The three wise monkeys depict the proverb “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil”.
The four wise monkeys include a fourth maxim, which cannot easily be represented pictorially: “think no evil”.
What if we were also to increase not just the number of monkeys but the scope of the concept of evil? What if we were to include the whole of the Babylon System?
We’d get the following: “hear no Babylon, see no Babylon, speak no Babylon, think no Babylon”.
The Wheel of Babylon (essentially the Bhavachakra, the Tibetan Wheel of Life) depicts six realms: Diva World, Muggle Land, Muppet Land above and the Victim, Addict and Demon Realms below.
All of these realms are available to us, through the miracle of modern technology, at the touch of a button. A TV Times that included everything on the television and radio, and satellite, cable, Netfix, Amazon, etc., everything on the Internet, YouTube, Podcasts, Wikipedia, Spotify, Porn Hub, etc., all social media platforms, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok etc., everything on your games consoles, Playstation, Xbox, etc., in your local cinema, theatre, bookshop and newsagents, not to mention everything on your bookshelves and in your film and record collections, would be a fairly exhaustive guide to the cultural delights of Babylon.
Now, if you watch and listen to Divas, Muggles and Muppets, either in the flesh or on screen, or talk to or about them, you will inevitably also spend a lot of time and energy thinking about them. They will leave traces in your psyche that may linger for minutes, hours or days. The same goes for Victims, Addicts and Demons.
The key point to understand is that even just thinking about Tom, Dick and Harry, or Donald Trump and Aunt Sally, means that you are automatically and instantaneously in Muggle Land, Muppet Land or Diva World. And even just fantasising about Scarlett Johansson or Ryan Reynolds and you are instantly in the Addict Realm.
“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”
Matthew 5: 27-28
You are never truly alone, because you carry a host of characters around with you wherever you go, even to the proverbial mountain cave. Even without your phone.
So remember the four wise monkeys. Stay away from Babylon, forget Babylon, stop thinking, even just for a few seconds, and you will enjoy the peace which passeth all understanding, and experience the freedom of the flight of the alone to the Alone. You will momentarily escape Samsara and enter Nirvana, and in that timeless moment, will enjoy your original Buddha Nature that you have since before your parents were born.