Monday, February 18, 2008

“Training the Heart”

There is a nice article by the late Ajahn Chah in the current issue of Buddhadharma (Spring 2008) that reminds me of the famous Kadampa slogan, “All dharma agrees at one point.” Whether we call it mahamudra, ordinary mind, buddha nature, dharmadhatu, mind itself, prajnaparamita, empty cognizance, rigpa, or wisdom, that point is the heart-essence of all dharma paths, the guide to the ultimate goal.

Here is how Ajahn Chah describes it:
The Buddha taught that we should cultivate clear knowing for ourselves. Whatever arises, arises in this knowing. When that which knows, knows in accordance with the truth, then the mind and its psychological factors are recognized as not ours…. The mind is free, radiant, and unentangled with any problems or issues. The reason problems arise is because the mind is deluded by conditioned things, deluded by this misperception of self. So the Buddha taught us to observe this mind. In the beginning, what is there? There is truly nothing there. It doesn’t arise with conditioned things, and it doesn’t die with them. When the mind encounters something good, it doesn’t change to become good. When the mind encounters something bad, it doesn’t become bad. That’s how it is when there is clear insight into one’s nature.

There are countless Buddhist teachings, practices of meditation, and methods of training, but unless they lead to this vital point, the fruition will be a long way off. When you get this point, it is called receiving “buddhahood in the palm of your hand.”

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