Although we all have a fundamentally pure nature, it is not easy to get in touch with it. The gross way our mind originally functions drowns out this deeper, more subtle vibration to such an extent that we generally remain unaware of its existence. If we truly want to connect with this subtle essence, we need to quiet all distractions and loosen the hold our ordinary appearances and conceptions have on us.
In the way that a gardener knows how to transform compost into flowers, we can learn the art of transforming anger, depression, and racial discrimination into love and understanding. This is the work of meditation. — Thich Nhat Hanh
Excessive self-centeredness of me, my, and mine, is fraught with unhappiness. We become anxious and fearful. Distrust and suspicion ooze into our life. We don’t sleep well. We don’t digest our food well. We often feel miserable and don’t know why. Other-centeredness brings happiness, not only when practicing enlightenment, but also in normal everyday life. Practicing Bodhicitta to become enlightened for others — other-centeredness — is called “exchanging self for others.” It means exchanging the attitude of self-centeredness for the attitude of other-centeredness, thinking and acting for the complete welfare of others, all the way to enlightenment. In normal life, the more self-centered we are, the more people walk away from us. We are never satisfied, always wanting more. Other-centeredness, on the other hand, builds trusting relationships filled with meaning, love, and happiness. Emaho! ~ Barry Kerzin
A king’s robe or an old blanket can keep you warm.
A gold throne or the bare ground can be your seat.
A grand palace or a mud hut can be your shelter.
A jewelled plate or a wooden pot can hold your food.
The external world does not destroy your inner peace,
But your attachment and aversion will.
For as long as there is the dualistic grasping of ‘self’ and ‘other’ it is impossible to get rid of all of the external problems that cause us to suffer. But when there is no more dualistic grasping, it’s as if they have disappeared. As the great master Shantideva said:
“Where would I find enough leather to cover the entire surface of the world? But with leather on my feet, it’s as if the whole world has been covered.”