The title of this article is ‘how to be a Buddha’ rather than ‘how to become a Buddha’ because the way of the Buddha is one of being rather than one of becoming. This is an excerpt from my upcoming book which will also include ‘how to become a god’ and ‘how to use magic’ along with a logical explanation of what the universe is, where it came from, and all that jazz.
Because our communication is limited to language, which itself is a framework or a model, there are limitations as to the depth of my communication. All models have limitations because they exist inside of reality, and hence exclude the reality that is outside of them. In fact one could say nothing at all if one did not exclude, for example if I say ‘table’ I am excluding everything that is not a table, hence to talk of any-thing is to exclude something else. The result is that in using language to explain that which goes beyond language, i.e. the real world, we are bound to reach some apparent paradoxes. It is important to note that these paradoxes do not exist in reality, they represent only that we have reached the limits of our framework of communication, i.e. language.
Buddhahood is often discussed alongside enlightenment, so I will first explain enlightenment, otherwise the reader may be confused as to what precisely I am talking about.
The word ‘enlightened’ is commonly used to discuss two entirely different states of being. The first is to possess more light, which is a fancy word for power. One who has succeeded, through any means, good or evil, of amassing energy begins to glow since they are literally overflowing with energy. At first this is subtle, a sparkle in the eyes perhaps, but in theory and in religious traditions it is supposed that at some point they actually emanate light visibly. Feel free to be skeptical on this point, it’s not important to this article. Although I will say that the fact that all living beings already emanate light, albeit not enough to see with our eyes (at least for most people), has been confirmed scientifically for some time.
The second usage of ‘enlightened’ is one who has discovered the great secret of Buddhism, whatever that is.
Actually I know what it is. The great secret of Buddhism is the open secret that there isn’t actually a secret. This is an open secret because it’s been stated clearly numerous times by numerous people throughout history. Upon hearing this the minds of the common people struggle to comprehend what they presume to be a complex and mystical statement, and countless tomes have been written in an attempt to explain that which does not exist. Hence it has taken upon it the nature of something like a joke. Hardy har har!
On the other hand, since the features of everything/infinity are identical to the features of nothing/void (if everything were moving in the same direction including the observer then nothing would be moving… because relativity) whenever there is nothing there is always something from another perspective (is everything moving together or is nothing moving at all?) And in this case you could say that the realization that there isn’t a thing to achieve is itself a thing worth achieving. However, this apparent paradox only appears to be paradoxical due to the framework of language that we are using to interpret reality. This paradox can be safely ignored because it literally does not matter whether there is or is not a thing that can be achieved, in the same way that to refrain from doing anything is to actively do nothing — it’s a trick of language and it would be foolish to spend time debating whether doing nothing is actually doing something or not.
Or to put it another way, as it has been put before: if you try to catch it you lose it, and if you let go then you have it. What is it? It’s the failure of deductive reasoning to explain that which cannot be deduced. One cannot think their way out of a trap that does not exist. Likewise you can’t climb a non-existent tree, but you certainly can waste a lifetime trying! Hardy har har!
If this explanation seems unfulfilling then that’s because you’ve made the mistake of projecting what is it you want, let’s say happiness, onto the concept of enlightenment or spiritual attainment. For example, if I believed I’d be happy if I climbed Mount Foopoo and then I discovered that Mount Foopoo doesn’t exist, the problem is not that Mount Foopoo doesn’t exist, the problem is that I’m unhappy. It’s not Mount Foopoo’s fault. If I were wise I might then stop for a moment to consider the real reason why I were unhappy. And if I were unwise I would instead project it upon something else and spend the rest of my time lamenting about the unfairness of life.
And that nicely leads us into the practical part of how to be a Buddha, which, like the world in which we live, and unlike the frustrating yet amusing paradoxes of deductive reasoning, does actually exist.
Before I begin with the practical please allow me to explain what a Buddha is not by making a detour back to the first definition of enlightenment: power obtained through ‘spiritual’ attainment.
There are many games that one can play and a common theme for a game is competition, which is to be better than your competitors at the game, i.e. to collect more points than those people whom you are comparing yourself to. The money game is exactly this. The spiritual game is exactly this too. It’s the same thing in disguise. How can this be? Isn’t spiritual attainment a worthwhile cause? Perhaps even the most worthwhile cause? Spiritual people want you to think that, because that’s what they think, and money people want you to think that making money is what gives ‘worth’, because they do that. But both are playing almost identical games in which one collects points relative to other people, for which they expect to get a prize or something. Spoiler alert: there is no prize because the game never ends. It is theoretically possible to get to #1 position, at least in one particular category, but then the game becomes defending your position against #2 and #3.
Whatever the currency may be: money, power, spiritual energy, happiness, respect, knowledge, charity, etc., etc., it’s the same game, just with different tokens. Now don’t get me wrong, these games can be great fun to play, but all of them possess the same problem: they all leave you feeling unfulfilled for a very simple reason. The reason is that in order to gain a surplus of one type of energy, you must sacrifice another type. This is always the case because relativity. If you gain light you lose dark; if you gain hot you lose cold. That might sound fine but it turns out that if you have only light and no dark then you can’t distinguish anything, hence you lose your sight; and you know what happens when you get too hot. But what of happiness? Can one have too much happiness? Oh yes! In the same manner of having too much light, having too much happiness would extinguish a whole aspect of being, such as compassion. You would become a one-dimensional being, fragmented and unable to adapt to circumstances or the varying needs of others, not to mention yourself. It’s better to have two arms than one doubly strong arm.
So what then of those great spiritual masters who radiate light, as in religious artwork? It would only be worth being in such a state if one were whole, but it would be an extremely bad idea to try to get there because to do so would inadvertently mean sacrificing something else, making one corrupt. Some belong to the former and some the latter, e.g. 2 Corinthians 11:14 “for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light”. And then there are those who are receiving temporary power given to them for the purpose of carrying out a specific task, and lastly a Buddha who has accidentally obtained too much energy and is trying to get rid of it.
And we’re back to discussing Buddhas. So what is a Buddha? A Buddha is one who is not playing a competitive game, instead the Buddha is going for wholeness, or balance, because that is the only way to avoid unnecessary suffering. It is the only way to be complete. Hence anyone who desires power or status cannot become a Buddha for the simple reason that one whom desires power or status is literally aiming at imbalance, whereas a Buddha is aiming at balance. These are mutually exclusive ways of being, like light and dark.
The way of the Buddha is the middle way, which is neither too much nor too little. Or to put it another way: if you’re hungry, eat; if you’re full, stop eating!
In the Greek myth Icarus attempts to escape from Crete with wings made of feathers and wax, he’s told not to fly too high lest he get burned by the sun, nor too low lest he fall into the sea. Icarus flies too high, his wings melt, and he ends up in the sea. We can deduce from this that Icarus was not a Buddha. Flying too high: classic non-Buddha mistake! Likewise Lucifer, which literally means the light-bearer, is cast down from heaven for trying to overthrow God, read: reaching too high. This always happens, if you get to #1 there is only one way you can go: down.
The result of this is that the gods are continuously overthrown and have to start the game over, and who knows how long it takes to get from a rock to a worm to a dog to a human to an angel to a god? Ouch! Most people are just going round and round in this cycle, which the Hindus call Samsara. Only a Buddha can escape from this and the method of escape is aiming at the middle instead of at the top.
I should mention that just as the great secret of Buddhism turns out to be nothing at all, likewise the way of Buddahood turns out to be such a painfully simple concept that most people are inclined to dismiss it as not special-sounding enough. They can’t see the forest for the trees and continue to march around saying “namaste” every 12 seconds, picking flowers under the fullmoon and repeatedly getting duped into energy-funding the campaigns of the next would-be god, or ‘guru’ as they commonly call themselves nowadays. Funnily enough, the fact that it’s so damn obvious is all it takes to keep the riff-raff out of the clubhouse.
A typical first approach to Buddhahood is an attempt to get rid of all desire. That immediately introduces the paradox that to desire not to desire is itself a desire, making the attempt to quit desire seemingly impossible. The solution: this is a trick of language, not an actually existent problem in the real world. Just because those at the peak of a mountain cannot climb any higher does not mean that you can’t get to the peak by climbing. Likewise you cannot be said to be in a room until you are already inside the room, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enter a room, it means only that the model we are using to the describe the world, i.e. language, has failed to properly explain how reality works. Another way of looking at it is that if you were to try to get rid of all desires, the moment you eradicated the final one, the desire to not desire would disappear along with it because there would be nothing for that desire to be about, it would be a desire with no object.
Trying to cross bridges before you come to them causes many of these such paradoxes, just as it is indeed impossible to cross a bridge when there is no bridge in front of you at the moment. The solution becomes clear, or as often as not the problem dematerializes, as you approach it. Or to use the bridge metaphor again: the right time to attempt a bridge crossing is when you are standing in front of a bridge.
It could be said to be true that one approaches Buddhahood as one gets rid of desires. Yet it is also untrue (which is to be expected every time a rigid statement about truth is made.) Technically if one has too many desires then one should attempt to have less desires, and if one has not enough desires then one should attempt to have more. If you’re hungry, eat, and if you’re full, stop eating. The statement that one can attain Buddhahood by removing desires is true only so long as the person in question is experiencing a discomfort caused by the pangs of many unfulfilled desires. Hence to say that this is the way is like saying that one must travel south to go to Rome, which is the truth only so long as one is currently north of Rome. Such is the nature of truth.
But being a Buddha is not about desire anymore than trees are about sunlight. Being a Buddha is about having neither too much nor too little, it is about balance — but not too much balance! Just the right amount of balance. The right amount of balance depends upon the context, in some contexts imbalance might be the right amount of balance. How to know what is the right amount? Well: if you’re hungry, eat, and if you’re full then stop eating. To put it another way: you will know when you’re doing something wrong because it will hurt; if this way hurts, try the other way. After learning where the boundaries are on both sides you will then know where the middle is. This is the way of the Buddha: the middle way, or as I like to call it: the way that doesn’t hurt. You do however need to be willing to hit those boundaries in order to know where they are — which is going to hurt, and since the boundaries themselves move, you need to be prepared to test them every now and again, otherwise they will eventually close in on you. But that’s OK because the right amount of pain is not no pain at all, that would be boring.
Hence the grand secret of the Buddha is the common-sense advice that to avoid suffering one must stop doing things that hurt, or more specifically: stop doing that which you don’t want. The reason why this is overlooked by almost everyone throughout history is due to the fact that most people are not trying to become a Buddha, they are trying to get into a position where they are better relative to their peers, according to whatever they believe is of value: money, happiness, spirituality, charity, etc. Even if such a person were to claim that they did truly want to become a Buddha for the good of humanity, their real reason for doing so would be so that they could think better of themselves for being in a high status position, i.e. so that others would appreciate them. Such selfish desires, even those that superficially look to be altruistic, blind people to simple truths.
So all it takes to achieve Buddhahood is to stop doing things that hurt? Yes and no. You see, if you are lost in the jungle and then you find a map, you still have the problem that you are in the middle of a jungle. Maps don’t teleport; knowing the way home is not the same as being home. You then have to walk all the way back the way you came, albeit you can now take a shorter route. Hence to get from suffering to non-suffering is going to take a journey which may still have many obstacles along the way. This metaphor is adequate because, just like returning from being lost in the jungle, there are many different routes you can take and almost always it turns out that the most direct route has some annoying rivers or mountains in the way, perhaps even a dragon, so you can choose to go either the direct but difficult route, or you can take the long way around. Neither is better or worse, it’s more of a personal preference.
If this sounds too simple to you then don’t worry! It’s simple only in principle, but in practice it’s a long and treacherous journey. In fact it’ll be just as long and treacherous as is necessary for you to properly appreciate it — that’s a fact because if you did not appreciate it then you’d have to face your imbalanced non-appreciation which is itself one of the obstacles. So you can sleep well in the knowledge that there are many sleepless nights ahead of you!
The model as presented above will get you quite far but not quite all the way due to the fact that any time a concept is presented you must balance that concept too. For example, if you tried to avoid pain and suffering altogether you’d become imbalanced, and so you will at some point have to balance pain and suffering, otherwise you’d find yourself in the uncomfortable position of having not enough suffering. I understand it may be difficult for you to imagine that you could ever have not enough suffering, but that’s only because you’re so far into it. In the same way one who is starving could likely not imagine ever being full, but if they kept on eating they’d eventually get there despite their opinion on the matter. Likewise you must balance the balancing, that is to say that at some point you’ll find that being balanced all of the time is no longer fun, and you would actively seek for imbalance in order to balance the balancing. After that you’d need to balance the balance between balance and imbalance, and so on, and so forth.
Hence you can see that being a Buddha is a sort of art and can’t be rigidly said to be about any particular thing, not even really about balancing, since a Buddha who becomes too balanced would respond by actively seeking imbalance. This is why it’s a difficult concept to explain; there is no hard and fast rules, it requires adaptability (but not too much adaptability!) Just in the same way that going south is only the way if you are north of your destination, in the same way to call Buddhahood about balance in only true so long as you are currently feeling too much imbalance.
If that sounds complicated in theory, it’s quite simple in practice. You don’t have to juggle the balancing of all of these different features of yourself at the same time, you only need address the ones that are currently imbalanced, and you will know which ones those are because they’re the ones that currently hurt. Hence if you’re not hurting then you’re on the right path, and if you are hurting you can try changing course. As soon as you start to head in the right direction you’ll begin feel better, and that’s your sign that you’re going the right way.
A further thing to mention in regards to the finding of the boundaries and playing within them is that that you can also push the boundaries out yourself, and they can seemingly by themselves move out or close in on you. The boundaries are dynamic. For example, in one location the speed limit is 40 and in another place it’s 80. Those are boundaries that change depending on where you are, and you can also push them but there is a risk in doing so. To be a Buddha you’ll have to become adept at risk-analysis to know when and when not to push boundaries — but not too adept!
Emotional boundaries are of a similar nature to the boundaries of temperature. You can adjust to them, and in this case a little bit of pushing is a good idea because if you refuse to touch either hot or cold water ever then that’s going to restrict you in other ways, i.e. it’s going to limit your available experience, which is the same as to say it’s going to introduce boundaries in other areas. Hence accepting a little discomfort is the right balance in this context because it saves you from greater discomfort elsewhere, but there are limits to it: you can get used to 40°C but you can’t get used to 100°C nor should you try. Hence if you refuse to ever push the boundaries they will close in on you, but if you push the boundaries too much then you will be spending too much of your time defending them. There is a middle ground and that is the place to aim for. Emotions are of the same manner as this.
I find it helpful to use the analogy of territory. In fact this analogy is so close to how it is that it would not be unreasonable to say that this is actually what is happening. The first thing you do is to define a territory, which is to push out the boundaries on both sides which gives you a ‘home’ within which you are comfortable and at peace. This is your territory. However, there are other entities that are also attempting to capture territory for their own homes, and hence if you do not defend the boundaries of your territory you will find them encroaching in on you. If you were to capture too much territory you would find yourself forever defending the vast boundaries of your territory against invaders and would have no time to relax. If you did not capture enough territory or refused to defend your boundaries then you would find yourself constricted and restricted. Take the middle way. This is not a chore, the middle way will give you just the right amount of peace and just the right amount of war, which is certainly not no war at all.
Continuing with the analogy of territory, imagine that all feelings and concepts exist as territory, i.e. if you have more of any-thing then you have more territory within that ‘kingdom.’ You can capture too much territory in any area of life, e.g. too much money, too many possessions, too much power, too many desires, too much peace, too much happiness, too much love, too much freedom, too much knowledge, etc. If you do this you will have to defend that territory. To look at it another way: for everything you have there is a maintenance cost. If you own 3 cars then you will have to maintain 3 cars else they will stop working. It’s fine to do this as long as you are prepared to defend it, or to pay the maintenance cost (choose your metaphor.)
Once you’ve captured territory and made your home there you possess that quality or resource. Should you then possess small territories within each kingdom, that of money, happiness, love, desire, etc.? It depends on the circumstance. Once you have a resource this is a type of energy that you can trade with other beings. All trade operates on the principles of supply and demand: the less of the resource on offer, and the more people who want it, the higher its value. Basic business principles apply to all forms of energy, not just money, emotions too. Happiness, love, fear, these things can be exchanged between people and such exchanges are a regular part of everyone’s life. It may be a good strategy to put your energy into capturing a large territory within one particular kingdom, and then trading for other resources. Currently at this point in history, in this world, you can get away with not growing your own food, just trading money for it instead, since food is cheap and plentiful. But there is so little happiness around that it would be wise to make your own happiness-garden. And if you get a surplus of happiness you can trade it for other resources easily since it’s currently in high demand due to the low supply, so you don’t have to worry so much about ending up with too much as it’s easy to get rid of.
Naturally as the environment, or the economy, of the world in which you live changes you will need to adapt with it. If happiness becomes plentiful and food scarce then you will need to respond to this change swiftly, selling or abandoning some of your happiness-garden in favor of a vegetable-garden. A Buddha is, if nothing else, one who adapts to changing circumstances.
If you’re confused by my use of three different metaphors, that of balancing between two extremes, that of finding your way home from being lost, and that of defining and then defending (or maintaining) the boundaries of your territory, know that they are different only in language but describe the same reality. I’ve used multiple metaphors in an attempt to explain something that is outside of the framework of language; each metaphor gives you a piece of the puzzle. I could say that the obstacles on the journey back home are the same thing as the battles you will fight to gain territory. I could also say that you’re not returning home but clearing and building a new home within the jungle. Don’t confuse the metaphor used for the reality itself. The manifested reality of these are identical, just as two squares next to each other are the same thing as one rectangle despite the language used being different.
I will give you one more piece of the puzzle, and I hope this is enough for you to see the big picture. The outer world in which you live is a direct reflection of the inner world. You can consider this metaphorically or literally, for practical purposes it makes no difference. Outer things are such as: people, land, possessions. Inner things are such as: emotions, feelings, knowledge. These two realities, the inner and outer, are the same place. Hence if your desk is untidy, your mind will be untidy. If you have unfinished business in the outer world, you will have unfinished business in the inner world. How many books do you own that you never intend to read, or clothes that you never intend to wear? How many words are left unsaid to your close friends and family? Are you keeping up with the maintenance of your home? Do you have any enemies?
Tidy up your life, tie off all the loose ends, and your mind will follow accordingly. Tidy up your outer world and you will be tidying up your inner world. Defend your physical boundaries and your emotional boundaries will strengthen too. Sell or give away that which you don’t use, you’re paying a price just for keeping it.
There is another analogy I can give here that has been used by some cultures historically and although it is currently considered a primitive belief, it is nevertheless an extremely useful metaphor. Imagine that everything, even inanimate objects, have a spirit. They want to have meaning, and their meaning is related to what they were meant to do. Hence if you have a pair of shoes that you never wear the shoes will become depressed, and the spirit of the shoes will nag at you. The spirit of shoes is not going to be very powerful, but if you have many such possessions this overall nagging could accumulate into something tangible. Now you might think that shoes can’t physically do this, but if the shoes also had a counterpart in your inner-world then they indeed could.
If you have a good mind for logic you might have noticed that if the outer world and inner world reflect one another then you are living within your own mind. I won’t elaborate on this too much here but you might want to consider the implications of this in terms of how to act in the world, or even the philosophical implications of what this means about the nature of reality. Clearly, if you are living within a manifestation of your own mind then anything you do to the world would be done to yourself, making the only successful strategy one of harmony in which you take neither too much nor too little. Additionally you would know whenever you did something ‘wrong’ in the outer world because you’d very soon feel wrong in the inner world. Well that just so happens to be the way of Buddhahood. Surprise!
Funnily enough this all means that you could make a very valid argument that you’ve been a Buddha all-along. It’s just that you’ve recently been balancing knowing that you’re a Buddha with not-knowing, remembering who you are with not remembering who you are, and being happy all the time with a nice bit of suffering. But if you’re like me then you’re already tired of not-knowing, not-remembering and suffering, and it’s time to come back home.
This explains the statement that to a Buddha all beings appear as Buddhas. So the distinction instead becomes those who know they are Buddhas and those who don’t know. The being that are imbalanced are simply balancing against their previously balanced state, and within the imbalanced category there are higher-beings such as gods that are balancing against previously being weak and lower-beings such as worms (admittedly this is as relative comparison, a worm looks like a god to a plankton) that are balancing against previously being powerful. This understanding also provides a natural balanced respect for all beings, because no position within the cycle can be sustained. Hence if you mistreat a worm then it might hold this against you when it works its way up to god status. On the other hand, don’t put too much weight on what a god says or does, sooner or later they’ll be overthrown and the new god has a tendency to invert everything. Incidentally, gods have a habit of using their power to reward those who helped them and punish those who hurt them, during their rise to power. A suitable analogy is this: a boy is weak and easily abused, but one day they will grow into a man and become strong, in the meantime you will have grown old and weak — be careful whom you make your enemy, beings hold grudges.
Hence you will never achieve complete equilibrium or the final state, and that’s a good thing because if you did then you’d cease to exist. You’ll find that as soon as you’re comfortable at home then you’ll feel once again the call to adventure, and as soon as adventure becomes tiresome you’ll feel the call back home. And when you get well and truly lost you’ll stumble upon a map; and when you think you have it all mapped out you’ll find it’s already changed. This shouldn’t worry you as it’ll be what you wanted at the time, just as you may have promised yourself in the past that you’ll never do that thing again, and then a little while later you decide that it’s not so bad after all. The problem was not the thing itself, but that you had too much of it.
I will now talk a little about what will happen when you turn around and begin your journey back home. I won’t say too much as I don’t want to spoil the surprise, it would be like giving the ending away to a novel. However there are some things that I wish I’d have known beforehand which will make the journey slightly easier for you. So I’ll provide just the right amount of information, not too much and not too little!
In the beginning you’re likely to feel a rush of excitement, but this will quickly subside and you’ll feel normal again. That is to be expected; if you’ve not figured it out already, you’re already a Buddha and so there is no special feeling. This place is already the place, and you are already the thing. ‘Special’ means a feeling that you don’t usually feel, hence it’s literally impossible to feel special all of the time. It’s a fool’s errand, a wild goose chase. Instead your current goal is to reduce negative feelings and increase positive feelings.
Most people are obsessed with the big and bold, and ignore seemingly small and simple things. This, after-all, is why they never understood the Buddha-way. Don’t fall into the same trap. Start with the small things: tidy your room, clean your teeth, do a bit of exercise, fix that thing that’s broken that you never got around to fixing. If you try to start with the big things then you’re making life difficult for yourself and you risk ignoring the small and then blaming it on me that it didn’t work. Remember not to cross bridges until you come to them, the next step always comes into focus as you approach it. How do you climb a mountain? One step at a time. You can’t see around corners and you don’t need to, you only need to keep on walking.
Many of the paths are obvious, because you know in which direction the balance lies, but when in doubt I find it helpful to use the feeling of taste to find the right path, although you may find a different feeling to be more appropriate for you. When considering which path to take I take the path that feels most tasteful. For example, world domination would be fun, but it’s distasteful. Getting drunk is distasteful. Getting up late is distasteful. Helping someone in need is tasteful, although not if they could help themselves but choose not to. I find taste much more practical than attempting to analyze right and wrong because right and wrong are too confused and inflexible. If there are multiple options but none of them stick out as the obvious or tasteful way to go then I assume this is because it literally doesn’t matter which one I take, i.e. the reason the way is not obvious is because they’re equal. (Naturally I balance the tasteful with a little distaste every now and again.)
Progress on this path works like compound interest. This is also what puts many people off — they have no patience. If you improve your life 1% per week then after a couple of months you might not even notice the difference. If you quit at this point then you’re a fool. After 2 years you’ll be 2.8x more whole— that’s a lot more whole! After 10 years you’ll be 31,205x more whole. Can you imagine that? That’s how compound interest works, it compounds.
Progress also tends to move at two steps forward, one step back. There’s nothing you can do about that and there’s nothing you need to do about it. There are good philosophical reasons why this is the case, trust me that it’s for the best.
Once you’ve set your intention, everything follows accordingly. For example, if you get rid of unused possessions you will receive more energy, but you don’t need to then state “I want this energy to be used to get more happiness”, if you do this you will confuse the process. You already have the intention, simply by doing the action of the cleaning out, that you’re doing it so as to become more balanced and so the energy will go to wherever is best for it to go according to this intention. It is still you directing the energy, but this is done by your subconscious, which knows a lot more about you than you know consciously. For example, an apple tree knows how to make apples but it doesn’t know that it knows how to make apples. If the apple tree were to try to make apples then it would only confuse the process.
Reality is much broader and magical than it appears to typical humans. There are many things going on that are incomprehensible to common people. There is a reason why life seems mundane and non-magical to many people, although I won’t go into that here. Once you’ve passed a certain threshold you start to see and feel things that you couldn’t see or feel before, but at the same time other entities are going to start to see and feel your presence too. Some of these entities, either rightly or wrongly, are going to consider you a threat and take appropriate action.
This need not worry you only if your true intention, the intention that is in your heart, not the intention that you pretend to yourself, is that you’re going for balance, attempting to be complete. If your secret intention is that it’d be awesome to be a Buddha so that you could march around being worshiped by a band of followers then what you’re doing is playing the same competitive game you were playing before. In this case you can expect to be destroyed. The reason why is as follows.
I could say that the definition of good and evil is that evil is in a competition (even if what it’s attempting to gain is happiness or being appreciated by others) and good is not in a competition. Because good is not competing, good is not against evil per se. Neither is good against getting things for oneself that one needs, because to be entirely selfless would be to be against yourself and for everyone else, which is just as evil as being for yourself and against everyone else. Hence evil is for something (e.g. oneself) and against something else (e.g. other people), whereas good is for everything equally, including oneself and interestingly enough, also including: evil, death, disease, politics, avocados (urgh!), etc. Futhermore, good is not against being against things, leading to the interesting conclusion that good considers evil just a funny form of good (likewise evil sees good as the most powerful form of evil, repeatedly attempts and fails to overthrow it, forever being confused as to why it doesn’t work.)
This is not to say that Buddhas can’t compete for anything, they can, it’s just that their intention is non-serious. Just like if you’re playing a game of football, you don’t actually consider yourself against the other team in your heart, you’re just acting as if you were against them for the sake of the game. You’re just pretending to be against them. This is a fundamental difference, but it is a difference that is not visible from the outside.
As long as one aligns oneself towards something and away from something else, which is what happens if you’re playing any sort of competition, then one is united with those that one is aligned with and separated from those that one is aligned against. Buddhas are technically aligned with everyone, but since everyone who isn’t a Buddhas is aligned against Buddhas on the basis that they are aiming for imbalance and excess, then the Buddhas naturally become all united together. The practical effect of this is that all of the good beings, that is to say all of the Buddhas, form a union of sorts. Unlike evil beings, whom are aligned or united only to specific finite things that they can see, Buddhas are open in this regard and all unite together, across space and time and even across multiple universes.
Since reality is infinite there are infinite Buddhas. There are also infinite evil beings but since evil beings only align in finite groups, no matter how powerful a god gets, the union of Buddhas is always more powerful. A god may well hold more power than any individual Buddha, but the union of Buddhas makes up a larger entity that is infinitely powerful. This infinitely large and infinitely powerful union of Buddhas upholds reality itself, making it a reasonable nominee for the title of God (this time with a capital ‘G’). But I know many people don’t like that word so I’ll instead call it The Union.
All unions look after their own, and The Union attempts to look after all beings, both good and evil, but since evil beings are aligned away from The Union then it can only look after them indirectly. For Buddhas, which form The Union, it looks after them directly.
This means that as long as your heart is pure, and you align yourself to The Union, which is to act in the manner of a Buddha, you will always be protected. On the other hand, if you have an evil intention then you immediately separate yourself from The Union and lose its direct protection. Incidentally, you often find yourself accidentally coming in and out of the protection of The Union throughout your life, as you may have noticed. Luckily, once you’re in the habit of having Buddha-like intent you become that and it’s fairly difficult to get out of it… even if you have an evil thought, in your heart you’re not actually serious and you wouldn’t actually do it, so it doesn’t separate you. You’re allowed to make mistakes, making a genuine mistake is not the same thing as having evil intent.
Hence just as you will attract the attention of evil beings, you’ll also attract the attention of good beings who will defend you if you are unable to defend yourself. This is why you will be fine so long as you don’t aim for imbalance or excess for your own gain, and it’s why you can expect to be destroyed if you think you can cheat the system.
However, this doesn’t mean that you can expect lightning to strike anyone who stands in your way. Help is only given if you actually need it and its only given when you actually need it. If you jump off a cliff no angels are going to swoop down to save you because your need to test the theory does not come from a pure hearted motive. You might, and probably will, fight many a psychic battle against invisible but very tangible and sometimes talkative demons, but if you don’t defend yourself then you can’t expect someone else to do it for you, and if you can defeat them on your own then you don’t need any help. The Union is not going to live your life or defend your territory for you. The Union will step in just at the very moment you were about to lose because that is the only time that you actually need help. Also if you do have an excess of something and any other being that needs it more than you, either good or evil, comes to take some of it from you, you will receive no help from The Union because you didn’t need that resource anyway.
To put it another way, so long as you (1) are not playing a competitive game in which you’re trying to dominate others, (2) do actually attempt to defend yourself, and (3) don’t already have an excess of whatever-it-is, then you can’t lose but you still do have to fight. Often it works like this: when you run out of energy then you’ll be given more. If you give in before you actually run out of energy then you won’t get any, because you chose to quit. This is called: having faith.
That said, often it happens that you do appear to be losing a battle and losing something that you think you need. This is the classic “WHY HATH YOU FORSAKEN ME!!” moment, experienced by many a Buddha who doesn’t understand why this time he/she is not receiving any help from The Union, as expected. Some even turn away at this moment, which is a mistake. The thing is that if you have a structure within you which is no longer serving its purpose, then it does need to die so that a new, better structure can be born. For example, if you have a website and your business has grown and you now need a new website, the old website must die. The old website might not be happy about this, but it is for the best. Likewise you will experience many of these mini-deaths, that do feel like you are dying, although you’re still walking around and looking relatively normal to everyone else. This is some part of your ego dying. Once it’s died you’ll get a brand new, shiny one! Version 2.0.
I’ve found that evil beings typically use threats, bribes and manipulation. You know what a threat is, and these are best ignored. Then there are bribes. Evil beings will offer you positions of power in an attempt to get you to turn your alignment away from the protection of The Union, so they can smite you. Usually this comes from the inside, as in you will be minding your own business and then an idea pops into your head, such as: “if I do xyz then I’d become super powerful / receive magic powers!” This is a trick. Although that’s not to say it wouldn’t work, but it’s important to remember that if the idea just popped into your head then it was given to you by another being, and if you are following instructions given to you by someone else then you are working for them. It’s OK to work for other beings, but if you work for an evil being then you can expect them to not have your best interests at heart. Manipulation tactics are to give you a series of gifts, such as good advice, visions of the future, candy, etc., wait until you start trusting it, and then it’ll begin to mislead you. This makes it difficult to tell which beings are helping you and which are just attempting to manipulate you, the solution is to trust your own judgement on each decision independently and not to follow others just because they have a pattern of previously trustworthy behavior. In all cases, telling the being to “go away” and then ignoring them usually works.
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