The Five Rogues

PART THREE

As Evan and Pamela traversed the illustrious path of the Unborn Odyssey, Evan found himself lost in thought, reminiscing about his own journey towards Self-realization within the Unborn scheme of things. He began to share his experiences with Pamela, recounting his initial encounters with the Primordial. Evan spoke of his former Ch’an Master, who had guided him towards a deeper understanding of the Unborn, and the gnome-like entity that resided within his own mysterious Tower of Illumination, who had imparted further teachings upon him.

Evan continued to recount his journey, speaking of the further unknown primordial beings who had shared their wisdom with him, and the challenges he had faced along the way. Despite the difficulties, Evan had persevered, and had ultimately achieved the pinnacle of Buddhagnosis by climbing the Ten-fold Lankavatarian path of Noble Self-realization.

As Evan spoke, Pamela listened intently, fascinated by his journey and the knowledge he had gained. Together, they continued down the path of the Unborn Odyssey, eager to discover what lay ahead.

As the two companions continued on their journey together, they came across a multitude of beings who were trapped in their own ignorance. These creatures were unable to grasp the life-saving illumination of the Unborn, which had the power to release them from the chains they had created for themselves. The duo encountered a diverse range of these captives, each with their own unique characteristics and struggles. Despite their differences, they all shared the same inability to comprehend the freeing light of the Unborn. It was often a frustrating and disheartening experience for the travelers, who longed to help these beings break free from their self-imposed limitations.  As they journeyed on, another unknown traveler joined them. This new traveler sported a bulbous mustache and wore clothing that showed signs of a long and tiring journey.

As they continued on their way, the new traveler began to sense their frustration and their struggle to understand the nature of the beast. With a deep understanding of the path of the Unborn, the traveler explained that a puthujjana is a spiritually blind person who cannot distinguish a noble person from a non-noble person.

The reason for this, the traveler explained, is that a puthujjana cannot sense the spiritual presence of a noble person. Even if a Buddha or a recent current-winner were sitting among them in a Dharma center, no one would be able to recognize them because they are puthujjanas who lack the dharma-eye.

The dharma-eye, the traveler continued, marks entry into the supermundane path which is the true Buddhist way. Here’s the full teaching in parable form:

“Once upon a time, in a realm where ancient wisdom and spiritual practices thrived, there existed a profound belief in the power of removal. This practice, known as the via negativa, held the key to unlocking one’s true identity and ultimately achieving a state of profound resonance, known as samadhi.

“The via negativa taught that our journey towards self-discovery required us to detach ourselves from the world around us. It emphasized that our physical bodies, intricately intertwined with the external realm, encompassed what was known as the Five Aggregates. These aggregates, comprising form, sensation, perception, mental formations, and consciousness, were the very essence of our existence. And yet, paradoxically, they were also the very obstacles that needed to be eliminated.

“As sentient beings, we found ourselves deeply entangled in the intricate web of this grand illusion. Our attachment to the physical world and our own bodies was so profound that we lacked the ability to extricate ourselves from it through sheer willpower alone. The mere thought of someone threatening our physical form would send waves of overwhelming terror coursing through our veins.

“It was within this context that the practice of removal gained its significance. By gradually shedding the layers of attachment and illusion, one could inch closer to their true essence. The remover, as they embarked on this arduous journey, would peel away the external distractions and delve deeper into the core of their being. With each step taken on this path, they would inch closer to their authentic self, resonating with it in a profound and transformative way.

“The ultimate goal was to achieve samadhi, a state of complete absorption and unity with one’s true identity. In this state, the remover would transcend the limitations of the physical world and experience a profound sense of oneness with the universe. The removal of the external and the dissolution of the false self would pave the way for a spiritual awakening of unparalleled magnitude.

“Yet, the path towards removal was not for the faint of heart. It demanded unwavering dedication, discipline, and a willingness to confront the deepest fears and attachments that held us captive. It required us to confront the very essence of our existence and question the illusions that had shaped our perception of reality.

“For within the realm of removal, the remover embarked on a journey of self-discovery that went beyond the confines of the physical body. It was a quest to uncover the true nature of our being, to transcend the limitations of attachment and ignorance, and to find solace in the boundless expanse of the spiritual realm.”

And so with this newfound understanding, Evan and Pamela bowed and thanked the traveler and continued on their journey with a renewed sense of purpose and a deeper understanding of the path they were on.

As they delved deeper into their spiritual journey, a profound realization began to take root within their hearts. It became clear to them that the true villain responsible for the perpetual state of ignorance was none other than the Five Skandhas, those insidious aspects of human existence that held an ignominious grip on all sentient reality.

With this newfound understanding, they recognized that the key to achieving authentic Noble Self-realization lay in dismantling the stronghold of these Skandhas. Their disbanding was not merely a matter of choice, but a crucial step towards liberation from the shackles of suffering.

Each of the Five Skandhas represented a different facet of human experience, and together they formed the very foundation of one’s identity. The first Skandha, form, encompassed the physical body and its sensory perceptions. The second, sensation, encompassed the myriad feelings and emotions that arose from these perceptions. The third, perception, involved the categorization and interpretation of these sensations. The fourth, mental formations, encompassed the thoughts, beliefs, and volitions that shaped one’s actions. And finally, consciousness, the fifth Skandha, represented the awareness that tied all these aspects together.

It was through the interplay of these Skandhas that the illusion of a separate self was perpetuated, leading to attachment, aversion, and ultimately, suffering. They realized that by disbanding these Skandhas, they could dismantle the very foundation of their ego-driven existence, paving the way for true awakening.

However, this was no easy task. The Skandhas had woven themselves intricately into the fabric of their being, entangled in every thought, every emotion, and every perception. To disband them required a deep and unwavering commitment to self-inquiry, mindfulness, and the cultivation of wisdom.

With each passing day, they embarked on an enhanced journey of self-discovery, peeling away the layers of conditioning and illusion that had kept them bound for so long. They observed the arising and passing away of sensations, emotions, and thoughts, recognizing their impermanence and inherent emptiness. Gradually, they began to loosen the grip of the Skandhas, untangling the web of identification that had ensnared them.

As the Skandhas dissolved, sentient beings would experience a profound shift in their perception of reality. No longer confined by the limitations of these five rogues, they began to see the interconnectedness of all things, the interdependence of every being set free in the very heart of Noble Wisdom.

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