I have been having a lot of dreams these days. I wonder if it could be the effects of the drugs I am taking? In the most recent dream, I was with the late Ven. Dr. K Sri Dhammananda. I had only met the man, when he was in the flesh, once. My friend (who happens to be close to him) and I went to meet him in his office at the Buddhist temple at Brickfields some years back. Last week, Mr. T had given me two books which the late monk authored. Well in the dream I had dropped my spectacles and was looking for it but I could not find it. I was lost, stressed and desperately looking for it here and there but I could not find it. Then came the late Ven Dr K. Sri Dhammananda in his orange robe. He found my spectacles, smiled and handed it over to me. I felt a great relief when I had them on again.
Today I met Mr. T for a discussion on Buddhism at a Buddhist Café in Klang. Looks like it’s going to be a weekly Saturday afternoon affair these days. He spoke about the true nature of the mind, about wrong thinking and views and about the Buddha. On one occasion I had asked him “where is the Buddha now?” and he had answered “The Buddha is inside of you”. I must confess that the answer stunned me for a while (And I am still thinking about it..It sounded a lot like what Jesus had said in the bible - "The Father and I are one", "You see me, You see the Father")
Somewhere during the discussion, I saw the connection between the dream I had earlier and the discussion we were having. When I lost my spectacles I could not see clearly. My vision was blurred and it was most frustrating and annoying. When I could not see clearly, I could not function properly, efficiently. But when I had them back on, I could see clearly and function happily. The highly respected monk is a symbol for the dhamma. The word 'dhamma' even appears in his name. The teachings of the Buddha, the dhamma, is the spiritual spectacles that give perfect, right vision.
Now we suffer because of an undeveloped mind. Such a mind brings about wrong thinking or views. We suffer. We cannot “see” clearly. Thus we stumble and fumble. We make mistakes. We thus become inefficient. We cannot function to the best of our abilities or realize our true potential. We are sort of handicapped. In this state we are ‘sinners” or “lost sheep”. In his book “You and Your Problems, the late Ven Dr K. Sri Dhammananda had written:-
“It is not what happens but our reactions to what happens that determines our degree of happiness or misery. Circumstances have the power to disrupt our peace of mind only as we let them. Events are things of the external world. It is not what happens without but the reaction within that counts.”
“It is easy to enough to be pleasant
When life flows along like a song
But the man worthwhile
Is the man who can smile
When life goes dead wrong”
“The Buddha says that the world is within you. When you discipline yourself the whole world is disciplined and peace is maintained not only for yourself but all those around you.”
“Men experiences stress and suffering because of five psychological states which envelop his whole personality. They are called nivarana in the Pali language meaning hindrances. They hinder happiness and overcloud a man’s vision of himself, his environment and the interaction between the two..These five hindrances are the desire for sensual pleasures, anger, indolence, worry and doubt. The Pali Canon illustrates the effect of these hindrances with the help of five similes.
The mind overpowered by the desire of sensual pleasures is compared to colored water which prevents a true reflection of an object on the water. Thus a man obsessed with the desire for sense of pleasures is unable to get a true perspective of either himself or other people or his environment.
The mind obsessed by anger is compared to boiling water which cannot give an accurate reflection. A man overpowered by anger is unable to discern an issue properly.
When the mind is in the grip of indolence it is like moss covered water: light cannot even penetrate the water and a reflection is impossible. The lazy man does not even make an effort at correct understanding.
When worried the mind is like wind tossed turbulent water, which also fails to give a true reflection. The worried man forever restless is unable to make a proper assessment of an issue.
When the mind is in doubt it is compared to muddy water placed in darkness which cannot reflect an image well.
Thus all the five hindrances deprive the mind of understanding and happiness and cause much stress and suffering.”
“Man’s mind influences his body profoundly. The mind has just as much potential to be a medication as it has to be a poison. When the mind is vicious, it can kill a being, but when it is steady and diligent it can benefit others.
When the mind is concentrated on right thoughts and supported by right effort and right understanding, the effect it produces is immense. A mind with pure wholesome thoughts leads to healthy relaxed living.- He is strong who conquers others; he who conquers himself is mighty’ – Lao Tzu. The Buddha says “No enemy can harm one so much as one own thoughts of craving, thoughts of hate, thoughts of jealousy and so on”.
A man who does not know how to adjust his mind according to circumstances is not a real human. Turn your mind inwards, and try to find peace within yourself. It is only when the mind is controlled and properly directed that it becomes useful to its owner and society. An unruly mind is a liability both to its owner and to others.”
“What can you achieve by changing the world? Can you achieve perfection? Never, you will only be able to feed your vanity and fulfill your ego. You will be bound by the wheel of existence. But by changing yourself, by realizing the nature of the self through selflessness, self discipline and self exertion, you can achieve perfection. By achieving such perfection, your life becomes meaningful and you can render great service to others.”
“The important thing about life is that we have it and therefore we must make the best use of it. This indeed is the great value of life, the opportunity of making the maximum use of it. Many people lead narrow, unhappy and depressed life because they do not try to make the best use of life. They spend most of their time worrying and struggling for survival, working like slaves, confronting enormous problems and hindrances.
We spend enormous time and energy in an emotional battlefield- fighting for survival, fighting for power, fighting for gain, fighting for name, fighting for pleasure and fighting to be free from danger. Occasionally, we do gain a little bit of momentary satisfaction but every pleasure inevitably ends with suffering.
If you can understand the real nature of life and the world, then you can readily understand why it is absolutely necessary to attain liberation and you would not delay your effort for attainment of this blissful state. Today you are fighting to escape suffering through a worldly way, which is temporary. However if you try to get rid of your suffering by developing the spiritual aspect of your life, then you can find real peace.”
"You cannot change worldly conditions according to your wishes but you can change your mind to develop contentment to find happiness"
"According to the Buddha, this world is based on conflict, friction or unsatisfactoriness and impermanance. Again, he says the way to worldly gain is one thing, and that to salvation is another.". - (Jesus said the same thing - You cannot serve both God and money)
In conclusion the message i got from the dream and the writings of the great monk was the world is a battlefield. The mind is an even greater battlefield. If we have not conquered our mind, if we have not corrected our visions, the time is not ripe for us to function efficently at our best potential to conquer the problems of the world. Like Jesus had said - " Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, "Let me take the speck out of your your eye', when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from yoru brother's eye.'. (Jesus was a carpenter and he had the correct vision to use saw dust and planks to make a fantastic simile - a sure sign of an enlightened mind at work).
Well said Chief Reverend. Thank you for the Buddha-vision.