Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The poisons

Buddhism teaches that the three poisons are greed, hate & ignorance. These poisons lead us to do evil. In other words, to act contrary to our own enlightened self-interest, causing pain for ourselves and other. I believe these are real - with real effects. But I was thinking about poison today and relative truth. I was walking in the woods this morning and saw a small amanita mushroom. I know this variety. If you eat it, the mushroom will make you sick & if you eat enough, it will kill you. But how this mushroom affects me depends on my relationship with it. If I am just looking at it, I am not sickened. I can even touch it. The mushroom is not inherently poison. It is poison in relationship with me, and even then its noxious quality depends on my action.

So it is with everything. The morning glory is beautiful to look at, but I know that its seeds will create hallucinations. So, if I don't want that effect, I just enjoy the flower - and do not consume the seeds. The apples that I photographed this morning have no existence apart from the water and soil that nourished them. And what is the difference between them and the flowers that I photographed there in May? The flowers have the potential of the fruit within them. And the fruits follow naturally from the flower.

If I see reality with all its myriad connections, then I can better avoid trapping myself, thinking that someone or something "is" this or that way. It all depends on how I am perceiving things, and how I choose to interact with the world.

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