I SEE THE WORLD through a built-in selection process that reflects and supports the default state of mind; it’s like fish cannot see the water they swim in; so obvious, yet… but I can get it to fit, more or less, according to my likes and dislikes and fall deeper into the dream. I make it into something good or bad or whatever and the fact that I can’t see it – well, it just does that. I call it reality. How I perceive the world is dependent on causes and conditions that were here before I was born; you could say it comes with the software. I think I’m an independent being not affected by anything or not affecting or influencing anything else. I can’t see this is a work of fiction and it’s all being monitored by the ongoing needs and requirements of an entity I created; a ‘self’ that has no real substance. I’m dismayed, of course, by how it all gets swept away in randomness; subject to the kamma, unknowingly created at some earlier time.
‘… It’s because of not understanding and not penetrating this Dhamma that this generation is like a tangled skein, a knotted ball of string, like matted rushes and reeds, and does not go beyond the cycle of the planes of deprivation, woe, and bad destinations.’ [Tanha Sutta: Craving” (AN 4.199)]
The outer world just rolls along, as it does, in all its diversity, and totally neutral. Whether there’s belief it’s this or that, makes no difference; it’s just how it seems. The devastating emptiness of it all means the population is driven to get and do and attain and protect and defend. It’s a battlefield. To avoid and deny, to have fear and anxiety and be controlled by authority and feel threatened with the flimsy nature of existence, although the absolute fragility anicca, is the beauty of it. But the population can’t see it like that. They are clutching at straws but don’t see it like that; don’t see they are maintained in an unknowingness of the world like penned animals are by the farmer, well intentioned though he may be, in order to cultivate a special kind of hunger, upadana tanha (clinging and craving) – and the economy depends on this. The greater the craving, the faster the turnover of stock and the Western style of God together with governments and the corporations are simply involved in farming the population.
I can understand why the Buddha was thinking the Dhamma was too subtle and there was no point in teaching it because no one would understand. I can see how, in those historical times of feudal hierarchy, it would have seemed impossible to create social change…. and is it any different now? It seems just as impossible for people to understand today. I wonder if I really fully understand it myself. I’m no different from other people, this is our shared suffering. But the Buddha changed his mind about it being too subtle. He said there is a way out and we can find it in the framework of the Four Noble Truths. The teaching has survived 2600 years. Understanding replaces misunderstanding; ignorance is pushed out. There’s a simple curiosity and this quiet state of at-ease knowingness….