Friday, February 21, 2014

To Liberate the Beings of Our Own Mind

Looking at the events in Ukraine, Syria, Egypt, Venezuela, and the USA’s meddling in them, I have these observations:  When we are free from literalizing “good and evil” by “taking sides” based on who is the “good guy” and who is the “bad guy,” then we are free to see human conflicts with the same equanimity as the weather events like hurricanes and “super storms.”  Hurricanes are formed when the opposing characteristics of warm and cold air, moist and dry air, and high and low pressure become extreme and polarized leading to the cascading events of a rotating system we call a tropical cyclone.  Lightening storms are caused when the upper atmosphere and the ground become supercharged and polarized with “opposite poles” of positive and negative energy.  A hurricane doesn’t make the high pressure “good” and the low pressure “bad,” and lightening doesn’t make the positive (+) energy “good” and the negative (-) energy “bad.”
Likewise, when the warm and cold air or plus and minus energy of the collective consciousness becomes extremely supercharged and polarized it necessitates an emotional storm that manifests in what we call  “violent conflicts” or the super storm called “war.”  If we want to have any influence on the outbreak of conflict and war across the planet, then we must individually do our best to depolarize our collective consciousness, so that the polarities of “us and them” do not become so supercharged that we see ourselves as the “good guys” who must obliterate those “evil bad guys.” 
As a Buddhist, we proclaim the Four Broad Vows, and beginning with the vow that no matter how innumerable the many beings are, we will carry them across to liberation.  As Zen master Huineng reminds us in the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Ancestor, these Four Broad Vows are called broad because they are all inclusive in the wisdom that there is nothing that is not the manifestation of our own mind.  So Huineng presented his version of the Four Broad Vows that emphasized this truth of mind:
We vow to carry across the unlimited multitude of beings of our own mind,

We vow to cut off the inexhaustible afflictions of our own mind,

We vow to investigate the uncountable Dharma gates of our own mind,

We vow to consummate the unsurpassed Buddha Way of our own mind.

This means that we have to free the beings of our own mind trapped in the Auschwitz' and Guantanamo's of our own mind and who are polarized in the roles of guards and prisoners in our own mind, before we can liberate the beings in the world from the storms of war.