Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Illusory Objects of Desire

I was reflection on the notion that attachment or desire is not just for objects, but also for our sense of self. We are not only attached to things of the material world, (and also to thoughts and emotions), but also to our sense of who we are too.

from http://www.thekennygallery.ie/exhibitions/2003/webbkenneth/All of them we think of as existing in their own right, as being 'things' as it were.

Beyond this, we think of that 'thing' as having characteristics. And we typically exaggerate those characteristics of those things which we are attached to. We blow them out of proportion.

So there is the problem of not seeing something accurately in the sense of exaggerating its characteristics, whether that is of beauty, value etc. But deeper still goes the problem of actually thinking this thing is truly exist - it has a real existence with an enduring, unending lifespan.

Yet, as the teachings tell us, and we can see in our experience, nothing lasts, and nothing truly exists in that solid, unchanging sense as we believe. Everything that appears to our mind is like an illusion - it most certainly seems to appear, yet as we look for it, we cannot truly find it. It appears to abide nowhere, it appears to arise from nowhere, and we cannot see where it goes to. In short, it's an empty appearance.

So at root our desiring and grasping at things involves this miss recognition of how things actually exist.

The extent that we still feel there is an 'I' doing, a 'receiver' of our actions, and an 'action' itself, i.e. we haven't seen through the empty nature of all of these, then our actions will be tainted by ignorance, most likely manifest in desire and ill-will, and result in some karma.

But it's not an all or nothing. We start where we are .... and we do the best we can, and trust in the power of the path and teachings (and teachers) .... to allow us to develop and purify our actions .....

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