Rhapsody on the Perfect Enjoyment of Delusion


“Those who greatly realize delusion are buddhas.

Those who are greatly deluded about realization

are ordinary beings.”

~Dogen Zenji

Since all expectations are based on delusion, so too is the expectation that one can arrive at some special state that is free of delusion. The one who would do so is, after all, a figment of delusion itself. Nevertheless, people will and have spent whole lifetimes in such pursuit. The wisest among them at least have found some humor and enjoyment while waiting for Godot, and hence I offer this rhapsody on the perfect enjoyment of delusion.

Like a perpetually changing kaleidoscopic hologram, the vast grand totality of universal manifestation marvelously appears and disappears in a synchronized perfection, and yet is bereft of any fixed self-nature that can be attributed, intuited, or apprehended by mind, emotion, perception, or super-conscious discovery. What could be more delightful?

Because it is dream-like in its arising, enduring, and vanishing, it cannot be said to have any concrete, substantial reality. Hence it is a paradoxical mystery that courses beyond the comprehension of any intelligence that is subsequently formed by the coincidence of swooshing cerebral fluids, sparking neurons, and ripening causes and conditions to approximate some imaginary phenomenal center that would serve as a subject juxtaposed against all of the whirling objects dancing without purpose in the void.

Never can it be said that it is mine, that it is my self, that it is what I am, because what I am is the basic aware space in and as which everything seems to appear and disappear, though in reality nothing happens, begins, or ceases. This can be easily verified by refraining from identifying with any appearance, perception, feeling, memory, sensation, or mental fabrication, until nothing can be realized or forgotten, and “what is” reveals itself, as it is — pure delusion.

Because it is pure by nature, delusion itself is spontaneously self-illuminating. Whatever the experience — happy or sad, vivid or dull — it is the precise form of our own awareness, exactly as it is being experienced, and thus it is perfect, just as it is, in the very form that it is. It is only our resistance to “what is” that creates the desperation of spiritual or material paths, schemes, and methods, which in turn only prolong the chronic neurosis of unhappiness.

Why should the simplicity of this omnipresent perfection come as a surprise, unless we have been dreaming? Nevertheless, when the dream is recognized as a dream, what else need be done? Dream on, or open your eyes and stop dreaming — our playground is a spacious, brilliantly luminous mirage. Don’t hold back — plunge in! Every molecule holds within it a potent joy, just waiting to be appreciated.

Consider this: radiant light or murky darkness make no difference to the transparent sky of a vast and empty hologram. There is no higher or lower, better or worse. Neither praise nor blame apply, nor does the human persona’s judgment of right and wrong, good or bad. All delusion is equal in value, having no inherent value itself.

When seeing has no seer, hearing no hearer, and perceiving no perceiver, then awareness cannot be saddled with any identity, history, karma, personality, or even any fixed locality. Where is the sky? Who is the sky? When was the sky?

Because nothing under the sky stays the same, the nature of all phenomena can be regarded as “impermanent”. Because there is nothing that can actually be grasped and designated “the sky”, the infinite space in which all appears, thrives for a while, and vanishes is itself no different than any other prop in a fictitious story told by nobody.

What can then be said? The sky is silent. Awareness is silent. “Vast emptiness” is only a provisional term intended to stop the tears of child-like dream characters. In reality, there is no such thing. There could never be.

There is no vastness, no emptiness, no word. All of that is exquisite delusion. Even “exquisite” can be discarded, for if there is nothing, to what can it be compared? Unperceivable and inconceivable — that is what we are.

Silence is the Mother Principle, except that silence is not the absence of any sound. That sort of silence is only a relative condition, dependent on conditional factors, but true silence is not a state or result of any combination of causes, nor can it be an object to itself.

Whatever can be devised by the marvelous functioning of the divine creative intelligence does not apply to that prior silence which is elsewhere called (by the deluded) the Absolute, the Supreme, the fundamental Basis.

Out of this no-thing, the whole grand totality of universal manifestation flashes noisily into being, expands to fill the entire cosmos with its cacophony, and simultaneously dissolves, without the slightest glitch or hesitation, and without the most minute particle of a substantial self, except what can be superimposed on a non-event by the functioning of pure delusion.

Therefore, delusion is the source of all identification, all mental formations, all emotional reactivity, all mirror poses and self-images, and any apparent perception of duality or non-duality. Truly, there is no way around delusion, for to seek such a way is the play of delusion itself.

Moreover, does the word “delusion” even mean anything if there is nothing that is not delusion? If there is something that is not delusion, what then would it be? Furthermore, if there is something other than delusion, who or what cognizes it? Can a delusion cognize reality?

When the mind moves, delusion is its function. Nothing that can be conceived, seen, known, or imagined is real. To make or cherish any story about it is delusional, and so these very words are the clothing of delusion too. The ultimate expression of delusion is the claim, “I am this, I am that”.

Consequently, delusion constitutes the essential functioning of the grand perfection, the universal drama of limitless consciousness, without which there would be nothing — the same state in which we now exist — except for our playful dream creations which we name the self, the world, the everything.

Glory to That!

“At no time throughout the beginningless succession of lifetimes has there ever been an actual birth. There has only been the appearance of birth. There has never been actual death, only the transformation of appearances like the shift from the dream state to the waking state . . . throughout the beginningless succession of lifetimes there has never been any actual experience of transition or going from one state to another, or any actual experience of being located in some other place. This is analogous to the images in a dream.”

~ Longchenpa


See also:


About Bob OHearn

My name is Bob O'Hearn, and I live with my Beloved Mate, Mazie, in the foothills of the Northern California Sierra Nevada Mountains. I have a number of blog sites you may enjoy: Photo Gallery: http://www.pbase.com/1heart Essays on the Conscious Process: https://theconsciousprocess.wordpress.com/ Compiled Poetry and Prosetry: http://feelingtoinfinity.wordpress.com/ Verses and ramblings on life as it is: https://writingonwater934500566.wordpress.com/ Verses and Variations on the Investigation of Mind Nature: https://themindthatneverwas.wordpress.com/ Verses on the Play of Consciousness: https://onlydreaming187718380.wordpress.com/ Poetic Fiction, Fable, Fantabulation: https://themysteriousexpanse.wordpress.com/ Poems of the Mountain Hermit: https://snowypathtonowhere.wordpress.com/ Love Poems from The Book of Yes: https://lovesight.wordpress.com/ Autobiographical Fragments, Memories, Stories, and Tall Tales: https://travelsindreamland.wordpress.com/ Ancient and modern spiritual texts, creatively refreshed: https://freetransliterations.wordpress.com/ Writings from selected Western Mystics, Classic and Modern: https://westernmystics.wordpress.com/ Wisdom of a Spirit Guide: https://spiritguidesparrow.wordpress.com/ Thank You!
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25 Responses to Rhapsody on the Perfect Enjoyment of Delusion

  1. marcel says:

    “Arising without the mark of arising,
    arising and illumination are the same”

    Thanks for the show, Jai to That!

  2. jencistory says:

    Coincidently I was reading this by Wolinsky last night in his book Rays of the Absolute –
    A bubble which gives the illusory appearance of being
    separate from the emptiness,
    A bubble universe of consciousness appearing to float
    on emptiness,
    Emptiness appears as a conceivable-perceivable VOID
    “As If” it were an actual substance or thing.
    Emptiness as well is the consciousness
    and all perceivables or conceivables is an illusory
    mirage on the Absolute, prior to the word Absolute.
    Nisargadatta Maharaj,
    when asked, “Who Are You?” replied,
    “Nothing perceivable or conceivable.”
    All perceivables or conceivables are to be
    discarded as not this, not that.

  3. rahkyt says:

    A grand dance of consciousness … beautiful, inspiring, fun! ! ! Thank you …

  4. Bob OHearn says:

    “Delusion means mortality. And awareness means Buddhahood. They’re not the same. And they’re not different. It’s that people distinguish delusion from awareness. When we’re deluded there’s a world to escape. When we’re aware, there’s nothing to escape.

    In the light of the impartial Dharma, mortals look no different from sages. The sutras say that the impartial Dharma is something that mortals can’t penetrate and sages can’t practice. The impartial Dharma is only practiced by great bodhisattvas and Buddhas. To look on life as different from death or on motion as different from stillness is to be partial. To be impartial means to look on suffering as no different from nirvana, because the nature of both is emptiness.

    By imagining they’re putting an end to Suffering and entering nirvana, Arhats [saints] end up trapped by nirvana. But bodhisattvas know that suffering is essentially empty.”


    • A.Decker says:

      So awareness actually is the experience of delusion, eh?

      • Bob OHearn says:

        Bodhidharma points out a paradox in the above quote which defies conceptual analysis. That is, Awareness is neither the same as delusion, nor is it different. On the relative level, they appear to be distinct, but on the absolute level they are not.

        As usual, it is the illusion of the “person” that complicates the understanding. For example, who or what is aware of being aware? Furthermore, it cannot be proven that, having removed delusion, there is no longer delusion. Because delusion is pure by nature, it is self-illuminating. That the complete purity of delusion cannot be transcended is something to ponder.


      • A.Decker says:

        “Because delusion is pure by nature, it is self-illuminating.”

        That strikes me as more like what I was trying to say. Delusion is as much a manifestation, if you will, of Awareness as “awakening” or “enlightenment.” Yeah, semantics.

        I’m reminded of a quote:
        “Do not think you will necessarily be aware of your own enlightenment.”–Dogen


      • Bob OHearn says:

        Great (and pertinent) quote!

        Reminds me of one from Ramana: “A jnani is not conscious of liberation or bondage. Bondage, liberation, and orders of liberation are all for the ignorant, in order that ignorance might be shaken off. There is only liberation, and nothing else.”


  5. Bob OHearn says:

    “Real knowledge exists when the aspirant comes to understand that this whole objective universe of diversity and duality is just a trick, the play of Lord Shiva. That does not mean that it is a trick which creates an unreal world. For the Trika Shaiva liberated yogi the world does not disappear as the teachers of Advaita Vedanta like to proclaim. The goal is not the world-oblivion of kaivalya (isolation). We have seen how this objective world is just as real as Lord Shiva. The trick lies in the fact that it causes the limited individual to experience this world of diversity as the only reality. Real knowledge exists when the aspirant becomes one with God Consciousness, which is the same as attaining perfect Self-knowledge. In possessing real knowledge he/she knows that the world of differentiation is not actually different from Shiva, the supreme reality.

    The cycles of bondage and liberation are both one with Lord Shiva. It is only his trick that we think that some souls are bound in ignorance while others are elevated. As only Lord Shiva exists, there is not any second thing that could cover or bind him. It is only his play that we think that this covering of diversity actually exists as a separate reality which covers him. There is not a second being or reality. His trick, therefore, is our trick. Why? Because we are Lord Shiva. We have concealed ourselves in order to find ourselves. This is his play, and therefore it is our play.”

    ~Moksha and the means of its attainment in Kashmir Shaivism
    By John Hughes

  6. Bob OHearn says:

    “If there is a certain notion that you have direct ‘Realization,’ it is only the delusion of a confused mind. This confusion is only the enhancement of the Illusion that is already there. It is the spectacle, the festival of Illusion. Every so-called ‘Realization’ is Illusion.”

    ~ Shri Siddharameshwar Maharaj

    • A.Decker says:

      It’s starting to sound(read) like UG Krishnamurti was right. If we notice anything at all, no matter how beautiful or profound it may seem, it’s not the reality that is now. It’s just another piece of the past.
      The feeling that my thinking mind is never gonna get this is a good thing. Right?

      • Bob OHearn says:

        “Good” or “bad” are just additions the thinking mind superimposes on the fundamental reality. That said, the recognition of the intellect’s inherent limitation is the foundation of humility, which itself becomes a portal to the fundamental wisdom.


  7. Bob OHearn says:

    “This is Perfect. That is Perfect.
    From the Perfect springs the Perfect.
    Take the Perfect from the Perfect
    and only the Perfect remains.”

    ~Nityananda Bhagavan

  8. Bob OHearn says:

    “Appearance is mind and emptiness is mind.
    Realization is mind and confusion is mind.
    Arising is mind and cessation is mind.
    May all doubts about mind be resolved”


  9. Bob OHearn says:

    “Whatever occurs, whatever it may be, that itself is the key, And without stopping it or nourishing it, in an even flow, Freely resting, surrendering to ultimate contemplation, In naked pristine purity we reach consummation.”

    ~ Longchenpa

  10. Bob OHearn says:


    “Everything has the nature of being empty.
    When the empty looks at the empty,
    Who is there to look at something empty?
    What is the use of many classifications,
    Such as ‘being empty’ and ‘not empty’
    As it is illusion looking at illusion,
    And delusion watching delusion?”

    ~Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche

  11. Bob OHearn says:

    The creation of illusion is nothing but illusion. When everything is compound there is nothing which can be regarded as a real thing. Such is the nature of all things.

    – Nagarjuna

  12. We are the apertures through which creative energy is manifested. When myself is removed from the process, what remains is simply the aperture.

  13. John says:

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    Is gonna be back incessatly in order to check out new posts

  14. Bob OHearn says:

    “Trying to suppress delusion is delusion too. Delusions have no original existence; they’re only things you create yourself by indulging in discrimination.”

    ~ Zen Master Bankei-Yotaku

  15. Bob OHearn says:

    Q: “Who is the great illusionist?”

    M: “Mind is the great illusionist; the body is the City of Great Illusion, and names are its garments and sustenance. In all the worlds, countless as Ganges’ sands, there is not anything which is outside illusion.”

    ~Zen Teachings of Instantaneous Awakening by Hui Hai

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