Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Find It!

When you plunge into Buddhist waters you’ll find yourself in a sea of strange language and foreign concepts. You almost need a codebook to make any sense of it. Many people want to learn about Buddhism but get discouraged due to this challenging situation. This is unfortunate since once you find the Rosetta Stone you’ll be amazed to discover a richness of understanding, unique in the collection of human knowledge. I’ve labored long to learn the code since I wanted to find out how to explain the incredible transformation I experienced many years ago. So consider me as a code breaker: a resource for you to mine your own treasure.

Starting today I’m going to repeat a series I ran some time ago on the central linchpin of Buddhism that will unlock your treasure chest. And the topic will be something with which you have lived your entire life, couldn’t survive a single moment without and yet you can’t even find: Your very own mind and I’m not referring to the product of your mind (thoughts, emotions, and images) but rather, call it, the factory that produces these three. It is indeed a profound mystery. The Buddha said that in teaching the dharma it’s important to begin simply and start from a base of familiarity so I’m going to do that; begin simply. Youll take that first step, we’ll progress in sequential baby-steps, and before long you’ll find that you know how to swim in this foreign sea.

The first step—Find your mind; the source of all thoughts and non-thoughts. That’s not a fanciful command. It’s a simple request. Right now as you’re reading this I want you to find your mind. Do it now. You couldn’t read this without your mind, so just locate it now. I have no idea where you may be as you read this. You may be in India (I know some of you live there) or you may be in Israel (others are), the United Kingdom, Switzerland, the United States, Vietnam…many different places, but wherever you live I know for a fact that none of you can do that simple thing I just asked you to do: find your mind. And why am I so confident? People around the world are very different yet 100% the same in this regard: We all have the exact same mind—the same mind as a buddhayet nobody can find it because it can’t be done. Nobody can find their own mind for two reasons. The first reason is because the mind isn’t an objective thing, which can be located, identified or discovered. The mind can only be intuited or inferred. And the second reason for my confidence is that even if it could be found (which it can’t), there is no “you” to find it.

I suppose, even at this simple beginning, you are already confused. It is outrageous for me to say what I just said but the disturbance you are now experiencing in response to my request is a critical part of learning the code. Don’t get frustrated over your inability. Steep yourself in the confusion. Let that experience wash over you because unlike other spiritual traditions, doubt and frustration are to Buddhism as a surfboard is to waves. With no doubt, there is nothing to pursue and solve. And unless you learn to find your mind the game of life gets extraordinarily confusing and difficult. 

So that’s enough for today. Squirm in your frustration for another day and come back tomorrow for the next step: Finding out what isn’t your mind, because the first step and the second step are mirror images. What we think is our mind, isn’t. What we think isn’t our mind, is. If that sounds strange just hang out with it until tomorrow. Come back and we’ll continue. But to give you a nudge in the right direction, take a look at the footnote.[1]

[1] Master Hsuan Hua writes about this matter in the opening section of The ShurangamaSutra. He points out two aspects of our mind: One aspect superficial but unreal, the other hidden but real. He says that the hidden part is like an internal gold mine, which must be excavated in order to be of value. This gold mine is everywhere but not seen. The superficial part is also everywhere but seen and it is this superficial part that lies at the root of suffering. He says: “Buddha-nature is found within our afflictions. Everyone has afflictions and everyone has Buddha-nature. In an ordinary person, it is the afflictions, rather than Buddha-nature, that are apparent...Genuine wisdom arises out of genuine stupidity. When ice [afflictions] turns to water, there is wisdom; when water [wisdom] freezes into ice, there is stupidity. Afflictions are nothing but stupidity.”—See more at
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