Whether time is long or short and whether…

Whether time is long or short, and whether space is broad or narrow, depends upon the mind. Those whose minds are at leisure can feel one day as a millennium, and those whose thoughts are expansive can perceive a small house to be as spacious as the universe.

-Hung Tzu-ch’eng (1593-1665)

When practitioners of Zen fail to transcend the…

When practitioners of Zen fail to transcend the world of their senses and thoughts, all they do has no value. Yet, when senses and thoughts are obliterated all the roads to universal mind are blocked and there is no entrance. The primal mind has to be recognised along with the senses and thoughts. It neither belongs to them nor is independent of them. Don’t build your understanding on your senses and thoughts, yet don’t look for the mind separate from your senses and thoughts. Don’t attempt to grasp Reality by pushing away your senses and thoughts. Unobstructed freedom is to be neither attached nor detached. This is enlightenment.

Huang-Po

Senses, mind, intellect, body and soul

Kaṭhopaniṣhad explains the differences in role of senses, mind, intellect, body and soul with the help of the model of a chariot:

ātmānagvaṁ rathinaṁ viddhi śharīraṁ rathameva tu

buddhiṁ tu sārathiṁ viddhi manaḥ pragrahameva cha

indriyāṇi hayānāhurviṣhayānsteṣhu gocharān

ātmendriyamanoyuktaṁ bhoktetyāhurmanīṣhiṇaḥ (1.3.3-4) [v21]

The Upanishad says there is a chariot, which has five horses pulling it; the horses have reins in their mouths, which are in the hands of a charioteer; a passenger is sitting at the back of the chariot. Ideally, the passenger should instruct the charioteer, who should then control the reins and guide the horses in the proper direction. However, in this case, the passenger has gone to sleep, and so the horses are running away.

In this analogy, the chariot is the body, the horses are the five senses, the reins in the mouth of the horses is the mind, the charioteer is the intellect, and the passenger seated behind is the soul residing in the body. The senses (horses) desire pleasurable things. The mind (reins) is not exercising restraint on the senses (horses). The intellect (charioteer) submits to the pull of the reins (mind). So in the materially bound state, the bewildered soul does not direct the intellect in the proper direction. Thus, the senses decide the direction where the chariot will go. The soul experiences the pleasures of the senses vicariously, but these do not satisfy it. Seated on this chariot, the soul (passenger) is moving around in this material world since eternity.

However, if the soul wakes up to its higher nature and decides to take a proactive role, it can exercise the intellect in the proper direction. The intellect will then govern the lower self—the mind and the senses—and the chariot will move in the direction of eternal welfare. In this way, the higher self (soul) must be used to control the lower self (senses, mind, and, intellect).

Nothing truly stops you Nothing truly holds you…

Nothing truly stops you. Nothing truly holds you back. For your own will is always within your control. Sickness may challenge your body. But are you merely your body? Lameness may impede your legs. But you are not merely your legs. Your will is bigger than your legs. Your will needn’t be affected by an incident unless you let it.

-Epictetus

Put Mind at Ease

One day, Buddha was walking from one town to another with a few of his followers.

While they were traveling, they happened to pass by a lake. They stopped to rest there and Buddha asked one of his disciples to get him some water from the lake.

A disciple walked up to the lake. When he reached it, he noticed some people were washing clothes in the water and, right at that moment, a bullock cart started crossing through the lake.

As a result, the water became very muddy. The disciple thought, “How can I give this muddy water to Buddha to drink!”

So he came back and told Buddha, ”The water in the lake is very muddy. I don’t think it is suitable to drink.”

After a while, Buddha again asked the same disciple to go back to the lake and get him some water.

The disciple obediently went back to the lake. This time he found that the mud had settled down and the water was clean so he collected some in a pot and brought it to Buddha.

Buddha looked at the water then looked up at the disciple and said, “See what you did to make the water clean. You let it be and the mud settled down on its own. It is also the same with your mind. When it is disturbed, just let it be. Give it a little time and it will settle down on its own.”