Saturday, January 21, 2017


What if self-immolation is a way of proving enlightenment?  Attempting to prove, rather.  Not that it actually proves anything.  I just encountered an idea in this podcast, that common to many religions and ideologies, essentially, "life is suffering."  He then proposes that this is because  "I think, therefor I am" does not go far enough.

To say that consciousness is the only thing we truly can know exists- this does not go far enough.  I liked his example, that we can question whether we're really happy, but when we're in acute agony, there is no question.  It is that precise aspect of consciousness that alone survives all skepticism.  Suffering then forms the bedrock of what we can safely say, that we can, just maybe, know (probably) exists.

Life is suffering, that is the first noble truth.  The path towards cessation of suffering, that is the fourth noble truth.  That is to say, these are very central elements of Buddhism.  It's practically the first thing Gautama said, when he became The Buddha, as I understand it.  "please stop being dicks to each other" came much later.

So, why fire?  It's extremely dramatic, but that's in part because we know it's extremely painful.  We know on deep physiological level, that burning is to be avoided.  At all costs.  Immediately.  It takes a whole other level of willpower to endure relatively minor burns, especially without even flinching. If suffering can be escaped, what better way to prove that you've done it.  You've achieved the very pinnacle of the religious experience, transcending that last step of what the rest of us mistakenly think is real.

The contradiction therein being that if you've gotten that far, why do you care what anyone else thinks?  Why are you trying to prove anything to anyone?  The social causes often involved would further suggest that social recognition plays a role.  Sure, it's still an amazing feat, but Jesus Christ.

As if there's an even deeper bedrock of what's real.  Some find it easier to meditate while burning alive, than to let go of what we think others think of what we think.

Yeah, yeah, I'm stoned again.  So what :p

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