Mental Constructions

“[Brahmans] would talk about the human life being like a chariot. Consciousness was the driver. There was a charioteer, and that was your inner essential soul. The Buddha said, no, there is not that one driver, there’s only a chariot, made of different parts. We put it together. We think there’s a charioteer, but that doesn’t really serve us. In fact, it becomes destructive; it causes pain.” Wheels of Fire: The Buddha’s Radical Teaching on Process, By Kate Lila Wheeler, March 27, 2013, Insight Journal

One of the things I love about Buddhism is how it deconstructs everything. It breaks apart everything into its constituent pieces and looks at the pieces in terms of wholesome and unwholesome bits. It views even consciousness itself as arising and vanishing continuously, not as a continuing stream.

What that means is that we are continually creating every moment of our lives. This is radical personal responsibility. The narrative? We are making it all up as we go along. All of it. That continuing sense of self is a mind construct. Nothing more. To me, that seems honest.

Imagine being able to turn your attention to or from anything you wish. That’s a result of meditation. One learns how to turn off the unending mental diarrhea, which is called papanca. Papanca can mean “conceptual proliferation” (among other things, all being negative). What is the Buddhist solution? The Buddhist solution to all things negative is the same: abandon it. Don’t invest one more moment of energy or effort into something that has proven to be unwholesome. Make up something new and better.



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About cdhoagpurple

I have an MBA, am married to a GM/UAW retiree with Huntington's Disease. I am more Buddhist than Christian. I plan on moving to Virginia when widowed. I have a friend''s parents that live down there and another friend living in Maryland. I am simplifying my life in preparation for the eventual move.Eight years ago, my husband had stage 4 cancer. I am truly "neither here nor there." My identity shifts and I am always surprised where I end up. 2015 was my hardest year ever. This is my Dark Night of the Soul. Welcome to it.

One response to “Mental Constructions”

  1. Chico says :

    Reblogged this on A Way in the Woods and commented:
    A good comparison of the difference between Hinduism and Buddhism.

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