To our hallucinated mind it looks like all our day- to- day happiness and problems, every hour’s, every minute’s, even every second’s happiness and problems come from the outside. But in reality, they come from our mind, from our concepts. They are the results of actions, karma, done in the past. Of the two components of our being, body and mind, they come from the mind.
With respect to any particular object, the mental factors that accompany the principal consciousness are similar in five ways: object, aspect, time, entity and basis.
The five omnipresent mental factors that always accompany the principal consciousness: feeling, cognition, contact, intention and attention. Intention is one of the omnipresent mental factors. Because intention is always there, we label things as positive or negative every minute, every second; our mind merely labels things as positive or negative all the time.
Whatever we perceive another person’s body, speech or mind or some material object we label it positive or negative. In this way we label the world. All the time, every hour, every minute, every second we are labeling, and not just labeling but merely labeling, merely imputing things. In that way we create the I, we create the action, we create the object, we create the whole world as positive or negative. So positive and negative are merely designations of our own mind.
Because the results of happiness or suffering are ripening results of imprints in our own mind and not other people’s imprints, we have control of our life. There is a practice thought transformation, where we utilize our problems, turning them into happiness, making them worthwhile. Any problem we have a relationship problem, a disease such as cancer, being in debt is all to do with the mind; it is a concept of the mind. It depends on how we look at it. Therefore we can reinterpret it, put-ting a positive label on it instead of a negative one. In that way we are able to utilize the problem, transforming it not just into temporary happiness but ultimate happiness. This is what we really need to be able to do.
In all our beginning less lives, there is no temporary happiness that we have never achieved. We think a temporary happiness we experience is new because we have not encountered it before in this life, but there is nothing new for us. Whatever happiness or problem we experience, we have experienced it numberless times before.
Because everything is created by the mind, because problems are projected, merely labeled by the mind, we have the ability to transform them into happiness. We can make suffer most useful. We can even transform our suffering into the happiest, making it most beneficial for other sentient beings. We do this by experiencing it with compassion for other sentient beings, who are numberless, who are like our family. We can see the different sentient beings, not only in this world but also in the number-less realms, as our family. We humans, insects and even ants are all just one family. We can experience the suffering for them; we can let the numberless beings have happiness.
We have the opportunity to transform suffering into happiness in daily life because it’s up to our mind. It’s up to our own mind whether any situation becomes a suffering or a happy one. It depends on how much knowledge we have, on whether we know the soul or not, whether we know inner science. Knowing soul and knowing inner science is the same thing.
We can choose whether a situation is a problem or not. We say, “I have a problem! When can I be happy? When can I be happy?” Then we make ourselves sick. Nobody else makes us sick, we make ourselves sick; our own mind makes us sick. That’s how we do it. Unless we transform our way of thinking, this is how it will stay, our old mind, our old concepts will create the same problems for us over and over again.
With the same old mind we remain the same old person old in terms of having to endure the same kinds of suffering rather than old in age. Rather than using our short life to become a happy person we continue to create the same causes of suffering. Because our life is created by our mind, however, we also have the chance to have a healthy, awakened life.
We have the ability to choose happiness or suffering. Even though some sickness even death happens as the result of some previous action we have done, if we have a wise mind we can utilize the best psychology, the best meditation, and transform that situation into happiness. By looking at the situation in a different light we are able to change from disliking it to liking it.
We do this not only for ourselves. Although we cannot understand all of that, at least we can see that it is beneficial for other humans.
Eliminating defilement with the power of the mind
The goal is to use whatever problem we have to free numberless living beings from the oceans of suffering and bring them to peerless happiness the total cessation of all obscurations and the completion of all realizations. There is nothing more to be eliminated and there is nothing more to be developed. There is no other happiness that still needs to be achieved. Everything has been completed.
The mind is not oneness with the obscurations but just temporarily obscured, it can be cleansed of them just as a dirty cloth can be cleansed from dirt. Dirt cannot be separated from dirt but a cloth that is dirty can be washed so that the dirt is completely removed. With soap or whatever other cleansing agent, it can become completely clean, without a trace of dirt.
It’s the same thing with the mind. The mind can also become completely, totally cleansed of the dirt of the obscurations. Totally ceasing gross and subtle obscurations, we can then fully develop the power, the potential of the mind and complete all realizations. That is peerless inner happiness that is “Soul” or “Jiva”.
This is just a simple description of our mind. Everybody’s mind is similar. Even an animal mind mind is the same. We all have inner nature. We all have that capacity to be totally free from all obscurations and to complete all realizations. After we have freed ourselves from the gross obscurations we attain ultimate happiness, liberation from the oceans of suffering, the blissful state of happiness for ourselves. Then, after even the subtle obscurations have been removed by actualizing the path, the remedy, we attain peerless happiness, actualizing all realizations of our self.
Even an animal have the potential to attain Samsara’s release. They have inner nature. Their mind can become a holy mind, the truth body, which has two aspects: the transcendental wisdom truth body and the natural truth body, the self nature of the omniscient mind.
Because every sentient being, including us, has soul nature, the nature of soul, no matter how much suffering we have, it is only temporary. We can become free from it. Like the example I have just given, just as a cloth can be cleansed of dirt because it is not one with the dirt, our mind can be freed from suffering because it is not one with suffering but is only temporarily obscured. Because the mind has inner nature, it is possible to eliminate not just suffering but the very cause of suffering.
Education is not just learning
During its lifetime, animals has no chance to develop its inner nature. On the other hand, because we can think in a more subtle way, we are human beings have not only the potential but also the incredible opportunity to develop our inner nature in this lifetime. Our ability is so much vaster than that of nonhuman beings like animals. In their present form, animals and plant do not have the ability to learn and practice meditation, to understand the inner science of the soul. Only if they can become like us, humans, will they have that ability.
Our thinking is so much more complex and profound than that of non- humans, whether we use it for positive or negative things.
We can use the incredible potential we have to bring happiness or suffering to the world. Therefore, while we are so fortunate to now be human, our education is very important. People think that education is just learning but it’s much more than that.
There is someone so well-educated from a graduate of a famous university but his personal life is always suffering, always confused, no happiness. He has so many problems such as jealousy, pride, anger, attachment and so forth. His life is always up and down. Only ever thinking of this one life, not knowing what else to do, he is so over-whelmed with problems that suicide might even seem the easy way to end it all.
Then there is another person who doesn’t have a high degree or much formal education at all but her life is so happy.
How can they life be happy?
The answer is that the person with the high degree, whose life nonetheless is filled with much suffering, pride, jealousy, fear and worry, is ruled by the self- cherishing thought, whereas the poorly- educated person has a good heart. Of course, she still has self- cherishing but it is not very strong. Because of her good heart, her life has much happiness.
Education doesn’t only happen at school, there is education at home with the parents as well. Parents set a strong example for their children. I’m not only referring to specific family relationships but also, in general, we are all children compared to our parents, just as they are children compared to their parents. Children spend much more time at home than at school and their main education is there. How their parents raise them is vital.
Real education is not just gaining knowledge of the subjects taught at school. The very essence of education is compassion. Parents’ main aim should be showing their children how to develop compassion at home. They should be an example of that to their children, knowing how to skill-fully guide them.
Of course, it’s not easy. It’s also not easy guiding children at school, because to really guide others without making any mistakes, we need to have an omniscient mind. Parents need omniscient minds, teachers in school need omniscient minds. Only then can they guide children perfectly without the slightest mistake. Only then can they be perfect guides.