Is Maya/Mara becoming stronger?

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Supramundane
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Is Maya/Mara becoming stronger?

Post by Supramundane » Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:10 am

Is Maya becoming more and more powerful? When I saw the film THE MATRIX, one thing that struck me was that language itself is the ultimate matrix. We don’t need to posit a computer network or a virtual world created to imprison us: we already have language for that. As Saussure noted in his writings on the signified and the signifier, language is a closed system: words do not relate to reality but to mental concepts (i.e. other words). We are intrinsically deluded by our very nature. We live in delusion. We create our reality with language.

As I walked through the mall the other day, it was surprising to see how many people were totally disconnected from reality but plugged into the unreality of their mobile phones. It was if the Zombie apocalypse had happened and no one noticed. Everyone was circling like amoebae, walking aimlessly, fixated on the 2x2” matrix in their palms. As VR and wearable tech evolves, we can be sure that the rivalry between the real world and the virtual world will continue to play out. and it is very clear that the virtual world is winning.

Does this mean a victory for Maya/Mara?

With the digital revolution, we are creating a paradise, but it is a false paradise. Are we really advancing or is our basic nature becoming more and more entrenched? Life is becoming easier and easier but we are not any happier.

Ignorance means mortality. Enlightenment means deathlessness. Delusion leads to suffering. Knowledge ends pain. Suffering is empty. That emptiness is Nirvana. My fear is that men will one day forget about Nirvana and simply opt for a false paradise, one they can easily pre-program and customize on their computer. What does the Buddha offer ultimately other than apprehension of reality? That seems something paltry compared to the myriad worlds of pleasure that virtual reality offers.

Is Maya/Mara winning the battle?

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Re: Is Maya/Mara becoming stronger?

Post by Ayu » Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:16 am

Which battle are you referring to exactly? Isn't ignorance and delusion ruling the world ever since?
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Re: Is Maya/Mara becoming stronger?

Post by Supramundane » Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:45 am

Ayu wrote:Which battle are you referring to exactly? Isn't ignorance and delusion ruling the world ever since?
i guess so. but their weapons are becoming stronger and stronger.

it's one thing to be addicted to a good latté and another to be addicted to heroin.

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Re: Is Maya/Mara becoming stronger?

Post by muni » Wed Aug 09, 2017 9:33 am

" We are having the impression to master language but in fact we are mastered by language." So is said.

Oh yes, mobilephones, I-Phone, and all these things are having their luxury use but here as well there can be the question, are we using them or are we used by them? Is seems to me so by everything, like our thoughts as well.

I think if we do not recognize to have crossed the line of being enslaved, instead of using it by care, samsara rules.

Everything is now machines, electronic. At the airport and other places where people are used to help their fellows are computers/machines for control. The joy of a simple smile interaction, kindness is so much necessary. Let us keep smiling, greeting, caring...is all I can say.
Last edited by muni on Wed Aug 09, 2017 9:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is Maya/Mara becoming stronger?

Post by Dan74 » Wed Aug 09, 2017 9:41 am

I have similar thoughts, Supramundane, and probably things will get a lot worse before they get better.

But then, any such generalisations are inherently misleading. A while ago I discussed this with an older lady who is a psychologist and a former Tibetan Buddhist nun. And she felt there are many young people doing wonderfully creative things that were simply not an option when she was young. The world is more confusing and temptations have multiplied and increased in intensity, true, but there is also many more possibilities. Few of us avail ourselves of this potential, but the ones who do may yet gather enough momentum to change things for the better for others and not only themselves.

At any time, there is a multitude of forces interacting, and this dynamic is indeed complex. Which way it is all going to go is hard to say with certainty. The technology we've developed is certainly a curse for many. A drug, really.

I've been saying that the focus on food and eating healthy is great, but what about the nutrients we consume with our minds? Aren't many more of us mentally obese, consuming junk with their minds constantly, numbing their sense faculties and their ability to reason? There should be a campaign to oppose this. To recognise the dangers of a mentally obese population. But the politicians who mostly believe in hoodwinking the voters and pulling wool over our eyes, so that they can do what they want (whether out of conviction or greed) are not going to be keen on this, I imagine.

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Re: Is Maya/Mara becoming stronger?

Post by Supramundane » Wed Aug 09, 2017 9:53 am

Dan74 wrote:
I've been saying that the focus on food and eating healthy is great, but what about the nutrients we consume with our minds? Aren't many more of us mentally obese, consuming junk with their minds constantly, numbing their sense faculties and their ability to reason?
i was thinking of this very thing the other day. i noted that on the yahoo home page, news articles are pushed to the top which reflect a person's views. if one's only preoccupations are Hollywood starsfor example, stories of Britanny Spears' hair care will inevitably come to the top. very interesting! this means that more and more, the News, which was once perceived to be an objective impersonal matter, is now customized depending on what your concerns are and what your political stance is. News on command! is this not skewing our perception of reality?

but perhaps it can have a positive effect: if we realize that Artificial Intelligence is pushing products and stories to us that we like, perhaps this can help us become more conscious of how much our own preoccupations color the world around us.

this perhaps helps the world become One, Dan: hopefully not One in Maya hehe

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Re: Is Maya/Mara becoming stronger?

Post by Supramundane » Wed Aug 09, 2017 9:54 am

muni wrote:" We are having the impression to master language but in fact we are mastered by language." So is said.

Oh yes, mobilephones, I-Phone, and all these things are having their luxury use but here as well there can be the question, are we using them or are we used by them? Is seems to me so by everything, like our thoughts as well.

I think if we do not recognize to have crossed the line of being enslaved, instead of using it by care, samsara rules.

Everything is now machines, electronic. At the airport and other places where people are used to help their fellows are computers/machines for control. The joy of a simple smile interaction, kindness is so much necessary. Let us keep smiling, greeting, caring...is all I can say.
as always, a very interesting and thoughtful comment, Muni. i am still reading the pdf book you recommended to me.
metta

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Re: Is Maya/Mara becoming stronger?

Post by Wayfarer » Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:14 am

Very wise post, Dan74.

Years ago, I gave a course on Introduction to Buddhism at an evening college. I remarked that it seemed to me there was a growing disconnect about the nature of reality, and I'm sure that's true. Technology is part of it, but dependence on devices is as much a symptom as a cause. I myself constantly have my smart phone with me nowadays, as I read the news, play chess, listen to music and check my commuting time-tables and banking on it. (That's apart from communicating with it!) OK i realise I am getting a bit over-dependent, I think I am going to start some tech-free Sundays. But smart phone is not really the root cause. The cause is general disconnection from the felt reality of existence, being lost in abstractions, thought and ideas, and so on. The problem is, because of materialism, people really are investing themselves in illusions, there's no doubt about that at all. The economic systems of the West are favouring that, although I still think that the economic and scientific techniques of the modern world are essential, so long as they're directed wisely.

A story I told back at that course - some poor deluded soul, I think probably with mental illness issues, was arrested for planting explosives around his neighborhood. They didn't hurt anyone but did some damage. When questioned, he said he was trying to create a 'smiley' type of emoticon, which could be photographed by satellites. I thought it very touching, sad, and also illustrative of the kinds of delusions people have nowadays.
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

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Re: Is Maya/Mara becoming stronger?

Post by Grigoris » Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:53 pm

There is no disconnect with reality. VR is just another aspect of this reality, it is not seperate to it.

It reminds me of people discussing the lack of "culture" in modern societies... My view is that there is no lack of culture, that this is the culture.

Now whether this culture is fulfilling or not, whether we feel it is valuable or not, that is a different issue altogether. The fact that it exists means it has some meaning for somebody, that it is fulfilling the needs of somebody...
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Re: Is Maya/Mara becoming stronger?

Post by Malcolm » Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:44 pm

Supramundane wrote:Is Maya becoming more and more powerful?
No, but we do live in the age of the five degenerations:

degeneration of lifespan, time, afflictions, views, and experience.

http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?titl ... enerations
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Re: Is Maya/Mara becoming stronger?

Post by Grigoris » Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:12 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Supramundane wrote:Is Maya becoming more and more powerful?
No, but we do live in the age of the five degenerations:

degeneration of lifespan, time, afflictions, views, and experience.

http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?titl ... enerations
The afflictions are degenerating? :tongue:
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Is Maya/Mara becoming stronger?

Post by pael » Wed Aug 09, 2017 3:05 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Supramundane wrote:Is Maya becoming more and more powerful?
No, but we do live in the age of the five degenerations:

degeneration of lifespan, time, afflictions, views, and experience.

http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?titl ... enerations
Why did we born in the age of the five degenerations?
Why we live in the age of the five degenerations?
Are beings born nowadays more defiled than former ages?
Or is this age more defiling than former ages?
May all beings be free from suffering and causes of suffering

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Re: Is Maya/Mara becoming stronger?

Post by Malcolm » Wed Aug 09, 2017 5:04 pm

pael wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Supramundane wrote:Is Maya becoming more and more powerful?
No, but we do live in the age of the five degenerations:

degeneration of lifespan, time, afflictions, views, and experience.

http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?titl ... enerations
Why did we born in the age of the five degenerations?
1) Because this time is part of the Kali Yuga,
Why we live in the age of the five degenerations?
See number 1.
Are beings born nowadays more defiled than former ages?
Yes.
Or is this age more defiling than former ages?
Yes.
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The knowledge imparted through the guru’s instructions that formerly was unknown (avidyā) is vidyā.


—Treasury of the Supreme Vehicle, Longchenpa.

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Re: Is Maya/Mara becoming stronger?

Post by Strive » Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:25 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Supramundane wrote:Is Maya becoming more and more powerful?
No, but we do live in the age of the five degenerations:

degeneration of lifespan, time, afflictions, views, and experience.

http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?titl ... enerations
lifespan is increasing

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Re: Is Maya/Mara becoming stronger?

Post by Strive » Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:31 pm

Wayfarer wrote:Very wise post, Dan74.

Years ago, I gave a course on Introduction to Buddhism at an evening college. I remarked that it seemed to me there was a growing disconnect about the nature of reality, and I'm sure that's true. Technology is part of it, but dependence on devices is as much a symptom as a cause. I myself constantly have my smart phone with me nowadays, as I read the news, play chess, listen to music and check my commuting time-tables and banking on it. (That's apart from communicating with it!) OK i realise I am getting a bit over-dependent, I think I am going to start some tech-free Sundays. But smart phone is not really the root cause. The cause is general disconnection from the felt reality of existence, being lost in abstractions, thought and ideas, and so on. The problem is, because of materialism, people really are investing themselves in illusions, there's no doubt about that at all. The economic systems of the West are favouring that, although I still think that the economic and scientific techniques of the modern world are essential, so long as they're directed wisely.

A story I told back at that course - some poor deluded soul, I think probably with mental illness issues, was arrested for planting explosives around his neighborhood. They didn't hurt anyone but did some damage. When questioned, he said he was trying to create a 'smiley' type of emoticon, which could be photographed by satellites. I thought it very touching, sad, and also illustrative of the kinds of delusions people have nowadays.
this is why i keep basic phone :rolling:

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Re: Is Maya/Mara becoming stronger?

Post by Malcolm » Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:45 pm

Strive wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Supramundane wrote:Is Maya becoming more and more powerful?
No, but we do live in the age of the five degenerations:

degeneration of lifespan, time, afflictions, views, and experience.

http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?titl ... enerations
lifespan is increasing

You think "lifespan" only refers to the lifespan of human beings?
Atikosha
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


The knowledge imparted through the guru’s instructions that formerly was unknown (avidyā) is vidyā.


—Treasury of the Supreme Vehicle, Longchenpa.

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Re: Is Maya/Mara becoming stronger?

Post by Vasana » Wed Aug 09, 2017 9:31 pm

Strive wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Supramundane wrote:Is Maya becoming more and more powerful?
No, but we do live in the age of the five degenerations:

degeneration of lifespan, time, afflictions, views, and experience.

http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?titl ... enerations
lifespan is increasing
In some places it is, in some places it's decreasing. The average life expectancy in the U.S for males has been decreasing from 2014 for example. Globally, there's no real guarantee that the upwards trajectory of the average lifespan won't reverse in this century. Potential super-bug pandemics, almost certain ecological collapses and global warming along with the many illness's prevalent today could easily shorten lifespans if they aren't already in the process of doing so. I'm sure there are countless other modern causes of death and illnesses we could think of.

"The causes of death are numerous;
those that sustain life are few, and even they can cause death.
Therefore, always practice the Dharma "


Nothing's really certain in samsara and we live in a century difficult to predict so I wouldn't see the general reports of a steady increase in lifespan as something written in stone. It's similar to how poverty is reported - more and more people may technically be living above the threshold of poverty but it's misleading to say that those who are only just marginally above that threshold aren't still significantly impoverished.
"The changing cycle of joy and sorrow, like the changing seasons –
As a time of suffering will surely come around to me,
May I truly practice the sublime teachings."
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Re: Is Maya/Mara becoming stronger?

Post by Anonymous X » Thu Aug 10, 2017 5:51 am

Supramundane wrote:
Ayu wrote:Which battle are you referring to exactly? Isn't ignorance and delusion ruling the world ever since?
i guess so. but their weapons are becoming stronger and stronger.

it's one thing to be addicted to a good latté and another to be addicted to heroin.
In the 19th century, China probably hosted more opium addicts than any other time or place in history. That has changed significantly and today we see a vast difference in quality of life there. This doesn't mean that ignorance and delusion are decreasing. Ignorance and delusion are how you perceive yourself and the world. How can it get bigger or smaller? It is not a contagious disease although you might think it is. What is happening at any given time or moment is exactly how things are. It is just the way you interpret anything through your filter of conditioned 'mind'. This is the primary thing to see.

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Re: Is Maya/Mara becoming stronger?

Post by Dan74 » Thu Aug 10, 2017 9:29 am

Wayfarer wrote:Very wise post, Dan74.

Years ago, I gave a course on Introduction to Buddhism at an evening college. I remarked that it seemed to me there was a growing disconnect about the nature of reality, and I'm sure that's true. Technology is part of it, but dependence on devices is as much a symptom as a cause. I myself constantly have my smart phone with me nowadays, as I read the news, play chess, listen to music and check my commuting time-tables and banking on it. (That's apart from communicating with it!) OK i realise I am getting a bit over-dependent, I think I am going to start some tech-free Sundays. But smart phone is not really the root cause. The cause is general disconnection from the felt reality of existence, being lost in abstractions, thought and ideas, and so on. The problem is, because of materialism, people really are investing themselves in illusions, there's no doubt about that at all. The economic systems of the West are favouring that, although I still think that the economic and scientific techniques of the modern world are essential, so long as they're directed wisely.

A story I told back at that course - some poor deluded soul, I think probably with mental illness issues, was arrested for planting explosives around his neighborhood. They didn't hurt anyone but did some damage. When questioned, he said he was trying to create a 'smiley' type of emoticon, which could be photographed by satellites. I thought it very touching, sad, and also illustrative of the kinds of delusions people have nowadays.
Thank you, Wayfarer.

And I agree with you - there is a fundamental disconnect between people and their physical environment - we are overly and neurotically connected to the thought-sphere, walking around almost like ghosts, disembodied.

In meditation I was taught and found it very useful to come back to the body, like starting with the scanning practice, the sensation of the breath, the physicality of existence. To consciously inhabit the space we are in. To consciously navigate it. As you know Zen loves nature, mountains, forests, the moon, the body of nature. They are great teachers if one is willing to listen, reminding us of something deeper and more abiding than the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. But at the same time, it behoves us not to deepen this duality, but bring the forest and the mountain spirit into our moment-to-moment experience wherever we are. Coming back to the market-place, as the 10 Ox-herding Pictures say. Fully engaged, but not blown around by the comings and goings, the worldly winds. It is a moment-to-moment challenge, isn't it?

So as much as I empathise with the view that our modern reality is what it is, don't make it good or bad, but engage skilfully, what actually happens is that many of us are completely addicted to our devices, slaves of the dopamine rush of validation, visual stimuli, or just ameliorating a sense of boredom and purposelessness. This is a tragedy of our times. The Era of the Hungry Ghosts and Shades, numbing any remaining pangs of existence.

_/|\_

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Re: Is Maya/Mara becoming stronger?

Post by Grigoris » Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:11 am

I don't think it is a symptom of modern society. Maybe a symptom of urbanisation, but urbanisation is not restricted to modern society.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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