If you reach accord with a certain mystic power of the universe, you can enter into a whole new state of living, a state of independence of body and mind, without any concerns. So then, what is this certain mystic power of the universe? Is it the spirit of great goodness and great beauty? Is in great love? It is, but it is not only this.
How can we who yearn for freedom welcome the awakening of wisdom? This requires that we “reach accord” with a certain great spirit of the universe. What does it mean, to “reach accord”? Reaching accord is “mind in accord with mind.” The untitled verse by the Tang dynasty poet Li Shangyin gives the most spiritually alive footnote to the phrase “mind in accord with mind.”
Body without colored wind, a pair of flying wings
Mind with a spirit unicorn instantly penetrating through
What a beautiful poem. It expresses what, in love, is hardest to describe in words, and is also something beautiful and wondrous. It is a kind of spiritual mystery, and it is also a kind of indescribable, unexplainable resonance that comes from the depths of the soul.
When two souls that love each other reach resonance, one moment of eye contact can connect the two of them, and then all is quiet, and the whole world becomes something empty that exists in name only, and all that is left in the boundless universe are the two joined minds. It is as if you can hear your partner’s breathing, her heartbeat, and every subtle thought. The sound of her inner mind resonates in your inner mind, and because of the merging of spirits, in your mind you feel relaxed and in harmony, and filled with an indescribable joy. At the same time, in your eyes, this world that has been like a stage set is no longer something lifeless, it has a pulse, and its body is growing – the earth, the plants, the mountains, the lakes, everything has all become alive. You can hear the quiet voices and laughter of all things, you can see their joy and their silence, you can feel their grief and their losses. You will no longer feel empty and bored, because you and your love have completely merged in a place deep within your inner mind. She is there in you, and you are there in her. You are her, and she is you. Time and space no longer become a problem, and the electric current of the soul lets the two of you penetrate through time and space, and feel each other. This complete harmony of souls, this mixing like water and milk, sends people into rapture even more than physical contact. You will even feel that your lover is the key that links you to the mind of the universe. Through you spiritual resonance with her, you experience the most beautiful part of love, and you will feel that you are willing to give everything, including your life, to let her feel good fortune and happiness. You will feel that the grandeur of this love will even let you love the whole world, and you will feel a “perfect fusion” such as you have never had before. This is arriving at the love of “reaching accord.”
This kind of love will realize the highest aspirations of the human race for true love. It can make people feel happiness even more than the satisfactions of physical desire, like the desire to possess, the desire to control, and so on. Because desire is endless, seeking what you desire and not getting it brings a pain that bores into the mind, and when you have what you desire, you will be afraid of losing it. Worldly love unavoidably brings people suffering. When you mistakenly think that satisfying desires is more important than spiritual accord, then because of this it will be impossible to achieve stability, and even impossible to reach the “accord” of love. You will inevitably be afflicted by being lovesick, and to make this kind of “love” last forever, you will stop at nothing. Don’t you know that the physical body ultimately decays, so how can anything based on the physical body last forever? You will feel hopeless because of the gap between expectations and current reality. Satisfying desires will bring you empty glory, like dewdrops on the leaves, which will evaporate totally in an instant. Sometimes all that is left in your mind is a sense of loss and emptiness, and you feel very lonely. You ask the world how can love bring such sweetness, and also bring such suffering? Can it be that this is the truth of love? In reality, you should not ask the world about this – what you should ask about it is your own mind and spirit. Can it be that the heavenly feelings you experienced did not come from a complete merging? This kind of merging enables you to feel that she is the person you have been looking for your whole life, that she is the one who knows you, that she is your soulmate. She brought to life your courage, your resolve, all your positive feelings toward life. You may even feel that it was only because of her that you became a complete person, and not just an empty body, an animal that only knows how to find food and seek pleasure. She enabled you to have higher yearnings, and made you understand the truth of life.
When you have clearly understood all the metaphors above, then you have clearly understood the beauty and wonder of souls merging, and you may yearn for this kind of endless, infinite poetic feeling. This poetic feeling is an enchanting feeling that comes after you have forgotten about mundane practical concerns. It is very similar to genuine faith. Within this poetic feeling, there is no petty self, and no individual gain and loss, and no more dualism and discriminating thought. When you love not just one woman, but you love the whole human race, and all living spirits, and even the whole cosmos, your love ascends from the level of conventional worldly love and becomes a kind of faith, a kind of great love. Why do we call it great love? Great love is an attitude of selfless service. Its difference from petty love lies in the fact that the object of great love is the whole universe, all living beings, and not only one particular woman or man, or kinfolk related to you by blood. All faiths have something like great love, though everyone has a different name for it. For example, in Buddhism they call great love “unconditional great compassion that shares the same essence with all beings.” In the West they prefer to call great love “universal love.”
There was a girl who wrote a little poem that won universal praise. Its content was like this:
Whether you see me or not
I am there
Not sad, not happy
Whether you think of me or not
The feeling is there
It doesn’t come and it doesn’t go
Whether you love me or not
Love is there
It doesn’t increase and it doesn’t decrease
Whether you are with me or not with me
My hand is in your hand
Not letting go
Many people think this is a sentimental poem, but in fact what it speaks of is that true mind that accompanies us from lifetime to lifetime, the light of inherent wisdom in sentient beings. One of my students had a very good description of it. He said that what this poem conveys is the feeling of a kind of Buddhist romanticism. It truly is that way. Buddhism is not like so many people think it is, cold and lifeless. The true mind we speak of, the inherent original mind, is not something heartless. Although Buddhism recognizes that everything is empty illusion, and not worth caring about, nevertheless Buddha was concerned for all living beings. This is something on a grander scale than the concernsmen and women have for each other; it is the very great spirit of Buddhism, the spirit of compassion that benefits living beings. When a man loves a woman deeply, he can sacrifice his life for her. But when it comes to the buddhas and bodhisattvas, they consider the suffering of any living being to be more important than their own lives. This is why there are stories in the histories of the Buddha “cutting off pieces of his own flesh to feed the eagles, and sacrificing his body to feed the tigers.” We cannot deny that this is a more beautiful vista than some petty love.
Buddhist wisdom recognizes that if you are in accord with a certain mystic power of the universe, then you will be able to enter into a whole new state of living, a state where body and mind are independent, and there you have absolutely no worries. So then, what is that certain mystic power of the universe? Is it the spirit of great good and great beauty? Is it great love? It is, but it is not only this. Besides great love, that is, compassion, this spiritual power also contains an ultimate wisdom. When compassion merges with this ultimate wisdom, this forms “the Path.” The eighty-four thousand teaching methods of Buddhism are all to let you reach accord with “the Path.” Only when you reach accord with the Path will you be able to manage your own mind, and enable it to reach the place it must reach. This is also the fundamental meaning of meditation.