4 Poison or fertilizer?


If we know we are suffering we need to investigate Zen to find a way out of this suffering. We are like animals but our minds also contain software. Where does this software come from?

What is our composition as human beings?

 It doesn’t matter where it comes from, or where we come from. We are similar to audio-visual media players. I say that this is wisdom software. We are different from animals in that we can communicate between software programs, but without the need for wiring.

Science is a new product and a new creation, as is computer software. All you need to do is to find the key to who you are. We need to find our attachment to the mark of language. If, as some masters say, the mind is in the heart, why don’t we say that the mind is in the stomach? Your mind is in your brain, because thinking comes from the brain.

There are the three mental obscurations of desire, aversion and delusion, which come from our brain. There are two forms of delusion: that of our views and that of our thoughts. We have to understand and see the nature of the mind. Thoughts and knowledge are manifestations of our ego and this ego is constituted by both inherent and external factors. All thoughts are past thoughts because they come from the past. Just as we grow from our childhood into adulthood  and then to old age, past thoughts change quickly to become present waste. All thoughts change rapidly, and at a single point, which is zero point. As soon as we attach ‘I’ to zero point we become restricted and limited.

Like autumn leaves, thoughts change quickly and fall to the ground. Some say we can’t clean out these leaves in our minds, which are like autumn trees with a lot of leaves falling on the ground. A lot of leaves drop to the ground, and as soon as we clean one part of the ground and we can see the ground again, more leaves drop to the ground. These leaves are like our thoughts. We can’t clean them out, unless we awaken. If we wake up we can clean these leaves out. People like to hear the positive, that we can do something, and so we study Zen or dharma. For what purpose? Because we like to say that we can achieve a clean mind, but in fact we can’t. Once we completely understand that we can’t clean all of our thoughts away we are able to comprehend that we can. 

Why do we need to clean our minds?

If we leave the leaves alone they become fertilizer. Don’t try to stop the thought process, and don’t try to clean it. When investigating Chan don’t apply pressure. Some practitioners misunderstand when investigating zen. We are investigating the human mind. This investigation includes Chan, Zen or the Buddha dharma. We are independent practitioners, not religious ones. What is the meaning of religious? It is to believe, to have blind faith, rather than to investigate. Buddha’s teachings are not only for the temple, they are also to wake people up. Buddha was a scientist of the human mind.

There are four wrong ways to practice

1     To want to stop or repress everything: for example, eating, sleeping, and thinking.

2     To try to extinguish everything: to remove everything, to believe that everything is nothing, to do nothing, eat nothing and dream nothing.

3     To believe that everything is natural, everything is Dao, lightness. To think we don’t have to do anything, or to make any effort.

4     To pose: for example, to act as if one is peaceful and calm.

A monk came to see an awakened master. He said to the master, ‘I can stop thinking for a long time. Tell me, have I awakened?’ The master asked the student, ‘Have you still stopped thinking?’ Yes he replied. ‘How about yesterday? This morning? Were you thinking?’  ‘No’ the student said, ‘still no thinking.’ The master said, ‘tell me, who asked the question here?’

You have to investigate: how is it that you know you have stopped thinking? You have to investigate the meditation topic (Hwa Toh). Before we are born and after we die: who is ‘you?’ Before and after thinking: who is ‘you?’

Mind follows our wisdom software, and greed follows our wisdom software. Inside is outside. When busy people say that they are peaceful all day and everyday do you believe them? We don’t need to become different. We just need to find one key. Ordinary mind is the correct way. Maintaining a straight, single pointed mind is how to cultivate the path. So we must rid ourselves of these wrong ways. We don’t need to pose. An ordinary, straight mind can be achieved once we have the key. No one can tell you to do this, and no one can be your teacher. A world of monks and masters can’t misguide you once you have awakened. You will have no self doubt regarding the authenticity of your enlightenment.

It is difficult to investigate the wisdom software because you are the internal data. This situation can be compared to being a grand thief who has stolen his own mind. We are the thieves. Our only problem is the brain. The ingredients of desire, aversion, and ignorance are already there. These are our defilements, our poisons, and these can be transformed into fertilizer.

Fight fire with fire

If we are investigating Zen we don’t need to make our ego large, but we don’t need to clean it out or repress it. This is also our fertilizer. Don’t let the weeds grow too high but don’t cut them down. If we can’t see the weed then we can’t find the root of the weed. This root is delusion, ignorance or obscuration, but we don’t need a big stone to put on the weed. We just need to concentrate. This is OQ wisdom. This is dharma. We don’t need to kill the three poisons. They are the mother of Buddha. Don’t tear this bridge down, but don’t make it larger by thinking that greed, hatred and stupidity are good qualities.

We need to find the root of our suffering and to fight fire with fire. The three poisons are like three idle thoughts trying to control other idle thoughts. We don’t need to copy, repress, and create pressure for ourselves, or to repress our thoughts. If we can’t find the root of the weed problems will remain. If we find the root we have the key, the software key, and then the roots will never give rise to difficulties again. Then we have left the six realms of samsara. This is awakening. We don’t need to pose.

Our software is like a film, and we can change this film. Organise and manage your program. Continue to practice and keep going, but do it with insight into the nature of your mind.

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