From right understanding to higher understanding

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Ascended Master Gautama Buddha through Kim Michaels, January 7, 2023. This dictation was given during the 2023 New Year’s webinar – Being a spiritual person in a chaotic world.

I AM the Ascended Master Gautama Buddha. The Eightfold Path is something that many people throughout the ages who have called themselves Buddhists have used considerable mental activity to try to follow to the best of their ability, which really means their level of awareness and how many patterns they had in their emotional, mental and identity bodies. As described, it is not an easy path to follow, so I will give some thoughts about how you in today’s world can gain a new perspective on this path.

Normally, the path has been defined as eight steps, eight stages, eight qualities and they all begin with the word “right,” right understanding and so forth. But is right the right word to use when you consider the teachings about the pairs and of the duality consciousness that always wants to divide everything up into at least two polarities and then impose that value judgment that one is right, one is wrong, one is good, one is evil. Instead of using the word right, let us use the word higher, higher understanding, higher intent, higher speech and so forth.

Let us begin with what has traditionally been considered the first step, Higher Understanding. You see what has happened here is that we have now shifted. The word “right” implies finality, some ultimate stage. Right understanding implies to many people, and has done so throughout the ages, that you can reach some ultimate understanding. And if something is truly right, it should be, in the mind of many people, the highest, the highest understanding. It could not be expanded upon. It could not be transcended. It could not be exceeded. But then why did the Buddha give understanding as the first step of a path with eight steps?

There is not ultimate understanding

If at the very first step you reach some ultimate understanding, why would you need the other seven steps? You see that by switching to Higher Understanding we imply that there is always a higher understanding to be gained. There is nothing final. And certainly, it is extremely productive for people to recognize that as long as you are in embodiment on a dense planet like Earth with such a dense collective consciousness, there is no ultimate understanding that can be achieved.

This is partly because of the density of matter itself, but also the density of the collective consciousness. Now of course, over time the collective consciousness can be raised and has been raised. There may come a point in the future where people can reach a higher understanding than can be reached today, but it will still not be the ultimate understanding. This is why the Buddha did not give a religion that had a complicated cosmology that said this is how the universe really works. The Buddha recognized that the human mind, the human awareness, is limited.

Twenty five hundred years ago the collective consciousness was lower than it is today. There was even more of a limit to what people could grasp in terms of cosmological insight. Today the consciousness has been raised considerably, partly because of the influence of science. And therefore, people have a better foundation for understanding the greater truth. But it is still essential to recognize that the current level of understanding that can be achieved is limited and will be limited for the foreseeable future.

This mean as a sincere spiritual student who strives to attain enlightenment, you can never stop and allow yourself to believe that now I have achieved the ultimate understanding. Many people have done this by taking an outer teaching, be it a Buddhist teaching or any other teaching, and saying this is now the ultimate truth. Because I understand this teaching, I have the ultimate understanding. But this is a misunderstanding of what understanding means.

The limitations of the linear mind

Now, I have said that people have a higher awareness today than they had 2,500 years ago and that this has partly been brought about by science. Yet science is very much based on the rational, analytical, linear mind. What do I mean with the linear mind? Well, it wants to see everything in terms of cause and effect. It has to be possible to look at life on earth and clearly define that here is a separate cause, and this condition has an effect that started at some point. Through a series of linear steps leading from this to the next to the next, the present condition was produced.

You see many examples of this in science, but take the theory of evolution, where supposedly one cell first came into being, then two-celled organisms. Then more complex and gradually, step by step, in a linear fashion, the current species were brought forth. This is, without commenting further on the theory of evolution, an example of linear thinking. We take current conditions. We project a series of steps going from the current conditions to more simple causes. And we end up at some ultimate stage where the process began. This is, in the minds of some people, the crowning achievement of science.

It is, of course, not what I taught 2,500 years ago, when I taught about the interdependent originations. In reality everything is interconnected. There are aspects of science that have actually discovered this and recognized that you cannot separate anything. This does not mean that science has now been invalidated. There is, of course, value in looking at a particular phenomenon and trying to describe it and isolate a certain cause, so the scientific method of looking at separate phenomena and trying to find the cause is not invalid. What is invalid is when some people superimpose a philosophical, ideological overlay on this process and say that it has some objective, ultimate reality that a phenomenon can be considered separate and, therefore, it has a cause that is separate. In other words, you can look at this specific phenomenon and the steps that led from the original cause to the phenomenon, and now you can know everything there is to know about the phenomenon.

Well, clearly this cannot be higher understanding because there is no room for expansion, for transcendence, into a higher understanding. It may be fine if you take a billiard table and you place some billiard balls on it. You take a cue and you hit one ball with a cue and make it roll into another ball. Then, you measure whatever you can measure in that situation, and you say: “The original cause was the cue that struck the first ball, which then, through its direction and momentum, transferred a certain force to the next ball. Which then hit another ball, and so forth.” This is perfectly fine for describing a particular phenomenon.

How is that billiard table a separate phenomenon? How did it come into being? Was it not invented by human beings? Was it not based on certain general principles for what can be done in the material universe? Where did those principles come from? You see, as quantum physicists have discovered, you cannot actually look at a subatomic phenomenon and isolate it. Then, you use a macroscopic mental image and superimpose it upon it and say: “This is now a separate particle. And we can study that subatomic particle as we would study a billiard ball on a billiard table.”

Quantum physicists have discovered beyond any doubt whatsoever that in the quantum world there are no separate particles. They are part of a larger whole. They can be separated by a distance, but they are still connected so that a change in one particle instantly results in the change of another, separated by considerable distance. This is what one part of science has discovered. It has not invalidated the scientific method of studying particular phenomena, but it has invalidated the ideological overlay of saying that it is possible to isolate a phenomenon and reach the conclusion that this phenomenon has an isolated cause. There are no isolated phenomena and there are no isolated causes.

Seeking to control the world of separate causes

Why is this important? Well again, what did we start out by talking about? You live in a world that in the last few years has become more chaotic, more unpredictable, causing many people to feel insecurity about the future. The reaction of many people is, as I said, they want to maintain their sense of equilibrium. Their first desire is to find a way to control the world. When they realize they cannot control the world, they use then the reaction I described of denying feelings, thoughts and a sense of identity, pushing them below the level of conscious awareness so they can maintain that sense of equilibrium.

As I also described, there is a higher way, and that is to look at why you feel this way, why you think this way, why you identify yourself this way and realize that these are not separate phenomena. There is a reason for it and you can discover it. This then is higher understanding, but there is more to higher understanding. Why have I talked about the fact that there are no separate phenomena in the subatomic world? Well, because everything is made out of subatomic particles, or at least everything in the matter realm. What you normally consider the matter world, which you can detect with your senses or with scientific instruments, you see this defined in a very specific way. You see it as made up of separate things that you superimpose a mental image upon.

But what quantum physicists have proven is that there are no separate things. Billiard balls are not separate things, because billiard balls are made up of molecules, atoms, subatomic particles. Then, the even deeper layer that makes up subatomic particles, or that produces or manifests subatomic particles. This means that nothing you see in the matter world can be separated from the subatomic world. It is made out of that world.

Now furthermore, Albert Einstein proved that matter really does not exist because matter is energy that has taken on a specific form. The deeper layer, the deepest layer of matter is not actually particles. It is energy. Energy, of course, is something that really cannot be isolated as you can isolate a particle. An energy wave extends through space. It has no specific separate location. You cannot isolate an energy wave. You cannot freeze it and say now we have an accurate view of the wave, because a wave is something that is constantly moving. When I talked about the interdependent originations, it was simply another way of talking about what quantum physicists have discovered, namely that everything that you see is an expression of something unseen and that this is ultimately the expression of an interconnected, interdependent whole.

You are not separated from your environment

How does this relate to the Buddha’s teachings about enlightenment? Well, what is it you experience as a human being in embodiment on earth? Begin with the physical body. You have been brought up, even over many lifetimes, to see your physical body as a separate, somewhat isolated unit. You experience that your body is a coherent unit. You can decide to get up from your chair and take a walk outside and your body moves through the outside space as a separate unit. It may be affected by certain things, such as, if a car comes, it could potentially hit you. Or if the rain falls from the sky, you get wet, your body gets wet. But in general, you have the impression that you are a separate unit and you can move as you want throughout space as it is in your local environment.

You know, if you think about this, that the reason you can walk around on the surface of the earth is that there is an invisible force, called gravity, that is keeping you on the surface so you do not float off. You know intellectually that there are forces that are affecting your body, which means your body is not actually separated. Of course, you can go further and realize your body is made up of atoms and molecules and subatomic particles and energy waves. Therefore, it cannot be separated from this energetic environment in which you live. But still, because of the impressions from the physical senses, because of the upbringing that you have received on earth in this lifetime and the impressions from past lifetimes, most people tend to view their physical bodies as separate.

Most people also tend to view their emotional bodies, if they consider that they have an emotional body, as a separate unit. The same with the mental and the identity body. You tend to think that you have your emotions, but do you not see how many times you are affected by impressions coming from the outside, by what other people do or say to you? If somebody comes to you and is angry with you, do you not see that this affects your emotional body? How is your emotional body separate? 

Have you not experienced that somebody comes and tells you something and you are affected by this? You tend to either believe them or disbelieve them. You may go into an argument with them. Obviously your mental body is not an isolated unit.

Most people have not considered that their sense of identity is also something that is greatly affected by their environment. They do not realize how much they are brought up to have a certain sense of identity. Neither do they realize how, over many lifetimes, they have been programmed to accept themselves as human beings who are separate beings. When you start to strive for higher understanding, you need to look at this. You need to consider that at the macroscopic level, the level of the senses and the outer, linear mind, you view phenomena as separate. There is an enormous programming in your subconscious mind and in the collective consciousness that is focused on identifying differences, separate objects, separate phenomena.

Now of course, there is a very practical reason for this. You need to be able to identify separate phenomena. This is part of what makes it possible to live in the practical reality you have. Is this dangerous for me? Is this substance dangerous to take into my body? Will it kill me? Will it kill my body? And many other considerations like this. 

Again, there is nothing inherently wrong about it. The problem comes in when you superimpose an ideological overlay upon the impressions coming to you through your senses and the outer mind. Then, there is another part of the outer mind that says those things really are separate. And what you experience through the senses and the outer mind is an objective reality. There are separate things out there that are separated from your physical body, from your mind. Therefore, if your physical body cannot act on them, your mind can do nothing about it. This, of course, also influences how you relate to other people. They are separate from yourself.

Human beings cannot kill human beings

If you look at animal species, you will see that most animal species do not kill members of their own species but human beings obviously do. Now, the reality here is that a human being cannot kill another human being. If you see that person as a human being, as yourself, you cannot kill that human being. This is simply a survival mechanism at the species level. You know, because scientists have told you, that there is an individual level and a level of an entire species. Sometimes certain individuals need to do something to secure the survival of the species. This can be propagation, protection, many different things.

In order for a species to survive, there is a certain programming. There is even a certain programming in your physical body that says: “Do not kill your own species, because killing your own species is a very poor survival strategy.” All species are programmed to survive. How is it possible that human beings can kill each other and have done so for as long as you have recorded history? It is possible because you can take the sense impressions and the perception filter of the outer mind and you can create the mental image that this other person is not a human being like myself. I am not connected to that person. Therefore, I can kill that person and it will not affect myself. This is the only way that a human being can kill another human being.

What this leads to is at least the suggestion of an understanding that human beings can create a mental image that is out of touch with reality. Science has shown that everything is interconnected but human beings have throughout history created these mental images that they are separated from each other and, therefore, can kill each other without affecting themselves. Yes, of course, you have the experience that somebody can use their physical body to kill another physical body, but their physical body does not die. Of course, you also have a big part of the world that believes in karma and therefore, you are affected by killing another human being, even in coming lifetimes. So, there is a certain connection there.

Certainly in much of the modern world that has left off from any religious teaching talking about karma, you have this separate mindset that causes people to believe that what you do to others, you are not doing to yourself. You will see that almost every religion contains this admonishment: Do not do to others what you do not want others to do to you. It is, of course, based on this recognition that everything is interconnected, so what you do to others affects yourself.

Separateness leads to value judgments

What is the beginning of Higher Understanding as the first step of the Eightfold Path? Well, it is to begin to question this sense of separateness, this illusion of separateness. What is the basis for creating this illusion that you are separate beings? Well, it is what I called the pairs 2,500 years ago, but which with a more modern expression we can call the duality consciousness or the dualistic consciousness. It is this very idea that you can look at life, you can look at reality and you can say: “Here is one phenomenon that is distinct and different from this other phenomenon.” To make it more concrete, here is one group of people that are distinct from this other group of people. They have a different skin color, therefore, they are different. Here you have taken what really is just a discernment of differences in the outer characteristics.

Now, you go further. Instead of just saying this group has that skin color and that group has that skin color, you now say: “There is some ideological significance to this.” To use a classical example, there was a time not so long ago, and some people are still stuck in it, where people with a white skin color considered that everybody else with a different skin color belonged to an inferior race. This is where you take the dualistic mind and you say: “Here are some differences, differences in skin color, but they are not just physical differences.” Nay. It is not as if you took a lily and a tulip and said: “Well, they are different flowers, they have different shapes, they have different colors, but they are both beautiful flowers.” Instead you say: “Here is one human being with a white skin color. Here is one human being with a black skin color. And the skin color makes them fundamentally different. They are not simply two variations of human beings as two flowers are variations of flowers. They are fundamentally different beings.”

Not only that, they can be put into a dualistic system, which says: “This skin color is in a fundamental way different from another.” You can even impose this overlay that God created the one race superior to the other race. Then you can do a further dualistic trick of imposing the value judgment that I have talked about. You are saying the white race is superior and the black race is inferior. You can even go further, saying that it is perfectly acceptable that the white race subdues the black race and turns them into slaves. If the black race resists this, then it is perfectly acceptable that the white race kills them. Or you can have another race where you say: “The Aryan race is superior to the Jewish race. And it is perfectly acceptable, even necessary for some epic cause, that the Aryan race exterminates the Jewish race.”

You will see that when you look at history and again look at: “What have people done to kill other human beings,” you see that in most cases – and certainly in the larger cases, such as war or genocide – it is not just a killing that springs from passions, where somebody is afraid that another person is going to kill them. No, it is justified. You have a justification for why the white race enslaves the black race. You have a justification for why the Aryans attempt to exterminate the Jews. This is the duality consciousness. It is based on the sense of separation, the illusion of separation, but it takes it further and creates the dualistic polarities, imposes the value judgment. Now, those who firmly believe in that value judgment can justify almost any violation of the group of people that they have labeled as the inferior group.

The experience of superiority as the origin of suffering

What you see here is that throughout history people have come up with many, many different justifications for violating other human beings. They have all been based on the sense of separation, the dualistic consciousness, the creation of polarities and the imposing of a value judgment. Now, from a certain perspective you can say: “But this is what gives these people a specific experience.” I have talked about those who have a desire to feel superior to others. This duality consciousness, this value judgment is just an excuse that gives people this experience that they are superior.

Certainly, this can be said to be the case but what is the consequence of this? The consequence is that when you go into this dualistic consciousness, this sense of separation, you can only suffer. You can say that the dualistic consciousness, the sense of separation, is actually the origin of suffering. You can also say that there is no way to escape suffering as long as you are in this dualistic, separate state of consciousness. Which is what I, 2,500 years ago, called Maya, illusion. This is the deeper meaning, the higher understanding of Maya: You are in this illusion that you are a separate being.

What happens when you identify yourself as a separate being? Well, suddenly you are separated from other people, you are separated from your environment here on earth, and you are separated from anything outside your environment, meaning outside the material universe. You are not alone on earth. There are billions of other people here. There is a physical environment that sometimes manifests natural disasters. As a separate being, you will see yourself as being threatened by conditions in your environment.

This is what causes people to go into this attempt to gain some control over their environment. People do this at the physical level through physical force, violence, by either subduing other people so they can be controlled or by seeking to exterminate those other people so they are not there. People also do it at the emotional level, where many people are engaged in this constant process of seeking to control the emotions of people around them in order to avoid negative or unpleasant emotions in themselves. Likewise, many people are engaged in this game of seeking to control other people’s thoughts, beliefs, understanding, and even control their sense of identity.

The irony of separation

Can you perhaps begin to see the irony here? Here is a person. He identifies himself as a separate being, a separate human being. He has a separate physical body. He has a separate emotional body, mental body, identity body. He is afraid that something is going to happen in his environment that will kill his physical body. He attempts to use physical means to control his environment. This is, however, very difficult to accomplish, and no one has ever fully accomplished it. No matter how powerful of a dictator they have become, they have not been able to fully control their environment.

The person also attempts to control the emotions and the mental minds and the sense of identity of other people around him. But why is he doing this? He is doing it to avoid certain emotions, certain thoughts, and a certain doubt about his sense of identity. In other words, the person is seeking really to control his own mind but because he is in the state of separation, the consciousness of duality, he thinks the only way to control his own mind is to control his surroundings, his physical situation, the emotions of other people, the thoughts of other people, the sense of identity of other people.

This, of course, means that this person is in a perpetual struggle against other people. Those other people also see themselves as separate. When the first person tries to control person number two, person number two feels threatened by this, feels that the first person is aggressive towards him or her. They resist this. This is the Sea of Samsara. Most people on earth are trapped in the sense of separation, the consciousness of duality, and they are seeking to control other people in order to attain some state of equilibrium, peace in their own minds.

Now again, you can say: “Well, people have free will, so aren’t they allowed to have any experience they want?” Of course. I am only pointing out that the experience that people have through Maya, through separation, through duality, is a struggle experience, and a struggle experience can only create suffering. It may give you a temporary elation, where you feel now you have achieved some ultimate state of power or control or peace. But it will always be threatened and you will always know this. Why will you know this? Because if you attain a state of power through force, you are aware of force. You are aware that there might be other people who will try to take away what you have attained through force by using more force than you used to get it.

Look at how dictators, almost all of them, become increasingly paranoid throughout their lives. No matter how much power and control they have in their country, they are always afraid that somebody can take it away. That is why they must continually have a secret police that seeks to identify and kill those who could potentially be a threat. Look at how many billionaires have more money than they could ever spend, but they are always afraid that somebody might try to take that money. They have to protect it or they have to make even more. It becomes a never-ending spiral, because you are trying to do the impossible. You are trying to control your state of mind through controlling your environment. Again, perfectly acceptable if you want to be in the Sea of Samsara, but then you do not need the Eightfold Path.

The Eightfold path is the alternative to suffering

The Eightfold Path is not what many Buddhists have come to see it as. It is not the only road to salvation or Nirvana. It is not a superior path. It is not something that was ever meant to be forced upon people. It was never actually my goal that these teachings should be spread throughout the earth and that all people should belong to an outer religion of Buddhism and that this should be forced upon them. The Eightfold Path is an offer to people who have had enough of being tossed about by the waves in the Sea of Samsara. They are looking for something else, and they are open to the thought that in order to get something else, they cannot continue to do what they have been doing so far. They need to do something different.

What is the first step towards a higher understanding? It is first of all to recognize that your mind has limitations. You do not have the highest understanding right now. In fact you do not have a higher understanding. Because at the present moment you have a certain level of understanding, but there are higher levels possible. In order to get those higher levels of understanding, you have to do something different. Something you are not doing now. What is it that is different? Well, it is that you have to at least grasp the necessity of transcending Maya, illusion, the illusion of separation, the illusion of duality, the dualistic polarities, the value judgment, the sense of superiority and inferiority. You have to question this entire mindset. You have to start questioning it.

It cannot be done all at once. There is a need for a certain continuity. It is a gradual path of questioning these illusions of Maya. It takes time. In fact it takes lifetimes, but many people in embodiment today – especially in the more modern, more developed nations – they have done this in past lifetimes. They have started the process in past lifetimes and all they need to do now is to reconnect to the reality that they need to question their minds, the way they look at life, their approach to life, especially this illusion of separation, the pairs, the dualistic polarities.

The human mind can become a closed system

This begins with this recognition that again was difficult to give 2,500 years ago, but it can be given today. The recognition is that the human mind has a tendency to become a closed system. You are not an island. No human is an island. You are not a separate being. You are connected in many different ways beyond the visible level. Not only to other people, but to the environment you live in and to some source beyond your environment, which we do not need to go into right now. But you need to know that there is something outside the matter world. This is who you are. This is how you came into being.

You do not see that right now. The reason you do not see it is because your mind has become clouded by Maya, by many different illusions and reactionary patterns in your emotional, mental and identity bodies. The Eightfold Path is a process of gradually, step-by-step, one at a time, bringing these illusions and reactionary patterns into the conscious mind, examining them critically, evaluating their consequences, even their validity, their consistency. Then, coming to the conclusion that this particular illusion and pattern limits me and I have had enough of this limitation, because it always keeps me trapped in this turbulent Sea of Samsara.

You have the concept that you have the Sea of Samsara, but on the other side of the sea, or at least on one side of the sea, is the other shore. You can get there by using a boat, a Prajna boat, which is made up of the teachings and the practice. Again, you cannot take the outer teaching, study it, practice the practices and think that you will automatically get to the other shore. You will do it only by self-examination, looking at yourself, looking at your beliefs, your patterns. Asking yourself why you are reacting this way, why you are thinking this way, why you see yourself as this kind of person. Gradually questioning all of this, dismissing one illusion at a time. This is the Prajna boat. This is what carries you once you are in it, once you have locked in to what the path is about. This is what carries you across the Sea of Samsara. It does not mean you will not be tossed by the waves, because you will. But at least you have something to hold on to that can carry you further.

This is the beginning of wisdom, the beginning of understanding. Your mind can become, or rather has become, a closed system. Why do I say this? How can I say this? Well, do you feel you are the Buddha right now? Do you feel you are enlightened, that you are in a state of Nirvana or Samsara? Do you feel that you are at peace? Then, that shows you that your mind is a closed system. It is closed because you have used the mind’s ability to suppress emotions, thoughts and a sense of identity, to suppress anything that disturbs you, but this also becomes a straitjacket that holds you, that traps you. Because whenever a new idea comes to you, it has to be fit into this system, this subconscious database that you have that evaluates all new ideas, saying: “Is this dangerous? Is this true? Is this something I should consider or not consider?”

How can a spiritual teacher help you?

Again, what did I say is the dilemma of a spiritual teacher? Well, a spiritual teacher is not trapped in Maya, is not in the Sea of Samsara, but you are.
How can the spiritual teacher help you escape Maya? What is Maya? You have a belief that in reality is an illusion, but you believe it is the truth. You are convinced that it is the truth. This is the way the world is. It is this belief that keeps you trapped in Maya. How can a teacher help you? Well, you must come to see that your belief is an illusion.

This means the teacher must challenge your belief. The process I described means that there is a part of your mind that wants to suppress any challenge to your beliefs. Many people have come across a spiritual teaching that was not the teaching they already had. They have looked at it, but their conscious minds have never actually grasped the significance of the teaching. Because their subconscious minds have rejected or colored or interpreted the teachings. Now, as I said, you can do nothing else. You have to start somewhere. When you find a spiritual teaching, you will interpret it through your present level of consciousness.

Again, this in itself is not so much of a problem. The problem is if you do not realize that you are limiting the teaching, that you are superimposing something upon the teaching that will prevent you from taking the next step on the path towards enlightenment. You see, there are many, many people – whether they are Buddhists or the more New Age, mystically minded people you see today – who have looked at the concept of enlightenment and they have superimposed an image upon it based on their present level of consciousness. Many people have a certain set of beliefs that they are very attached to. They hear about the concept of enlightenment and it sounds good to them. But without realizing it, they are projecting the image that when you are enlightened, you have the validation of your present beliefs, you see that your present beliefs were actually the ultimate truth.

Of course, when other people become enlightened, they will see that your beliefs were the ultimate truth and therefore, you were right all along. This is another aspect of this desire for superiority. Surely an enlightened being would agree with me, with my present beliefs, the present way I look at life. But you see, if you are not enlightened. How could an enlightened being agree with you? You are not enlightened because you have illusions. An enlightened being has no illusions, has transcended illusions. Thus, how could an enlightened being agree with you that your illusions are not illusions, but are the truth? This is not a realistic scenario. Those who believe in it will just keep themselves trapped in the Sea of Samsara, their minds taken over by Maya. They are behind the veil of Maya.

The beginning of the Eightfold Path is the willingness to question your own mind, to see that it becomes a self-validating, self-reinforcing closed circle. And the willingness then to take the teaching and instead of trying to get the teaching to validate your present beliefs, you use the teaching to question your present beliefs, your present illusions. This is what the Eightfold Path is about. Until you have this understanding, you cannot really start the true Eightfold Path. You will instead start a false path based on using your present beliefs to define what is right understanding, what is right intent, what is right speech, what is right action, what is right livelihood, what is right effort, what is right mindfulness, what is right concentration. It is all “right” because it validates your present beliefs.

Your present beliefs are illusions. How could a true teaching validate them? You have only two options here. Either the Buddha gave a false teaching or your present beliefs are illusions. You cannot have it both ways. The choice is always to question your own mind, your own perception, your own way of looking at life. This is when you start the path, the path that leads to enlightenment. You can also take the Buddha’s teachings and create a false path that leads you further and further into illusion. This may give you some sense that you have reached some superior state compared to other people, because you have this advanced teaching, you have practiced it so many times and all of these things. It may change your experience of life, but it does not raise your consciousness on that ladder that leads to enlightenment. You are still in the diving suit.

This was my second installment for what I wanted to give you for this conference. I will, of course, have more to say about the other steps on the Eightfold Path. With this I seal you in the clear, undivided understanding of the Buddha.



Copyright © 2023 Kim Michaels