Getting Rid of the Buddha

“The Void needs no reliance; Mahamudra rests on naught.
Without making an effort, but remaining natural,
One can break the yoke thus gaining liberation.

If one looks for naught when staring into space;
If with the mind one then observes the mind;
One destroys distinctions and reaches Buddhahood.
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About Mahamudra
Above is a small excerpt from the Song of Mahamudra by Tilopa. In the West people are familiar with the Tao Te Ching, the Bhagavad Gita, the Dhammapada and a handful of other texts from the East that inspire them to step into foreverness.  Unless someone has a strong relationship with Buddhism, in particular the Kagyu linage they may not have heard of the Song of Mahamudra and the name Tilopa would be meaningless. There are numerous stories about Tilopa that vaguely outline his life but as usual like with most Teachers or Sages the details are sometimes not overly relevant, scholars could argue for years about ‘information correctness’.  If we are serious about Spirituality we will be interested in transformation. That is what Tilopa’s goal is about, what lives on is a loose map of his experience to create a doorway for others to step into. His student Naropa is a much more familiar name to many and then there was Milarepa .
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Tilopa
Generally if I was to discuss Tilopa and his work I could make it very brief and say one short statement from his Song of Mahamudra that would clearly define his perspective, “Naropa, although it cannot be said, I will say it for you.”  This is my loose translation but it embodies the essence, the indefinable is outside the ‘ known’ and the framework of thought.  I will dig in and unpack more of his often misunderstood approach that is hidden within dogma and wisdom.  In truth Tilopa was a Jnani, the word Jnana is often translated as knowledge, this translation is incorrect in this context, Jnana is more about
experience than information.
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Tilopa was Indian not Tibetan, although he was an advanced Buddhist scholar in his earlier years in Bengal his understandings and depth of experience were way outside what would these days would be considered mainstream Buddhist thought. Although it is not referred to in texts about his work because of his relationship to Buddhism, he was what we would call a non dualist, his perspective was closer to Advaita than anything else, his experience and understanding of Emptiness and the Void eclipses what is presented in mainstream Buddhism. This is in no way a criticism of Buddhism or implying there is a limitation, what I am doing here is breaking the ‘box’ open and going past the surface.  Some may disagree, this is not a concern for me as I know this subject from the ‘inside’ and I don’t have a problem saying that some people are slaves to dogma and it gets in the way as they try and squeeze everything into their belief system.  Tilopa was not about dogma, that came later after he passed over/through; he was interested in removing the dogma that surrounds Advaita and creating a doorway for others to pass through, the fact that it comes under Buddhism is incidental. I will also clarify and this will be in contradiction to some pundits, Advaita is not about philosophy, it is about experience.
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Let’s Go There
The wonderful Sage Jiddu Krishnamurthi once said, ‘you must become nothing‘.  These words are nestled in one of his lectures.  And this is where the Maha Siddha Tilopa and Krishnamurthi meet. A core aspect of Krishnamurti’s work was about undoing dogma, tradition and social conditioning.
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Emptiness is something we often hear about in Buddhism, this Emptiness in certain cases equates with what some of us call the Void, the Silence or Nothingness. Currently, we live in a world where things are valued, if we wanted to name the age we live in it could quite comfortably be called the Age of Obsession, as well as Self Obsession or to coin a new phrase the Age of Attachment to Stuff… let’s dig in and explore a little .
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The World Around
The chaos of life rings and hums all around us, music that resembles ‘filler’, something which often is a product that has very little meaning, it is really just a distraction to make people absent, it adds extra noise to what’s going.  Lots of objects taking up SPACE, information about nothing in particular, academics theorising, philosophers looking smart but really just throwing their opinion into the mix, pride in their words and loving their mirror reflection.  The world we move in is a maze, a mousetrap, a labyrinth, that’s not a problem and although many people on the Spiritual path think we need to escape, I am not in a hurry to run, we can become its slave or master.  Instead of running I will let everything around rise and fall, the relation to space is something that needs attention.
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Fleeting Moments
The world is not solid.  People assume it is, the evidence is if we run head on straight into a bus stop pole, we may cause serious damage; we could call up numerous examples that confirm the world is solid. The world has rules, nature has guidelines that objects generally adhere to… but when we look closely, things come and go, they appear on the stage temporarily, some for thousands of years, they are not permanent. By observing  and understanding the depth of and importance of impermanence comes freedom.  Objects and that includes the bodies people inhabit are constantly being recreated, there is a ‘molecule shuffle’ going on, a refresh every moment. Emptiness is the constant, like a canvas or the silence that allows music notes to breath.
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Buddha and the Mousetrap
Although it may be an uncomfortable thought, it is worth considering going past the Buddha, by saying this I am not being disrespectful.  The Buddha and the teachings in the end are a noose, they are a comfortable place to be in for a period of time, it’s like stopping and pitching a tent as you pass through the desert to seek shelter for the night, a resting place for your camel.  But if you stay too long, nothing changes and you become caught in a maze, it might be a beautiful and enchanting and SAFE but it’s the Buddhist maze and the observer/experiencer of the dream is much bigger than that.
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Mahamudra although it is a word that has been given numerous meanings, it is something that encompasses and includes ‘totality of things’ it is really ‘that which perceives’.  If I was to say it is a WAY of SEEING, it would be partially correct but could be misinterpreted, if I were to define it as a process, Mahamudra is more about the moving of ones awareness.  The real issue is thought, thought is the problem, thought is like a fabric that wraps around things and hides what’s outside it or inside it, thought works like weeds wrapping around a tree that eventually strangles it, thought is a network that imprisons man.

Tilopa tells us
“Without making an effort, but remaining natural,

One can break the yoke thus gaining liberation.”

This snippet of brilliance is contradictory to most teachings.  People want to do something and think they have to, there is an understanding that they need to go through a series of steps to reach the goal.  People are educated to achieve, to be more, to score a lot of points and be acceptable to God, it is a classroom mentality.  However, Wisdom comes by extraction, experience leads to Wisdom; there is an over obsession on being good, religious people can be very ugly with their guilt and judgement of others.  Lao Tse’s Tao Te Ching reminds humanity to be natural, to see what polarity does. Tilopa is closer to Lao Tse.

What people don’t understand is LIBERATION is the BEGINNING not the end.

The eye of wisdom pierces the veil of Maya
“Don’t do anything” says Tilopa

Taking the wriggles out of nature brings ugliness
Adding to oneself creates a sense of loss and unnecessary seeking

Lao Tse prefers to live by the River
Buddha is long gone, his people are attached to ending suffering
The Void remains the same, Emptiness is full to the brim

Tilopa 2.0

The Fourth Noble Truth

At the core of Buddhist Teachings there are some tenets that are called the Four Noble Truths. Although it may seem an unusual perception to some Buddhists, I see each one of the Noble Truths as complete within themselves and a doorway to transformation.

* I have written on the first three already and will add a link at the bottom of this article.
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According to most Buddhists the Fourth Noble Truth relates to the PATH.  For this article I have borrowed some Buddhist text that seems to clearly define the modern understanding of the Fourth Noble Truth reasonably well.  In this article I will dig in and explore whether it is a great Truth, a real guideline for transformation or a control program used by those who wish to enslave humanity and add members to their club and dress them in their religious uniforms with a few added bangles, beads and statues.  If we don’t rip the Teachings apart and put them under the microscope we could end up wasting our lives and become a slave to dogma, renounce our family and friends thinking that ‘we know’ and they are ignorant and don’t understand.
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Overview of the Fourth Noble Truth
“This path leads to the end of all suffering, if we avoid harming all other living beings, if we sharpen and focus our mind, and if we gain wisdom, each of us can reach perfect happiness, the end of all misery. The way to end suffering is to follow the Noble Eightfold Path namely:
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Right Understanding, Right Thought
, Right Speech
, Right Action
, Right Livelihood, Right Effort
, Right Mindfulness
, Right Concentration”

Looking at the above that includes the Noble Eightfold Path, it seems reasonable at a glance, well intentioned, practical and useable in life.  However, I’ll jump straight out of the box and flip it around and bypass the End of Suffering for now. I have an inbuilt program that always says if there is something happening at the end, better check out the starting point, so let’s go to the BEGINNING of Suffering.  What causes this thing that we are all so scared of? It cripples us, people do the most outrageous things due to suffering? We know from experience that when it all becomes too unbearable people my harm themselves or even exit the planet.
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Where Does Suffering Come From
If we look at all suffering, if it’s not physical pain we are feeling then it obviously relates to the mind.
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When I look at the nature of the mind, the mind is essentially Empty, an empty canvas but it is populated at regular intervals by visitors, when I say visitors I mean ‘thoughts’, they come and go and by nature we cling to some of them.
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When I poke around a little further I see that it is not just thought, thought by itself is like words in a book in a library waiting to be read.  This issue is our relationship with thought.
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When I dig further I see it is the way that I or we get caught in thought that is the problem, we attach to it.  Attachment to is a word we will often see when commentators discuss Buddhism, the wise and also the slaves of dogma use it. This is quite simple really, if attachment to thought is the problem, we need to find ways of disentangling from it.
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Thought rises and falls.  A very wise man once said to me, “where there is pain there is clinging”.  This is as bright as the full moon on clear starry night.  This is our quest, to work out a way to detach from thought as it rises in the mind-space.
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Harming Others Harms Us
The Fourth Noble Truth reminds us not to harm others, I like this, all reasonably sane would people love and respect this attitude. We are interconnected, our air, our water, the sun, the fabric that holds the Universes in form is joined together, we move on and in it and we are bound Mother Earth, she shares her fruits with us, we can be part of her beauty or if we live carelessly, in time she will shake her garment and we will experience her very uncomfortable response to it.
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Clarity
“If we sharpen and focus our mind”, I like this, when I read it I know I am on my home turf, safe ground and am not being led into a delusional concept, the underlying idea is for my awareness to look clearly at what is going on.  Many people are lazy in their thinking, garbage from the world around pours in from television sand movies, ads, screens, low quality food, intoxicants, people talking nonsense, examples of hedonism around us that create a sense of what is normal behaviour, intoxicants, just keep shoving it all in to the point where the mind-space is like a windscreen covered in mud, can’t see out and all you have to work with is what’s in the automobile, you can’t see out and have no idea where you are headed, chances are it’s going to be a wreck sooner or later.
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The ‘W’- word 
“If we gain Wisdom”, that makes me giggle, I will withhold the belly-laugh as a courtesy.  Wisdom is something that does not come cheaply.  No book will give it to you, if you are fortunate you may get a hint from someone who has ‘walked-through’ into forever, you can’t get it from prayers … they may help bring life into order and a sense of positive trust may arise. There are a lot of gurus, monks and teachers who will always SAY they could deliver for you, but that’s not real, it’s not YOUIRS, there is a price to pay, your time, your money and even your freedom.  Wisdom arrives from experiencing life, this is no great revelation, the non-religious will know it better than the Sadhaks (spiritual aspirants).  Sadhaks have the ‘elephant in the room’ in the way, the very things they are doing or believe are the things that obstruct the view and are what prevents transformation.  I am not saying that Spiritual practice is useless, I am inferring that eventually it must go, beyond any doubt the elephant of Spirituality blocks the view.
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The impression in the mind of ‘what it is’, ‘what’s on the other side’, ‘what the goal is’ is in essence the problem, what humanity is seeking is not graspable by thought; how can I state this any more clearly?  This IS the PROBLEM. Wisdom comes from doing the hard yards, digging in, facing life’s challenges and using THEM as the doorway.  And I am not using the Christian ‘pick up your cross and follow me’ approach when I say ‘hard yards’; I am saying people need to get uncomfortable, be pushed beyond the limits, BREAK,  go outside the safety zone; if someone doesn’t they will just be a slave to social consciousness.  Social consciousness and freedom are polar opposites, well not really opposites, they hate each other (joke). Freedom is in emptiness, non-clinging, whereas social Consciousness is about the ‘story of the world’.  The story of the world does not allow the unknown, the impossible, it holds everyone prisoner and says, “you are bound by my rules”.  Wisdom comes to those who dare to step out of the world.
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Slaves of the world always say, “I will never know”, they create their own thought prison and limitations.  They assume because they see the unknown as a challenge and unknowable, that nobody else is capable of making Known the Unknown. Wisdom is not static, it unfolds moment to moment, like a flower; it moves like a kaleidoscope it responds and makes decisions on the fly, it is a living intelligence. It is not a bundle of ‘truths’, information or practices, it’s alive.
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“Each of us can reach perfect happiness”, sounds good, people have a sigh of relief, hope for the hopeless, water for the thirsty.  Let’s turn this on its head.  If we are not vigilant we will lie down.  Not all but many of the Sages were great warriors, both in the world and they also fought the battle within. When people get a PROMISE of FUTURE HAPPINESS, it’s really a warning, sure you might get happiness but it must be NOW.  Freedom is NOW. Reaching, reaching, always seeking fulfilment at some stage Utopia, Valhalla, the Kingdom of Heaven, the Mystical Promised Land.  Any desire for it IS the obstacle.  It creates the separateness, a sense of unworthiness, the concept of imperfection. I’m not making this up.  This is true.
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And End the of All Misery
They tell us, “The way to end suffering is to follow the Noble Eightfold Path namely:
Right Understanding, Right Thought
, Right Speech
, Right Action
, Right Livelihood, Right Effort
, Right Mindfulness
, Right Concentration.”

And there at a glance seems to lie the solution and as many of us know within a solution there possibly also is the problem.   When there are a lot of ‘rights’, suddenly with it comes the ‘wrongs’, if we are not cautious we can end up living unnaturally.  What I do like about Buddhism is it is often referred to as the Middle Way.  It implies moderation, keeping a balance between indulgence and abstinence;  like people on a Macrobiotic Food Diet, eating from the middle of the food range, a stable diet MAY lead to a balanced mind-space, clearer thinking and by this I mean not getting pushed around too much by the ups and downs of life, I do not imply not having feelings. And I am NOT confusing feelings with emotions.
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Too Tight Too Loose
There is an old expression about a string needing to be the right tension, if it’s too loose its an issue, if it’s too tight it will snap. The tightness and the RIGHT-NESS is where the power mongers come in, this is where they enslave.  Traditionally nearly all communities hold people prisoner, it’s not intentional it’s just the way societies work, ‘what’s normal’ is a subconscious program. When kids are born, immediately the world takes shape, their opinion is being formed.  The real issue is in most cultures there are power-monsters, religions are in bed with governments, sometimes literally.  Those who dominate politics have their hands in the pockets of the money men and the three way relationship is completed by the religious ‘elite’.  Not always, there are great Buddhists, humble, sincere, kind, they live their teachings, are they free? In most cases NO, don’t kid yourself. It comes down to whether you want to be educated by good religious men or free men and women.  This is a question any sincere Spiritual aspirant needs to ask. A good religious or spiritual person may help you live a wholesome life, tell you the story of what God is or isn’t, give you a set of tools, give you hope that in the future there is freedom, but IT’s NOT IT!
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The decision is already made regarding whether an aspirant wants to be led or controlled by a religious tyrant, this answer is easy for most.  However there are people who are naive and have difficulty discriminating, good members of the community need to keep an eye out that these people are safe. We can’t think or make choices for others but we can ‘flag’ problems. Tyrants are always seeking the vulnerable and strange as it seems the vulnerable are at a deep subconscious level seeking the controller; supply and demand.
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What the broader community doesn’t realise is that every Sage, Buddha, experiencer of Christ Consciousness, Siddha or Mystic does the work until the last moment of their ‘imaginary’ incarnation.  Although extraordinary things happen around them, the game, the dream continues until the last breath.
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What mankind calls Suffering is nearly always there, it’s a persons relationship to it that makes the difference. Any idea of a Path implies ‘movement away from what one is, which in truth is the Buddha itself.’
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Tilopa 2.0
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Further reading

First Noble Truth
Second Noble Truth 
Third Noble Truth

Third Noble Truth

To those who are unfamiliar with Buddhist teachings, there is something called the Four Noble Truths.  In my case I write on the subject from a very different perspective than traditional Buddhists and this is because my commentaries come from experience and not from a religious perspective. Those of us who comfortably move in and out of the transcendental at will have the ability to look at doctrines, teachings and scriptural texts and ‘see’ through them, then articulate what is written into a language that is ‘living’ and transformative.  To many Buddhists the common understanding of the Third Noble Truth is the “Knowledge of the Cessation of Suffering”.  The first Noble Truth is the Truth of Suffering and the second is to do with the Cause of Suffering, I have written about these already but this commentary on the Third Noble Truth is not dependant on the other two. Traditionally people consider that the Noble Truths may be sequential but when it comes to wisdom we can enter at any point and it will unfold its mystery.
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Not Feeling the Pain
There is a type of irony right now within this moment.  I am sitting here, my belly full like a chubby smiley Buddha, I feel warm, the food odours waft by, the sweet smells seem to get my salivary glands going a little more.  Being a vegetarian for most of my life I am very fussy and ridiculously over-sensitive, this place I am in has a comfy slightly hipster Eastern contemporary feel about it, around me people are laughing and chatting, everything is cruisey not so bluesy.  Out on the street it’s a little chilly, I’m sitting in a cafe on a popular street in the inner city, lots of bars open with people spilling out onto the pavement. It’s Friday night, everyone seems rather joyous after downing a drink or two, no-one is obnoxious or has drowned in their alcohol … yet.  I can’t see or feel the Suffering right now that my Buddhist brothers and sisters fuss about or speak of.
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Human Nature
There is something that visitors from other worlds must wonder about and although some of us know that a lot of our alien friends have super-minds and present as if they are emotionally dry and wouldn’t crack a smile in a million years (literally). But there are others humanity will encounter who do have a sense of humour, they no doubt would fall off their super-sonic chairs in their shuttle-craft in disbelief watching the antics of humans. Humanity is a very mysterious species, an enigma to the star people from Inner and Outer Space who gaze on in amazement and monitor everything.  The human being is such that if you tell him or her that something is missing, sure enough they won’t be able to help themselves and will head off in all directions to find out what it just might be.
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Rethinking the S-Word
Suffering is our friend.  Strange as it may seem. We do live in an odd world, we interpret things in a particular way but it is so familiar everything seems okay. Our genes carry the opinions of the past civilisations and our ancestors.  We need to reconsider the role of suffering in order to be free. The Noble Truths are about freedom, they are not about acquiring information and adding it to our bundle of supposed wisdom.
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Let’s go there, get personal, realie and feely.  There are people who we have adored, then in an instant a strange shadow emerges out of Emptiness.  In a moment what we perceived as love dissolves right before our eyes, that’s a part of life on planet Earth; friendships and love-ships can change so quickly.  I don’t really have enemies, I try to resolve everything, it’s not always possible but this attitude is healthy, otherwise my days are poisoned. My real enemies are the things I need to change within myself.  Mankind does have an enemy, there is an abomination that wishes to enslave it, it takes the form of various tyrants who run the world, the creators of the systems that dominate the communities we move in.  But suffering, BELOVED SUFFERING is our friend.  It IS the ache in our heart that points us in the direction of DEEP change, it leads us gently or drags us unwillingly into transformation, it is the harbinger of a new season of experiences emerging. It is NOT some tool of a hateful god who seeks vengeance and accountability for our supposed misdeeds or inflicts us with ‘our karma’, if you want to believe that stuff your life may always feel like misery or you will have a dull ache and shadow following you around, ahhh the tragedy of enslaved thinking.
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OUCH!
Like many other people I don’t ‘DO’ or overly like pain, particularly things that physically hurt. Am I soft? NO I am gentle, there is a difference. I like to feel nice, it’s my birthright to be happy and the Western Christian concept of guilt, despair, and repent sinner are control programs. As a child and young teenager I did play Rugby Union and Rugby League; like most teens when all the natural chemicals kicked in I quite enjoyed getting smashed around, struttin’ my stuff, the harder you hit meant the higher in the hierarchy of the Lion Kingdom you were or more specifically Planet of the Human Apes. But as years passed I have loosened up, as a musician I care for my hands and after a large dose of hippiedom in my late teens, acoustic guitars and a lot of brown rice I changed and the artiste within took control of the reins of my being.  I am not one of those unfilfulled artists who carries on like the world owes them something, I do stuff that I love and within this is fulfilment.
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Suffering is something extraordinary.  I know the feelings well that fall under that heading and I don’t run from them, would I like to? Absolutely.  I peep out from under my blankets and say, “gotta get out of here, see ya later alligator” but after a short period of time my Sage within wraps his arms around me, holds me gently and says “you’ll be okay, just wait, we are in this together, there is a new day coming, you are loved and blessed,” my eyes fill up with tears and I stay.  Like many men and women my beloved left, I loved her so dearly, I am not ashamed to say I loved but I am not a victim of love lost, I am a feeling being who has the intelligence to embrace change, to seek understanding, to accept the patterns of the changing kaleidoscope of life and allow others to follow their dreams.  So how on earth do I tell the man that I am who is hurting that ‘suffering is a friend’? If I said this to another fragile person who had a grieving heart, that friend would walk away, they would tell me that I lacked empathy and they would consider me as somebody who was insensitive and although I had written many things over the years that expressed wisdom, in my actions I had proven beyond any doubt that I was all talk with no walk.
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Looking at Noble Truth Number 3
I am writing about the Cessation of Suffering, the Third Noble Truth.  If the teachings of Buddha that are passed down are true, then there is hope that the cessation will come. However we do know that those who run the religions create lies to control, to imprison man and to have power in the strength in numbers by getting their communities to believe in their truths.  So maybe it’s best to bypass the great Gautama Buddha and attempt to come to a point of rest without dogma, scriptures or tradition, to ‘arrive’ by seeing from personal experience.
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So let’s go back to the problem or at least a real scenario and dig in, when we are in it, it bites, we’ve all been there.  Our loved one has just left us high and dry, the pain is unbearable, can’t sleep, everything and everyone reminds us of him or her, it feels like a dark shadow we can’t shake, tears emerge at the strangest times, you think you’re over it then whammo someone says something and you melt like an ice-block in the desert sun, or feel the bitterness of winter and it seems to have no end, your bones hurt from the cold even though it’s a hot sunny day.  Sound familiar?
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What’s Normal?
When resolving things I always like to start from the point where I make a decision of whether it is normal or not; to have an aching heart when someone we love exits the arena of our life is a very natural and healthy response, even though we can say this is not unusual, there will be no consolation when I say, “Hey this is normal”, it won’t pacify the pain nor dry the tears.  If we didn’t feel something it really be would be a concern; we know the Cosmos is in order, it’s uncomfortable yes true; life consists of a number of seasons, things form, grow, sort of stabilise then there is decay, change is constant.  Humans are feeling beings and that is such a beauteous thing about the species; without feelings life becomes just a set of menial tasks, rather drone-esque and robotish.  And if that’s all that life is, best we close down the Universe immediately.
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Feelings
From my experience I know that wisdom comes from experience, experiences unpack feelings. Feelings are important but we need to be cautious that they don’t become our master.  There are days when I don’t want wisdom, I’d rather be a dumb-ass in love, to feel the loving arms I miss, to see her eyes, to feel her being beside me. So here I am with my deepest feelings on the surface, totally unashamedly vulnerable. HOWEVER, this is where I walk through the doorway to freedom each moment, this is what separates the Gods from the Philosophers, the Sadhaks (aspirants) from the Siddhas (the free men/women); freedom is not in the future, it is unfolding each moment, people have been duped by books and false teachers.
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Through this doorway that I peer stands forever, endless possibilities, unknown worlds, changes cascading, glorious Benevolent beings… if I wallow in the state of ‘what isn’t’, in dreams of how I think things should be, clinging to the past and imaginary futures, suffering is my booty, I am its slave.
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The Third Noble Truth as I said was, ” the Cessation of Suffering”.  Suffering at this point and phase of humanity’s evolution is always there, we have a choice whether we enter it, cling to it, allow it to be the driving force behind what we do.  Or we can step off the dance floor of life, take a breather, see it for what it is, just another dance step in the passing show, tripping over our toes …we restore our balance and glide across the floor.
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Freedom is now, not in the imaginary future, it is HERE NOW.  The real issue is people have no idea what it looks or feels like.
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Tilopa 2.0

Going Past the Second Noble Truth

The Great Buddha has been revered by millions of people over the centuries, that wondrous hero gave up what many men desire; fame, fortune, royalty, beautiful wife, beloved child, an exquisite garden he roamed in … he had everything that so many crave.  He walked away from it all off into foreverness to resolve some of the mysteries of life and by his actions not just words said ‘here’s how you do it’.
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End of an Era
The age that the Buddha lived in that we are a part of is just closing its window now, the sun of this era is setting.  Even though it has been spoken of for decades, unbeknown to many people a new world is unfolding just out of view in the background hidden behind the curtain of the ‘stage of life’. We still see the remnants of the outgoing civilisation, regardless of over two thousand years of mankind trying to get it right, the state of the world is even more chaotic, polluted, on the edge of destruction, in the lands where the Buddha roamed there is immense poverty and unbearable pain, hatred, cultural divisions, cruelty to animals, all those things that make us feel a little uncomfortable, many of us try  not to look, at times it’s all too much.
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Two Buddhas
When I was I teenager I loved seeing the statues of the Laughing Buddha, I imagined that chubby wandering wayfarer spreading joy wherever he roamed, sack of goodies over his shoulder, he IS owned by nothing and a slave to no man or imaginary Ghost.  Maybe we could all pick up a sack and follow him across the Universe spreading happiness and bliss; there is great confusion in the world now, I wonder if in the chaos if we all ‘walked out’ the world would settle into a sense of order.  Buddha Gautama was skinnier and less obvious but his story more potent and far reaching across the globe and into future times, he escaped the palace, he bolted.  Hidden forces helped him over the fence to get out of the enchanted worldly-prison. Mankind is guided and nurtured by people from the stars, here I am not joking and I will emphatically state they are alien beings, there is also the great Vedic civilisation that is hidden within the Earth. Many Buddhists wouldn’t know this and would bypass the idea, see it as fantasy.  Buddha didn’t work alone he was sent in to lay a foundation to guide humanity to train the global community in a methodology of how to behave with dignity, to teach people how to live lives with integrity and get out of the thought prison. All humanity is in enslaved and the clean up is done by those who seeded the planet and have overseen its growth.  Many Buddhists generally may not want hear to those sort of things because it is outside their dogma and it would be considered heresy, mere speculation; however the Cosmos does not belong to Buddhists alone and that is a no-brainer; this is about the great escape and as the Buddha may have said, “a chain is a chain even if it’s a gold chain”. Wise men are not bound by religion, dogma or philosophy.
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Understanding Nobility
When we look at the second Noble Truth and frame it as a question, ‘What is the Noble Truth of the origin of suffering?’ It is easy to respond with cliches, let’s not waste our time with that, we can dig deeper and be bigger than that. Nobility is something we need to think about here.  Noble beings have an ability to see through the limitations that mice and men are stuck in.  Being a slave to time and desire are symptoms of the disease that humanity is suffering from.  I have brought time into the picture here because Noble men and women are very forgiving or I will say more specifically they have an understanding that eventually over a long period of time all beings COME back and rest in the Source, I don’t mean oblivion, I am saying that there is a journey OUT through the Cosmos and once a Being is totally awakened to its nature, he, she or it will merge into and reemerge at will to and from the Emptiness; rise and fall, in and out, unfolding into new possibilities. Thus the Nobles understand that a moment in time is just a speck in the grand scheme of things. We have forever and in there lies the compassion of understanding.
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People speak of Truth, Truth depends on what point one is looking from, the idea of Absolute Truth is conceptual, if you would like to believe in an Absolute Truth you can easily find one, hold fast to it, enslave yourself and others; I would not waste my time in debating if there is an Absolute Truth, I am aware of the underlying nature of things but I will not philosophise about it, unless something is experienced first hand it is just an opinion.  However, here in this instance we are looking from the point of Noble-Truth.  We need to BE the Buddha in order to understand what a Noble-Truth may be, if we stay human with the normal parameters that imprison man we will always get it wrong. A Noble Truth in this case is something that will jailbreak a being out of limited thought into foreverness.
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Origin
We are looking at the Origin of Suffering, most of us probably have all heard the words attachment and desire used in relation to the cause of suffering.  The pattern is much like:  Cat sitting in garden sunning itself, mouse scoots by, cat gets sparkly eyes, cat chases mouse, cat eats mouse, yum…savours the after taste.  Cats memory gets loaded up with the yummy sensation. Next day, cat waits in the same spot and hopes one of the mouse’s buddy will pass by, he can sense the flavour in his taste buds… “What do I want?”  Mouse, “When do I want it ?” Now.  This is the pattern that we humans understand all too well, choose your designer addiction if you please.
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The Buddha Eyes 
Like other awake men and women I have looked out my Buddha window many times, I see the problems that arise from wanting to keep things longer than their use-by date or those moments when I see something scrumptious before me, I know too well what banana and strawberry cake with cream tastes like; based on a lifetime of experience I am aware of the size of my mouth and stomach, I am clear that one slice is usually enough but by the third helping my eyes are almost rolling, the sugar is kicking in and feelin’ a little edgy, the stomach is screaming “bad idea, baaaad idea, don’t do it, you’ve had enough”… due to the flavours overriding my common sense I give in.  Next day I pass the cake shop and just can’t resist a visit.
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It’s More Than a Question
Okay let’s look at this. We are trying find the Origin of Suffering.  Maybe we can go a step further and instead of just getting a superficial intellectual understanding of it, we can take ourselves into a state of being where suffering ceases.  Being hypothetical and answering a question may suit a lot of people, put the thoughts at rest; they can get a good understanding and possibly some day in the future they could get to the point where MAYBE suffering ceases.  I’m not big on promises of good times in the future, it’s not that I don’t want a happy future it’s just that if I seek the doughnut on the string I am fully aware that as the world spins through space the doughnut is constantly moving away into the distance ahead of me.  I may unfortunately due to a wayward comet hitting Earth have my lifespan shortened or in a bizarre unheard of comical scenario that would be a real social media hit, suffer the fate of bumping heads with a dolphin in the surf, get knocked unconscious and swallow too much water, alas! And so was the fate of Tilopa 2.0 forever etched in digital form to be shared at will by those seeking a little laugh.
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Being There Now
Let’s do this now, break the sense of order, bypass the third and fourth Noble Truths, get rid of dogma and mental slavery forever. There is nothing that says we can’t.  Let’s claim back our power, destroy those who keep humanity prisoner with there limited religious thought; I will have no mercy nor respect here, we need to disempower the petty tyrants who use their faith to control humanity with ritual and hollow practices.
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Dreaming
We have heard in passing that life is a dream, this could be scary for some, absolutely terrifying, whereas others may say, “thank heavens what a relief ” and there will be those who think this to be meaningless nonsense. Regardless of whether we perceive that to be true, at times we do notice a certain amount of translucence to the world we move in, we often find ourselves in-between worlds just as we wake up or go off to sleep.  We see an old friend by accident on the street, we question “is that really you?” We fall in and out of love, people pass from our lives and nothing seems solid; we look back through our years and it seems lifetimes ago, beloved people leave the stage of the world, we weep and long for them, they are just a thought memory.
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In this passing show of bouncing molecules readjusting themselves into new forms is where we can understand where freedom lies and then take action…or more precisely should I say take no action. In perceiving the transience of the world is freedom. When we know that there is a mistiness and impermanence of EVERYTHING that comes into our field of experience and also that even WE have no real substance to us that is solid, transformation of the mind-space emerges.  It may cut like a knife through a birthday cake, it may slay you for a while, it could gently wrap itself around you like a blanket and warm your being, you may weep tears in longing for what you think you have lost.  The phantoms of the world come and go, we greet them, we love them, we do our best to accept them… we move off into foreverness into the mystery, we travel into the stars and beyond the deep midnight blue.
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The Dance
We have a choice every moment and this is great wisdom if you want it regarding the second Noble Truth, “what is the origin of suffering?” Simply put, YOU ARE.  So what do you do with this, you may say, “I don’t feel any different”.  As everything emerges on the screen of life, the awareness that experiences your life has an option to enter it or be a witness to the passing show, to allow it to be what it is, show its face.  We look at it and see it as a facet of the Divine doing its dance, it turns and looks at us and says, “Do you accept me as this?” We gaze into it with a loving acceptance, embrace it and say YES”.  It dissolves back into Emptiness, we throw our sack over our shoulder like the Laughing Buddha and wander on our way through life with gratitude, with kindness and a deep understanding of the nature of things.

Tilopa 2.0

Dogs Teaching Humans How to Stay

stay

It’s one of those days when I want to run, things feel mysteriously empty, not in a Buddhist way, there’s a gentle ache in my Being.  I could hurriedly say I don’t like this feeling, instead I will attempt to sit with it after I have distracted myself for a few hours with coffee, chocolate, food, writing articles and a few meaningless things that I will give importance to in an effort to make me feel like I am doing something of substance.  Like many people, for years of my life I have struggled with saying what needed to be said and often in most cases I just walked away feeling disempowered and disappointed that I wasn’t heard or have been misunderstood or mistreated.  I am not into power, I find it hideous; the power I am interested in is the Power of Creation, to bring new things into being.  In the world of mice and men I have a tendency to walk away like a puppy and lick my paws after the scraps in life.
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Dogz
I only ever had one puppy, he was a black and white Cocker Spaniel, a gorgeous being who got taken out by a milk truck driver when I was about four years old. I am not a dog person these days but watching my son train his beloved best friend teaches me a lot; how to soften up and also toughen up, not be so uptight, dirt and poo is not as bad as I thought it was, and most of all how to develop discipline.
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The D Word
The word discipline is one that every teenager, gypsy, anarchist, rebel, vagabond and village Bohemian gives the finger to.  When I eventually realised that SELF Discipline has no relationship to the big-stick-discipline I headed off on a new journey of discovery; I was reminded that practicing guitar for ten hours a day was a definition of the friendly-D-word. It is obvious that there really is no relationship between the two D words but like anything, until we know it in the totality of our being, (read as: understand it and do it first hand) there is always going to be someone with a big stick standing over us correcting our ways and in response our thoughts will be saying, “stuff you.”
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Learning Dog Tricks
Life is meditation with a few thoughts in between, well maybe more than a few, it’s closer to a snow storm or rainy day, they just keep falling into our space, we capture some, others go back into Emptiness. Learning to stay is something that dogs do well, waiting, sitting, focusing, no distractions, what ever goes by don’t follow; we learn to watch the rise and fall of moments and events, knowing that in time all things must pass.
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Just Being
Sometimes I am the master of thought, wisdom is easy for me but today I will sit, feel what is in my being, embrace the uncomfortableness, wait  with a slight sense of timidness and wonder instead of giving into fear, I will not fantasise that by speaking up for myself it will bring about turmoil and if it does so be it.  There is a time to step up and a time to retreat and be silent.  For me peace is important, to be understood has always been a critical thing but due to the diversity of human nature this is never guaranteed and is a little fanciful, unrealistic at times but sometimes possible.
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The Caravan of Life
I sit and look in the invisible rear-vision mirror and see my past dissolving, before me there are new experiences unfolding and cascading, new people and things, moments I never dreamed of or had even considered.  I seek love, empathy and compassion.

As the SAGE Rumi says,
“Come Come whoever you are,
Wanderer, wayfarer, lover of leaving,
Even if you have broken your vows thousands of times,
Come, ours is not a Caravan of Despair”

I will tie my camel and stay in my tent until the storm passes.

Tilopa 2.0

(image is the property of the wonderful cartoonist Maria Scrivan and is used for educational purposes so we humans can learn from dogs) 

First Noble Truth Reconsidered

The world we move in has always been gifted with great Teachers. They arrive open hearted to lay a foundation for future generations to be able to put in place a set of principles so humanity can protect itself from itself.  Hedonism, decadence, over consumption, excessiveness, imbalanced life, narcism always seems to naturally run rampant, humanity at times is like a car rolling along without breaks and is in danger off self destruction, when we add science to the mix we end up with Weapons of Self Destruction in the hands of madmen.
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After the Main Guy Leaves
It is not uncommon to see the situation where once a great Teacher has left, after a short period of time things get a little bit twisted, okay let’s be clear, it’s really a BIG little.  It’s easy to follow dogmas, they are comfortable – feel good, dangle some beads around the neck, set up an altar and a few statues, grab the prayer book, learn the designer lingo, and then bond with a ‘sense’ of community who are all going the same way … regardless which way, doing it together feels safe.  Spiritual aspirants usually call themselves the ‘black sheep of the family’ but always join another flock all wearing the same fleece.  It is easy to be told or fed someone else’s wisdom, to accept and believe what it may mean when you are told it by a more senior member of the community or someone you feel is ‘in the know.’ Those in the know are powerful, it is not uncommon that they sometimes misuse that power; obviously not always as there are well intentioned people everywhere.
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HOWEVER it is critical to question everything, if not we may unwittingly become a slave to a concept.  It’s easy for the Spiritual bling to creep in, it can take over our lives and we can assume that these things make us closer to God or the goal, when really it’s often just wallpaper, delusion, Maya at its finest. Spiritual adornments are just laying extra layers over the top and block the view. The Universes/ Prakriti is the playground, there is form and the formless.  Out of Emptiness emerges all things, they rise and fall in consciousness. When freedom is what a person is seeking, imprisonment just doesn’t cut it…run…run fast…get out of there ASAP, in a moment we can cut through the delusion and if we linger it does lead to immense suffering. The baby and the bath water doesn’t cut it… run…run…run…back to yourSelf. Each moment we have the opportunity to abandon EVERYTHING, there is no obligation to the past or what we have committed too when it comes to real freedom.
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The Buddha
Great minds don’t think alike, they go where no-one has dreamed.  They bring in the unknown, something extraordinary that creates a new pathway for humanity; these people make others feel a little uncomfortable, people run away. Uncomfortableness is good, it’ll make you a little itchy, restless, give you sleepless nights; these will say what you are NEVER ready to hear.
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Buddha Gautama was one of many throughout the history of the endless Dance of the Cosmos who emerged out of the Infinite Silence to uplift humanity. He arrived and like other great Sages his very presence transformed those he encountered, even if they didn’t know it, the mixing of His field with theirs was enough to totally destroy them, I say destroy because in freedom everything we believe to be true gets annihilated, Buddha planted the seed as He wandered, even those who hated him benefited by encountering Him. Those who follow later, the people who form groups that ultimately morph into structured spiritual or religious organisations, cults and sects, they will interpret the words and experiences to suit their limited perceptions and understanding and create dogmas.
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Is it Noble? Is it True?
Although I am very familiar with Buddhist texts, the other day my eye was caught and I froze when I read a reasonably common translation of the First Noble Truth. ‘All Life is Suffering’, this is one translation, one of many, I won’t address other ones that may be wiser but this is a springboard for removing something that has filtered through those that are both in and outside the Buddhist faith.  I felt a little unsettled when I was reminded of this way of thinking, it knocked on my being so I decided to explore it.  I could see clearly that it had the potential for undermining the wellbeing of the well intentioned Spiritual aspirants. I do know that if we dig in and run with it we will probably find something transformative. If we are not cautious we can easily bind ourselves to a self-imposed dogma, there’s always a type of subtle programming that can undermine our joy.
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Lights Action  – Take Two
Let’s start over.  What I write here is not about being correct and attempting to be wiser than others. These are living teachings not historical.  I am interested in transformation, creating a bridge to cross over; we need to be prepared to abandon what we assume to be true.  Humility is reflected in our ability to be wrong, to throw EVERYTHING out the window.  Without this attitude there is no hope, we can become prisoners of doctrines and our misunderstandings.  Philosophy is about opinions, people looking at an object and telling us about it, that is only mind games, speculation.  I have learnt from experience that much that I considered to be true, even EXPERIENCED based things were totally wrong, the experiences were real but in time I discovered it was my interpretation of them that was upside down.  I recommend being open because if we are not, when it COLLAPSES and we see into what is really going on, it will be a shock to ANYONE, I know this first hand.
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Our Nature and Birth Rite
Happiness is not just a goal for the future, although if we are generally unhappy now it is reasonable to have desire for it to emerge at some point downstream in our lives, this is normal but really, happiness is for NOW. If we are always running to find happiness in future times, living with a hope that one day it will be okay, unknowngly our life will flit away, the wrinkles gradually arrive, the signs of ageing creep in, the sparkle in the eye dissolves like salt in water, the essence of electrical current in our being whittles down to zero; but the doughnut on the string will still be out of reach even when the angel of death passes over and knocks on the door and welcomes us in.  If we are addicted to our past and are hypnotised by all the blissful moments that flowed under the bridge, we may find ourself always trying to recapture them; that first kiss, travel in new country, a breakthrough in art or music where we discovered we could compose a song or said “hey I really am going to be an artist”.  We do need to embrace our worthiness but find ways not cling to things, to see events like petals on a flower in our garden of existence, an ever changing lush landscape with seasons.
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We need to be cautious of what drives us. By this I mean there is something deep down hidden in the subconscious that impacts on the way we feel the world and create our lives.  The first Noble Truth about suffering requires a lot of thought, clarity needs to be there, our insight must deepen.  If we stay on the surface and take on the concept ‘all life is suffering’ we will be in serious strife. We may get caught as if we as humans are in debt to suffering and continue the narrative.
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Beauty 
I grew up by the beach, as a child the rolling waves were inviting but scary, the gritty sand in my toes, kids using sieves to find coins, playful waves on the shore, the gentle swish noise of the water moving backwards and forwards at the edge of the great blue expanse, the rock pool with baby tiger sharks wiggling, fish, starfish, jellyfish, the sunrise, all those wondrous lifeforms reminded me there was more than the television, the milkshakes, girls in bikinis strutting their stuff, the smell of coconut oil. There is no need for me to seek suffering there; only a madman does that.
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On a hot day I can still taste the ice creams and paddle pops I ate as a child, feel the sun against my skin, sense myself diving under the waves, swallowing a little too much salt water, dumped on the sandbank.  I rarely eat ice-cream now, my body finds it too cold as it heads down my insides but I honour its existence, some glorious being breathed it into being.  I am not addicted to my past experiences, if I cling too much to the joys and keep pulling them into the ‘screen in my frontal lobe’ I will find myself lacking, they are gone, have moved back into Emptiness.  And if I am a slave to the joys of my past I will have to embrace its twin, the sadness, despair and tragedies that slayed me at moments.
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I found it
I see the clouds changing shape, they take new forms just like the molecules in the world around me. I know that I have found love, not just in the arms of those wondrous women beings who passed through my life and left a piece of their beauty in me, those wondrous beings who helped shape the man I am for better or for worse, I embrace love in the passing play of life, not clinging but in learning how to accept the diversity of all things, the aridness of the desert, the biting cold, the gentleness of meek people, acceptance of those who are naive, the loud and bold also have their story, and the sound of a child singing strange noises.
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I will leave suffering to those that need it to guide them.  I will walk another way, an uncharted path and be my own Buddha.

What the Fudge isn’t Enlightenment

In the West we have been bombarded for more than a hundred years with information about various types of Utopian consciousness that will save us not only from the world around us, secure us a happy afterlife but also protect us from ourselves.  Some of those who arrived from the East to guide those seeking escape and the meaning of life have been very sincere and kind, others deluded and many with private agendas of proselytizing and spreading their brand and there have been those who have been corrupt, abusive and downright dangerous.  All these bods, whether they have been genuine in their quest to serve humanity, self centered or suffering from bizarre delusion, have added to the definition of the word ENLIGHTENMENT.  And from this word there has grown a mystique that this glorious fruit offered to humanity must be acquired at all costs.  Some would leave their families, others give up their life savings or even deprive themselves of basic nutrition and adhere to a diet suitable for a field rat or sparrow; then there have been those who felt it was appropriate to dress in the national costumes of other communities and use what could be described as a designer-language that only the initiated could make sense of, others are considered outsiders or ignorant. And there have been numerous ‘chosen ones’ who considered themselves privileged and saved beyond doubt because they hold to the true teachings.
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Normals
So let’s look at this Enlightenment thing.  I will start by mentioning a few things most people desire and say quality of life, happiness, a peaceful mind, good health and a kind heart are core things that may be part of ‘Enlightenment’ but they are also sought by many who do or don’t have a religious or spiritual quest, mankind sees them as normal and healthy.  These for some may be the fruits of this mysterious Enlightenment thing but when we look at them it would be fair to say that there have been numerous people who did not seek any God or paradise who would have achieved those goals and when I glance towards one of my favorite Indian good guys, the sage Ramana Maharshi, I am reminded that he died of cancer, so maybe this shortlist of desirables does not equate to Enlightenment or isn’t associated with it; they may or may not be spin-offs.
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Lighting Up
One common dictionary version of the word Enlightenment is “the action of enlightening or the state of being enlightened”, this doesn’t really say much it’s like saying there is a fishiness about fish; but we could surmise from its common usage that the word light or the concept ‘to throw light on’ would play a part. … Scene Change: Enter lots of people looking quite peaceful carrying candles and glowing.  This mind-picture has a lot of associated problems, all of us have met people who did dress-ups and looked all sparkly but turned out to be absolute shysters.  I like the idea of don’t believe what we see or hear, the senses can deceive us; in the same way that when people drink alcohol, their sense of judgement goes out, maybe we can consider that the senses can give us a false view.  So I will start by saying let’s forget what we are told.  My reasoning is based on the idea that we often hear interpreters of other peoples experiences telling us how something is, I consider this as absurd, commentators don’t necessarily know what the truth is, they assume and then create a logical story that is often very convincing.  Human nature is rather predictable, it’s like the lotteries, there are a few winners and everyone else talks about what they would do if they won. So what to do?
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Masquerade
For starters, we have heard secondhand that there is some type of elixir, something to be sought; the evidence seems to be based in scriptures and every now and then we hear of people who say they have made contact with supposed holy men or women who had that special Enlightenment thing.  And then we meet people who probably in all honesty believe that they are enlightened, whether it be true or false at this point doesn’t really matter.  I do think we need to sort the masquerade and exhibitions of devotion from what I would call depth of experience.  From my perspective depth of experience seems to be an important issue; and this translates as to see or feel deeper than what is presented or assumed to be so.
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The E Word
If there were such a thing as Enlightenment and won’t I buy in either way with a true or false argument, in an effort to make sense of it I think we would probably need to apply some basic attributes to this mysterious ‘E’ word, and yes I may be adding to the fiasco but we can be sensible about it; there also is the problem that in being sensible I am creating an assumption that the ‘E’ word must be sensible in some way, it is reasonable to say that it may not necessarily be so and an example that would challenge the ‘known sensible’ is the Zen Koan tradition.  A student is given a short text to contemplate that may seem nonsensical.  However, using analysis and critical thinking to get a number of issues sorted seems fair.  To be clear minded and create a foundation to work from is a good idea even if the end experience (or understanding it) disintegrates the foundation and common sense, we need to enter the subject in an orderly fashion.
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The Restful Mind
When we look at the numerous techniques found in Eastern, some of the Western religious traditions and in indigenous cultures we see there is a focus of what I call Taming the Bull, I will translate this as ‘to bring about a clarity of mind.’  I will use the word ‘mind’ in a particular parlance; the mind in this case means the container of thought and belongs to an associative thinker; imagine a balloon full of floating jellybeans of various sizes, each bean has attributes/stories about it, some micro and the others long sagas.  A calm mind-space may not be the definition of enlightenment but the desire or experience of such would allow ones perception to be clear without having chaotic thought in the way. What I am implying here is experience may need to be untainted by stories, is this necessary? I will commit myself here and say yes, that’s a given. The stories we have about things is what colors our view and can get in the way of ‘seeing’ properly.
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I will come back here and make it clear about what we are doing, we are looking at the word Enlightened, a word that has been dressed up and thrown around the spiritual circles, a word that has confused people, a word that has created a graveyard of casualties; we are trying to find a way to decide who may be the real deal and also if the E word exists.  Can we resolve the issue of enlightenment without others, can we either get rid of the idea, develop an approach to chase and secure the elixir or at minimum never be fooled again by wanna-be’s and shysters?
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The Illusionists
Often when some supposed spiritual expert or religious people discuss Enlightenment, they give us examples of Utopian worlds outside our vision, things that are not accessible by our senses; this type of attitude is  downright dangerous and has the potential for an abuse of power.  Whether it is Viking boats paddling to Valhalla, glowing faced Buddhas or Vedic Gods, if it is not something tangible it is good to keep them out of the mix for now or maybe forever.  One person creates a story and because it is not measurable it allows them the expert/master/guru to keep a student or disciple within their scope with a promise of a goal.  Is there something beyond our normal senses?  Yes obviously, contemporary physics tells us this, we don’t have to dig too far, does the miraculous happen?  Sure, we see it every day in numerous ways, many things defy logic and we make up stories to normalise them.  The issue is not that there isn’t something extraordinary beyond, it’s about trust, naivety, bullying of the ignorant and buying into the stories of others, not all but some of the experts would be deluded and self-righteous, others who make it up as they go and jiggle it around a bit to suit their agenda and there are those who are indoctrinated who believe in a specific tradition but have no personal experience. So what to do, do we burn the lot, give up?
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Getting Excited
We are also faced with another serious issue and it’s what I call spiritual euphoria, I have seen this many times.  An example is when I have been to events where due to overwhelming evidence I am confident that a ‘spiritual’ person/teacher is an absolute charlatan (or even criminal),  people in the gathering are having some type of temporary experience of some sort of bliss/ euphoria. When they leave the event they associate their experience with the guru or whoever; in a short period of time after a few visits they have acquired the beads, the book, the prayers, the candles and a ready made community who supports the belief that what is going on is deeply spiritual and the guru gets the enlightenment seal of approval by a naive to some degree semi-hypnotised community.  Contrary to popular opinion, there is a possibility that Enlightenment would probably not only be about feeling good 24/7 but it is fair to say that if there was such a thing as Enlightenment, feeling good may be an attribute….let’s continue.  The desire for or idea of 24/7 feeling blissful could easily be an obstacle or at least amisunderstanding.
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Spiritual Spam
These days we are bombarded with what resembles wise sayings.  I like the word discrimination, when discrimination is used as a tool of analysis and not to marginalise people or communities, it is one of the best things in our toolbox.  It is easy for people to read some words and get a temporary feeling of warm-fuzzy and get the wisdom salivary glands going, from my experience I think it is important to carefully pull apart these words of wisdom, to give them life.  Often when we read words we make assumptions based on our own history and conditioning. Sometimes the creators of the supposedly wise words have committed heinous crimes against women and children, I don’t subscribe to the idea ‘they had a temporary lapse of virtue and didn’t live the teachings’, this may be true but I am not comfortable with delusory flowery sayings that create temporary euphoria and brain sparkles, it’s a bit like fake plants, they may look okay but have no substance and just take up space.
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The Magicless Pill
And there are many people who have taken drugs and assume because the experience they have is outside the normal-known that they have opened up consciousness, I am quite comfortable to say that after forty years of meditation and explorations of consciousness, the drug experience has little to do with super-consciousness, if there were a benefit from them and I do say this with great hesitation and extreme caution, it would be a reminder that our normal way of seeing is not the only worldview but there are other ways of perception.  As the world’s mental health institutions are littered with casualties from drug experimentation, this idea is fraught with danger.  Of the great men and women I have met in my life, I haven’t met anybody who resembled a Buddha or someone similar who would encourage external substances to help awaken something inside, i have met wonderful people who are drug users and it would be unreasonable to say that drug users are not necessarily kind people, we are talking about consciousness not about integrity or character; there is now a culture of people hanging out with bods they refer as Shamans and potion-ing up;  most that I have met are a little unstable and I am yet to meet someone who has evidence of an ongoing type of spiritual experience that doesn’t seem like a type of psychosis, I have met a number who are semi-euphoric people.  We were talking about Enlightenment.
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What Would Buddha Do?
So what is it?  We do know according to legend/history that Buddha experienced something.  At the core of his teaching is detachment, when we look at the reasoning behind this it seems clear it is because if someone is clinging to things, it will ultimately lead to suffering at its loss.  Gautama Buddha also aligns with Jesus Christ, without sounding like a sermon  which this is not, I am cross referencing something from another tradition; Jesus supposedly said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal”, both of these great men have had religions and cults built around their lives and teachings, both imply that what may be worthwhile pursuing is not in things and also point out that if you hang on too tight to things you may be heading for trouble.  So is this Enlightenment? In both cases we are given a method of how to relate to things, to keep them in their place but this would not be the goal would it?  If we look at it closely we are given a hint of something worth pursuing, we see a picture that the relationship between ourselves and ‘things’ are critical, it is implied that there needs to be a letting go, a non clinging to things.  If we are not cautious and are a zealot or extremist we could easily begin to despise the world around us, to treat it as the enemy and this is a tragedy to say the least.  Many people spend their lives running away, are scared of life, frightened of natural emotions; when you take an idea too far it can become poison.
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Who’s the Boss?
If we look closely at detachment there is an implication that being obsessive about something makes us a slave to it.  So is Enlightenment about being a master instead of a slave?  The word Master (with a big m) comes up a lot among guru-speak, it’s a little challenging to someone from the West when they hear an adult calling someone in an Indian pajamas “Master”. Going back to the Jesus way of doing things I am reminded that the apostle Peter called Jesus Master and he said “I am not your master”, I would consider this to be a good yardstick to work from, assuming that Jesus was real, looking at his behavior it is clear he had a decent set of values and if any one was to be someones master, he would be in the running to get the top job.  In some traditions such as the Radha Soami and Ruhani Satsang groups in Northern India they imply that the Master is inside, it is light and sound, they also refer to someone alive as representing the Living Master, I won’t address this approach as either true or false, it is just one of many references I could have used. But there is an implication of ‘handing over’ to another, but some say, “no go”.
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Looking Elsewhere
In some traditions like the one just mentioned we hear that the guru or God is inside, beyond any doubt these words have created many problems, there’s a lot of baggage associated with this approach. And the idea also presents some marvelous questions for the inquisitive seeker of life’s mysteries.  We have also heard people say ‘I am God’, some of these are people who would be described as having mental health issues and we have heard some great noble men and women also refer to themselves as God, and we can also read in some biblical translations that Jesus said something like, “Know that ye are Gods”.  Are these great personage Divine madmen?  I would apply a little commonsense here, the word God is a variable and means something  totally different to many people. When we hear people saying that God or guru is inside, this creates a series of complications, however it does if we follow this line of thought remove the idea of running down the street and looking for a savior or some dude in an Eastern outfit.  Some say the word guru means teacher, others say remover of darkness and there are those who will look starry eyed and start babbling a stream of indecipherable words that almost seem insane as they expound their love for who they are devoted to.
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The idea of looking INSIDE may not be the solution but it is not a bad idea, if Buddha puts out a warning to not get attached to ‘things’ of the world, it would seem practical to look the other way, his attachment could also include people as they are in the world of form.  And as a back up confirmation we hear that Jesus said, “the kingdom of Heaven comes not by observation, the kingdom of Heaven is in you”.
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Opening the Box and Looking In
When we look inside, what do we see?  Fears, joys, wandering thoughts, dreams of the future, memories, and sensations such as aches, tingles, anxiety, fleeting passing images, textures.  Are these the things that we are seeking, is this what they are talking about?  Some would say,”obviously not” and consider it to be a stupid question.  I personally am never in a hurry to dismiss and arrive at assumptions about things said by those I consider as wise.  It would seem reasonable to say that these things are not what we are looking for, however they may be a useful part of the tools required to get the result which is sought to understand this Enlightenment thing people speak of.  There is a form of meditation that some people do, it’s called Neti Neti, a simple translation would be “not this, not this”.  As anything presents itself in our thought field in meditation it gets the gentle tap of the conscious-ping-pong-bat, Neti Neti not this not this. When we look towards the sage Ramana Maharshi we will see he told those who inquired about God and the mystery of life that they need to meditate and ask the question ‘who am i’, he said that meditation without self-inquiry is not so good, and also implied that self-inquiry without meditation is fraught with danger.  Both Buddha and Ramana’s methods seem to be pointing to get under the bonnet of our thinking.
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I Think I Thought
Thought can be troublesome, it breaks people, prevents them sleeping, leads to despair unless they can find a way to step away from it.  Trying to catch or stop thought in its tracks is like stretching out your fingers, putting them into a river and attempting to get reasonable handfuls of water, most of it slips through the fingers, it’s a futile quest.  If we think about it, the meditative process is in a way defined by Buddha when he reminded us that attachment is an issue, we can take that idea and apply it to our internal processes and not just what is going on outside.  When we try and stop thought we are attaching to it; thought has its own business, we assume that because its in our mind-space that it must be ours. Personally I am not fooled by this, I see thought the same as looking out the window.  If a van drives past it is obviously not my van; if thought is passing i see it as not my thought; however if I attach to it then the relationship deepens, if I follow it an action may follow, I do not need to follow it, it’s not my thought, it is only as solid as a cloud and I know clouds change shape, they move on and disintegrate. Thoughts also emerge from my inbuilt tendencies, there is an Indian word called samskaras that some people would be aware of, I am not an Indian so I will speak English instead because it’s easier to understand without adding a whole lot of spiritual jargon to the mix.  Our tendencies will relate to the world around us, we see an image, it is delightful, we want to posses it or have some type of experience with it, the hooks go in, we are attached.  From day dot, the first moment of our lives we have been creating a story on how the world is, developing beliefs that we think are truth, it may be political, social, religious or just natural preferences. Out of the stories created, thoughts stream from our subconscious; we believe we are something, someone, we have a vision of how the world is, we usually don’t doubt the stories, they are hardwired and make up our world.
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Walking Through Space
When we plunge deeper, the world dissolves, there is no ‘ground’, there is no substance; we may choose to call our awareness ‘the perceiver’ and think that it has real substance but when start digging around it becomes clear there really is nothing to grab onto, it’s the same situation as trying to look out our own eyes. It may be simpler just to say, “ok there is conscious—ness, something is aware of the movement of forms of shape-sounds in space” but I am confident there is no need to get carried away with a definition.  The mind of man likes a sense of order, to categorise things, some forms of Zen are about undoing sense, I don’t mean to become nonsensical, I am saying that logic is the wrong tool, it’s like trying to catch a rainbow in a bottle, trying to answer or do the impossible.  The sage Jiddu Krishnamurthi used to say, “can we ever ask the right question?”, he was one of the great explorers of spirituality and religion, I would not be in a hurry to disregard this simple question.
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Checking In
We are looking at what this Enlightenment thing might be and all the associated spiritual games played by many, all those experts, the seekers, the gurus, the religious addictions people have and the fanciful dreams of what it’s about. We have heard many times ‘look within’, those words have been said in great seriousness and also flippantly they are thrown around by many spiritual types of people. A question arises, so what about the outside, is it meaningless?  When we look with our eyes we see a world in motion, nothing is static, when we listen, sound is also in motion, it has a starting point and a decay, it is time-bound. When we taste, the cake is there and then it’s gone it barely touched the sides and internally in our thinking thoughts come and go at lightening speed, the one thing that is consistent is movement. And a reminder that we know from experience that stillness or emptiness is constant. Here we have the situation of EVERYTHING is in motion and there is an underlying stillness, we can almost conclude that attachment to anything that moves may not be practical because it is time-based, it has a shelf life, or we could view it from another perspective that it is permanent at each moment and may never be repeated, whichever way we choose to see it it does seem reasonable to say that anything that is time-based is probably not what we are pursuing. Understanding that attachable things, even the forms of Gods are things that at some point need to be disconnected from.
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The more we look we find ourselves in the situation that the very point of awareness, what we call the experiencer of the vision is the critical element in the picture.  And this is no new revelation but it is critical that we get rid of a lot of other assumptions, if we don’t they will get in the way and shape our understanding.  We are faced with a dilemma and it is the very one that has been used by the charlatans to delude others and in many cases themselves, there is something slightly out of the ordinary doing something, however when we look towards the real Zen teachers we can see that ordinariness may be critical part of the process, and it is not that I am saying that ordinariness is the essence of Enlightenment, but if we look closely we will notice that things are only made ordinary by ‘thought’, when something is familiar it is shrunk down into the ‘known’ and is considered ordinary, when really what is going on is miraculous. The real Zen teachers and I am saying the word ‘real’ intentionally to separate them away from religious tradition with all its baggage, there are those outside of and also a few in the traditions who looked through a bigger window at the world, and I am not trying to be disrespectful to traditions.  If I don’t clarify things an assumption may arise that I am saying that Zen is a path to enlightenment, it may be but discrimination is important.  Although the Zen tradition is diverse and the Koan tradition may seem chaotic as well as nonsensical it clearly shows that the tool we are using ‘the thinking logical mind’ may not be suitable for the job to be completed and without getting over cerebral about it all, finding the extraordinary in nature around us seems to be closer to what one is seeking than philosophical discussions or treatises on what God, the meaning of life or Enlightenment might be.
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I am comfortable saying :

  • Thought is an obstacle
  • Philosophy can be seriously flawed because it sends people down a track where they create a story that is interpreted a certain way and is not about personal experience
  • The perceiver of the experience is critical
  • The perceiver is not the same as the thoughts about what a person believes him or herself to be, people create a story based on temporary attributes
  • There is a witness but I say the W word with great caution because of assumptions people make
  • Gods and gurus may get in the way
  • External things are transitory and attachment to them has a use-by date
  • The logical mind is totally out of its depth but may be a useful tool to help eliminate what Enlightenment isnt
  • Confusing a type of euphoria with Enlightenment is common but erroneous
  • One’s personal experience is the yardstick for measuring
  • Thought divides things into categories where the familiar is not extraordinary whereas the new or unknown is

So where does this leave us?
When we look at the list above and apply the Neti Neti – Not This Not This approach, by elimination and that also means getting rid of our sh*t, we will find a type of space in our thinking.  If we enter into a quest with ideas of what something might be, everything will be colored by what we bring to it.  Suddenly I may sound like a Buddhist if I use the word Emptiness, as we know in Buddhism Emptiness is often mentioned.  Not being a Buddhist it is easier for me to break it out of the box, the conclusions or perspective may be the same as some who discuss Buddhism but any ism will have its assumptions and we don’t need them to color our thoughts even if the ism holds some truth.
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Everything’s in Motion
We can conclude without a fuss that everything in the world is transitory,  we know that things are moving in, on or are in relation to space, they arise, stay a while and fall away into foreverness. It’s the relationship with the empty-still-backdrop that allows all things to come into form or have motion.  The more we look clearly and analyse we will begin to see that WE are in the way of the view, the ME that I think I am is blocking the view of not only how I see the world, experience and see things but it also is THE thing that prevents me from seeing who or what I am.  ME is at the centre of the totality of all the experiences I have had and based on the data I throw together, a picture emerges that I use to define me.  We could simplify it down and say ‘well I am the witness’, with that approach great caution is required and here’s why.
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There is an assumption that we are at the centre, we are inside looking out at the world, people rarely question this.  We see life on a timeline going from birth to death , A to Z with life stuff in the middle.  Some people have a belief in reincarnation, this  ME we could define as other A’s to Z’s;  whether reincarnation is true or not doesn’t matter here, if somebody has an experience of their other lives then they could come to a reasonable conclusion about the existence of reincarnation, until then it’s just a concept, religious flippy floppy info that we have been indoctrinated with.  Our brain is a very sensitive machine, it translates data and sends it via pathways throughout the body.  We know that we don’t all see the same thing, we as a human community agree on certain aspects, a tree is a tree, there is an unspoken acknowledgement and orderliness, as well as rules and limitations that the community members say are possible, when someone says anything that doesn’t fit they, are defined as odd, a nutter or occasionally a Saint or miracle worker.  Let’s look at all this very closely.
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A View Through the Lens
The world we move in has a giant filter over it, the filter is in the individual, everything is being translated through filters that shape each persons view,  I am hesitant to say ‘live in the Now’, it has so much baggage and when most people are in the NOW, the filters are blocking the present experience.  But there is a great benefit to constantly come back into the present by throwing a rope around the wayward wandering mind who is self obsessed with a story of who it believes itself to be.
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I wouldn’t be foolish enough to say that there is or isn’t Enlightenment. However, it is critical to undo all the stories, myths and second hand versions of what it is; without removing the concepts of what it may be, the concepts will create a false goal and a person becomes a slave to an idea that is not based in the individuals experience.  If we need to DO anything, and I will say I prefer to NOT DO anything, it would be to come back to oneself, and the deeper we go we find that there is NOTHING, and in NOTHING is the potential of EVERYTHING.
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Tilopa 2.0

The Selfie and Self Realisation

We live in a time where many of us freeze-frame ourselves wherever we go. This is me at the Opera House, I’m now standing in front of the Taj Mahal, behind me is 100 mile beach, me eating a gluten free sandwich with Tibetan parsley, me with a coffee cup in the back streets of Kathmandu, me standing next to Jim Morrison’s grave smoking a doobie.  So many opportunities for us to place ourselves in sacred spaces and hide the view, we trivialise life and turn the magnificent into something about ‘us’.
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Feeding the Problem
I was walking down a trendy Melbourne street in my normal fashion of not being able to go forward in a straight line for more than two metres when I noticed a young mother with a child of about three or four years old. They were taking a selfie outside a shop, no big deal really, after the ‘shoot’ the mum showed the daughter the pic on her phone and the child smiled with natural excitement.  It’s normal to take photos of our kids, nice mementos for future dialogue when kids are older.  However it got me thinking.
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Who the Fudge Am I?
When we look at the human dilemma of ‘who am i?’ and all the other questions about the mystery of life, it would be reasonable to start to question how we arrive at conclusions of who we are.  For starters, at birth when the stork drops us off at the hospital, natural birth centre or cabbage patch, we arrive and immediately there’s a lot of hoohah about the new kid on the block, it’s a boy, it’s got too much hair, it’s beautiful, it looks like a monkey, it’s a Buddha, it wont stop crying, what do I do with this thing? omg I’ve got a baby.  This little person thing gradually gets defined by those around it as it moves along the arrow of time; from the very beginning the flow of external data writes to the subconscious memory bank and the kid learns who and what it is.
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I’m Not Just a Bunch of Banana Sundaes
I like to think  a little broader than the skin that holds all the bits in. For example I know the water running through my being has arrived from the outside, the clouds, the rain, glug glug down the hatch, what was once falling from the endless heavens is now in my being. The food that grew in Mother Earth transformed inside my body and is now reflected in the texture of my skin; the sun, the air, the whole of nature has allowed me to be here, wherever here may be, this body-being that I use as a vehicle to move through life’s experiences is not out on its own, it is part of a series of processes of living nature (not rocket science).
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Not Sure Who I Am
Many people in my family have changed their names, this has always amused me; I guess it was only fitting that my parents would give me a name at birth but never use it, they called me something else from day dot, I have never used the name on my birth certificate apart from when I’m startled into an ‘oh that’s me’ when it gets called at the doctors;  and then by a weird series of events I ended up with yet another name ‘Tilopa 2.0’ that I use now.  For me, I think this name change thing is not by chance, it has been a critical aspect on my journey of understanding the mysteries of life. It got me thinking ‘who the fudge am I? We humans love to name things, the concern with naming is as soon as something is named it is filed away in the memory banks, we humans assume we know lots of things but often we just know the names and very little information about things, it’s not until we enter into something that we really know it, the rest is just a story. We are a panel of experts who know about things that we have never experienced.
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Getting Out of the Way
Transformation comes about by undoing.  In education there is a filling up; and I am not knocking the gathering of information or the development of skills, I am a teacher and also love learning new things. The process of experiencing deeper Awareness works in reverse to education, a different set of rules applies; this is why academics and intellectuals have so much trouble with consciousness and out of the ordinary things, they don’t have a column in their database to include ‘other stuff’.  And this does not mean that a sharp intellect is a problem, personally I find it useful for analysis and discrimination; in my case a sharp intellect is extremely beneficial for me to compile the extraordinary into something that vaguely makes sense.  A bit like a cup full of sea water gives an example of the texture of the ocean, it won’t tell us much else but it hints that the salty water exists.
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A Montage Called Me
As we move through selfie-moments and stream them live in real-time to the social cyber-world, a chorus of onlookers joins in to the story of ‘who we believe ourselves to be’. That sentence may seem a little odd or over the top but when we come back to the core principles of Buddhism or Jnana Yoga  or knowledge of Self, (a simple definition of Self =something more expansive than the body and its environs) we know that Emptiness is at our core, as we move through life, in our thoughts we are defining who we are such as ‘i am a doctor, an idiot, a genius, i’m fat, ugly, a nice guy’, all sorts of labels.  When we look very very closely and give it a lot of thought, we see there is nothing solid that defines us apart from the body we drag through the 3D space of the world, the ‘me’ is constantly in motion, the molecules are churning, dancing in space.  It is space, the ‘field’ of creation that is consistent and also our ‘intention’ that projects into space. A selfie temporarily defines us, when we give them too much focus and stream them endlessly to the world, we are falling deeper into the abyss of  mis-identification and move further away from what we are.
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The Age of Not Me
The time we live in is an age of self-obsession and there needs to be a certain amount of awareness that we are ‘not what we imagine ourselves to be’, the image that we are creating and reinforcing plunges us further and further away from our core nature, the Emptiness.  This word Emptiness is not what it seems, it is living, it is at the heart of all creative potential, the blank canvas of life, the Silence that the Universe sits on or in and we need to get out of its way.

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Tilopa 2.0 on his balcony

That Elusive Ego Thing – Yoga Thoughts

In New Age circles we get to see a lot of nonsense about ‘how to get rid of the ego’.  There also are numerous gurus who will for a fee (either monetary or your sovereignty) will sign you up to their club to save you from yourself.  The word ‘ego’ gets splashed around like color at a Holi Festival; therapists, philosophers, counselors and back yard rubber bodied yogis and yoginis all telling you that you need to fix this evil enemy; cut it down before it swallows you or you’ll wallow in delusion for many incarnations.  Whether it be via the sledgehammer method of austerity and abnegation or sitting in groups of peaceful looking meditators with noisy heads surrounded by the odors of sweet smelling incense made from cow poo, you will eventually realise there are a million and one remedies and forms of self punishment to fix the problem that someone has convinced you exists.
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The Playfulness of Life
If for a moment we can agree there might be a God, (and a reminder that the G word has more baggage than an obsessive compulsive on their first trip overseas), I could comfortably say that God is a practical joker.  For example, I  remember going to the zoo years ago and a Tapir was lazing around on a sunny day minding its own business and a bevy of Otters were taking it in turns in swimming along a circular canal, hopping out of the water and slapping the Tapir on its behind region,  it was so bizarre, when the scenario first caught my eye, I asked the people with me to confirm what I was seeing. And to further my argument that the God thing has a sense of humor, just look at the Meerkats (“ok guys, eyes right”).  With the idea in mind that nature is hilarious, although life at times can be outrageously painful, and it may feel some days that we are in a suit that is two or three sizes too small and lined with prickles, the joke is also experienced by humanity first hand.
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In Hinduism we find a concept that there is something called Lila, without getting into fine detail, it could rather loosely be described as play, the Divine pantomime where the underlying super-consciousness plays out experiences in the various worlds. I am not evangelizing for Hinduism here, it is just a useful perspective to bring together the ideas I wish to get across about God and the practical joke. According to some wise men and also the wannabe’s, there is a view that in the Great Pretence of God, the super-Consciousness intentionally forgets who it is and wanders through the maze of the Cosmos looking for itself.  The God Being plays tricks by breaking itself in multiple parts and looks out from each window, seeks the answer to what is life and jumps in and out of bodies through various wormholes acquiring wisdom.  Whether it is true, in the scheme of this article I wont attempt unpack the supposed truth of the matter. But I do know and will state beyond doubt that everything is just ‘thought manifesting experiences through the senses’ and there is a liquidness to the environments we find ourselves in.  And with this in mind we can take a challenge to the charlatans who fill the book shops, ashrams and monasteries with information about the ‘ego’ that they really know little about.  Their work seems to send people away from where they want to be and only strengthens the old arch enemy of ego.
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The Invisible Enemy
Many people have seen the martial art of Aikido, there is a beauty in this approach.  To keep it simple, what is happening is the attacker ultimately defeats themselves, the one who is defending comes into harmony with the movements of the attacker and there is a type of invisibility or Emptiness that emerges in the defender, as there is no-one to attack, the confrontation dissolves without too much fuss.  If we take this approach or apply this type logic to this ‘ego thing’ that disturbs so many spiritual aspirants, we can quite comfortably dismantle the supposed problem and never suffer from the great lie again.
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Nothing is Static
We can, if we also follow the line of thinking that everything is just thought, the ‘supposed’ ego begins to loses its solidity, it is on unsafe ground.  If we look at contemporary Physics we will see that some physicists are in agreement on certain issues, one such thing is the world around us is not overly solid, when we dig into it with Nanotechnology we see there are a lot of particles in constant motion. We can also conclude that change is inevitable, if we gaze at nature, we see that everything seems to be in a state of rising (birth and growth) or sinking (decay), some processes happen faster than others but there is an ever constant in and an out shoot.
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Fooled by the Senses
An over identification with the body is at the core of the problem, by that I mean the five common senses of touch, hearing, smell, sight, and taste.  These are the ‘hooks’ that catches the human-fish most of the time.  There is a story built up in our thinking, we believe the information that the senses tell us; from this and the stories of others in the world around us, we build a profile of who we are. The impressions are deeply ingrained, we gather all the data and conclude ‘oh that’s me’, and those around us only enforce the idea with dialogue like ‘oh gee you are getting fat’, ‘what have you done to your hair?’, ‘you always loved donuts’, ‘i wish I had your brains’ ‘OMG you are such a dickhead’. Depending on our ability to accept or deflect the information we are bombarded with, we strengthen the idea of ‘me’ or the ‘inverted despondent me’.  There are also the numerous grayscale shades in-between that are neither positive or negative, they fill part of our mind-space with a mental picture of the ‘something identity’ who experiences the passing pantomime on the world stage.
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Something Amiss
When we start digging in, and by that I mean self questioning and exploring our thoughts, we find that this supposed identity is a little frisky and elusive to grab. There’s an old Zen Koan (thought and thoughtless provoking Parable) that comes to mind. A Zen master asks, “Show me your Original Face, the face you had before your parents were born.”  I don’t want to go too far down the Zen questioning track which has been turned into a nonsensical witty circus by many but this type of puzzle hints at a number of things.
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1) There is a possibly a false picture of who we are.
2) There is something that sits behind the experiencer and is aware in some way that the experiencer is either a charlatan or is caught in a maze.
3) Something is drastically amiss in the world of mice and men.
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The real issue with this elusive thing called ego is it has no substance and we have placed its mental meanderings in the forefront of our consciousness.  The experiencer gathers together what it knows or believes to be true and runs a program in the subconscious and makes minor adjustments as it moves through life’s experiences.  The idea of ‘getting rid of the ego’ is nothing but a concept. If we go back to basics and we are clear that there is a false association with the body and an unquestioned social belief system that the ‘thinker’ part of us is trapped inside the body, when we address this basic understanding and see ourselves as something that inhabits a much broader space and the body is INSIDE us and is purely the meeting point that relates to and perceives through the five senses and is formed by all the elements of nature we move in, then the ‘loosening’, the dismantling process begins, and it is not the dismantling of the ego, but the thoughts that obscure the view.  When we also remind ourselves and deeply contemplate that the world is in constant flux and is reforming itself moment to moment based on the ‘story of the world’ and is a projection of our consciousness,  it becomes clear that the the ‘ego’ is nothing but the intertwined fabric of thought.
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The Other Direction
The sage Krishnamurthi once stood in the Sydney Town Hall and during his discourse he said, ‘you are all going the wrong way’.  These words are a reminder that social consciousness is the prison-house and it is worthwhile to consider questioning everything that we believe to be true, have been told or assume is knowledge.   With the state of confusion and fear that runs rampant in the world, I am comfortable with going the other way.

The Yoga of Being Kind

We are born into societies where we are educated to ‘fit in’ and also stand out, to be seen a little bit above the rest; ambition is supposedly a virtue to some and something to drive us onward to a wondrous destination and do the clan proud.
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The Stupidity of Being Better Than Others
In our quest to rise up, we often find ourselves accidentally casting our shadows over others; life sometimes resembles two ‘suits’ fighting it out to win points in a legal case. Earth man has a tendency to adapt the ‘survival of the fittest’ attitude. When we go to school, once all basics are sorted, we find ourselves in the situation where we are taught how to do things, to retain information and then deliver something back to the teacher, our work is graded and compared to the other children.  All smiles for those who ‘got it right’ and a feeling of lack gradually develops in those who just can’t make sense of it.  In the middle a lot of others make up the numbers.
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When we move out onto the sporting field, ‘faster’ is better, ‘slower’ means you need to try harder, be a better version of your current fastest,  meanwhile the Road Runner flies by while you pant for breath, your legs that are possibly 1/6 shorter than you’d like them to be, the appendages resemble helicopter blades going in any way but the direction you want them to. The ‘sporty person’ finds a senior position in the pecking order and scores points on the subconscious ‘way we evaluate people’ table.
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The King of Nothing Syndrome
It may start at a young age but we begin to see ‘the survival’ techniques kicking in, thugs bumble and push their way through the micro-community they are part of, some day the victims of their thugi-ness may find their way to senior positions of government and live out their revenge on an unsuspecting community.
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Others have the knack of acquisition, they take the hunter-gather thing to new heights, drones do the gathering and hunting for them, the accumulation of ‘too many things’ becomes a yardstick on how THEY value themselves in the society they are part of, and other poor innocent bods believe that because someones empire is bigger than their own, it must be a better way to exist, so then they chase an empire of objects and in their failings, develop a feeling of worthlessness with an attitude of ‘life is not fair’ and suffer emotionally…… let’s go another way.
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Getting Off the Wheel of Life
The clouds overhead look ominous to some; the gardener within was hoping for rain today, the sun had scorched the garden bed, the wind had blasted and bashed the budding plants around, I was thinking ‘sprinkles from the heavens would be a bit of a blessing’.  We can learn a lot of nature, that’s a very old common adage; Alan Watts gave us a reminder ‘there are no straight lines in nature’, I will add ‘apart from the horizon, if we look from the sky we would see it’s curved’.  Many of us would remember school assemblies,  kids standing in line, every so often one would faint, or a fart may break the silence and great chaos cuts loose.  I am thinking that the tighter the school environment, the more a person becomes a slave to the system, some push ahead with tenacity to be the leaders in our social structure, but they are still insiders, it takes a lot of work to undo our programming. Communities don’t usually like outsiders, they are a threat.
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Getting Outta Here
Lao Tsu, Buddha, Jesus, Chang Zhu all rewrote the destiny of man, although people build religious cults around their words, they changed humanity from the inside.   They did not compete, they walked in the opposite direction to the rest of humanity, this in itself is a great teaching.  They broke through into new areas of thought, or more specifically ‘thought-less-ness’.  There is a tendency for the followers to focus on their words instead of the way they lived, Emptiness is at the core of these great men, it is easily missed. When we look at humanity, people prefer ‘fullness’, even if it’s a big bucket of crap, they are more comfortable with the pain and familiarity of the known than the potential of an unborn future, the unknown does not seem safe, it requires courage and trust.
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Win at All Costs

By inherited nature, humans compete all the time, being aware of what is healthy competition and what is debstabilising for others and what ‘weakens’ us is critical, i didn’t say damaging I said ‘critical’. When we are unnaturally competitive our values can go out the window and we make excuses for our actions, any excuse will do.  To have some kind of peace we justify things and point the finger away from ourselves and target others. When we take the time to think about how we treat others we can gradually over a period of time bring about some type of transformation in ourselves that will help us relax a little; relaxing doesn’t mean being ‘sloppy’.  All the mantras, wisdom, teachings are meaningless if we lack empathy and kindness, a softened heart is the fruit of all Spiritual practice and explorations into Emotional Intelligence.
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Every Moment Zen
Every day, every interaction we have with others puts us in a situation where we have choices.  Often the smarter we are, the greater the expert, the bigger the empire and the higher we are in a hierarchy, the more chance there is to be disrespectful to others, flippant, dismissive and lacking in understanding, our value systems can get skewed, and of course there are wonderful people at all places in the community but the quest for success can cloud our thoughts and we close down a little.
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As a musician I am constantly in the situation of having to leave my opinions out of things relating to music.  After many decades of honing my craft I am inclined to be critical to the point of annoying and wanting to ‘fix’ the music around me. We all have parts of ourselves that require work if we want to live happy lives, I am aware of where much of my work lies. Where this article was always going was to point out one simple thing, and it’s an ongoing process that constantly arises, ‘it’s better to be kind than right’, we know if we are well informed about things, and whether we have a great skill, we don’t need to prove anything, it is our actions and the way we treat others that counts. I think the process of softening takes our whole life, till the moment we pass into another part of foreverness.