everything is fragile, coming together and falling apartwe can observe the amount of effort that goes into being with someone who is very ill or inclined towards death, and the other extreme, being with youthful energy, which requires containing & protecting it from harm and danger, guiding it, teaching it.
likewise, we can observe all the time and energy it takes to guide a human life in worthwhile directions and to be with its day to day difficulties
—we've got to sustain and feed ourselves, protect ourselves, teach ourselves, etc
when we open the heart to the conditions that have to be lined up in order for our life to be sustained we see fragility; so many conditions have to be coordinated just to make it through a day
—when we consider the delicacy and contingency of it all, its not surprising when things go awry
—as ajahn brahma says, we shouldn't say to a doctor something's wrong, i don't feel well, but rather something's in line with the nature of life, for i feel ill!
—not only the body, but people around us we depend upon
so this assumption that we have the right to be comfortable and healthy all the days of our life is a form of drunkenness, hubris and ignorance
—it doesn't take into account the complexity and fragility of the body, etc
—we have a short time in life when we have a maximal independence, before things start to go, hearing, sight, mobility, energy, perception
—we can't stay coordinated for long. how could it be otherwise? this idea we can remain comfortable?
eventually little inconveniences mount up and give us clues that its all going to go south
the frequent reflectionsthis is why the buddha encouraged reflections on old age sickness and death
—the five subjets of frequent recollection: i am of the nature to grow old, sick, die, be separated from all that i love, and all that i think and do, both harmful and unharmful, will i fall heir
—its easy to hear this and think wow that's depressing and glum, why do i have to be so negative
—what we're doing is waking the mind up and saying "get with the program, this is the deal you've signed!"
rather than being depressing, we're encouraging ourselves: the body is a massively complex system, an ecosystem, where any bacteria that gets in could spell the end
—healthy people fall away all the time due to sudden and unforeseen internal and external events
—if we look at our skin under a microscope the amount of bacteria is stunning
we're in a stet of change, so our comfort level will change, how could it be otherwise?
—its because of ignorance that we get carreid away by impressions of pleasure and health and independence and being surrounded by likable objects
—its a childlike delusion
the more we carry around this false belief the more stress, because the world will always go wrong: the package will not arrive in the mail, the train wont come, people will be difficult, the body will have disagreeable sensations
—the cause of our feeling of being obstructed and frustrated lies in views, opines, expectations, especially our identifications, or atavada upadana
the role of identification in sufferingthese contemplations point towards the idea "i am the body" then i am of the nature to age and die, as the body is of the nature to sicken.
—if the body, feelings, consciousness is not self, than what is endangered?
—its because of identifying ourselves with our thoughts, our feelings, our bodies, etc.
if someone says our body is unattractive or attractive, old or young, so what? when we let go of identifying with it, I am this, then there's a great relief, we don't care what others think about that which is beyond our control.
in the ultimate truth of things, we're not our bodies or personalities or careers.
—ultimately all of it changes and is washed away, we're attaching to impressions and appearances that are not the whole truth; its all woven together through attachment and ignorance
the buddha's path is one of investigation, vibhajana.
—is my liver me? my knee? my bladder? where is this "i?" there's no subsystem of the brain switched "on" all the time
—its a stripping away of this energy towards "i am this, i am that" the perception of identifying with any passing state
we use the power of our assumptions to help that i am habit to be exposed. we develop vipassana to really look and explore how our perceptions and thoughts create layers of identification and endeavor that causes stress.
so we move past the body, and we want to identify with pure consciousness or awareness or an energy in the universe. but its still attachment to self-view, buying into a concept of identity.
—even refined kinds of identification cause limitation and disappointment
—identifying with some core fabric of the universe, which is mind boggling and beyond knowing, doesn't lend us any peace, for we're seeking identify in that which we don't understand
the paradox of our true naturethe teaching continually points the heart towards letting go: "whatever you conceive reality to be, it is always otherwise."
—any kind of construct or idea cannot encompass experience or truth
—anything that's compounded by the mind is a filtered, mediated skewed reproduction
so the teaching leads has a paradox, relinquishment of our idea of the truth opens us up to the truth: letting go. that becomes the higher power.
—all that we can conceive is what we're not, when we let go of what we're not, then what we are, what's true, will be revealed
—of course, then the conceptual mind jumps back in: "ah! so i am this and that!"
the goal is a resting in the letting go of attaching to or identifying with.
—it takes a lot of courage and resilience to train the heart to rest in relinquishment, but in it we can find a spaciousness and completeness that can never be found in identification with transient, compounded phenomena.
we should expect the truth, the lack of definition, to be frustrating to the conceptual mind, which is used to easy to grasp things we can be.
—the mind is always looking for another thing to be, to acquire, place to go, etc.
—relinquishment leads us to a standstill, a lack of movement.
the identifying mind finds unidentified existence, the true heart, to be disappointingly unprotected, vulnerable, inexpressible.
beyond this emptying out of concepts, sunnata, at the end the buddha offers tathata, or suchness, as there's some element to existence, but beyond that its beyond identification.