140726 – Morning Meditation

140724-morningmeditation-ASC_0404RLSss copyI rather like the below from Tricycle, except for one thing. No deer would be so stupid, and that being the case, parable or no parable, I really despair of even Buddhism making any kind of direct contact with real Life. The human brain – yes. But I do not want to lose myself in someone else’s idea of he human brain, because there can be no human brain without a human body and there can be no human body without a real, functional Biosystem that is composed of interacting processes that are, truly, ever-fluxing, but they are not mirages. Our metaphors deny the realities with which our youth must conform if we are to save our species. That is not the function of a metaphore. The function of a metaphor is to illuminate the humanly incomprehensible realities of Life itself. So long as we train up our youth in happily inaccurate metaphors, they cannot nurture Life, but only a homocentric vision of what we wish were true.

To the extent that Buddhism pursues the Western homocentric ideal, it can only cause more harm than good in the system(s) of Life, for the very simple reason that humans are NOT the center of the universe. There is no center to the universe, and there is no CENTER to Life. The entire elegant mechanism of the Law of Life consists of fail-safes that function to maintain a viable (Life-giving) Balance that can be sustained.

140723-morning-ASC_0465RLSss copy Personally, I have a great need to know the PURPOSE of Life, so I can fulfill my responsibility to it. But I don’t know and have never read or heard of anyone who understands the purpose of Life better than I do, which makes it difficult to move toward the reality. I suspect the author of the below knows a great deal less about REALITY than would a real deer. Or even my dog. Bitsy has today – after trying for a year or so — caught and killed a gopher. Perhaps it really is just that simple.

    Like a Mirage

Bhante Henepola Gunaratana


Home › Magazine › Summer 2014 › Like a Mirage
Filed in Mindfulness (sati), Theravada
• brief teachings

• Distorted perceptions are like a mirage. Deceived by a mirage, a deer runs quickly toward what it perceives as water. As he runs, he sees that the water-like mirage is still far ahead of him. So he keeps running toward it to drink. When he is even more tired and thirsty, he stops and looks back. Then he sees that he has gone past the water. When he runs back, he perceives that the water is ahead of him. So he runs back and forth until he is exhausted and falls to the ground.
Distorted perception is like that for us. Pulled by our own attachments, we are always chasing phantoms. Terrified, we run away from monsters created from our own aversions. So long as perception is distorted, we are unable to see the true nature of what is in front of us—nothing but an ever-changing collection of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touches, and thoughts or concepts. Moreover, nothing that we perceive has a self or soul; and nothing can bring us permanent happiness or unhappiness.
In essence, when perception is distorted, we perceive impermanence as permanence, suffering as happiness, something neither beautiful nor ugly as beautiful or ugly, or something not self as self.

From Meditation on Perception: Ten Healing Practices to Cultivate, by Bhante Gunaratana © 2014 Wisdom Publications. Reprinted with permission of the publisher. Illustration by Roberto La Forgia