In 1963 a Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist monk, Thich Quang Duc, performed a miracle of sorts. He didn’t exactly walk on water but he came realistically close: he sat down, poured gasoline over himself and lit himself up. What’s amazing – to me – is not the cause, not even the decision, but what happened after… Nothing happened: the man sat, in a lotus position, while burning alive. The skin of his face coagulating in flames… Burning alive… Dying calmly…
The capacity for such amazing equanimity (while on fire) is evidence of what I call “lotus effect:” this man’s consciousness knew what it was from what it wasn’t even while its body was choking, charring and churning in agony. Thich, a “professional” meditator, knew that he wasn’t his sensations of pain, that he wasn’t his thoughts about dying, that he wasn’t his disappearing body. He knew that he wasn’t his mind-forms.
We all are continuously instructed by culture about what/who we are. We are constantly sold on what we supposedly should be, cajoled into superficial socio-cultural identities, branded into one-way econo-political loyalties.
Set this informational nonsense on fire. Psychologically speaking, of course. Spread the spark of clarity: to know what you really are you have to first detox from all the informational junk that you’ve been confusing yourself with.
Set your mind on fire (psychologically speaking, of course) to burn through all this identity dry rot that surrounds the construction site of your life.
And, remember Thich Quang Duc.
More on Thich:
Thich Quang Duc (wiki)
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Last reviewed: 9 Jul 2011