Non-attachment in a Materialistic World

If you live a “normal” western life in which the pursuit of career, family and social standing is important to you it is likely that you will be attached to all sorts of things. These might include your reputation, your children, your car, the pet budgerigar, your money in the bank, your self-image and your view of the world, your ideas on what constitutes life the universe and everything. You may well be prone to arguing the toss about mundane and trivial things. You may even imagine that you have a life philosophy of sorts. If you are so minded, missing the observation of grown men kicking a bag of wind around in front of tens of thousands of other “grown” men and women is something that you would prefer not to do. You may find it difficult not to care who is where in the premier league football results table, which on occasion you will feel impelled to check.

It is beyond your comprehension that anyone may not be attached to worldly and mundane things in a similar manner to you. You will have no concept or feeling or understanding of what non-attachment means. It might exist as a pseudo-intellectual possibility in which some geezers wearing funny robes, probably of Indian or Asian extraction and maybe be monks are non-attached. But it would be very hard to reconcile that someone you once knew, who was fond of a shandy or two, could be non-attached. Therefore, you would perhaps project your own attachment on to him and imagine that he had similar attachment-based drivers and motives as you do.

You would find it really difficult not to become attached to any thoughts which might arise in the mind, partially because you like to argue the toss. If you believe in binary answers like right or wrong, you would be seeking certainty and absolute certainty if possible. You may find it difficult to detach from your thoughts or rather the internal dialogue which masquerades as thought. You will live largely in a world parametrised by your internal dialogue and the social conditioning which surrounds you and into which you are a fully paid up and subscribed member.

If someone said to you read the Diamond sutra, you might read it, but could you attain it?

Pseudo-intellectual exercise and living practice differ considerably. The diamond sutra contains an intellectual trap for those keen on debate.

If you are keen or adamant on being right because you suffer from self-diagnosed omniscience the very first line will possibly slip by unregistered, because if you do fully register it AND agree with it your entire world view will come tumbling down.

All appearance is delusion.

Your view of yourself as a human being is a bit off. Your picture is assembled by mind.

What your eyes see is probably different from what you cognitively assimilate. If you think about it even a little, your pictorial images in your mind are built from a cis-trans isomerism photochemical reaction and yet you imagine yourself as some serious important dude or a glamorous chick!!

People are greedy, they covet all sorts of stuff. There is a psychologically manipulative industry which encourages covetousness, it is called advertising. We have this new species “influencer”, allegedly.

Inherent in the Diamond sutra is the teaching of impermanence, everything changes and fades.

I view this sutra as saying, please stop taking yourself so God dammed seriously, admit you don’t know everything, live fully in the moment, relax a little {if you can} and stop being so attached to shit because existence is fleeting, savour and respect it whilst you can.

My view is that we do not own anything we temporarily have a loan of things and can be grateful for that. We can appreciate instead of demand, insist and covet.


Here is a little exercise.

Fill a sink partially with some water.

Open your hand and make a palm. Pick up some water with your hand.

How much can you hold and how long for?

Next place your hand under water and try to grab some water with your fist. Clench your fist as tight as you can.

How much can you hold and how long for?

Which of these two is best?

Decisions and Actions with Unforeseen Consequences

I’ll start this with a hypothesis.

As a rule of thumb many people imagine that their understanding of any given situation is way more comprehensive than it actually is. In other words, people can be unaware of their level of ignorance and do not factor this possibility of ignorance into any decision they make.

If you are a regular reader of this blog you will note from time to time, I take the piss out of the self-diagnosed omniscient, where people imagine themselves wise and all-knowing prematurely. They have no doubt in that omniscience.

I worked at place where intellectual arrogance was common, and I have met many young guns who imagined themselves ultra-smart. It most cases they were very one dimensional. Their imagined knowledge pertained to science and stopped there, pretty much. One can be good at science and absolutely pants at inter human relations, that is why “Sheldon” is such a successful franchise. It is funny how when many of these self-diagnosed geniuses are faced with an oral exam for their Ph.D. they get nervous. They may be full of braggadocio but when the time for testing comes, they metaphorically shit their pants.

As an aside this braggadocio is one of the things that I like least about how things are in the UK. Things it seems, must be bigged up, hyped and inflated with hot air. One must show off.

I was completely and utterly relaxed for my Ph.D. viva. Why? Because of the six Ps.

Preparation and Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. You will note than planning here is present participle, ongoing, it is never finished. I had prepared way ahead and nothing was last minute dot com.

In de Bono’s hats I am the one who thinks about thinking.

I have made way more plans that I have executed because I have come across something that is a showstopper. I feel no remorse in ditching a plan because I enjoy planning.

It is a human behaviour to discount good advice especially if one badly wants to do something. If someone says, “have you thought about this consequence?” It is so often ignored. People are hell-bent on something and will use confirmation bias coupled with justification to do whatever it is they want to do. They will be blind to any reason.

I can think of many occasions in which I warned people about the consequences of their actions and decisions and have been completely ignored. Some have gotten angry with me and metaphorically shot the messenger. I am being negative and a downer, apparently! Oh dear! Denial and not wanting to hear can often be found. Self-importance does not like to be questioned.

Perhaps my best tutorial on human nature came when I was in a student pastoral care role. I learned many things. I think for me it was a great chance to express detached compassion. I am a very good listener when I choose to be.  Some students tried to bend the rules by feigning illness for which they needed a medical certificate. Few of them imagined that I was on first name terms with the medics at the health centre and under confidentiality able to discuss. I developed a system whereby for those prone to pre-exam illness I would arrange a meeting a couple of weeks before exams to inquire as to their wellbeing. Such a simple thing reduced the exam-sickness epidemic without need for vaccination.

I’ll wager that anybody who met me on the physical plane prior to our move to France would not have foreseen the scope and content of this blog as being somehow in me, under the surface. There would have been an ignorance about what I am and how I think which they would have been completely unaware of. Anyone interacting with me might imagine a comprehensive understanding of the situation which is largely unfounded.

To my eyes many people have thought they know me and had me “sussed”.

It is a strange old world so full of omniscient beings.

This is for all the self-diagnosed omniscients out there…

Knock me down with a feather, Clever Trevor
Widebrows wonder whether Clever Trevor’s clever
Either have they got, nor neither haven’t not
Got no right to make a clot out of Trevor

Why should I feel bad about something I ain’t had
Such stupidiness is mad
‘Cos nothing underfoot comes to nothing less to add
To a load of old toot
And I ain’t half not half glad ‘cos there’s nowhere to put it even if I had
I’m a bit of a Jack the Lad

Towards Whom Have You Been a Complete and Utter Dick?

In our ignorance we imagine a degree of omniscience which is largely unwarranted. This is especially so if we are one of THE gang, the boys club, the jack the lads, who slap each other’s backs in the full and extensive knowledge that they, we, know it all. We are the best.

I have a very weak and loose hypothesis based on visions and dreaming, that it is possible that I am an incarnation of one of Buddha’s closest disciples namely the scholar Bakula.

In Tibetan terms that would make me some kind of a tulku. It would be I who pass the white scarf of blessing over to you.

But if you have and continue to “diss” me and belittle me as a loony, what would be the implications for you?

It is one of those “place your bets” situations.

I am JUSTIFIED in being a complete and utter dick towards this being. He is wrong and we are the righteous.

There is no such thing as karma, I am right, I know best. My wonderful career is tantamount!!

There is no karmic implication for our nation in treating this being so poorly.

Or is there?

It is funny how people in ignorance despite imagined knowledge, fail to appreciate that other people have different values.

Oh well, perhaps over thinking, pass the Merlot…

What You Think You Know

Summarising many of the quotes previous on knowledge; it is perhaps wise not to overestimate the extent, profundity, and depth of one’s assumed knowledge and/or understanding. Many have trouble not self-diagnosing a somewhat premature omniscience and that can cause them problems. If you are an expert in one field, it does not necessarily transfer to another. A genius in physics may have poor interpersonal skills for example, lack self-knowledge and interpersonal awareness.

Humanity is so very often convinced that it knows best and can be adamant that it is right or in the right.

It has been quite interesting for me trying a bit of French here and there. One of the stock responses I get from French people is that French is a difficult language to learn and speak. I resist the temptation to say compared to what, German, Latin or Japanese. I occasionally get a comment that my French is OK. {se debrouiller} I am guessing that the ability to speak and understand French across the Brit expat community is low to dire. The bar of expectation is set low. Occasionally, usually a younger person, has a go at English. To date nobody has taken me upon the suggestion that if they speak French and I speak English we should be able to communicate quite effectively.

I’ll make a statement here. Only one person really knows my ability to understand French, written and spoken, and my level of my less capable oral delivery, my French language teacher. The wife is a close second.

On the whole people here know that the level of Franglais is poor. I have even had someone talking louder to me in French because that will obviously aid my understanding. People think they know that Brits as a whole are shit at French. So, when the wife speaks, they are very pleasantly surprised. I have an inkling on occasion they prolong the conversation to see how good she is.

What people do not know is that when I am communicating with them I not only use my learned level of French but my skill at intuition and interpolation. Words that have a Latin root are latent in my four-decade old vocabulary.

There is a tacit assumption that if you can’t speak the lingo that you are less intelligent. It is a prejudice common across all cultures, I suspect.

I do not have to speak French because the wife is better at it. It is quite interesting to see French men uncomfortable talking to an English woman about technical matters whilst a near silent Welshman observes. They are much more used to speaking man to man {my guess}. I have used an interpreter in Japan, so I am comfortable with this, she was a woman.

Here is my assumption, they find it uncomfortable when I try to communicate in less than perfect French and would prefer to speak at normal pace with the wife in a higher quality of language. Even though I am there. They do not know how / when to make eye contact under this circumstance.

I know that these are suppositions and assumptions, they are by way of working hypotheses. I have not concluded. I know this.

The trouble is people often conclude before they have sufficient basis for any kind of conclusion and these conclusions turn into prejudice based on what you think you know.

Here is a question:

Is what you think you know just another way of saying prejudice and preconception?

Have You Ever “Dissed” a Tulku?

“Sometimes it is the people no one can imagine anything of who do the things no one can imagine.”

 Alan Turing

I have been toying with a train of thought today. Many people in their self-diagnosed omniscience fail to take into consideration that which lies outside of their all-encompassing wisdom.

As a loose hypothesis it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that I am indeed a reincarnated Buddhist priest, possibly even an acquaintance of Siddhārtha. Yet many people have “dissed” me and treated me badly.

They have sent me their bile, their anger and their justifications.

They have treated me like shit. They have fought me at every pace. They wish to argue the toss.

Wouldn’t it be ironic, don’t you think?

If my dreams are pointing at a truth and all these people are being dicks, know-it-alls and ignorant.

But of course, the omniscient know best.


I shifted near half a tonne of grass cuttings today.

That pillow is already calling.


Well, life has a funny way of sneaking up on you

When you think everything’s okay and everything’s going right

And life has a funny way of helping you out

When you think everything’s gone wrong and everything blows up

In your face

Conflicting Narratives

We live in a times where conflicting narratives abound. It can sometimes be difficult to know who or what to believe. There is a desire for truth but exactly whose truth are we referring to when we say I want the truth. Is there a THE truth, the one and only unequivocal truth or should we speak of A truth. People imagine themselves to be in possession of the facts. If you think even a little about it, “facts” have a measure of interpretation to them. We could measure event flow, but beyond that there is some interpretation.

What can I say about my circumstances that is factual?

In the context of physical plane manifestation, I am living in a house in rural Brittany, I receive a small pension and use some of my time to type on this thing which I call a keyboard. I do gardening and do it yourself works in the house. I cook dinner most evenings. How I find myself here is open to any number of conflicting narratives. An outside observer may not know about the pension but if they were looking at me through binoculars what I have just written would be consistent with their observations. This is the Realm of Like This.

If they were snooping on me via my blog or some other means they could try to figure out “where I am I at” or “where I am coming from”. Their interpretation of that is unlikely to be 100% objective. They could construct some narrative or other. This narrative would be divergent from the one that I might construct.

It is extremely unlikely that they will have read everything that I have, that they understand what I do. I’ll wager that there is not a single being on this planet who comes close to having studied all the things that I have. Some people will have studied a lot more than me. I am pretty specialised in my knowledge set. Some of that set will of course overlap with the knowledge sets of others; the natural sciences part in particular. I doubt many of my erstwhile colleagues have read Aleister Crowley nor checked his various tabulated correspondences.

I have had a dream which suggests that I am an incarnation or a manifestation of this chap, Bakula. He was a close disciple of Buddha and is said to have been one of the sixteen arhats.

Immediately two conflicting narratives spring to mind. 1) It was just a dream and 2) It is true. There are of course many others, which might proffer levels of complexity and over interpretation. The first narrative has very little implication and is therefore readily acceptable. The second narrative has much wider implication especially if you put the thinking cap on. It is less acceptable because arhats are not meant to re-incarnate, they are supposed to achieve nirvana in perhaps the land of the pure abodes. Yet there are, other teachings that suggest free beings do indeed on occasion incarnate. Indeed, the Tibetans have recognised incarnations of Bakula.

“Ven. Bakula Rinpoche died while in India on November 4, 2003.

He lived one of the more interesting lives of a Buddhist lama. Born into a royal family of Ladakh, India, he was later recognized by the Thirteenth Dalai Lama as a reincarnation of Bakula Arhat – one of the Sixteen Arhats (direct disciples of Shakyamuni Buddha who had tremendous spiritual realizations).

Bakula Rinpoche had a keen interest in Mongolia and Russia from a young age, and while other Tibetan teachers were going to the West, Bakula Rinpoche said, “Everyone is going to the west – it’s easy to go to the west.”

After Rinpoche worked as a minister of the Indian government under Indira Gandhi, he began to travel to Mongolia and the USSR, where he helped re-open ancient monasteries and organize Buddhist peace conferences. In 1990, was appointed as the Indian ambassador to Mongolia for a period of two years. When he arrived, Mongolia was still communist, but during his stay – which lasted more than 10 years – it became a free country, so Bakula Rinpoche could travel freely and work to revive pure Buddhism.

After the fall of Communism in Mongolia, Bakula Rinpoche established monasteries and nunneries, hosted His Holiness the Dalai Lama, invited Lama Zopa Rinpoche several times, and granted ordination to many Mongolians. He retired from his position as ambassador in 2000.

Interestingly enough, according to Mongolian folklore, there was a long-held belief that Bakula Arhat would one day come from India to revive Buddhism in Mongolia. Perhaps it wasn’t folklore.

On the 26th February 2008, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has confirmed Thupten Ngawang, a child born in Nubra, Ladakh as the reincarnation of Bakula Rinpoche. The child is a bright little boy born on 24th November 2005 and has been chosen from among several children.”

If narrative 2 is correct, then a part of my shared essence was found in Ladakh. Tibetan Buddhism entertains that different parts of a master’s essence can manifest, mind, spirit etc..

Because of the myriad of implications of narrative 2 it would be unacceptable to the minds of many. Could you imagine those people with whom I have gone out on the lash with imagining me as the reincarnation of a Buddhist “saint”. These guys don’t drink ten pints of Stella Artois in one sitting, smoke Marlboro Lights or skin up spliffs. If you have been mean to me, it would be even harder to accept that you have been mean to a reincarnating arhat.

You may have noticed the dropping penny. If the penny does drop what happens then?

Over the years many people have dismissed what I have told them, gotten angry with my suggestions and offended at my words. In most cases I have been wearing black Levi’s. If I had said the same things wearing the robes of a Buddhist monk, would their reaction have differed? Probably. If I was called Rinpoche, would they have been so pissed off? Maybe. Many people have tried to beat me and get one over on me. Would narrative two have implications for their recapitulation?

We base our interpretation of the world on our narratives which may be far from accurate. But people genuinely believe that they know more than they do in very many cases. You may have noticed that I take the piss out of self-diagnosed omniscience from time to time.

How good is the basis set of narratives upon which you interpret your experience of living?

Do you have any conflicting narratives?

The Astounding Omniscience of They

If you want to be free, then you will need to think for yourself and then learn to trust that and what your heart tells you.

You many need to do this against a backdrop of the astounding omniscience of they. This means that you might be at the sharp end of group opinion. It is not a comfortable place.

This relates to the “Making Plans for Nigel” theme, a favourite theme of mine. Other people gather together and make plans for what to do with Nigel. They imagine that if they present Nigel with a fait accompli, he will be happy and go along with it. Of course, they have not consulted Nigel whilst they are making plans for him, so it is by way of an intrigue. He has been excluded and thereby plotted upon. This never occurs to them, it lies outside their astounding omniscience.

Group mind deems itself wise and all-knowing, this is because like-minded people share a similar approach. Because there is little dissent within a homogeneous group, it imagines that consensual accuracy is in fact wide ranging and accurate. A little careful thought suggests that homogeneous groups are limited to the conceptual abilities to be found within their homogeneity. Although they may imagine themselves capable of thinking outside the box, the box is pretty small to start off with. So even if they manage to get outside the box it is still close to the box.

There is something comforting about the consensus of a group. Because of that it deems itself to be righter. From within the group it seems OK to recruit into it or inflict opinion upon those outside it. They imagine themselves attractive and to have a gravitational pull.

If you want to be free, then you have to be mindful of this draw of group-mind. It can be difficult to maintain clarity in the light of peer pressure. Group-mind is volatile and can turn in an instant, sometimes on others. And group-mind once moving has more momentum, thereby it is difficult to stop or resist. It takes some character to not get caught up in group-mind. That primitive urge to belong to some tribe or other is strong. External people will always consult the tribe before the individual. This means that the astounding omniscience of they, is the more widely accepted. They say a lot of things.

If you want to be free, then you will need to think for yourself and then learn to trust that and what your heart tells you.

Omniscience – Gloat

What does contextual credibility mean to you?

I am fully aware of how many people from my past think and assemble their own peculiar version of reality. If for example I talk about past life recall, I have shattered my contextual credibility within that / their schema, that exact and all encompassing and utterly omniscient world view.

They may even scoff or gloat…no Encephalitis there…not one tiny bit!!

Clearly  I have proven myself to be some flaky, whacko, David Icke like figure.  Only I haven’t because I am not presenting “facts” I am suggesting hypothesis.

I, really don’t care who is “right”.

People therein might gloat that I have shot myself in the foot and that they will “win”.

Haven’t they David, Joshua and Richard?

Do you want me to go further? More names, including surnames?

We each of us place our bets on the accuracy of our philosophy, our belief system.

We may kill others because we, the omniscient, are right…

It is sad as a sad thing on a particularly sad day…

self-diagnosed omniscience

Over the years I have been fortunate enough to meet a number of people with very high opinions of the extent of their own knowledge and intellect.  This is an ode to them.

the persistent insistence

on being right

with self-diagnosed omniscience

so very entitled


me, my, mine

only me, only I

know all the answers why


the blindfolded ears

refuse to hear

anything or anyone else


my cosmic intellect

encompasses all knowledge

all wisdom

there is or can ever be


it says so on my door

the font eternal

whence all clever things



I know best

better than you

oh, yes, I do!