PURIFICATION OF THE MIND
People have worldly passions which lead them into delusions and sufferings. There are five ways to emancipate themselves from the bond of worldly passions. First, they should have right ideas of things, ideas that are based on careful observation, and understand causes and effects and their significance correctly. Since the cause of suffering is rooted in the mind's desires and attachments, and since desire and attachment are related to mistaken observations by an ego-self, neglecting the significance of the law of cause and effect, and since it is from these wrong observations, there can be peace only if the mind can be rid of these worldly passions. Second, people can get rid of these mistaken observations and resulting worldly passions by careful and patient mind-control. With efficient mind-control, they can avoid desires arising from the stimulation of the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, skin and the subsequent mental processes and, by so doing, cut off the very root of all worldly passions. Third, they should have correct ideas with regard to the proper use of all things. That is, with regard to articles of food and clothing, they should not think of them in relation to comfort and pleasure, but only in their relation to the body's needs. Clothing is necessary to protect the body against extremes of heat and cold, and to conceal the shame of the body; food is necessary for the nourishment of the body while it is training for Enlightenment and Buddhahood. Worldly passions cannot arise through such thinking. Fourth, people should learn endurance; they should learn to endure the discomforts of heat and cold, hunger and thirst; they should learn to be patient when receiving abuse and scorn; for it is the practice of endurance that quenches the fire of worldly passions which is burning up their bodies. Fifth, people should learn to see and so avoid all danger. Just as a wise man keeps away from wild horses or mad dogs, so one should not make friends with evil men, nor should he go to places that wise men avoid. If one practices caution and prudence, the fire of worldly passions which is burning in their vitals will die down. There are five groups of desires in the world. Desires arising from the forms the eyes see; from the sounds the ears hear; from the fragrances the nose smells; from tastes pleasant to the tongue; from things that are agreeable to the sense of touch. From these five doors to desire come the body's love of comfort. Most people, being influenced by the body's love of comfort, do not notice the evils that follow comfort, and they are caught in a devil's trap like a deer in the forest caught in a hunter's trap. Indeed, these five doors of desires arising from the senses are the most dangerous traps. When caught by them, people are entangled in worldly passions and suffer. They should know how to get rid of these traps. There is no one way to get free from the trap of worldly passions. Suppose you caught a snake, a crocodile, a bird, a dog, a fox and a monkey, six creatures of very different natures, and you tie them together with a strong rope and let them go. Each of these six creatures will try to go back to its own lair by its own method: the snake will seek a covering of grass, the crocodile will seek water, the bird will want to fly in the air, the dog will seek a village, the fox will seek the solitary ledges, and the monkey will seek the trees of a forest. In the attempt of each to go its own way, there will be a struggle, but, being tied together by a rope, the strongest at any one time will drag the rest. Like the creatures in this parable, man is tempted in different ways by the desires of his six senses eyes, ears, nose, tongue, touch and mind and is con-
trolled by the predominant desire. If the six creatures are all tied to a post, they will try to get free until they are tired out, and then will like down by the post. Just like this, if people will train and control the mind, there will be no further trouble from the other five senses. If the mind is under control, people will have happiness both now and in the future. People love their egoistic comfort, which is a love of fame and praise. But fame and praise are like incense that consumes itself and soon disappears. If people chase after honors and public acclaim and leave the way of truth, they are in serious danger and will soon have cause for regret. A man who chases after fame and wealth and love affairs is like a child who licks honey from the blade of a knife. While he is tasting the sweetness of the honey, he has to risk hurting his tongue. He is like a man who carries a torch against a strong wind; the flame will surely burn his hands and face. One must not trust his own mind that is filled with greed, anger and foolishness. One must not let his mind run free, but must keep it under control. To attain perfect mind- control is a most difficult thing. Those who seek Enlightenment must first rid themselves of the fire of all desires. Desire is a raging fire, and one seeking Enlightenment must avoid the fire of desire as a man carrying a load of hay avoids sparks. But it would be foolish for a man to put out his eyes for fear of being tempted by beautiful forms. The mind is master and if the mind is under control, the weaker desires will disappear. It is difficult to follow the way to Enlightenment, but it is more difficult if people have no mind to seek such a way. Without Enlightenment, there is endless suffering in this world of like and death. When a man seeks the way to Enlightenment, it is like an ox carrying a heavy load through a field of mud. If the ox tries to do its best without paying attention to other things, it can overcome the mud and take a rest. Just so, if the mind is controlled and kept on the right path, there will be no mud of greed to hinder it and all its suffering will disappear. Those who seek the path to Enlightenment must first remove all egoistic pride and be humbly willing to accept the Light of Buddha's teachings. All the treasures of the world, all it's gold and silver and honors, are not to be compared with wisdom and virtue. To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one's family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one's own mind. If a man can control his mind, he can find the way to Enlightenment and all the wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him. Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds, and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind. To walk safely through the maze of human life, one needs the light of wisdom and the guidance of virtue. The Buddha's teaching, which tells people how to eliminate greed, anger and foolishness, is a good teaching and those who follow it attain the happiness of a good life. Human beings tend to move in the direction of their thoughts. If they harbor greedy thoughts, they become more greedy; if they think angry thoughts, they become more angry; if they hold foolish thoughts, their feet move in that direction. At harvest time farmers keep their herds confined, lest they break through the fences in- to the field and give cause for complaint or for being killed; so people must closely guard their minds against dishonesty and misfortune. They must eliminate thoughts that stimulate greed, anger and foolishness, but encourage thoughts that stimulate charity and kindness. When spring comes and the pastures have an abundance of green grass, farmers turn their cattle loose; but even then they keep a close watch over them. It is so with the minds of people: even under the best of conditions, the mind will bear watching.