When did ignorance start? – Gerd Boll answers

Gerd Boll, a Travelling Teacher from north Germany and close student of Lama Ole Nydahl, answered this question during a lecture in the London Diamond Way Buddhist Centre during his last visit to the UK in October 2009

Travelling Teacher Gerd Boll

Q: When did basic ignorance start?

A: There are two answers. The official answer of the Gelugpa School is that it never started. The cause of our confusion in this lifetime was in a previous lifetime, and so on, so confusion was always there. The yogi’s answer is that it starts NOW. Time is a timeless illusion, it doesn’t exist, it is only a habit of thinking.

Time cannot be proven. Even photos don’t prove the past. They only create an idea of “past”. Everything happens here and now. The future is nothing other than the summary of our wishes, it’s just an idea. The present is also only an idea. It is impossible to “catch” the shortest possible moment because there is no indivisible moment. It would need to connect with other moments to create a “time chain” and if it connects with former and later moments it has to have a beginning and an end. If it has a beginning and an end it must have a middle. It has three particles, so it can be divided. Every subsequent smaller particle will also have three particles because the beginning of the “new” middle touches the end of the “old” beginning and the end of the “new” middle touches the beginning of the “old” end. In this way it can be divided without end, so there is no shortest possible moment. Time is an illusion. There is no time.

When did ignorance start?

The best example to explain time is the “tunnel reflection” effect in a mirror cabinet. We falsely experience one side of ego’s self-reflection as “past”. We falsely attribute the other side of this ego-reflection as “future”. But if we turn away the side-mirrors, the reflection is gone. It was a complete illusion. So when did ignorance start? It is only NOW.

If we don’t understand that mind is open, radiant space and everything is mind’s free play, then past, present and future appear and we’re caught in a “time chain” which seems to be beginningless. But it’s all an illusion.

A more important question is when will ignorance end? When will we reach enlightenment? The answer is also NOW. If we always delay our enlightenment to the future we will never reach it. We are afraid of letting go of ego and disturbing emotions. But if we understand this, it’s the biggest step we can make.”

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6 Responses to “When did ignorance start? – Gerd Boll answers”

  1. Ania G says:

    Excellent post! Can we have more of these please?

  2. dwbuk says:

    Happy to oblige! :)

  3. amit says:

    amazing. Thank you.

  4. MaryAnne says:

    Great posting. Thanks so much for this wonderful explanation. Love this blog!!

  5. Marisol says:

    friends, thanks soo much for the wonderful blog ;) from all the sangha in Oaxaca, México . love thos blog to ;)

  6. Kike says:

    Wonderfull job, keep on please!!
    “Cariños” from Perú!!

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