Thursday, January 30, 2020

Kāya, rūpa, vitakka in the 4 jhānas: Mirror mirror on the wall, do I have bias, integrity, or none at all?

Image result for mirror mirror on the

You have to ask yourself a simple question. What really is your motivation? It's a simple question, but your quick response answer may not be accurate.

If your goal is seeking truth, then you should be approaching the EBT (early buddhist texts) with the attitude of trying to understand it on its own terms, and making sure inferences and assumptions connect all the dots of all the suttas, leaving a coherent EBT with no contradictions in meaning.

If you find that you have to cherry pick a few passages, use a very dubious interpretation, which then leaves the rest of the EBT body of work incoherent and in contradiction, then you probably need to do a deep introspection and revisit some simple questions. What is my motivation? Am I being honest? Do I have hidden biases? Am I just scouring the suttas looking for anything that can be taken out of context and misquoted so I can lie to myself and confirm the bias of my own previously dearly  held view?

Here's a simile. 

Anna has two mirrors in her house.  Mirror number One makes her look thin. Mirror number two  makes her look fat.
Whenever someone says she is too heavy and at risk of heart disease, she says, "No I'm not, look in this mirror number one. See? I'm thin."
Whenever someone says she is too thin and undernourished, she says, "No I'm not. Look in this mirror number two. I'm a very healthy weight and not undernourished at all."

Neither mirror is telling the truth. Either use some other instruments and means of measuring to  discern healthy weight, or get rid of your two lying mirrors and replace it with one that's accurate.

MN 61 amba-laṭṭhika-rāhul-ovāda


Every morning, the Evil Queen asked the Magic Mirror the question "Magic mirror in my hand, who is the fairest in the land?". The mirror always replies: "My Queen, you are the fairest in the land." The Queen is always pleased with that because the magic mirror never lies.

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