Please tell me what I can do about this
World I hold onto
I gave up the sewn clothes and wore a robe
But noticed one day that the cloth was well-woven,
So I bought some burlap, but I still
Throw it on elegantly over my shoulder.
I pulled back my sexual longings
And now I discover I am angry a lot.
I gave up anger and now I notice
That I am greedy.
I worked hard at dissolving the greed
And found that I am now proud of myself.
The mind wants to break it’s link with the world
But finds one more thing to hold onto.
Atman, to me, is impermanence- it is not static (nor stoic!). As a buddhist i work to train myself not to attach to my emotions. Fine. But not to my sensations!?. The trick, I think, is to not let the sensations become emotions spontaneously. That is without awareness. Bitterness without a reason is different than happiness without a reason. The latter is nourishing. Plants we have brought indoors and potted, plants that we have removed their ability to fend for themselves, we must now add nutrients or they will wither away. And if we add too little or too much we cause them to go past the point of no return (or ‘entering the stream’- to be cheeky). No matter how frugal the plant is with what we provided for them, no matter how rational they are with those resources, they are dependent. In the science of plants ‘wilt’ is the loss of turgor(pressure). In the science of potted plants this point of no return is called the ‘permanent wilting point’- a metaphor for what I am taught, what happens to my ego when i enter the stream’ in the Buddhist sense.. This is what atman feels like to me. The realization that “I” and my emotions, sensations, eyesight, hearing, et al. age every day and in fact reach that permanent wilting point continuously. Adding nutrients can only happen for so long. Someone described their vision of enlightenment as being moved from the foreground to the background- a rational and physical use of the word. To me there is no aesthetic in that scenario- no sensation; emotion. Superficially, I believe it depends on where you are in your life. Spiritually it would depend where you are on your path. Pema Chodron cautions against thinking that Buddhism is pessimistic. I agree. At first it sounds that way, but as you begin to listen closer, and longer and with your whole being you will hear things like: ‘The end to suffering.’, ‘destroying hinderence.’, ‘Freedom from self-suffocation, sanity, clearness… atman. A spirituality, is ,more than an invoice we have let go overdue for too long and no longer really care about; are affected by, and put in a drawer (we don’t throw it away- that would be called acknowledgement!) Is that advanced Buddhism? People question why, as a buddhist, I don’t seek enlightenment. That is possibly one of the reason- and oh, the responsibility of enlightenment!:) I’ve got too much work to do, here- in the present with this life. Morally, while I have my health- I do not seek anatta. We move plants indoors or put them in pots- we remove their ability to fend for themselves. We want their aesthetics. Wild plants have a hard time with this. This is why we domesticate things like seeds and pets. We want these once wild things to belong to us. So we have to fertilize and feed them. We have to give them rations and we in turn get to enjoy their company.This is when the sensation of atman is not difficult for me. Yes, this relationship is finite, but hopefully we have grown together and enjoyed each others’ company to the fullest. In the human world- the budhhist human world- the ‘permanent wilting point’ can be called “life” (specifically, ‘sentience’). This is human happiness. Like when we give our old dog a new bone. They are happy- and they will remain happy even after it is gone. But will I? If I have grown with that dog and i feel its happiness inside me. Then the bone is also a gift to me. And i will remain happy with my dog when the bone is gone. I would almost have to purposefully (or mindfully?!) dodge the feeling of happiness to not feel it. The flower of a potted plant is also my flower. The plant’s gift to me- the favor returned. A spiritual gift to me- a shot of God. And with mindfulness I wont lose the aesthetic of living. and I will always be grateful even when I no longer exist and this goes on.