What’s at stake: Naropa 9

Note to reader: remember: “Free your mind.”

Naropa comes upon a man who has impaled his father on a stake, put his mother into a dungeon, and is about to finish them off. They cry aloud, “Son, do not be so cruel.” Revolted by what he sees, but on his one-pointed mission, Naropa asks the man if he has seen Tilopa who, of course, responds “Yes. Help me kill my parents and I will show you Tilopa.”

Naropa “felt compassion for the man’s parents” and so did not help the murderer. (?!) The scene freezes in Naropa’s mind and he hears,

    “You will find it hard to find the Guru
    If you do not kill the three poisons that derive from your parents, (and which create) the dichotomy of this and that.
    Tomorrow I will go and beg.” and the man disappeared.

Parentage again. It is a symbol used often in Buddhist thought and teaching, and like the wheel, can mean a number of things. Previously Naropa was to remember that all beings are his mother in both a literal, past-lives way and as a metaphor pointing out that all interactions and relations are birth-points of goodness, kindness, creative positive karma or of the opposite generated through self-centeredness.

The three poisons offered by Buddhist thought are greed, hatred, and delusion. The first two stem from our sense of “I.” It is only “I” or “me” that can be greedy and take from others. Hatred is similar in the importance of our sense of single identity. The sense of single-selfness creates thoughts and behaviors based upon that perceived singleness. In other words, hatred is the opposite of inclusion and the interconnectedness of life. Hating something separates that something or someone, but that separateness is a result of a thought in our mind, or passed down through cultural mind, or fostered through history that does not tell the truth. These two: greed and hatred not only perpetrate delusion through our day, our life, our history, culture and societies but are the result of the fundamental delusion: the sense of a separate self.

Just as we are not merely the clothes, profession, or gender that in this life we currently inhabit, equally we are not only the experiences of this life. Our “I-ness” has been cultivated through countless lifetimes of experience with a variety of people in a variety of places. The father of the three poisons is the sense of single-self identity. The mother of the same poisons of greed, hatred, and delusion is a wrong understanding of relatedness. As long as it is in cahoots with single-self, then relating can i and will nclude greed, hatred, and the various ways that this delusion plays out.

Naropa is being asked to impale the father of the three poisons, to nail down this elusive  “I” and really see what it is made of. Naropa and we will discover that sense of self (I/me) is a set of thoughts. Experienced in its prideful ways leading to greed in all its forms or its unfulfilled ways leading to hatred andl its forms, we ultimately realize that self-importance is the fundamental delusion, and that it has birthed a web of unreality in which we suffer and create suffering.

Our current society voraciously feeds on these three poisons and is poisoning the minds of modern humanity and the planet as a consequence. As each of us frees ourselves of just one expression of the poisons of greed, hatred, or delusion we begin to undo our unperceived dungeon imprisonment.

About Donna Mitchell-Moniak

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