OM SARI HUM
The way to happiness is to learn to know your ‘self’. Who are you and what kind of a person are you? The human eyes look outwards and therefore one has the tendency to see the world with ease and from concepts according to what one sees. Without the practice of inward-looking, there is little opportunity for anyone to know his true self. Material world is outwards, and is seen by the flesh-eyes; Spiritual world is within and will need the ‘eye-of-wisdom’ to realise it.
It is such that man is always striving to attain worldly success because he has forgotten the spiritual. How often and how many people will develop the good habit of cultivating self-awareness by looking within and not without, for a short period of each day? The outside vision is false, an illusion, the inner vision points to the Truth! Religions are but paths that lead to the same Truth. All who are religious must fulfill the duty of self-searching, to know their within, their mind, their God, their Buddha nature! Therefore every religious person need not label themselves as this or that! There is no difference between those who are truly spiritual but there are glaring differences between those who think that they are spiritual.
How many people who label themselves as Buddhists are truly Buddhists? Of all the people whom you have met, can you find one? Are you a Buddhist too? To declare oneself as a Buddhist is a very bold statement and it is directly against practising humility! Depending on the level of spiritual awakening, this state will mean differently to different people. It is up to one to meditate to discover how Buddhist is he. The original Buddhist in Buddhism is the Buddha, he has realised and practised the Truth, yet he did not call or label himself a Buddhist because he is All-wise. So who are the ones who claim that they are Buddhists and differentiate themselves from others? This is not to cause confusion to your mind, but to stir your interest and to develop your power of contemplation.
One who follows the Buddha’s teachings is of course termed a Buddhist. Note the word “follows”. It does not mean “know” or “understand” but “follow”, which really means “following the way that the Buddha has taught by practising it”. It means action, practice and effort! So all who are Buddhists in this sense of the word should seriously contemplate whether they are following the way the Buddha has walked or not! Knowing the way is not good enough, effort has not been expanded and the journey has not yet began. In actual practice, it requires renunciation, discipline and the Bodhimind to pave the way. Renunciation is the word which has scared away many a would-be-cultivator.
They would like to have the Ultimate Happiness but they are not yet ready to accept it even if they are being led to it! Renunciation has also frightened away many because they have the wrong views that they will have to become monks and nuns or some kind of an ascetic. Some people are even afraid of monks and nuns or those who are practising renunciation. See how confused their minds are! Renunciation is far from what they have really understood and if they entertain fear of the members of the Sangha, how can they seek refuge in the Sangha? Those who have visibly renounced the world, have they succeeded in their practice of renunciation?
Therefore Dharma knowledge is important, it leads to better understanding and a systematic approach to practice. What should one renounce then? It will take a long time to explain but what does it benefit those who read but do not practice? In short Renunciation is the willingness to forsake that which causes sufferings and ignorance. It means to renounce performing evil actions of the body, speech and mind; realising the danger of satisfying pleasures of the senses and abandoning them because they are the actual causes of all unhappiness; to accept the disciplines that will destroy a slothful mind, and to renounce the way of life as one understands it to be, which is imperfect, but follow the Way of Life that the Buddha had practised; it means to abandon clinging to attachments of one’s body and mind. It will do one good to regularly remind himself that “Mind is not mine, body is not mine” and slowly gain the insight that eventually it is the “I” that must be renounced because actually there is no self, no ego and therefore no “I”. The false notion of “I” is the cause of all problems and illusions, how real the ‘I’ is, depends on how much one feeds it with all the desires and attachments of life!
Saturday, 1st March 1986
1st Moon, 21st Day