圖 / 三乘佛學院文 / 文獻中心
Every joy and pain, our entire life in Samsara, is created by our own heart/mind. We therefore have to be very mindful in order to open up the road to enlightenment for ourselves.
What do we concern ourselves with in our daily lives? Is it to make a name for ourselves? Or is it to pile up profit? For whose eyes do we perform our daily job? What is the goal of that job? In reality, everything in this world is empty, and we receive the fruits of our own actions, create our own karmic baggage, and carry our own self-created burden. To work is to offer oneself dedicatedly: therefore be diligent and self-responsible in your work. Understand that everything you do – every act of dedication, service, act of loving kindness, goodness and selfless offering - benefits yourself as well as benefiting others. It is not something you do just on behalf of others; rather it means being responsible for yourself, doing your work as a form of spiritual practice.
To master oneself brings the greatest happiness; attempting to be the master over others is foolish and eats up your strength. Let us constantly practice to master ourselves. When we know how to master ourselves we are winners. But when we don’t know how to master ourselves, when we are not able to let go of our attachment to others; when we allow the things of the outside world to block us, when we create problems and karmic hindrances for ourselves, we are losers.
What is the meaning of “karmic hindrances”? Karma refers to action or thing, and hindrance means an action or thing that blocks the path of our heart/mind. When the path of the heart/mind is blocked, trouble and suffering arise as a result. To open up the heart/mind, to master ourselves is to realize that there is no heart/mind to be grasped or attained. Thus, our heart/mind realizes true freedom. To practice does not mean to engage in long discussions, but to directly see whether we are able to master our own heart/mind or not. How can we accomplish this? We arrive at this through the wisdom of Emptiness, which comes from contemplation. This wisdom sets our heart/mind free from all fetters.
Every day we have so many thoughts in our heads and squeeze our brains out - only to entangle ourselves more deeply. We don’t engage in self-reflection, but instead cry out to the highest heavens. With our thoughts and attachments we fashion the ring for the nose of the ox, binding ourselves and allowing ourselves to be led astray by those thoughts. What then is the meaning of religious practice? It means to set free our shackled heart/mind. It means to cut off, let go, and no longer allow our heart/mind to be put into fetters. How do we loosen the fetters? By simply letting go and seeing through things, clearly recognizing who is binding whom, who is not able to let go of whom, who makes oneself un-free. Our woes come from the fact that we cannot let go of our own Self, that we don’t allow ourselves to be free, but live under pressured instead.
Every thought is a sort of prison, a rope, a snare, in which we strangle ourselves, forming all kinds of mental habits. When we don`t get along with each other or mess up things, our interactions are full of thoughts and ideas, full of snares in which we trap ourselves, creating a very difficult relationships. On the other hand, when there are few snares, our relationships will be wholesome and unimpeded. Often we are not aware of the fact that we imprison ourselves by letting ourselves be bound up by our ears, nose, eyes and mouth until we cry out to heaven. But we are really the ones who imprison ourselves, and therefore we have to learn how to free ourselves from our shackles, and not to be bound by the power of Karma. We have to learn how to master ourselves, how to deeply contemplate life and achieve a life of total liberation. Otherwise, if we don’t know how to master ourselves, but keep on imprisoning ourselves, we will continue to be mired in a life of Karma and confusion, a life incessantly turning in the wheel of samsara.
Dharma Master Hsin Tao
(Translated by Maria Reis Habito)