The First Level of Self-Being
Giant Dog: The first level of spiritual Self-Being is when a consciousness can see that the life they’re living, or “being”, is created by blindness from others. The consciousness awakens to realise that the life is created by blind karma or blind awareness in combination with the surroundings, then starts to observe itself existing in that situation. Because the consciousness understands that, it wants to become free and tries to stop the blind habit of acting and existing based on everyone else’s blindness.
Sifu: Before you awaken like this, you don’t have True Self at all. You are whatever you experience: your body. Your body is four elements. Your parents’ bodies are also four elements, as are your grandparents’. Your body has grown from eating, drinking, breathing, and being heated: it’s all borrowed from others. It’s never truly “you”.
From that, you create experiences that come from the entire universe (you couldn’t exist in this body if the entire universe wasn’t already there to support it) so your body doesn’t have self. Whatever you think is “self” comes from these combinations, which control you. That’s called blind causation and blind reincarnation karma.
The first awakening is that life begins in this way. Every life begins in blindness and combination. There’s nothing wrong with this; it’s just a test. When you awaken from it, you have the power to develop wisdom. If there was no blindness, you couldn’t develop wisdom.
Wisdom is not something that someone else can give to you. Wisdom is when you see through blindness and stupidity; that all your suffering comes from them. You don’t have freedom. You don’t have true Self-Being. You want to stop your suffering, so you observe it to find freedom.
Before that, there is no self. Think about who you were before you started learning Spirits. Would you like to go back to being unaware and blind? Of course not, because you know that isn’t you. It all came from fear, from fake behaviour, from influence by other peoples’ ego, fear, and stupidity. Now that you are awakened, why would you let yourself be controlled by other people’s stupidity? You wouldn’t. That’s the idea of the first level of Self-Being.
The Second Level of Self-Being
Giant Dog: The second level of Self-Being is when the consciousness realises that it doesn’t want to create blind awareness anymore, so it creates a new cause that will result in a new effect, which is essentially a more awakened awareness. That process is the creation of a Will, which is when the consciousness starts to change the causation that it has been creating.
Sifu: Do you remember the Four Causes? The first cause is you. The main supporting cause is whatever you accept a connection to. Then there’s the timing. Then there are all the other indirect connections. These four causes control you and create a “Fake I”. For a long time you think that’s you, but you’re not truly happy with the Fake I and you don’t even know why. Then one day you realise that you are being influenced by all these other things. Then you are awake. This is the first level of self-being because the True Self only starts from that moment.
That first True Self doesn’t want to be influenced by the fake self – both your own and others’ – and it realises that it has to create something that is stronger, which is Will. A Will can defeat karma. If you have no Will, karma will control you. That’s the second level, when Will becomes your Self-Being.
For example, in my life I have broken many of the rules of human society. I really don’t care about them, but I also never go against them. I don’t want to let them control me but I also don’t want to waste power fighting them.
I want to live in my Will, which has nothing to do with fake and stupid human lifestyles. Because my Will Heart is so strong, it has protected and guided me and made me not want to be controlled by these fake powers. But it also taught me not to fight against them, because that’s a waste of life. It even guides me in the direction my life should take: understanding the eternal truth of life and helping others understand it; finding someone who has the ability to understand it and helping them awaken.
The second level of observing self-being is when your Heart sees through the trick of life, understands the truth, and has a clear direction as a Will. That is your new, spiritual self, created by your Heart through eternal wisdom.
You were all born with blind karma to look for a teacher, not with karma to develop your ability to help others learn Spirits. When you are born with this karma it means your Will Power has already been revealed, but that’s the third level.
All of you have made the Amitabha System as your first Will. This Will has become your Will I, but are you able to sincerely follow it or not? When your Heart is sure that you will follow your Will, your Will I is successfully built. However, you are all still struggling with the first level so blind causation still controls you. Only once you have cleaned out your blindness will you have power for the second level.
Amitabha Buddha’s system is related to the first two levels of Self-Being. You don’t have to worry about the higher levels too much because the system only really requires the first two, and the three conditions of the Amitabha System help you develop these levels successfully.
So, you already have a Will, but that Will is just beginning. It’s mostly in your mind, a little in your subconscious, but not yet deeply in your Heart. If you have a Sincere Heart to bow ten times it means your brain consciousness, subconsciousness, and hidden consciousness are united. That would mean that you have already cleaned out the first level of self-being: you surely don’t want any stupidity to come into your life. Then you have a happy, joyful, willing Heart to live in the three conditions of Amitabha’s Will.
The Third Level of Self-Being
Giant Dog: Number Three is when the Will from your True Heart is so strong that no other blind consciousness can influence you out of it. Your Will is such a strong power that it attracts others who want to learn; you have the ability to share the wisdom with them, but you still have suffering. You are a pre-Bodhisattva.
Sifu: The second level is sometimes called the seed because you make a Will, but at the beginning of the journey of the Will you still have to develop your ability to live in that Will. So you are awakened; you have the power to see through life and prevent pollution from coming to you, but you don’t have the power to help others and not get polluted: that’s the difference with the third level.
The second level is when you have a Will to follow any complete truth of wisdom, but that’s only good for yourself. If I don’t connect to any pollution I will surely connect to Spirits. When I see perfect wisdom I understand it and follow it right away. When I see bad power, I don’t even care about it, I just leave it alone.
The third level is when the seed grows so strong that it becomes a core part of you and you are able to help others, like a tree that grows so big it creates cooling shade for people who are too hot. The third level is like a tree. It is a new self-being to help you develop Spirits and welcome others to help wake their own Spirits.
Nobody can give you Spirits. Nobody can give you wisdom. I can teach you and influence you, but you have to develop wisdom for yourself. You have to make discipline for yourself. You have to open your Heart towards Spirits yourself. Even Buddha can’t do these things for you. If you don’t really want the philosophy to become your own strength, you are just here to learn the ideas behind it.
The third level of Self-Being is the pre-Bodhisattva level. You have the power to influence others in a spiritual way but only when they have a willing Heart and you don’t push them to learn. It’s the Self-Being of Compassion, but you’re just a beginner so your compassion still brings you suffering.
The First Three Levels of Self-Being
- See Through Illusion Wisdom Self-Being: You are awakened.
- Beginning of Awakened Nirvana Wisdom Self-Being: You create a Will I.
- Beginning of Will to Help Others Compassion Wisdom: You help others to reach your level.
This post is taken from a talk by Lin Yung-Chih on 8 December 2013 at the Sydney dojo.