Distorted Perception II

Meditation on Perception (pp. 21-29)

Distorted perceptions can be divided into four types. The Buddha called these groups, knots because these perceptions keep us tied (attached) to suffering.

The four knots are:

  1. Distorted Perception of Clinging
  2. Distorted Perception of pushing away the unpleasant
  3. Distorted Perception of cruelty
  4. Distorted Perception of wrong view

Distorted Perception of Clinging

We cling to what we perceive as pleasant believing that it is permanent.

Distorted Perception of pushing away the unpleasant

We push away what we perceive as unpleasant because we believe that it is permanently so.

Distorted Perception of cruelty

When we continue to push away what is unpleasant, anger or hatred can develop causing us to engage in unskillful activity.

Distorted Perception of wrong view

When we believe in people or objects as being permanent, pleasant and having self-nature, we are ignorant of the truth. The truth is that all experiences are impermanent, unsatisfactory and selfless.

Distorted perceptions are harmful to our well-being.

“The Buddha’s solution to this problem is straightforward: We train ourselves to use mindfulness to focus on the simple cognitive aspects of perception without going beyond them into judgments and interpretations. We remind ourselves that conceptual proliferation gets in the way of clear perception and always strive to perceive things impartially. We remain mindful that our perceptions, like every other part of the mind and body, are always changing and will never bring us permanent satisfaction or dissatisfaction. When we understand deeply that the intrinsic nature of all perceptions is impermanent, unsatisfactory, and selfless there is no room for conflict!” (p. 29)


Reflect on the talk daily. Have you experienced any of the four knots? Can you recognize them is they arise again?


Continue your meditation practice. Observe (non-judgmentally) if any of the knots arise and investigate their impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and selfless nature.

Next: Purified Perception
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