People hate nirvana. They complain it is too hard to understand. They say it is beyond their current experience. They get annoyed with those who seek to enlighten them through meditation and discourse. Why? They are too attached to self. Too attached to release their hold on the self—substantial, autonomous, permanent, and inherently-existing self.
For all the mass ‘awakening’ and mass ‘conversions’ touted by new-age gurus, the happiness industry, and spirituality industry of the faithful (be they Buddhist or Christian or Hindu or Daoist or whatever), we are no better off. The world remains stuck in a global psyops of unprecedented deception and delusion. Largely Americanized versions of spirituality, commodified and packaged for insatiable consumers, ancient faiths have become little more than ego-stroking toys.
Be it “mindfulness” or “gospel”, they end up being marketed as commodities for mass consumption and served as nutritional supplements of global predatory capitalism. Rather than waking people up or saving their souls, these pseudo-spiritualities entrench the masses in their white, Anglo-Saxon, upper middle-class lives of comfort and luxury sustained by denying the reality of social exploitation, planetary ecocide, and hegemonic lies inciting Russophobia, Sinophobia, and Islamophobia.
The whites get paranoid and project their fears onto everyone else. And the rest of us, who are either subservient to our colonial masters or brainwashed by white-media propaganda or have derived profit and secondary gains from aligning with the west follow along the narratives of western psyops without question. I find this tragic and unnecessary but sadly real.
The #StandwithUkraine movement is a surreal example of mass delusion under the canopy of western propaganda. On social media feeds, this is fast becoming the latest new religious movement (NRM) with strange bedfellows comprising right-wing neoconservatives and left-wing liberals alike. Under the guise of fighting for “humanity” and “freedom”, we see an emotionally reactive, sentimentally compulsive, intellectually moribund, and spiritually ignorant crowd mentality that blocks out alternative discourse, facts and evidence, contested narratives in favour of a hysterical Russophobia that thirsts for Russia’s decimation as a nation of people. This is pure madness. Not helped by pompous ignorant politicians from all sides seeking attention and glory from standing for a media-saturated humanitarian cause.
It's hypocrisy galore. When it comes to Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Serbia, Afghanistan (where America confiscated $10 billion dollars worth of its reserves upon its sudden pull-out, leaving a whole nation wrecked), and Palestine (where Al Aqsa mosque is now a site of conflict), these same politicians are as silent as a mouse. Gutless. Shameless. Disingenuous. The same with the masses. So much for mass “awakening” and “harvest of souls.” The privatization of faith and commodification of religion means believers are more concerned about themselves and their trivial pursuits of carnality and prestige than they are about being true disciples who speak truth to power and challenge injustice wherever it is found, in line with the deepest teachings of their spiritual founders. We have become stuck-up wimps. What have all the #StandwithVietnam, #StandwithIraq, #StandwithLibya, #StandwithLaos, and #StandwithAfghanistan gone?
Nirvana is not a popular topic. But without direct immediate personal realization of nirvana, there is no true awakening. Ego remains mollycoddled and pampered. Any trace of self, even and especially the subtlest sense of “I-I”, is a sign of delusion and grasping, not awakening. It is precisely because “I-I” is so seemingly subtle and transcendent, unbounded and free, that it is the most dangerous attachment of all. It is at the root of all other and coarser levels of attachment that a few of us may be aware of. Sadly, most are not even aware of coarse defilements, let alone subtler ones.
When we fear nirvana as some kind of annihilation, it is precisely due to our innate unconscious clinging to an inherent, substantial, autonomous, and permanent self. See through this and you stand a chance to see through to nirvana. Not as an idea but as a reality. There is nothing to fear in nirvana. Nothing to gain. Nothing to lose. Nothing to prove. Nothing to hide. Nobody to be. Nowhere to go. Words fail. Words create wrong ideas about nirvana. Yet if we reject all words, then how do we communicate? Unless through mind-to-mind transmission that is only possible if both student and teacher are ripe and ready in the shared field of consciousness.
Positively connoted terms like “buddha-nature” and “pristine awareness” help assuage our fear to an extent. They are pedagogical means of affirming for us a desirable outcome, one that we can feel good about and work happily towards. But let us not be deceived by the pleasurable hedonic tones of these terms. Rather, let us see and discern with clarity and sharpness the pros and cons of using such words. The same goes for the use of negatively connoted terms like “cessation” and “extinguishing”. See words as they really are.
Let us be, like the Buddha, who use language without being entrapped by language. For that, we have to be unrelentingly aware and awake. Observe choicelessly without an observer, to the very end of time and space, other and self. Only then will nirvana dawn.