In the Sky, there is no distinction of East & West; people create distinction out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.
I have been avoiding this topic for a long time but the piling of questions regarding Karma, Liberation from Karmic Bondage, Attaining Wisdom, Concept of God and others similar queries oblige me to say something on that which cannot be said.
Difference between knowledge and wisdom
Most of the time people use the word wisdom interchangeably with knowledge. But wisdom is completely different from knowledge. Knowledge is borrowed. Wisdom is your own. Knowledge comes from reading and listening and wisdom comes from experience.
So, I am not going to tell you the difference between knowledge and wisdom. On the other hand, I’d like you to experience the same on your own. For that, I’m sharing a story with you – the story, which you would have already heard in your childhood.
There lived a great sage who befriended some parrots. The parrots used to reside beside the sage’s cottage. The sage gave the parrots a mantra to save them from getting trapped in hunter’s trick. The parrots learnt the mantra by heart. They often used to sing it, “If a hunter will come, spread his net, put some grains on it, we will not get lured and trapped.”
Upon seeing these parrots sitting on a branch of a tree, a travelling hunter with the intention to trap them spread his net, put some grains on it and sat beneath the tree. Suddenly, the hunter heard them singing the same mantra. He got disappointed by knowing that the parrots had the knowledge of his intention and they would not get trapped by his trick.
Since he was tired, he decided to rest and took a nap there. When he awoke from his short sleep, to his surprise, the parrots were still singing the same mantra but inside his net of trap. By seeing that, he laughed. He laughed because he experienced the difference between knowledge and wisdom.
Merits of doing good deeds
Many come to me with the belief that doing good deeds will liberate them from their Karmic Bondages. I have also seen some bloggers writing that doing well frees oneself from the cycle of rebirths. People often ask me “What is written in scriptures to do to attain enlightenment?”
Somewhat similar questions were asked to Bodhidharma founder of Zen by the great Emperor Wu founder of Liang Dynasty of Chinese history. The story goes like this:
When Bodhidharma entered in China, Emperor Wu, himself, came to receive him because the news of Bodhidharma’s enlightenment had reached before his actual arrival. Emperor was a religious person and did contribute a lot in spreading the words of Buddha. He was curious to know what would be his reward in return for his virtuous deeds. Emperor Wu asked Bodhidharma “How much karmic merit have I earned for ordaining Buddhist monks, building monasteries, having sutras copied, and commissioning Buddha images?” Bodhidharma calmly replied “None. Good deeds done with an intention to get something in return bring good karma, but no merit.”
Emperor was surprised with Bodhidharma’s reply. He shot back “So what is the highest meaning of noble truth?” Bodhidharma answered “There is no noble truth, there is only emptiness.” Emperor, by that time, got annoyed and retorted “Then, who is standing before me?” Bodhidharma laughed and said, “Don’t know, Sir.”
Karma and Karmic Bondage
What is Karma? What is Karmic Bondage? Why is Karma said to be bondage?
Karma is a vicious cycle of action and its consequences. Good action brings good consequences; evil action brings evil consequences. There is no escape from this vicious Karmic Cycle unless someone is there to do actions and face their consequences.
Karma is said as bondage because it binds oneself to action and its consequences. Liberation from Karmic Bondage is not about doing good actions but to come out of the vicious circle of actions – action generating another action and so on.
Karma is a cage. It doesn't matter whether it is of gold or steel. A cage is a cage. Good actions are gold cages. You are not free from doing good actions. You are not free from the cycle of cause and its effects. Good actions generate good consequences; that's all. You have to come again and again; you have to reincarnate to avail the good consequences generated by your past actions.
Freedom is transcending Karma. Liberation is freedom from the consequences of action; freedom from the cycle of cause and its effects – action and its consequences.
Why good equals evil in the path of attaining enlightenment
Once upon a time, an eagle was chasing a dove. The dove, while being chased, approached a man for seeking help. The man agreed to save the dove and asked the dove to come by his side. Then, the eagle asked the man, “If you save the dove, what’ll I eat?” The man said the eagle to eat another dove. The eagle asked the man, “Why’ll another dove die to save this dove?” So the man advised the eagle to eat a rat. Then, the eagle asked, “Why’ll a rat die to save this dove?” Finally, the man asked the eagle to eat him. The eagle laughed and said to the man, “How long can you feed me? Sooner or later after your death, I’ll eat this dove.”
The eagle found that the man was unnecessarily delaying and concluded him as extremely evil. But the dove found the man extremely good.
Look at these words: evil and good; both are attributed to the same man. What should the man do? If the man saves the dove, he’s depriving the eagle from its food and indirectly compelling the eagle to die of starvation. And, if he doesn’t save the dove, he’s indirectly helping the eagle in its killing because he can save it easily. What is good or right in this situation?
Good and evil or right and wrong aren’t absolute distinction but individual’s perspectives. What seems good to you may seem evil to others. They remain with individuals as long individuals exist and changes with individuality.
What to do to liberate from Karmic Bondage
One is not going to be free from Karmic Bondage unless one involves oneself in Karmic interactions. When ONE stops doing, he is liberated. Try to grab my words very carefully. My emphasis is not on doing but on one who is doing – the Doer. All the consequences have to be faced by the Doer. Generally, it is taken otherwise in terms of doing. Doing will carry on. Action will continue but there will be no doer to take the consequences of the action; there will be no individual remaining to attribute good or evil to him.
Remember when Emperor Wu asked Bodhidharma, “Who is standing before me,” what did Bodhidharma reply? He said, “Don’t know;” he didn’t say, “I don’t know.” There wasn’t any trace of I-sense left within Bodhidharma.
It is I-sense which holds the attribution of good or evil; it is the I-sense which does actions and avails their consequences; it is this I-sense which is bound by Karma. The moment one renounces his ego of doer, he is enlightened, he is liberated from Karmic Bondage, and he becomes free from the cycle of rebirths.
Controlling is not wisdom
I often hear people saying that in State of Highest Wisdom, one stays calm, remains unaffected and steady in the state of both happiness and misery. So do not feel happy in happiness and miserable in misery.
Well, I agree with first part i.e. the definition of highest state of wisdom but find flaws and loopholes in the suggested path to attain it.
Actually, the problem is we have seen actions going on their own only in inanimate objects. We have seen the actions of only planets and other celestial bodies on their own. Science does not believe in creator theory; it believes that every activities of Universe are going on its own. We, a strong believer of science, start to believe that an action is possible without a doer and then read in scriptures that it is the highest state of wisdom. We begin to find a way to attain this state of non-doer.
We start to search what to do to attain the state of non-doer. From here, our misery begins. Our logical mind correlates inanimateness with highest state of wisdom and finds insensitivity as the way to attain it; that is why, advocates not to feel happy in happiness and miserable in misery.
Violation of basics
The advocacy of control violates the basic principles and requirements such as:
- State of highest wisdom is not about the state of unconsciousness like zombies but to attain a state of full consciousness – Superconsciousness.
- It is not about insensitiveness to pain and pleasure but transcendence of both.
- It is not about controlling behaviour but to attain a state of non-doer.
- It is not about I-sense but egolessness.
- It is not a state of mind but a state beyond mind.
- It is not about logic but a state of no-thought.
Performance without a performer
The question is not about what to do; the question ought to be how to do. There exists another way – a flawless path to attain State of Supreme Wisdom – the Path of Conscious Activity. It says that it doesn’t matter what you do, just do it consciously with full awareness.
Have you ever driven vehicles at a very high speed? Do you have any memories at that time while driving at such high speed? Do you ever feel that you are driving while driving at tremendous speed?
While performing any action with full consciousness, feelings cease. Feelings are the result of divided consciousness. Feelings are associated with self. When there is no self, there exist no feelings. Who is there to feel? Who will feel when no one remains?
Someone might experience the state of highest wisdom while driving at a very high speed. Driving at very high speed needs full consciousness to avoid accidents. Full consciousness means, no thinking; no thinking means no feelings; no feelings means no memories. Memories belong to self, so there is no self also while driving at high speed because you also don’t remember that you are driving. Because this very thought of driving may also distract and lead to accident. So, one thing is clear that when you are driving at such high speed you are also not present. The only statement could be passed is that driving is going on but there is no driver.
Infants are form of God
Driver’s face is reflecting the innocence of egolessness – Buddhahood in those moments of driving. It could be seen in the same manner as seen on the face of infants. Infants are pure, innocent, egoless. They are born without any sense of self. Researchers have proposed that children do not develop self-recognition skills and a personal identity until the age of 16-24 months.
Whatever infants do, they do with full consciousness. If they are crying, they become the cry. If they are laughing, they become the laugh. There lies no divided consciousness with them. Their crying or laughing is not the result of some emotional outburst but is the natural state of their being.
Live life as an actor
The world is a drama and everyone is playing a role in it as actor.
Have you seen actors playing their role on screen? Doesn’t their cry appear real? Do they cry in real? What do you think?
Yes, their cry appears real. Most use glycerine to shed tears. But the great actors do not need glycerine to shed tears. They just enter into the scene and given character, tears start to roll down their cheeks. They just empathize with the given character and tears begin to flow but after the shot they aren’t sad over what has happened with the character. They just give their 100% to shot and that is it. Same is the condition with happy scenes.
Misery begins when actors indulge in something which they are not supposed to do; when they mix the given role with their own real characters; when they start to play their role outside the plot.
Actors weep and laugh, but tears and laughter don’t bind them; actors remain untouched by them. When they love they do not love, when they fights they do not fight; they are never involved in their roles as worldly people are. They play a friend and a foe without being involved in friendship and enmity. They practice attachment and detachment simultaneously.
Where most people miss
When Hui Neng went to his master for seeking enlightenment, the master asked, “Do you want to know about enlightenment or attain enlightenment?” Hui Neng replied, “What do I do with knowledge of enlightenment? I have come to attain enlightenment.” The master said, “Okay, go help in the kitchen, and do not come again to me. Whenever it will be needed, I will come to you.”
No meditation was given to Hui Neng, no scriptures to read, no rituals to practice. Nothing was taught to him, he was just thrown into the kitchen.
Many years passed. Hui Neng obeyed his master and didn’t go to him again. He was simply doing the job assigned to him consciously. He was pounding rice and doing other works in the kitchen.
The master was about to die, the time had come to choose his successor, so he announced, “Those who think they are enlightened should compose a small poem of four lines. In those four lines you should put all that you have gained. And if the lines show that enlightenment has happened, I will choose the person as my successor.”
There was a great scholar in the monastery, and no one attempted the poem because everyone knew that he was going to win. He was a great knower of scriptures. He wrote something like this: “Mind is like a mirror, and dust gathers on it. Do not let the dust collect on it, clean it regularly and who knows this is enlightened.”
News spread that great poem had been written. Fellow disciples found it beautiful. They believed that it contained the very essence of all the scriptures – mind is like a mirror, and dust gathers on it; remove the dust, and you are enlightened. But master was not happy with the poem.
Murmuring started in the monastery among disciples that despite telling the whole gist of all the Vedas in just four lines, why was the master not happy? What more did he want?
The discussion also reached Hui Neng’s ears. He heard what had happened. The moment he heard those four lines, he laughed. So someone asked, “Why are you laughing, you fool? You do not know anything; you have been serving in the kitchen since the day you came here. What makes you laugh?”
Hui Neng said, “I don’t know how to write, and I am not an enlightened one either, but these lines are wrong. So if someone writes on my behalf, I can suggest the four lines.” He dictated, “There is no mind and there is no mirror, so where can the dust gather? One who knows this is enlightened.” And he was selected by the master as his successor.
Highest Wisdom is illogical by nature
Hui Neng was one of the greatest masters ever born. He gave the Koan. Koan means an absurd question which cannot be answered, any way you try. It is unanswerable. And one has to meditate on that unanswerable question. And when you think about that which cannot be thought, by and by, slowly and gradually, thinking becomes impossible. One day, suddenly the whole structure of thinking falls – shattered. Suddenly you are in a state of no-thought. That’s what highest state of wisdom is.
So I leave you with Penrose Triangle to think upon it and get established in the State of Highest Wisdom.
Hope the article fans the flame of POSITIVITY within you.
Have a nice day!