it is a distraction, it is a desire and if I am not comfortable with it it can cause unhappiness. But basically my suffering ceases when I am not attached to the desire – 3rd Noble Truth. And what is the cause of that suffering? The desire in the first place – 2nd Noble Truth.

Much of the male problems associated with the bikini comes from fantasy – not all but most. I am not sure what the particular fantasies are but they are unreal. Let me go with one such fantasy. You see the bikini, go up and talk to her. After a while you find that she is your cosmic other, you go for a swim, find somewhere secluded, and make passionate love. This love will last for two or three days, and you will both say to each other that this love has been totally wonderful but it is time to move on gracefully. And part happily.

Get real, this is a movie. The bikini is just that – an object, you are not thinking about the fact that it is another person, a woman who has her own needs and desires. It is a fantasy, and when you cannot live life according to that fantasy you become frustrated and dissatisfied – you are not happy. So forget the fantasy, forget the illusion, when the desire naturally happens, notice it, and forget it. Nothing can happen, and let it go. What we attach to the image of a woman in a bikini the attachment is just that – attachment to desire, and creates nothing but unhappiness. I smile, this is now a literal beach guide – how to follow the 4NT on the beach.

There is another fantasy here in Thailand that is laughable if it didn’t have so many sad consequences. Thailand’s government has written laws that make prostitution apparently less perilous for the johns, and as a result many tourists are attracted to the beautiful women in the bars and some beaches of Thailand – luckily not the beach I go to. Older men turn up at these tourist traps, fall for the charms of these prostitutes, and travel round Thailand supposedly as a couple. However the desires of these men turn from the financial transaction of paying for sex into a relationship that they then fantasise as meaning far more. Thailand has a very good property anti-speculation law. Buying land and building a house is comparatively cheaper in Thailand so the government legislates that only Thai people can own land – there are small exceptions. So what do these fantasising men do? They buy the land and build a house putting the deeds in the name of the prostitute. And what happens then? The prostitute leaves with the deeds, and the man ends up on the beach drowning his sorrows blaming Thai women and not his own stupidity. Thai society in general is very conservative, and the activities of those involved around the prostitution are generally frowned upon by majority Thai society – but there is sufficient profits being made from the tourists that the laws are not changed. Now I don’t excuse prostitution but surely attaching to this sort of fantasy is foolish, how can it not lead to unhappiness?

But this beach guide doesn’t end on the beach. What about the desires we create around ourselves in our daily lives? Ambition and career, for example. Is it any different? Yes. Money. How many people would do the job they do if they weren’t paid? Very few. We work for money. Why? For most men and women the answer is to feed the family. We answer this question in a way that describes the work ethic as honourable, and there are not many more honourable things than taking good care of the family. But how honest are we in answering that question? And that honesty is at the very core of our personal and social problems.

Let’s examine the personal issue first. This can be considered in terms of the words – needs and desires. What do families need? And what do families desire? There are many desires that come into play, desires that are not requirements – not needs. House and contents – are these minimal? Should they be minimal? Is our house a measure of status, image, desire? What do we provide our children? Is it what we think they need or is it governed by the latest fashion in which trends become needs? Do we provide for our children sufficiently in terms of love and nurture, or do we give them the latest trend gadget because it keeps them off our backs when we are tired? And when work comes into the home like this, are we teaching our children the best morals when tiredness governs the quality of a child’s life? Do we teach children manipulation to wait for your tiredness? On a personal level our work enters our home affecting the way we live, the way we bring up the children, and yet our rationale for working is “feed the family”.

Our desires interact with our work, as we let our desires associated with the home and family create a greater dependence on money, and the greater our need to earn money develops ambition and careerism that brings with it its own negativity. Instead of controlling our desires it becomes easier to perceive our desires as the need to earn more money, a need which is in general considered socially acceptable.

So what happens to this desire to earn more money in the workplace? It becomes used as a tool for wage slavery. Whey, hold on there. That’s a bit strong – wage slavery. So I ask the question again, would you do the job you are doing if you were not paid? Now I take that question further. Do you do things in your job that you don’t agree with? How many compromises do you make every day? Do you choose these compromises? So when we go to work we might accept that we have to do a job as wage slavery, but then we start to think about it more and we are paid to compromise. Our desires force us into a compromise.

Now where do these compromises take us? Ask whistleblowers. The consciences of these brave people have forced them to stand up and decry the compromises they have had to make. And for each whistleblower denouncing the compromise, how many more people accept these compromises as part of their wage slavery? Because this number is way more than a simple majority we all console each other that the compromises that come with wage slavery are just “business as usual” whereas in reality our desires take us into compromise – and are we sure that we need that compromise? What are these whistleblowers blowing on about? Government breaking their own rules to give huge private contracts in Iraq – Thomas Drake, Annie Machon British Defence policy, Bradley Manning (allegedly) leaking footage of US atrocities, Pharma whistleblowers talking about the drugs industry damaging our health etc. These compromises in wage slavery are what are damaging our planet and the quality of our life. The 1% don’t tell us to get up and shoot Iraqis, sell harmful drugs, give vested big business huge contracts, they create the conditions where the compromises made in wage slavery lead to these actions. The 1% control us through compromise, and why do we compromise? Because we want more money, and why do we want more money? To satisfy increased personal desires. And are those desires necessary to feed the family? We delude ourselves that they are.

Attachment to our desires force us to compromise, and this compromise is a major cause of suffering. What would happen if we did not attach to those unnecessary desires? We go to work to do our job knowing that we haven’t got to earn that extra money. This means that when the inevitable compromise is forced on us we can decline – not always but mostly. And if there are innumerable compromises then we can choose to leave that work. And if we cannot find suitable work we can work for ourselves, produce our own items for sale to feed our family. And when the children come home with their fashionable demands we have the time to say no and explain why. And our children grow up with a better morality.

So by not attaching to desires we introduce greater happiness in our lives by having fewer desires – the needs of our family, devoting ourselves to genuine concern for the family, and bringing our children up in a happier environment. If we control our own earning maybe we can live near a beach where the children can go every day and love Nature. Watching the children playing at the beach is one way of not attaching to desire.

It is not the desire itself that is the issue. Once we become attached there are all kinds of issues that follow on, our desires lead to compromise in the workplace, and that compromise is the basis of 1% control. So sit back, examine your desires and see how necessary they really are, and if they are not don’t attach to them and watch the happiness develop. And here’s a nice little pep-up. Once you see these desires for what they are and say no, life starts to clear up. There are not huge complicated scenarios requiring compromise and manipulation, there are simple decisions to attach to desire or not. And how does that affect our relationships? Here we can consider the 4 Agreements. Through meditation and detachment from desire we can focus on the 4 Agreements, we always do the best we can because we are not always striving for compromises that our desires have brought about.

As a teacher I always tried to do the best I could. At times I felt angry because I could never be Head, I could never earn more money. Towards the end of my career I was always happy in the classroom, but outside made me more and more angry. By the end of my career I had decided that teaching in the classroom was enough, and I was so lucky to be able to teach because when you focus on that the children enjoy your relationship and many more make an effort to learn. But when you get out of the classroom you enter the world of politics, both personal and the 1%. On a personal level there are many teachers who are not satisfied with teaching in the classroom. For some this is because their desires force them to be ambitious to earn more money, and for others they quite simply enjoy the power that can come from being in charge. Either way these desires damage the education quality of the institution.

But much more drastic is the impact of the 1%. Now the 1% screw up society from all angles but here I will just address the issue of education. Now fundamentally the 1% require a continuation of the status quo – wage slavery and acceptance of the existing structure. They achieve this by preventing teachers from genuinely educating. Once the teachers exhibit desire they control their ambition and keep them compliant. Teachers want to educate but they are forced into an exam system that creates failures desperate for a job and successes who tow the 1% line. The 1% system is more powerful than the individual desires to educate. For me this system always caused suffering as I always wanted to do more to educate. In truth I didn’t always cope with this well. I desired to confront and change the system, and this particular desire did not bring me happiness. There is a tightrope balance that I never walked although I recognised it sometimes. Teach, doing that was enjoyable – not always but often enough. Beyond the teaching in the classroom there was the suffering that the 1% created. They required this system of failure, they required compromises from teachers with their own desires, and their system with the compromises created suffering. When I chose not to attach to my desires there was some happiness in teaching.

For me this is what is meant by the first NT. There is suffering around in the system. Now the 1% weren’t around at the time of the Buddha, and he spoke of birth, ageing and death and the suffering inherent in this. But when there is suffering created by the political system you are in, it is still suffering. And the 4NT still apply. When you minimise your desires that system has less control of you. It cannot compromise you. You choose, you have your control, and your happiness. And in the final analysis it is the addiction of the 1% to their money and power which creates the system we are in, it is their desires that are their problem, and their power makes it ours.

So this is the beach guide to three of the 4NT. It is all about desire and how much we give into it. I hope that you can see that minimising these desires yet fulfilling the needs brings happiness. But this doesn’t work if we are into self-flagellation, or what in the Buddha’s time was called asceticism. Even if beach people said they were not going to be hedonistic, very quickly that would change. The drinker remorseful in pain after two days heavy-drinking was back drinking again a couple of weeks later. He didn’t want to change. At the time when I was ribbing up he envied my happiness, but he starts again. He is not in control of his mind and so he cannot use his mind to control his desires. The key to happiness is not attaching to the desires in the first place, and that means discerning between desires as needs and desires as mental constructions that we don’t need. Once we recognise what we need, and fulfil those needs, and we don’t want the other desires we are on the Path to Happiness.

So how do beach people minimise or control desire? Clearly the mind has to be more in control to start controlling desires, and meditation is the key to this. As I said at the beginning, if you’re not willing to meditate don’t read this, you are wasting your time. So once you are learning to control your mind through meditation, the next step is to control your lifestyle. OK beach people, so you go to the beach and on the beach is a nymphomaniac convention of girls in bikinis. OK that is a chauvinist fantasy joke, but don’t put yourself in the way of desire unnecessarily. However that is not enough. Do we still have desires if we are in a monastery? Yes and no. Yes there is still the desire but it becomes less and less because there is not the temptation. No, because you are still a human being with human needs. If we live an immoral life then our lifestyles are immoral and we do immoral acts. And even better, as we live a life in which we are not always chasing after desires then those desires start to disappear – not altogether they effectively and gradually minimise. So we have the 4th NT – magga. By considering these 8 attributes of the Path and what they individually mean for ourselves we effectively change our minds so that mind becomes more amenable to a life in which we are less controlled by desire. The attributes of Right Honesty, Right Speech and Right Livelihood are often grouped together into what is called sila – moral integrity. As you follow the Path this sila becomes stronger, maybe in a similar way that some religions call soul. To be perfectly frank, beach people, if you do not accept sila as a lifestyle then this stuff is pretty much a waste of time for you as well. Morality and desire often complement each other, or at the very least it is desire that sharpens the steel of sila. Giving in to desire often produces an immoral act, but if that doesn’t matter to you then you have lost one of your major benchmarks of control. If you look at the bikini on the beach and see her with a 6 foot 6 bouncer, then Nature has provided a means of control of your desire. If you do not see that sleeping with your neighbour – a married woman with children – while she is wearing that bikini, then controlling your desire is that much harder.

As I said earlier on I don’t want to focus too much on Magga – the 8-fold path, because it can become wrapped up in dogma, so I want to turn to the 4 Agreements. I like these because they describe a non-dogmatic Path (Appendix D). The book by Don Miguel Ruiz opens with a consideration of the meaning of Agreement, and I want to consider that here briefly – he has more detail and does it far better. Basically as soon as we come out of the womb we come under pressure to conform. Through instinctual love we learn to conduct ourselves the way our parents conduct themselves, we agree to follow them. Through school and into adult life we accept what society and our peers tell us to accept, we agree to do what they do. What the 4 Agreements do is to undermine that dogmatic acceptance. By following these 4 we question how we relate so that it is not through pressure but through understanding and genuine internal agreement that we act. From our meditation we learn to control our desires and through our practice on a Path such as the 8-Fold Path or the 4 Agreements, we develop minds that are constantly questioning and are not being pulled one way or the other by desire. Here lies happiness.

Appendix A:-

The three tenets of Zandtao are:-

Improving the mind

Harmonising our energy

Taking care of our bodies

For a more complete understanding of the Zandtao approach to life you can read the Treatise.

Appendix B:-

4 Noble Truths – a translation-

There is suffering – Dukkha
All suffering is caused by desire – Samudaya
We can cease our suffering by releasing our attachment to desire – Nirodha
Magga – 8-Fold Path is a way of life that can end suffering:-
Right View
Right Intention
Right Honesty
Right Speech
Right Livelihood
Right Determination
Right Mindfulness
Right Insight

Appendix C

Here is a Buddhist reference with links:-

The core of the Buddhist teaching is the Four Noble Truths: There is suffering. There is a cause to suffering. There is an end to suffering. The is a path out of suffering (the Noble 8-fold path).

1. The Reality of Suffering–dukkha
2. The Cause of Suffering–samudaya
3. The Cessation of Suffering–nirodha
4. The Path to the Cessation of Suffering–magga

Appendix D – 4 Agreements

Be impeccable with your word.
Don’t take anything personally.
Don’t make assumptions.
Always do the best you can.


[B1] The Four Noble Truths HH Dalai Lama
Harper Collins 1997 ISBN 81-72230551-8

[B2] The Four Noble Truths Venerable Ajah Sumedho
Free distribution from Amaravati Publications,
Amaravati Buddhist Monastery,
Great Gaddesden
Hemel Hampstead
Hertfordshire HP1 3BZ