These are basic Dharma Ideas that may at a later date, or by your
 request, be elaborated into a complete teaching. 


Potthapada, there are some ascetics and Brahmins who declare and believe that after death the self is entirely happy and free from disease. I approached them and asked if this was indeed what they declared and believed, and they replied: "Yes."  

Then I said: "Do you, friends, living in the world, know and see it as an entirely happy place?" and they replied: "No." 

I said: "Have you ever experienced a single night or day, or half a night or day, that was entirely happy?" and they replied: "No." 

I said: "Do you know a path or a practice whereby an entirely happy world might be brought about?" and they replied: "No." 

I said: "Have you heard the voices of deities who have been reborn in an entirely happy world, saying: "The attainment of an entirely happy world has been well and rightly gained, and we, gentlemen, have been reborn in such a realm?" and they replied: "No." 

What do you think, Potthapada? Such being the case, does not the talk of those ascetics and Brahmins turn out to be stupid? Verse 34

"It is just as if a man were to say: "I am going to seek out and love the most beautiful girl in the country." They might say to him: "Well, as to this most beautiful girl in the country, do you know whether she belongs to the Khattiya, the Brahmin, the merchant or the artisan class?" and he would say: "No." Then they might say: "Well, do you know her name, her clan, whether she is tall or short or of medium height, whether she is dark or light-complexioned or sallow-skinned, or what village or town or city she comes from?" and he would say: "No." And they might say:  "Well then, you don't know or see the one you seek for and desire?" and he would say: "No." Does not the talk of that man turn out to be stupid?" "Certainly, Lord."

And so it is with those ascetics and Brahmins who declare and believe that after death the self is entirely happy and free from disease… Does not their talk turn out to be stupid?"

"Certainly, Lord."

"It is just as if a man were to build a staircase for a palace at a crossroads. People might say to him: "Well now, this staircase for a palace that you are building -do you know whether the palace will face east, or west, or north or south, or whether it will be high, low or of medium height?" and he would say: "No." And they might say, "Well then, you don't know or see what kind of a palace you are building the staircase for?" and he would say: "No." Don't you think that man's talk would turn out to be stupid?" 

"Certainly, Lord."



            You have seen a brief outline of the three character types. Are you DELUDED, GREEDY, or HOSTILE? Some readers may say, "I'm GREEDY, but not really all that bad." The situation is similar to that of childbirth. One cannot be half-pregnant. Similarly, others may declare, "I'm a little bit of everything." That is evading the question.

            It is foolish to evade the issue. You are either DELUDED, GREEDY, HOSTILE, or are without SUFFERING. Look at the list of your potential for SUFFERING as a victim of the DEMANDS. Do you have any of this SUFFERING in yourself? Do you see the probability that one of these DEMANDS may actually GOVERN most of your behaviour? If you can, then you will already have come a long way.

            We have used many words to describe various EXPERIENCES of SUFFERING. On inspecting all these and others which you no doubt have experienced, you will wonder about some of them. What is the difference, for example, between the MIND STATES of PUZZLEMENT and BAFFLEMENT? Why is the former an EGO-initiated state and the latter a SUPER EGO state?

            The experiences of BAFFLEMENT are sharp, like a well-honed knife. It evokes PASSIONS which do not look at anything else except that BAFFLEMENT. It is like a cold fire that consumes itself without moving in any direction. Can you see the idea? This is in no way the same as the PUZZLEMENT of the EGO IDENTITY, which, in failure, cannot understand what exactly has gone wrong. When there is PUZZLEMENT, the victim searches about in a word-filled consciousness for reasons, and clear EMOTIONAL experiences are evoked.

    Let's look at SUPER EGO FRUSTRATION for a moment. It has its EGO DEMAND counterpart in the EMOTION of FUTILITY, which is often felt after the failure to satisfy a DEMAND for EGO SATISFACTION. The difference between the two is the PASSION which is attached to FRUSTRATION. This PASSION has a base which is also cognitive, but its mental states are far removed from those which rule the EMOTIONAL turmoil of FUTILITY, which is quite enmeshed with a mass of associations and a HOPELESSNESS which does not accompany FRUSTRATION.

            The key to understanding the subtle differences between the EMOTIONS of EGO SATISFACTION  and the MENTAL PASSION of the SUPER EGO lies in discernment of the ice-like PASSION which is completely uncomplicated by chains of thought. This cold piercing PASSION is the hallmark of this DEMAND for DOMINANCE.

            If you look at REMORSE, you will see the same thing. PASSIONATE REMORSE is quite different from the EMOTIONAL and wistful REGRETS and the RECRIMINATIONS manufactured by EGO. The EGO IDENTITY beats its breast and cries out its woes. In its sorrow it wants to be noticed: it wants the SECURITY which it has lost by non-satiation of the DEMAND. The SUPER EGO, on the other hand, dwells upon the more general "SHOULD not have happened" idea without dwelling on the reasons. The passionate SUPER EGO laments, but it does so silently.

             ENVY too, as a state of SUFFERING under the DEMAND for DOMINANCE, is different from the EMOTIONAL state of COVETOUSNESS which is ruled by the DEMAND for EGO SATIATION. When EGO is involved, there are almost always chains of thought involved, for the EGO structure has an overactive imagination prompted by ideas. The EGO mind in those moments actually searches for ways and means to secure the elusive prize.

The SUPER EGO, on the other hand, when it is in command, is simply envious of the position, influence, and power that others may have or in the way they have obtained their apparent reward. Others have it. Others SHOULD not have it. There are no mental gyrations. There is simply injustice at work as far as SUPER EGO is concerned. Do you see the SUPER EGO at work?

            We can then separate the experiences related to the DEMAND for EGO SATISFACTION from those of the DEMAND for DOMINATION quite easily. You don't have to worry too much about the meanings of the words. If the experience of SUFFERING is EGO-dominated there will be EMOTIONS and chains of thought running through CONSCIOUS AWARENESS like a train completely out of control.

 If the experience is that connected to a dominating SUPER EGO then there will be a cold COGNITIVE PASSION unconnected to chains of thought.

            ID-ruled behavior is easier to recognize. ID, as we have mentioned before, sends out clear VISCERAL signals which we call SENSATIONS. Sometimes SENSATIONS and EMOTIONS may be present at the same time when ID and EGO are working together with mutual DEMANDS. Watch out for them and you will detect the subtle differences.

             We can also look at the distinction between VISCERAL DISAPPOINTMENT and COGNITIVE DISILLUSIONMENT. The latter experiences are completely different from the brooding VISCERAL SENSATIONS of DISAPPOINTMENT derived from ID. 

You can see the difference if you really are mindful, for the former is woeful and you can sense the physiological response of the body to that DISAPPOINTMENT. On the other hand, DISILLUSIONMENT is clear and concise. The MIND, COGNITIVE and PASSIONATE, can define the problem in a single strong statement. The DISILLUSIONED person may say fiercely, "You can't trust anyone", while the ID will be more concerned about its loss.



A noted American anthropologist, Edward Hall, dedicated to cross-cultural research, lived and worked with the Navaho and the Hopi on native American reservations. He noted that the Navaho and the Hopi had no conditioned drive for "closure".  Hopi villages were full of unfinished houses, with beautifully built walls and windows but without a roof for years. Dams that should have been finished quickly were still incomplete after a year. Leaving a task uncompleted was not a sign of incompetence and failure.

Hall concluded, "To the Navaho the future was uncertain as well as unreal, and they were neither interested in nor motivated by "future" rewards".


Let there be no doubt about it, you are in the great Casino of Life. Furthermore, you have gambling fever. You believe that you are going to win, at least sometimes, the great reward: that of Happiness.

Have you never wondered why you pursue Happiness? Like the great designers of games of chance those who set up Happiness to be pursued, know that one has only to be reinforced sometimes for the conditioned fever to take hold.

You are told that it is your birthright to have this liberty to pursue Happiness. Why has no none ever explained that true Happiness need not be pursued? You already have it.

The gambler, like you, wants possesion of those little chips of different colors that show he is a winner. What have you won? What are you winning? You have managed to gain perhaps and you have the blue chips called wealth, the red chips called possessions, and the green chips of love, though the latter are few and badly damaged by use. 

But what you do have in your pockets, deep down where you cannot discover them, are the black chips of sickness, old age and death. Sometimes in error digging down for a blue, red or green chip a black chip crops up. You throw it away. You don't want it. You are a winner.

You will eventually take out a black chip and it will stick to your hands and you will die.

Not that any will care for very long when you have that last black chip. They will be too busy after a short time trying to multiply the blue, red and green chips.

What will they write on your gravestone or upon your urn?

"He or she found the Blue chips", "He or she found the Red chips" or "He or she found the Green chips"? None of these, and it would be obvious to all that you found the Black chip, so they will not mention that.

They could write that he did it his (or her) way. Is that really a compliment? Adolf Hitler did it his way, as did Genghis Khan and Attila. What was your way?

Will they be able to say that you found the White chip? Probably not, because in the Great Casino called Samsara they don't talk about winning white chips.

On your gravestone they will try to write something complimentary. 

They won't write, "He pursued Happiness," because almost everyone is doing that.

Why write anything at all? Why not simply say on your grave, "He died, after more or less living". Better still they could write... "We cannot say whose body lies here, because he didn't know himself." But that is no use, because they would have to write that on every gravestone if they were honest, together with any titles you may have gathered at the educational roulette table or the political slot machines.

Looking back, what have you really accomplished of noble value in your life?

"She was a loving mother"? That's nice if it is true. But being a loving mother is not sufficient if it is egocentric hedonism. Aren't all mothers naturally loving? It is then a sad commentary to point that out on one grave, because you are declaring, perhaps correctly, "My mother is OK, but the rest are a crock of..." But then again, you probably couldn't think of anything else to say.

It is best if here and now you actually write what you would like to have put on your gravestone. Then you have, naturally to work from now on to be worthy of it.

You might believe that it doesn't matter, because if you manage to get a last oration in, so that you are forgiven for being a complete fool all your life, or worse, you will be forgiven by some greater power.

But you in any case will have to leave the blue, red and green chips behind, for those who are hoping to get their share, trying to keep them from being stained by their tears.

It would be nice if they could at least declare, "He didn't enter the Casino, but found a white chip".

Enigmatic, unless you know what a white chip feels like to possess. 

                                       BETWEEN TWO WORLDS

Now if you examine that white chip then you will find that its direct opposite is the black chip. The blue, the red and the green are worth nothing at all. When you go to the chip-changing counter they will tell you that they are only good for playing the life roulette and that you just have to play with those chips or throw them away...You know however that if you continue to play eventually you will lose everything.

You can't take anything outside the Casino. Peter, who is the doorman, won't even let you go out of the casino unless you leave your body behind.

You can go out of the casino with the black chips, but they will melt in the heat.

The white chips are different. That is because the white chip is made up of all the colors and the beauty of those white chips is that no one can take them away from you. Actually you can  go into the Casino Garden and live there for the rest of your life with full well being.

                                               THE VIRTUE OF AFFECT

The archaic sense of the word "affect" is identical to the sense of the word "like," but the modern and better sense is that of "having a leaning towards" or "having a preference for."

Now this distinction becomes very important for basic Dharma understanding, for words are essentially the tool of Cognition and can become easily the vehicle for Identity error and the entry of confusion, acquisition and even aversion.

If for example you see a dish of apples, you may declare "I like apples," which is certainly understood quite clearly. Now when you take the particular and declare "I like that apple" the situation changes, for you are declaring a preference in which there is a polite hint that that is the apple that you want. In fact you desire that apple and you set up an expectation that your want will be satisfied.

Now if, to the contrary, you were to declare that preference in a different way by saying (without hidden desire), "I have a leaning towards that apple," then there is less likelihood that the level of expectation will be as high that you will obtain that apple.

Thus the craving for the apple will be less.

You perhaps can see that this concept of "liking" is a close sister of "wanting" and the change takes place when the intensity of the liking increases.

Once "liking" has been transformed into wanting, no matter how slight it may be, then within cognition "liking" in a myriad of forms is converted in a calvary of desires, resulting expectations and suffering with intense craving and clinging.

The secret of liberation from this is to see that there is a true affect which accompanies a natural approach to any phenomenon, be it an idea, a person or a simple tomato.

I am indeed then declaring that the affect for a tomato is in essence no different than the affect for a partner. There is a difference in conduct with regard to these, for the sexual preference is a right-hemisphere function, but the attraction and the affect have similar intensity.

The mind may then generate other experiences which are natural.

But if one begins with a liking that is transformed into a want, then a desire... then you are in for a mass of suffering.

The great problem with this is that there is then a transformation of attitude towards the most mundane details that generates "me first" as a criterion.

It is only when "we" replaces the "me" that the human creature has a chance of true survival in the world. We are not individuals but a collective... As human creatures, to correctly balance the survival of the human creature is of prime importance, ahead of the individual, but this cannot be effective if we lose sight of our place within the whole of nature and its diversity, including the environment which supports us all.

Now that brings to mind an important observation about the changes in our environment. We are perhaps, as a human creature, concerned about environmental problems, but this is purely intellectual.

We have really lost contact with our environment and all other living creatures.

Our environment is all that is material... our clothes are more important than our own skin, except where beauty and image are concerned. Trees, shrubs, and grassland has been replaced by little sguare boxes (television) inside little square rooms, inside little square houses in little square towns, captured by little square minds. Are you one of them?

While nature has its threads which join all together, the human creature has the threads of roads, highways, communication lines, and the globalized mind.

Having lost touch with nature, he has lost affect and true survival... His world bounds with his likes and dislikes... and his craving and clinging.


                                                   NEW BASIC DHARMA NOTES