Demon-ghosts: Torments in the Mind
Watch how you blame the world and other for your misery.
Although I have been practicing Buddhism for a long time, I am continuously amazed to know that there are others who are not aware of the torments in the mind known as demon-ghosts.
In Buddhist circles this inability to recognize demon-ghosts is known as ignorance.
This ignorance has nothing to do with acquiring an education or the number associated with one’s IQ. It is not about how much we read or learn. It is more close-up and biting than a lack of knowledge about the world. It is a lack of knowledge about one’s mental formations.
This ignorance, friends, is a fundamental problem because it is this inability to recognize the roots of our suffering where the demon-ghosts take hold and run us around by the nose.
The demon-ghosts seem to like to chant self-centered mantras to fire us up and keep us going around in circles.
“It’s not fair!” “That’s not right!” “I can’t believe he’d do such a thing to me!” “He is wrong! I am right!” “What a thoughtless thing to do!” “No one loves me!”
Whether the rant is plain and clear or full of expletives it often is accompanied by a sense of outrage, indignation, and ire that keeps the wounded self-interest raw and bitter. Both the demon-ghost choir and the emotional displeasure are the weapons that keep us ignorant and miserable. We fall prey to these thoughts as much as if we were taken hostage by an armed bandit.
This state of our ghostly possession takes place in the mind and comes in the form of thoughts, images, memories, and speculations that have a repetitive loop that mesmerizes us into following it into a hellish misery.
Let us take for an example a slight, one of the countless injuries thrown our way as we navigate through life. In general, someone in silly ignorance does not recognize and does not understand how even a feeble injury arising in the mind is accompanied by a demon-ghost. There are numerous counterfeit excuses that the ignorant mind finds when slighted. Mostly the thoughts are evaluations of the external world of others who are to blame for the damage to our selfish mad ego.
A sizable number of demon-ghosts thrive and rejoice when we spend our life blaming others for the snub, slur or rebuff tossed our way. “But…” we say thinking it is wise to argue and defend an untenable decision to support and reify the self delusion.
“But” is often the first rebuttal to an insult.
We are doing it so it must be the way to respond to an injury. Defend the self is what is often recommended by family and friends unless of course it is family or friend who has done us harm.
We tend to go on after we say the word but with everything that makes us right and whoever slighted us wrong while the demon-ghosts celebrate making them victorious and our mind ignorant. The demon-ghosts flourish in the ignorant mind whereby we begin to believe in the delusion of a separate self.
It is laughable. AND…painful.
There is a simple, direct path to ignoring the demon-ghosts versus our usual reification of them. It requires a contemplation of our actions that contributed to the slight flung at us in the first place.
YES! We are involved in some way or another. We need to be honest about our part.
Our unawareness of the cause explains why so many now-a-days do not think there are demon-ghosts. Those of us still on this roller coaster of trying to reify the self-into-a-somebody are not to be reviled but to be encouraged to begin to understand their actions from the inside out.
When we are able to stop and take a look at our actions, how they arise, and what is arising we are able to begin to brush away all the tendencies to make something out of nothing. We begin to see the demon-ghosts are making every effort to blockade our ascent to the boundless vastness.
It requires a willingness to study ourselves and to practice in such a way the demon-ghosts are no longer an internal threat.
If you want to chat or ask a question, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
May you be willing to study your actions and practice.