IF someone is determined to reach enlightenment, what is the most essential method he can practice?
The most essential method, which includes all other methods, is beholding the mind.
But how can one method include all others?
The mind is the root from which all things grow. If you can understand the mind, everything else is included. It’s like the root of a tree. All a tree’s fruit and flowers, branches and leaves depend on its root. If you nourish its root, a tree multiplies. If you cut its root, it dies. Those who understand the mind reach enlightenment with minimal effort. Those who don’t understand the mind practice in vain. Everything good and bad comes from your own mind. To find something beyond the mind is impossible.
Beholding one’s Mind is the root of the matter. Outside of Mind considering all else is puerile and insignificant. The Unborn Mind is the Source of all that is. Outside of this Root-Source nothing exists on its own accord—sunya. Trying to become enlightened outside of this Noble Self-realization is like trying to grasp the animating essence through one of its inadequate products—such as a decaying piece of fruit or dying, lifeless flowers, or a withering branch; apart from the Root-Source there is no life but only disintegrating matter. That’s why the materialistic-mind itself withers and dies…left of its own accord devoid of the animating Spirit-Mind it’s just a mere shadow of its former glory—left fluctuating in an endless sea of changing elements…one form into another in the mad quest of trying to find satisfaction in its own insatiable mechanism—like trying to draw milk from a metal and lifeless cow. Awakening from the material mind and directly seeing through the Amala-vijnana the Life-force arrayed in the Bright-Splendor of the Undying Unborn Mind is the very root of enlightenment itself.
But bow can beholding the mind be called understanding?
When a great bodhisattva delves deeply into perfect wisdom, he realizes that the four elements and five shades are devoid of a personal self. And he realizes that the activity of his mind has two aspects: pure and impure. By their very nature, these two mental states are always present. They alternate as cause or effect depending on conditions, the pure mind delighting in good deeds, the impure mind thinking of evil. Those who aren’t affected by impurity are sages. They transcend suffering and experience the bliss of nirvana. All others, trapped by the impure mind and entangled by their own karma, are mortals. They drift through the three realms and suffer countless afflictions and all because their impure mind obscures their real self.
The obscuration of the Real is rooted in avidya. The clouded-mind just drifts along without being aware of the Sky of Mind that rests motionless amidst their meandering course. The unclouded Mind of the Unborn rises above any transient notions of pure or impure that are dependent on causal dimensions; It is not dependent and thus not time-bound…It is boundless-timelessness Itself.
The Sutra of Ten Stages says, “in the body of mortals is the indestructible buddha-nature. Like the sun, its light fills endless space. But once veiled by the dark clouds of the five shades, it’s like a light inside a jar, hidden from view.” And the Nirvana Sutra says, “All mortals have the buddha-nature. But it’s covered by darkness from which they can’t escape. Our buddha-nature is awareness: to be aware and to make others aware. To realize awareness is liberation,” Everything good has awareness for its root. And from this root of awareness grow the tree of all virtues and the fruit of nirvana. Beholding the mind like this is understanding.
As noted in an earlier blog-post, although Buddha-nature resides deep within the coil of aggregated existence, if not primed with bodhipower it remains dormant—held prisoner to the whims of the five skandhas that supplant and “uproot” its hidden potential. Once Buddha-nature enkindles within and is recognized—As It is—then the developing Bodhisattva (bodhichild) can lead others to the Other Shore of Deathless Suchness. True understanding is beholding Mind AS IT IS: Ecce Animum. The following “Dharmavidium” highlights this essential truth.