To cultivate the Bodhi mind, which all sentient beings possess, one of the things we need to deal with is attachment, shuchaku in Japanese. We are human beings placed in families, societies, communities and nations packed with spiritual pitfalls and traps. It is no mistake that we are in this position because the environment around us is a reflection of the condition of our Buddha Nature, that gem within us all that becomes dirtied with negative karma and the detritus of ignorance, anger and greed. We are in our placement exactly so that we can learn the lessons human life can teach us if we allow it.
It is important to say that we must never underestimate the colossal power of the human mind. It is comparable to nuclear energy, which as we know can be used to good ends, but can equally be used to bad. Only we, each of us, have the authority to decide which purposes to use it for. So, what motivates us to make the decision to ignore our Buddha Nature and plunge into suffering. Are we potential lemmings, rushing headlong over the edge of the cliff to destruction, following others blindly?
There are many things that can distract us from making the right decision about this, and perhaps the most pressing is pride. How can we, or why should we, believe that this ‘theory’ of Buddha Nature is correct; and furthermore, how can we prove it works. Well, if you look around at Buddhists, past present and future, you will see how they shine, and how they live. Lasting happiness and clear sense of mission is what Bodhisattvas, committed to walking the Bodhi pathway for the sake of others, have attained. This is well documented in the Buddhist literature. You can detect their Buddha Nature radiant like the Moon. So, as my guru always advises, don’t question and analyse with your head because there is no logic to the Bodhisattva way. It is a path of the heart, so just start to walk it with trust, and the understanding will come later. This is the first switch we have to press in this process – put our pride and fear aside, and just believe that the gurus and spiritual guides know the way to Nirvana.
The second reason for mistaken choices lies in attachment. We are human, and so we think it is our right to claim and to have human power over our lives, and to a certain extent we do need to have control of our busy lives. However, if we divorce ourselves from the spiritual, from the energy of the heart, then there is a danger that power becomes exaggerated and the ego dominant. It can easily get out of control to the point when we are no longer aware of how much our ego is driving us.
I have learned that It is always important to listen the voice of the Buddhas in those around us, to the needs and desires of others. If we cling on to our own power, exercising it freely in social and professional life, we begin to think that success, acclaim and wealth are the be-all and the end-all of our existence. The human mind can be tricky and deceptive unless we temper it with spiritual discipline and compassion. With mindfulness, watching our minds carefully, dispassionately, using tools like meditative reflection and Dharma, we can begin to recognize when the human is dominating, and when the spiritual being is in balance with it. We can learn to easily pull away from the desperation of the ego into the emptiness and pure light of the Bodhi mind, the treasure mind, the mind which puts the Buddha at the centre of life.
We should remember, Bodhi mind is by its very nature clear, calm, content and empty. On his deathbed, in the Nirvana teachings, the Buddha said,
O my disciples! The essence of this teaching is to learn to control your own mind. If you are tempted by passion, attached to worldly things, and distracted by greed, you must learn to control those feelings and become master of your mind.
A swarm of worldly desires is always looking for the opportunity to engulf you. If a viper enters your room, you must drive it away; otherwise, you will be unable to sleep peacefully
The power of the ego-centred mind is becoming more measurable with advanced technology, so we are able to have some scientific proof of what it is capable of. Recently I watched an amazing film demonstrating this convincingly, called Apartment 134. A family is in psychic distress after the mysterious death of mother/wife. The husband struggles with grief and his two disturbed children, but his daughter Kaitlin blames him entirely for her mother’s death, displaying hostility to him at every turn. In desperation, the father calls in a psychic team to find the source of many frightening and inexplicable psychic phenomena, which continue to beleaguer them even though they have moved away from the family home where they first appeared.
The team moves in to Apartment 134 for a few days, setting up a battery of highly sensitive equipment – cameras in each room, movement and psychic energy detectors, etc. Benny, the son, is only 4 so cannot comprehend what is happening, but Kaitlin and father are certain that the evil energy emanates from the ghost of their wife/mother. The head of the team explains that there are no such things as supernatural phenomena to them. All psychic phenomena such as the undead, poltergeists, etc. emanate entirely from the minds of human beings. In other words, that stress can generate hallucinations and ethereal states in the same way that consciousness-altering drugs can induce them.
A mind in high stress is capable of projecting all manner of distorted and destructive energy out into the environment, but the father finds it very hard to accept that it is not something outside the human mind that is causing all these dramatic disturbances. The expert also explains that pubescent girls and even young boys can be the source of such energy, so it is decided that Benny will go to stay with his grandfather overnight so that they can ascertain if Benny is the cause.
The long night vigil begins, and such evil captured on film and sound recorders in that claustrophobic apartment you have never imagined! The climax virtually destroys the apartment in a whirlwind, ripping even the paint from the walls. The team and the father struggle through this psychic storm to the bedroom of Kaitlin, who has levitated up to the ceiling, screaming hysterically because she cannot be released. When the father tries to pull her down she gives off electric shocks so he is hurled around the room and battered unmercifully. Eventually the whirlwind subsides and Kaitlin plummets to the floor badly injured, father too, and even the team has received injuries.
We see that the apartment is completely wrecked as the ambulance personnel come to take the injured away. In the closing scene, the exhausted team start to dismantle the cameras and pack away all the complex machinery, but they decide to go to tend their wounds and come back the next day to finish off. The monitors are left on, and as they close the front door, we witnesses are allowed a few moments of surveillance of the shattered living room. Several seconds go by with flickering of light and some strange sounds, and then in a searing vision, we see a bloodied undead woman crawling along the ceiling! All this demonic energy is produced entirely by the human mind. This film is a riveting and authentic document of actual events.
We humans have incredible power at our fingertips, but only the wholesome human heart of compassion and light – Bodhi, will take us to enlightenment, to Nirvana. As you can see, there are in fact no choices in the matter between secular and sacred. We can simply revert to our true nature and let the path choose us.