There Is No Suffering 80

Fundamental ignorance has also been described as the seed of afflictions. A tiny seed can become grass, trees, shrubs, weeds, or a giant tree. However, there is no guarantee that a seed by itself will grow into a plant; it needs the right combination of air, sunlight, water, soil, and temperature. The seed of fundamental ignorance is the potential to create future karma through actions of body, speech, and mind; it is also the residue of karma created in this and past lives. Indeed, it is none other than our misconception of a self, the ‘I’ that governs our experiences. However, this seed will grow and ripen only under the right conditions, which consist of our attachments.

Fundamental Ignorance, Attachment, and the Self

The focus of practice is to contemplate that fundamental ignorance does not exist—that there are in reality no conditions for this seed to grow. With this method, do you contemplate the seed or the conditions that are necessary for the seed to grow? First, you contemplate the conditions. Figuratively speaking then, first you contemplate the balloon, which represents attachment, or the immediate expression of fundamental ignorance. Attachment manifests as greed, aversion, arrogance, jealousy, doubt, and so forth. It is only when these afflictions arise that we become aware of a self. Attachment, itself, however, has no real existence.