Friday, June 25, 2010

The Melanippe Sutra

Thus I have heard. Once, Melanippe met Athena in Athena's temple on Mount Olympus. Melanippe asked Athena a question.
Melanippe: What are the most deluded ideas that unenlightened people have?
Athena: 1: The first deluded idea is that one does not change because one has a solitary unified self that cannot change. But no being has a self. When one's beliefs, exixstence and desires changes one changes. Since all things are impermanent change is one's nature.
2: The second deluded idea is that attaining self-rule requires no activity on one's part. But one does not have self-rule unless one works on oneself. Those who believe that self-rule requires no activity have a completely wrong idea about what self-rule is. They think that self-rule is acting in whatever unconscious way they want. They may think that they are acting consciously but in reality they are acting unconsciously without any conscious examination of their actions. Such individuals have no ability to use rational-emotive work to inform themselves about what actions will lead to pain and what actions lead to the absence of pain. As a result, such supposedly "free" individuals do not have the ability to overcome their habitual patterns of action that lead them to doing actions which produce pain. One needs to do rational-emotive work to be able to consciously observe one's actions, intervene and stop doing actions which cause pain. It is those who do the rational-emotive work who attain the self-rule that enables them to do actions which only produce the absence of pain.
3: The third deluded notion is that one can achieve the ability to be an impartial spectator. But it is impossible for an impartial spectator to exist. One would have to exist outside of being in order to be a spectator who impartially wittnesses events in the world. Everyone who exists has a particular perspective on any event. Since to "be" outside of beingmeans that one is an absolute nonbeing and absolute nonbeings do not exist it is impossible to be an impartial spectator. To set oneself the task of being an impartial spectator is an impossible task and those who think they have achieved that goal are simply deluded.
When Athena had finished preaching this Sutra Melanippe was jubilant Melanippe accepted Athena's teaching and began to follow it with great veneration.