The Peaceful Stillness of the Silent Mind

By Lama Thubten Yeshe
Melbourne and Sydney Australia 1975 (Archive #329)

The six teachings contained herein come from Lama Yeshe’s 1975 visit to Australia. They are all filled with love, insight, wisdom and compassion, and the question-and-answer sessions Lama loved so much are as dynamic and informative as ever.

Chapter Six: Follow Your Path Without Attachment

Those who practice meditation or religion should not cling with attachment to any idea.

Fixed ideas are not external phenomena. Our minds often grasp at things that sound good, but this can be extremely dangerous. We too easily accept things we hear as good: “Oh, meditation is very good.” Of course, meditation is good if you understand what it is and practice it correctly; you can definitely find answers to life’s questions. What I’m saying is that whatever you do in the realm of philosophy, doctrine or religion, don’t cling to the ideas; don’t be attached to your path.

Again, I’m not talking about external objects; I’m talking about inner, psychological phenomena. I’m talking about developing a healthy mind, developing what Buddhism calls indestructible understanding-wisdom.

Some people enjoy their meditation and the satisfaction it brings but at the same time cling strongly to the intellectual idea of it: “Oh, meditation is so perfect for me. It’s the best thing in the world. I’m getting results. I’m so happy!” But how do they react if somebody puts their practice down? If they don’t get upset, that’s fantastic. It shows that they are doing their religious or meditation practice properly.

Similarly, you might have tremendous devotion to God or Buddha or something based on deep understanding and great experience and be one hundred percent sure of what you’re doing, but if you have even slight attachment to your ideas, if someone says, “You’re devoted to Buddha? Buddha’s a pig!” or “You believe in God? God’s worse than a dog!” you’re going to completely freak out. Words can’t make Buddha a pig or God a dog, but still, your attachment, your idealistic mind totally freaks: “Oh, I’m so hurt! How dare you say things like that?”

No matter what anybody says—Buddha is good, Buddha is bad—the absolutely indestructible characteristic nature of the Buddha remains untouched. Nobody can enhance or decrease its value. It’s exactly the same when people tell you you’re good or bad; irrespective of what they say, you remain the same. Others’ words can’t change your reality. Therefore, why do you go up and down when people praise or criticize you? It’s because of your attachment; your clinging mind; your fixed ideas. Make sure you’re clear about this.

Check up. It’s very interesting. Check your psychology. How do you respond if somebody tells you your whole path is wrong? If you truly understand the nature of your mind, you will never react to that kind of thing, but if you don’t understand your own psychology, if you hallucinate and are easily hurt, you will quickly find your peace of mind disturbed. They’re only words, ideas, but you’re so easily upset.

Our minds are incredible. Our ups and downs have nothing to do with reality, nothing to do with the truth. It’s very important to understand the psychology of this.

It’s common for us to think that our own path and ideas are good, worthwhile and perfect, but by focusing excessively on this, we subconsciously put other paths and ideas down.

Perhaps I think, “Yellow is a fantastic color,” and explain to you in great detail how yellow is good. Then, because of all my logical reasons, you too start think, “Yellow is good; yellow is the perfect color.” But this automatically causes contradictory beliefs, “Blue is not so good; red is not so good,” to arise in your mind.

There are two things in conflict with one another. This is common, but it’s a mistake, especially when it comes to religion. We should not allow such contradictions in our mind where, by accepting one thing, we automatically reject another. If you check, you’ll see it’s not that you’re blindly following something external but that your mind is too extreme in one direction. This automatically sets up the other extreme in opposition, and conflict between the two unbalances your mind and disturbs your inner peace.

This is how religious partisanship arises. You say, “I belong to this religion,” and when you meet someone belonging to another, you feel insecure. This means your knowledge-wisdom is weak. You don’t understand your mind’s true nature and cling to an extreme point of view. Don’t allow your mind to be polluted in this way; make sure you’re mentally healthy. After all, the purpose of the practice of religion, Buddhism, Dharma, meditation or whatever else you want to call it is for you to take your mind completely beyond unhealthy, contradictory mental attitudes.

Lord Buddha himself exhorted the students he was teaching to practice without attachment. Although he taught a precise, incredible universal method, he made his students promise not to be attached to his teachings or to realizations, inner freedom, nirvana or enlightenment itself.

To achieve freedom from attachment is a very difficult thing, especially in a materialistic society. It’s almost impossible for you to deal with material things without attachment and this causes you to bring a grasping attitude to spiritual matters. But even though it’s difficult, you need to check how Lord Buddha’s psychology offers you perfect mental health, free of extremes of this or that.

In our ordinary, samsaric, worldly life, we so easily get attached to and grasp at things we like, and nobody ever tells us to avoid attachment. But Lord Buddha, even though he offered his students the highest method to reach the highest goal, always admonished his students never to be attached to any of it. He said, “If you have the slightest attachment to me or my teachings, you’re not only psychologically ill but you’ll also destroy any chance you have of attaining complete and perfect enlightenment.”

Also, he never told people to be biased towards his path or that following his path was good and following others was bad. In fact, one of the bodhisattva vows he made his followers take is the promise not to criticize the teachings of any other religion. Check why he did this; it shows how perfectly he understood human psychology. If it had been us, we’d have been saying, “I’m teaching you the highest, most perfect method. All the others are nothing.” We treat the spiritual path in exactly the same competitive way that we do material pursuits, and if we keep acting this way, we’ll never be mentally healthy or discover nirvana or everlasting, peaceful enlightenment. What, then, is the point of our spiritual practice?

Check up. Even in your samsaric, worldly life activities and relationships, the moment you get one idea or choose one thing, “This is so good,” a contradiction automatically comes into your mind. When you’re in love in the worldly, selfish way, check to see if your mind is too extreme or not; you’ll find that it is.

Similarly, you should also avoid extremes when practicing your spiritual path. Of course, that shouldn’t stop you practicing Dharma, or meditation; you still have to act. Just practice according to your own level of understanding.

That also doesn’t mean that your mind should be closed to other religions. You can study any religion; you can check it out. The problem is that when you choose one particular religion, you get too extreme about its ideas and then put other religions and philosophies down. This happens because you don’t know the purpose of religion, why it exists or how to practice. If you did, you’d never feel insecure about other religions. Not knowing the nature of other religions or their purpose makes you fear practitioners of other paths. If you understand that different people’s minds need different methods and solutions, you’ll see why there’s a need for many religions.

It’s really worthwhile for you to understand this basic psychology. Then, even in your everyday life, when people say you’re good or bad, you won’t go up and down; you’ll know that it’s not what people say that makes you good or bad. If, however, you find yourself going up and down according to what people say, you should recognize that this is happening because your mind is polluted; you’re not seeing reality. Because of this, your relative, mundane judgments are labeling things good and bad and your mind is going up and down accordingly. Your up and down comes from your mind’s making you believe those things really are good or bad. That’s why you go up and down.

If you refuse to believe that superficial view, there’ll no longer be any reason for you to go up and down when somebody says “good” or “bad.” Words are not reality; ideas are not reality. Forget about your mind’s ultimate nature; if you understand even its relative nature, there’s no way anybody can make you go up and down by what they say. Even with this more superficial level of understanding, you discover a degree of truth within yourself.

A great deal of our suffering arises because we are conflicted about reputation. Instead of being concerned about the reality of what we are, we’re concerned about what other people think of us. We’re too outward looking. That’s incredible. As far as Buddhism is concerned, that’s a sick mind; totally, clinically sick.

Of course, Western psychologists don’t consider that to be mental illness. Their terminology is different. Why is there this difference? It’s because Lord Buddha’s approach teaches us to seek the highest goal—everlasting, internal, indestructible peace of mind—and only when we attain that level of mind does Buddhism no longer consider us sick. Before that, our mind is liable to ups and downs and is therefore still sick, and we need more medicine: meditation, Dharma practice or whatever you want to call it. This is truly deep, profound psychology.

Western psychologists are satisfied that you’re not clinically sick if you’re well enough to conduct your everyday affairs, communicate with your friends and so forth. They’re like, “OK, you can go now”! They’re easily satisfied. But the supreme psychologist, Lord Buddha, looks deeper. He sees what’s going on in the deep unconscious. Western psychologists are proud of where they’ve reached but say that, despite having made many advances, with respect to understanding the nature of the unconscious mind, they still have a long way to go. I read this in a psychology book.

Anyway, the reality is that you get attached to any idea that you think to be good, so even though the teachings of your spiritual path might in fact be good, try to practice them without attachment.

Sometimes you see people whose beliefs are too extreme, out on the street distributing religious literature. Even if you’re busy, rushing somewhere, they stop you: “Here, read this.” They so badly want to spread their ideas that they even preach in shopping centers and malls. This is too extreme. It’s not necessary to do that. The mind needs time to absorb any idea. If you really want to teach somebody something, you have to wait until the person’s ready and then do it. If somebody’s mind is not ready, you shouldn’t try to push your religious ideas onto that person, no matter how strongly you believe in them. It’s like giving a dying person a precious jewel.

Many religions teach the importance of universal love, but the question is, how to develop that within yourself. You can’t actualize universal love simply by reciting “universal love, universal love, universal love.” Therefore, how do you gain that realization?

According to Lord Buddha, the first step is to develop a balanced mind towards all living beings; before you can attain universal love, you have to feel equilibrium with all beings in the universe. Therefore, the first thing to do is to train in equilibrium, and you’re just dreaming if you think you can develop universal love without it.

Otherwise, you think that universal love is a wonderful idea, but at the same time are fanatical about the religion you’ve adopted. You have the fixed idea, “This is my religion.” When somebody from another faith comes along, you feel uncomfortable; there’s conflict in your mind. Then where’s your universal love? Although you think it’s fantastic, you can’t manifest it because your mind is unbalanced. For universal love to come into your mind, you have to develop the feeling of equilibrium with all beings in the universe.

But that’s easier said than done, so perhaps I should explain how to develop equilibrium. We do it in sitting meditation. Visualize in front of you a person who makes you agitated; someone you don’t like. Visualize behind you the person to whom you are most attached. And visualize all around you the people to whom you feel indifferent; those who are not friends, relatives or enemies. Look at these three classes of person—friend, enemy and stranger—and meditate; see how you feel about each. When you look at your dear friend, a clinging feeling comes up; you want to go in that direction. When you look at the person who hurts and bothers you, you want to turn away; you reject that person.

This is a very simple way of checking how you feel about different people; it’s not complicated. Just visualize them and see how you feel. Then ask yourself, “Why do I feel differently about different people? Why do I want to help the person I like and not the one I hate?” If you’re honest, you’ll find that your answers are the completely unreasonable responses of a deluded mind.

What this means is that you don’t really understand the impermanent nature of human relationships. Those who know the real, true nature of the human mind understand that relationships are completely changeable and that there’s no such thing as a permanent relationship; it’s impossible. Even though you want it. But check back through the entire history of life on Earth, from the time it began up to now: where is that permanent relationship? When has there ever been a permanent relationship? It should still be here. But it’s not, because there’s no such thing.

Moreover, your judgment of people as friend, enemy and stranger is a complete misconception. For one thing, it’s based on totally illogical reasons. Whatever your reasons, your feelings of “I like him, I don’t like her” are totally illogical. They have nothing whatsoever to do with the true nature of either subject or object.

By judging people the way you do, you’re like a person who has two extremely thirsty people coming to the door begging for water, and then arbitrarily choosing one, “You, please come in,” and rejecting the other: “You, go away.” That’s exactly what you’re like. If you really check up with introspective knowledge-wisdom, you’ll see that your judgment of good and bad comes from concern for only your own selfish pleasure and never the pleasure of others.

Check up: visualize all universal living beings around you and realize that equally, just like you, they all want happiness and don’t want unhappiness. Therefore, there’s no reason to make the psychological distinction between friend and enemy, wanting to help the friend with extreme attachment, and wanting to give up on the bothersome, conflict—generating enemy with extreme dislike. That kind of mind is completely unrealistic, because as the dissatisfied human mind goes up and down, those kinds of relationship naturally change.

Even if you do want to feel angry toward another, it’s the person’s deluded mind you should be upset with, not his physical body. His mind is uncontrolled; he has no choice. When he attacks you, he’s being driven by uncontrolled attachment or anger; that’s what you should be angry at.

If somebody hits you with a car, you don’t get angry at the car, do you? You get upset with the driver. It’s exactly the same thing. The inner driver is the person’s dissatisfied mind, not the symptoms of his emotions. Therefore, it’s not your enemy himself but his delusions that you should be angry at. What a person says or does is simply symptomatic of what’s in his mind.

Anyway, that’s the approach to developing equilibrium, and the more you practice it, the more you’ll realize that in reality, there’s no reason to distinguish sentient beings as friend, enemy and stranger on the basis of the extremes of attachment and hatred; only an unhealthy mind does so. And when you do experience equilibrium, you’ll be amazed at how your view of your enemy changes. The person who agitated and bothered you appears completely different—not because he has changed but because your mind has; you’ve changed your perception. This is not a fairy tale; this is reality.

When you change your attitude, your view of the sense world changes as well. When your mind is foggy, the world about you seems foggy; when your mind is clear, the world about you appears beautiful. You know this from your own experience. Your view of the world comes from your mind; it’s a reflection of your mind. There’s no permanent, perfectly good thing in the world. Where could you find such a thing? It’s impossible.

You have to know your own psychology, how your mind works, how you discriminate between sentient beings because of unrealistic, illogical reasons. Therefore, you need to meditate. To discover universal love within your mind, you have to develop a feeling of equilibrium with all living beings in the universe. Once you’ve developed equilibrium, you don’t have to worry about universal love; it will come automatically. That’s how human psychology works. It’s not something you can force: “Oh, universal love. I become you; you become me.” What is that? Don’t think that way.

When your mind is balanced with an equal feeling for all living beings, you’ll automatically be happy. You won’t have to say, “I need happiness.” You’ll automatically be peaceful and happy, and furthermore, your body and speech will generate a peaceful vibration that will automatically benefit others, beyond words. Wherever you go, that vibration will be with you. But it’s impossible to reach that level without meditation. Without meditating, you can’t release any attachments, either spiritual or material, let alone experience universal love.

The Mahayana way of bringing the mind to enlightenment is gradual. As we have seen, in order to develop universal love, we first have to develop equilibrium. On this basis, we generate the bodhisattva’s mind of enlightenment, bodhicitta, and having done so, our duty is to actualize the six perfections of charity, morality, patience, effort, concentration, and wisdom.

All religions emphasize the importance of charity, but Lord Buddha’s approach differs from most in that he explains mainly the psychological aspect of giving and is not so interested in the externals of it. Why? Because the perfection of giving is realized only when we completely release the mind of miserly attachment, and this is a purely mental thing.

Many people think, with arrogance and pride, that they’re religious because they give a lot of material things away, but this is very superficial. Such people have no idea of the essence of charity; just a vague notion that charity is good. They don’t really know what it is. To engage in the bodhisattva’s practice of charity is extremely difficult; it has to be done without a trace of miserliness.

Many people give with pride and attachment. That’s not charity; it’s just ego and, basically, not virtue. The bodhisattva’s practice of charity—or, in fact, any of the six perfections—has to include the other five. In other words, charity must be practiced together with morality, patience, energy, concentration and wisdom—especially the latter. We need to have a profound understanding of emptiness in what we call the circle of the three: the emptiness of the object we’re giving, the action of giving and the recipient of our gift. If we give without such understanding, it is neither beneficial nor perfect and, furthermore, can bring a conflicted reaction.

For example, if we’re not free of attachment, we might give something to somebody today, and tomorrow be thinking, “I wish I hadn’t given him that; now I need it.” This kind of giving has nothing whatsoever to do with religion.

We might see people making charity and think how wonderfully generous they are, but all we see is the external action. We don’t see their inner motivation, which can be totally berserk and selfish. The actual definition of religious giving is made according to the donor’s mental attitude, not his or her physical actions.

If your giving weakens your disturbing negative attitudes and brings more peace and understanding into your mind, it’s religious, but if it serves merely to increase your delusions, you’re better off not doing it, no matter how it appears from the outside. Why do something that exacerbates your already agitated mind? Be realistic; know what you’re doing.

If you do your spiritual practice with understanding, it will be really worthwhile and effective and bring the results you seek.

Even simply feeling equilibrium with all living beings—not discriminating others as friend, enemy, and stranger—can bring you great happiness and freedom from insecurity.

We often feel bothered by others, but we have to realize that seeing them as enemies comes from us, not them. There’s no such thing as a born enemy. We make it all up. There’s no such thing as permanent evil. Actual evil is the negative mind that projects evil outside; a positive mind will label the same thing good. Things always change; permanent evil is totally non-existent.

Also, when we’re depressed, we think, “I’m bad, I’m negative, I’m sinful,” but that’s complete nonsense; an exaggerated extreme. We have both positive and negative within us; it’s simply a question of which is stronger at any given time. That’s what we have to check. Therefore, whenever our mind gives us trouble, it’s a sign that we’re thinking in extremes.

This is where meditation comes in. Meditation means investigating the mind to see what’s going on. When we do it properly, we purify and bring peace into our unbalanced mind. That’s the function of meditation; that’s the function of religion. Therefore, we should meditate as correctly as possible.

One thing to avoid on the spiritual path is jumping at ideas. Instead, try to find the key to putting ideas into your experience. Experiencing their meaning is much more important than the ideas themselves. For example, we should not make charity of things that belong to other people, like our family and friends. I’ve often heard of young people taking things from their parents, like their mother’s jewels, and giving them away to beggars in the street.

That’s strange; it’s not charity. And I’ve often been asked if it’s OK to steal from the rich to give to the poor. That’s not charity either.

The ordinary understanding of charity is giving things to others, but as you can see, the Buddhist point of view is that material giving is not necessarily charity. True charity has to do with the mind; giving mentally. The practice of giving is training the mind to overcome miserliness. Miserly attachment is in the mind, therefore, the antidote must also be mental.

Another thing is that, when it comes to giving, sometimes we’re extreme. We don’t check to see if the recipient needs what we’re giving; we just give without hesitation. However, sometimes it may not be beneficial; in such cases, it’s better not to give. If what you give creates problems and, instead of being helped, the recipient experiences harm, it’s not charity. You think your action is positive, but it’s negative.

If you really, deeply check up what true charity is, you’ll probably find that in your whole life you’ve never performed even one act of charity. Have you really checked the recipient’s needs? Have you generated the right motivation before giving? Have you performed the action with meditation on the circle of the three? And if you’ve given with pride, then no matter how great your gift, it’s been wasted; your giving’s been a joke.

Thus, you can see how difficult perfect charity can be. I’m not just being negative; I’m being realistic. Make sure that whatever you do becomes worthwhile. If you practice with understanding, it can be powerful and psychologically effective, have real meaning and, without doubt, bring the peaceful realizations you desire. On the other hand, if you do your practices half-heartedly and without understanding, all you’ll get is depressed.

Therefore, don’t think that charity is physical—it’s mental. Charity is turning the mind away from and releasing miserly attachment. That’s fantastic. It’s meditation, a psychological state of mind and very effective.

You should also avoid making charity of things that hurt others. For example, you shouldn’t donate to war efforts. Sometimes you might be asked to give money to people fighting in the name of religion, but how can supporting war be spiritual? It’s impossible. You have to check carefully that your charitable giving does not bring harm.

It’s extremely difficult to practice Dharma such that it diminishes your delusions, but if you can, it’s most worthwhile; it will really shake your ego. Even one small act of charitable giving motivated by the intention to realize everlasting, peaceful enlightenment can be incredibly effective and really shatter your attachment.

There are three kinds of charity: giving material objects, giving knowledge-wisdom, and saving others from danger. You should do whichever of these you can, with as much understanding as possible, according to your ability.

The ultimate aim of charity is perfect enlightenment, so you should dedicate your acts of charity to this goal. But we don’t do that, do we? If somebody’s cold, we just toss him a blanket— “Warm enough? OK, good”—and leave it at that. If someone’s thirsty, we just give her a drink—“Thirst finished? OK, good”— and that that’s the end of it. Our goals are so temporal and shortsighted that our giving becomes just another material trip. Our understanding of charity is too superficial. Instead, we should help others with temporal needs by understanding that in order to reach enlightenment, they need a healthy body and mind, and give in order to help their Dharma practice, dedicating our merit to the enlightenment of all sentient beings.

I’m not just being negative; I’m talking about the way we are. And I’m sure that if you practice properly, you can definitely attain everlasting, peaceful enlightenment. But even forgetting about that, if you practice well today, tomorrow you’ll automatically be more peaceful; if you meditate properly in the morning, your whole day goes more smoothly. You can easily experience the truth of this. However, attaining enlightenment through meditating, practicing the six perfections and advancing through the ten bodhisattva stages is a gradual process.

When we do become enlightened, we’ll no longer have feelings of partiality. If Lord Buddha had one person angrily stabbing his right arm with a knife and another devotedly anointing his left with scented oil, he wouldn’t have hatred for the one and craving desire for the other. He would feel equal love for both—the love an enlightened being feels for others is universal and completely impartial.

Our love, however, is completely selfish. We get attached to people who are nice to us and dislike those who treat us badly. Our minds are extremely unbalanced.

My conclusion is that we should not be attached to anything, not even our religion, much less material things. We should practice our spiritual path understanding its reality and how it relates to us as individuals. That’s the way to discover universal love, free of insecure, partisan feelings such as, “I’m a Buddhist,” “I’m a Christian,” “I’m a Hindu,” or whatever. It doesn’t matter what we are; each of us has to find the path that suits us as individuals.

Some people like rice; others like potatoes; others something else. Let people eat whatever they like, whatever satisfies their body. You can’t say, “I don’t like rice; nobody should eat rice.” It’s the same thing with religion.

If you have this kind of understanding, you’ll never be against any religion. Different people need different paths. Let them do what they need to do. But unfortunately, our limited minds aren’t that relaxed. We think, “My religion is the best, the only way. All the others are wrong.” Holding such fixed preconceptions means we are sick. It’s not religions that are at fault; it’s their followers. Therefore, if you want to be psychologically healthy, understand your path and act correctly and realizations will come of their own accord.

Now, before I finish, I want to make one thing clear. I’m not criticizing anybody; I’m not putting anybody’s practice down. But these days, most of us grow up in societies that don’t offer many opportunities for the serious study and practice of religion. Therefore, it’s important that when you practice Dharma, you do so properly and don’t turn your practice into just another worldly pursuit. The modern world thinks material development is extremely important and gives short shrift to the development of a peaceful mind. Of course, if somebody actually asks you, “Do you think spiritual pursuits are important?” you’re going to say, “Yes, but….” There’s always a “but, but, but” involved. That shows how we really are.

Q. If we don’t have many monks at the time and place where we are born, is that the result of bad karma?

Lama. I don’t think so. That’s like saying that it’s bad karma not to be a monk. It’s not like that. You don’t have to be a monk or nun to be knowledgeable. You can’t say that people in robes are higher than those who are not. You can’t judge things in that way. It’s entirely up to the individual. Perhaps you can say, however, that it’s individual bad karma to find yourself in a situation where you can’t understand your own mind and mental attitudes or discover true, inner peace and satisfaction.

Q. Lama, when we’re doing meditation, how do we know that the thinker and the thought are the same? That the thinker is the thought; that the thinker is not separate from the thought?

Lama. Relatively, the thinker is not the thought. The thinker is just “name” and, at that time, thought is just “functioning.” But if you can completely integrate yourself with thought when you’re meditating, that’s a good experience. However, from the standpoint of relative truth and scientific understanding, person and thought are different. You are not thought. Even if in meditation you feel complete oneness with your thought, still, you and thought are not the same thing. Although at the absolute level there’s unity, relatively, there’s a difference. But when you meditate, if you feel complete oneness with all universal phenomena, if you feel that your physical being is like a single atom but your nature is totally unified with the energy of the whole universe, that’s a good experience.

Also, when you’re trying to concentrate on one thing and other thoughts keep coming, instead of rejecting them, trying to push them away, think, “You’re welcome,” and investigate them with penetrating, introspective knowledge-wisdom, looking into the nature of your thoughts’ reality. Thoughts are silly; when you look at them, they disappear. They’re just kidding; when you analyze them, they vanish. Up until now, the more you’ve tried to push them away, the more they’ve kept on coming at you. Try welcoming them.

Actually, watching your thoughts is much more interesting than watching TV. TV’s boring; it’s the same old thing over and over again. When you observe your mind, incredibly different things appear. You have an amazing collection of memories; after all these years, even childhood memories surface. TV’s never that interesting.

When you understand the way your mind works, that’s the beginning of control. You’ll stop getting upset when thoughts appear; psychologically, you’ll know what they mean. Somebody who has no idea of what the mind is or how it works gets shocked when the unconscious mind suddenly manifests at the conscious level: “Oh! What’s that?” When you understand your mind and what’s in it, you expect that sort of thing to happen. You understand the nature of your mind and have a solution for its dark side. If you think that you’re completely pure and then suddenly some ugly mind arises, you freak out. However, you also have to understand that you’re not completely negative. Your mind has both a positive and a negative nature. But it’s all relative, coming and going like clouds in the sky. But underneath it all, your real, true nature remains completely pure, unchanged like the sky itself. Therefore, to be human is to be powerful; we have the ability to do great things because our fundamental nature is positive.

Thank you very much, thank you.

Chinese Buddhist Society, Sydney, 24 April 1975

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