Finally the monkey might try to ignore that he is imprisoned or that there is something seductive in his environment. He plays deaf and dumb and so is indifferent and slothful in relation to what is happening around him. This is stupidity.

To go back a bit, you might say that the monkey is born into his house as he awakens from the blackout. He does not know how he arrived in this prison, so he assumes he has always been there, forgetting that he himself solidified the space into walls. Then he feels the texture of the walls, which is the Second Skandha, Feeling. After that, he relates to the house in terms of desire, hatred, and stupidity, the Third Skandha, Perception-Impulse. Then having developed these three ways of relating to his house, the monkey begins to label and categorize it: “This is a window. This corner is pleasant. That wall frightens me and is bad.” He develops a conceptual framework with which to label and categorize and evaluate his house, his world, according to whether he desires, hates or feels indifferent to it. This is the Fourth Skandha, Concept.

The monkey’s development through the Fourth Skandha has been fairly logical and predictable. But the pattern of development begins to break down as he enters the Fifth Skandha, Consciousness. The thought pattern becomes irregular and unpredictable and the monkey begins to hallucinate, to dream.

When we speak of “hallucination” or “dream,” it means that we attach values to things and events which they do not necessarily have. We have definite opinions about the way things are and should be. This is projection: we project our version of things onto what is there. Thus we become completely immersed in a world of our own creation, a world of conflicting values and opinions. Hallucination, in this sense, is a misinterpretation of things and events, reading into the phenomenal world meanings which it does not have.

Q: What does the monkey perceive when he looks out of the five windows of the house? A: Well, he perceives the east, west, south and north.

Q: How do they look to him? A: A square world.

Q: What about outside the house? A: Well, a square world, because he sees through windows.

Q: He doesn’t see anything in the distance? A: He could, but it is also a square picture, because it is is like hanging a picture on the wall, isn’t it?

Q: What happens to the monkey when he takes a little LSD or peyote? A: He has already taken it.

Chögyam Trungpa Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism October 1, 2008
Posted on October 1, 2008