Many people are not aware of the fact that they are almost constantly distracted. We tend to have an almost addictive need for some kind of emotional engagement and smartphones fill this need on a number of different levels, very effectively. In fact they have been designed with just this need in mind.
An interview with Neil Dalal, a scholar and director of acclaimed documentary Gurukulam, an immersive portrait about life in a remote forest ashram. “I knew Swami Dayananda for nineteen years prior to his mahasamadhi last year and studied extensively in India with him. Over the years we had numerous discussions and he was always interested in my research. He was keenly aware of the difficulties of self-representation that traditional Advaita faces today, but was disinclined towards publicity and biographical praise.”
When we buy a piece of meat, doesn’t the supply-chain economy react to replace it in the grocery aisle, where it otherwise would not? If hundreds of tantric Buddhists shopped in the same Whole Foods outlet, perhaps that would be the case. But if we relatively few tantrikas are thoughtful and selective, we not only are very unlikely to add to the toll of lives lost to consumption of meat by our twice-monthly small purchase, but likely will be substituting our purchase for that of another person who lacks our motivation and purpose in forming a compassionate and aspirational karmic connection with the being whose flesh has been slaughtered.
The rise in a multitude of ways to have a quick fix, a good body, and perfect health is another manifestation of our cultural sickness. Simple direct ways to live, eat and follow the flow of nature have become totally uninteresting to our hyped-up western culture. If it’s not sexy, trendy or going to make you famous, then it’s not of value to us at all. This is the danger of our current way of being in relationship to our lives and a direct affront to the sacredness and true purpose of life itself.
The Moon landing showed that humans can set foot on other worlds, and Hubble validated the Big Bang fourteen billion years ago, but Voyager revealed the depth of humanity’s astounding hubris by simply travelling from planet to planet and taking pictures of our solar system. It was like looking in a mirror while high on LSD and seeing 99.99999% Emptiness — a great void — with a few tiny bits of luminous matter spinning about a blob of boiling solar plasma that will eventually consume itself.
We must take empowered responsibility, skillful means, insight, awareness, make decisions with perspective and perform interconnected and compassionate actions beyond self-interest and fear, the fear of ourselves or self-doubt, fear of others, of the open space of possibilities, and beyond fear of action.
It is strange that we can keep on upholding the notion of the superiority of our own civilization over earlier and currently different forms of society and cultures. And furthermore, it is strange that we find this position to be legitimized by the power that our economic superiority ensures us.
That is why the industrial agriculture and meat industry can exist. It is due to a basic experience of discernment and independence that violence in any form grows. That thinking does not allow us to see ourselves as part of a larger and interdependent whole, but creates a world where we feel separate from other people and everything else alive. It is a thought pattern that appeals to our fears and greed, which has defined the world in purely economic terms, builds on the idea of eternal growth and profit, and which constantly brings us to battle against others and nature.
The longing for wholeness commits us to a perpetual state of dualistic suffering. We search for God, a soul mate, philosophical ideals, creative ecstasy through the many human values such as power, greed, jealousy and hatred. These dualistic patterns run through out all of samsara creating an endless perpetual dissatisfaction.
The Bodhi Tree is a type of fig tree (Ficus Religiosa) so during the time it is bearing fruit there is much life in the tree as birds and chipmunks are attracted to the tiny figs. October is one of those times so I was fortunate to be able to gather some of the seeds that had dropped from the tree. These can be planted easily and will grow very well in a tropical climate, or as house plants further north.