Going Beyond the Basics part 7 = Analogy 2 –Tree Stump Bandit
The prior blog "Going Beyond the Basics part 6" could have been called Analogy 1, beginning as it did with the "Snake & Rope" analogy.
inspection revealed the "Snake" to be a "Rope"
Similar in some ways to Snake & Rope, the Stump & Bandit analogy utilizes the experience of rural country folk in a dangerous region where bandit or attackers of any kind might be lurking in the forest at dusk to pounce upon a passerby. Wary of being caught so close to dark, but still walking through the forest, the rural person might barely pick up the outline of tall tree stump, just vaguely in the corner of his eve, in blurry limits of peripheral vision. As with the Snake & Rope situation:
Glancing obliquely in the dim light, through fear, the rural person cannot clearly see the true nature of the stump.
Glancing obliquely in the dulled discrimination & focus, through the Ego, the Samsaran cannot clearly see the true nature of the Self. Specifically, looking with blinders this way, the apparent Body [only a jumble of perceptions of such] is taken, in a "side-long glance" to be a "marker", a symbol for oneself. But in truth the Body is only an innocent "tree-stump", an inert object. Instead of being the physical actualization of the "bandit", the Ego, this tree-stump Body is not a real Ego-thief, stealer of Happiness & producer of Suffering.
More light [Consciousness] would help the traveler to recognize the stump for what it is, not a Bandit at all.
More discriminating awareness [Discrimination] helps one to recognize that the Body is not a knower, a "thief", & to recognize the Self for what it is, with no Ego at all.
Reducing fear & attachment to a security that can never be guaranteed can attenuate tendencies to hallucinate.
Reducing all self-concepts & attachments can attenuate tendencies to identify the Self as the Ego.
Analyzing the actual likelihood of a bandit’s presence at that time & place can be helpful, to a limited extent.
Analyzing the preposterous contradictions inherent in the Ego-idea can be helpful, to a limited extent.
Immediately helpful it would be to face the stump directly & examine it without oblique peripheral vision.
Immediately helpful it would be to directly inquire into the nature of the Ego to recognize its unreality & make it vanish.
Facing the fear, the “bandit” initiates best self-defense & is in the “same direction” needed to recognize the stump.
Inquiring into the nature of the Ego initiates release of concepts & is in the “same subjective direction” needed to recognize the Self.
Note on true Happiness
Happiness is felt, experienced, sourced & "contained" in the very heart of the conscious Mind.
Happiness is in no way connected [affecting or deriving from] any external Object, but only in & from ourselves. We, as Consciousness, are the One that experiences Happiness.
Though we seem to derive Happiness from external objects or experiences, the Happiness that we actually experience derives from Consciousness at the core of our Being.
Desire for Happiness, fear concerning its diminution or absence, such "thought–waves" or vrittis leave the Mind troubled & unhappy. But "beneath" the superficial Mind, Consciousness ever remains peaceful & happy.
Agitation [rajas guna] in the Mind obscures [tamas guna] innate Happiness in the center of our Being.
Upon temporary satisfaction of obscuring desires, some temporary subsidence of such vrittis in the Mind is felt as "partial happiness" – all to the extent & for that interval consistent with the degree & continuance of subsidence.
That "partial happiness" is a "whiff" of the limitless innate Happiness that is Consciousness.
Sri Shankara, & before him the Buddha, among many sages from various traditions, delineated some details of this illusion of unhappiness. Buddha’s 4 Noble Truths concerning the nature of Happiness could be roughly summarized as follows.
Life is of the nature of Suffering.
Suffering arises from Desire.
Desirelessness is Liberation.
Spiritual practice [as in his 8–fold Path ] is the way to Desirelessness & Liberation.
Further interpretive intuition implicit in the instructions of the Buddha could be extended thus:
Not getting what you want is Suffering.
Getting what you don’t want is Suffering.
Even getting what you want is Suffering, because deep down you know that the temporary enjoyment is fleeting & will slip away, so that future loss is already intuited & is already painful.
Sri Shankara contribute additional insights amid his thorough discussion of the nature of Happiness:
That an external object cannot produce Happiness is suggested by the fact that its enjoyment is less or even absent at certain other times & by certain other people.
Furthermore, increasing access to the supposed "happiness–producing" [such as having twice as much, etc.] does not increase the enjoyment proportionally, & sometime not at all. Even reversal to aversion to excess of the imagined "happiness–source" can be the case.
Further, Happiness is not within the Mind. Mental replay or memory of the supposed "happiness–producing" experience may be slightly enjoyable, but never to full extent of the immediate experience. The Mind cannot fully [or at all] replicate a happy experience, thus possibly leading the former illusion of attributing the Happiness to an external Object.
In fact, it is removal of obscuring mental waves [vrittis], as mentioned above, that allows some glimmer, little or great portion of innate Happiness to shine through.
Full & lasting Happiness, Liberation arises from transcendence of the Mind & naturally complete Renunciation regarding unreal external objects.
Generally, disturbance in the Mind obscures the calm Peace of the Self, which is Pure Consciousness.
To enjoy full & lasting Happiness, we need only return, consciously to the Mind-transcendence naturally but unconsciously experienced on a daily basis in Deep Dreamless Sleep. [Specific hints & instruction in succeeding blogs.]
[continuing with Master Nome’s instruction about the World]
The World is constituted solely of Sense Perceptions, usually from a supposedly bodily location. There is no World apart from these Sense Perceptions. So, the World is not external. The "external" is merely
a conceptual interpretations of the sensations. The Senses are known only by & in Consciousness. So, what is thought of as "external" is entirely in Consciousness, which is tree from the Senses. The "external World" is a mere notion in Consciousness. Within that notion there appears the whole "external World". The "external World" notion is one that depends on the false "I am the
Body" belief. The World is thus a mere notion, an illusory appearance in one’s own Mind. Therefore it is called Maya, "illusion". Illusion is that which is not.
Since the World is unreal, it can offer no Bondage. Being unreal, it does not actually come to be. It is for this reason that Maya is said to be beginnigless. The Reality does not bring forth the unreal. Being Non-Dual, the Reality does not bring forth anything "else" real. Ever-existent Being, itself unborn, creates not at all.
By the same token, the unreal itself too is also not born, because it does not exist. Being unreal, it does not disappear, anymore than the Dream World disappears for the Dream character when one awakens from both the Dream World & the Dream character.
The World appears in Consciousness alone. It is known by the Knower. It is known in the Knower. It has no existence apart from the Knower, which is pure Consciousness. The World appears in Consciousness, by the power of Consciousness, is composed of Consciousness, & is known or experienced by Consciousness. All of it is just Consciousness. It has not the least degree of any other existence.
One Being-Consciousness exists everywhere always. The one Self experiences itself everywhere always. The Self itself is just thought of as a World, though there is really no such differentiated thing that can be called a world. Consciousness is the Wor1d, as well as Space, Time, Matter, Motion & Events, the Moments & the Eons, things & people, the animate & the in-animate, the moving & the still, the large & the small, the living & the dead, the far & the near, the atoms & the galaxies, the root & the flower, the cause & the effect, & all else.
The one Self is all. The one Self appears as all this Universe. The Universe appears in the Self.
The Self, being formless & infinite, does not appear in that Universe. The Universe appears in the Self. The Self appears as the Universe, but really undergoes no modifications. The Self always abides as the perfectly full Void of Being. lf the World appears, it & its Knower are only the Self. If there is no
appearance, there is only the Self. In the Knowledge of the unalterable, ever-same Reality, the Self alone is. Thus, in Reality, there is no question of a World ever being created or ever appearing. For whom would it appear, as there is no 2nd self, but only the One Self ever ?
the young Sage, Sri Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi
[The above themes & 1600 pages more are freely available as perused or downloaded PDF’s, the sole occupants of a Public Microsoft Skydrive “Public Folder” accessible through www.jpstiga.com ]