One of the ongoing themes that I keep pursuing is the twelve nidānas. This is a chain of causality that leads from ignorance to suffering. The root nidāna is ignorance. Ignorance is the root of all suffering. It creates thirst a thirst for pleasure which leads directly to rebirth. One Tibetan view that I was reading the other day suggested that when we die that the mind is overwhelmed by itself in its own pure state, to the point that it seeks the familiar experiences. It’s not hard to see that this world, as hellish as it is, holds quite a lot of comfort in its pleasures and pains. It’s painful yet familiar.
As much as part of us doesn’t like what we see we are still reassured by gender, status, fame, wealth and power. We play the game. We prefer to believe that we need to become something because being ok just as we are is truly frightening. We like to think in terms of this and that, because the alternative, the void is completely unfamiliar. So life after life we keep coming back to the familiar, to pleasure and pain.
We would rather be constantly evaluating, creating good and bad, planning and organising our pleasures than sitting with our inherently empty nature. Then the body dies and the brain dies there are no more pleasures, physical, emotional or mental. And once more we see ourselves as we are, without pleasure. It’s disconcerting to think about now, let alone later.