On the necessity for Dispassion

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It's nearly New Years, and with New Years I usually reflect how I spent my year. The darkness of December also makes me naturally more contemplative and pensive. Brings out some darkness before the light shines brightly again in nature. Last night I was reminded of three years ago where I came across a picture of a book online entitled Vasistha's Yoga by Swami Venkatesananda. I read the first chapter and remember how the very first chapter on dispassion moved me very powerfully. 


I would like to discuss with anyone interested the importance (or lack thereof) of renunciation and seeing things for what they are. I believe in various traditions - the view of reality is different. For instance in Buddhism's "lower" or foundational vehicles like Theravada one is taught to see non-self and suffering in the five clinging categories with an emphasis on renunciation and dispassion. In the Mahayana vehicle, one is not only taught non-self but also about the nature of the great One Mind outside the five skandhas which is what, arguably, the prajnaparamita sutras are all pointing to as I see it. In Master Nan Huai Chin's words: "When the Hīnayāna speaks of no self, it is in reference to the manifest forms of presently existing life; the intent is to alert people to transcend this level, and attain Nirvāṇa. But when this flowed into the world of learning, especially when it was disseminated in the West, some people thought that the Buddhist idea of no self was nihilism and that it denied the soul, and they maintained that Buddhism is atheistic. This is really a joke."- Nan Huaijin. Working Toward Enlightenment: The Cultivation of Practice. pg.139


In the Vajrayana path and especially Dzogchen, the view is the most important - an emphasis on Mind alone and clear-seeing is paramount for the practice. In the prelimaries however, even in Vajrayana, the faults of samsara are explained and emphasised and I'd argue even to this day renunciation is still an important and vital part of the tradition with an emphasis on retreat and renunciation for genuine progress. One must not forget one of the crowning jewel's of the Tibetan tradition is the example set by the practictioner Milarepa himself - enlightenment in one lifetime. 


On towards the text itself, the Vasistha's Yoga, a text presented by Valmiki, the poet-sage - who is also said to have written the epic Ramayana; it is about the prince Rama's conversation with the sage Vasistha. In the first chapter entitled Dispassion, the prince is deeply moved and appears depressed and suffering in having realised the impermanence of the samsaric joys that are based on the body-mind's sense-impressions that are ultimately not-self, suffering and impermanent. In the first chapter here below, Rama explains in details what this realization entailed for him: 


“Holy sir, I shall duly answer your question. I grew up happily in my father’s abode; I was instructed by worthy teachers. Recently I went on a pilgrimage. During this period a trend of thought has taken hold of me, robbing me of all hope in this world. My heart begins to question: what do people call happiness and can it be had in the ever-changing objects of this world? All beings in this world take birth but to die, and they die to be born! I do not perceive any meaning in all these transient phenomena which are the roots of suffering and sin. Unrelated beings come together; and the mind conjures up a relationship between them. Everything in this world is dependent upon the mind, upon one’s mental attitude. On examination, the mind itself appears to be unreal! But, we are bewitched by it. We seem to be running after a mirage in the desert to slake our thirst!”


“Sir, surely we are not bond slaves sold to a master; yet we live a life of slavery, without any freedom whatever. Ignorant of the truth, we have been aimlessly wandering in this dense forest called the world. What is this world? What comes into being, grows, and dies? How does this suffering come to an end? My heart bleeds with sorrow, though I do not shed tears, in deference to the feelings of my friends.”

Rama continues: 


“Equally useless, O sage, is wealth which deludes the ignorant. Unsteady and fleeting, this wealth gives birth to numerous worries and generates an insatiable craving for more. Wealth is no respecter of persons: both the good and the wicked can become wealthy. However, people are good, compassionate and friendly only till their hearts are hardened by the passionate pursuit of wealth. Wealth taints the heart even of the wise scholar, a hero, a man of gratitude and a dexterous and soft-spoken person. Wealth and happiness do not dwell together. Rare is that wealthy man who does not have rivals and enemies who scandalise him. To the lotus of right action, wealth is the night; to the white-lotus of sorrow, it is the moonlight; to the lamp of clear insight, it is the wind; to the wave of enmity, it is the flood; to the cloud of confusion, it is the favourable wind; to the poison of despondency, it is the aggravating agent. It is like the serpent of evil thoughts and it adds fear to one’s distress; it is destructive snow-fall to the creeper of dispassion; it is the night-fall to the owl of evil desires; it is the eclipse of the moon of wisdom; in its presence a person’s good nature shrivels. Indeed, wealth seeks him who has already been chosen by death.”


“Even so is the life-span, O sage. Its duration is like that of a water droplet on a leaf. The life-span is fruitful only to those who have self-knowledge. We may encompass the wind, we may break up space, we may string waves into a garland, but we cannot pin our faith on the life-span. Man vainly seeks to extend his life-span, and thereby he earns more sorrow and extends the period of suffering. Only he lives who strives to gain self-knowledge, which alone is worth gaining in this world, thereby putting an end to future births; others exist here like donkeys. To the unwise, knowledge of scriptures is a burden; to one who is full of desires, even wisdom is a burden; to one who is restless, his own mind is a burden; and to one who has no self-knowledge, the body (the life-span) is a burden.”


“The rat of time gnaws at the life-span without respite. The termite of disease eats (destroys) the very vitals of the living being. Just as a cat intent on catching a rat looks at it with great alertness and readiness, death is ever keeping a watch over this life-span.”


“Holy sir, I am bewildered and scared when I contemplate the coming into being of the dreadful enemy of wisdom known as egotism. ”


“It comes into being in the darkness of ignorance, and flourishes in ignorance. It generates endless sinful tendencies and sinful actions. All suffering surely revolves around egotism (it is the ‘I’ who suffers); and egotism is the sole cause of mental distress. I feel that egotism is my worst disease! Spreading the net of worldly objects of pleasure, it is this egotism that traps living beings. Indeed, all the terrible calamities in this world are born of egotism. Egotism eclipses self-control, destroys virtue and dissipates equanimity. Giving up the egotistic notion that “I am ” and giving up all desires, I wish to rest in the self. I realise that whatever I have done with an egotistic notion is vain: non-egotism alone is truth. When I am under the influence of egotism, I am unhappy; when I am free from egotism I am happy. Egotism promotes cravings; without it they perish. It is this egotism alone, without rhyme or reason, that has spread the net of family and social relationships, to catch the unwary soul. I think I am free from egotism; yet, I am miserable. Pray, enlighten me.


Bereft of the grace earned through the service of the holy ones, the impure mind-stuff remains restless as the wind. It is dissatisfied with whatever it gets and grows more and more restless by the day. The sieve can never be filled with water; nor can the mind ever reach the state of fulfilment however much of worldly objects one acquires. The mind flits in all directions all the time, but is unable to find happiness anywhere. Unmindful of the possibility of reaping great suffering in hell, the mind seeks pleasure here, but even that it does not get. Like the lion in a cage, the mind is ever restless, having lost its freedom yet not happy with its present state. Alas, O holy one, I am bound by the knots of craving to the net that has been spread by the mind. Even as the rushing waters of a river uproot the trees on its bank, the restless mind has uprooted my whole being. I am being wafted like a dry leaf in the wind by the mind. It does not let me rest anywhere. It is this mind alone which is the cause of all objects in the world; the three worlds exist because of the mind-stuff. When the mind vanishes the worlds vanish too.”


It is really when the mind-stuff is enveloped by craving that innumerable errors arise in the darkness of ignorance thus caused. This craving dries up the good and noble qualities of the mind and heart, like sweetness and gentleness of disposition, and makes me hard and cruel. In that darkness, craving in its different forms dances like a goblin.”


“Though I adopt various methods to restrain this craving, the latter overpowers me in a moment and helplessly drives me astray, even as a gale carries a straw away. Whatever hope I entertain of developing dispassion and such other qualities, craving cuts that hope away even as a rat snaps a thread. And I helplessly revolve caught in the wheel of craving. Like birds caught in a net, we are unable, though we have the wings for it, to fly to our goal or abode of self-knowledge. Nor can this craving be ever appeased, even if I were to quaff nectar. The characteristic of this craving is that it has no direction: it drives me in one direction now and the very next moment it takes me away in another direction, like a mad horse. It spreads in front of us a very wide net of son, friend, wife and other relations.”


“Though I am a hero, this craving makes me a frightened coward; though I have eyes to see, it makes me blind; though I am full of joy, it makes me miserable; it is like a dreadful goblin. It is this dreadful goblin craving that is responsible for bondage and misfortune; it breaks the heart of man and creates delusion in him. Caught by this goblin, man is unable to enjoy even the pleasures that are within his reach. Though it appears as if the craving is for happiness, this craving leads neither to happiness nor to fruitfulness in this life; on the contrary, it involves vain effort and leads to every kind of inauspiciousness. Even when it occupies the stage called life on which several happy and unhappy situations play, this craving, like an aged actress, is incapable of performing anything good and noble and suffers defeat and discomfiture at every turn. Yet, it does not give up dancing on the stage! Craving now ascends to the skies, now dives into the depths of the netherworld; it is ever restless. For it is based on the emptiness of the mind. In the mind the light of wisdom momentarily shines, but there is delusion the next moment. It is a wonder that sages are able to cut this with the sword of self-knowledge.”


“This pitiable body composed of veins, arteries and nerves is also a source of pain. Inert, it appears to be intelligent: one does not know if it is sentient or insentient, and it engenders only delusion. Delighted with a little gratification and distressed by the least adversity, this body is indeed highly despicable.


“I can only compare a tree to the body: with branches for arms, trunk for the torso, holes for eyes, fruits for head, leaves for numerous illnesses—it is a resting place for living beings. Who can say that it is one’s own? Hope or despair in relation to it is futile. It is but a boat given to one for crossing this ocean of birth-and-death; but one should not regard it as one’s self.”

Excerpt From: Venkatesananda. “Vasistha's Yoga”. Apple Books. 


“This tree which is the body is born in the forest known as  (repetitive existence), the restless monkey (mind) plays on it, it is the abode of crickets (worries), it is constantly eaten by the insects (of endless suffering), it shelters the venomous serpent (of craving), and the wild crow (of anger) dwells on it. On it are the flowers (of laughter), its fruits are good and evil, it appears to be animated by the wind (of life-force), it supports the birds (of senses), it is resorted to by the traveller (lust or desire) for it provides the shade of pleasure, the formidable vulture (egotism) is seated on it, and it is hollow and empty. It is certainly not meant to promote happiness. Whether it lives for long or falls in a short time, it is still useless. It is composed of flesh and blood, it is subject to old age and death. I am not enamoured of it. It is completely filled with impure substances and afflicted with ignorance. How can it fulfil my hopes?”


“This body is the home of illness, the field for mental distress and changing emotions and mental states. I am not enamoured of it. What is wealth, what is kingdom, what is the body? All these are mercilessly cut down by time (death). At death this ungrateful body abandons the soul that dwelt in it and protected it: what hope shall I repose in it? Shamelessly it indulges again and again in the same actions! Its only certain purpose seems to be to burn in the end. Unmindful of old age and death that are common to the rich and the poor, it seeks wealth and power. Shame, shame upon those who are bound to this body, deluded by the wine of ignorance! Shame on those who are bound to this world!”


“Even childhood, the part of life which people ignorantly regard as enjoyable and happy, is full of sorrow, O sage. Helplessness, mishaps, cravings, inability to express oneself, utter foolishness, playfulness, instability, weakness—all these characterise childhood. The child is easily offended, easily roused to anger, easily bursts into tears. In fact, one may say boldly that the child’s anguish is more terrible than that of a dying person, an aged man, a sick man or any other adult. For in childhood one’s state is comparable truly to that of an animal living at the mercy of others.”


“The child is exposed to the countless happenings around it; they puzzle the child, confuse the child, and arouse in it various phantasies and fears. The child is impressionable and is easily influenced by the wicked: in consequence, the child is subjected to control and punishment by its parents. Childhood seems to be a period of subjection and nothing else!”


“Though the child may appear to be innocent, the truth is that all sorts of defects, sinful tendencies, and neurotic behaviour lie hidden and dormant in it, even as an owl lies hidden in a dark hole during the day-time. O sage, I pity those people who foolishly imagine that childhood is a happy period.” 


“What can be worse suffering than a restless mind? And, the child’s mind is extremely restless. Unless the child gets something new every day, it is unhappy. Crying and weeping seem to be the child’s foremost activity. When the child does not get what it wants, it looks as if its heart is broken.”


“When the child goes to school, it receives punishment in the hands of its teachers; and all this adds to its unhappiness. When the child cries, its parents, in order to pacify it, promise to give it the world; and from then on the child begins to value the world, to desire the worldly objects. The parents say “I shall give you the moon for a toy,” and the child, believing their words, thinks that it can hold the moon in its hands. Thus are the seeds of delusion sown in the little heart. Though the child feels heat and cold, it is unable to avoid it—how is it better than a tree, then? Like the animals and birds the child vainly reaches out to get what it wants; and it is fearful of every elder in the house.

Leaving this period of childhood behind, the human being goes on to the stage of youth, but he is unable to leave the unhappiness behind! There he is subjected to numerous mental modifications and he progresses from misery to greater misery, for he abandons wisdom and embraces the terrible goblin, known as lust, that resides in his heart. His life is full of desire and anxiety.


They who have not been robbed of their wisdom in their youth can withstand any onslaught. I am not enamoured of this transient youth in which shortlived pleasure is quickly followed by long-lasting suffering, and deluded by which man regards the changing to be changeless. What is worse still, it is during youth that one indulges in such actions that bring unhappiness to many others.

Even as a tree is consumed by a forest-fire, the youth’s heart is consumed by the fire of lust when his beloved leaves him. However much he may strive to develop purity of heart, the youth’s heart is stained with impurity. Even when his beloved is not present near him, he is distracted by the thoughts of her beauty. Such a person who is full of cravings is naturally not held in high esteem by good men.

Youth is the abode of diseases and mental distress. It can be compared to a bird whose wings are good and evil acts. Youth is like a sandstorm that disperses and dissipates one’s good qualities. Youth arouses all sorts of evils in the heart and suppresses the good qualities that may exist there; it is thus the promoter of evil. It gives rise to delusion and attachment. Though youthfulness appears to be very desirable to the body, it is destructive to the mind. In youth, the man is tempted by the mirage of happiness and in its pursuit he falls into the well of sorrow. Hence I am not enamoured of youth.

Alas, even when youth is about to leave the body, the passions that had been aroused by youth burn the more fiercely and bring about one’s quick destruction. He who delights in this youth is surely not a man, but an animal in human garb.

They are adorable, they are great souls and they alone are men who are not overcome by the evils of youth and who survive that stage of life without succumbing to its temptations. For, it is easy to cross a great ocean; but to reach the other shore of youth without being overcome by its likes and dislikes is indeed difficult.”

Rama continued: 


In his youth, man is a slave of sexual attraction. In the body which is no more than the aggregate of flesh, blood, bone, hair and skin, he perceives beauty and charm. If this ’beauty’ were permanent, there would be some justification to the imagination; but, alas, it does not last very long. On the contrary, very soon the very flesh that contributed to the attractiveness, the charm and the beauty of the beloved is transformed first into the shrivelled ugliness of old age, and later consumed by fire, or by worms, or by vultures. Yet, while it lasts this sexual attraction consumes the heart and the wisdom of the man. By this is the creation maintained; when this attraction cease’s, this samsara (birth-death cycle) also ceases.

When the child is dissatisfied with its childhood, youth takes over; when youth is plagued by dissatisfaction and frustration, old age overpowers it—how cruel is life. Even as wind tosses a dew-drop from a leaf, old age destroys the body. Even as a drop of poison when it enters the system soon pervades it, senility soon pervades the entire body and breaks it down, and makes it the laughing stock of other people.

Though the old man is unable to satisfy his desires physically, the desires themselves flourish and grow. He begins to ask himself, “Who am I? What should I do?” etc., when it is too late for him to change his life’s course, alter his life-style, or make his life more meaningful. With the onset of senility, all the distressing symptoms of a physical break-down, like cough, white hairs, hard breathing, dyspepsia and emaciation, manifest themselves.

Perhaps, the deity presiding over death sees the white roofed head of the old man as salted melon and rushes to take it. As a flood cuts away the roots of trees standing on the river-bank, senility vigorously cuts the root of life. Death follows and carries it away. Senility is like the royal attendant who precedes the king, death.

Ah, how mysterious and how astounding it is! They who have not been overcome by enemies and who have taken their abode in inaccessible mountain-peaks—even they have been afflicted by the demoness known as senility and degeneracy.”

Rama continues: 

All enjoyments in this world are delusion, like the lunatic’s enjoyment of the taste of fruits reflected in a mirror. All the hopes of man in this world are consistently destroyed by Time. Time alone, O sage, wears everything out in this world; there is nothing in creation which is beyond its reach. Time alone creates innumerable universes, and in a very short time Time destroys everything.

Time allows a glimpse of itself through its partial manifestation as the year, the age, and the epoch; but its essential nature is hidden. This Time overpowers everything. Time is merciless, inexorable, cruel, greedy and insatiable. Time is the greatest magician, full of deceptive tricks. This Time cannot be analysed; for however much it is divided it still survives indestructible. It has an insatiable appetite for everything—it consumes the smallest insects, the biggest mountains, and even the king of heaven! Even as a young boy plays with a ball for his pastime, Time uses the two balls known as the sun and the moon for his pastime. It is indeed Time alone that appears as the destroyer of the universe (Rudra), the creator of the world (), the king of heaven (Indra), the lord of wealth (Kubera), and the nothingness of cosmic dissolution. It is indeed this Time that successively creates and dissolves the universe again and again. Just as even the great and mighty mountain is rooted on earth, this mighty Time is also established in the absolute being (Brahman).


Even though Time creates endless universes, it is not wearied, nor does it rejoice; it does not come, nor does it go; it does not rise, nor does it set. Time, the gourmet, sees that the objects of this world have been ripened by the fire of the sun, and when he finds them fully ripe he consumes them! Each epoch of time is decked, as it were, by the lovely jewels of colourful beings for the pleasure of Time that wipes them all out playfully. To the lotus of youthfulness, Time is the nightfall; to the elephant of life-span, Time is the lion. In this world there is nothing, high or low, that Time does not destroy. Even when all these are destroyed, Time is not destroyed. Just as a man after a day’s activity rests in sleep, as if in ignorance, even so Time after the cosmic dissolution sleeps or rests with the creation-potential hidden in it. No one really knows what this Time is.”

Rama continued: 

Besides the Time I have just described, there is another Time which is responsible for birth and death; people refer to it as the deity presiding over death. Yet again there is another aspect of this Time, known as —the end of action, its inevitable result or fruition. This  is like a dancer with niyati (the law of nature) for his wife: the two together bestow on all beings the inevitable fruit of their actions. During the course of the existence of the universe, they are indefatigable in their labour, unwinking in their vigilance and unflagging in their zeal.


“When Time thus dances in this universe, creating and destroying everything, what hope can we entertain? holds sway even over those whose faith is firm, and makes them restless. On account of this  everything in this world is constantly undergoing change; there is no permanency here.


All beings in this world are tainted with evil; all relationships are bondage; all enjoyments are great diseases; and desire for happiness is only a mirage. One’s own senses are one’s enemies; the reality has become unreal (unknown); one’s own mind has become one’s worst enemy. Egotism is the foremost cause for evil; wisdom is weak; all actions lead to unpleasantness; and pleasure is sexually oriented. One’s intelligence is governed by egotism, instead of being the other way round. Hence there is no peace nor happiness in one’s mind. Youth is fading. Company of holy ones is rare. There is no way out of this suffering. The realisation of truth is not to be seen in anyone. No one is happy at the prosperity and happiness of others, nor is compassion to be found in anyone’s heart. People are getting baser and baser by the day. 

Weakness has overcome strength, cowardice has overpowered courage. Evil company is easily had, good company is hard to come by. I wonder whither Time is driving humanity.”

“Holy one, this mysterious power that governs this creation destroys even powerful demons, robs whatever has been considered to be eternal of its permanency, kills even the immortals—is there then any hope for simple folk like me? This mysterious being seems to dwell in all, and its individualised aspect is regarded as egotism, and there is nothing that is not destroyed by it. The entire universe is under its control; its will alone prevails here.”

Rama continued: 

“O sage, thus neither in childhood nor in youth nor in old age does one enjoy any happiness. None of the objects in this world is meant to give happiness to anyone. The mind vainly seeks to find such happiness in the objects of this world. Only he is happy who is free from egotism and who is not swayed by craving for sense-pleasure: but such a person is extremely rare in this world. Indeed, I do not regard him as a hero who is able to battle successfully against a mighty army; only him I consider a hero who is able to cross the ocean known as the mind and the senses.”

“I do not regard that as a “gain” which is soon lost: only that is a gain which is not lost—and there is no such gain available to man in this world, however hard he may struggle. On the other hand, both fleeting gains and temporary adversities come to a man even without his seeking. I am puzzled, Holy sir, that a man roams here and there seemingly busy throughout the day and is all the time engaged in selfish activity, and though he does not do one good turn during the day, he is still able to sleep at night!”


“Yet, even though the busy man overcomes all his earthly enemies and surrounds himself with wealth and luxury, and even when he boasts that he is happy, death creeps in upon him. How it finds him, only God knows.”

“In ignorance, man binds himself to wife, son and friends; he knows not that this world is like a large pilgrim centre where countless people come together fortuitously—and they whom he calls his wife, son and friends are among them.

This world is like a potter’s wheel: the wheel looks as if it stands still though it revolves at a terrific speed—even so to the deluded person this world appears to be stable even though in fact it is constantly changing. This world is like a poison tree: one who comes into contact with it is knocked unconscious and stupified. All points of view in this world are tainted; all countries in the world are territories of evil; all the people of the world are subject to death; all actions are deceitful.

Many aeons have come and gone; they are but moments in time—for there is essentially no difference between an epoch and a moment, both being measures of time. From the viewpoint of the gods even an epoch is but a moment. Even so the whole earth is but a modification of the earth-element! How futile to pin our faith and our hope on it!”

Rama continued: 

“O Holy one! Whatever appears to be permanent or transient in this world—it is all like a dream. What is a crater today was a mountain before, what is a mountain today becomes a hole in the earth in a short while, what is a dense forest today is soon transformed into a big city, what is fertile soil now becomes arid desert. Similar is the change in one’s body and in one’s life-style and fortune.

This life-and-death cycle appears to be a skillful dancer whose skirt is made up of living souls, and her dancing gestures consist of lifting the souls up to heaven, hurling them down into hell, or bringing them back to this earth. All the mighty deeds, even the great religious rites that people perform here, are soon consigned to one’s memory. Human beings are born as animals and vice versa; gods lose their divinity—what is unchanging here? I see even the creator , the protector Visnu, the redeemer Rudra and others inexorably going towards destruction. In this world sense-objects appear to be pleasant to one only till he remembers this inevitable destruction.

Just as a child playing with earth makes different designs with a clod, the ordainer of the universe keeps creating new things and destroying them soon.This perception of the defects of the world has destroyed the undesirable tendencies in my mind; and therefore desire for sense-pleasure does not arise in my mind, even as a mirage does not appear on the surface of water.”


“This world and its delights appear bitter to me. I am not fond of wandering in the pleasure-gardens, I do not relish the company of girls, I do not value the acquisition of wealth. I wish to remain at peace within myself. I am constantly enquiring: “How can I wean my heart completely away from even thinking of this ever-changing phantasm called the world?” I do not long for death, nor do I long to live; I remain as I am, free from the fever of lust. What shall I do with the kingdom, pleasure or wealth, all of which are the playthings of egotism which is absent in me?”


“If I do not get established in wisdom now, when shall another opportunity arise? For, indulgence in sense-pleasure poisons the mind in such a way that its effects last several life-times. Only the man of self-knowledge is free from this. Therefore, O sage, I pray to thee: instruct me in such a way that I may forever be free from anguish, fear and distress. With the light of your instruction, destroy the darkness of ignorance in my heart.”

“By reflecting on the pitiable fate of living beings thus fallen into the dreadful pit of sorrow, I am filled with grief. My mind is confused, I shudder, and at every step I am afraid. I have given up everything, but I have not established myself in wisdom; hence I am partly caught and partly freed. I am like a tree that has been cut but not severed from its root. I wish to restrain my mind but do not have the wisdom to do so.

Hence, pray tell me: what is that condition or state in which one does not experience any grief? How can one who is involved in the world and its activities, as I am, reach the supreme state of peace and bliss? What is that attitude that enables one not to be influenced by various kinds of activities and experiences?

Pray tell me: how do you people who are enlightened live in this world? How can the mind be freed from lust and made to view the world both as one’s own self and also as no more valuable than a blade of grass? The biography of which great one shall we study in order to learn the path of wisdom? How should one live in this world? Holy sir, instruct me in that wisdom which will enable my otherwise restless mind to be steady like a mountain. You are an enlightened being: instruct me so that I may never again be sunk in grief.”


Obviously this world is full of pain and death; how does it become a source of joy, without befuddling one’s heart? The mind is obviously full of impurities: how can it be cleansed and with what cleanser prescribed by what great sage? How should one live here so as not to fall a victim to the twin currents of love-and-hate? Obviously there is a secret that enables one to remain unaffected by the grief and suffering in this world even as mercury is not affected when it is thrown into the fire. What is that secret? What is the secret that counteracts the habit of the mind that is spread out in the form of this universe?”


Who are those heroes who have freed themselves from delusion? And what methods did they adopt to free themselves. If you consider that I am neither fit nor capable of understanding this, I shall fast unto death.”


That was super long, so apologies if you did not wish to read it all. I really enjoy this chapter and reflecting on prince Rama's words here. As this is the daobums, what do you think of his view of the world? True, false, exagerrated, neither? Is it important to be reminded of such a view to cultivate properly on the Way? Is the suffering one experiences in this world, or that which is part of the first noble truth, necessary for genuine spiritual progress to occur? Do we need to witness suffering in ourselves and in others to see the world for what it really is? 

Is dispassion the first step to genuine progress in these arts? Or is it something else? Perhaps curiosity or simply a joy of explorating what else there is? Let's discuss!  And to everyone, I wish you a great New Years!

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Dispassion is the cessation of rāga-dvésha or the duality of craving and avoidance. When and as we understand what we are, dispassion rises correspondingly. 
it is a sign of maturity for sure, but only if understood in the context I presented above. It is a consequence of letting go of mentations. 

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Umm,  pondering along these lines is hard enough for me without trying to mix parts of Buddhism and Hinduism together, and I say more so for those without an anchor in either one?  Anyway we could also throw in Solomon's saying that is along the lines of, "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity"...although that was not his final summation in Ecclesiastes was it?


Is not the one true desire mostly overshadowed or mistaken by chasing various desires that can never really satisfy, never really give one both the rest, freedom and joy "that springs forth" which is directly alluded to in the Upanishads?  (and whatever level and period of renunciation helps in that attainment)


How does one cultivate  a dispassion which is further fulfilled through the reception and emission of  unconditional compassion, with such being a major key to unlocking the prison of doubt and one's gnawing upon themselves (or others) in repetitive "vain" ?  Well there are many paths and   yoga's that help prepare for unconditional compassion, aka unconditional love and Grace although same can not be gained intellectually, nor bought or sold, nor somehow acquired by the studying of countless volumes of books which may point to it.  


Spirit is unto Spirit, and when the mind's attempted control is exhausted and the soul calls or reaches out then Spirit can not - not answer that call !!


As for the various bodies of man, including the physical which is also needed, all their forms of prana's are gathered together to make that  Decisive call and leap of faith to the ever present Sat/Self




Edited by old3bob

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