Seminary Program

This is where we post the essays from many of our Universal Life Church Seminary students. When students finish a ULC course, they write a comprehensive essay about their experiences with the course, what they learned, didn't learn, were inspired by, etc. Here are their essays.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Buddhist Studies

How We Come To Be
Buddhism Course 
Rev. Terry Trawets

Buddha found that there are three undeniable facts of existence Anatta; no self or sole, Anicca change, and Dukkha suffering.  These facts are who and what we are, and they are found in every thing.  They make up the whole of our experience; they make up the waking state and our dream states.  Nothing exists apart from them; in actual fact the waking and dream states are them, because of their changing reality they cannot be of any substance, for anything solid could not change them.  Everything we experience is none other than these ultimate realities.  If we experience a sound, a thought, or a feeling - if we feel happy or sad -all we are really experiencing is the arising and passing away of ultimate realities. Their nature is to arise and pass away. Through a wrong view we see everything as real tangible and existing, when in actual fact there is only empty phenomena.

 The insight that all our experience is empty of any self or soul and is unsatisfactory because it is always changing and is suffering, leads to the most positive of all states to arise, true unconditioned happiness.

What follows is an interpretation of this process.  I hope to try to explain it in a way familiar to us, within our society and daily life, through my own somewhat limited understanding of the teachings of Buddha, being far from freedom of enlightenment. May I be forgiven for any mistakes.

Using clear insight Buddha found that logical thinking won’t solve our problems because it is always in conflict with our feelings and feeling always wins.  The answer is to sublimate the emotion felt to something else, although obviously not to something that produces conflict and arouses sensory stimulation.   Emotional feeling is the cause of all our problems and when we come up against life’s changing realities which are not of the pleasurable type, our feelings become frustrated which conditions unhappy sensations to arise on the body.  This is part of a process called ‘dependent origination’.  Buddha saw that emotion is tanha craving.  Craving is experienced as a tension on the body and a tightening of the membrane surrounding the brain.  This craving comes about through a process of personalizing, and personalizing arises through claiming that physical form feeling, perception cognition and consciousness is me or mine.   When feelings and perceptions arise we think there is a ‘me’ who is experiencing them, which creates the idea of a personality.  In fact this personality has been created through a process of personalizing and not created from birth; in actual fact we were never born we have come about through a process of personalizing, claiming that rising and vanishing states are ‘me’ or ‘mine’.

 We create a delusion of  ‘a self’ through personalizing. All the personality is, is a reference point for countless arising and vanishing states conditioned to come into existence by past thoughts and actions.  This gives rise to us forming an idea that we have a solid identity and imposing a unchanging concept on a changing empty reality; a reality because it is subject to change, can only be an experience and cannot be of any substance  or contain an identity or a self or soul.   Therefore there cannot be any existence there is only an experience taking place without any experiencer. The world did not come into existence sometime in the past because it relies on delusional states of mind for its identity. Creation is taking place moment to moment and everything arises and vanishes at the same time in each moment of consciousness.  When the focus is placed on experience, it is seen that there is no solid substance forming the world because solidity cannot exist within a changing experience.

Most of us have heard the saying ‘You can’t step into the same river twice because the river is always changing’, but if we look deeply into that statement we will come to see that due to our concept of identity imposed on a changing experience, we have totally misunderstood what the statement means.  The statement must be looked at deeply, putting aside all ideas and concepts and using only pure perception. Looking at it through immediate perception, we are able to see clearly that it is inferring that the same person cannot step into the same river twice, as its not the same person who takes the second step because the whole of experience has changed. It’s not just the river that has changed; the person and the river has changed countless times, or as Buddha said has died and be reborn countless times.  Another example is if I lift my arm up its not the same arm that has changed positions, at every instant the arm is vanishing and appearing so rapidly that it appears as the same arm.  Or watching a group of ants moving about there is no actual ant that exists.

 It’s the process of change that gives the impression of moving identities, and permanents. It creates the impression that there is something there.  It’s the rapidly changing states that create the idea of permanents. Giving rise to the idea of identity and substance.  A person taking medication or having an operation is not the same person that has regained health from the treatment; the arising and vanishing states have changed so many times that we seem to think that it is the same person who has now improved. If a surgeon is operating on a brain, both the surgeon and the brain operated on are changing rapidly each moment and the person who improves is not the same as the one who was ill.  

What really has taken place is that there is a change in the arising and vanishing states giving the impression that it’s the same person.  Its not the same person but neither an entirely different person, just like a candle flame lit from the first candle, it is not the same flame and neither an entirely different flame, but it depended on the original one. If I walk through a doorway I am not the same person who walked through the doorway a few moments ago, but we must not forget that its not the same doorway either; in each moment the experience has changed.   When sound arises sound consciousness arises then passes away with the sound.  It is the same with sight consciousness that depends on sight, and the other senses also; there is no underlying unchanging consciousness.  It cannot be any other way.  It’s only through our intellectual accumulated knowledge that we are unable to see that what has created the ego or an idea of substance that has distorted our perceptions.   Accumulated knowledge is the culprit that stands in the way of any real intelligence or perception.  Intelligence requires a special type of looking.  A looking that is free from the looker, a seeing with no one who is seeing, this intelligence has no beginning or end and is free of interpretation and knowledge.  Is so clear it doesn’t require any content – it is unconditioned and not dependent on anything created by the mind.

Intelligence is always immediate and is free from all content as apposed to the contamination of knowledge that is the cause of past deluded perceptions and the root cause of the idea of a solid personality. To see a flower requires immediate perception and in that perception there is only the now of experience as the consciousness is clear, but because I have described it as the now of experience it has become limited and contaminated.   This is how our deluded states arise within the present from the past. Looking for an answer or a way out from this distortion, any action we take can only be from this deluded consciousness that will produce further delusions of a self or identity that must try to free its self.  Only silence can see the flower and in that looking there is no past or future, the reality of perception is always new, fresh, immediate, total, and free, and is empty of any content.  Acquired knowledge has caused the personal ego to come into existence through a process of conditioning which is totally dependent on ignorance.  This ignorance is the major factor within the process and the more knowledge acquired only increases this state of ignorance.

We may have a great deal to say and be full of all the answers especially to the problems of others, but as we are united to what we don’t like and cannot continually obtain, what we do like is conditioned by the pleasant and unpleasant sensations on the body.  If we have a say in any of this, why don’t we change our circumstances and order some continual happiness; order the body to stop growing old.  Why don’t we order our fears, depressions and anxieties to go away?  Let go of our attachments to our husband or wife, family bank account, cushion or begging bowl?  We know the sorrow all this attachment brings, we certainly know how to organize an employee, and if we are a leader most defiantly know how to lead the followers.   If we as a self have any say in the matter, why doesn’t our life go according to our wishes, why doesn’t the psychotic with a minimum of insight order normality or the rapist knowing when released from jail will offend again exercise some voluntary control over their behaviour?  Or if a change does take place within the social model of learning new behaviour, does not the controller only come into existence when the conditions arise for the control to take place and then claim ‘I am in control of my behaviour’?
If we look closely we can see that we only come into existence as a self only after the event.  An example would be if I fall over and hurt myself; at the time of the event there was no notion of me falling - the sense of ‘I’ or ‘self’ only comes about after the event.  Claiming the event for its self, circumstances cannot be changed in the present because there is no self that exists to control it.  So that which cannot be done adds up to no self or soul.  So how does change take place?  Who and what we are, has only come about through past actions and because there is no solid existence, only the process of experience taking place.   There cannot be  ‘a self’ in the process or any beginning to this process, but within the process the actual process allows for an ending.  As it’s an experience empty of any substance there cannot be any past as such.  If you doubt this find the place and location where the past is; everything from the past in its totality has been transformed into what is now. Nothing remains of the past for it is all here within this very moment, because it is an experience nothing of any substance has been transferred, for nothing exists as a substance to be transferred. Each moment of consciousness contains the whole of experience and a moment of consciousness is quicker than a flash of lightning.

Our actions create the arising of future experiences the totality of whom and what we are has been conditioned to arise from our past actions.  This is how an evil person can become what we term a saint.  We must not misunderstand that an actual person becomes a saint.   Love and compassion has its own movement and does not belong to the priests in their fine attire any more than it does to a drunk lying by the roadside.  Compassion is probably nearer to the drunk as he doesn’t hold the delusions of ‘I am a compassionate person’, and no longer is deluded by social identity.  Each one of our actions performed is deposited in the thought process that creates who and what we are in the present.  The speed of mind is so fast that in the wink of an eye or a flash of lightning, countless mind states arise and vanish.  It has been said that mind arises and vanishes one trillion times in one fifth of a second and the body is made up of units of matter seventeen times slower.  It’s happening so fast that one way to explain it would be to think of sand falling through your fingers forming shapes producing the next arising states to arise.  So how does all this experience take place? An example would be if I decided to destroy an ants nest, it’s not the ants or any outside force that produce future arising states or the karma of my actions, it’s the mental states that are present at the time of the action that produce the results.  How does this work? Karma is only performed when three factors come about; will, motive and intention.  The whole of our momentary life arises from these three factors.  We are the result of countless coming together of these three factors.  It’s like striking a matchstick that causes a flame to burn.  If I decide to boil water and pore it over an ants nest, will motive and intention has arisen in the thought process?  

As I carry out the action, one seventh of the charge of the action is deposited in the thought stream and will return in this very life.  This is called immediately effective karma - some of the charge will return in the next life.  Subsequently effective karma and the rest in future experiences - this is called indefinitely effective karma.  Our arising and vanishing experiences are the results of our own actions and not some outside force.  It is the mental states that are present at the time of action that cause this psychophysical phenomenon to arise in future states.  Put all this together and consider how we treat the animals, insects and other humans - how can we ever be free of self-perpetuating suffering? We are the masters of our own fate; the worlds we take birth in moment-to-moment are none other than our own creation caused by our own actions.  We are perfectly free to create a peaceful world amongst good society or a world torn with violence and war.

A little bit different but you may like to share this with me.  During a warm sunny day last summer I was reading in the garden when a very tiny fly landed on the book.  It settled there and for a few moments moved its tiny wings just like a fairy trying to catch my attention.  There was only pure perception in that stillness.   I asked if it was having a good time, said ‘I hope you are well and happy’.  The fairy acknowledged me, fluttered its wings again and flew off into the next moment.  Some times its good to meet friends from the past.

If you are listening to beautiful music it may be Mozart.  In that moment all past music has been transformed into the present movement and as it floats and takes many shapes it always appears as the present sound.  So how do we come to be? If we look at the thought process it may help

The thought process.

……  Thought moments-

       Not Bhavanga means life continuum consciousness             

                     1 …                       2…                                  3…                          4…
                Past Bhavanga    Vibrating Bhavanga         Arrest Bhavanga      Sense –door –Consciousness
                      5…                                   6…                                                           7…
                Sense –Consciousness      Receiving –Consciousness                  Investigating -Consciousness       
                  Determining –Consciousness

                 JAVANA or running Karma is performed at this stage                                                                              9…  10…   11…12…13..14…15…
                                                 Registering –Consciousness 16…17…

A further explanation may be of interest.  Western psychology teaches that consciousness and sub consciousness co exist, but according to Buddhism no two types of consciousness can co exist.  The Bhavanga consciousness, which is free from external stimuli, will vibrate for a thought moment and then pass away if a physical or mental object enters the mind.  When the bhavanga is arrested, sense door consciousness arises, turning the consciousness towards the object. It arises and then passes away, then visual consciousness arises at this stage.  It knows nothing about the object after which it follows the reception of the object seen, next arises the investigating thought moment that in a flash examines the object.  This is followed by the determining thought moment when discrimination is exercised and free will may be able to play a part.  After which the most important stage takes place – the Javana Stage.  It is at this stage that an action is judged as moral or immoral.  Karma is performed at this stage.  So it is possible to make the Javana process moral or immoral; the entire thought process that takes place in an infinitesimal part of time ends with the registering consciousness.

The speed of mind is so quick that we couldn’t begin to imagine how quickly it arises and passes away.  If some one killed the body the mind is so swift it would have regenerated its self-countless times before the action could take place.  Nothing can destroy the mind, nothing can prevent its rising and falling.  Sometimes it appears clear and untroubled, and at other times disturbed and damaged.  Just like when the body is in harmony and intact it functions normally, but like the body when the teeth fall out, or the hair ends up in food, or sickness arises it can no longer function normally because it is no longer functioning in an intact harmonious way.   Due to minds speed, that’s one of the reasons why we can’t change our behaviour and produce only happy states to arise.  If our past actions are continually creating who and what we are now, and if we don’t like it we are free to deposit good thoughts and actions into the thought process.   Although the force of our bad past actions can prevent them arising at present, at the same time the only way to condition future good states to arise is to start working now and it will become inevitable that future happy states of mind and matter will arise.

This is the freedom of choice that the Buddha identified in the process. If at present we have an interest to search for happiness and truth it is because past conditions have caused it to arise in the present.  We must realize that producing good happy states to arise, even if we are reborn into heaven realm, that they are impermanent and subject to suffering because of the law of change.  Our real objective is to reach the unconditioned.

We may like to try this exercise.   Sit quietly on a cushion and let the body relax, allow yourself to become still and peaceful, that’s right, slow the breathing, that’s right, allow your thoughts to drift to a calming scene.  As the muscles relax, the surface of the mind will relax.  This will also suppress or push below the surface any problems and tensions. Yes so peaceful, so calm, so relaxed.  Stay like that as long as possible, but very soon the deeper layers of the mind will detect uncomfortable sensations on the body.   At this stage another part of your conscious mind may not even detect them, soon they will reach the surface, aversion will start to set in.  This process will condition thoughts of dislike to arise, but don’t move, soon the experience will become intolerable and you will be forced to move, all your calm breathing and peacefulness will be gone. You will soon see that this very body is carrying the three marks of existence Anicca, Anatta and dukkha.  No mater how much you try it is impossible to maintain an unchanging pleasant state in the conditioned field of existence.  Some time ago two therapists told me that they go along with the flow.  I had to question, would they be happy going along with the flow if they were living off of a rubbish tip or their love ones were being bombed in Iraq?   We can easily delude ourselves that we have found freedom or enlightenment when experiencing states of comfort and security, supported by our therapists and countless gurus.  Truth and freedom can only be, if it’s available to all and not limited to our sense of comfort only.  We may feel satisfied that we have got to the top even give lectures on the psychology of others, when in actual fact we are so confused about our own self that we don’t even know who we are or what our life is about.  Wouldn’t it be far better rather to spend all the hours sticking electrodes in animals brains and the hours spent assessing others, spend far longer on who and what we are.  We can delude ourselves by obscuring insight as much as we like, but we can’t change these ultimate facts. So we carry on in a kind of psychotic denial. 
The brain with its conditioned arising thoughts has grown and developed as a means to avoid the suffering that exists within this very body.  We have, and are, developing ways of escaping this by continually creating more comforts and more pleasures through entertainment more social interactions.  More opportunities to run away from our own pain and destroy our society - breaking up homes and marriages to satisfy our selfish needs, not considering that other beings are trying to escape their pain also.   Visits to the restaurants  - we don’t go there for the pleasant taste of food, we go there to cover up the suffering laying beneath the surface caused by hunger, the more pleasant it can be covered up the better.  What does our daily life consist of?  It consists of chasing pleasant feelings and avoiding painful feelings.  If we see a pleasant sight or hear a pleasing sound, experience a pleasant taste, smell a pleasant odor or touch a pleasant object we crave for more.  If we are praised we feel happy and it increases our feelings of self worth and identity. On the other hand if we see, hear, smell, taste or experience an unpleasant feeling, or are insulted, we feel aversion.  Our states of happiness and misery are conditioned to arise from our senses that are continually conditioning lust, hatred and delusion to arise.  So if we arrive home late from work and are asked ‘What have you been doing today darling?’, it would be more accurate to say I have been chasing pleasure and comfort and avoiding pain and discomfort both physically and psychologically, or I was praised in the office and happiness arose, or the office was very stuffy and I was under a lot of pressure so anger arose.  We may claim not to notice what’s happening but really we are aware, we think these are unconscious drives at work, they are totally conscious. Why don’t we be honest and admit to it?  Some people have said that Buddhism is an escape from reality.  But I wonder who really is escaping from reality?  Some years ago I was on a retreat and a well known writer and philosopher came along to join us, he left a few hours later on the same day.  All he was asked to do was sit unmoving and look at the wall and put all of his accumulated knowledge down, but only 40 minutes at a time - he wasn’t asked to sit for 4 hours or more.  He felt he was falling apart.  He couldn’t face up to being without his identity and his structure of acquired knowledge. Without all that he feared his own emptiness. Which of course is not emptiness at all? 

We create more important positions for ourselves in society and others better watch out if they challenge us.  We try to obtain positions where we cannot be challenged either on the battle field, work place, surgery, office, or placing tickets on cars; boosting our own self worth up at the expense of others, forever quoting what’s right and wrong and of course we are the ones always right, desperately trying to get the edge over others.  The human ego is beside its self trying to establish a solid permanent identity within empty changing phenomena and is engaged in a psycho frantic struggle to be something and to gain a deluded sense of identity often at the expense of another.  You know all that kind of childish stuff.  You know the putting on of the uniform practicing saluting to the mirror; we have all seen the authorities walk  - the extra arm swing pretending that each movement is unconsciousness.  I am sure we are very familiar with it.  The world is full of people suffering I P  identity problems, their deep feelings of insignificance driving them to become in conflict with others and to satisfy their immature needs.  They will try anything to come off on top, even point to the law to avoid any personal responsibility.  We have all heard,  ‘it’s my job’ if challenged.  ‘I am not responsible it’s the law’ - all that kind of stuff.  In actual fact it is their responsibility, they appoint there own self for their needy position and have willingly allowed their self to become brain washed to accomplish it.   Due to their fear of insignificance, their I P made the brain washing so easy to accomplish.  Real authority brings about a discipline where the human mind never sets out or seeks to overpower another.  In that discipline there is no success or failure there is only the doing.  There is no time for pride and nothing to be proud of, pride always manifests when the deluded ego thinks it will always be riding high on a stationed above others.   The mature mind sees all this nonsense and allows its self to be broken into a state of humility.  Over the years the writer has seen many come tumbling down quicker than humpty dumpy, there is nothing to be proud of within empty phenomena - pride only arises dependent on body and mind being intact .  It would help us all if we grew up and got in touch with reality.  There is always a great deal to be pleased about when good things come to our self and others if we are at all interested in building a better world it may help if we simply sit down quietly and allow our self to become nothing.   We have invented various therapies but for therapy to work it may require swapping one delusional mental state for another; if you have a delusional belief in an outside force that can help you, the delusion of safety and comfort can arise.

If we look at our life closely we will begin to see it’s a process of continually trying to make our self better through countless efforts.   If the opportunity to make you feel better is reduced too much, a breakdown comes along.  Have you noticed people breaking down from heavy work loads; its not so much the work load, it’s the lack of opportunity to make their self feel better that’s being limited, producing the awareness of the suffering within bodily sensations which is the cause.  Some people may find this way of living satisfactory, but as we watch short lives are being destroyed by each other for momentary states of identity and security.  It doesn’t really seem all that satisfactory does it?  Buddha came to the conclusion that it wasn’t, and there are quite a lot of us that agree with him.  It only requires us to be truthful with our self to see what is happening.  If we look at all this through clear perception, compassion will arise not only for our self but for others as well.  For being forced to continually try to free our self from suffering moment to moment, and as this is our natural state how could we wish further harm and suffering on any other living beings both visible and invisible.   For they also are deluded into searching for a happy state within a conditioned existence and are forced to make this search by the painful sensations on the body deluded into thinking its the pursuit of happiness; that’s why happiness can never be found for it depends on childish dream.  So how could we ever wish further suffering on our self or others as we are all suffering from old age sickness death and rebirth already.  This is not experienced by the few it is the same for every human being. In the west we can flick over TV channels, change partners, go to football matches even become a success; but a poor man say in India can’t escape through these distractions and is more in touch with reality, than we are with all our science, therapies, philosophies and entertainment.   

This way of thinking produces real positive thought to arise for our self and other beings as just like our self they have eyes to see, ears to hear and fear suffering weather they are human insect or animal.   If we see our real state of being we wont look in the mirror and say  ‘I am worth it’, we will come to think all beings are worth it in their travels through this samsara of painful experience.  Yes, even that oppressed miserable wife or husband sitting in the chair across the room behind the paper, or eating a box of chocolates, which may be throwing a cup of tea at you, is worth it.   They are fully conscious of their pain and unhappiness and they can no longer disguise the unpleasant sensation on the body; or to put it another way their problems have made them feel so uncomfortable that their ability to feel better has become less and less.   Now they are becoming so angry about it and the less able they are to cover it up the unhappier and depressed they become.   It may be through delusion they have looked in the wrong place; they think you don’t understand them?  The truth is you don’t, you have been working so hard to cover up your own suffering by trying to make yourself feel better that you haven’t noticed their suffering.

If we shed all the accumulated knowledge, look afresh and stand back keep locking anew in each moment then you will see how beautiful they are.   We are made of so many factors that we couldn’t even begin to understand who we are; we will leave the next-door neighbour’s wife or husband alone and wish good thoughts for their happiness.  Then our intent and smile will become genuine - like a mother smilingly feels for a child knowing of the sorrowful world it has entered and after all doesn’t a lotus grow in muddied water as the masters say.

We produce future experiences of body and mind to arise and continue in our deluded wonderings within this conditioned phenomenon due to our ignorance, which is the major factor, which causes dependent arising to occur. There is a vast more of the Buddha’s teachings.  The law of dependent origination should be studied in fall to help to gain insight into this process.  No amount of intellectual understanding or effort on our part can help towards total understanding only clear perceptive insight can start to free us.

This is the reason why I have only showed a limited interest in western psychology, which lacks insight into the real nature of reality, although it must be understood it can offer a temporary relief between painful arising and a great deal of support, and help to try to cognize reality.   However, to be truthful I haven’t met many people whom I could say are able to cognise the realities of daily life, although a lot of them claim to be able to help others to do so.  The problem is universal so the answer has to be universal, psychology is very useful in helping to replace one delusion with another, maybe by reinforcing a stronger self image with plenty of roll play one could even become the life and soul of the party.  By using delusional states even create a new Hitler (like the neuropsychiatrist Edmond Forster apparently did with Hitler by reinforcing his need for status and God like power), although there had to be countless other associated factors involved in it. It was also thought he may have visited the tavistock institute and it is thought that the tavistock was involved with desensitisation of the Nazi doctors in the last world war.  It is also thought some of  the psychological methods from tavistock used by common purpose a change agent and their training of the leaders of tomorrow should be of concern to us all, we may not be aware but these leaders are being placed in about every department in the country , we should be very wary of game playing and roll playing on management courses and the damage reinforced by physiological movement this kind of brain change can cause. There are cases coming forward of personality changes ,anxiety and depression after something that seems so simple as a group learning course.  Commitment to the company and productive aggressiveness are being taught across the board using NLP a form of hypnosis in disguise producing changes in the mind set of individuals, any change without wisdom is dangerous .  

These management courses are causing inward conflict to those with a sense of morals, those without many morals are easy subjects to manipulate into carrying out the dirty work for those in power.   An ex navel lieutenant commando Brian Garrish is at present investigating this and I also have come across cases of it.  Psychology has come a long way and can be quite effective in helping specific problems and has been tested in the laboratory by people like Professor Eysenck who tested old theories of extraversion and introversion and the drive for brain inhibition under laboratory conditions.   Probably the lack of loving kindness and real care for our children may be the real cause for the under development of the hippocampus.  Those working with PTSD are very aware of how we are effected not only by natural disaster caused by nature but by trauma caused by the actions of others, which prevents the hippocampus from laying down coherent memories and transferring them to the higher cortex because the amygdale wont let go of the emotional reaction as a means for future survival, its quite easy to see how Buddha said we are conditioned by our sensations.  The difference in his approach compared with psychology is that we create our self and our world through our actions.  A more humanistic approach may be the answer to our problems.   Psychology has many compassionate and very under standing members working within it - like professor David Smail - but we are still unable to prove one way or another whether a Client improves from the treatment or from a collection of other associated factors, including the approach of the therapist, or would have improved left on their own.  Recently I heard of a Doctor who works with past trauma say we all suffer from it.  If we look around at our own life and the life of others he is probably right. After all doesn’t human distress arise from the assertion of one over the other, any of us who work with therapy are trying to help the client to adjust and except the pain inflicted on them; either in the work place with all its bullying or within relationships, these are growing and never ending problems.  ‘It’s my life I am a free spirit and I will do as I please’ seems to be the answer to all this childish justification; Ignorance is the cause of all this justification.  Maurice Webb, a writer of incredible insight says in his book ‘Knowledge, Power, Wealth and Wisdom’, that real knowledge involves true belief, and the realization of ones own ignorance is the precondition for its attainment.   One thing we can say for sure is that if the past action meets the present effort an improvement will defiantly take place.  In the past therapy has been a long process and quite dragged out.  The anxiety society and the society helping our soldiers with PTSD are using the rewind technique and NLP over.  

I have seen two collegues of mine both solutions focused therapists work magic in a single session using these methods.  We are totally free to work towards changing our karma and producing a happy existence for our self and others.  We are the slaves of the past but the masters of the future and are perfectly free to bring happiness joy and freedom to ourselves.   Some poor people suffering from mental or physical pain and unable to work and earn a decent living, as well as the greedy suffering from the want of more, have been following all this stuff going around about manifesting what you need in life. These teachers are coming up everywhere, even falling out of the skies; deluding people into thinking they can visualize and manifest what they desire. A lot of people become very depressed and disappointed when it just doesn’t happen. Our actions and the law of nature doesn’t allow us to destroy the happiness and security of our self and others and then allow us to visualise and manifest the satisfaction of our own needs. If we want to be part of the school of manifesting shouldn’t we be considering that in some way we are responsible for creating the world around us, the wars, the sick and suffering, if we are a soldier may we need our enemies, if a doctor are we creating all the sick and suffering that have to come to us or as a therapist needing those with problems?   At least there is one doctor that thinks so.  The school of manifesting is not as easy as it seems, it needs a lot of deep thought and responsibility, but of course we wouldn’t want that.  The law of nature will allow our actions of kindness to produce happy states of freedom to arise for us all, as I work as a cleaner I meet a lot of people I come in contact with many managers nearly broken and some on happy pills going through terrible stress from the management above and resident picking on them in the work place, this is happening in most departments in the country at present.  Bullying is very much on the increase everywhere. I am constantly listening to all the medical tragedies, practically every one I meet has a story to tell about their family member or friend misdiagnosed or dead from a mistake, or bullied by the threat of being struck of if they question their diagnosis.   People wouldn’t believe what I hear on a daily basis and the amazing thing is I hardly meet any body who complains about it. Lets not fall our self that our society is producing a friendly movement.   I continually come across cases quite the opposite. A lady I have known for many years can only be moved by a hoist but she always greets me with a smile and kind word.  She understands how the mind works and where freedom lies.   

Due to this way of thinking her future happiness is assured, in actual fact it has started arising already.  When I clean her windows I am able to send her loving kindness and good thoughts.  May she become well and happy may she be free from all afflictions?  Could you honestly imaging a greater privilege than to be able to send good thoughts at the same time as cleaning her windows?  If we inflict pain and unhappiness on other beings .at the time we may not be aware of the extent of their suffering, in other words we don’t experience their sensations.  There is a delay in us being able to feel their sensations in the present moment but the charge of our actions has stimulated the same feelings and sensations to arise in our own experience in future wonderings, really we have harmed our own self and what we thought was their feelings is none other than our own awaiting to arise in future states of mind and body.  If we sit quietly reducing sensory stimulation the karma of past actions will start to arise within this very body every thing we experience is interdependent and interrelated. If I willingly harm one ant it has an effect on the whole universe. Through ignorance we don’t see this process and continue conditioning unhappiness to arise in future states. There is no good and evil in Buddhism only skilful and unskilful action.  If we look closely all beings seek happiness and do not like to be harmed.  That which makes others happy and secure is good and that which threatens their well-being is bad.

The writer has been blessed to have met some of the world masters in Buddhist teachings and decided to study the Buddhist and eastern psychologies, which are mainly based on the process of arising and passing away.  Whether its depression, anxiety or a phobia, its real nature is to arise and pass away.  Buddhist practice is not interested in the content of though, although there are a lot of practitioners setting up treatments of mindful and psychotherapy. This is something the Buddha never taught, therapy and meditation are separate approaches, and mindfulness s never involves its self in the content of the process.  It is only interested in the process it doesn’t focus on the I or self, revaluating itself within the process it’s the process that is the major factor causing the problem, dependent on ignorance.   This is explained very clearly in detail by Venerable Vimalaramsi.  The process works like this.  A feeling arises which conditions like or dislike to arise; this causes CRAVING for or against the feeling.   Then CLINING arises, this is all the ideas and concepts and stories repeating their self as to why we like it or don’t like it, then the problem arises that we try control this feeling with thought which produces conflict and suffering because thought and feeling are not the same and as they are different.  It doesn’t work so the problem continues. If we satisfy our feelings at the expense of others this craving produces selfishness and all the self justification that goes with it, and if guilt should arise we may need help readjusting our sense of self to help make us feel better IT’S THE INVOLVMENT ON THE PROCESS THAT CAUSES ALL THE PROBLEMS.  This process discovered by the Buddha is dependent on the ignorance of not seeing how it works.   Whether we know it or not all therapy is a process which helps the client to allow the problem to arise and pass away, which over time weakens the problem obviously if it’s a trauma its got to be approached from a dissociated standpoint and not head on.  I chose to look at eastern psychology because it teaches from a place of insight and humility dependent on cognising true reality.

I recently saw a well-known Physics Professor lecturing.  It was interesting to see that he had gone as far as he could go in his understanding of atoms.  He seemed quite thrilled about this knowledge, it seemed to me that the lecturer seemed to have the need to see himself as more important than the content of the lecture, he wasn’t free of tension in the effort of trying to get his points across, but at the same time realising the very nature of atoms he didn’t seem to me like one who had realised that he was not solid.  He didn’t show any of the signs of personal insight, if he really had the insight of the masters he would have seen that there is nothing thrilling and captivating about an empty phenomenal existence that has nothing permanent to offer.  Just recently it was said that the whole of humanity could be contained in something as small as a sugar cube.  This could be a bit depressing to some people especially if they are frantically trying to climb the ladder of success and science is telling them they are less than a sugar cube, even if we can fool ourselves into thinking that we have found our identity in a sugar cube we will hang onto it.  Once somebody came along to a teacher and said they have found the soul - it’s ever so small it’s located in the middle of the heart.  Similar to the saying love the skin you are in. we just wont give up the idea that there is only an empty phenomenal existence, instead of sitting quietly and becoming nothing we continue imposing a permanents identity in it all.  The self thought is so strong and at the same time so insecure that even if we could see the emptiness of phenomena existence somebody would come along and start teaching that we are empty phenomena and posit a self there.  It’s easy to see how the whole of the universe can be intellectually seen as a mass of none solid changing states but some how we don’t want to include our self in it

Buddha discovered that these changing states are caused by sub-atomic atomic units called kalapas.   Everything that appears to exist is made up of these changing kalapas - a kalapa is the minutest particle in the physical plane they are formed of eight nature elements makes a mass just for one moment.  They are tens of thousands of times smaller than a particle of dust, and in just a flash of lighting or the wink of an eye about a trillion of them will die and be reborn.   They are in a state of continua’s flux if there is a tension felt in the body they are grouping together causing the feeling of a knot or mass  - if you feel anger the heat you feel is the vibration of them clustering together causing heat.   If you see your neighbour driving a new BMW, your own lust for one yourself will cause the heat to become a burning desire until you obtain one.  Or your neighbour may not have been able to sleep at night disturbed by the thoughts of ‘What will they think of me in my new BMW’. Or if you cant sleep of a night disturbed by thoughts about wanting your neighbour’s wife, the brain appearing and disappearing each moment will be the type of brain made by clusters of these kalapas causing heat.  If you take one step forwards countless kalapas have been born and pass away each moment, causing the idea that it is the same body moving.  When relaxed and peaceful they become cool through lack of friction and when good thoughts of loving kindness takes place they appear as a peaceful mind and body this is when the lost art of healing takes place, a lost secret.   The kalapas don’t only make up who and what we are If we happen to be into walking meditation, as we generate thoughts of meta loving kindness and send them to our self and others and also send healing through metta to anybody in need, as unconditioned happiness starts to arise the birds sing happier, the trees actually start to smile and move in harmony. You don’t believe it could happen? Try it, it does. Its so refreshing after going through the daily battle with thoughts of anger and frustration arising and forgetting about metta to be blessed with finding these great and wonderful teachings and to be able to practice them  .I think myself very fortunate.  Most of our day these kalapas are vibrating with the heat caused by modern stress and the pursuit of accumulated knowledge, reducing the oxytosin affect.

Knowledge can be obtained parrot fashion; you can train the brain to accumulate more knowledge you know with all the books on the subject.   Brain training machines etc., all those king of things, although have their place, if you are searching for truth you will need to let go of all that.   To allow insight to arise and that can only be obtained by allowing the brain to shed its content and become very silent, and in that silence even all the religious study and practices become meaningless.

 A story, there was once an old man sitting by the window with a runny nose.   He had let go of the teachings of the Buddha long ago, how pleased the Buddha must have been that he had applied his brain to the reality of existence and let go of that knowledge on the way.  I recently heard of a Buddhist master who took an exam which takes 30 days at 12 hours a day; he didn’t have any photographs taken in and didn’t put on any passing out gear and it wouldn’t be any concern if nobody would notice him or even listen to him.  You see pure perception is free from accumulated knowledge and shows us immediately what direction to walk towards.

 If I can remember a story it goes like this.  Once there was an old seaman who had worked on this ship for many years, on board were three scientists who were going to a conference.  The first day he took their meal into them as they sat around the table he apologised for his entrance, and as he served the food one of the scientist asked  ‘Have you ever studied Ocean logy?’ the old man said ‘No sir what is Ocean logy?’ the scientist said ‘This poor man is so ignorant’.   The old man said ‘Yes sir I am very ignorant and lack knowledge’.  The next day the old man took another meal in and the next scientist said ‘Old man have you ever studied philosophy?’.  The old man said ‘No sir I am afraid I am ignorant and don’t have any knowledge about philosophy’. The next day the old man served the third meal and he was asked  ‘Old man do you understand Biology?’, he said ‘No sir I am ignorant about biology’. The scientist said this old man has wasted his whole life through his lack of knowledge the old man said as you are experts you must be correct.  The next day the old man entered and said ‘Excuse me sirs have you heard of swimolgy?’, the scientist asked ‘What is swimology? ‘.  The old man said ‘It’s the science of swimming, you may have studied all the ologys and osophys in the world but you have wasted your whole life if you haven’t studied swimology because there is a great storm coming and this boat cant survive it.  If you cant swim all your ologies of no use to you as the boat will sink and you will all drown’.  It’s much better to start swimming across this sea of samsara towards joy and happiness and leave all the accumulated knowledge behind.

Another story a person walks into a bank and is asked to prove their identity they get their card out and and present it.   It says Mr such and such business consultant.  Another person walks in and she presents her card  - Mrs. such and such.  A third person walks in and gets their card out its just the same old thing repeating itself.  Then another person walks in and when asked to identify their self, presents a mirror looks into it and says yes that’s me.  So all the accumulated knowledge all the self deluded identity will not free us from this deluded consciousness, and like the old man swimming to safety to the shore as Buddha said we must swim over the sea of samara to the safety of the other side leaving behind this conditioned arising phenomena, and that can only be obtained through following those who have already reached it.  And they have reached it through right effort, right understanding and insight not through accumulated knowledge

So, if our present efforts and past actions meet in harmony and walk hand in hand on this path, we may one day be able to totally empty the process and reach the other shore - what a wonderful escape from this conditioned reality it would be.               

By Rev. Terry Trawets
Universal Life Church                 


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