Nirvana is a death wish, suicide without the knife. The Buddha has defined craving and desire as afflictions. Not just negative cravings or desires, or destructive cravings or desires, but ALL cravings and desires.
A man desiring to kiss his wife: an affliction. A woman desiring to have a child, and to caress that child, and to feed that child: an affliction. A fish craving to eat a fly: afflicted. A dog enjoying a bone: afflicted. A thirsty man drinking from a clear stream: afflicted.
Nirvana is not deathlessness, it is lifelessness. Nirvana is not the opposite of death, life is the opposite of death. Life is deathlessness. But the Buddha has fled from life. He cannot abide it.
Beyond that, I have no desire for an “unconditioned mind.” What is wisdom but the conditioning of the mind? A moron has an unconditioned mind: may be quite adept at avoiding most thoughts, may even have reduced cravings or desires. Do I long for the moronic state? No.
Are you quite sure that religion is not a form of induced imbecility? Are you quite that bodhi or amata is not the most successful form of induced imbecility ever known?
Christ advised us to be like children or like the birds of the air, but even the birds and the children are not morons. Nor are they yogis. Children would never think to avoid experiences or desires. Birds would never think to avoid cravings.
The whole point of living like birds or babes is to experience the rawness of life, with trust and acceptance, to take Nature as she is, to have no thought of saving the world. . . because you have no thought of “the world.”
Could a beast of the field avoid desires? Can we imagine a beast of the field having a negative desire? The beast of the field, like the child, is its desires, and no harm done. Jesus must have meant something like this.
But the Buddha has no such didactic use for children or birds of the air or beasts of the field. What use has one in search of deathlessness for children?
So said the foremost hermit to Siddhartha, recommending he leave the woods and proceed up the mountain to the Muni, the greatest of the ascetics.
And this Muni, of name Arada, what wisdom does he have concerning the road to Nirvana?
And then, by squashing that joy, the yogi blots out the first dhyana, and moves to the second. Again a joy is felt, and by refusing that joy, the yogi moves on to the third. Rejecting the third dhyana is the road to the fourth, and the loss of “I” is the road to the fifth.
Every advance is a rejection, you see. Bartleby the Scrivener was a natural yogi, “preferring not to.” Nirvana is the saying no to everything.
Although the Buddha found the first hermits ridiculous for their mortifications, what does he do?

Brilliant. Why not say no to that one hemp grain and have done with it? Why drag out this sad story for six years?
Amazingly, the Buddha agreed, and at last he thought: If I am going to eat the one hemp grain, why not have a beautiful girl feed me perfumed rice milk, pouring it into my mouth and all over my naked body? Which he did, being very refreshed.
After several rounds of this (we aren't told how many) he was so fat the ground shook as he walked. So he went in search of his special Bodhi tree, where he could sit and be fat and try again to get rid of “I”.
But he couldn't get rid of “I” on his own. He needed to be tempted by the devil first. So Mara arrived and shot arrows past him, and girls jiggled their melons in his face; and then an army of spirits jumped up and down and grimaced and clashed their spears and whatnot.
The Buddha ignored it. Actually, I think I could ignore all that with my eyes closed, too. It is pretty easy to ignore arrows flying past you when you can't see them. But it is somewhat harder to ignore arrows when they land in your fat body. Why Mara wasn't a better shot?
What kind of a god can't hit a fat man sitting under a tree with his eyes closed? What kind of army stands around shouting and waving their arms? A pretty pathetic army.
Even the girls don't do their best. Who can't ignore a girl when he can't see her? But if she grabs your willie, now that's another matter. Mara is about as much a devil as the Buddha is a circus clown.
Still unable to make any progress on his own, the Buddha now goes down to hell, like Dante and Vergil, to see all the sinners swallowing molten brass and swimming in boiling cauldrons and being forced to watch reality TV shows and so on.
For someone supposed to be avoiding all thoughts, the Buddha seems to require an awful lot of action going on around him. First an army of devils and hookers, and now a mental walk through the aisles of hell.
From studying the circles of heaven and hell, the Buddha comes to see that “sensation brings desire.” To kill desire, you must kill sensation. Sensation is caused by contact and contact is caused by the six entrances (senses).
And there it is, in plain language. Perfect wisdom is all knowledge destroyed. The ultimate religious contradiction, the purest poison. How do you destroy all knowledge?: induced imbecility.
“Forthwith, the Buddha rose from the Bodhi tree full of compassion for all that lived”. . . except those things that insisted on desiring or having knowledge or eating more than one grain of hemp a day.
He advanced into the world with the holy intention to excise knowledge and passion from the world, and to tape over the six entrances of every living being (causing terrible worldwide flatulence).
Thanks but no thanks. The Jehovah's witnesses were here this morning and I told them the same thing. I'll wait for the next boat, the one with the maidens in it, and the roast beef. You lords of men and loving masters can go find your unwise elsewhere. Might I suggest the YMCA?
Yes, the Buddha had reached Nirvana, and now had a desire to preach it. “Because he would convert the world he went on toward Benares.” Big contradictions. Having rid himself of all desires, the Buddha desired to preach and proselytize and convert the world to his superior wisdom
And, I suppose, having rid himself of all hunger, he went to Burger King. How can someone who has gone beyond “I” still have a desire or ability to teach? Who is teaching? How can you teach with all your six holes plugged?
What are you going to do, tap out the Seven Sutras and Sixteen Sastras with your head on a coconut tree? It would be easier for Helen Keller to follow the plot at IMAX.
Next, the Buddha preaches his “middle way” in Benares, a doctrine that was already cliché in 400 BC. Confucius had already taught it in China and it was over the door of the Temple at Delphi: “Nothing in excess.” Probably over the door at Lascaux as well, but in buffalo letters.
It is not especially deep. Don't eat too much or too little: don't get fat or skinny. Don't get up before you are rested and don't oversleep like a slug. And get out of the tub before your fingers get that wrinkled look!
Of course, the Buddha does have some good advice, like don't concern yourself with money. The premier Eastern mystics of the late 20th century and early 21st, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Deepak Chopra, and Bikram seemed to have missed that day under the banyan tree.
Then we get the law wheels: eight right roads and and four great truths:
So let's count: 1) sight 2) wisdom 3) words 4) conduct 5) recreation 6) proper means 7) recollection 8) meditation. That's a lot of stuff to think about for someone who left his “I” back under the Bodhi tree.
Can't I just say a holy “no” to all this stuff? Can a yogi with his six entrances taped over have 1) true sight? 2) right words? 3) right recreation? With all your holes blocked, what kind of exercise can you do?
4) right conduct? With your eyes and ears and nose taped over, how do you know if your conduct was proper? You may have passed gas in the presence of the King. How do you know?
And now the 4 truths:

I wonder if the Buddha could be a little more specific? Nothing there would hold up in court. Nothing there would have impressed my 8th grade teacher, who was used to such wafflings. What conduct, what contemplation, what wisdom, what thoughtfulness?
What is right reflection? What is wrong reflection? Apparently the law of perfect truth is just a list of empty platitudes.
I tried to take the subject seriously, really, but after a couple of chapters, I couldn't hold a straight face any longer. I find all these solemn solicitations to holiness to be absurd.
I begin to feel like I am watching an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, starring the Boddhisattva and his wacky companions. I don't know much about the mysteries of life, but I know, from logic101, that the point of life is not to avoid living.
I might possibly want to avoid nasty, negative, or unpleasant experiences (then again I may not), but I certainly do not want to avoid all experiences. I may want to avoid gross sex, sexual addiction, profligacy, or incest, but I do not wish to avoid all sex.
I may wish to live an upright life, a life of rightness or rectitude or virtue, but I wouldn't dream of thinking that sitting under a banyan tree staring at my own third eye, trying to say no to all thought and desire, was an example of that virtue.
Why would the Buddha try to escape the cycle of birth and death, by sitting under a beautiful tree? The tree should kick him in the tush and tell him to go sit in a plastic cubicle if he doesn't like Nature. If I were that tree, I would drop a heavy branch on his fat head.
I think there is a reason that Buddhism has become popular in the contemporary West, and it isn't because it is an advance over Christianity. It is precisely because it is a further reversion into shallow vanity and a pathological inversion.
It is actually an increase in the poison dosage, required by a society that has an ever greater tolerance for poisons like this.
It is no coincidence that a society engulfed by a love for plastic in all its forms, from plastic bags to plastic homes to plastic personalities, would also be drawn to Buddhism. As our society as become evermore anti-natural, our religion must be, too.
Christianity was already anti-natural to incredible degrees, as Nietzsche has already proved. I am not here to rehabilitate Jesus, mind you. But the Buddha makes Christ look almost pagan.
Christ was an incredible man of action compared to the Buddha, with his fits of temper in the marketplace to his healing of lepers to his walking on water.
With Christ we get hints of humanity and of a personality. He is surrounded by his Marys and Marthas. But the Buddha is like a machine. His own mother died on the 7th day, and we may assume it was from the chill.
I found myself frightened by the whole tale: not so much that a story like this could be told 2,500 years ago, when I assumed that people were still attached to the Earth (although that, too), but that it could be taken as an example of godliness or holiness.
What kind of monsters are inspired by such a story? I cannot fathom reading this and thinking that I wanted to be like the Buddha.
I mean, it is hard enough to imagine a sickness of mind so advanced it could lead a man to avoid the sorrows of the world by fleeing into the desert to mortify himself. How can you solve the problem of externally inflicted pain by replacing it with selfinflicted pain?
But the Buddha's solution is even more radical than this Eastern holiness that came before him. At least pain is some real sensation: we may imagine that in a diseased mind it is close enough to pleasure to stand for it.
But the Buddha does not allow these men, these poor Brahmakarins in the forest, even that consolation. He wants them instead to seek a death-like trance, devoid of all thought, desire, and memory. Is that not more horrible than any pain or sorrow?
How can you fear death, and then recommend a near-dead living as the remedy? The fundamental idea, stripped of the religion, is a gross contradiction.
I felt much of this when I first read the story decades ago. Every decade I go back to it, to see if it has taken on a new meaning. And it always does take on a new meaning. Every decade the story of the Buddha seems more monstrous to me, and more analogous to our current culture
Every decade I see more parallels. I see how incredibly modern the Buddha was in his self-absorption and his monomania and his hysterical inability to cope with the smallest concerns of life and living. I see the Buddha as a lastman, an even more complete specimen than Christ.
I see the people around me becoming more zombie-like every decade, mirroring in some ways the zombie state of the Buddha. I see this weakness encouraged and nurtured by the society around me.
But as I recognize it in the story of the Buddha, I recognize it in my own self, and I seek to root it out. I have no desire to be desireless. I have no desire to be the Buddha, or Buddha-like. If anything, I seek to be the anti-Buddha.
I salute the Moon-devi and Mara himself, who, if he was an enemy of the Buddha, must be worthy of my alliance. Do not take this as Satanic. I have no use for any of that, either. I only mean that the emotions, all of them, are our constant companions, and I embrace them.
Passions are the engine of existence. Anger is not dark. Sorrow is not dark. Hatred is not dark. All can be used. All are but various forms of light. Even death is not dark. Krishna was right: if you weren't meant to be here, you wouldn't be here.
Those who are born are born for experience, not to avoid experience. If you were meant to avoid experience, you could do that very well in the quiet bosom of God. Because you are here, we must assume that Nature imagined she had some use for you here.
You are like the little bird pushed from the nest by its mother, for its own good. If the baby bird sits on the ground refusing to fly, and only meditates on the warmth of its mother's feathers, we do not call that baby bird holy. We call him food for foxes.

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