every street in
the world is
~ Thic Nhat Hanh ~
Conquer anger by love, evil by good;
Conquer the miser with liberality,
and the liar with truth.
When you seek love with all your heart,
you shall find its echoes across the universe
Purify Our Mind
THE most important thing in our life should be “To Purify Our Mind”.
TO purify our mind, we need to first broaden ourselves with activities of compassion so as to gradually get rid of the self-centered habits.
TO broaden ourselves, we should FIRST FILL OUR MIND with BEAUTIFUL THOUGHTS:
WE should try to make our mind like land, because land has beautiful virtues: when animals shed their excrement on land, land never express anything angrily, because it is not swayed and is completely indifferent; when humans (the rich and famous, sages and saints, or perfect people) walk over land, land feels nothing, again because it is not swayed and is completely indifferent.
Land is not involved or affected by favorable or dangerous situations. Land always welcomes all kinds of situations. It will not take or give up anything, is never confused, is never swayed or attracted by anything, never starts an idea or gives up an idea, peacefully enjoys leisure and endures patiently, and is completely serene. These are some of the beautiful virtues of the land that we step on every day.
IF you have no mind to all living things, then what’s the harm of letting these things surround you? We really should learn the spiritual part of land and cultivate the broad and generous mind. This will help to purify our mind.
THE GOOD and THE BAD:
WHEN you face favorable situations or dangerous situations, you can still do everything without the least worry and feel comfortable and able to do anything of your own free will. When you meet somebody, perhaps the person you like the least in your life, a person who looks at you with dirty stares, do you still feel comfortable and free? As a matter of fact, in these kinds of moments, there is a fight between “The state of holiness and wisdom” and “The temptations or evil influence.” If we use the worldly words it’s like a fight between “The Good” and “The Bad.” Becoming The Good or The Bad is all depended on our MIND.
BECAUSE The Good and The Bad are decided by our mind, maybe we can put it this way: The Good and The Bad share our mind. When The Good defeats The Bad, the whole of our mind is Good. When The Bad defeats The Good, the whole of our mind is Bad. From this angle you might have an idea that The Good and The Bad are all from our mind.
THE way our mind treats the situations we face creates the difference between “The state of holiness and wisdom”(The Good) and “The temptations or evil influence”(The Bad). If our mind is contaminated by situations, the mind becomes “The Bad.” If our mind is not contaminated by situations, the mind becomes “The Good”.
WHEN adverse circumstances come, just let them do what they like; when adverse circumstances go, just let them do what they like also. When fortunate circumstances come, just let them arise naturally without extra effort; when fortunate circumstances go, again just let them depart naturally without extra effort. Our mind should not be linked up with any circumstances, whether good circumstances or bad circumstances. This will help Purify Our Mind.
WHEN adverse circumstances come, do not feel delighted, when adverse circumstances leave, do not feel disappointed. If the mind feels delighted or disappointed, it shows that we can not control ourselves. In this moment, our mind will have all kinds of entanglements of love, hate, desire, and possession by force. After this step, all kinds of problems will follow and never end.
THE IDEA OF the word “IMPERMANENT”:
IF we observe things around us, we will find out that “None is permanent”. Things, whether material or non-material, change constantly. Some of the changes are evident, some of them are not. Ever since life began, natural phenomena have been like this. From this point of view, we should understand that things always arise depending on conditions. When the appropriate conditions come together, things arise; when those conditions disperse, things cease.
IF you could understand the point that Nothing is permanent, you will not keep thinking of something in your memory all the time, because it is impermanent and will eventually vanish, no matter how much you keep remembering it. In such a case, why don’t we just leave it alone?
IN the Universe, everything that we can see, hear, and think of all arising depending on conditions, meaning that everything is impermanent. The people we love the most or the situations we like the most will all vanish. The people we hate the most or the situations we like the least will all vanish too. Do we still want to persist in our own opinions of things that happen one minute and vanish the next in this world?
THE THOUGHTS in OUR MIND:
THERE are all kinds of thoughts in our mind: evil thoughts, greedy thoughts, and kind thoughts. These thoughts are always confused, tangled, profuse, disordered, and most of the time, we can not control them. Actions, motions, works, and even mistakes all arise from thoughts in our mind. When we put an idea of going to a place in our mind, then action will lead our body to that place. When we start an idea of going to the church, then action will bring us to that church. We will spend our entire fortune doing something because of a little thought in our mind. We will begin to be deeply attached to one thing or act on momentary impulse because of a little thought in our mind. We will offend people by our words because of a little wrong thought in our mind. We might do something offensive or harmful to society’s morals because of a little evil thought in our mind.
WE always maneuver for positions or benefits against rivals. We try to cause alienation between friends or relatives by spreading rumors or doing something. Does anybody know why? It is because “What one is thinking of at any given moment is often evil thoughts.”
THE Good and The Bad all are from our MIND. We are the masters of the mind and also are the watershed of The Good and The Bad. Mind produces all kinds of thoughts; mind is the origin of events that follow from Good thoughts and Bad thoughts. From this point of view, we all should understand how important it is to purify our mind.
TO DEAL with THOUGHTS:
IF we want to avoid disasters or calamities made by ourselves, we have to stop putting ideas in our head. The moment we stop an idea arising is called “True Awakening”.
THERE are all kinds of garbage in our mind. If we want to purify our mind, getting rid of the garbage in our mind might be the first thing we have to do. What is the garbage of mind? Dirty and polluted thoughts, greedy thoughts, hateful thoughts, infatuated thoughts, worried thoughts, suffering thoughts, haughty thoughts, impudent thoughts, envious thoughts, indecent thoughts, heterodox thoughts, dreary thoughts, and hollow thoughts. These can all be called garbage of the mind.
Someone in history said once that one who can govern a battalion of a million soldiers is not a hero: the real hero is that person who can govern his mind. We should understand the meaning of these words.
IF an evil thought arises in our mind, then more evil thoughts like water will come in torrents; nothing can ward them off. These evil thoughts will forever lead us to thinking, speaking, and acting evil. Ever since life began, the habitual temperament of human beings makes us like this. It is doubly difficult to get rid of them.
WHEN we can govern our thoughts, our mind will not be affected by situations. From this, our mind can be free. This is a very hard level to reach, but the first step always is hard.
FOR those who have too many friendly feelings (such as being crazy about women), if they do not control their feelings well, they will follow their thoughts and will sink into the deep sea of feelings. For those who desire wealth and honor greatly, their minds are clouded by material desires, the covetous thoughts will lead them to fame and wealth, and they will be in the bondage of reputation and wealth forever.
ALWAYS keep a watch on thoughts in your mind. Try to realize or know what and where your thoughts are. As a matter of fact, according to the experienced people’s idea, “Thoughts always vanish when you watch them.” If we could practice like this all the time, the power of our thoughts will decrease over time. This is not a very easy level to reach, but at least we have an idea that there is a way to get rid of thoughts.
LIKE we mentioned, things arise always depending on conditions: when conditions come together or gather together, things arise; when conditions disperse or dispel, things cease. [This is a doubly important notion]. When we understand this notion, we will also understand that everything in the universe is impermanent; from this point of view, it should be easy to get rid of CLINGING, and always persisting in our opinion. Always remember and practice the notion of IMPERMANENCE. This will help to purify our mind a lot.
THE ORIGINAL NATURE OF HUMAN BEING:
WE should live in a world which belongs to our real inner self or original nature of human being. This world is bright and brilliant, where there no dispute, and we are not bothered by material concerns. It is pure and peaceful, enjoying leisure and not sorrowful; but we never try to act in response to this world, we never try to be a friend of our real inner self. The only thing we do day in and day out is to try and climb up socially. This is what the Chinese call “Attending to the superficials and neglecting the essentials”.
WHEN our real inner self is led astray by human desires, we all know that desires are bottomless. We all will not be able to do anything of our own free will, and we become the slaves of human desires.
THE power of temptation of human desires is doubly brutal. Some people always try to attain their desires with nefarious tactics. The moment we have a thought like this, the moment we lose the chance to contact our real inner self, we are going to be gone far away from purifying our mind.
OUR mind will not stop producing thoughts because of human desires. Therefore, our real inner self will be clouded by material desires forevermore, and our original nature will be contaminated forevermore also.
WHY does our mind always produce thoughts? Before we talk about this subject, maybe we should understand some evil ingredients in our mind. According to the experienced people’s idea, ” Being greedy for everything, angry at everything, and not understanding the real truth are the most common evil ingredients in our mind.”
THESE evil ingredients influence and poison our mind very strongly. That is the reason why our mind produces thoughts every minute of the day. And like we mentioned, “What one is thinking of at any given moment is often evil thoughts.” From this, we should understand that fighting these evil thoughts is the most important thing we are going to do.
TO REDUCE THE THOUGHTS IN OUR MIND:
BESIDES what we have already mentioned, there are other ways to reduce thoughts in our mind. Here we try to introduce some of them. Hopefully this will benefit everybody who is seriously interested in this field.
TRY our level best to understand that all living things in the universe are equal; otherwise, we will have a special mind which always looks at things from a dualistic perspective. For example, making a distinction between the good and the bad. And all the problems will be starting from right here, such as “Always persist our own ideas”, “Always argue”, “Always hate”, “Always fight”, …and never stop.
LIKE we mentioned in the beginning, we should try to make our mind like LAND, and be tolerant of other people’s mistakes, or wrongdoing or weaknesses. Try to express solicitude for everybody (Friends, enemies, good, and bad) equally. Try not to dispute or discuss in minute detail gaining or losing. Try not to be moved by sad or delighted things. Try not to feel so pleased when people respect or praise us. Try not to hate or abhor when people slight us.
WHEN people show their beautiful virtues (like helping others), we should show our respect and join in their actions, and we should try not to be jealous of other people’s beautiful virtues. When we see people facing troubles, we should not gloat over their disaster.
ACCORDING to the experienced people’s idea, “The highest wisdom comes from a merciful heart”, the merciful heart comes from “Solving people’s problems without any conditions and helping people to get peace, calm, and sagacity without any conditions either”.
IF we look at things or treat things unequally, from here, all the worry, trouble, and prejudice will be produced almost right away. Thus if we want to purify our mind, we have to learn to look at things or treat things with equality.
SOMEDAY when we realize that all the beings are equal and could be blend or mix together, and become “ONE” in some way, we will understand really what is the “Real Truth”.
Grace and Beauty
When an individual is in a situation in which doubts arises to which is better – to pursue the grace of external brilliance, or to return to simplicity. To doubt itself implies the answer. Confirmation comes from the outside; it comes like a white winged horse. The white color indicates simplicity. At first it may be disappointing to renounce comforts that might have been obtained, yet one finds peace of mind in a true relationship with the friend who courts him. The winged horse is the symbol of the thoughts that transcend all limits of space and time.