It's All In Your (Corrupted) Mind

So my latest episode of Dead Reckoning.TV got some pushback from some Buddhist viewers. One suggested I do a little more research so that I know what I'm talking about. I do confess to getting a bit of a kick out of the fact that said interlocutor referred me to some Wikipedia pages. I'm a bit more of an original source kind of guy. Another accused me of spreading lies on the Internet.

So let's just cut to the chase, shall we?

Let me refer you to The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, edited by W.Y. Evans-Wentz, with commentary by Carl Jung. This is a translation, and definitive edition, of the Buddhist teachings of Tibetan Guru Padma Sambhava.

Padma Sambhava is pretty clear.

All reality is Mind, and mind is One. (As an aside, one does have to wonder if G.W.F. Hegel was under the spell of eastern mysticism, so similar is his own philosophical starting point: "The Rational is the Real, and the Real is the Rational.") Mind does not admit of any distinction or differentiation whatsoever:

In its true state, mind is naked, immaculate; not made of anything, being of the Voidness; clear, vacuous, without duality, transparent; timeless, uncompounded, unimpeded, colourless; not realizable as a separate thing, but as the unity of all things, yet not composed of them; of one taste, and transcendent over differentiation. (p.211)

The goal of the "Great Liberation" is to get in touch with (or, better, become enlightened to) this Reality, with a capital "R." This is the "Yoga of Introspection." That means turning within to one's own mind and eradicating dualities and distinctions, for these are "vacuous concepts" of the corrupted mind, the mind as it exists for us in Sangsara, the world of illusion.

And that means all dualities and distinctions. So much so that Padma Sambhava teaches that, in Reality, there is not even a distinction between seeking and finding, knowing and not knowing, the one who meditates and the object of meditation. All is One. To realize the absence of duality or distinction is the achievement of "At-one-ment." (pp.224-225)

He goes on to make the implications clear. All distinctions are illusions, corrupted mental concepts that must be overcome to achieve enlightenment. And, so:

Although the Wisdom of Nirvana and the Ignorance of the Sangsara illusorily appear to be two things, they cannot be truly differentiated. It is an error to conceive them otherwise as one. Erring and non-erring are, intrinsically, also a unity. By not taking the mind to be naturally a duality, and allowing it, as the primordial consciousness, to abide in its own place, beings attain deliverance. The error of doing otherwise than this arises not from Ignorance in the mind itself, but from not having sought to know the Thatness. Seek within thine own self-illuminated, self-originated mind whence, firstly, all such concepts arise, secondly, where they exist, and, lastly, wither they vanish. (p.229)

If that was a bit obscure, he now embarks on explaining the Yogic Science of Mental Concepts. Mental concepts like duality are "illusory [...] none of them real," and they "fade away accordingly." What kinds of things are thus "not real," and fade away upon enlightenment? Among them are:

"The three unhappy states of suffering."

"Ignorance, miseries, and the Five Poisons."

Suffering and misery is thus an illusion of the corrupted mind, and enlightenment is to transcend them to participate in true Reality, the One Mind that is undifferentiated. "Seeing this Radiance, which shines without being perceived, is Buddhahood."

That's a very elaborate way of saying that you and I are in the Matrix, the illusory realm of Sangsara, and we need to be enlightened to the "real world," where things like happiness and suffering, good and evil, ignorance and knowing, all "fade away" before The ONE.

I did not make it up. I did not spread "lies" on the Internet. I got it from the one of the Premier Tibetan Gurus, and I've read similarly in the works of the current Tibetan Guru, the Dalai Lama himself.

I realize the implications are uncomfortable, and so I'll just say it again. Count the cost. If evil and suffering are corrupt mental impulses of the Matrix, then getting angry about them is really the opposite of enlightenment, on Buddhism's own terms.

Henceforth, when one of my Buddhist friends gets angry with me and insists that evil and suffering are Real, I will only conclude that they are Buddhists-in-training and have a lot of work yet to do on that whole enlightenment thing. As for me, any enlightenment that in principle negates my ability to get infuriated at sin, misery, and death isn't an enlightenment worth having.

Brian Mattson