Buddhism 222: If you Can’t Find the Suffering, then Look Harder…

IMG_0712Many people say they like Buddhism, but without all that pesky suffering that Buddhists keep talking about. “I’m just too happy to be a Buddhist,” is a common sentiment. Of course some of those people have already gravitated toward Zen, which is as close as you can get to Buddhism without the suffering, but still it’s there…

So what to do? Go find some suffering, then. Do you really doubt that it exists? Of course not, since many of these same people are the very ones who support—at least verbally—multifarious programs to aid the downtrodden. But have you actually gotten your hands dirty in the process? Have you actually experienced that suffering? There are many ways to do that, you know, and be helpful at the same time, without wallowing too much in the mire, so to speak, if that’s the problem…

Actually it can be much easier than feeding the hungry or housing the homeless, you know. You can inject yourself into any conflicted situation, with the aim to pacify it, and soothe raw feelings, and accomplish the same thing—compassion—while moving the world just one more step in the right direction. Buddhist suffering means that you will have to suffer to help stem the aggression of others.

But you’ll never get there—to a world of physical perfection, that is. This is a dimension of suffering by definition. Regardless of whether you buy into the concept of a dual nature of reality: manifest/unmanifested, differentiated/undifferentiated, full/empty, etc., you’ll have to admit prima facie that this world is doomed to repeat many of the same silly mistakes endlessly, and that we’ll probably never get it totally right.

There is a perfect world easily intuited, though, unblemished because unformed, our Supreme Being if that’s what you need in order to call Buddhism a religion. Buddhism sometimes takes a rap for being godless because of the lack of a generalissimo figurehead lording it over us all. But if it’s a Supreme Being that you’re looking for, then there’s no problem. We’ve got that.

Nobody said that Supreme Being had to be some old white guy with bad teeth and a scowl on his face. I prefer the clear white light of Spirit in which bodies can move through walls simply because neither of them really exist, not in any sense of impermeable solidity. Buddhist metaphysical Nothingness is our Heaven, our religion, the Source.

The Source is Silence, Nothingness, the blank canvas that produces the painting, like the blank screen that produces a soap opera every afternoon at a certain time (but not the white noise—that’s the problem), before all the electrons get all jittery and join forces to make pictures, the Holy Dimension of Light projecting n to a screen of appearance. And so the best part: the flip-side of that nothingness is Everything-ness. the world of normal everyday common sense perception.

The brief nothingness achieved, hopefully, in meditation is exactly the Source that we’re looking for: the silence, the warmth, the spaciousness, the all-inclusive membership, Supreme Being indeed. So let’s just call it the Great Beyond for the sake of glitter and romance, imagine some Shangrila Shambala-like existence waiting up there out there if we can only access it. How do you know when you’re getting there? Good meditation goes quickly. Our normal conception of time disappears at the speed of light…

Advertisements