Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What is ignorance?


ghost of a dog (pigeon version), originally uploaded by emdot.

As Buddha said in his first teaching, the root of all our suffering in samsara is ignorance. Ignorance, until we free ourselves from it, can seem endless, and even when we have embarked on the spiritual path our search is fogged by it. However, if you remember this, and keep the teachings in your heart, you will gradually develop the discernment to recognize the innumerable confusions of ignorance for what they are, and so never jeopardize your commitment or lose your perspective.

— Sogyal Rinpoche
The above is something you hear a lot if you are a Buddhist (at least one following a Tibetan lineage; I can't speak for other flavors).

Today I read this and it did a kapow zing to my spine. I read it as I'd never heard it before.

Does "ignorance" mean the incorrect "stories" we have that wrap around our every day experiences? The way we see ourself limited? Or see ourselves not connected to everything around us? The way we can perceive people to be against us? The way we can view ourselves as against others?

I'm reading Steering by Starlight, a kapow zing book by Martha Beck that is literally crumbling all kinds of mental barriers I have had throughout my life.

And reading this book has given me a crazy, bullish (as in tenacious) feeling of ease and glee.

And I wonder if that has to do with tearing down large parts of my ignorance.

Food for thought.

1 comment:

Cookiemouse said...

I think of ignorance as lack of awareness.