MCTB The Transcendence Models

Related to the Immortality and Bliss Models, we have the Transcendence Models. These essentially promise that you will have the best of both worlds: you will get to be in the world while not of the world, be able to enjoy all pleasant things while being immune to pain and difficulty, and thus live in a protected state of partial, selective transcendence. A lot of people try to emulate such a state in their practice: when presented with suffering they either look away from it or try to make their attention so wide or vague that they don’t notice it, and when pleasant things arise they try to hang on to those experiences and expand them. While such a perfectly natural thing to do, this is the exact reverse of insight practice, and yet they may deeply feel that this is practicing for the transcendence they have been promised.

As stated earlier, the predictable and obvious truth is that transcendence is bought at the price of a very deep, direct intimacy with life, all of life, both good and bad. Similarly, this deep intimacy with life is bought at the price of transcendence. While everyone nearly automatically looks to the good side of both, few consider that realization brings a deep, direct experience of all that is painful and also the reluctant understanding of how empty and ephemeral pleasure is. One must be careful here, and I don’t advocate buying into either extreme. Our ordinary lives have all this already, so don’t look for something that is different from what is going on. Instead, look into your life as it is and see the Three Characteristics of it directly, instant by instant. This is the gateway to the answer to the strange paradox that all this is pointing to.

MCTB The Extinction Models