2021-08-02-Delusion (1 of 5)
3:21PM Aug 2, 2021
So this week's theme, following up on the last two weeks, is the third of the three unwholesome routes. Sometimes, given the dramatic name of the three poisons, sometimes describes the three ways that when fire wood burns, it burns itself. So that these three fires sometimes are called the three fires, they arise out of us, they burn from us, as well, they also burn us. So these are greed, hatred, and delusion, or greed, ill will and confusion. So we'll stay tuned now for now with translation of delusion from mo ha, Mo, ha. But as the pattern has been for these last two weeks, this first talk will not be about this unwholesome root of delusion, but rather the opposite. And the tradition calls the opposite to non delusion. And then it takes for many forms. It's not just simply the absence of something, but think of it as the absence that allows the opposite to appear. And those can many things are kind of the opposite. So for example, wisdom, discernment, vision and clarity, understanding. The tradition also has penetration as the opposite. So we'll talk a little bit more about this. But for now, I want to emphasize clarity, that rather than wisdom being necessarily sophisticated under understanding of things, certainly understanding as part of it, but so much of it arises out of clarity, clear, seeing, clear, knowing clear perception. And, and so this is something to really appreciate a lot and celebrate. It's such a sense of refreshment, and openness or peacefulness, or simplicity or brightness, that that comes with non delusion. The maybe the most dramatic, or the most powerful image or idea for this idea of non delusion is the idea of being awake. And the word Buddhism could be translated more literally into English. As awake is, um, it's the ISM, it's the religion of being awake of being non diluted. And often, often is the strongest association with awakening is the ending of ignorance to the variation of delusion. So the tradition talks about the causes wonderful kind of analogies for non delusion, one of them is turning on the light, that you were in the dark, and then the light goes on. And then we see clearly what's around us. And the other is
this non delusion is not a passive thing. But it becomes like a skilled guide, that leads us through the forest through the jungle, someone who knows the forest, the jungle really well, and they can just guide us through. So the non delusion has a function of helping us to see the path of practice. It shows us you know, where to practice where the practice is where the path is found. And the other analogy that's given is that of an arrow, and a skilled Archer, who can shoot an arrow and it penetrates whatever it is, that's a shot, so that they do have a skilled archers, one who has really good eyesight, really precise kind of ability to really calmly stay present, and see what's there. And then really see through it, see kind of not just the projections, not the bias, not the preferences we have, but to see through all that penetrate all that. So we see things clearly for what they are themselves. And I love this analogy. You have an archer, because of a story that I've maybe I've told this before. There was here in in California, a wonderful Zen teacher, who came from Japan in the late 1960s. named koban Chino. And apparently in Japan, he'd studied the Japanese art of archery. And so, one day he was going to demonstrate his ritual or the practice of archery, at a retreat center on the coast here called esslyn. And esslyn was kind of has a big kind of grass lawn or something on the edge of a cliff that overlooks the Pacific. And so there are people gathered in line to watch koban Chino, do his thing. And he took a long time to get already in a lot of the ritual and always the preparation of getting himself centered and balanced in the feed just grounded and the spine straight and the head in the right position and putting the the the the arrow in the bow just the right way. And it took apparently a very long time, to all the preparations getting ready. And, and but he had such focus and such stillness and such quiet and such poise, poise, I think everyone felt concentrated, everyone got pulled in, everyone got very quiet like this was demonstration of, I don't know, skillful elegance, skillful concentration, presence, stillness. And then when he had the target, clearly in His sight, he let the arrow go. And it flew through the air. And it hit that penetrated his target perfectly. Bullseye. He had aimed for the Pacific Ocean, and the arrow landed perfectly. But this idea of being poised and still an archer who Petra see is clearly. So there are these different words that go associated with non delusion. And one of them is to have discernment, to really kind of make distinction between what is wholesome and unwholesome, skillful and unskillful. What is helpful or not helpful. Or to say it, you know, to keep it so it's really simple, between what is harmful and what's beneficial. The, of course, not always so easy to discern this, but the greater the wisdom, the more clearly that's discernible. And in the, in much of Buddhist practice, as we get wiser and wiser or less and less delusion, it more more obvious, right in the moment, where the benefit is and where the non benefit is. So this ability to see that, and that also gives birth to the ability to have a vision for where the path is a path of practice. And it's the follow what's wholesome, what's beneficial to follow where the non attachment is, and the freedom is, and, and to have a vision for that this part of this clarity, this non delusion, and it gives life a kind of a kind of purpose, that kind of direction, or kind of, that can be quite powerful, quite meaningful, partly because it's so freeing and so valuable.
So this factor of wisdom, discernment, to vision, understanding, is said to be a beautiful state of mind. So it's when it's there. It's not obscured or, or fogged over by confusion and guessing and analyzing and trying to figure out, in and of itself, the state of this clear awareness of wisdom is a beautiful state of mind. So whether there's brightness or clarity or illumination, simplicity, all these things associated with it. As we practice, Buddhism, it's sooner or later, and sometimes maybe it's later or sometimes it's sooner and later. And in between. We began to slowly wake up slowly, discern, see, recognize these minds capacity, for simplicity, for clarity, for wisdom, for understanding for discernment. Not in a complicated way, but obvious Just right there. And one of the ways to see that, and why I'm starting the week on with this topic is that at some point, we see the distinction between a simple clarity of simple presence, simple, being aware of the present moment. And, and a way of being, that's more complicated, maybe much more complicated. Maybe we lose the present moment, for entanglement in the past, in the future. Maybe we lose the simplicity, because we've gotten very caught in our preferences with what should be in the present moment. Or we're caught up in our fears and our analysis insecurities around it, or we're caught up in our ill will, or projections or bias in relationship to whatever we're present for. And, but if we have a reference point, of clarity, of wakefulness of wisdom, in all, its many forms, in some, in one of its many forms, any of its forms, there's a reference point to see how we lose that. And we see that getting pulled into delusion, pulled into projections and biases, and, and kind of an overlay of opinions. And on top of whatever we're seeing, including seeing ourselves and seeing other people, that there's a loss there, there's a diminishment there, there's, the light gets turned off, the we don't have this, we lose our calm and we become agitated, we lose our guide, we lose our ability to see where the path is. And so then it becomes obvious, what much more obvious easier to see what delusion is easier to see the disadvantage. Because we feel we see, we recognize what we've lost, we've lost that clarity. To start with, you know, to try to see understand delusion, you know, just use without any practice at all, then it becomes an analytical exercise, it becomes like getting a clear definition of it and applying that and looking at our mind and to understand, well, this, this is delusion, that's what they're talking about. And I'm not supposed to have it. And it's almost like, you know, getting complicated, to free ourselves from the complication of delusion. But if we were settled, calm, peaceful, non agitated, there's a basic clarity of mind, then we have a very different reference point for recognizing delusion, including the reference point, the understanding that we don't have to get be feel ashamed or feel angry or feel upset by the movement to into delusion, all we have to do is to recognize it as an illusion. And the simple recognition, the clear recognition of this is delusion brings us back to some of that clarity. And so it's not a moralistic critique of delusion. It's a clear recognition, knowing clear knowing of the disadvantage of being pulled into it. And we know that the alternative, not being diluted, is so much better, so much more satisfying. So
the wisdom, so it gives us the opportunity to have non delusion, about delusion, to have wisdom about the illusion. And in some ways, this is central to the Buddhist Enterprise. So it's not wisdom about wisdom so much. But freedom is found in wisdom about illusion, and that'll be the topic for tomorrow. So, thank you all very much and look forward to our time tomorrow.