Seeing True Nature

Our practice as Buddhists is to see our true nature. Before we see our true nature, our viewpoints, speech, and behavior flow from our afflictions and residual habits. At this point, our viewpoints, speech, and behavior are still selfish and dictated by our greed, anger, and ignorance. There is no selfishness or greed, anger, and ignorance in Buddhas’ and bodhisattvas of the highest ranks viewpoints, speech, and behavior.

We should ask ourselves if we are still selfish, or if we still have greed, anger, ignorance, and arrogance. If we still like this or dislike that, we still have an ego that likes and dislikes. When we have an ego, then we still have selfishness. Even if there is only a trace of any of those in us, we are not yet awakened. We still have not seen our true nature.

One who has seen true nature is completely free of selfishness, greed, anger, ignorance, and arrogance.





956849-787074-thumbnail.jpgNonviolence does not mean we do not react. It means we do not react with more violence, with more anger. In nonviolence, we are not indifferent, we are proactive and engaged in finding solutions to the underlying problems.

We do not need to wait for a war to be declared to practice nonviolence. We need to practice it every moment of our lives. If a flicker of irritation stirs within us when the phone rings or when someone interrupts us, that flicker is a rising of violence, a seed for future conflict that is planted deep within us. It will combine with other such seeds and together they will grow stronger.  

If we can manage to reduce our self-absorption, our preoccupation with ourselves and what we are doing, the barriers we erect between self and others will come down. We will realize that the underlying problem that caused our irritation to rise was our viewing what we were doing as more important than the other person's activity.

Having found our underlying problem—viewing ourselves as separate from other—we will be in a much better frame of mind to not have that flicker of irritation the next time we are interrupted.



Like a Hot Coal

Holding on to anger
is like grasping a hot coal
with the intent of throwing it at someone else;
you are the one getting burned.

~ Buddha 



Four Assurances, Fourth of the Four


The Buddha’s fourth assurance is if a person who commits bad karmas does not suffer the related retributions, then the noble disciple is purified anyway because he no longer has any bad thoughts, speech, or actions.

Peace of mind comes to the person who lives morally. Having a pure mind, this person does not harbor bad thoughts, speak bad words, or commit bad deeds. This person’s pure mind has no wandering thoughts or discriminations. It has no attachments or aversions and no craving or hatred. This pure mind is the calm, clear mind that is no longer pulled this way and that by what it encounters. It is the serene and natural state of all beings.



Four Assurances, Third of the Four

The third assurance is if a person who commits bad karmas suffers the related retributions, the noble disciple will not suffer because he has no bad thoughts, speech, or actions. While those who commit wrongdoings will suffer the related effects, one who lives morally will not suffer because this person prevents bad thoughts, speech, and actions from occurring.

In such a life, there will be no resultant suffering from having hurt another with harmful speech or actions. Such a person will have no reason to feel remorse. He will be free from worrying about how to undo what had been said or done out of carelessness and ignorance.

What are bad thoughts, speech, and actions? Bad thoughts arise from greed, anger, ignorance, arrogance, doubt, and wrong views. They harm others and us. When we fail to get what we want, we become angry. Craving and anger arise from our ignorance and from our lack of understanding. Arrogance and doubt also stem from ignorance. Wrong views compound our ignorance: not only do we not understand but we also hold mistaken ideas as correct!

Bad speech, that which is not correct, honest, and beneficial, harms others and us in several ways. False speech, by containing misinformation, is deceptive and leads people astray. Harsh speech destroys our peace of mind and that of everyone around us. Divisive speech separates people and fosters the seeds of conflict. Enticing speech cajoles people to do what they otherwise might not do.

What are bad actions? The Buddha gave us three precepts of no killing, no stealing, and no sexual misconduct. Killing is destroying another being’s life, be it human or animal. Stealing is taking that which is not freely given to us. Sexual, or sensual, indulgence is the temporary seeking of pleasant sensations at the cost of our pure, calm mind.

One who lives life as taught by the Buddha does not have bad thoughts, use bad speech, or commit bad actions. Thus, this person’s life is free of suffering. Such a person will know only contentment and peace of mind as his or her mind remains in a clear, tranquil state, free of agitation and fear.