Saturday, September 17, 2016

What Troubled You? (什么困扰了您?)

I would personally think that the core of Buddhist teaching is about understanding the nature of our human mind; which is same as our modern day psychology. No more and no less. Of course, you may have other thoughts but please hold yours first.

Many people only interested in chanting mantras and in the hope of chanting mantra that they could be reborn into Pure Land. Unfortunately speaking, not many people are successful in entering the so-called ‘Pure Land’ for if they did enter; they will surely return to spread the good news to all of us. The fact is: not even the Buddha himself even managed to appear to his disciples to proof the existence of his holy pure land.

So, what does Buddhism about? Actually, if a Buddhist does not understand the nature of human ‘mind’ and the way to tackle his/her own mind; then there is not much to say about Buddhism especially the Tibetan Buddhism specifically.

Simply speaking, our mind creates the ‘intermediate states’ and there are actually 6 types of intermediate states in our human lives. More specifically, we all gone through 3 intermediate states when we are alive; and another 3 intermediate states when we have kicked-the-bucket.

When we are alive, our mind constantly churns up various thoughts every moment until we fall into sleep. This thought creating process is known as ‘intermediate states of living’. When we sleep, we have dreams; this is called the ‘intermediate states of dreaming’. For those who meditate, then they would have the ‘intermediate states of meditation’.

When we are about to die, then we experience the ‘intermediate states of near death’. Then when we have finally died, we entered the ‘intermediate states of actual death’; or we become ‘ghosts’ for a period of time. Finally, when it is time for us to move on; we again experience the ‘intermediate states of birth’.

All of the above 6 intermediate states are actually caused by our unsettled mind.

Our mind reacts to the stimulations of the outside world: When people praised us, we are happy; otherwise we are sad. Starting from the time of beginning of our happiness to the end of our happiness; we have created an ‘intermediate sate of happiness’. Likewise, when we fall in love; we would constantly ask ourselves:

“Does he/she love me?”

“Does he/she love me not?”

I am sure for those who had fallen in love before, they should know that they must have repeated the above two questions in their minds for countless of times every day during their period of falling in love until finally a ‘happy ending’ or ‘sad ending’. Likewise happens after we have slept and during our meditations. All in all, our mind has seen countless of thoughts being created and destroyed every day. Hence, we have passed numerous ‘intermediate states’ in just one day.

If we understand how our mind works, then we would understand that it is the changing of our minds according to outside stimulations come and go; none of those things are permanent in nature. If we choose to grasp on what had happened in the past, then we would feel troubled and constantly in bad mood. If then we opted to move on, we would be happier and since our mind is free; we would be able to grasp more opportunities in future. And in order to unlock the grasping of our minds on worldly matters; Buddhist scholars had come out with the ‘theory of emptiness’.

Basically, there are three main schools to explain this theory of emptiness but I would just leave them for now. The core of theory of emptiness is that the nature of all happenings are without own characteristics. It is our mind that thinks what it feels is real and permanent. It is only by understanding that both our mind and outside happenings are impermanent and nothing happens specifically meant for a person; we can let our mind rest in peace. It is only possible to see our own pure light when we have ceased to create more thoughts.

Of course, our mind is forever active and it is virtually impossible to stop its thought creating activities. The indigenous Buddhist masters had devised many mind training activities and concepts such as the ‘trikaya’ (three bodies), sadhanas (rituals) and meditation trainings to enhance our understanding and relaxation of our own mind.

I have steered away from most Buddhist terminologies but rest assure that, the higher Buddhist teachings can go hand-in-hand with the modern day psychology treatments. Perhaps I would leave someone to bridge the gaps of these two philosophies.  

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