Friday, 3 December 2010

"When you SEE the rope, the snake vanishes."

What do you see? The circles do seem to be moving. It is just a visual illusion.  We think it is moving and turning left and right, when in actual fact, it is still and motionless. 

It brings to mind another example of how we perceive things:

"A coiled rope's speckled color and coiling are similar to those of a snake, and when the rope is perceived in a dim area, the thought arises, "This is a snake". As for the rope, at that time when it is seen to be a snake, the collection and parts of the rope are not even in the slightest way a snake. Therefore, that snake is merely set up by conceptuality."

We tend to perceive things as what we want them to be. This is misconception because all problems are created in thought; in our thoughts, in our mind. This in turn results in afflictive emotions like anger, jealousy, resentment, lust and hatred etc. Hence we suffer because of these emotions, and this is all due to ignorance. If we remove this ignorance that misconstrue phenomena to inherently exist and if we prevent the generation of afflictive emotions, only then can suffering be removed. 

We should recognise that all problems (ie. suffering) are created in thought and nowhere else. Who you really are (your presence/consciousness) is and should not be affected by thoughts. You are utterly free of thought. John Wheeler in [Awakening to the Natural State] wrote, "there is a difference between direct awareness and thought, which is just words and labels. We take the words and labels to be real. Can you drink the word 'water'?...Try to see the difference between awareness (direct knowing) and the labelling activity of the mind... You can know your real nature for certain because you know you are aware, you know you exist, even without taking a thought about it. Normally, this is overlooked because it is so simple. The mind is apt to minimize this pointing, but it is utterly profound."

If you view a rope as a snake, you keep running away from the snake, fighting it. Problems are the snake in the rope of thought. Thought (mind) is a harmless rope, and wonderfully useful; but when it is mistaken for a snake there is a lot of fear, frustration and distress. However this would not make the snake vanish. The snake only vanishes when you SEE the rope. There is no need to fight the mind or thoughts, only see clearly that they are no more than innocent vibrations in awareness. Hence the power of "seeing", the power of "awareness". It is all in the mind.

Try this exercise in identifying how objects and beings falsely appear: 
1. Observe how an item such as a watch appears in a shop when you first notice it. 
2. Then observe how its appearance changes and becomes even more concrete as you become more interested in it.
3. Finally observe how it appears after you have bought it and consider it yours.

Have a good weekend. 


  1. 以佛心看人,则遍地都是佛。 以鬼心看人,则处处是狰狞的恶鬼。- 证严法师静思语 ("If we look at others with the mind of Buddha, everyone is Buddha. But if we look at others with the mind of a demon, then there are evil spirits everywhere." - Meditations from Master Cheng Yen)

  2. Thanks Yueheng! You summarised what I wrote beautifully. Om mani padme hum! :D

  3. Hi!
    Thank you for this post.
    By the way, I loved your image of the snake in the rope. I have recently translated an Advaita book from English to Portuguese. Do you think I can use that image? Is it yours, or do you know if it is copyrighted?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...