The whole weight of the Surangama, written thousands of years ago, was to pry Ananda from Mantagi’s sensual bed. Of course I labored over it. It’s thoroughly steeped in old science and hell and brimstone, a direct blow to the senses, all combined into some kind of hyper-mad state like a bullet flying clear of the barrel.
I was struck down and later exhumed, and spent a few good weeks in a zombie-like state before a clear line of thought emerged. It wasn’t until the fourth reading that I began to get the flow of it, which for all the world reminded me of an old book of witchcraft from the high school library.
In it the Buddha calls love out: “It’s a contagion.” Agreed. For me it comes in a crashing stampede of wild horses, shadows and limbs flying, enormous beating hearts, gallons of urine, everything pounded flat. I live on a plain devoid of features, what was once a dream landscape.
Love, the Buddha had no need of it. There’s no further information to be gleaned from this text. Ananda went to a brothel and was magnetized by Mantagi’s sensual bed. Before submitting fully to her kapila magic, Manjusri leapt into the room chanting the Surangama mantra, and Ananda was deterred. If this is an accurate account, it proves the authenticity of the Buddha’s powers, as girl magic is impossible to break.
Ananda apologized to the Buddha, stating his love for him, “from his eyes and mind.” The love between them was OK, it was the woman. In the Buddhist precepts a woman is compared to a spiteful snake. How have we survived them? For me the only way was to open to it completely, to not let it be confined to one person. If it became trapped, I had to release it — I had to learn this. The time came when I was able to disperse the entity itself. These days I can no longer hesitate. I have to love, everyone.
The Buddha continued, “Why did you decide to give up love and affection and follow me?” Ananda mentioned the Buddha’s bright complexion, among other attributes. The Buddha tried to help him by pointing to other things in their environment that would cease, like the light of day, but he gave no granularity.
The phenomenal world isn’t immutable, it moves in a measurable arc, with emotions behind decaying isotopes and the sublimation of glaciers. Ananda received many teachings on form, nothing on emotional pain, only that he was wrong to want her. We’re all wrong, yet the thread of love — of course everything depends of it, whatever is said.
There were others who’d occupied my life, who continue to share their lives through me, some kind of augmentation, where the love and deep familiarity opened a channel between us that continues to provide nourishment, stability, that gives me a sense of self-esteem. They brought me forward out of the poisoned environment of me alone into an aspect of community, cooperation, collaboration. They validated me. Though I’ve never been successfully loved, I was part of something. I was alive I them as well.
It’s hard to make a man. Without them there would be no measure of the darkness I would’ve fallen into, and no words to express it. I would never have seen Mind. How much suffering I avoided!
Love, the Buddha had nothing good to say about it, but without it we have nothing. Do we accept the suffering of the world or not? If we refute it, still we rely of the efforts of others to provide us the means of our existence, still we rely on love. If the Buddha had not received so much love in his childhood, could he have risen to such heights? If love is to be dismantled, how does humanity work?
In the Surangama love and lust intermingle — love is equated with prostitution. It’s not clear how much of this is the aversion of the flesh of Hindu culture, but not allowing for love’s enormous complexity, it takes a fully formed human as a constant. We can’t muster ourselves into a legible affront without the tireless work of our mothers. Not just the singular, taking the object to task exclusive of it’s interdependencies, but the larger current as well. Without the theory of evolution the logic hangs in the dark.
Love, the necessary attraction between the sexes, is the work of the One Mind through form to develop complexity quickly. There are many reasons for the male and female split.
The bonding process is necessary for the mind to function, to produce a mature adult. Another of the Buddhist tropes, non-attachment to name and form, naming things is intrinsic to the functioning of the brain. To see beyond love, beyond name and form, is it anymore human?
Evolution, a continual adaption to the environment, is as invisible as the formation of mountains, glaciers, and the human entity. Consciousness gradually evolved through countless iterations, each offspring carrying the imprint forward, augmenting it. The press forward has always been inescapable. We’ve absolutely been crushed beneath it. It has no scope or limit. So many life forms have gone extinct, to what end?
The logic of the Surangama relies on continual rebirth, with no insight into its origin, other than form arising from thought. It reinforces the entity by giving it rebirth, the belief in an entity that continues life after life. If eternal rebirth is brought into the present moment, do you see? There’s a danger in taking a poetic language, the romantic idea, as a blueprint, for anything.
The Buddha said that killing sheep puts us is in a continual rebirth loop, as the sheep reincarnate as humans and extract their revenge. In the light of modern science, does this make sense? The theory of reincarnation was never cogent, mathematically. More accurately, we’ve trapped them in a static cycle of a peaceful existence with optimal, healthy offspring, where the adults are harvested unaware — with no way to communicate their plight back to the survivors. We call this “domestication.” If there were a new incarnation after the slaughter, it would come back weaponized.
This base misunderstanding reminds me of a scene from Guns, Germs, and Steel, where the Moriori people were cut down by the Maori, a massacre. They didn’t know that they were from the same family…
“…A brutal end to the Moriori people… The Maori attacked en masse… Killed hundreds… Cooked and ate many of the bodies… Not one escaped… The tragedy resembles many others… Grimly illuminating… Both groups had diverged from a common origin… were decedents of Polynesian farmers who colonized New Zealand.”
– Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies – Jared Diamond
Not knowing the evolutionary scope of the human, every unknown person is an enemy — yet we’re all decedents of the same population of apes.