OM MANI PADME HUM
Life is to be lived fruitfully, bringing meaning and happiness to oneself and to others. When a person is able to do that, then such a life is a spiritual one. Any way of living which is filled with peace, loving-kindness, sympathy, compassion and so forth, will lead one up the spiritual ladder, towards the attainment of freedom from suffering and acquiring bliss and happiness now and hereafter.
There are many ways to live a spiritual life. Various great paths are available to all who have the inclinations to follow them. Some resort to devotional practices, doing their best to please their Lords, others in prayers or services or any method of self-disciplining. They all fall into the category of virtuous practices which are good, and will bring them causes of happiness. Living a spiritual life is easy once the motivation has been set. Knowing the teachings would be a great help and inspiration. It is the awareness that human birth is sacred and precious that will lead one to seek the true purpose of life, and the first step towards spirituality has begun. Then, while on the path of learning, many unprofitable clingings may be discarded through the realisation of their true natures.
Most of the times we just enjoy all kinds of attachments and cling to them with the wrong understanding that they are our source of happiness and therefore the purpose of living. But they are not. Upon deeper thinking, it is easy to recognise that such clingings have, in fact, been all our causes of unhappiness and unsatisfactoriness. We have failed to see this point because we generally do not spend time to think about life seriously. Then we are only caught by the drawings of our senses which seek gratifications and we tend to appease them. We appease them because we do not know that self is not the body nor the mind.
Most people consider either body or the mind to be the ‘self’. Others, thinking that an invisible soul is residing within their body easily accept the mind to be their true self. All these are the causes of much confusion and therefore many people do not wish to get involved with self-searching, which is too complicating. They therefore conveniently conclude that this is ‘me’ which consists of my body, and what’s with it, and my mind. Such people will then put a great stress on their “I’ness” and they will live with the objective of putting both body and mind on the most pleasurable states - because they are living for the satisfaction of their “I” or ego. It will not be easy for them to indulge in spiritual search. Their happiness is only directed to the self, self is linked to worldliness and worldliness is the opposite of spirituality. With such a view how can the sacredness of a human birth be recognised and appreciated?
This is the reason why mankind is degenerating. This is why the world is now in such a miserable state of being. Selfishness is cultivated in the hearts by so many over such a long period of time that their samsaric roots are preventing their minds from the Dharma influence. So those who really know ‘who they are’ are really few in number. Unless one is ready to make an attempt to understand ‘what is it’ that is claiming the ownership of the body and the mind, one will never really know and understand the meaning of ‘who am I’. Wanting to discover what is this “I” which is claiming to be body or mind or both, is the beginning or the birth of spiritual interest.
It leads to investigation of what the body is and what the mind is. The moment one seriously seeks to know the mind, he is on the threshold of leading a spiritual life. The watching of the mind is therefore a wonderful spiritual practice. It is also called meditation or contemplation. But leave aside such names which may add confusion to the mind. Let it be called learning to be aware of one’s mind which should be practised at all times. It needs not be done only in a meditative posture but even in the midst of activities. Start with being aware of each thought that arises. Being aware is to know the arising of that thought and its quality. If it is good, act on it. If it is not, discard it. In this way, only the virtuous thoughts are acted upon and they will benefit every being. If they benefit others, their qualities will be kindly and spiritual in nature!
Wednesday, 29th October 1986
9th Moon, 26th Day