Woman selling coconuts, Gangadwar bathing tank
I feel like I had the answers long ago. Not to the questions I am asking, but to the question I have. Still I cherish the lesser answers, polishing each like a grain of sand. I have a built a beach by now. It looks nice but it gets hot and cold. I am dissatisfied. The sea beckons, but I fear I will die.
The Buddha said there was a way out, but it looks like oblivion. Instead I gaze at the sea, remark how beautiful it is. Watch the bikinis, eat ice cream, groan at the urination, complain about the sun. I don’t really want to leave.
The Buddha’s way is oblivion, in a sense. Or perhaps just the oblivion of sense. It is beyond good and bad, just acceptance. It is a beyond relativity, beyond one’s usual orientation in space and time. But relative illusions give us relative pleasures. While getting nowhere we feel like we’re going really fast.
It is like we are drawn to death, like waves on a beach, bringing us back. It is hard to conceptualize this without rebirth. I don’t know if we come back, but we don’t leave, not in a volitional sense. The Buddha spoke of a way out, but I think part of us wants to stay. I think we kinda want to be born again. Like we could do it better next time.
His way is scary, even depressing, bland. Non-attachment? My God. It’s like having your cake and eating it, yet not tasting anything. And people like taste.
Too much is not enough. Eating too much, having too much, wearing too much (or too expensively little). We ooh and aah, we gawk, and inwardly grin when it falls apart (for other people). We want the fast car, the big house, the attention. I do. It is a path which seems to lead somewhere, but where?
I have been travelling, for example. My plan was to visit Ramayana sites, but I find myself drawn back to the city. I eat meat, I meet women, I drink. I recharge my cell-phone, I upload photos, I buy books. I am trying to get to Ayodhya but I take the train to Mumbai. Why am I drawn back? Why can’t I get to Ayodhya?
What is this urban gravity, and what is all this crap I’m accumulating on the beach? No blog post or tweet is going to equal one second of awareness, but I keep writing. No girl falling asleep in my arms is going to bring me love, but I hold her. I won’t find Rama in Bangalore, but I go. Where am I? What am I doing?
What is it to know what is right and not do it? What is it to stand in front of the sea your whole life and never swim?