What We Truly Believe (comment on “Hardcore Zen”)

That which we will…, and that which we intend to do and that wherewithal we are occupied:–this becomes an object for the persistance of consciousness. The object being there, there comes to be a station of consciousness. Consciousness being stationed and growing, rebirth of renewed existance takes place in the future, and here from birth, decay, and death, grief, lamenting, suffering, sorrow, and despair come to pass. Such is the uprising of this mass of ill.

Even if we do not will, or intend to do, and yet are occupied with something, this too becomes an object for the persistance of consciousness… whence birth… takes place.

But if we neither will, nor intend to do, nor are occupied about something, there is no becoming of an object for the persistance of consciousness. The object being absent, there comes to be no station of consciousness. Consciousness not being stationed and growing, no rebirth of renewed existence takes place in the future, and herefrom birth, decay-and-death, grief, lamenting, suffering, sorrow and despair cease. Such is the ceasing of this entire mass of ill.

(SN II 65, Pali Text Society vol. 2 pg 45)

So how does one act in the absence of will, intention, and preoccupation? I would contend that what we truly believe causes us to act, like the hypnotist’s subject responding to suggestion, and that such action can take place in the absence of will, intention, or preoccupation, just as a hypnotist’s subject can be moved without the exercise of their will or intention.

If you grant that this is possible, then the collection of experiences and thoughts that make up what we believe cause our action. We think it’s our exercise of will or intention that sets us in motion, physically and mentally, because we have never watched ourselves move without volition, but actually we have no more choice about it than the subject in a deep trance.

Those who think they can resist hypnosis are generally the easiest to hypnotize, that’s my understanding. Those who think what they believe has no relationship to their actions, haven’t realized what it is that they truly believe.

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