The first crucial question is: is simple acceptance
not sufficient. If I am able to say - admittedly, with my normal mind - well, this is bad,
but that is how it is, isn't that a liberation already? It surely is. Seen like this, the
Buddha indeed has overreacted. The price that he had to pay? His noble response was based
on non-acceptance. It is a truth few Buddhists can accept.....
Positively seen, the
Buddha added something crucial to human existence. In his efforts to escape from the
"cycle of birth and death" he reached the Other Shore, the Dimension that is
beyond everything tangible, visible and knowable. It is the realm of Awareness,
Enlightenment and the Pure Land. Through it there appears to be an inner distance between
Me and my small self
The surprise: because of your non-attachment your acceptance becomes complete. Because
nothing touches your innermost Core you can allow everything to enter your inner Space. It
is indeed a very decisive surplus-value to your normal acceptance abilities. The negative
part: despite that, your original non-acceptance attitude remains the same. The motivation
behind your practice is decisive.......
That's why, in the course of time "escaping" from the world did become the
main obsession in Buddhism. Of course, always considered to be an instrument, a
methodology only, justified by: "once you are Enlightened, then you will embrace the
world as it is". But, as stated above: do you really first have to be Enlightened in
order to accept the world?
Has the price not been too high? Didn't Buddhism neglect the world in favor of its
fear? Wasn't this all the consequence of a too early conclusion (by the Buddha), that the
spiritual Path is all about escaping from suffering? One may assume that he personally was
afraid of it. Did that contribute to all later developments? The more you emphasize
"escape" the more difficult it is to return
Denouncing "the cycle of birth and death" became its core ritual. In all
sutra's, treatises, canons, essays, books from the very beginning this is repeated like a
mantra. Did (do) they realize what they are saying? The "cycle of birth and
death" is equal to life itself. Life as it manifests itself through our five senses,
yes, surely. But is it therefore of less value? Almost a devil, like in Christianity?
Indeed, these two religions have more in common than one would think. The consequences
are bitter, now that we have to acknowledge that both have failed to protect, nurture and
cherish our earthly roots. Not only that. By denying the existence of the ego, the ego has
dominated the entire culture. "What you deny will dominate you". "No ego
anymore, once you are Enlightened" has proven to be a trap
Because reality proves, that even after Full Enlightenment the ego will return. A whole
new chapter will begin on your spiritual Path. It is centered around the necessity of
integrating the small self into the New Self, a process that may take decades. This
chapter has no place in Buddhism, since the existence of personality is denied! This has
worked in Asia, for the West this is a disaster
O, sure, an increasing number of Buddhist teachers have learned a lesson, since they
started their mission in the West. Unfortunately, this couldn't turn the degeneration
Buddhism is in. There must be good (bad) reasons for the decline, as we will see. No
doubt, the Buddha was sincere in formulating his teachings. But was his starting point
really the right one?
Is life suffering and subsequently the purpose of life to escape from it? Wouldn't we
have that costly peace of mind, if we simply would accept life as it is, right from the
start? That is the first and most crucial question every sincere Buddhist has to ask him
of herself. The second aspect that especially today troubles Buddhism is "liberation
by your own effort", since every effort originates from the ego and returns to
And thus strengthening what you try to overcome..... At the time of the Buddha this was
different. Strength of mind had to be emphasized, since society was completely lethargic.
But today? Today, in Western societies the situation is opposite. "To make a
difference" is where it is all about. And why only making difference with a new tie,
girlfriend or car? Aren't there more promising targets? O, yes one provided by Buddhism:
If the paradigm that "after Enlightenment you are liberated from the ego for the
rest of your life" would be true, trying to attain is indeed harmless. There is no
threat from within or without. As stated above this proves to be an illusion, though. The
ego does return. And in many cases will try to use Realization for its own purposes:
status, influence, power, money and worse. The Vessel of Liberation has fallen into the
hands of "spiritual" pirates
Even in schools where the emphasis is lying on "awareness" and the
"herenow" - Zen, Vipassana - the underlying drive is often Enlightenment. In
this regard the East wasn't less materialistic than the West. It openly "went for
it". The difference, though was, that spiritual achievement was scrutinized by the
Master, the monastery community, the village and the culture as a whole. Balance was
carefully cultivated. In the West no-one is guiding you. On the contrary, spiritual
achievement is often used for the rudest of material gains*.
* Think of nowadays' "mindfulness trainings" to support
egoistic, self-indulgent lifestyle or "Zen for managers" to promote the
effectiveness e.g. the profit-making of the company....
At the moment in history where the Ultimate Treasure has turned into a commodity, an
object to have, where Liberation has become an addiction, then, to our great grief,
Buddhism has been deprived of its inherent Power. It is like a bank that lost all its
money......To strive for "more" Liberation is useless, because the striving is
the problem. Moreover, Western society has no inherent corrective mechanisms, that could
achieve some kind of balance. Hence, Buddhism as as system based on self-effort is at its
end. To save it we have to go beyond Enlightenment.
As always, liberation comes from an dimension that was hitherto neglected....
Summarizing: in 2500 years societies have changed to such an extent, that what was
truth then is a trap now. To start with Buddha's definition - "Life is
Suffering" - appears to be the cause for a life-denying attitude, which doesn't
comply with our reality. Our suffering on the other hand is "to be separated,
alienated from life". Reality is disappearing in favor of a "virtual
world". Individually and collectively, we have lost contact with not only our True
Self, but also with
Our bodies and nature, our feelings and suppressed emotions, our lust for life,
feminity, love, eroticism and sex....Yes, a lot more complicated than the simple Path to
Enlightenment. But we shouldn't throw the baby out with the bath water....A new start can
be made, in which we adjust new values to an old practice. Self-effort has great dangers,
therefore schools like the Pure Land have to emphasized. There Enlightenment is a gift,
something to be eternally grateful for
Doesn't that sound much better than the "realization you have attained by your own
efforts?" It is all about the final outcome. Will we be a joyful, grateful person or
one who boasts about his/her achievements? Secondly, are we going to embrace the world as
it is or are we trying to escape from it? Looking with contempt to the ignorance of common
people, those who live their miserable lives in samsara, like so many (Hinayana) monks do?
Don't spend a whole life with "personal liberation", in a way that only old age
may eventually bring you the necessary mildness e.g. acceptance of life.....
One thing hasn't been elaborated here, yet. From the early beginnings, it were the
women who were considered to be responsible for the "cycle of birth and death"
and therefore the suffering in the world. The face Buddhism is showing to the West is mild
in this regard. But go to Asia and attend a Buddhist service for local people. You will be
shocked by what you hear there. The condemnation of the world is unchanged. And with it
the attitude toward women
On my Path my greatest crisis, like elaborated above, was indeed that after Full
Enlightenment, my ego did come back, as in all cases, and that was rather unique, after
ten years of Transcendental Bliss. Immediately, I was confronted by the tendency of
identifying myself with my Realization. Even though this Realization had not been the
outcome of self-effort! It came by surprise, totally unexpected.
To start with, prior to the Light my entire body/mind was wiped out by Absolute
Nothingness. What has this to do with women in Buddhism? Well, to "get rid" of
my addiction, Enlightenment couldn't help me anymore. It had turned into the object, thus
loosing its liberating potentiality. You might start artificially cultivate it, in order
to create a barrier for the ego. But this kind of self-deception I declined. Rather, I
chose to enter hell. After many years I got so desperate, that I again started searching
for the Truth. I found it in Absolute Nothingness.
Going back to my Great Experience I realized that there had been a sequence. First
Blackness and then the Light. Ergo: the Light was born out of Darkness! There appears to
be something beyond the Light. The Light is not the Ultimate Reality. This "something
beyond" is the Origin, something that is more powerful than Enlightenment! I shouted
with joy, and although being a very unfamiliar thought, this didn't leave my mind:
Darkness as the redeemer from my Light obsession......
What is this dark underlying Reality? If it is giving birth to the Light, then It must
Be a birthgiver. Something that has to be defined as feminine! Soon an entire universe
opened itself up to me. "The Womb of all Buddha's"* wasn't that a connection?
Almost. In Buddhism this means the "womb" of the ego, which is Enlightenment. It
is equal to "Emptiness" or "Nothingness" meaning the realm in which
the ego disappears.
* Prajnaparamita Sutra
It is Emptiness to the ego, but not Absolute Emptiness! Therefore, the uniqueness of
Buddhism, only equalled by Meister Eckhart, is proven by its concept of "Emptiness
beyond Emptiness". The only problem: nobody knows what it is, because only a few have
really experienced it. Even the Buddha himself did not realize it. What he experienced
under the Bodhi Tree was Full Enlightenment - yes, Emptiness - but not "Emptiness
beyond Emptiness". So he guessed. He called it "Nirvana", an abstract term
with relationship only to speculation.
On his death bed it is said that "he entered Nirvana", which is correct.
Because I didn't attain it by my own effort, I can say with a peaceful Heart, that to me
it was indeed granted. Subsequently, I grasped the full reality of it. "Nirvana"
is the Cosmic Womb, the Dark Abyss of the universe, giving birth to both the Light
(Buddhahood) and the world, both continuously returning to their Origin. Eureka! I had
found the Ultimate Mystery of Life, the Origin of All, the Cosmic Vacuum of physics or
...... "Great Mother"
If life is being born - and that is the reality - then the credits go exclusively to
the Birthgiver. By nature the Cosmic Womb is feminine. It is the Universal Mother.
It is connected to the ancient Mother Religion, still so prominent in Hinduism (but
patriarchized in the sense that instead of being the Origin of Brahma, She became his
consort "Shakti"). The point is that Absolute Emptiness cannot be achieved,
attained or possessed. Suddenly, the (male) ego doesn't have a target anymore, with which
he can identify himself.
For me personally, this was the True and Ultimate Liberation. The Mother freed me from
my addiction to the Light. "Free from freedom" through becoming "Son of the
Mother". Not a guru with absolute claims, but a New Living Teacher - a
Servant/Messenger - in service of the Cosmic Mother. Surrender, worship and veneration
increasingly got more ground in my life. A life more and more filled with love, joy and
gratitude. Nothing to strive for, instead constantly tuning in to my Origin. It is the
beginning of a new Era, announced by a new Living "Green" Buddha, the One who
stresses Liberation as a Grace, a Gift, something that cannot be possessed.