Chiang Mai: 06.00hrs and it’s still yesterday in the West, internet is slow and unpredictable, busy with the millions of people over there wishing each other well for 2013, sending messages, sharing images, ‘liking’. World is populated with beings preoccupied with devices that can render the ‘self’ as an actor that ‘I’ choose to project to others; mind reflects upon itself in its own world, is aware of its perception of itself as subject in its own blissful states. Other times seeking to escape from the perceived emptiness surrounding the idea of ‘me’ being separate from the world; go that route and, in the end, there can only be an experience of total aloneness – it can’t be that way. But here, some people find God, superimpose a personification on that emptiness. Others just go along with it anyway, what else is there… we’re all on the road to nowhere, yes, I could be convinced, enough to comply with the economic system the politicians try to assure me is real even though I know it’s just based on a concept.
So, taking it on face value, like this I know the whole thing could so easily fall apart, it’s so very fragile but somehow it doesn’t – there’s that collective holding-on thing. The God mechanism is there whether I believe in it or not and I may go on being controlled by circumstances or I can decide to investigate, examine it. What’s going on here? I see everything in the world, through consciousness but I can’t see consciousness itself because I am that consciousness, there’s a subjectivity about everything. Then, when I see things and other people out there in the ‘world’, I’m suddenly an individual again, a self, separate from the world. ‘I’ engage with everything, subject to inherited kamma and actions create more kamma, mostly of no consequence, possibly laying foundation for another state of being at some future time? And from that ‘distant’ place, this place ‘here’ is seen in hindsight, as if it were a former life – this is how it began?
Why bother with beginnings, so distant and removed from this time and place. There’s only what there is now; no past and no future – time is a construct. I’m here situated in the East, 7 hours ahead of London, 12 hours ahead of New York, 15 hours ahead of San Francisco and then time measurements come to an end somewhere in the Pacific ocean, so it’s called a different day, of course. Continue in that direction and I return to the time zone I’m in now, except that, supposedly it’s the day before yesterday. It’s not, of course, it’s always the same day, only present time exists. Always present time and the way out of this puzzle is here, nirodha, Third Noble Truth.
“… the remainderless fading & cessation, renunciation, relinquishment, release, & letting go of that very craving. (the noble truth of the cessation of dukkha) “— SN 56.11 (dukkha nirodho ariya sacca).
Daylight coming through the windows, I hear the monks chanting downstairs and go to the small balcony, to see. Down below there are about thirty people from the hotel opposite kneeling, receiving blessings for the New Year – and two large baskets of donated food, dāna generosity. Four monks in pale tangerine robes facing the small group and the sound of Pali verses created in the Buddha’s time 2600 years ago…