The Heart Sutra is a test that teaches you how to become a bodhisattva or Buddha. It’s the true philosophy for learning Buddhism.
Buddhism has many levels, some of which are called warm-ups. These are temporary-time Buddhist philosophies. It’s like when you have to trick a child into taking medicine. To trick them, you tell them a fake truth. Buddhism does this because humans cannot handle the complete truth. Buddha says that sometimes we have to use a convenient philosophy to bring them closer to the real truth.
However, every word in the Por Ler Bor Lour Me Duo Shing Ching provides a complete view of life.
I read in the “What is Emotion?” philosophy that emotion is a feeling that comes from the awareness of the self in relation to the surroundings. If you’re only aware of your Desire Self in a blind way, then is that the cause of blind emotion, and if you’re aware of your True Self in relation to the surroundings, is that where spiritual emotion comes from?
You don’t start with awareness of your True Self; you start with awareness that you don’t have True Self.
You start with Illusion Self. When you have learned how to get rid of Illusion Self and that power is your true Will – your True Wisdom – then True Self appears. It’s like when you clean the dust from a mirror, the reflection appears. Before that, you couldn’t see anything because of the dust.
Emotion is about your feelings, but it’s a connection from “I” towards others. If you don’t have a connection to others, you don’t have emotion. All you feel is loneliness. When you have an open heart connection towards something that lets your emotions run freely, you don’t feel lonely.
When the emotional energy is free to run, when there’s no blockage, then you feel life is great. But when you don’t trust anything or anyone, usually it’s because you distrust yourself.
There are four kinds of trust/distrust.
The first type is when you don’t trust anyone because you don’t trust yourself. Some people lie to others all the time and because of that they think that everyone is lying to them.
The second type is when you don’t know or understand someone, yet you blindly decide that they have good intentions and so you follow them. Sometimes it is true, but usually it is not. When you trust the wrong people, you have Blind Trust. You have the blind illusion that you can trust them because you aren’t sharp enough to see through their lies. It’s your responsibility to recognise your limitations and avoid Blind Trust.
The third type is when you know someone can’t be trusted, but your wisdom ability lets you trust them without creating suffering. This is high-level. It’s not because they are trustworthy, but because you have the ability to see through their words and actions. You trust that they are going to make certain mistakes in a certain way, and you trust that you will be able to influence them to avoid that mistake and not let them guide you. This is called Wisdom Trust through your own ability.
The fourth type is Spiritual Trust, which is when both parties practise Wisdom Trust. It’s not that you can only trust yourself; you can truly trust the other. When that happens, emotional energy will open. Without it, true emotion will never appear.
This is why human relationships are such a big mess: people connect to each other without Wisdom Trust. When you connect to someone through Wisdom Trust, your heart no longer feels that it has to protect itself and the walls around it will come down. Because each person has sharp wisdom, is truthful, and uses care and wisdom to help the other, they experience harmony and peace.
True Spiritual Emotion needs True Wisdom Trust power from both sides. This is Spiritual Trust, not human trust.
So emotion comes from your connection to others through these four forms of trust. It cannot be when you are alone: when alone, you are lonely because emotion is not open; trust isn’t even involved because there’s no-one to trust. Some people are afraid to trust others and would rather be alone, so there’s no issue of trust, but then you can’t develop wisdom. You have to be bold, open your heart, and make it sharp to choose.
Some fruit can be poisonous, some fruit can be bitter: it doesn’t mean you should think, “If I never eat fruit, then I’ll never have any problems” and stop eating fruit. You just have to learn which fruit is sweet and safe.
If you don’t open your heart, it’s like you’ve stopped living. Life is having an open heart to observe, learn, and share; to develop, to connect, and to be aware of the essence, function, and goal of life. If your heart is closed, you will never be aware. Most people only open their greedy heart, not their true heart. Greedy heart is illusion heart; illusion heart only wants to possess.
Finally, emotion is perfect if you make it spiritual. How can Spiritual Emotion appear? You have to recognise your Illusion I. Don’t look for your True I, discover your Illusion I first.
What is Illusion I? It is anything that comes from combination, from different causes, from the influence of others. Think about all the knowledge you have, all the feelings you have: which one did not come from outside?
Consider your shirt. There’s a history of thousands of years of development beginning with animal skins. That long history of cause and effect has led to you wearing these clothes today. Your t-shirt looks simple, but it’s not that simple.
So, everything you know, everything you own, everything you connect to, every feeling you experience comes from outside. If it comes from outside, it comes from Illusion I.
How is the True I different to the Illusion I if it’s still connecting to something from outside?
True I connection is different because it’s not the outside connecting to you; it’s you connecting to the outside through the Amitabha purification system. True I doesn’t allow causation to connect to you. True I is purification through observation because you choose to connect to the outside.
If you don’t purify the Illusion I, True I will never appear. Illusion I is like a dirty cup: your drink will always taste bad while the cup is dirty. You need to clean out your Illusion I before the drink can be pure. The Pure Lands are like that, too. If you want to go there, you have to clean out all your impurities.
The Pure Lands are open to you if you clean out the negative side, the Illusion I. Following the three conditions of Amitabha Buddha’s 18th Will (hold nothing, create no bad karma, and bow sincerely ten times) is the way to clean out your Illusion I.
Illusion I is when the outside influences connect to you and you don’t have the wisdom to understand what is happening. True I appears through purifying observation to know what the truth of life is at a basic level. You use the truth of life as a map to guide yourself to the goal, and then True I appears. This is when you have the free will to choose life in a perfect direction.
What’s the perfect direction of life? It’s being pure kindness, pure care, pure joy, and free from all the tricks of greed. With these Four Eternal Hearts, you have the wisdom to choose to make it happen, and True I appears.
Everyone is in a different position, a different situation, and a different condition. So, how do you make these Four Eternal Hearts appear? The challenge is continual in ever-changing ways. The way to overcome all the challenges is to use your wisdom. Once True Wisdom appears, it is you; it never disappears. That’s why it’s your True Self. True Wisdom is how you are aware to make the Four Eternal Hearts appear and control the Four Devils (Internal: Greed, hate, and stupidity; Fear of death; Worry. External: The first three devils of everyone who tries to influence you).
Once you learn how to clean out these Four Devils, that ability becomes part of your True Self. It’s the way you create awareness to have the power to clean all this out: that awareness is your True Self.
Any power you are born with, you have learned over many lifetimes. Many people carry their talents over many lifetimes, like Mozart. Otherwise, how can anything develop? If everybody was born at an equally low level, nobody would be a genius; nobody could be an original thinker and lead their culture to a higher level. If everybody started at zero, then everybody would be the same-level idiot forever. So every talent you develop in a True Wisdom direction is good, because art and music are part of Spirits.
A spiritual consciousness has four qualities: awareness of truth, pure kindness, awareness of the art of life, and awareness of true freedom.
Being truthful and aware of the truth is the foundation of everything: it is the same as wisdom. That doesn’t mean you always have to tell everyone the truth. Forcing someone to know the truth is True Ego. Sometimes you have to tell a lie.
There are good lies and bad lies. Good lies belong to the Convenient System because you aren’t lying to take advantage of them; you are lying to protect yourself or others. Sometimes, if you tell the truth you will hurt people. Sometimes, if you force people to know a truth they don’t want to know; then you’re just being egotistical. Bad lies are those which feed your greed.
Compassion develops immediately after truthfulness. It means that all the wisdom you have gained is in a good direction. To make your good intention appear, use your art power. When you have these three, you will experience true freedom. It’s a meditation power you can’t get from anywhere if you don’t live the first three Bodhisattva Characters. If you are Generous, Disciplined, and Patient, and you concentrate them very powerfully, then it will form into meditation.
It’s like cheese. You can’t just get cheese; you have to get milk and let it become cheese.
There are many different layers of art power. If you want to tell someone the truth, you have to find a way they can handle it and learn from it. Sometimes it’s good to make them laugh, but sometimes if they laugh they won’t take it seriously, so you have to make them scared and be serious. Art power is the ability to judge the situation and match all this perfectly.
- Stay in harmony with them.
- Don’t go against them.
- Influence them in a wise direction.
There is true freedom and fake freedom. Fake freedom is like being in a jail: you are free to walk in any direction, as long as you never take more than one step. True freedom is without boundary. The Four Eternal Hearts have no boundary. If you stay with them, you will stay wise. It’s your choice to stay wise, and your responsibility. It isn’t for other people to keep you wise.
So the wisdom power of the Four Eternal Hearts surely comes from you. As it’s from you, whenever you stay with it, it’s always there, so it’s eternal. It’s not from outside because then it would depend on too many causes and couldn’t be eternal. Your heart is always there, so if it’s from your heart, it’s always eternal.
You have no excuse to be stupid because your wisdom heart is always there. The only question is whether you use it or not. Are you going to observe? Are you going to follow the wisdom you have already learned? Are you going to be disciplined? Are you going to have all these spiritual qualities and characters? Are you going to go deeper into Spirits?
Your wisdom heart is always there.
Your kind, caring, compassionate heart is always there, too. If you really feel kindness and care for others, they won’t refuse you, but you have to be careful not to use your ego to force your care on them: that will cause them suffering.
Your intentions may be good, but you should manifest them with wisdom and art. It’s not a big deal because you are doing it with good intentions, but it is a big deal if you get stuck in that blindness. Even being kind is not so simple.
Fake freedom is with limitation; true freedom is without boundary. In life, true freedom is only to be found in the Four Eternal Hearts. If you have wisdom to understand the system of life, you will see that you have to follow the Four Eternal Hearts: pure kindness, pure care, pure joy, and pure freedom. True freedom is the final power. To develop it, you need these four quality spiritual powers and the Six Bodhisattva Characters. That’s why only Buddhas have the complete freedom ability to help everyone.
That’s why freedom is the last Heart and wisdom is the last Character. That wisdom is not something you have learned; it is True Freedom Ability Wisdom: the ability to be free to do anything, without greed.
In this meditation, the jail that restricts your freedom comes from your greed. Greediness doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy life; you just have to find the way to do it by sharing and without crossing the border. There is only a hair’s breadth between greediness and complete contentment. It takes great wisdom to find the middle way.
This post is taken from a talk by Forever Wisdom Forest on 13 January 2012 at the Sydney dojo.