Purifying Your Intention
To exist in a physical body without creating muscular tension is difficult, but for a consciousness to become pure is even more difficult. Why do you think that is?
It’s because we spend most of our lives in a state of blindness while associating with other blind consciousness in the Dharma Ending Time. It’s hard enough to purify your consciousness in isolation without being influenced by all this surrounding information.
It’s not just one day or one little moment that’s influencing you, it’s your whole life and all your previous lives. To stop the force of all that causation and get back to a state of pure consciousness, for even one moment, is like trying to stop a freight train!
Up until now, our subconscious has been lost in impurity for eternity; it’s only now that we’re using thinking power to break that subconscious habit. To do it even for a moment is already quite difficult.
This problem has been going on since your consciousness became aware and wanted to have a form. Then it became a certain kind of form which just had the desire to survive: to exist and continue to exist.
When we start this process, our consciousness is at a low-level. When we understand sharing, emotion appears and we increase our level. When we have thinking ability, we are at the human level.
As your wisdom level increases, you will no longer look at a human as human, a man as a man, or a woman as a woman. You won’t see their age or their appearance. You will simply be aware of the consciousness which connects to that body. When you have that power, you save yourself a lot of bad karma.
Currently, you look at people based on their appearance form (body); you are lost in their superficial appearance, role, and character.
If you’ve been involved with someone for a long time and you realise that their intention is bad, it’s hard to break up with them because the connection between you is too strong. You’ve been involved with them for so long that just the thought of separation makes you feel distressed. And even then, if you want to leave, they don’t want to let you go either.
We can’t blame it all on other people because we look at ourselves in a superficial way, too. If we can develop our wisdom to see through and understand people’s intention, we will avoid all the bad karma which comes from that blindness.
It’s normal to be worried that we’re surrounded by Dharma Ending and Five Mess Karma, but your wisdom is strong enough to know how to avoid being affected by them. That’s why learning wisdom is important.
Also, you are with yourself 24 hours a day, so if you can’t see through your blindness and you let your ego trick you, who will have to handle the suffering? You will. You can try to protect your ego as much as you want – you can be lazy, make excuses, try to use clever talk to excuse your actions – but the more you do that, the more suffering you will create.
So the wisdom that we learn is to help us get rid of suffering. It’s not learning in order to be smart or to make our egos bigger: we’re simply trying to reduce our blindness.
Once this wisdom ability grows sufficiently, you will stop merely thinking and instead feel the intention of what people say. When I listen to people, I’m not just hearing their words; I try to understand their logic, to see their blindness, to feel their intention and attitude. Then I record it as data in my subconscious.
Facial expression and body language reveal the intention behind your words. Voice, tone, gestures, and even your habit of movement all have meaning. The more you develop wisdom, the less you’ll get lost in the superficial layer or blindness ego that comes from yourself and your connections. Then freedom starts to appear. With the freedom of seeing through everything, you start to feel really safe.
You Are Born With Fear
When you were just a baby, you cried all the time. Animals experience many different states of fear while simply trying to survive. Humans evolved from animals and have developed thinking power. We try to use that thinking power to get rid of fear, but instead of getting rid of fear by thinking, we use thinking to create fears that animals never experience. We are afraid that there will be a nuclear war, or that terrorists will attack our cities, or that we won’t be able to pay our mortgage. If we didn’t have thinking power, these types of fear would never exist.
Wisdom has nothing to do with intelligence. You can be very intelligent, but still create drama and suffering in your life. You can be very smart, yet create trouble, ego, and blindness for your karma. Wisdom is a tool to purify these things.
Our blindness grows from many lifetimes of fear and blind ego, and from other people’s influence. If, for one second, you can stop the fear, ego, and blindness from controlling you, and become joyfully empty, it’s amazing! For that brief moment, you change your blindness into eternal joy and freedom. You have been living in the prison of blind reincarnation for a billion lifetimes, so to get out of that jail for even one second is amazing.
So you think that if you support your ego then you’re protecting your ‘I’. In reality, you’re locking yourself even more securely in that jail. That’s why I tease some of you if I think your ego is getting too strong or blind, to see if you are willing to let go of your ego. If you don’t let it go, you won’t develop wisdom.
The Pure Land system is the easiest way to develop wisdom, but it is still very difficult. To purify ourselves means to clean out our blindness and ego. Fortunately, Amitabha Buddha allows you to go to his Pure Land even if you haven’t completely cleaned out your bad karma. This is because no matter what poison seeds you bring, there’s no dirt for them to grow in.
The second reason is the temple system. Even if your heart is not completely pure, you can use the temple while you are purifying it.
Yes, these two reasons are very important.
To go to the Pure Land itself, you still have to reach the point where are naturally without bad intention, which is already very difficult, not even I can do it. This is Bodhisattva level, when both your consciousness and subconscious have no bad intention.
Everything that appears needs two parts: cause and effect. Another way to say it is that causation can be split into four parts: Main Cause or Intention (internal cause), Main Supporting Cause (external), Timing (external), and all the other, indirect causes (external).
On Earth, external causes are so strong that any bad intention, any bad seed, can grow very easily. In the temple, however, there are no external causes.
According to the philosophy we learn, the way the system of life works is that everything which appears needs both internal and external causes. So if your internal cause is not 100% pure, you aren’t allowed to go to the Pure Land, but Amitabha has provided the temple, where there are no external causes.
What happens is that if you try to plant the poison seed, there is no dirt or water for it to grow. The seed becomes useless and no longer functions. In the pure environment of the temple, you can create many good intentions and then many spiritual intentions. This occurs over such a long time that it becomes your habit and there’s no room left for the bad seeds. Your negative intentions disappear and you can go to the Pure Land.
That’s why this system makes it possible for us to get to a place with no suffering in just one lifetime. Even though our intention control is at such a low-level, we still can go.
This is very important because you don’t want to blindly believe something and spend your whole life going to the bad karma direction. If you understand how the system works, then your heart will truly be open for it and make it happen. If your heart doesn’t understand it, then you can’t make it happen.
Would one of the biggest causes for our own negative or bad intention still be fear?
Fear is the bad intention itself, but it’s also a blind intention. If you’re not blind (i.e. you are awakened), then you won’t have fear. So fear equals intention, it’s not the cause. But that intention is also the cause for all the other intentions. So you can say fear is one type of blind intention, because our blind intention is more than just fear, but fear is actually the main one.
You are always living in fear, but you don’t even know that because you don’t want to face it. You think that if you face it, you will be trapped in that fear. Wise people know that hiding fear doesn’t make it go away. Hiding fear is like taking a painkiller and not treating the injury: it makes the problem worse.
It’s only when you have a brave heart and choose to face your fear that you have the power to laugh and realise that all this fear is not even real. We have experienced fear for a billion lifetimes, for what?! Then you can laugh at yourself and be free.
What is the definition of fear? I was thinking about fear this morning and I was trying to think of the cause. My conclusion was that the cause of my negative intention thinking is fear, but I was trying to observe what fear is and I have no clue of how to do it. I know I have experienced fear many times – or been in situations which have created fear – but I haven’t been able to understand what fear is.
The way I observed fear is that it all comes back to the root of our desire, which is to survive and continue to survive. Fear is anything which fails to support that, or leads to that being threatened. Anything which leads you towards not having a life will create fear, but it can go into millions of different angles.
The reason I thought of it like that was because the thing that causes us the most fear is to not have a life. It is the fear of death because it’s just so unknown.
This post is taken from a talk by Forever Wisdom Forest on 11 July 2014 at the Sydney dojo.