Thich Nhat Hanh: Understanding our mind, p. 142 Continue reading
May the sound of this bell penetrate deep into the cosmos
Even in the darkest spots
Thich Nhat Hanh
After a retreat in southern California, an artist asked me, “What is the way to look at a flower so that I can make the most of it for my art?” I said, “If you look in that way, you cannot be in touch with the flower. Abandon all your projects so you can be with the flower with no intention of exploiting it or getting something from it.” The same artist told me, “When I am with a friend, I want to profit from him or her.” Of course we can profit from a friend, but a friend is more than a source of profit. Just to be with a friend, without thinking to ask for his or her support, help, or advice, is an art.
Some excerpts from a transcription of the dharma talk by Thich Nhat Hanh: “Looking deeply into the nature of things”:
The six notions: coming/going, birth/death, being/non-being cannot be applied to reality. Reality is free of these six notions. When we plant the seed of corn and the corn plant sprouts, it is only a continuation, not a birth.
Salvation – emancipation and freedom by insight, looking deeply can be achieved using techniques and methods. We practice looking deeply so we can get the insight. That insight will help transform the suffering in us and other people. The insight is needed to transform anger.
Looking at the anger I have for my father or my mother, I can recognize that I am the continuation of my father, of my mother: that is a FACT. Reconcile with him, with her, inside yourself – “You didn’t know how to handle your suffering, so you became a victim of your own suffering, and we, your children, suffered.” Now I have the conditions to do better. I know how to work to transform the afflictions in me. “I vow to do better.” Otherwise I will transmit the suffering, the affliction, and the habit energies to my children and to others.
We want to see the true face, the true nature, the true origin of ourselves.
Looking deeply we find out there is no beginning and no ending. I am not the same person I was yesterday but I am also not a totally different one. The person yesterday and the person today are neither the same nor a different entity – they “inter-are”.
Thich Nhat Hanh: The Four Layers of Consciousness
The Inner Workings of Our Minds
Abhidharma, Buddhism’s map of the mind, is sometimes treated as a topic of merely intellectual interest. In fact, says Thich Nhat Hanh, identifying the different elements of consciousness, and understanding how they interact, is essential to our practice of meditation.
The Vietnamese Zen Master, Thuong Chieu, said:
When we understand how our mind works, our practice becomes easy.
To understand our minds, we need to understand our consciousness.
The Buddha taught that consciousness is always continuing, like a stream of water. Consciousness has four layers. The four layers of consciousness are mind consciousness, sense consciousness, store consciousness, and manas.