Buddhist Belief – Everything is Illusion?
“In every moment we are absolutely perfect because our true nature is indestructible. Our true nature cannot be conditioned by anything.”
– Anam Thubten
Over the past few weeks I’ve been spending a lot of time studying various writers and teachers on the aspect of Buddhist Belief –that “Everything is Illusion”. I find I’m struggling with this concept. I’m aware my “struggle” is the work of my ego, but knowing that doesn’t seem to relieve the struggle. I keep hearing the words inside of me saying, “How could I possibly be only an illusion? – I’m much too important for that to be true!!” Yeah, right! I need to write something about this “struggle” and see if I can answer the question so many of us studying the Buddhist Belief are asking ourselves — (including me).
The idea of “everything is illusion” is one we in the western world have a lot of trouble wrapping our brains around. Yet, it is a central message in Buddhist Belief and is also central in many other eastern spiritual traditions.
So, is there some way to understand this wisdom?
As a person who is in the stage of life where the aging process, illness and death are more evident, it does become a bit easier to realize that everything IS illusion. The entire story of my life could be on the brink of ending at any time. As I try to look back on all the events of my life up until now, they will often seem dreamlike. Did those things really happen? Will any of it truly make a difference to my consciousness after I’m gone? Does all this exist only in my mind? At the moment of death will all these things, which I think are “who I am” continue, or are they illusionary?
One of the things I was taught many years ago when I first began to follow a Buddhist lifestyle, was to have the attitude when I was meditating to “dissolve the self”. It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Just be in the present — pay attention to the breath — and the “self” will begin to dissolve.
Well, it IS true. I’ve had it happen many times when I meditate. I have no doubt that many of you who read this blog or who are regular meditators, have also experienced your “self” disappear for some period of time. It might have been for only a few seconds, or it might have been for much longer. Either way, it does happen and it’s almost impossible to describe. It’s the glimpse into the true nature of who we are — our true essence. It’s just awareness.
(Funny thing — as I wrote that last sentence, I had to smile because I’m working on a video for my vlog (http://www.wecould2.com) on the topic of “Just Awareness”. It should be ready soon.)
Isn’t death just another concept? Isn’t it another mental construction? Is it possible (as many Buddhist yogis have claimed), to transcend the notion of so-called “death”? As one of the many teachers I’ve read (don’t remember which one) said, “A flower doesn’t talk and complain when it is starting to decay”. Of course, the flower doesn’t have a mind to construct illusory conditions.
I don’t believe when we say, “everything is illusion” means that nothing exists. I do believe it means we’re living from what our minds have projected and perceived, rather than seeing the way things truly are. Buddhism is very much into seeing the way things are. It seems that Buddha’s understanding of inner awakening was seeing directly the way things are. Buddha taught there are not as many problems in the realm of reality as our mind is tirelessly inventing.
An article I read a few days ago in Shambhala Sun quoted the Nyingmapa Master Lonchenpa as saying, “Now, all I can do is to keep laughing at the silliness of the world and everyone.” I feel he’s talking about how we are living in a world of illusions — of concepts — of ideas — rather than in true reality — true wisdom.
I believe it. Do you?
So, until the next time I am moved to write here again, keep meditating every day and you’ll find you will begin to gain confidence in your own true reality.
Namaste — Be in Peace.
Here’s another article to share with you.
Monk travels path to find inner peace
By Mindy Rubenstein, Times Correspondent
Published Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Thinley Ningpo became a monk at a Buddhist monastery in northern Tibet. He has made pilgrimages to the sacred places of western Tibet, studied under the eminent scholars of his faith and earned the title of Drupon (“retreat teacher”) and the honorific Rinpoche (“precious one”) for the years he has spent teaching and seeking enlightenment.
So when he was asked Tuesday evening if he has ever given in to his “afflictive emotions” — such as anger and fear — he surprised the crowd at Pasco-Hernando Community College by responding in English: “Oh, all the time!”
Ningpo explained that he spent six years in a monastery, which included working with young children. They could be very difficult, he said, and he would have to continuously practice his meditation.
The Buddhist monk spoke largely through an interpreter for two hours at the New Port Richey campus about the goal of finding inner peace, and the obstacles along the way.The greatest barrier to enlightenment, he said, is caring only about one’s own happiness. We need to “lessen our clinging to ourselves,” he said.
“If you really want to be happy,” he said, “help others.”
He spoke at length about meditating on the love from one’s own mother and extending that love to families, friends, community and the world. He also spoke about looking at others who may not have had that loving experience and to see the result, generating compassion for them.
If someone becomes angry, he said, try to understand that the anger is not that person, but rather an emotion of that person.
“Grow inwardly,” he said, so as not to be overpowered by our emotions, and gain “a deeper understanding of the situation at hand.”
While it is easy to get angry, it takes time and patience to cultivate love and compassion, he said.
Even just meditating for five minutes every morning will help, he said. “Train and tame our minds,” he said.
At the end of his discussion, Ningpo welcomed questions from the audience, which included professors of religion, psychology and sociology, as well as students and members of the community.
Several women spoke about alleviating conflicts at home and about raising children by incorporating the Buddhist philosophy. One man asked about teaching children to meditate.
“It establishes a seed for later on,” the monk said.
Tesha Whitman, 27, lives in Lutz and is a student at PHCC in New Port Richey. She asked about her 3-month-old son and how she can eventually keep him from acting out of fear.
Ningpo said matter-of-factly, in accented English, that parents with good dispositions will have children with good dispositions.
Drupon Thinley Ningpo Rinpoche is one of two resident lamas at the Tibetan Meditation Center in Frederick, Md. He travels the country visiting Buddhist centers like the Port Richey-based Ratnashri Sangha of Tampa Bay, which sponsored his visit.
The monk’s honorary titles mean “precious teacher,” according to PHCC professor of psychology Mike Sadusky, who hosted the event.
“I’ve been trying to get my students to use that title for two or three years now,” Sadusky joked during his warm and light-hearted introduction to Ningpo’s presentation.While he admitted to not be a practitioner of Buddhism and never being able to meditate for more than 30 seconds, Sadusky said told Ningpo, “I feel very blessed to have you here.”
I’ve added another book to the list. See below.
Anam Thubten — No Self – No Problem
No Self – No Problem shows how to realize the ultimate meaning of life in each moment by dissolving all notions of ego-identity. It asks that spiritual seekers wake up to their true nature, which is already enlightened. Based on Buddhist wisdom traditions, this easy-to-read book discusses in simple, but profound and inspiring language, how we can live a life full of love, satisfaction, and happiness. No Self – No Problem
Sharon Salzberg — The Kindness Handbook
“It takes boldness, even audacity, to step out of our habitual patterns and experiment with a quality like kindness–to work with it and see just how it might shift and open up our lives. This book is an invitation to do just that.” – From The Kindness Handbook — “The Kindness Handbook
Eckhart Tolle’s amazing best seller, “A New Earth”
Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor’s wonderful book, “My Stroke of Insight” — “Nirvana is just a breath away!”
And this one by Sharon Salzberg and is entitled: “A Heart as Wide as the World: Living with Mindfulness, Wisdom and Compassion“.
This is a new one for you by Pema Chodron entitled: “When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times
Always remember this wonderful quote from Buddha ….
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
Shanti everyone, … (A sanscrit word meaning, “Let there be Peace. Peace, beautiful Peace. Peace within, Peace without. Peace in this world. Peace for all beings.”)
“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.”
Have a peaceful day!! —
Tags: attachment, Buddha, Buddhism, Buddhist, Buddhist Belief, detachment, Eightfold Path, First Noble Truth, Four Noble Truths, Fourth Noble Truth, inner peace, karma, loving kindness, Meditation, metta, mindfulness, Nirvana, Peace, Second Noble Truth, Third Noble Truth