What does ‘Back to the Essence’ in Buddhism mean?
“Back to the Essence” is “Back to No Beginning, No End”.
This is a habit for you to develop – ‘No Good, No Bad’ – Habit to Observe Your Intention
The essence has no beginning, so the beginning of suffering surely never existed. All the pollution, all the ego, never existed at the beginning. That’s how powerful and perfect life is: the essence remains perfect and pure. It is always waiting for you to discover it, become aware of it, and realise it is your true nature.
Once you are aware of this truth, you have no pollution, no ego, no negative, and no suffering. Then you go back to creation.
A creates B, so A is never B. Thus, a creator can never be their creation. Illusion becomes reality, but that reality still illusion. We accept that reality, then protect it, make excuses for it, and defend it, but really we are just letting ourselves get polluted. The act of purification is to go back before we created these attachments, when no such things existed.
So truly, “Back to the Essence” is “Back to the Foundation”.
- No Good, No Bad
- Do you remember a time like when you were a kid, before judging heart and searching heart appeared? You didn’t understand good or bad until this Ego I appeared. Then, from that standard, you judged everything as good or bad. All the stress you have comes from this.
- Once this disappears, once you no longer have to judge everything, suddenly life feels so good.
- Kids don’t even think about good or bad; for them, life is always amazing. They don’t go to the park and think, “Oh no, there so many kids today, my favourite swing is busy, there are a lot of leaves on the slide, that kid with the curly hair is wearing the same shoes as me…” They just have fun.
- Natural Curiosity Heart
- Once you stop judging good or bad, everything is exciting, new, and wonderful again. You become excited about the mystery of life: life is amazing.
- We have that natural wonder as children, until adults say “Stop asking silly questions.”
- Pure Observation
- From the essence you become aware that you and every life have the power to go back to purity again, and create and experience something new. Once you learn to stop judging, once you are naturally curious again, once you can purely observe again, pure wisdom will appear.
- Pure Four Eternal Hearts
- Once pure wisdom appears, your pure compassion heart to every life naturally appears. Then your spiritual gate begins to open.
How to Go Back to “No Good, No Bad”
There are two techniques: simple and complicated.
Don’t try to create good or bad habits, just listen to your speaking.
For example, you could say (without attitude),
- “I’m pretty neutral about that.” <- don’t add extra personal view into
- “That’s not my preferred style.” not ‘I don’t like it’ <- don’t put your own I in there
- “I didn’t see that angle before. Thank you.” <- develop your own observing power in life
- When talking about something (e.g. a movie), describe the qualities you observed without subjective judgement (i.e. whether it’s good or bad). <-that movie ending did not have logic, is about the movie, not your view of the movie.
By removing extra personal and then all personal and then back to how life is – not good and bad judgement by you about everything – life has less stress.
This is such an amazing practice to aware where our stress comes from…. you guessed it.. ourselves 🙂
We don’t develop wisdom. We don’t use that wisdom to create a discipline. We don’t use the discipline to develop our patience and concentration to a stage where we are aware of everything and can see through all the tricks of life.
Because we don’t do that, we become polluted by our own and others’ blindness. So you have to develop the Four Eternal Hearts and Six Bodhisattva Characters. That is very difficult. Remember Sean Rat’s story about care without negative personal emotion: he became aware that applying only 1% care with just three people brought so much joy, but was crazily difficult for him.
Your intention is the root of your life. You never go further than these two kinds of intention: thinking intention and subconscious intention. Your hidden consciousness brings causation, abilities, and karma from past lives into this life. If you want to deeply observe your life and everything you do, ask yourself “What intention is behind this?”
When you do this you have a chance to go back to “No Good, No Bad”, a chance to go back to the essence.
Because you don’t have the habit to go back and observe your intention, you get crazy, behave blindly, and don’t understand why you act. You are controlled by your intention because you never observe it deeply enough. It doesn’t matter whether it’s by thinking or by not thinking: your habit of not-observing blocks any chance to go back to the essence. That’s how complicated it is!
Philosophy Class Helps You Observe Your Thinking Intention
If you just read the philosophy by yourself, you can’t always observe your own thinking. Learning how to observe your subconscious intention as it forms takes a long time.
You need to observe: “Why am I happy? Why I am not happy? Why do I feel like that? Where does it come from?”
You will realise there are deep roots to your intentions, all tangled in a knot. Then you have to follow each root and see through all the tricks you created.
When I complain, I show it and then I fix it: back to the essence. When the roots are left alone and blind habit remains unchallenged for a long time, the roots grow too deep for you to clear out, and take you away from your spiritual journey.
So always check your subconscious. You will become stronger and have better control of your spiritual feeling.
This post is taken from a talk by Forever Wisdom Forest on 24 August 2014 at the Sydney dojo.