The dominate understanding today of Buddha-nature is that it’s innate and automatically operative in its human host. Nothing could be further from the truth. One of the early signs that this reverent seed of the Buddhas is taking root is that the host exhibits some lasting traits of civility, as enfleshed through the Six Paramitas; they are not something that is merely intellectually recognized and later disregarded and even discarded, but rather put into regular and consistent practice: by their fruits ye shall know them. Another naïve assumption is that the worldly notion of Buddha-nature is free-standing, somehow existent independent of any traits that something “other” may exist in close proximity to its development. These assumptions are dead-wrong. There is another. There is a Bad Seed; an evil-twin that, at a moment’s notice, can make its vile presence known. This Bad Seed makes a mockery out of the Six Paramitas and irreverently inverts them into an agent of Mara: Charity and love into selfishness and hate; discipline into a chaotic mind; alertness into careless stupidity; meditative and Recollective Resolve into ignorant sloth; patience into agitation and intolerance; wisdom into pure ignorance (avidya). None of us is automatically immune to the evil influence of this Bad Seed; if the Bodhi-seed is not nourished and fed daily with Recollective Resourcefulness (like through sutra-reading) and disciplined dhyana, then one will fall prey to the evil whims of the Bad Seed. There are many “triggers” extant in the cultural milieu that can jump-start the sharp decline into ethical and moral depravity; the most dominate trigger presently is the Radical-Islamic uprising.
Recently a dear friend posted the vilest, hate-filled and belligerent ranting I’ve encountered in quite some time. I was left feeling completely numb. Was this the same person I’ve come to know and admire? Someone who is usually level-headed and who can frame an argument in an articulate and reflective manner? Suddenly this friend degenerated into a grotesque caricature; a mumbling-moron who was riddled with hate and outright degradation. The trigger was the present Radical-Islamic uprising and the vile and violent “reaction” reduced my friend to the same level as those ignorant Radical-Islamists. I did not sense any “Buddha-nature” in my friend, but rather its evil-twin rising from the darkest corners of the Alaya-receptacle (the malignant seed-bed of the evil twin). Yes, the Bad Seed had totally possessed my friend. My friend, though, is far from alone. I sense that something world-wide has been unleashed. For example, witness the present and growing crisis between China and Japan—over some stupid tiny Island! These are indeed times that “try men’s souls” and the Bad Seed is gaining the upper-hand. Is Buddha-nature something innate and automatic in Homo sapiens? NOT!