Wisdom: Ending The Melodrama With A Balanced View

People talk about becoming Buddha and enlightened. How does this enlightenment build? How is it made? By negating all wrong things, all wrong views and deeds. The wrong deeds come because of the wrong views, because of wrong understanding, wrong perception.

People do commit negative actions, because they have wrong information. Look at the extremist suicide bombers. Most of them don’t think they are doing something bad. They think they are doing something great for their cause, their tradition, religion, race or whatever it is. It is the misperception, misinformation, which soak in their brain. Their mind is completely misinformed and their belief is coming out of that and makes them do this. Many of them, I am quite sure, think they are doing great. They think they are making the ultimate sacrifice in the service of Allah or whatever. They believe that and that makes them do that.

Similarly we also operate under certain wrong perceptions. So we act accordingly. That’s why the wisdom is so important. We talk every day, saying that ‘without wisdom, you are like a bird with only one wing.’ You probably heard that a hundred times from me. When you say that, you get some kind of image. But truly, it is the wrong perception, the wrong information, and what makes the individual do the wrong thing. That wrong thing hurts oneself and others, and that becomes non-virtuous.

So if you look, it is as simple as this. What does wisdom do? It makes sure you don’t have wrong information. You cannot block information. Some people try to block information, some traditions tell you that you can’t read the newspaper, you can’t talk to people, you can’t listen to the radio, you can’t watch TV. Mind you, we are human beings and 21st century people. You can’t block anything. But you need wisdom for the individual to figure out what is really right and wrong. That is what wisdom is all about.

The Central Philosophy {Je Tsongkhapa’s “Essence of Eloquence”} is so difficult and complicated because of the point where our suffering is coming within ourselves. Who is creating it and how? The normal, usual study should have traced it from the symptoms and from the causes and their causes until you can point out the root. The Central Philosophy is doing exactly that. They tell you that’s what it is. They trace it and particularly this involves the life after life – effects.

These wrong perceptions and wrong thoughts are nothing new, picked up in this life. We have been under that addiction for so many life times. We have even become comfortable with that. If we go against that it becomes uncomfortable. It becomes swimming against the current. That’s because we are so addicted. That’s why people are happy to enjoy doing the wrong thing. And that’s why it is difficult and a hardship to do something virtuous. That’s the reason. The root of all this is this stupid ignorance. It is totally a wrong perception, which creates all kinds of faults. Truly speaking, every melodrama we see in our life is actually false. Sorry, but really true. Actually it is false. We don’t know that and to some extent it is also better not to know. But that’s really what it is.

I mentioned that because our spiritual goal is to be the best. Buddhists call it, ‘to become a Buddha.’ Other traditions call it, ‘coming close to God,’ or whatever. But truly speaking there is not that much difference. It is only labeling. But what really happens is the individual, personal aspect and that is free of all these false things. They make a world of their own. One little fault has to cover this up and has to cover that up and cover that up and that makes whole complete false picture. Maybe that is a little too extreme for me to say, but if you see it, it is.

It is almost like many of our paper currencies. I am sorry, but truly speaking, if you really look deeply, they are just pieces of paper with different numbers on them. Then we accept that and it becomes like that. But if you really search and go deeply down there we all know it is false. At least up to the de-linking of the treasury from the gold, at least there was something there. But after that you know it is just pieces of paper. The value of the country is holding that. That’s what I was thinking yesterday when two friends were talking about currencies, selling and buying and so on. That really shows you how false it is.

It is the manipulation of a few individuals that can make a currency worth 50% more or less. That really shows you there is nothing really solid behind. That doesn’t mean you throw everything out and say there is no value. Don’t do that. The relative truth should be accepted and should not be doubted. Then people will call us crazy. You can’t ignore the relative truth. Maybe that’s what the Central Philosophy is. It balances the absolute non-existence and relatively accepts everything. That’s why I believe it is called the “Middle Path” – not too much this way and not too much that way. That Middle Path sees the real faults within us which create negativities and sufferings, and we are used as slaves. It also sees that me, the individual, can make a difference and reverse everything.

Maybe that is the essence of Buddhist philosophy.

Perhaps we have been looking for that in the last 10 days. Have a good day!

~ Gelek Rimpoche, Jewel Heart Ann Arbor, November 18, 2012


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