Knowing one thing, liberating everything, an old proverb in Tantra once says. Anyone who know this one through achievement – not just through words – will be liberated. Yet, the life of those who fail to understand this one will resemble a symphony orchestra without conductor. Those various different musical instruments would only create noisy sounds without harmony. Having no money makes life difficult, yet having money makes life restless. Schooling causes problems, yet having no education makes life miserable. In shorts, all directions become a wrong direction. That is the life of many people these days. What is referred by ‘this one’ is the natural nature of the mind. In this regards, the book of HE Thich Nhat Hanh “Understanding Our Mind”, becomes very crucial. Especially for those longing for peace and freedom. This meditation Guru has a unique characteristic that lies on the lucidity and simplicity of his words. Simple yet profound. In some parts of this book, this Vietnamese-born monk is even able to draw parallels between meditation and psychology. Between meditation and philosophy. Sometimes even using physics as a reference. It is not surprising that his works have always been warm welcomed all over the world.
And the book “Understanding Our Mind” might be referred as the inner core of his works, which amounts to hundreds, or might be even thousands. Simply put, life becomes problematic because the mind is full of hallucinations (delusion). People with delusional disorder has a profound characteristic that think of duality, such as wrong-right, bad-good, sadness-happiness, as something independent and permanent (parikalpita). Therefore, countless of human beings suffer, either because of being separated from joy, or because of encountering sorrow. There are countless of human beings whose throwing their anger to the guilty party, as well as getting angry for supporting on what they believe as the innocent. This delusional thoughts are what then being transformed through meditation into becoming the illuminated mind (luminous). To reach that point, cultivate deeply in the mind, in the tranquility of silence, of the natural nature of everything that is interdependent (paratantra). Both beautiful flowers and garbage are interdependent. Beautiful lotus and dirty mud are likewise, both are interdependent. Similar thing happens with sadness-happiness, wrong-right, bad-good. Everything is interdependent. A good person stands out as there are bad people around. Peace feels deep because someone has passed through a series of misfortunes.
Anyone who has a profound understanding of the nature of paratantra (the interdependence of everything), will one day able to experience the ultimate reality (nishpana). At this level of reality, duality like sadness-happiness is no longer a two-faced, but an inseparable whole. It is as simple as a beautiful lotus flower that cannot be separated from dirty mud. At this level of attainment, avidya (ignorance) no longer becomes the enemy of vidya (knowledge). Both become an inseparable unity. Similar thing also happens with samsara (the realm of suffering) and nirvana (the realm of peace). Both are united. At this level of delusionally-free thoughts, it is understandable that there is a Zen Master who titled his book “Wanting Enlightenment Is a Big Mistake”. Particularly since both delusional mind and luminous mind are inseparable. As the waves need no struggles for being water, and flowers that need no efforts to find honey, at this level, one no longer need to seek for enlightenment. Particularly since the innermost nature of the mind has been enlightened. Therefore, the second chapter from the end of this book (chapter 49) is titled as “Nothing To Attain”. While the last chapter (chapter 50) is titled as “No Fear”. In shorts, reality is without birth and without death, yet it is in the cycle of birth and death. Shall reading this conclusion confuse you, it shows a sign that your mind is still full of delusions. This delusional mind is what will make life becomes similar to an orchestra without conductor, which makes all directions become the wrong direction.
Auhor: Guruji Gede Prama.
Photo: private collection.