POSTCARD#414: Bangkok: This pāramī highlights the capacity to be truthful, a quality that can be understood in two ways: truthfulness, as an aspect of morality and truthfulness as it refers to perception, the ability to see or know things in an undistorted way. To free the mind from distortion, tunnel vision or blind spots takes more than a moral sense. For this we need to examine the nature of our thoughts, attitudes and biases through introspection and meditation.
When we can find a stable abiding place in awareness, we begin to feel the pressure our preferences and expectations create – and how to get free of that. We can witness moods, feelings and impulses changing. That is their truth; and that is the truth of all conditions. We are not in their grip. They’re not me, not mine, not self. They arise and pass in awareness, and are what they are. We can act upon them or let them pass, with a clear understanding of consequences. So through being filled with the truth of awareness, one acts in terms of truthful behaviour. This full truthfulness, its brightness and peace, is what is meant by terms like ‘realization,’ ‘seeing things as they are,’ and ‘Awakening.’
Clear Awareness is Deep Honesty
Truthfulness as behaviour, and truthfulness as understanding and realization, are related. But so are dishonesty and confusion. We may find ourselves being dishonest simply because it’s more convenient that way, unaware of how our words and deeds affect others. So we adopt assumptions, in line with our preceding assumptions. Even if the assumptions are not based on truth, it seems as if they will fend off results that we fear. But what if there’s nothing to fear and you find that being straightforward and truthful gives you a quiet strength; and, that most people will respect and sympathize with your honesty?
As long as we don’t use truth, we let ignorance make us insecure and fearful. But there is the realization that the agent of events, of virtue and vice, is intention (or impulse) and perception, not self. And we can be aware of and investigate the feel of attraction, repulsion, defensiveness, and see they’re not fundamental states – they’re not self; they are as they are, and there’s no one behind them to defend or approve of.
So the real issue is not one of being affected, but of proliferating tendencies and assumptions of fear, irritation, lust or guilt; latent tendencies in how the programmed mind forms our experience. That voice in the brain or that surge in the heart is so familiar and habitual that it may seem like the real me. But what is it that witnesses it? Which is the ‘real me,’ the thought or the watchfulness? Maybe neither. No thought or mind state is there all the time, so how can any of them be a permanent aspect or possession? And if none of these can be possessed or under one’s control, what kind of possessor or controller lives in our mind? In truth, there’s not some self in charge of all this; nor do we seem to be able to be apart from this changing show. It all arises dependent on causes and conditions.
(continued next week 09 April 2021)