Monday, 19 November 2012

The Eighth Verse of the Eight Verses for Training the Mind

May I keep all of these practices undefiled by stains of the eight worldly concerns (gain/loss, pleasure/pain, praise/blame, fame/dishonor), and by recognizing the emptiness and illusory nature of all existing things, may I be liberated from the bondage of attachment and mistaken views of reality.

We’re really getting down to the nitty gritty truth here, with: ‘recognising the emptiness and illusory nature of all existing things’ and ‘may I be liberated from the bondage of attachment and mistaken views of reality’. What does all this mean?
If we look deeply into things we will discover emptiness or Shunyata. Shunyata isn’t nothingness it is a vibrant sky-like energy from which everything is arising, in fact it really is the opposite of nothingness, it’s more like every-thingness, oneness or the absolute. Every single thing can be seen from an infinite number of different perspectives, every single thing can be taken apart infinitely and every single thing is forever constantly changing and becoming something else. Nothing can be ‘found’ we cannot point at something and say there that’s it, that thing is absolutely itself in and of itself, for the thing is more than one thing and is infinite in space, shape, size and time. Also the thing is not separate from the mind that is viewing and labelling it, in the same way that a rainbow only exists in the eyes of the individual looking at it.

Everything including ourselves is impermanent, we are made up of an infinite amount of smaller parts and we are simply a series of labels applied to the assembled parts. Nothing can be found. If we take a thought and really try to find it, it will evaporate. The same thing happens if we try to find an emotion. If we apply this emptiness technique to our own minds we will discover that we cannot be found! We will discover that an inherently existing ‘I’ cannot be found.

So forms exist, we can see them, touch them, smell them, taste them, hear them and think about them. But they exist in an impermanent, inter-dependent way, form is therefore empty, but in this emptiness we find the form.

If we apply this reasoning to ourselves we discover a new aspect of our minds. If we realize that everything, especially our ego, thoughts and emotions are empty of inherent existence we will discover a new way of being. This way of being is free from all worry and strife; it is a state of pure seeing.

The state is beyond duality, it is beyond the division of the eight worldy concerns. When we arrive at this state of clear seeing we are no longer deluded into separating reality into good and bad or black and white. In this way we escape the cyclic nature of delusion, or samsara. With clear seeing we are no longer like a dog chasing it’s tail.
Once we have attained this level of clear seeing or pure awareness nothing special happens to us. We don’t suddenly gain miraculous powers. But we are free, we are free from fear and free from getting sucked into the game of good and bad. Our reality is created by our minds. If our minds are affected by the six main modalities of negative emotion (anger, attachment, jealousy, greed, pride and ignorance) we will find ourselves in hell realms and heaven realms depending on what we believe. Once we truly understand and can see emptiness we are freed from the six realms and freed from uncontrolled rebirth. In such a state our actions no longer cause suffering for ourselves or others. Because our actions are more skilful we will become masters of our karma.

Although we may not be able to fly or move things around with our minds in this present reality we do uncover certain kinds of magic. We develop the ability of being able to attract health, wealth and happiness into our lives and the lives of others. We will develop the ability to maximise our time so that we can achieve more effortlessly and without attachment to the outcome. We will be able to play joyfully treating everything lightly and in a care free manner yet naturally avoiding hurting others and ourselves. We will be able to understand and accept suffering, death and loss with dignity, stability and inner strength. We will gain the ability of being able to heal others whether in mind or body. In such a state we can develop anything we turn our minds to. We can be in this world but not of it.
The truth is that these verses, if practised, will bring health and wealth as well as inner peace. However if we practise these verses in order to obtain wealth we may be disappointed. This is because in order for them to be effective one must develop genuine universal compassion and that means being more concerned about other people’s suffering than our own. If we are trapped by the delusion of gain over loss or pleasure over pain or any of the other ‘worldly concerns’ we will be out of balance in our hearts.

If we can remain in the moment with our pure awareness we will have inner peace, from there everything else follows. It is our attachment to the delusional ideas associated with the eight worldly concerns that keeps us unbalanced. We become seduced by ideas of success and achievement and we worry ceaselessly about failure and loss. We then become separated from remaining in the moment with our inner peace and Buddha nature and go off into thoughts, emotions and ideas that in turn crystalize into the dramas, relationships and environments of our lives.


Fundamentals of Buddhism

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