We are looking in the wrong place. Our senses face outward. We first sense the external world. It is an easy mistake to think we are all the stuff that we see, hear, taste, touch, smell. We forget that all that stuff falls apart. This is the great delusion and wonder of humankind.
We think we are the body and mind even though that too, is the stuff that falls apart. We can see it. It is visible. But we do not believe we will fall apart. But when we think we are the body and mind – we live in a constant state of fear and insecurity. Because we know the body and mind will fall apart. The body and mind stuff changes. It is unreliable.
But who is seeing it? Who is the one that sees itself diminishing? That One who sees is untainted by the stuff that is falling apart.
You are not bound; you just think you are because you identify with the stuff that falls apart. You want to get free of birth and death – because you identify with the body and mind; the stuff that falls apart.
The mistake of thinking you are the body and mind is what frightens you. Affliction comes when one’s viewpoint is not empty of self; the self being the center of attachments. When the personal- self runs the show, we suffer from thorns of things and bump into walls wherever we go, making suffering inevitable.
Consider, please. The personal-self is delusion. It is the center of suffering, a stronghold of suffering. An actor on a stage. When we know the personal-self as delusion, we stop making attempts at getting, having, keeping what the personal-self wants. We stop picking and choosing. We no longer demand that life in the body and mind will fulfill us.
Now you have heard. The body and mind are temporary. We can see this everywhere we go.
Does the personal-self function as a thief to steal the devotion. Making everything about me, my and mine? Does the personal-self want the glory? Want to do this and god-forbid, not that!
An ancient tale might be helpful here. It is about the Buddha, Shakyamuni Buddha. It is a brief description of how the Buddha begged for food. His two beloved disciples also begged for food but in extreme ways. Subhuti begged only from the rich because he loved rich food. MahaKasyapa begged only from the poor because he practiced austerity. Buddha, however, begged from everyone. He did not pick and choose this house over another. He went straight through leaving no one out. His begging is the middle Way; no personal self-doing, no picking and choosing between one house or another. Just begging at the next house; no personal-self. Buddha was impartial.
It is sometimes called sequential begging. We might want to call our work-as-devotion as sequential work as devotion. Just do the next thing without the imposing personal-self that wants to do this and not that. Do not take the bait of desire between one activity or another. Work-as-devotion is impartial. Do the next thing without seeking merit or credit for yourself.
We need to give the body and mind something to do…to tame it, train it, calm it down from rifling through stuff, looking for something to steal. Looking to measure. Looking for expectations and fulfillment in stuff that falls apart.
Help yourself to concentrate and focus on what the next thing is. Remember you have the power to decide and the power of concentration. Use these powers to concentrate and focus on the next thing. Pretty simple decision.
Accomplishing activities is wisdom in Buddhism, when done as devotion as an offering. In other words, work is spiritual wisdom when accomplished as devotion. It is an offering. Given without seeking reward. Yes. Right there. Mopping the floor. Folding clothes. Paying a bill. Nothing in the world is hidden from work as devotion.
Watch how your attitude changes with the quality of the work that is at hand. Do not let that happen. Stop the mind from measuring one thing from another. All work is the same. It comes to awaken. Comes to help. Be a sequential devotee. Just do the next thing with a steady hand.
Just doing the next thing requires you to study the personal-self to the point you able to forget the personal-self. Then just giving without taint arises. Go with the activity. Flow with courage.
Don’t give up.
Author: Fashi Lao Yue
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