Naropa’s journey continues as he again awakens from a swoon. He comes to the city of a great king and asks, “Have you seen Tilopa?” Already, Naropa has missed the initial teaching. A great city? A king whom he can walk up to and ask such a question? The king answers, “Yes. but before I show you, you must marry my daughter.”
In this dream of intended spiritual awakening, Naropa marries the king’s daughter and lives with her for a “long time.” Then the king, not wishing him to leave, takes back the daughter and the dowry and leaves the room. Naropa, now really hoodwinked, thinks he has to call upon the magic of a certain deity, but just before he utters the incantation everything again dissolves into rainbow light. The voice rings:
“Are you not deceived by a magic show?
How will you find the Guru if through desire and dislike
You fall into the three forms of evil life?”
Magic show? Every day we engage the work of master illusionists. Modern humanity is pawn to marketeers, media moguls with agendas that don’t necessarily include truth or truthful information. Humanity is hapless to the vampiristic appetite of capitalism and its constant feeding, or the entrenched political and economic systems that want that to be the sociological norm. In Naropa’s day, he merely had to learn that the illusions in his mind made his illusion of reality. In a modern life, consciousness asks us to tease out the illusions fabricated all around us, much like the movie The Matrix.
Responsibility is real. For a long time, most of our responsibilities orbit around family and factors such as security, sustenance, nurturance, education, and protection. On a small level that is lived as mom, pop, children, and the family pet. On a community level it is neighbors knowing one another and supporting community well-being. On a national level examples include health care, the brother-sister-interdependent nature of economic, political, and sociological systems, creating education that grows ethics as well as SAT scores, and guarding a nation.
In this vignette, Tilopa is highlighting the married householder life to Naropa. Naropa is a monk, so he certainly does not get the point which began with the king and the great city. The point Tilopa is making is that our material concerns are digressions. He uses the term “evil,” but he is illumining that evil is that which separates or causes division where there intrinsically is none. Furthermore, Tilopa is saying that if a mundane life and its responsibilities overtake the fuller responsibility of living an awakened life, then those mundane endeavors are evil. They are separating us from the greater wholeness that is our essential Being. Tilopa offers depictions of three evils to Naropa: material gain (great city), partnership that is not full in every way (a contrivance of a marriage), and spiritual laziness (hanging out, not really engaged in an awakened livingness).
Tilopa, like other sages, philosophers, and enlightened ones has called our attention to where we put our attention. Modernly, psychological, neurological, and sociological sciences are analyzing where we put our attention. Quantum physics is quite clear that the observer, the intender, creates the results. We should not be surprised,then, when the Hadron collider “discovers” the Higgs-Boson particle since that’s what was intended to be found. Dr. Emoto’s work with water crystals and thought is graphically amazing and very clear: what one thinks one creates, at least qualitatively. Tilopa is once again pointing Naropa to his mind. “What you think is real or think is important is all in your mind.” He is inviting Naropa to see through the magic spells in which he is continually living. We are invited to do the same.
Tilopa clearly has a bias: enlightenment and the benefits it brings to self, other, and all existence. Why? because of the the Hadron collider, because of Emoto’s water crystals, because of our children, our bodies, our shared life on this planet with all other species, let alone our own life. “As we thinketh, so it is.” Humanity has thought certain things so well that we collectively believe them now. We believe, for example, that the value of oil or profit is more important than the next generation’s well-being. We believe that the table or computer or our selves are dense material that thrive on density and other materials.
Tilopa, like the current state of the world, is saying “wake up, Naropa.” You have thought it and so it is. Think a new reality, one that includes the good, the beautiful, the well-being of all beings. Have true partnership within so that real partnership with All can result.