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September 12, 2013

Q: I’m doing my best to write, make videos and put up websites to make your wisdom accessible. But people seem unresponsive. There are plenty of subscribers, but they don’t write in with questions or comments. Why is that?

The Arahant: They can’t. They are conditioned for inauthentic ‘being’, for suffering. As a result they feel afraid, inhibited. They can’t expose their issues because somewhere deep down they know their real issue is that they’re selfish phonies. They have so much bad kamma, they can’t recognize you or me because we don’t have any institutional titles or large following.

Yet they are walking in quicksand, struggling to make their false ego seem real, even to themselves. Meanwhile time is running out, experiences sliding away into the bottomless pit of time, disappearing as if they never happened, persisting only in memory. And then memory too begins to fade, our own minds and bodies betray us. We are left empty-handed.

No one wants to face this; and no one wants to face someone who has faced this. They want to continue the pleasant dreams of false ‘being’ and ‘identity’. They want to tell themselves that they really are who they pretend to be, and they want everyone else to repeat the same lie. We don’t do that, so they don’t want to talk with us.

Who are we? We are nothing. We have no big reputation, no opulent temples, no worldwide organization of ‘disciples’. They can ignore us, and there will be no effect on their world. There will be no effect on their world because they ignore us. If they were to hear from us, their tiny world would be changed forever. So they ignore us as far as possible.

Actually they are not ignoring us, so much as ignoring the Buddha. We are only enlightened because of his teaching. His teaching is now available worldwide in English and other important languages. There is no reason not to approach his teaching; if not through us, then through others. But they don’t. They can’t; they have sabotaged themselves so completely and thoroughly that they cannot even hear the Dhamma.

If they do make a show of hearing the Buddha, they approach some fashionable commercialized ‘teacher’ for a dose of phony so-called ‘dhamma’ mixed with all kinds of nonsense that was never taught by the Buddha. There is no way around it; we can offer them the real thing as we have experienced it, but they don’t have to take it. And they won’t. They are too busy cultivating wrong views.

“Now there are two destinations for one with wrong view, I say: hell or the animal womb.” — Kukkuravatika Sutta (MN 57)

Now the whole world is in a very dangerous condition, at a population peak driven by unsustainable petrochemical energy. As the oil runs out, the population will have to decline. There will be wars everywhere over access to the last of the oil. Such tremendous suffering is coming, because they cannot give up the impossible dream of everyone living like the first-world nations. But they will not listen, they are unresponsive, as if resigned, already dead. What to do?

It’s not about you or me; we are insignificant. It’s about their lifelong cultivation of wrong views and their unwillingness to give them up. We wish the best for them; we can really help them by setting them on the right course, showing them the ways and means to save themselves. But they are too covered by their own darkness to see that, to ask pertinent questions or to hear from us. It’s tragic.

From → Q&A

  1. marinoklisovic permalink

    Question for Arhant. Every time I want to submit a real question, every time I want to open my heart to you, some evil voice tells me to stop, to hide and pretend. This voice is also very offensive towards you people, like a snake.

    • It sounds like you are internally conflicted. On the one hand, you want the advice of a self-realized person; on the other hand, you are afraid what he will tell you. Maybe you don’t understand, his motivation is only for your well-being and happiness. So, what is your question?

  2. marinoklisovic permalink

    I am, and it comes from anger. I easily slip into anger and then I lost it. What you’re saying sounds unbelievable. This is very anxious… So you are saying that we should just take the Suttas for free and get the benefit?

    • Yes, why not? What is unbelievable about that? The Suttas are there, public, freely available to everyone at and many other places. So take them and benefit; that is their purpose.

      But my point, which I have made elaborately in the recent video series, is that without the proper background you cannot digest them. Instead of duplication and understanding leading to metacognition, you will make a religion out of them, a belief system. So approach the Suttas with respect, do the work and you will get the result according to your abilities.

      • marinoklisovic permalink

        I have a lot of questions. I often experience craziness during the process of changing my view. What does this mean? Is this normal? Am I doing something wrong?

        How do we know if we are doing something wrong in general in our practice? Is there a general indicator for such a thing?

        This work requires a lot of self-discipline and the more I progress, the higher level of self-discipline is required. How important is self-discipline? Any general tips on developing self-discipline would help.

        What is the best attitude to have for approaching enlightenment?


      • It is natural when changing the stable data that the mind will be disturbed. You are working very fast; the changes many people make over decades, you are doing in weeks. With each ontological shift, the mind has to work through the associations and logical consequences of that change. It would be helpful if you had more support. When I was on my meditation retreat last summer, sometimes I doubted everything. Just hang in there, the mind will sort itself out over time. If it gets too bad, just slow down your practice.

        Of course the best situation is to be under the care of an experienced teacher, one who has seen it all before and can advise you. Your situation is similar to mine; I had good association but no teacher who understood me deeply. I had to take shelter of the Suttas and plot my course by how well my meditations made things clear. If I felt confusion I would slow down, even stop practice altogether until I felt clear again.

        Regarding self-discipline, think of a mountain climber. In the valleys and foothills, the paths are clear and there is little need for caution. But as one climbs higher, more care is required. When approaching the summit, on trackless sheer cliffs and ice, all the arts of climbing—safety ropes, ice spurs, pitons etc.—and moving only one hand or foot at a time are absolutely necessary to prevent disaster. The higher you climb, the longer the fall. The motivation for self-discipline comes from considering the possible consequences of a mistake. It could take years to recover from a serious error.

        I could be a Zen smartass and say “No attitude,” but that would be pretentious. The best attitude for approaching enlightenment, in my experience, is being open to experimentation. You are in unexplored territory (new to you, at least) so you should feel free to try things and expect that sometimes you will miss. That’s alright as long as you have a safe fall-back position, a known refuge where you can restore your energy.

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