“the management measures for the reincarnation of living Buddhas in Tibetan Buddhism.”

November 2, 2007

China’s State Administration of Religious Affairs announced Order No. 5, a law covering “the management measures for the reincarnation of living Buddhas in Tibetan Buddhism.” This “important move to institutionalize management on reincarnation” basically prohibits Buddhist monks from returning from the dead without government permission: no one outside China can influence the reincarnation process; only monasteries in China can apply for permission. I watched a movie called “Perfume” the other day. It’s about a boy that was very sensitive to smells, aromas, odors etc. He could smell pretty much everything, he perceived the world through smell, related to it through smell. Aromas were in a center of his experience, how things smelled was much more important than what they were called, or what they were worth. The specific approach to reality set the boy apart from other humans, who were not as smell-centered as he was. The boy was creating a perfume, a perfect perfume that contains not the usual smells that humans consider perfumable, but the smell of heaven itself. Smell of paradise. Said smell was coming from young women that the boy would kill to extract the smell from them. After killing 13th and final girl he’s been captured. There was a scene in a movie that really hit me: the boy hangs upside-down, treated rather harshly by the men who caught him. In front of him stands the father of the last woman killed. The father asks: why did you kill my daughter? The boy answers: I needed her. Again the father asks the same question, and again boy gives the same answer. This is when I realized that there is no possibility of communication between them. The father will not get the response he’s looking for, the boy will not understand the question. The father and the boy live in different realities, different worlds. Might as well be different species. They have different values, different priorities, different ideas about what’s right and wrong, different understanding of who they are and why they were born. Completely, totally and absolutely different reality! I found that I didn’t feel that what the boy did was wrong. There was no value judgement at all. I could see the situation perfectly well from the boy’s point of view. What he said made sense. What he did made sense, inside of his reality. I could also see the father’s point of view perfectly well – inside of his reality what he felt and did made a perfect sense too. Here i was seeing two different realities meet. I saw how those two people will never be able to communicate, not to mention understand each other. And yet they could – if they saw that their realities, completed with ideas of what is right, what is wrong, what is important and what isn’t, is just their reality, not THE reality. We all know that human life is more important than a bottle of perfume. It’s a given, it’s what’s so, we don’t even have to think about it. The only people who would think otherwise are in jail, or are getting there. But does it mean that we are right? does it mean that it is THE truth? Or is it a version of reality that we happen to agree upon? The situation in the movie seems to suggest that reality is simply a story we tell ourselves, and that when we start believing that our story is the absolute truth – there is no communication with anyone believing otherwise possible. If I believe that we are God, and that it is THE truth – there is no communication possible between me and those who think otherwise. If I believe that we are all one, that we need to realize it and stop killing each other, and that it is THE truth – there is no communication possible between me and those who think otherwise. If I believe that we need to live in harmony with the Earth and stop destroying it, and that it is THE truth – there is no communication possible between me and those who think otherwise. Another consequence of me KNOWING THE TRUTH is that I can’t come outside of it. I can’t be anything other than IT. We all know about the harm that strong believes may cause to others – wars, terrorist attacks, religious persecutions, failed relationships, terrible childhoods … I believe that the harm to the believing person is much greater. If I know THE truth I can’t ever get past it. I can’t ever change, experience myself as something else. I am trapped in my own prison, believing that the story of reality I tell myself is me. I can not realize or experience myself as God – cause I believe I am my story of reality. It doesn’t mater how good, nice, right, blissful, wonderful and generally acceptable the story is. Doesn’t matter how man people agrees on it – what matters is: as long as I believe in my story I will never experience anything outside of it. I will never experience the unlimited, boundless God. I can’t think about anything more harmful than that.

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