With wisdom observing, you will live a serious, focused life, but without demanding results, and without demanding that a certain state remain forever. At this time, you can abide in peace in the inherent nature of phenomena, and go along according to circumstances, and remain calm no matter how you are treated.
We who live in the mundane world of the red dusts inevitably come in contact with various kinds of evils, especially in this contemporary era of unlimited access to information. Therefore, in order that we not be subjected to the defilements of evil, we must build for ourselves a good environment. You must find a teacher who leads you toward the good, or form relationships with friends who are going toward the good, or always be reading good books which convey the spirit of great good, or always be doing the good things that are in your power to do, or use the forms of Buddhist practice,and thus let good information continuously influence your mind.
The human mind and spirit is like a field. If we do not plant crops, then weeds will grow there. If you do not use the true principles of generosity and bringing benefits to living beings to influence your own mind and spirit, they will get filled with passive, negative information. If you want to live happily and calmly, then you must choose appropriate content, choose some good methods, and plant truth and love in the field of your mind. By the same principle, if you are disgusted by certain phenomena in society, then the first thing to do is let yourself change so that you are not the same way. Then use all you say and do to transmit the great good. When the voices of good in this society surpass the voices of evil, then they will form a kind of good collective unconscious, and then this world will change. Thus it is said that changing the world starts with every one of you who is willing to change yourself.
In my novel The Grey Wolf of the Western Xia, there is a singer from the northwest of China, and he has killed countless dogs. Later, on a certain moonlit night, he is moved by the crying of a mother dog, and he suddenly understands that dogs too are living beings, and dogs too have mothers and children, and their mothers also feel unbearable pain when they die. He had not known what a mother’s love is, because his mother had died giving birth to him. But he realized that when he felt pain or was wounded and died, his mother would have been like that mother wolf, and she would have given this kind of grief-stricken cry for him. Thus, at that instant, that mind of his which had been filled with hatred suddenly melted, and the grief filled his mind and spirit, and he generated a mind of genuine sincere repentance. From then on, he constantly recited sutras bearing the spirit of great love and great good, and washed away the defilements in his own inner mind countless times, until he finally changed into a man whose mind was filled with love.
In reality, love is required in every person’s nature, and it is something inherent in the human mind. The reason we sometimes neglect it is because we have become deluded by desires and false thoughts, and we cannot recognize the true mind. When we attune our minds using the appropriate methods, and let ourselves become more and more tranquil, we will then see the love and wisdom that our own inner minds are inherently equipped with, and experience compassion no different from all the buddhas and bodhisattvas. This is the wondrous functioning of the true mind, and it is also the genuine bliss of emptiness. It encompasses the whole realm of emptiness. It is what we often speak of as “unconditional great compassion, the great mercy of sharing the same essence with all beings.” If you want to genuinely understand this point, you must have a kind of correct mindfulness. And the prerequisite for having this correct mindfulness is becoming enlightened, understanding the true mind, and seeing the light of reality.
What is the true mind? What is the false mind? I always say that the false mind is the mind with false thought floating around, and the true mind is the mind that is empty and still clear through. With the false mind, emotions move in waves, and miscellaneous thoughts are flying around all over. The true mind is the mind that is fundamentally pure and clean.
When the true mind has no waves and no ripples, and is fundamentally pure and clear, like emptyspace; it is like a clear mirror that reflects the myriad things yet remains as it is without moving, and still has that awareness there. The empty inherent nature is its essence, and awareness is its function. The empty inherent nature is changeless, and the awareness appears according to conditions. This then is correct mindfulness. When you mind is clear and empty and still as empty space, when your mind is like a clear mirror reflecting the myriad things, you must maintain correct mindfulness, you must preserve the enlightened inherent nature. You can try to listen to a far-off birdsong. Of course, your purpose is not to hear that birdsong, but rather to generate a lucid awareness.
The causal conditions for illuminating mind are not the same for everyone. One day a girl understood true mind while she was doing the Kurukulla dance. [Kurukulla is the Enlightening Buddha Mother visualized in Vajrayana.] At that time she was very intoxicated, and reached the point where things and self were both forgotten. At that moment’ she was Kurukulla and the Kurukulla was her. Her mind was filled with happiness, and her mind and spirit were as bright and clear and free as the sky. In her mind there were no miscellaneous thoughts, and no arbitrary distinctions, so she was free and happy, and exalted and tranquil. At this time she saw her own true mind.
The true mind is also “the ordinary mind” in the saying “the ordinary mind is the Path.” It is a spiritual light with which we are all inherently equipped: clear and empty and still, shining bright, extending everywhere like space, reflecting everything like a clear mirror. When this light illuminates our lives, we then abide in peace in a kind of expansive calm adaptability, letting nature take its course as we live, and doing things following the true mind, without scheming or calculating, without so-called clinging and without so-called letting go. We do not put anything in our minds, and yet we can still act with complete focus and do anything well. This is what I often speak of as “using the mind that transcends the world to do tasks in the world.” The “ordinary mind” is this mind that transcends the world.
If for the time being you still cannot find a teacher who can enable you to become enlightened, you can still continuously observe the apparent forms of birth and extinction: the dew drops evaporating; the flashes of lightning as they suddenly come and suddenly go; friends and loved ones who suddenly become ghosts worlds away; memories constantly changing into dogs fleeing into the desert; ancient cities that end up swallowed by the sands; the beauty of the Maldives becoming a faded memory….With continuous observation, you will gradually understand the truth of the inherent emptiness of causal origination: no matter whether you want itto or not, when old causal conditions scatter, and new causal conditions come together, the world will inevitably change. The changing illusory impermanence of the world will make you feel more and more indifferent to everything. Whether toward money, or fame and fortune, or gain and loss, and even including life itself, you will no longer care that much. But this not caring does not mean giving up without trying, but rather the wisdom in which there is no frantic seeking and no clinging or attachment.
With this wisdom observing, you will live a serious, focused life, but without demanding results, and without demanding that a certain state remain forever. At this time, you can abide in peace in the inherent nature of phenomena, and go along according to circumstances, and remain calm no matter how you are treated.
What is the inherent nature of phenomena? The inherent nature of phenomena is the true face of the world. It does not change according to the birth and extinction of causal conditions. It is true thusness, the true mind, the real characteristic. It is the only eternal thing in the world. What is called using wisdom to change your life is recognizing the inherent nature of phenomena, preserving your awareness of the inherent nature of phenomena, and then gradually merging with the inherent nature of phenomena. When the inherent nature of phenomena is you, and you are the inherent nature of phenomena, then the state of your life will spontaneously change.