Veil of Ignorance (#1064)

12 09 2016

Adams Rubble: Good morning! I see there is not too much to talk about this morning.
***: On the contrary, Adams. I have had an eventful night. I went to sleep, and woke up early this morning, thinking I had understood something important.
Adams Rubble: Oh good, tell me about it.
***: Well, I went back to sleep and when I finally got up, it did not seem that important.
Adams Rubble: Like a dream. Please tell more about it.
***: As you know, I began to be interested in the Tibetan Nyngma School, so before turning out the light, I looked at the bookcase and pulled out Bruce Newman’s _A Beginners Guide to Tibetan Buddhism_ and found my way to Chapter Ten beginning on page 95.Adams Rubble:Did you find what you were looking for? [rule: never end a sentence in a preposition] Did you find that for which you were looking?
***: No but I found something different. It begins with the four noble truths of [Lord] Buddha
Adams Rubble: I know: the truth of suffering, the truth of the cause of suffering, the truth of the cessation of suffering, and the truth of the path.
***: Newman notes that he wondered about the difference between the Hindu deprivation practices done by Buddha and his insights about suffering and desire. It dawned on Newman that what Buddha discovered was that the basic nature of all states. The Hindu yogi position was that of aversion to the state we are in, and seeking something else in the meditation.Buddha noticed that he kept returning to the original state and had to work on this over and over again.
Adams Rubble: That sounds similar to fundamentalist Christian concept of being saved. There is a public statement by the individual and all feels great. But then it slips away and needs to be done over and over again.
***: Apparently then, what Buddha  discovered is that there is no difference in the state of the yogi (or saved Christian) and our everyday state.
Adams Rubble: Well that sounds pretty important. Pema always taught us that there is no path, that we can start at the end.
***: Buddha dedicated himself to curing human beings of their suffering. Maybe my disconnect comes from not stopping there 🙂
Adams Rubble: Ah, so there is more. I was wondering what the title of this post had to do with this.
***: After discussion of the above, Newman goes on to talk about the causes of suffering. For the Theravada it is desire; for the Mahayana it is aversion; for the Yajrayana it is ignorance.
Adams Rubble: Wow, that is a mouthful.
***: I should note that Newman concludes that maybe there is not much difference between the three. However if the cause is desire, then the approach is to draw away from life into a more monastic approach. If it is aversion, the approach would be the opposite. To renounce the active life would be avoiding the issue. For the Vajrajana, the approach would be to find ways to see through our ignorance to see our true Buddha nature. I think the revelation I had was I began to think of a veil. I don’t necessarily think on terms of my Buddha nature.
Adams Rubble: Pema had a word for it but I forget too.
***: In any case, I think of the veil as being in layers. I think this is in line with Vajrayana thinking for their teaching is done in stages. One needs to master one level before going on to the next.
Adams Rubble: That is where the Play as Being thinking diverges I guess, starting at the end. There is no program for breaking through the levels.
***: Each of us are different and have different obscuration. That is my belief anyway.
Adams Rubble: Religion can either be the cause of a veil of ignorance or a lifting of a veil of ignorance.
***: Sadly yes. Religion can be the source of intolerance or it can sow seeds of compassion. It has made many people, especially young people, intolerant of all religion.
Adams Rubble: Blessed are the religious people who sow seeds of compassion. This brings us to a point I wanted to make about your post yesterday.
***: Yes?
Adams Rubble: The lesson about being invited to a feast and sitting in a lesser seat so one will not be embarrassed and asked to move down appears in both the Old and New Testament as you noted yesterday. There is one thing that always bothers me is the reason, that is not to be embarrassed. It seems to me that with that as motivation, one would be sitting in one’s lower seat thinking about how arrogant those in the higher seats are being. It would work on one’s mind and poison the original intent is choosing a lesser place.
***: You bet; there are “sins” or “poisons” of the mind as well as those of the body. For Buddhists there is a third “poison” and that is ignorance.
Adams Rubble: A good place to end. Maybe you had a bit of your veil lifted last night. That would be nice.
***: Thank you.

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1. This morning, looking across the river, watching the rush hour traffic on the highway, the church bell began to chime the hour, reminding all that there was a peaceful place amidst the rush of Monday morning.

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