2021-08-03-Delusion (2 of 5) Understanding Delusion
3:11PM Aug 3, 2021
So this is the second talk on moha, or usually translated as delusion. And today I'll talk a little bit more specifically what the Buddhist understanding of it is. So moha, is considered to be one of the three routes or three origins for everything that human beings do. That's unwholesome, unhelpful, harmful. And they're in the tradition of early Buddhism. And this moha is said to be present in every unethical act that someone does, in every unwholesome act that some windows and no what unwholesome implies here is that it's unwholesome for the person who does it is unhelpful or unwholesome for the person who might be the recipient of the Act. So if we're doing something which is not healthy for ourselves, psychologically heartfully, then there's some degree of delusion, in that action in that act of speech, or that action active act of the body. And this still word moha, delusion is related then to a lot of other kind of cluster of concepts or mental activities that are related. And maybe the biggest one in Buddhism is ignorance. But ignorance, that's not, I don't, you don't know something you didn't, you know, read enough books to learn things. But rather, it's more like an ignoring. It's a little bit more volitional. It's choosing almost like almost like choosing not to know. Or allowing the conditions to be present of delusion, that interferes with knowing. It's related also to bewilderment to confusion, and to living the world, not quite understanding what's happening and being bewildered. And it's also related to the idea of I forgot what I was gonna say, the foolishness, the kind of core or core, they're kind of one of the most common ways in which the Buddha talks about someone who is mature spiritually, he talks about them as being wise. And those are immature, or foolish. And that divide is not the divide between saint and sinner, but rather, the divide between the foolish and the wise. And some people might feel is unfortunate to make this distinction. But the difference between is the difference made between us center and a fool is sinners in the kind of way it's often used in the West. You know, there's no redemption, there's no, you know, the person that's what a person is. But when you're a fool, it's possible to become wise. foolishness is a temporary phenomenon. And partly what we're doing is becoming wise, it's overcoming delusion. Now, the word delusion, in English and moha in Pali, implies that the mind is creating ideas that are not based on reality. So either we, we have projected some false ideas and fantasies onto how things are, or, or we just live in a world of fantasy that has no connection to the world around us. And so there's, it's something the mind is doing. And in terms of thoughts, ideas, maybe some degree of feelings are involved in contributing to this world to the illusion. And one other thing, very useful. reference points for understanding this is the psychological word or projection, that we have ideas, we have bias, we have prejudice, that belong to the world of ideas, sometimes very intimately connected to feelings and motivations. And these bias and prejudice that we have,
preferences that we have, is our projections that we put on top of our experience, and in and there's a whole slew of these ways in which the mind is actively involved in obscuring what's out actually happening in the moment, because it's created an idea of what's happening that interferes with the direct experience. And socially, this is very painful. When we see people through the stereotype, we see people through bias or prejudice. And, and sometimes we see ourselves through bias and prejudice, these ideas of mind forms, and, and then they're projected on others on ourselves on the world, obscuring our ability to see clearly. And this, this sigma understand why ignorance is not just not knowing, but isn't ignoring that happens when we have these projections, when we're not allowing yourself to see deeply what's really going on. Now, in in that tradition, one of the there's a few things which are that are really central to the projections we have. One of them is that we project the hope of happiness, are the things that don't really produce happiness. Like, if we're trying to make ourselves happy, sometimes even save, with unwholesome activities with lying and stealing and cheating and, and or with, with being caught up in greed or ill will, then we think somehow, our well being is there to be found in engaging in unwholesome activity. And that's a kind of delusion because unwholesome activity is always harming ourselves. And, and so to end, that projection, then weakens, that allows us to see actually, this is not the happiness producing, I projected as hope for happiness into that activity, that it was going to do something for me. And so the same thing. So this idea of projecting, and if we can, part of wisdom is to see the difference between what's wholesome and unwholesome, what's harmful, and what's not harmful, and to become finely attuned to this. So we really kind of begin living in the world of what is beneficial, both for ourselves and for others. The other important idea of projection is the idea of we, we project, a kind of permanence of things, which are not permanent. And it might be a permanent, just we have for the few minutes that it's there. Like, we behave kind of kind of unconsciously, perhaps, as if this is forever, it's always going to be a hot day, it's always going to be, you know, this way or that way. And remember that there was a recent brief period of time when I was I think, by 20, where I had a wonderful summer. And in the middle, this wonderful summer, I said to myself, I'll never be depressed again, this was an illusion of permanence that came back and kind of bit me, because that fall right after that wonderful summer, I was more depressed than I've ever been. And then I had the thought of, I'm going to now I'm going to be, I'm going to be depressed forever. And that was the attitude I had, I didn't say those words, but the weight of it all, is a weight of permanence, this is how it is. And, and it's, it can be a projection. And, and they live under the weight of that predict projection. It causes a lot of suffering. And, and so it obscures that projection of permanence, or constancy obscures how shifting and changing our experiences. And there's a whole different way of being in the world, when we see the inconstancy of it, the changing shifting nature, and we find how to let go and find our peace with it. There's also the projection of identity. We all have, you know, some kind of identity, gender, nationality, or all kinds of things. But,
but there's something about the act of projecting it on, even though maybe nominally, it's accurate. But the act of projecting it, holding on to it and seeing through the lens of it can obscure can create a sense of solid self permanent self, a constant kind of Ed ation of who we are and what we're caught up in. And this is, and so much of what we think of myself, my identity is a projection, or we're acting through a projection in relationship to it. And so that's a kind of delusion that obscures how in some very profound way, we are always more dynamic, more complicated, more fluid more. More changeable, more than any projection we have on ourselves, that in fact that these projections obscure some deeper capacity for awareness and a lightness and freedom, which is always going to be here. So, delusion as more as being an activity of the mind is not a passive ignorance, but it's the creation of ideas, which are not accurate. And then projecting that onto the world or wearing them as filters on our enterprise. So we see the world we see the world through those interpretations through those ideas. And it's a wonderful thing, to take those filters off, it's a wonderful thing to let go those projections, the, the cost of having living this world of projections of delusion is a lot of stress, there's a lot of tension that comes along with it, and to live without projections, without these, these mind creations that we see through this assumptions, beliefs, prejudice bias, is allows the mind to be much more relaxed than it is and, and to come to that place of ease and peace, that not only is a good, just peaceful and nice fall for the mind itself, but it allows for, to see with the absence of delusion, the absence of Moha and, and how to get that and how to practice with delusion and come to the other side is the topic for tomorrow. So thank you, and you might ignore these next 24 hours, see if you can become a little bit more attuned or notice how ideas surface in the mind and then those ideas become the means by which are the filter through which we then look and understand what's happening. And, and the key of this is to see it arise, see the beginning of something, then it's easier to see it as a creation of the mind and and catch it as a kind of delusion. So thank you very much.