Equanimity

If we understand the kindness once shown us by all beings, no matter how their delusion and confusion manifest at present, we will not abandon them.

If an aggressive stranger approaches us in the supermarket, instead of trying to avoid him, we will feel compassion.

When someone makes us angry, instead of thinking we have the right to be rude, we will remember that she is a former parent with no way of remembering who we are.

In defrauding or stealing from us, someone may think he is being clever, but we will know that he doesn’t realizes he is committing a crime against someone as dear to him as his own parent.

The third and most profound way of developing equanimity is to recognise that the true nature of each and every being is a state of absolute purity.

Ideas of self and other, good and bad, what we like and don’t like – these are all concepts of the ordinary mind. They arise from the dualistic process of differentiating, judging, labelling, fixating on labels, and investing artificial distinctions with truth.

Our ordinary mind is impermanent. It is not the same as it was when we were six months old. Even now, it continuously changes. If somebody praises us, we feel pleased and confident. If somebody insults us, we become angry.

That anger branches our like tributaries of a river, and we relive memories, rehearse our anger, and react by creating more harm. The initial stimulus and its many tentacles of impulse, action, and reaction in the mind are all impermanent.

The true nature of mind is the continuity beneath this never-ending flux, like the white space on a page; the concepts and emotions that arise in the mind are like the words. We experience and identify with our thoughts and feelings, but there is some ground, or openness, from which they arise and to which they return. That openness is the nature of mind.

The nature of mind cannot be found or proven to exist in a literal sense, as if it were a material object. So we cannot say that it exists. Thoughts that it both exists and does not exist, or neither exists nor does not exist, are only concepts; they cannot catch what lies beyond concept.

To better understand this, when a thought arises we can ask ourselves, “Where did that thought come from? Where did it go? What is its nature?” If we examine thoughts, we won’t find anything permanent or substantial. In fact, we will find nothing existent at all.

This is why we say that the nature of our thoughts – whether positive or negative, happy or sad – is “empty”.

This does not mean, however, that nothing is there, because thoughts continue to arise. In a relative sense they are true, though the absolute truth is that they are empty. The true nature of thought, of mind, of every being, of all phenomena is empty, yet fully evident.

Emptiness is the absolute truth of all phenomena, the great equalness of all appearances. We cannot call it “oneness” because of the infinite variety of phenomena that occur.

Nor can we say that there is only infinite variety, because in their essence – emptiness – all phenomena are the same. This essence defies all concepts of one or many, existence or nonexistence.

The absolute truth is beyond words and ideas. Trying to understand it conceptually is like trying to catch water with a fish net. The net of concept can only capture concepts. To perceive phenomena directly, without the overlay of concepts and the dichotomy of subject and object, is to see their true nature”.

~ Chagdud Tulku

Change of heart: Bodhisattva Peace Training of Chagdud Tulku Padma Publishing

(Posted by Friends who like DJKR, a living Buddha In Our Time/ Michael Gregory, Facebook, 31 January 2024)


/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *