Tag Archives: Milton

A Darkness Visible

Milton’s striking metaphor in Paradise Lost, the oxymoron Darkness Visible, is unparalleled in referring light (lumen) itself to something like a hellish tomb of veritable blackness. Robert J. Edgeworth in his essay entitled, Milton’s ‘Darkness Visible’ and ‘Aeneid’ 7, writes: read more

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The Undiscovered Country: Bardo 3, Yathabhutam

One of my favorite short stories is HG Wells’ “The Country of the Blind”, first published circa 1904. In a nutshell, an explorer discovers a hidden “mystical” valley wherein all the inhabitants lack the faculty of sight. Sensing that in the land of the blind the “one-eyed man is king”, he tries to convert them into the ways of cognitive “seeing”; they just scoff at him although later he falls in love with a lovely blind young woman, yet when he also tries to encourage her to understand what it means to be able to “see”, she tells him that he’s just using a very vivid imagination. Later, he agrees to become blinded so that he can marry her, but decides to flee the Country of the Blind (in the original 1904 version) becoming lost in a mountainous terrain and eventually succumbing to the elements. Quite a striking metaphor for assessing one’s journey through all the “Bardo” stages, as one naturally succumbs at the end of the journey to the skandhic elements. One thinks one sees and knows what the journey is all about but is actually quite “blind” to the True Reality (Paramartha) behind what animates the volatile journey in the first place. The Lanka states that Mind simply becomes lost and blinded to the apparent reality behind its own animations; like the man in Wells’ short story, the faculty of the imagination rules the roost in samsara. He trusted exclusively in his Skandhic faculty of proper cognition yet his young blind lover saw right through this fallacy. Like the aging and blind poet, John Milton, the young woman saw and realized more behind apparent reality with the supramundane eyes of spiritual and transcendent awareness and insight—an “inner” faculty of which *Milton wrote in “Paradise Lost”, “There Plant Eyes”. He was referring to seeing Reality AS IT IS—Yathabhutam. If one goes groping around in the Country of the Blind (Samsara) one will never see the light of day at the end of the tunnel. Success in navigating the turbulent waters of the Bardo and transcending avidya (blinding ignorance) depends on utilizing the proper Buddhagnosis—or the right compass that leads one to the Luminous Other Shore of the Dharmakaya. The Word is the compass. Under this Right Direction the country of the blind becomes supplanted with the Undiscovered Country of the Unborn. The Country of Yathabhutam. read more

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