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Friday, January 30, 2009

Meditation Sickness and the Path to Enlightenment

Lead me from dreaming to waking.
Lead me from opacity to clarity.
Lead me from the complicated to the simple.
Lead me from the obscure to the obvious.
Lead me from intention to attention.
Lead me from what I'm told I am to what I see I am.
Lead me from confrontation to wide openness.
Lead me to the place I never left,
Where there is peace, and peace
- The Upanishads

*note* interesting comments from the ,,the Wanderling,,..
-added by danny-
the Wanderling

James Tan
(original no longer calls up)

Shakamuni the Buddha used 45 years (some say 49) dispensing and elaborating on the Four Noble Truths. From his infinite compassion he shows us many paths to Enlightenment. The most direct is the wisdom path through meditation, although we are also warned that it is not the easiest.

Meditation is by no means an easy activity as it activates a lot of hidden obstacles and hindrances. They appear in mundane forms like physical illness and on rare occasion distractions from other entities.

So, logically, who wants to get ill and distracted from a seemingly stable routine of sitting, walking, standing and lying down? But, let us take a moment before making a rash decision. These accepted routine activities, are they permanent and as rewarding as they appear to be?

Did the Buddha say something to this effect,"… the grasping of the presence is the building of future suffering!"

The ancients have always advised us to use this 'meditative inconveniences' as a trigger for more effort. They are not wrong! The pain of the present may in fact moderate future obstacles at other stations in Samsara. The common advice is: "Let us be diligent and complete our homework before we need to hand them up to be marked."

A bit of icing on the cake is: one can reduce or even eliminate much distractions by building some form of knowledge. This includes reading on the theoretical aspects and discussions with seasoned mediators. The are lamps that help to illuminate the journey through the 'tunnel of uncertainty'.

The purpose of this paper:

This essay is the work of a novice, just like an apprentice to the seniors of a soccer team. The writer has simply followed the advice of the Buddha, "Confirm one's understanding by speaking, writing and debating."

Putting one's thought in words is perhaps the easiest of the three activities. The future reader is invited to find in their compassion to moderate the wording if not the essay's content. One can only improve through advises.

The centre of focus is: the hindrances faced by a practitioner during meditation. What are their causes, their symptoms and cures.

On the first reading, the reader may even think this short note is too generalised or basic.

The writer hopes you will find the information listed as a critique and a guideline.

What meditation is not:

Going back to basic: the general English word 'Meditation' has a different implication and elaboration in Buddhism. In general usage, it only implies an activity that aims to achieve a calm or soothing perception. Millions of dollars have changed hands due to this general mis-understanding and millions more were handed out to promises of Iddhis (magical powers) and its counterpart Siddhis (super-normal perceptual states), health-improvement, etc.

Two ancient words are shown here for your consideration.

The first is Bhavana, it is Sanskrit and Pali in origin and is roughly translated as 'to develop or to change something'. That is for us to transmute our impure states to that of a higher level of purity and understanding. It is found to be more in use at early discourses given in the earlier phrases of the Buddha's dispensation.sutra collection of the Buddha's teaching.

The other word is a Tibetan word, sGompa, which implies one to get familiar with a situation. That phenomena is our natural state, the original wakefulness with the concept of duality. Many names were used and this include, sugata-garbha, Buddha Mind, etc. sGompa implies at each level of realization, one may realise the previous the obstacles and activities on the paths could have been avoided. They then become lesson for the future generation.

What is the goal:

The Buddha said: "The path is in effortless."

That is: we can leave all phenomena in their natural state (of emptiness) as they arise.

Another facet is ancient's description, "All phenomena is beyond, dwelling, beyond arising and beyond ceasing and all prevailing."

We live in the mundane world and are surrounded by a dualistic environment. Each of us is compelled to do something. Perhaps, a need to get up, to shout some slogans or to be noticed. That response is normal as we need to adapt this change in attitude. This is through a modified behaviour routine.

In short, the goal of a meditation is to regain our original nature before idea of " I " existed.

Basic Knowledge:

To go into proper sitting, some fundamental points have to be cleared:

  • Body (posture): The traditional cross-legged position is strongly recommended. The most important point lies in the straightening of the back. By placing the body in its original state, meditation natural occurs.
  • Eye (gaze): do not close your eyes, blink or glare sideways. Look directly and unwaveringly ahead. Since the eyesight and the consciousness share a single nature, meditation occurs naturally.
  • Mind (the way of resting): do not let the natural state of your ordinary mind purse past habitual patterns, or look into future activities of disturbing emotions and do not fabricate the present state by conceptualising. By resting the consciousness in this natural mode, meditation occurs naturally.

Calm Abiding Is Not Meditation;

We are told of the nine stages of progression in this initial practice, but one must be fore-warned, the main obstacles of Shamatha are feeling of exhilaration, dullness and agitation. They must be overcome before one can even contemplate advancing into clear Insight Meditation (vipashyana). See also LAYA: A Definition.

These stages and its hindrances are not universal to all, some meditators may just 'jump' to the next phrase. An indivisible mode called "shamatha inseparable from vipashyana."

A crucial point to note is: other faiths have their own form of classification and methods. However, this is where the similarity ends. The goal of vipashyana and the knowledge sought differs.

Experience and Obstacles of Samadhi

Samadhi is a general word that would be ideal to describe the next level: The level of absorption, insight and realization.

At this stage, we are told three experiences may arise: Bliss, Clarity and Non-Thought.

Non-thought happens when the consciousness is free from conceptual thinking and has three types:

  • No Good Thought" - free from clinging to mediator and meditation object;
  • No Evil Thought" - is the interruption of the flow of gross and subtle conceptual thinking;
  • No neutral Thought" - recognition of the natural face of awareness as being locationless.

During his state of non-thought, there is clarity.

Clarity is the unobstructed, naked radiance of awareness (three types)

"Spontaneous Clarity", the state being free from an object;

"Original Clarity" does not appear for a temporary duration;

"Natural Clarity" is not made by anyone (unfabricated).

Bliss is different from the usual dictionary definition and there are four types:

"Blissful Feeling" - is to be free from adverse conditions of disharmony "Conceptual Bliss" - is to be free from the pain of concepts;

"Nondual Bliss" - is to be free from the clinging of dualistic fixation;

"Unconditioned Bliss" is to be free from the causes and conditions.

When these three experiences appear, their attachment (another hindrance) is known as the "Defects of Meditation". If one does not detach, one strays into three states of existences (Realm of Desire, Form, Formless).

Despite, having the notion of one has detached from the above experience, there is still some subtle attachment. We are asked to contemplate these attachment by ways if three analogies:

Detach from Bliss like a madman (or stray into the Realm of Desire) ;

Detach from Clarity like the dream of a small child (or stray into the Realm of Form);

Detach from Non-Thought like a yogi who has perfected his yogic discipline (or stray into the Formless Realm)

To cut through this pitfall, one uses "Nine Serene States Of Successive Abiding."

The Real Cause behind the Obstacles

Our deluded mind is the singular cause for all the obstacles in our samsaric existence. It gave birth to The Three Poisons of Ignorance, Hatred and Desire. Through recognizing their true essence, we understood the true meaning of the Tripitaka and applied them as paths.

The five emotions are in effect, creation and manifestations of the mind's three poisons. By being mindful when they arise, one reflects on their cause. They arose from an external factors which is empty in essence. By understand their cause and naturally resting in their turbulent state one perfect the five innate wisdoms and convert them as paths.

Using Samadhi as a Path

All good Samadhis produce experiences. These 'taste' or prana may be seen as an advancement in practices but one needs to be careful. It is tempting to cling onto them as an ego. This attachment will only create more karmic deed.

One must be understand all experiences are transitional or temporary. They are displays of our dualistic mind. The practitioner must look into its essence without fixating and without attachment. This set the ground for the dawning and understanding into the empty essence of nondual wakefulness.

Using Bodily Sickness and Pain as a Path

Hindrance of bodily sickness and pain

Padmasambhava, the precious guru, advised us to use hindrances experiences like sickness, pain, headaches, or intense fatigue as helpers for Samadhi.

One starts by understanding its transitional nature.... a temporary experience. Without naming it as a faults or virtue, one simply allows it to naturally occur and be liberated. Without clinging it does not a dwelling ground.

Knowing his future listeners to be entangled by mundane concepts, the guru advises on how to clear these bodily sickness and pain. In brief, the lesson explains:

"Sickness abides laterally in the all-ground, in the manner of the constitution of the channels and as habitual tendencies. Its causes are due to unwholesome karma accumulated through ignorance and ego clinging. It is activated by disturbing emotions, conceptual thinking, prana-winds, or gods and demons. The matured results is the 404 types of disease, heated by heat and cold, phlegm, aches, and swelling. In short, the disease of coemergent ignorance is the chief cause and the disease of conceptual ignorance is the chief circumstance."

In summary, all sickness (including those not related to meditation) posses five factors:

Unwholesome Karma as the cause;

Disturbing emotions as the circumstances;

Conceptual thinking as the connecting link,

Prana-wind as the concluding assembler,

Gods and demons as the supportive factor.

Using Ignorance as an example, the process is:

Since the cause is Ignorance, recognize co-emergent wisdom as the cure.

Since the condition is disturbing emotions, settle your attention to evenness.

Since the connector is conceptual thinking, cut through the ties of thought.

Since the gatherer of the conclusion is wind, focus on the key point of wind.

The back-support is the gods and demons: must abandon the notion of a demon.

By doing this you will be freed from all kinds of disease.

However, the cure for the essence of illness as instructed by the Enlightened master may be beyond our conceptual mind. He went on to explain the alternatives:

Best to leave it to be self-liberated.

That is to say, in the preliminaries, don't pursue the sickness.

During the main part, don't cultivate the sickness.

During the conclusion, don't dwell on feeling sick.

Through that, you will untie old sickness and remain unharmed by new ones.

(Living followers of this advice are those that understood)

Transmuting Adversity:

Regard the sickness with gratitude and letting your mind be jubilant, eat food that harms the illness and act in adverse ways towards it

Cutting directly:

This process of illness vacating is the medicine of cutting through.


At least you will not have to suffer with the thought of feeling sick

Last is to cure by meditation.

In general, resting in equanimity should be completely become the essence of Non-Thought. You must cause all concerns far away and be free from doubt and hesitation about what is exorcised or visualised. The visualisation and your mind should be unified. It is important to rely and concentrate upon these three points.

The Fear and Dread of Gods and Demons:

The occurrence of this hindrances is universal. They exist in the mind of the practitioner who has yet to be contact with a glimpse of reality. See Mara.

But where do they come from?

The presence of demonic force and doubt arises from the indivisibility of prana and the dualistic mind (It is nurtured by conceptual thinking).

The guru recommended the following method:

"When hindrances such as thoughts of Fear and Dread arises, we must identify them quickly and bring them onto the path. If you let them run wild or fall under their power and will later matured as an obstacle for your practice,

"The ground of evil forces and magical displays are within your own mistaken mind. There are definitely no 'gods' or 'demons' outside of yourself. The very moment you experienced evil forces and magical displays, apply the vital point of understanding that they do not possess any true existence as they are devoid of arising, dwelling and ceasing

"One start by assuming a yogic posture. Keeping one gaze, we look into its identity. As soon as our thinking turns into empty cognisance, we will possess the confident courage that thoroughly cut through fear and dread."

We are also warned that a self-assuring thought, like, "I cannot be harmed by obstacles!" and "I wonder if I will meet with some obstacles!" may in fact creates a welcome for demons.

In summary, one is advised to cut the stream of conceptual thinking! This includes offering your aggregates as a feast offering or as food. This is the sure way to cast away ego-clinging. One simply applies the vital point and practice!

One may like to try practices like meditation on "Loving kindness" or Chod. The latter is a method developed in Tibet by Lady Machig Ladron. An expedient means that combines the sutra and esoteric teaching.

Integrating Meditative experience into the Five Noble Paths

Padmasambhava said the Five Paths are included within Three Experiences (Bliss, Clarity and Non-Thought) of Samadhi.

The instructions are:

  • 1. Having cut these pitfalls (from the 4 Formless States of serenity - 4 Dhyanas), one practices a flawless meditation by remaining serenely and vividly in this clarity and non-thought during the meditation state. In the post meditation state; appearances arise unobstructedly and are as in substantial as a dream or magical illusion. You understand the nature of cause and effects, fill the measure of merit to the brim, attain the 'heat of samadhi'; and thus perfect the Path of Accumulation.
  • 2. By practising this for a long time, you see in actuality, locationless and self-cognisant, the nature presence in yourself. Recognising your natural face in the Path of Seeing.
  • 3. Experiencing appearance, awareness and emptiness to be locationless and self-cognisant, you see directly the unconditioned innate nature. The obscuration of disturbing emotions is destroyed at its root. Realising that cause and effect are empty, samsara has no solid existence. The meditation state is indivisible from Buddhahood and everything in the post meditation arises as magical illusion. - Path of Joining.
  • 4. Growing familiar with this state and sustaining it steadily, all phenomena become nondual. Recognising them as self-display, appearance and mind mingle as one. When emptiness arises as cause and effect, you realise dependent origination. During the meditation state all phenomena are locationless and present as the essence of awareness. The slight presence of objective appearance during the post-meditation state is the Path of Cultivation.
  • 5. Maintaining this for a long time, you realise that all samsara and nirvana is nondual, beyond arising and ceasing, unmixed and utterly perfect, locationless and self-cognisant. The cognitive obscuration totally vanishes, and the very moment everything dawns as original wakefulness is the Consummation of Incomparable Enlightenment, the State of Buddhahood, Anuttara-Samyak-Sambodhi.

Fundamentally, our experience as experienced is not different from the Zen master's. Where

we differ is that we place a fog, a particular kind of conceptual overlay onto that experience
and then make an emotional investment in that overlay, taking it to be "real" in and of itself.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The only journey is the journey within

Lead me from dreaming to waking.
Lead me from opacity to clarity.
Lead me from the complicated to the simple.
Lead me from the obscure to the obvious.
Lead me from intention to attention.
Lead me from what I'm told I am to what I see I am.
Lead me from confrontation to wide openness.
Lead me to the place I never left,
Where there is peace, and peace
- The Upanishads

*note* nice quotes from Rainer Maria Rilke (4 December 1875 – 29 December 1926)
-added by danny-

~ The only journey is the journey within. ~

Be patient with all that is in your heart
And try to love the questions themselves.
Do not seek for the answers that cannot be given
For you would not be able to live them
And the point is to live everything.
Live the questions now and perhaps,
without knowing it,
You will live along some day into answers

~ The only journey is the journey within. ~(Rainer Maria Rilke)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Why not dance the hamsper dance?

Lead me from dreaming to waking.
Lead me from opacity to clarity.
Lead me from the complicated to the simple.
Lead me from the obscure to the obvious.
Lead me from intention to attention.
Lead me from what I'm told I am to what I see I am.
Lead me from confrontation to wide openness.
Lead me to the place I never left,
Where there is peace, and peace
- The Upanishads

*note* dance a bit..
-added by danny-


Lead me from dreaming to waking.
Lead me from opacity to clarity.
Lead me from the complicated to the simple.
Lead me from the obscure to the obvious.
Lead me from intention to attention.
Lead me from what I'm told I am to what I see I am.
Lead me from confrontation to wide openness.
Lead me to the place I never left,
Where there is peace, and peace
- The Upanishads

*note* interesting comments about Jung perspective of GOD(from John P. Dourley)
-added by danny-
Jung's theoretical understanding of religion makes of the analytic process a religious event. It recalls the Gods to their psychic origin and encourages unmediated conversation with them within the containment of the psyche. The analytic process thus understood is currently to be valued for a number of reasons. The internalization of divinity curtails enmity between religious communities bonded by external Gods. More than this Jung's total myth contends that divinity can become conscious only in humanity. The education and redemption of God in history is an ongoing project. Currently it takes the form of an emerging myth of an extended compassion whose embrace supplants still reigning myths of lesser compass. The analytic process though confined, in the first instance, to individuals is a significant contributor to the now emerging societal myth

By John Dourley
Jung on Religion: Theory and Therapy.
The intimacy Jungian psychology establishes between theory and therapy is particularly prominent in matters religious. Jung's greatly extended sense of religion rests on the unmediated experience of the numinous working ever more intense patterns of personal integration and universal relatedness. The experience of the numinous also lies at the heart of Jungian therapeutic practice. Without it no transformation takes place. Writes Jung on this point, "But the fact is that the approach to the numinous
1 This is an expanded version of a paper read at the 2nd International Academic
Conference of Analytical Psychology and Jungian Studies, Texas A and M University,
College Station, Texas, July 7-10, 2005.
is the real therapy and inasmuch as you attain to the numinous experiences you are released from the curse of pathology" (Jung, 1973, p. 377). When the experience of the numinous becomes the basis of both religion and "...real therapy...", the distinction between Jung's theory of religious experience and the practice of his therapy collapses. The doing of classical Jungian therapy becomes itself a religious event. The religious nature of this event stands in constant need of clarification so that, at least, the analyst is made fully aware of what is at stake in the analytic process. The analytic process is one in which the analyst and analysand foster the birth of the self in the analysand's consciousness through the dream dialogue with the self. In effect the analysis becomes a personal revelation of the individual's unique myth originating, in Jung's view, from the same source that gives rise to all religions, namely, the archetypal dimension of the psyche.
The discovering of one's personal revelation enables the individual to distinguish one's personal myth and so oneself from the myths into which one is inevitably born. These are the layers of collective mythology such as ethnicity, religion, nationality, social status, etc., which can serve, in varying degrees, as impediments or resources in the emergence of the self. But it is only the emergence of the self in the consciousness of the individual that frees the individual to relate one's inherited mythologies to one's own deepest personal truth. As this truth emerges into consciousness the individual is progressively released from a compulsive and unconscious adhesion to received mythologies toward a more discerning response to them out of the power of the inimitable and sustaining truth of the personal self. This response can range from outright rejection to a heightened appreciation of the symbolic, ritual and more meaningful dimensions of the mythologies one inherits at birth. The point is that wherever the response lies
along the scale from rejection to integration of inherited truths, it is a response in living touch with the power of the individual's personal myth. In the end such power is, for Jung, the only power that enables the individual to respond to the collective as an individual. "Resistance to the mass can be effected only by the man who is as well organized in his individuality as the mass itself (Jung, 1958, p. 278). (Italics Jung's).
The individual's growing into one's personal myth in the analytic process is never a solipsistic event. Such growth is a significant social resource because it provides society with individuals endowed with the critical perspective that only living out of their personal myth affords. This side of the religious role of the analytic process is peculiarly pressing in a time of epochal change. Jung thought his time and ours was a time of such epochal change. He refers to "...the end of the Christian aeon...", to "...the invalidation of Christ...", and describes himself as a modern Joachim di Fiore ushering in a new age of the Spirit (Jung, 1953b, p. 138). In this context the analytic endeavour can be revisioned not only on a personal level as an occasion for the surfacing of individual mythologies. The analytic endeavour becomes, through the individuals it touches, a major contributor to the emergence of a more encompassing collective myth or now dawning revelation which Jung anticipated but understandably could not describe in more than general terms.
The turbulence surrounding the birth of a new societal myth is presently vividly evident at the collective level. The educated and spiritually sensitive turn away in great numbers from ecclesial institutions that continue to take their founding poets, the writers of their Holy Scriptures, literally and then rely on legalism and authority to enforce belief in the unbelievable. Theology thus remains where it was in Jung's day. "It proclaims doctrines
which nobody understands, and demands a faith which nobody can manufacture" (Jung, 1948, p. 192). With the departure of those with a native religious sensitivity and/or developed mind, collective religion is largely abandoned to various forms and degrees of fundamentalism in both West and East. The numerical surge of institutional fundamentalism bears stark witness to the baser lusts of humanity collective religion so often serves, namely, the need for instant certitude collectively reinforced in the face of the anxiety and fear of living with doubt. In my own tradition the spirit of renewal promised by Vatican II in the sixties has been broken through more than a quarter century reign of an imperial papacy with roots in the thirteenth century. The head of the Inquisition during much of this period has now succeeded his predecessor. Nor has Romanism been the only religious tradition to have circled the wagons in an instinctive defense against the emergence of a secularity of higher moral instinct informed by a still fragile but growing religious sense of a broader compassion and more inclusive embrace.
For many contemporaries caught in this current situation the religious import of the analytic process could serve as the "tertium", the third, not given or not entertained as a possibility by those whose dismay with traditional religion holds out but two bleak options. Many feel they can either grind their teeth and stay in their tradition or simply walk away, often to the sterility of a life without the depth that functional religion can provide. Jung's third possibility would hold out the option of accessing the source of all religions as the basis of one's own through accessing the depths of the personal psyche. This accessing could restore the vitalities of religious experience to those who would explore it, its arduous demands, and its quiet rewards, with an immediacy devoid of institutional need or intervention.
Such access might bring to some a transformed and heightened appreciation of their former traditions, symbols and rites now freed of their literal misinterpretation and authoritarian imposition. As an example, such experience would be of help to a now sociologically discernible group known as "recovering Catholics". Whether or not such recovery was to take place within or beyond ecclesial confines, it would restore a vitality that only the experience of the native religious depths of the human can provide. Or, on the other hand, and in a more gnostic vein, many may have to go it alone and simply "...stand before the Nothing out of which All may grow (Jung, 1933, p. 75). In this passage Jung suggests that this alternative may indeed be the face of future religion for the truly modern though few might currently be able to bear its demands. Deeper than either of these options and the many variations that lie between them is Jung's contention that the abiding in one's personal revelation is the greatest contribution one can make to the surpassing myth, the new revelation, now struggling for birth, at least, in the contemporary West. This alone makes the exploration of the religious implications of the analytic process, the melding of the theory and practice of religion in a Jungian sense, worthwhile.
Capping the Volcano.
Jung's understanding of the psyche rests on a conception of containment which tolerates no invasion of the psyche by agencies beyond the psyche. Such containment eliminates all commerce between an allegedly self-sufficient supernatural world of divine beings and the natural world of psyche. Theologically such containment means that the psyche creates all the divinities as well as all personal and collective faiths in them. For Jung this now dawning consciousness marks the culmination of a millennial
evolution of religious maturation (Jung, 1954, p. 402), one which carries with it a moral imperative. This imperative demands that responsible religion recall the Gods to their psychic origin where dialogue with them would continue on an individual basis (Jung, 1940, p. 85). This dialogue would be at once socially safer and personally more harrowing. It would be socially safer because it would undermine the conflict between religious communities who claim a universal truth for one or other of their competing, still transcendent Gods. The dialogue would be more harrowing because it would face the individual with an inner critique more personal, rigorous and defiant of evasion than any religion can muster. Internalizing the conversation with deity would also, in Jung's words, terminate "...the systematic blindness... that God is outside man" (Jung, 1940, p. 58). (Italics Jung's). It would force humanity to confront its Gods and its faiths in them within the confines of the psyche from which they first are born.
Recent Jungian reflection on the internalization of the relation to the divine has illuminated the Jungian options to the inevitable question Jung's work poses, "Is there a God beyond the psyche?" Lionel Corbett points out in strict continuity with Jung that the experience of the numinous is the basis in humanity for the experience of God. This leads to only two options in relating the numinous to the possibility of a God beyond the psyche. Corbett puts it this way, "To reiterate: numinous experience arises from an autonomous level of the psyche that is either the source of, or the medium for, the transmission of religious experience: empirically we cannot say which (Corbett, p. 8). If the unconscious is the source of the numinous experience there would be no need to posit a God beyond the psyche. If the unconscious is the medium of the numinous experience then one could posit the reality of God beyond the unconscious who would address the human
through the unconscious. This would lead to the question of why such a God in his creative role would use such an ambivalent medium as the unconscious to make his presence and project known to humanity. This option, when closely examined, envisages a God or divine power along theistic lines who would create the unconscious as a mediator between himself and the human ego. Occam's razor would surely slice away such a superfluous entity as the unconscious as mediator in favour of the more abstemious option that the unconscious is, in fact, the source of the numinous and requires no reality beyond it for the generation of the numinous as the basis of humanity's experience of the divine. The option for the unconscious as the source of the numinous would lead to the sparse yet organic conception of a wholly intrapsychic transcendence, one that would affirm that the unconscious infinitely transcends ego consciousness but that nothing transcends the total psyche. Jung's own waffling on this issue might well be traced to the progressive development of his thought and to his being less than candid in his dialogue with theologians. He was, however, quite frank in his debates with Victor White and Martin Buber that the real or implied supernaturalism of both thinkers was incompatible with his understanding of the psyche in its religious function (Dourley, 1991).
Corbett is also accurate in his perception that Jung's psychology rests on an eastern Vedantic notion of a point of residual identity between the divine and the human within the human. He goes on to comment that though this position is consistent with certain Western mystics like Eckhart it is in serious conflict with orthodox Jewish and Christian insistence on an objective transcendent God. He notes, "So far Jungian depth psychologists have largely been dualistic in this regard, presumably reflecting the unconscious bias of their Judaeo-Christian heritage" (Corbett, p. 42). This is
a rather strong indictment of Jungian analysts who cling to a theistic and supernatural conception of the divinity as an objective entity beyond the psyche and usually as its creator. Corbett's critique that such dualism is hostile to Jung's understanding of the psyche has much to validate it. It is difficult to reconcile such a divinity with Jung's statement, "The naive assumption that the creator of the world is a conscious being must be regarded as a disastrous prejudice which later gave rise to the most incredible dislocations of logic (Jung, 1954, p. 383, fn 13). Rather Jung would have the ego in a much more immediate relation with a divinity as beastly as it was good looking for the reconciliation of its opposites in human consciousness.
Such psychic containment rests, in Jung's word's, on a point of "identity" between the divine and human native to all of nature including human nature (Jung, 1940, p. 58, 60, 61). Such a sweeping sacramental sense enables Jung to extend to every human the prerogative of the homoousia, the unity of two natures, divine and human, in one person (Jung, 1940, p. 61). He does not do this in the fixed essentialist categories of the Trinitarian and Christological councils with their limitation of this status to one outstanding "historical" individual. Rather Jung affirms that everyone is gifted with a conscious and an unconscious nature and that bringing them together in one person is both the work of a lifetime and the only serious meaning of redemption available to empirical humanity. In this integrative view human maturation and deification coincide.
The unification of each individual's two natures into a total person is also the only meaning that Jung gives to incarnation (Jung, 195, p. 406). Incarnation describes the process of the unconscious becoming embodied in the consciousness of " a more compendious" or "supraordinate" personality
(Jung, 1954b, p. 258, 259). The Spirit or the self works this emerging personality through the conscious unification of the individual's divine and human natures. In doing so the Spirit brings itself to conscious birth in those who respond to its approach (Jung, 1954b, p. 263). In this sense incarnation does not refer to a past event but becomes the ever present and ongoing process of God becoming conscious in the individual to the extent the individual allows the urgencies of the unconscious to become conscious in the unique form that incarnation seeks in every life. In this precise sense the analyst has every right to view participation in the analytic process as cooperation with the Spirit in working its incarnation in the consciousness of the analysand. By mediating the analysand's latent divinity to consciousness every analyst plays the role of the priest.
Incarnation thus understood becomes an alternate description of what Jung means by "the relativity of God" (Jung, 1921, p. 242-244; 1954, p. 381). Put succinctly, Jung is contending that only in human consciousness can God become self-conscious and so relativized, at least, in relation to a God conceived as an absolute and transcendent self-sufficient divinity "wholly other" than the human (Jung, 1953, p. 11, fn. 6). The "relativity of God", thus understood, also provides the deepest meaning of human suffering. Relativization implies that divinity must divest itself of its transcendent remove and suffer in historical humanity the resolution of its unresolved eternally conflicted life. It is no wonder that Jung would write that "...God wants to become man but not quite" (Jung, 1954, p. 456). Even for deity things were less painful in eternal but unconscious bliss. With the realization that the pain of becoming conscious is the same pain in the human and the divine, humanity has to face the fact that its deepest historical meaning and suffering is the redemption of God at the insistence of a God
who creates human consciousness as the only locus in which the divine self-contradiction can be perceived and resolved. The redemption of God in and through the suffering involved in the conscious integration of divinity's living antinomy in historical humanity is also the basis of Jung's eschatology and of his philosophy of history (Jung, 1954, p. 408, 455, 459, 461). Christ's dying in despair between divinely grounded opposites as a prelude to their union in resurrected life becomes for Jung the substance of the answer to Job. This moment is " divine as it is human, as 'eschatological' as it is 'psychological'" (Jung, 1954, p. 408). Psychologically humanity's suffering toward the redemption of God in itself coincides with the movement of history and strikes the deepest cord in the psyche as the meaning and movement of the entire human enterprise (Jung, 1948, p. 179).
Humanity's current participation in the ongoing divine/human drama calls up the image of the volcano that now needs to be capped in the wake of Jung's recall of the Gods to their psychic origin. Jung confronts contemporary humanity with the question of whether it is up to suffering divinely based conflict in the immediate precinct of human interiority, the matrix of all the Gods, without breaking containment and destroying itself in destroying the evil other. Failure to meet Jung's challenge would only continue the sad current situation of externalizing the conflict and blowing up, in the name of the demonic, whatever contradicts one's own truncated personal or collective compact or testament with the divine. Thus the recall of the Gods and the internal resolution of their mutual enmity as the precedent of external peace is currently at the heart of the hope of the species that it can survive its God and religion creating proclivity (Dourley, 2003). It is the fire of this wider hope the analytic process fans through addressing whatever conflict it faces in the individual circumstances of the
analysand. Each individual gain in consciousness contributes to the contemporary emergence of a myth informed by a more universal sensitivity and wider inclusion now sponsored by the unconscious in its role as the maker of history.
Humanity and Divinity as Functions of Each Other.
The intimacy which Jung establishes between divine and human life, suffering and consciousness is most evident in his appropriation of Meister Eckhart's mystical experience. Here Jung reads Eckhart to mean that God and humanity are "functions" of each other caught up in a single cosmic and organic process of mutual completion (Jung, 1921, p. 243). In these passages Jung is obviously equating the relationship of the ego to the unconscious with the relationship of the human to the divine and containing both within the psyche. Elaborating on this intrapsychic dialectic Jung makes the telling point that those who do not understand that, "...God's action springs from one's own inner being..." do not understand the nature of religious experience and so do not understand religion itself (Jung, 1921, p. 243).
Jung goes on to describe the dynamic of humanity and divinity as functions of each other in some detail. Basically this dynamic takes on the form of a never to be completed psychic cycle. In the first moment the soul regresses to an immersion in and identity with the energies of the divine. In the second moment the soul then mediates these energies to consciousness (Jung, 1921, p. 255, 256). When the cycle is taken in its totality Jung is found to be saying that the moment of the soul's identity with God is the necessary prelude to the birthing of the divine in human consciousness. His Answer to Job describes the same process in terms of a baptism, the baptism
of consciousness into and from the pleroma, the creative and formless source of all form and consciousness (Jung, 1954, p. 425). In every analysis reliant on dreams this process is at work as the dreams take the soul into the depths of the psyche and then speak directly to consciousness through the soul from her immersion in these depths. This process makes of the analyst both the observer and catalyst in the baptism of the individual into the life of the individual's evolving myth as that individual's greatest contribution to the emerging societal myth.
The psychic rhythm Jung describes in his treatment of Eckhart and Job establishes a mutual dependence of the soul on God and God on the soul working the endless redemption of divinity in a humanity itself redeemed in its function as the sole birthplace of divine consciousness (Jung, 1921, 251). The divine/human mutuality Jung here describes strongly suggests that the depth of one's penetration into the unconscious is the ultimate determinant of the breadth of one's compassion in the conscious world. It further implies that there is no where humanity, individual or collective, can hide from its role in the redemption of the divine since nothing exists beyond the psyche which could absolve humanity from the suffering involved in the divine insistence of becoming progressively conscious in the creature. To the extent any analysis births the self in consciousness it also births God in humanity and in the process redeems both. The effect of such redemption always has wider societal import.
Toward A Surpassing Myth and a More Encompassing Spirit.
The above considerations make it obvious that Jung's psychology is itself a myth which appreciates even as it corrodes so many reigning religious myths and especially the monotheisms. In Jung's view the
monotheisms had already been seen through by the religious consciousness evident in the Book of Job (Jung, 1954, 385). Once Job's consciousness had surfaced little could be done to save the monotheistic myth in any of its variants. Jung's myth continues in this critical stance but adds significant substance to the myth the unconscious currently sponsors in the West, a myth appreciatively surpassing the monotheisms.
A foundational element of Jung's myth is humanity's unmediated experience of its divinity and the dynamic this experience presently unleashes. If humanity and divinity naturally share a common point or ground, the thrust of this ground is to manifest its total potential in ever greater approximations of human totality. As it drives toward the fullest manifestation of itself in the human, the divine and psychic ground of humanity exercises both an expansive and balancing influence on the humanity in whom it seeks to become conscious. In effect this side of Jung's mythology is addressing the compensatory nature of revelation. Put simply Jung equates revelation with the compensation the unconscious offers to the culture in which the revelation occurs. In effect we get the Gods, saviours, and religions we deserve and need.
Bringing these positions to bear on the contemporary situation, Jung introduces a complex historical argument concluding that the transcendent Gods of the monotheisms provided a then much needed religious compensation to their constituencies (Jung, 1956, p. 66-71). This compensation currently cries out for its own compensation, that is, for a new revelation at whose service Jung places his psychology. This is particularly the case with Christianity, and by extension the other monotheisms, whose initial compensatory imbalance toward the spiritual would inevitably fall prey to the laws of the psyche and evoke their own
compensation in the course of time (Jung, 1959, p. 43). On the precise dates and mode of the revelation compensating Christianity, Jung waffles from the Book of Revelation (Jung, 1959, p. 43; 1954, p. 439, 458), itself within the Christian canon, to the gnostic/alchemical tradition, to the mediaeval Spirit movements, mystics, and devotees of the grail, to Renaissance neo-Platonism, and finally to the Enlightenment (Jung, 1959, p. 43, 44) and its enthronement of reason as the anti-Christ (Dourley, 1999, p. 58-65). Take your pick. Such imprecision is hardly the stuff that a more rigorous historical methodology would to-day tolerate.
In spite of this historical ambiguity, when Jung gives content to what the new revelation demands and offers he does address social phenomena undeniably visible in contemporary society. For Jung's myth moves from a trinitarian paradigm of a self-sufficient divinity only contingently involved in the human historical drama to a quaternitarian paradigm (Jung, 1948, p. 175). In this paradigm divinity and humanity are co-dependents in processes of reciprocal fulfillment in time. Within this context Jung can be very precise on what is lacking in the Spirit of a trinitarian divinity and needs to be recovered and sacralized by the more inclusive Spirit of the quaternity. The Spirit of the new myth would confer divinity on the feminine as well as the masculine in the movement toward a richer androgynous consciousness. It is this Spirit that informs much of the feminist movement especially as it now matures beyond democratizing patriarchal values. In his work on Job Jung is prescient in his reference to "...the signs of the times which point to the equality of women." (Jung, 1954, p. 465)
The Spirit of the new myth was also operative at an unconscious level in restoring one side of the Goddess to her place at least in the Catholic pantheon through the declaration of the Assumption, for Jung, "...the most
important religious event since the Reformation" (Jung, 1954, p. 464). But if Jung is read closely he is found to be saying that the son and virgin of Bethlehem are divine, and so "...not real human beings at all, but gods" (Jung, 1954, p. 399). As such they serve as a necessary but somewhat pallid prelude to a fuller incarnation of the divine in "...- an ordinary woman, not a goddess and not an eternal virgin immaculately conceived" (Jung, 1954, p. 439). Jung's full analysis of the meaning of the Catholic doctrine culminates in his claim that the conjunction of sun and moon in the woman and child of the Joannine Apocalypse already compensates the less or more than fully human Virgin and Son of the synoptic gospels (Jung, 1954, p. 439, 443, 448, 454). The former do not contain the totality of opposites that the sun woman and her child, who unite sun and moon, light and dark, do. What the author of the Book of Revelation took be a reprise of the first incarnation was actually its corrective. Already within the Christian canon a unity of opposites occurs which compensated the one sided and not fully human spirituality of a divine son born of an immaculate virgin. With this view Jung can then readily connect the full restoration of the feminine in the woman and child of the apocalypse with the divinization of matter and the body in a manner reminiscent of Blake's marriage of heaven and hell. This side of the Spirit of the quaternity is, no doubt, at work in the contemporary interest in the body, the healing arts, and in the resacralization of nature in environmental and ecological endeavours.
However, the symbol for the final inclusion of what the Spirit of the Trinity excludes from divinity and yet is so evident in humanity is much more elusive. Such a symbol would entail the Spirit worked synthesis of good and evil, lodging both good and evil in God and demanding that humanity work their resolution in history (Jung, 1948, p. 174, 175; 1954, p.
434). On how this is to be done and what it might look like Jung remains vague. He will say that both good and evil are to be relativized in a perspective beyond good and evil but not at the cost of abandoning the traditional religious virtues which will be needed as this relativization takes place in empirical humanity (Jung, 1953b, p. 136). Jung would concede that at some point we all get stuck (Jung, 1953c, p. 297). It would appear he was stuck on providing greater detail on the emergence of a sense of the sacred in which good and evil, the light and dark sons of the same God, could embrace in history.
One might address this problem and go beyond Jung by identifying where the problem is most evident in the contemporary world. The problem of good and evil is blatantly evident in the mutual projection of evil onto each other by communities possessed by archetypally based suasion dignified by such noble names as "faith", or "patriotism", or "commitment". These euphemisms effectively disguise the loss of personal responsibility to archetypally induced collective unconsciousness. Going beyond good and evil in this context would mean the gracious moderation in individual and collectivity of claims to exhaustive possession of the absolute in any of its forms, religious or secular. The murderous grip of competing absolutes on their victims' minds can only be tempered through reflection on their common archetypal origin and on the narrowing influence they too often exert on the communities they bond. Humanizing by relativizing all claims to the unconditional possession of a saving truth would remain compatible with Jung's frank acknowledgement that the sense of the absolute, and so of religion, can never be fully removed from human consciousness (Jung, 1940, p. 6).
Nevertheless, Jung's insight that the unconscious, as infinitely fecund, could never bring itself to exhaustive and so final expression in any finite form, religious or secular (Jung, 1954b, p. 258), would greatly undermine both individual and collective proclivities to project evil onto the other out of a sense of one's own identity with the absolute good or God. Spelling out the broader religious and political implications of Jung's thought in this manner is not to take them out of the analytic container or out of the specifics of a given analysis. Every analysis as it leads to greater conscious approximations of the self not only reveals the individual's myth but contributes to the sense of the individual's continuity with the totality and so breeds a universal sentiment hostile to premature and now dangerous communal or personal claims to an exhaustive possession of a saving truth. The experiential appropriation of one's individual myth corrodes the tyranny of mythologies claiming privileged access to a definitive salvation as all religious and many political mythologies do.
As this consciousness would spread, the claim of any ultimate, and especially a religious ultimate, to complete expression of the unconscious would be viewed as psychologically immature and socially unethical. Exclusive monotheisms, political or religious, would be deemed immoral. Humanity could finally come to see the connection between claims to the final revelation and the final solution. The dawning consciousness that all absolutes, and especially the religious, are products of a common generative ground would lead devotees of each to recognize the common ground of all. Archetypally bonded communities could then appreciate each other as variant expression of a shared human profundity. In short the need to convert or kill would be undermined in principle.
Conclusion: Recovering Our Health From Our Heresy.
Jung's psychology honors the priority of the Goddess or Great Mother in deference to the maternal nature of the deepest unconscious (Jung, 1956). If his psychology were to be given creedal or theological formulation it might read like this. In the beginning the Goddess created consciousness to become self-conscious in her child. Though from the outset she already dwelt in her child, she had to recall her child to a moment of immersion in herself to become more fully incarnate in the child then reborn from her womb. For the child reborn was now aware of the turbulent, conflicted life of the Goddess and, so, painfully conscious that her self-contradictions could only be perceived and redeemed in suffering toward their resolution in the life of humanity (Jung, 1954, p. 459). This process is redemptive both of the Goddess and of humanity who have from the outset been parts of each other. The Spirit of the Goddess thus always works toward the fullest manifestation of her infinite but conflicted energies in a humanity enriched by their syntheses. The incarnation of the Goddess and her redemption in humanity is the base meaning of individual and collective life and suffering as well as the direction in which all of history moves (Jung, 1948, p. 179). As such it grounds a new eschatology based on the resolution of divine conflict in humanity, a divinely grounded mandate humanity can neither evade nor hope to complete in time. The mandate cannot be evaded because it is felt immediately in every individual's experience of the self. It can never be completed because the fullness of the unconscious will always outstrip its historical concretions. There will be no situation in history in which God will be all in all just as there can be no human life wholly divested of the drive toward such a consciousness.
The question that arises from the religious formulation of Jung's psychology is this. Can it be accepted by the religious mind currently prevailing in the West or has that mind, in the process of its self-making, excluded as heresy each of the abovementioned foundational elements of Jung's myth? Western theological reflection and attendant spirituality has become what Jung calls "...a universal religious nightmare...", (Jung, 1954, p. 453) a one-sided truncation of the human spirit now in desperate need to recover its heresy if it is to heal its pathology. It remains to be seen whether the great religions, at least in the West, can affirm humanity's natural inhesion in a divinity that asks of humanity its cooperation in enabling the divine to become increasingly conscious through the manifestation of its fullness in the only theatre available for that purpose, human consciousness (Jung, 1954, p. 461).
Beyond the religious sphere Jung's myth would seem to be enacted wherever a more extensive embrace of the totally human and the human totality is endorsed in the extension of a full humanity to those members of the species whose full divinity had been denied or qualified by the still reigning religious and societal collectives. Within the religious sphere the mystical impulse would seem to be the most vital carrier of Jung's myth because of the mystics' unmediated experience of the divine and the mutual need of divine and human this immediacy implies. This is especially true of Jung's favourite mystics, the mystics of the apophatic tradition, who for a moment lost themselves in the maternal nothingness from which all form is born (Dourley, 2004). One of them, Marguerite Porete, was to write of her soul, "...without such nothingness she cannot be the all" (Marguerite Porete, 1993, p.193). A Jungian translation might read, "My embrace of the world will never be more inclusive than the depth of my entrance into the mother
of the all." In a period when a terrorized humanity looks for salvation from its saviours to avoid its extinction, Jung's myth points to a moment of dissolution in the mother of the all as the ultimate resource to the lethal squabbles between her children fatally possessed by mere fragments of her always surpassing and redeeming wisdom. This is the wisdom which seeks to become conscious in every analysis moving through the individual into society.

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Dourley John P. (1991). The Jung, Buber, White Exchanges: Exercises in
Futility. Studies in Religion, 20, (3) 299 - 309.
Dourley, John P. (1999). Bringing Up Father: C.G. Jung on History as the
Education of God. The European Legacy, 4, (2), 54-68.
Dourley, John P. (2003). Archetypal Hatred as Social Bond: Strategies for
its Dissolution. In John Beebe (Ed.), Terror, Violence and the Impulse to
Destroy; Perspectives from Analytical Psychology. Einsiedeln: Daimon
Dourley, John P. (2004). Jung, Mysticism and the Double Quaternity: Jung
and the Psychic Origin of Religious and Mystical Experience, Harvest, 50,
(1), 75-99.
Jung, C.G. (1921). Psychological Types. CW 6.
Jung, C.G. (1933). The Spiritual Problem of Modern Man. CW 10.
Jung, C.G. (1940). Psychology and Religion. CW 11.
Jung, C.G. (1948). A Psychological Approach to the Dogma of the Trinity.
CW 11.
Jung, C.G. (1953). Psychology and Alchemy. CW 12.
Jung, C.G. (1953b). Letter to Father Victor White, 24 November, 1953,
133-138. In Adler, G. and Jaffe, A. (Eds.). C. G. Jung Letters. 2: 1951-
1961. Princeton, NJ; Princeton University Press.
Jung, C.G. (1953c). Letter to Rudolf Jung, May 11, 1956, 297-298. In
Adler, G. and Jaffe, A. (Eds.). C. G. Jung Letters. 2: 1951-1961. Princeton,
NJ; Princeton University Press.
Jung, C.G. (1954). Answer to Job. CW 11.

The Demons of Defilement

Lead me from dreaming to waking.
Lead me from opacity to clarity.
Lead me from the complicated to the simple.
Lead me from the obscure to the obvious.
Lead me from intention to attention.
Lead me from what I'm told I am to what I see I am.
Lead me from confrontation to wide openness.
Lead me to the place I never left,
Where there is peace, and peace
- The Upanishads

*note* Ajaan Lee had wisdom..see how he explains the unconscious demons of defilement...the ones we must observe,to tame them(unless in samadhi,nobody can observe them,since we are still robots)..this is a tape-recorded talk, dating from the last year of Ajaan Lee's life.

-added by danny-

It's the nature of the world that nothing is totally bad. Everything has to have at least some good to it. The same holds true with the various forms of Mara, or the demons of temptation, that get in the way of our practice. It's not the case that they always obstruct us. Sometimes they turn into our friends and companions; sometimes into our workers and supporters; sometimes into our slaves, helping us and caring for us. This is why, if you're discerning, you have to walk a middle course. On one hand, you have to focus on their bad side. On the other, you have to focus on their good. Their good and bad sides are realities that have to exist together. As for us, we have to take a stance in the middle, examining things so that we don't act out of suspicion or prejudice. Once we see the good side of these things, we can get more familiar with them. We can get intimate. When we get familiar and intimate, we develop a sense of kinship with them. As the Buddha said, vissasa parama ñati: familiarity is the highest form of kinship.

Even our enemies, when we become familiar with them, can become our friends. Our companions. Our servants. Our slaves. When we can look at things in this way, both sides benefit. We benefit and our Maras benefit as well. In the time of the Buddha, for instance, the Buddha got so familiar with Mara that eventually Mara got converted and felt favorably inclined to the merit and skillfulness that the Buddha had developed. Once Mara had no more power over the Buddha, he paid homage to the Buddha and found himself transported to heaven. And that's not all. He became a bodhisattva. In the future he'll gain Awakening as a fully self-awakened Buddha. So he benefited and the Buddha benefited. This is the nature of people with discernment: they can take bad things and turn them into good.

As for us, we still lie under the sway of Maras of various kinds. These intimidating Maras are called Kilesa-Maras, the demons of defilement. The big ones, the really infamous ones, are greed, aversion, and delusion. These are the famous ones. As for the ones that stay more in the background, behind the scenes, those are kama-tanha, craving for sensuality, struggling to get things in ways that are offensive to the Dhamma; bhava-tanha, craving for things to be this way or that; and vibhava-tanha, craving that things not happen. For instance, once we've gained wealth, we don't want to lose it; once we've gained status, we don't want anyone to wipe out the edge we have over others. This is vibhava-tanha. These three forms of craving are also demons of defilement, but they're not very well known. Only once in a long, long while do you hear anyone mention their names.

As for greed, aversion, and delusion, they're very big, very powerful, very well known. The mother of all these Maras is ignorance (avijja). Everything comes out of ignorance. Goodness comes from ignorance. Evil comes from ignorance. To call things by their proper names, ignorance is the requisite condition for fabrications (sankhara), and fabrications, when they arise, come in three sorts:

  • meritorious fabrications: intentions and considerations that go in the direction of giving rise to goodness;
  • demeritorious fabrications: thoughts that go in the direction of what is evil, corrupt, and improper, defiling the mind and making it lose its luster; and
  • neutral fabrications: thoughts that are neither meritorious nor evil. For instance, when we think about going to the market tomorrow, or about going to work in our field, or about taking a bath or eating a meal. When thoughts like this arise in the mind, they're called neutral fabrications: thinking that isn't yet either good or bad.

These forms of fabrication are also demons of defilement. They're the children of Mara, but they rarely show their faces in public. They're like the children of nobility, children in the royal palace. They hardly ever show their faces outside, so very few people know their names, very few people have seen their faces. Unless you develop the mind in concentration you won't get to see these beauties. If you develop concentration, you can peer inside, using your discernment to part the curtains, and then you'll get to see these children of Mara.

The mother of Mara, ignorance, lies even deeper inside. Ignorance means not being acquainted with your own mind — mistaking your thinking for your mind; mistaking your knowledge for the mind; thinking that your thoughts of the past or future are the mind; thinking that the body is the mind or the mind is the body; that feeling is the mind or the mind is feeling; that mental qualities are the mind, or that the mind is mental qualities; that the mind is the self or the self is the mind; not being able to separate these things from yourself, getting yourself all entangled: that's called ignorance. In short, ignorance means getting caught up on the present.

All of the things I've mentioned so far are called the demons of defilement. They bother us all the time, get in our way all the time, which is why they're called the demons of defilement. How are they demons? When you get really greedy, for instance, it gets in the way of your being generous and giving donations. You simply want to get and don't want to give. That's how greed is a demon. When we get possessive of things, holding on tight, and someone destroys what we're holding onto, we get upset and feel mistreated. This puts our mind into a turmoil and gets it all stirred up. This is how greed is a demon.

The same holds true for anger. Once it arises, you don't give a damn about anything. You see other people as nothing more than red or black ants: all you have to do is step on them and they're done for. The explosive power of anger is more violent than anything else. Whether or not you'll actually be able to get your way, you don't care. You're brazen and foolhardy. But if anyone comes along at that time and tries to persuade you to act in a skillful way, you don't want anything of what they have to say. The anger has to go its course until it runs out on its own. This is why it's called a demon, because you can't do anything good while you're under its power.

Delusion is even worse. Delusion seeps into you, the way blood seeps throughout every part of your body. When we do evil, we're deluded. When we do good, we're still deluded. Even though we're well-educated in the Dhamma, we can't yet escape from the power of delusion. No matter who we are, it stays right on our heels. We may want to make merit, but when we're deluded we don't know what's right and what's wrong. We simply want the merit. We observe the precepts because we want to be good, but we don't know what real virtue is. It's the same when we practice concentration. We want to get results, but we can't tell right concentration from wrong. We simply keep on wanting. This is called delusion, in that our knowledge isn't in line with the truth. It's not that we don't know anything. We know, but what we know goes straying away from the truth. We're like a person who has lost his way: he can still keep going; it's just that he's not on the right path. Suppose, for instance, that we want to go to Bangkok but we get confused about the way and start heading to BangPuu. We're off the path as far as Bangkok is concerned, but we're on the right path for BangPuu — and we can keep on going. It's not the case that when you're on the wrong path you can't go. You can, but it's the wrong path as far as the destination you want. You're simply going to end up disappointed. This is why delusion is called a demon.

The second level of demons are the forms of craving. There are three forms of craving, but they boil down to two sorts. We translate craving as "desire," and desire has two types. One is desire mixed with lust, in the ordinary way of the world. The second has no lust. It's simply a sense of inclination, affection, a liking for objects. For example, we feel a liking for certain sights. We see certain material objects and we like the way they look, so we search for them — in other words, we want to get them. This, too, is a type of craving. The same holds true for the various sounds we like. We struggle to get hold of them. Our desire pulls us, yanks us, drags us along — whether or not we'll get what we want, we have to keep running. If we get what we want, we at least have something to show for our efforts. If we don't, it's a waste of time and energy, and we suffer. This kind of desire is also called craving: craving for objects, for sights, sounds, smells, tastes, tactile sensations: things we like. This is desire combined, not with lust, but with greed.

So craving has these two flavors, distilled out of kama-tanha, bhava-tanha, and vibhava-tanha:chandachanda — called chanda-raga, or desire-and-passion — which is heavier than chanda as a hindrance. Chanda as a hindrance is light. Chanda-raga is an enemy of the precepts. Chanda as a hindrance is an enemy of concentration. This is why desire in either sense of the word is classed as a demon, a demon of defilement. This is the second level. desire combined with lust, and desire free of lust. These, too, are demons of defilement. Each of them prevents the mind from inclining toward right concentration. This is why desire — — is classed as a hindrance. Desire on the level of a hindrance covers inclination, a sense of liking, without any lust mixed in. But there's another type of

The next level of demons are the forms of mental fabrication. For example, meritorious fabrications: the mind's thoughts of concocting or giving rise to merit. Now suppose that those thoughts don't succeed. The mind sours. Like King Asoka, who ruled over the Indian subcontinent, governing in two ways. One was through his goodness as a person. His subjects respected him, honored him, and so they obeyed him. The other way was through his military power and might. This was why there was law and order among his people. In the area of the religion, he gave tremendous support and encouragement, building a great deal of goodness — so much so that it backfired on him. He gave continual donations to the bhikkhu sangha until one day, toward the end of his life, he decided that he wanted to use some money to buy donations as a form of homage to the Buddha, homage to the Dhamma, and homage to the Sangha. After he had formulated this intention, but before he had had the opportunity to spend as much as he wanted, he fell ill. So he wanted to hurry up and finish making merit in line with his plans. He sent one of his officials to draw more money from the treasury, which held both government funds and the king's private funds. When the official got to the treasury, the treasurer wouldn't hand over the money, because he felt that it should go only to the government.

So the official returned to inform King Asoka, who got upset. "These are my funds," he thought. He wanted to use the funds as a form of homage to the Buddha, homage to the Dhamma, and homage to the Sangha, but when he couldn't do it, his mind turned sour. And it so happened that while his mind was soured, he died. Now, because he died while he was angry at his treasurer for not letting him make merit, the result was that he was born as a gigantic snake, an enormous python, slithering back and forth around the royal treasury. And there he had to stay, fixated on his possessions, for many days, which prevented him from enjoying the results of the good he had done. When he was alive, he had done good in lots of ways: building temples, building chedis, planting huge numbers of Bodhi trees, giving huge donations to the Sangha, observing the precepts, listening to the Dhamma. When he died, he should have been reborn as a male or female deva, but instead he went and took birth as a snake. This is an instance of how good intentions, meritorious intentions, when they aren't fulfilled, can lead to defilement and rebirth as a common animal. This is why thoughts of making merit, even though they're meritorious, can turn into demons.

The same is even more true with demeritorious fabrications, thoughts of doing evil. Simply thinking evil is enough to get in the way of our goodness. When thoughts of this kind arise in the mind, even though we haven't yet acted on them, even though we haven't yet spoken under their influence, the simple fact of having a bad intention in the mind is enough to prevent us from reaching the noble paths and fruitions. An example of this is the story of two villagers, two friends, on the Buddhist sabbath. Early in the morning, the people in the village heard the sound of the bell and gong in the local temple, so they got up before daylight and got ready to go give food and listen to a sermon at the temple. One of the friends thought to himself, "If I go make merit at the temple, then when I get back home I won't have anything to eat. I'd better go fishing instead." So he cooked some rice and prepared the food for the other friend to take to the temple.

As for the friend who went to the temple: while he was placing food in the monks' bowls, taking the precepts, and listening to the sermon, all he could think was evil thoughts: "Will my friend catch any fish for us to eat this evening, I wonder." As he thought about this, he developed a strong desire to eat fish curry, made from the fish his friend was out killing in the stream. That's all he could think about as he was putting food in the monks' bowls and listening to the sermon. He wasn't thinking about the killing. He simply thought, "If my friend catches some fish, I'll get to eat." As for the friend who was out catching fish, all he could think about was, "I wonder if my friend has put food in the monks' bowls yet... By now, he's probably taken the precepts... By now he's probably listening to the sermon and getting lots and lots of merit." That's all he could think about. Now, through the strong meritorious power of his thinking, not a single fish got caught in his net. Every time he heard the gong being struck at the temple, he'd put down his net, raise his hands, and say, "Sadhu!" — all day until darkness fell. Because his thoughts were so lost in doing good, his efforts to do evil didn't succeed.

As for the friend who went to make merit in the temple, his thoughts were lost in eating fish with his friend, so he ended up getting hardly any merit at all. The returns on his merit weren't worth all the time and effort that had gone into fixing food for the monks, taking the precepts, and listening to the sermon with his hands folded in respect. In other words, his state of mind canceled out his goodness, so he ended up no match for his friend who was out doing evil without really wanting to. Thus his state of mind turned into a demon and harmed him in two ways: The first was that he wanted to eat fish but didn't get a single bite. The second was that even though he did gain some merit from the donations he had made to the monks, it was only a little bit. He simply went through the motions of putting food in the monks' bowls, taking the precepts, listening to the sermon, but his mind was focused on eating murrel-fish curry with his friend. So he didn't get any of the good results that he should have from his actions. This is why it's said that evil thoughts cancel out our goodness. Even if we're doing good, thoughts of this sort cut off our goodness, like a palm tree or a coconut tree with its crown cut off. Or a banana tree that has borne fruit: it won't be able to grow any further, to bear flowers or produce any more fruit. People who think in ways that are evil, even if they do good, don't meet with any progress in life. They meet with nothing but failure. This is called demeritorious fabrication, another kind of demon that prevents us from succeeding at giving rise to goodness.

The third kind of mental fabrication is thinking that's neutral, that isn't yet good or evil. This kind of thinking can also be a demon of defilement. Say, for instance, that we plan to work on our farm. "We don't have time to go to the monastery," we tell ourselves. "We don't yet have enough to eat." Or if we plan to go selling things. "If we go to the monastery, we won't have time to get a good return." Or we spend our time thinking about some important business we have to do, that we'll have to do this and say that. Or we think about going out to cruise around and relax a bit. When we think in this way, it takes up the time we can use to develop goodness within ourselves. We keep putting it off. In what way? When we're children, we tell ourselves that we can wait until we're older. We're not going to die anytime soon, so we should take the time to study instead. When we become young adults, we tell ourselves that we can wait until we get married. Once we get married and get ourselves established in our career, we tell ourselves to wait until our children are grown and they get married. Going to the monastery can wait until we've aged a bit. We keep on putting it off and turn ourselves into nice sweet pigs for Mara to swallow down easily without our even realizing it.

Finally, if we really do survive until old age, our children get worried and try to dissuade us from going. "Mom, don't go to the monastery. You're old. You'll suffer all sorts of hardships." And we believe them. "If you feel faint or get sick, it's going to be hard for you." Your eyes get so that you can't see, your ears get so that you can't hear. You can't hear the sermons, can't hear when they're giving the precepts. Your eyes, your ears, every path for doing good gets closed off and sealed up tight.

This is what happens to people who get all wrapped up in their work — worried about how they're going to eat, sleep, and live; worried about wealth and poverty to the point where they can't develop any skillfulness and see it through. These ways of thinking are a type of mental fabrication that fools us, trips us up, pulls us back, ties us down. That's why they count as a type of Mara, as demons of defilement.

The demon of defilement on the fourth level is ignorance, not being acquainted with things. We aren't acquainted with suffering and stress; aren't acquainted with the cause of stress; aren't acquainted with the cessation of stress or with the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress. Our not being acquainted with these four noble truths is one aspect of ignorance. Another aspect is not knowing which affairs are past, which ones are future, and which ones are present. These three, plus the four noble truths, add up to seven. And then there's not knowing ignorance itself, which makes eight. These forms of unawareness are called avijja, or ignorance.

What this all boils down to is not knowing the path. For instance, when we practice the four frames of reference: kayanupassana — we focus on the body in and of itself, but we don't understand the body. We think that the body is the mind or the mind is the body. This is ignorance. It's dark. It closes off the body and closes off the mind, so that we think that they're one and the same thing. We can't separate the body from the mind or the mind from the body. This is called not knowing our path.

Vedananupassana: we focus on feelings in and of themselves, but we aren't really acquainted with feelings. "Feelings" here means the act of savoring sensations, which sometimes are pleasant, sometimes painful, sometimes neither pleasant nor painful. We think that the pleasure is the same thing as our own mind, or that our self is what has pleasure. Or we think that the pain is the same thing as our self, or that our self is what has pain. We can't separate the pleasure and pain from the mind, so they get tightly tangled up together. We can't separate them, can't tell what's what. This is called ignorance, not being acquainted with the path.

Cittanupassana: we focus on the mind in and of itself, but we aren't really acquainted with the mind. What is the mind? Actually, there are two aspects to the mind. There's mental consciousness, and then there's the mind itself. We think that consciousness is the mind, that the mind is consciousness. Actually, consciousness is what goes. Say that we see a sight in Bangkok. Cakkhu-viññana — eye-consciousness — is what goes to the sight, but the mind doesn't go. The act of going is what's called consciousness, but there's no substance to it.

Sota-viññana: Sometimes we remember sounds from the past. Thoughts of sounds appear in the mind and we focus on them, so that we can remember what this or that person said, how beautiful it was. What we've remembered is sota-viññana, consciousness at the ear. Then there's consciousness at the nose. We can recognize what smells are making contact. We can remember what smells there were and what things we smelled in the past. The mental current that goes out to know these things is called ghana-viññana. Then there's kaya-viññana,kaya-viññana. consciousness at the body. We can recognize hot air, cold air. We can recognize that, "This kind of coolness is the coolness of water; that kind of coolness is the coolness of wind; this kind of heat is the heat of fire; this kind of heat is the heat of hot air; that kind of heat is the heat of the sun." We can recognize these things clearly. We could even write a textbook about them. Knowing these things is called

Mano-viññana, consciousness at the intellect. Our thinking goes out: to Bangkok, to the forest, to the wilderness, all around the world. Our knowledge of these thoughts is mano-viññana, while the mind is what stays right here in the present. It can't go anywhere. The part of the mind that's awareness itself can't go anywhere at all. It stays right here. It goes out only as far as the skin. There's awareness of things beyond the skin, but that awareness isn't the mind. It's consciousness. There's no substance to consciousness, no substance at all, just like the air. So we don't have to get entangled with it. We can separate consciousness out of the mind, separate the mind out of consciousness. The mind is like a fire; consciousness, the light of the fire. The light and the fire are two different things, even though the light comes out of the fire. When we don't understand this, that's called ignorance. We conceive consciousness to be the mind, and the mind to be consciousness. When we have things all mixed up like this, that's called ignorance.

Dhammanupassana. We focus on dhammas in and of themselves, i.e., the mental qualities that arise in the mind. When unskillful qualities arise in the mind, we don't know how much harm they cause. That's ignorance. As for skillful qualities: which ones give only small benefits, which ones give medium benefits, and which ones give overwhelming benefits, we don't know. This means that we aren't acquainted with the qualities of the mind. When we don't know the qualities of the mind, we can't separate good from evil or evil from good, we can't separate the mind from its qualities or the qualities from the mind. Everything is firmly stuck together in a big, thick mass so that we can't pry them apart. This is called ignorance. Ignorance is a Mara, a demon, a demon that stands in the way, preventing us from attaining the highest good, i.e., nibbana.

All four of these types of defilement are called the Maras or demons of defilement. The mother of Mara is ignorance. The children of Mara are mental fabrications; the grandchildren of Mara are the three forms of craving; and the great-grandchildren of Mara are greed, aversion, and delusion. Sometimes these members of the Mara family help us develop merit and skill. Sometimes they get up and sit on our heads, lording it over us, ordering us around. Say, for instance, that greed gets really strong. We grab hold of whatever we can get our hands on, with no thought for who it belongs to, or whether taking it is right or wrong. When greed gets really strong, it can pressure us into doing evil. When anger gets really strong, it puts pressure on our nerves to the point where we can hand down a death sentence and commit murder. The same is true with delusion.

Each of these things is an enemy, blocking off our goodness, but each can also benefit us as well. If we have any discernment, greed can help us. Anger can help us. Delusion can help us. If we have any discernment, craving can help motivate us to develop goodness. Don't look down on it. We've come here to listen to a sermon. Who talked us into coming? Craving, that's who. When people ordain as monks and novices, what forces them to do it? Craving, that's what. We shouldn't focus only on its bad side. As for meritorious fabrications, if we didn't have any of them at all, we wouldn't be able to develop any goodness. Everyone who develops goodness in any way has to start out with the intention to do it. Ignorance is also good. When we know that we have ignorance, we hurry up and find some way to overcome it. Ignorance is what leads us astray, but ultimately ignorance is what will have to lead us back. Knowledge never led anyone to study. Ignorance is what makes people want to learn. When people already know, why would they want to look further? Delusion is what makes us look for knowledge — by joining society, by associating with people. Our knowledge grows broader and broader from the first impulse born in ignorance.

So when dealing with the demons of defilement, you have to look for both their good and their bad points. Only when you see both sides can you be said to be discerning and wise. When you can take bad things and make them good, that's when you're really outstanding. If you take good things and make them bad, that's no good at all. Even when you take good things and make other good things out of them, that's not really special. There are three levels of goodness: good, excellent, and outstanding. A good person does good. An excellent person takes something good and makes it better. That's excellent, but not outstanding. An outstanding person takes bad things and makes them good, takes good things and makes them excellent. So these are the three levels of goodness: good, excellent, and outstanding.

So today I've talked about the demons of defilement, after the talk the other day on the demons of the aggregates (khandha-mara). We should all learn to think, to consider things, to ponder things over, so that we can find goodness on every side, in every corner we look. This way, if we look beneath us we'll find treasures. If we look above us we'll find treasures. Looking beneath us means looking at the things that are our enemies. We'll be able to gain treasures from them: goodness on the outstanding level. When we look at the things that are our friends, we can gain excellence from them. We should try to develop all three levels of goodness. If we have discernment, we can gain all three levels of goodness from the demons of defilement and the demons of the aggregates, and we'll gain all three of the benefits I've mentioned.

For this reason we should develop our mental faculties (indriya) until they're strong, capable, and mature, so that they don't fear Maras of any sort. A person who has studied snakes can pick them up with no fear of their venom. A person who has studied tigers can catch them and they won't bite. In the same way, if we have any discernment, we can capture and tame the demons of defilement so that they support us in being outstanding, all the way to the paths (magga) and fruitions (phala) leading to nibbana. Whoever doesn't have the ability or discernment will get carried off by the demons of defilement to get tortured and killed. So we should use our sharpest discernment to consider these things. That's what will lead us to the noble paths and their fruitions.

So when we've heard this we should consider what we've heard and take it to heart, bringing it inside to see the ways things actually are inside us and then practicing accordingly, in line with the way of right practice. That's when we can be at our ease. Evil people will help us. Good people will help us. We'll be free of danger. Thieves will be our servants, helping us in our various tasks. Wise people will help us in our work — so how can we fail? If we look to bad people, they come and help us. If we look to good people, they come and help us. If we focus on the Maras who are our enemies, they turn into our friends and companions. When we reach this point, we won't know what's a Mara — because nothing's a Mara in any way at all. Everything's neutral, the common property of the world. Whoever can see things in this way has no more suffering, no more obstacles. Everything is bright, beaming, and easy. If you go forward, you don't get stuck. If you go back you don't get entangled. You can go as smoothly as a boat over water. That's why this sort of person is said to be sugato: someone who goes well, who's well-gone.

So all of us who are developing our perfections should practice in this way.

And now that I've explained the demons of defilement, I'll end right here.