Over time, since the original teachings of the Buddha, Buddhism took many forms, accumulating traditions and beliefs of different cultures. With this flexibility, however, came much dimmed understanding and the signs of Dharma-ending Age flourished in all directions. Dharma as such became more a ritual of habit in many countries in the East and Philosophical Fashion in the West. Western zennists in particular go at length into their thoughts and theories; their superficial gliding over Buddhist concepts provides fertile ground for volumes of talk about nothing essential, the ride on emotions and joy with glimpses on something spiritual. Even the meaning of the word Sangha deteriorated to just a community of people who share same likings for fancy “oriental tea party”. The real practice, the real message that Buddha taught is still existing, however it is like a diamond in a pile of rubbish of shiny broken tiles.
These two paragraphs are from Surangama Sutra :
“…if you do not know where your mind and eyes really are, you will never be able to destroy delusion. For instance, when the country is invaded by bandits, the king, before sending his soldiers to destroy them, should first know where they are. That which causes you to transmigrate without interruption, comes from defects in your mind and eyes. Now tell me where your mind and eyes are.’
Ananda answered that his mind is in his body. Buddha continued:
“if your knowing mind was really in your body, you should first be clear about everything inside it. You should, therefore, see everything in your body before seeing things outside it; even if you cannot see your heart, liver, spleen, and stomach, at least you should be clear about your growing nails and hair, about that which moves along your nerves and the pulsing of your veins. Why are you not clear about all this? If you do not see things within, how can you see those outside? Therefore, your contention that your knowing mind is inside your body is groundless…”
It goes on with Ananda ‘placing’ his mind here and there, until he sees where the mind really is.
Surangama Sutra is amazing.
When there is something bothering you, when thoughts do not let to rest, when anxiety, panic attacks, depression, or just very difficult situations bring suffering, letting go is the most potent remedy. Letting go is like literally taking the problem and dealing with it, removing it or going towards its dissolution. Where to let go to? You have to know where to let go to, otherwise it is like throwing garbage inside your own house. There is a place of foundation, the source of our being, the deep mind within our mind. This fundamental mind has one of its qualities – limitless compassion. Putting everything inside this bottomless place is like burning the garbage of bad karma, or any karma for that matter. If you entrust to this place of foundation something, and let go there, knowing that this foundation is the only one who can help, not just temporary, but fundamentally, in any situation, then it is like bringing the problem back where it came from, it is like erasing it. Having faith in your own foundation is the most valuable tool in solving problems. This foundation some people call God, but it is important to not consider that separate from you, it is important to place it inward, at the source of your being, at the depth of your mind.
The subtle truth, about the reality how everything is, that the Buddha awakened to, is difficult to see because the ignorance is thick. What is ignorance? It is the unawareness of mind of its own nature. A being, a creature with body, thoughts, cannot easily break free from the “gravitational pull” of physical world, where the mind goes after outside things and never looks at itself. Humans have the ability to turn inward, to ask questions and examine mind, however few are really interested, as in most cases mind is going outside after the things and thoughts that are in outside physical world and even believes are based on ideas of something spiritual in this outside world. There is nothing outside. Lord does not sit above the Earth, (well, it’s round and it’s moving (thank goodness no one can argue about this now)). Finding that spiritual essence is the matter of looking inward, towards the mind and its foundation. Out being is existing, experiencing, thinking and feeling, but the basis of this being, what is it? What sustains the thinking or not thinking, what sustains the beings, their life force, what is it? What is it that makes the Universe exist, as vast as we can see it now? To reach out towards that inner field that sustains and connects everything requires search within your own mind. In everyday life our mind is present, mind’s foundation is present, so the search and practice is not separate from everyday life. The reason Buddha did not want to teach at first – is because the truth of unreality of self, of “I”, is like an argument in a dream. Beings at its core are the manifestations of mind, they are not separate, nor there is a separate Lord that makes them. Beings have that Lord within them already, like the waves who are in touch with the deep ocean. Mind’s self-awareness of its own nature – is the enlightenment of the being, the mind is not in the body, it is not in a head, mind is not confined to a vessel that is limited. Passage to that infinite source of mind is within your own mind. Knowing there is a foundation of your mind, knowing that you are not separate from it and from everything else, is the passage towards freedom from suffering. Believing in your own foundation and relying on it in everything is like ultimate insurance and science. Through this foundation, the source of your being, is the way towards deathless state, towards freedom from all kinds of fetter. Life is a brief moment, a chance to make that escape from the rounds of samsara. It is not non-existent state, or the ultimate suicide, it is becoming the foundation, becoming that Lord that we have fancied in our dreams of this life.
No security whatsover, everything is hanging like in Space, nowhere to lean on, nothing is for sure. It is stressful and tiring, unless you are not thinking about it and get busy with something, or what often happens, divert the existential anxiety to some addiction. What is there to do then? Is there a remedy? There must be a remedy, otherwise what’s the point in anything. Buddha said there is a remedy. It is to rely on fundamental mind, the source and foundation within. That is the only thing that is solid, reliable and real, everything else is delusional mirage. Well, don’t disrespect the mirage, it is totally real until the true reality is revealed, until you discover the intangible, indestructible, invincible true self. And so in Space too everything has the invisible core. This foundation of mind …
Here is something in support of random thought on observation that all world is crazed on sex- from Buddha’s words in Surangama Sutra:
” If all living beings in the six worlds of existence abstain from sexual desire, they will not be subject to the continual round of births and deaths. Your practice of Samàdhi should free you from defilements but they cannot be eliminated if your lustful mind is not wiped out. Even after you have acquired such wisdom, if you fail to kill sensuality, then when dhyàna manifests, you will fall into the way of demons…After my nirvana, in the Dharma ending age, these subjects of Màra will be found everywhere, will encourage sensuality and will disguise themselves as men of good counsel and cause living beings to fall into the pit of lust thereby missing the Bodhi path. You should teach worldly men who practise Samàdhi to cut off their lustful minds at the very start. This is called the Buddha’s profound teaching of the first decisive deed. Therefore, ânanda, if carnality is not wiped out, the practice of dhyàna is like cooking gravel to make rice; even if it is boiled for hundreds and thousands of aeons, it will be only hot gravel. Why? Because instead of rice grains it contains only stones. If you set your lustful mind on seeking the profound fruit of Buddhahood, whatever you may realize will be carnal by nature. If your root is lustful, you will have to transmigrate through three unhappy ways (to the hells of fire, blood and swords) from which you will not escape. How then can you find the way to cultivate the Tathàgata’s nirvana? You should cut off both the sensual body and mind until even the very idea of doing so ceases; only then can you hope to seek the Buddha’s Enlightenment.”
It’s a big, big world…So many voices with so many opinions…Miriads of posts, books and incessant chatter. Zen, popular term in popular culture – it is something vague and vogue. Whatever was the original message anyway? What is Buddhism all about? It is about mind. It is about knowing it and understanding it and it is about finding a treasure within that mind. It is about that. So all the talk of zenninsts is endless blabber without basis, if it does not point directly to the foundation of mind. Foundation of mind, of our mind and anybody’s mind is bottomless limitless store of everything and nothing. I like all of Buddha’s teachings, only I like more those ones which point directly to the mind. Without knowing what mind actually is, without seeing it, without understanding how huge and profound it is, it is better first to believe that you have the profound foundation in the depth of your mind. The God that many people believe in is always with them, within their own mind, their own being. The reason you don’t see God, Mind or any other higher_something, it is because you are looking in the wrong direction. Why not take more scientific approach and just try quietly see something for yourself, instead of speculating endlessly about feelings, emotions and fantasies. Instead of believing something without ground, maybe it is worth trying to believe in yourself, in your own life force and the source of your being, it is a good start, and from there relying on this source you can make discoveries, and they are quite amazing, the only thing that nobody can show you this, they can only point the way.