The Buddha said that we can’t escape suffering and have to revolve in the round or rebirths because of 1 thing – ignorance, avijja. Ignorance of what?
The basic ignorance, delusion or illusion is called sakkayaditthi – self identification – thinking that who we really are is this conscious human being living inside our bodies, experiencing the external world out there. But the Buddha said that this is taking appearances to be reality and like mistaking a thief for your own son.
How does this illusion come about?
In the Shurangama Sutra, the Buddha said that our perceptions of everything around us is as if we were someone who had cloudy, distorted, unclear vision from cataracts.
Analogy of Someone with Cataracts – Which Distorts Our Vision
They look at a candle at night time – they might see glare and a halo around it.
Where do the haloes come from?
- Do they come from the candle? – If so, then how come other people can’t see it?
- Or do they from the seeing? – If so, then the seeing itself is haloed.
- If it is APART from the candle – then you’d be seeing haloes around the curtains, tables and floor as well.
- If it has NOTHING to do with the seeing – then why does the person with cataracts seeing it?
Therefore, you shouldn’t say that it’s the candle or seeing or that is neither the candle nor seeing.
The Analogy of the 2nd Moon
- Nor a reflection
So a wise person wouldn’t say this 2nd moon is form or not a form. Nor can you say this illusion of a moon is seeing or not apart from the seeing.
- The haloes appear to be real – but this “appearance” is not reality – it’s just a result of the cataracts altering the vision.
- BUT the essence of the seeing itself, which perceives the cataracts – is free from disease – free from the defects of the cataract
- “That which is aware” of the disease is not diseased
- “That which is aware of the faulty awareness” is not faulty
True perception is also NOT limited by:
- The sense organ
- Nor the type of sense organ
Therefore true perception is not what you normally call seeing. It can perceive sounds as easily as it perceives sight, smells, tastes and touches and even things beyond what our physical senses can perceive.
- It is the same in the three thousand continents of Jambudvipa, throughout the four great seas and in the Saha World and throughout the ten directions.
- All countries that have outflows and all living beings are the enlightened bright wonderful mind without outflows.
Because of the false, diseased conditions that are seen, heard, felt, and known, they mix and unite in false birth, mix and unite in false death. 2:204”If you can leave far behind all conditions which mix and unite and those which do not mix and unite, then you can also extinguish and cast out the causes of birth and death, and obtain perfect Bodhi, the nature which is neither produced nor extinguished. It is the pure clear basic mind, the everlasting fundamental enlightenment. 2:205
In other words, if we can remove the veil, the cataract of our sensory perceptions, which distort and limit our true perception – then we can realize the true perception of our pure, fundamental everlasting mind of enlightenment – our own True Nature, our Buddha Nature which was never born and so, can never die.