Sunday, October 11, 2009
The Leaning Mind
The Ashtavakra Gita is a teaching from an ancient Indian Vedanta sage, Ashtavakra. It is a dialog between Ashtavakra and Janaka, the King of Mithila. Here is a small excerpt:
"Bondage is when the mind longs for something, grieves about something, rejects something, holds on to something, is pleased about something or displeased about something." 8.1
"Liberation is when the mind does not long for anything, grieve about anything, reject anything, or hold on to anything, and is not pleased about anything or displeased about anything." 8.2
"Bondage is when the mind is tangled in one of the senses, and liberation is when the mind is not tangled in any of the senses." 8.3
"When there is no "me," that is liberation, and when there is "me" there is bondage. Consider this carefully, and neither hold on to anything nor reject anything." 8.4
Sengtsan was the Third Chinese Patriarch of Zen Buddhism in China. He wrote the text called Faith in Mind. Another excerpt:
"The Great Way is not difficult for those who are unattached to preferences. When love and hate are both absent, everything becomes clear and undisguised. Make the smallest distinction, however, and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart. If you wish to see the truth, then hold no opinions for or against anything. To set up what you like against what you dislike is the disease of the mind. When the deep meaning of things is not understood, the mind's essential peace is disturbed to no avail."
Both these sages seem to be talking about the same thing, the same condition of mind. It seems that the mind, in holding on to preferences, in entanglement with the senses, in attaching to ideas or opinions, wraps itself in bondage, creates the very idea of limitation and separation.
So in the spiritual search, we are reading these texts and pondering the meaning, trying to decipher it. Yet this is very ironic, as you already have a front-row seat. Aren't you in a perfect position to watch the mind and it's leanings?