Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Ten Knots That Bind Us

Often I find a knot inside, usually not far from the surface. I call it 'the' knot. 

Last night, I learned something new. During his dharma talk about The Ten Fetters, Gil talked about  fetters, as being knots that need to be undone if we are to find ultimate release from suffering. There is not one, but ten different kinds of knot:

First 3 knots are cognitive:

#1. Attachment to personality view
We need to drop the stories we make up about ourselves. Sense of self is part of developmental task, but it ends up getting convoluted. We get into comparison, into who likes us, who doesn't. We need to realize limitations of such selfing. It is a prison. 
(This is a big one for me!)
#2. Clinging to rules and observances
Meaning, precepts and religious practices. We run into problem if we cling to them as absolute. 
#3. Doubt
Knowing freedom is to be found outside the prison walls. 

Next 2 knots are emotional, and harder to change:

#4. Attachment to sensual desires
#5. Attachment to ill will
(Oh! yes . . .)

Last 5 knots relate to attachment to meditative experiences and more subtle levels of consciousness:

#6. Clinging to deep states of meditation
#7. Clinging to meditation experiences where body disappears
#8. Conceit (much deeper rooted than attachment to personality view)
When we compare ourselves to others in any way at all (better, worse, or equal). We need to let go of comparison altogether. We need to let go even of sense of being-ness (no I involved). 
#9 Restlessness of the mind
#10 Ignorance

Full enlightenment is the absence of knots . . . Enlightenment is a gradual process of 'seeing', feeling, and releasing the knot, one by one, through mindfulness, concentration, and insight. My sense is this is not a linear process. 

I have been feeling a knot most of today. A knot, to do with emotions. Not liking, wanting . . . 

Do you have a knot, right now?


  1. Michael, I apologize on behalf of Blogger! Your comment did not make it through Blogger publishing mill . . .

    If you don't mind reposting, we can try again!

  2. This is a useful way to think about this. Thanks. Some knots are tighter and more difficult to undo than others, and naturally, which one surfaces on any given day is up for grabs. Keeps me on my toes!