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A 400-Pound Man Named Bubba
Mandy: Dear guru, I woke up at 4:00 am thinking about your last email. Obviously, my less than humble and manly ways are in no imminent danger of dissolution. But I want you to know that I cherish every word you say and that I spend ALL my spare time reading and reflecting (when assimilation is not instantaneous) on everything you ever wrote. This is hardly meant to be flattering, for I know it would mean nothing to you, but just to let you know that my annoying know-it-all inclination is in check. My dad calls me Big Walter, and when I first got married my husband used to say that I acted like a 400-pound man named Bubba. So please bear with me.
James: I didn’t know you had a know-it-all tendency. And if you do, so what? You have to have some kind of tendency, so it might as well be a know-it-all tendency. I had one of those at one time in my checkered past. It was not so bad. I quite liked it, but it did not endear me to others, so as I got more emotionally needy I decided to pack it in and pretend to be stupid like everyone else so that they would love me. ☺ I meant that whether Big Walter dissolves or not has nothing to do with you, awareness. So whether or not you are manly or not manly, humble or not humble, is not the question. If you are an obnoxious, gay, lesbian, trans-gender fagdyke, what does it matter? You are just one of God’s darling, perverted misfits and deserve love and respect from yourself as well as others.
Moksa is atma anatma viveka, discrimination between awareness and the objects appearing in it. If you are awareness then the vasanas appearing in you are objects and have nothing to do with you. So if you think that enlightenment is the dissolution of your tendencies, you are wrong. Tendencies are always dissolving and new tendencies come into being. That is true for samsaris and for jnanis. Even if certain tendencies dissolve, others will appear because the vasanas are coming from Isvara, the self in conjunction with maya. There is nothing personal about any vasana. Before you know who you are, you think they belong to you and you take responsibility. But afterwards you know that they have nothing to do with you. They belong to Isvara, so Isvara can deal with them. The tendencies are not a problem for Isvara, however, because it is not a person with a bunch of silly ideas about what is right and wrong, what is enlightened behavior and what is unenlightened behavior.
Mandy: It just occurred to me that I was not sure, actually, of what you were trying to say. My very first question to you was about behavior and that is a fuzzy area in some respects. I do understand that living according to dharma is the sine qua non condition for a quiet mind and synchronicity with reality.
James: I suspected that you did not get it, but gave you the benefit of the doubt. I think you have the dharma thing sorted, and anyway it does not apply to your present situation. But I do think that your mind is a bit rajasic and maybe does not take the time to carefully refine and formulate what you are thinking and feeling, although so far you have been right on with everything. It seems you are in what I like to call the “solar” phase of your reawakening and the sunspots are burning bright, and it is all very wonderful and exciting, and whoopee! This is good. Slowly the fire will burn down and become like hot glowing coals, and then you will enter the pristine sattvic lunar phase, in which case they will not call you a 400-pound Bubba and you will quietly shine with silvery splendor.
Mandy: However, my question is: What is the relationship between self-realization and behavior? Can one be self-realized and continue to exhibit conditioned behavior? I thought and was taught in Buddhism that karma is completely annulled upon self-realization (I have experienced that as I displayed saintly behavior while conscious/unconscious of what I am/am not). Does that have anything to do with parabhdha karma?
James: Evidently you have not come to the part of my book that deals with this topic, so I will explain it to you. Karma is completely annulled, but it does not mean what people take it to mean. The short answer to your question “Can one be self-realized and continue to exhibit conditioned behavior?” is yes. All enlightened people exhibit conditioned behavior. All behavior is conditioned, meaning produced by vasanas. I have a desire to teach, so I have teaching vasanas. When you no longer identify with your individuality, your ego, the existing negative tendencies exhaust, since they were in place before you ceased to identify with the doer. But they will not be reinforced, because you are no longer motivated to seek happiness through action. Eventually they will burn out and your ego will become very soft and sweet and transparent. The karma that is in the pipeline but has not fructified is called prarabdha. But even though it manifests it does not affect you, because you are now awareness. You see your stuff, you know where it came from, but you could not care less about it. Does it matter to the self if Walter is an aggressive, 400-pound Bubba masquerading as a forty-something babe? If it matters, you are not the self. It is best not to tell the world that you are enlightened, however, because the prarabdha will continue to fructify, people will see no change in your behavior, they will think that you are deluded and will be happy to tell you, which may irritate you if you think you are a 400-pound Bubba.
Mandy: I am not sure if this matters at all, but as I have told you previously, I do have a beatific proclivity that colors my understanding at times. As a matter of fact, I thought you wrote that because you picked up on a covert expectation of mine to be good versus knowing that I am goodness itself, regardless of what goes on (aaarrrgh…. I hate to qualify what I am/am not). But I know you know what I mean.
James: The big issue is whether or not you think you are the one who is dissolving or not, and if you are in what sense are you dissolving. I was fishing with that comment to see what kind of reaction I got. I know many things but I cannot act on my knowledge, because you have to discover it as your knowledge. It does you no good to tell you this and that. I can only help you think in such a way that you discover things for yourself.
Mandy: Okay, enough said. Please, my sweet friend and teacher, clarify this for me!
~ Love, Mandy
James: You stand clarified, Mandy. Thus sayeth the great Guruji.