“If we train this restless mind of ours

“If we train this restless mind of ours to experience the tranquillity of one-pointedness, we will see that the one-pointed mind exists separately from the defilements such as anger and so on.

“The mind and the defilements are not identical. If they were, purification of mind would be impossible. The mind forges imaginings that harness the defilements to itself, and then becomes unsure as to exactly what is the mind and what is defilement.

“The Buddha taught

[‘Pabhassaramidaμ bhikkhave cittaμ, tañca kho ægantukehi upakkilesehi upakkili¥¥haμ.’]

The mind is unceasingly radiant; defilements are separate entities that enter into it.”

This saying shows that his teaching on the matter is in fact clear. For the world to be the world, every one of its constituent parts must be present: its existence depends on them. The only thing that stands by itself is Dhamma, the teachings of the Buddha. One who considers Dhamma to be manifold or composite has not yet penetrated it thoroughly.

Water is in its natural state a pure, transparent fluid, but if dyestuff is added to it, it will change colour accordingly:

  • If red dye is added it will turn red;
  • If black dye, black.

But even though water may change its colour in accordance with substances introduced into it, it does not forsake its innate purity and colourlessness.

If a wise person is able to distil all the coloured water, it will resume its natural state. The dyestuff can only cause variation in outer appearance…

“The heart is that which lies at the centre of things, and is also formless. It is simple awareness devoid of movement to and fro, of past and future, within and without, merit and harm.  Wherever the centre of a thing lies, there lies its heart, for the word ‘heart’ means centrality.”

~ Ajahn Thate, ‘Only the World Ends,’ pp 47-9 (Jayasaro Bhikkhu trans.)

5 thoughts on ““If we train this restless mind of ours

  1. Dye is an excellent analogy, isn’t it? It shows that the purity of water (mind) is forever untouched, but it also demonstrates the power of karma. The dye affects the water and, although it can be purified, it would be easier to keep it clean in the first place.

  2. Dyed water vs pure water is indeed an excellent analogy for the Mind – that’s why I love this analogy.

    See, we are told that the True Mind, the True Heart is originally undefiled and it can not possibly be defiled. Yet we are also encouraged to purify the mind. So how can you have both?! So there’s this paradox there that makes this point difficult to understand.

    In the analogy of the dyed water – this gives us an idea of how to understand it. The nature of water itself is unchanged by the dye – the properties of water itself, still remain the same, whether it is pure… or whether it is dyed. The dye can NOT influence the inherent properties of the water.

    Yet when you add dye to the water, it does colour it and seems to make the water unclean and lose its purity. The the dye actually gives the illusion of impurity to the water. But once again, the nature of the water itself has not changed – the molecule H2O still remains the same, whether there is dye in it.

    And so – this is an example of how something can be originally pure, yet you still have to purify it. When you distil the impurities out of it so that the original nature, the original purity of it can once again shine forth. This is an analogy for the True Heart/Mind within all of us.

  3. Dr Tony Page comments in relation to the Lankavatara Sutra:

    However, the Tathagatagarbha, on its periphery, as it were, is linked into the various forms of impermanent, samsaric consciousness (thinking and discriminating things as being totally separate and individual). This gives the illusion of pollutedness and activity in connection with the Tathagatagarbha. At its heart, the Tathagatagarbha is pure and still, but when grasped at, it gives rise to a sense of duality, instead of complete non-duality (which is the reality).

    Source: http://www.webspawner.com/users/tathagatagarbha15/index.html

  4. Yes Fyre – excellent analogy! Good and evil images are reflected in the mirror, but the nature of the mirror itself is unaffected by the good or evil images – the nature of the mirror itself remains unchanged.

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