Monday, March 28, 2011
I do not know what the six realms really represent. But thank god for Wikipedia. In Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism, the Wheel Of Life is a symbolic representation of Samsara - the continuous cycle of birth, life, and death and concepts (we might say this but then we are anything but enlightened), Dependent Origination, aka Conditioned Arising with its principle of causality - the law of cause and effect, of actions and consequences. Both refer to the idea that as long as we remain ignorant, clinging, and hateful, we will create Karma, and continue to be reborn into this world full of pain and suffering.
This is not a Dharma session but more of an allegory to what is perhaps, a simpler version of what looks like a complicated painting done by a Buddhist Picasso with depictions of storeys or levels of consciousness and cycles that cycle. And we are caught in the cycle. There is no getting away from that. And should people of reason and sound logic stay stubborn, well, the cycles will repeat and we’ll be talking the same shop all over.
Going back to the allegory, it says a being is liberated from this endless cycle when Enlightenment is achieved, and the Awakened individual reaches Nirvana - the highest state of bliss that has long been a part of the Vedic tradition, continuing into Buddhism with Gautama Buddha, and Jainism with Mahavira, as Liberation is the central goal of all Dharmic philosophies. But where are we going with this? Certainly not nirvana or salvation or heaven or hell. But we are heading somewhere in the realms of laws and those who make and meet out those laws. The depiction on the front page is nothing but an inspiration taken from that familiar thangkha that all Bhutanese are familiar with.
The idea, from a plain point of view, is plain and simple. What is depicted in the traditional thangkha are the natural ills that ail human beings. A fight you cannot avoid once you are delivered in the cradle on your journey to the pyre or the grave. That is where we are heading anyways. If that is the case, why cannot we head there with certain clarity of mind without having to get all existential? Within the hub, there are animals that symbolize the Three Poisons - a pig for Delusion (or Ignorance), a rooster for Greed (or Lust), and a snake for Hatred (or Anger). That is circled by other sicknesses that disease the mind, and burden the body. These are pretty complicated mindful ventures, but what is not is the fact that when you hold onto a fistful of sand, eventually, you are going to lose.
The grains of sands will slip out, as will the judgment of time.
The recent news of the verdict given out by the Mongar District Court has proved, once and for all, how Draconian the Tobacco Act is. Had the act been un-enacted in the first stance, right now we’d be singing paeans to the natural compassion that is abundantly present in all Bhutanese people, and especially the courts that are supposed to be neutral, unblended and without fear or favor.
That obviously not being the case, the question aching for an answer is simple. You add up the sentences read forth for the gang members involved in the death of the 22 year-old young man and you are still left bewildered, because the five people we know who are in jail for tobacco offenses still collectively lead in terms of severity of punishment. Their imprisonment amounts to 15 years.
The gang members responsible for the death of a person amounts to less than that. This is not to say law breakers should be treated leniently, rather it is to note the bewildering comparison between the two. In an age and a time where tolerance for and the indulgence of violence levels keeps rising, the thought of people settling scores or committing crimes that money cannot compensate is dangerous, and imminent.
Are we saying you can get away with murder? Another weird thing just happened.
We just mixed religion with politics. Welcome to Samsara.