ATTACHING TO STATES
By Bhiksu Heng Kung
Cultivators of the Way must be cautious not to allow their minds to become attached to states. If we are sincere in our cultivation, then according to the firmness of the effort we apply in our cultivation will that effort bear fruit. But there are many kinds of fruit. Would a man who just ate apples not suffer from a defiance of nutrients? It is not the case that a variety of foods keeps one far more fit than a mono-diet of one kind of food? Consider a man lost on a pilgrimage who hasn't eaten for several days. He is emaciated and hungry and by chance comes upon a pear tree on the furthest border of the region's agricultural area where fruit and vegetables abound in plenty. Because of his condition he feels as if he has just found gold. He sets up camp beneath the tree without second thoughts of further investigation. Here he considers his contentment unsurpassed and does not think to travel on. This is an example of the lack of wisdom cultivators of the Way often express when motivated by fear rather than wisdom. If we have cultivated long and hard and our spiritual body is hungry; a passing state of bliss and light will be difficult to let go of. Thinking this is what we have long awaited, we seize it and by doing so unknowingly thwart our further progress. The goal of the cultivators of the Way is ending birth and death and on the way to achieving this lofty goal many states will manifest. These are but rungs of a ladder leading to the top. Cultivation is a bit different from walking up a ladder; for while walking up a ladder the remaining rungs are clearly seen until the top is reached. Cultivators may work very hard for a long period of time and suddenly experience a state. The state of bliss is so supreme we want to experience nothing else. To let go seems foolish indeed. Not to let go is grasping a state, and then when viewed from another perspective might cause one a good deal of regret. When we die we will experience many lights, all of which produce extremely beautiful states. According to our ability to discriminate these lights will our rebirth be determined. Perhaps in the heavens, perhaps as a human being, perhaps among the animals. There are also lower regions of rebirth. The green light of a human being's womb and the light of an animal's womb are both exceedingly blissful to look at. The light of an asura or ghost is also blissful until one actually becomes such a being. The state of a pear eater is also good indeed until after camping beneath the tree for several days he decides to wander about the land. After wandering about the land for a while he discovers how abundant the land is with all kinds and varieties of fruits and vegetables. Now how small the previous contentment he thought to be so great becomes when viewed from this perspective.
Until one achieves Self-cognition, both good and bad states should be allowed to pass like clouds on a windy day. When the Self is realized, a correct position does not exist and so the question as to whether or not a state is worth attaching to will not arise either.