PeterC wrote: ↑Mon Oct 19, 2020 4:03 am
I think this issue can be difficult at a few stages of practice.
Early on, a student is told that it's grasping and aversion that cause suffering, not any sort of objective 'good' or 'bad' out there, for instance in the analogy of the bowl of water being perceived differently by pretas, devas, etc. OK, says the student, but aren't there things that everyone agrees on as being 'good' and 'bad'? For instance - long life and health, vs. kids getting leukemia or slavery? Is that really a question of perception if everyone agrees on it?
Yes. I heard HHDL say something once about White Tara practice, which is for long life. He said that a long life wasn’t very important. What’s important is what you do with whatever life you’ve got.
And if you're telling me that avoiding judgement and dualistic thinking will end suffering - isn't that just pretending that everything is great?
If you haven’t actually purified you mind of it’s obscurations, it is pretending. If you have significantly reduced your emotional defilements and obscurations to knowledge, everything is seen from a perspective not available to the pedestrian mind. That’s not pretending.
Why tolerate conventional suffering and not try to actually do something about it?
Of course you address conventional suffering. But since there is no final satisfactory resolution to conventional living, and if you have the opportunity, then it’s time to go for the brass ring.
Later on, particularly for Vajrayana practitioners, you start saying that the earth is strewn with flowers and perfumed with scented water and so forth, imagining everything as the pure mandala of the deity...but then you need to confront that with the realities of living next to a building site, or seeing a river so polluted that all the fish are dead, or a forest being cut down to build a toxic waste dump.
Yep. IF, and this is a big if, you accomplish the practice, a toxic waste dump is the pure mandala of the deity. As I quoted Malcolm at the start of this thread,
Malcolm wrote:For a being with a pure mind, Avici hell is no different than Akaniṣṭha Ghanavyuha, the buddhafield of Vairocana/Vajradhara.
you’ve got to let go of believing it is how your normal perception believes it to be.
We're told that all sounds are the mantra of the deity, but then we hear Fox News.
Yes. Fox News too.
They're told that they must, on pain of hellfire, maintain pure perception of the guru, then they see their human guru display anger or greed.
It's difficult for people to really believe in the practice of transformation when it conflicts so much with their own conventional perceptions
Yes. That is why it is essential that the student first understands that their own sane, sober, level headed conventional perceptions are incorrect
. The conflict shows the limitations and faults of their present awareness.
Finally, they hear things like the supreme conduct is to engage in all conduct without restraint and attachment - great, they think, I can drink, eat and sleep with anything I like.
That’s just wrong. Indulging defiled impulses results only in suffering. It’s always poison.
It's completely reasonable for people to have trouble with these points. They are difficult, and often I feel they're not explained very well, though there are good answers to all of them.
Yes. It really helps if they understand that their present mode of perceiving reality is deeply, fundamentally, and hopelessly flawed.
I think they become a lot easier to understand when you meet a teacher who exemplifies the practices - for instance, hearing Garchen R. talk about the years he spent in prison.
The enlightened mind sees things very differently than the pedestrian mind. In fact, the pedestrian mind is the obstacle to be overcome in order to see life accurately. In the analogy of the clouds obscuring the sun, the clouds represent the pedestrian mind. As HH Karmapa recently said, “The problem isn’t ignorance. The problem is the mind you have right now.”
True unawareness thinks “things are how I perceive them to be, and I know that for an absolute fact because I experience them that way.” To which the Buddha says, “Oh yeah? You think so? Well then start by showing me where the essence of it is...” This is the start of leaving the assumptions of unawareness behind.