The Cult of the Dead


In the Karmadhatu Dukkha is Inevitable

ii.15 The Discriminatory mind is the root of all pain

Fascination with things like the “Walking Dead and Zombies” has been around for quite awhile. Back in 1932 there was a film with Bela Lugosi entitled, “White Zombie”, which has become a cult classic. During the 1950’s there were films like “The Invisible Invaders” with John Carradine and John Agar, a story about invaders from Outer Space taking up residence in the corpses of human beings. It was one of my “Saturday Matinee” favorites on the ol’ black and white Tube as a kid in the ‘60s. Then in 1968 came “Night of the Living Dead”, which is really the old grand-dad of Flesh-eating Zombie types, like the little girl who eventually munched away on her parents. This film spawned many more throughout the years, like “Day of the Dead”, “Dawn of the Dead”, ect. But the one that seems to hold the greatest fascination in recent years is the AMC continuing series, “The Walking Dead.” People are really into these “animated-corpse” types of subject matter; there are even people going around getting dressed-up in Ghoul-makeup and having their own personal “zombie weddings”. Why all the fascination with this kind of phenomena? Is it just merely another passing fad? One would hope so. But perhaps there’s another form of metaphor at work here, one that this next sutra by Patañjali can help us with.

2.15 To the discriminatory-mind all is dukkha (pain, suffering, dissatisfaction). All of this is due to the consequences that these karmic actions initiate: anxiety and fear over losing what one has gained; subliminal impressions lingering in the alaya-receptacle long after the action has occurred, thus inducing more reactionary impulses; all this is capped-off  with the three [*gunas*] that occur in nature and which in turn, influence the mind.

Patañjali is taking a cue here from the Buddha’s Noble Truths in this particular sutra as well as the next. Here we have “there is suffering (dukkha)”, and “there is a cause for suffering.” The Lankavatara Sutra teaches that when the mind discriminates, it creates a bi-furcation from its original nature. It becomes divided and hence inadequate. There occurs a desire for something less-than its Absolute Stature. This creates painful angst since no-thing or no-experience could ever measure up to the Unborn Mind as it is in Itself. All this does is to set the samsaric cycle of karma in action. The consequence is dukkha. And the continual “discriminatory cycle” is the root cause of this inevitable pain.  It later becomes a “looped-cycle” of endless transmigratory dukkha as the subliminal-impressions stored in the Alaya vijñana continually rise to the surface whenever a learned-pattern of reaction to phenomena ensues. The other ingredient that seals the doom of this recurring phenomenon has to do with the three *gunas* which are:

sattwa: striving for perfection

rajas: restless activity

tamas: dullness or inertia

The gunas automatically occur in nature and have a life of their own, so to speak, and they can continually wreck havoc on the clouded, discriminatory mind. We can see how this mad activity prevents the discriminatory mind from finding the “Undiscovered Country of the Unborn.” It remains UN-discovered because the discriminatory mind is looking for it in all the wrong places—IT can never be discovered but only Self-Realized. An upcoming sutra here will show us how this necessary [Self ] Realization is key to subduing the forces of discriminatory reasoning all together.

Oh yes…and what about our Zombie-connection? This is a great metaphor depicting the inevitable end when the grossly carnal and discriminatory mind is left to sift through the decaying materiality of its own making, exclusively on its own accord, devoid of the self-realization of Noble Wisdom.  It seems that we are so totally in love with or own animated corpses that we forget to take our sights off the decaying finger and look instead, to THAT which animates it all in the first place. We prefer our own stench to the Living Ambrosia that is always ready to purify us from our own inadequate devices. We somehow perversely promote our paltry no-self aggrandizement over the Perfect Suchness that is always ready to welcome us back to our true home. The choice is simple. RE-animate Mind as opposed to being a rotting animated cadaver bearing marks of the Cult of the Dead. 

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