The topic of discussion in theIDProject these weeks is about desire.
I have no desire to write this article. But I am happy to.
For me, it is very simple. I am only doing three things in my life: learn, play, and create. But Mahayana practice means to understand other people and to help them. So I need to play with the context here.
Desire is OK. I guess I have a very strong desire. For me, life is too short, and I like playing so much. Thus I was decided at a very young age to strive hard to get the most of my life. So if I was too much occupied with Coffee, for example, I will miss a lot of other wonderful things (quote). Coffee is just a too small thing for me to focus on. If I have to focus on something (a lot of times we need this because we need to work within a space), I would like that thing to be something big, that can combine many other aspects of my life together, can allow me to connect with many other people, and it needs to be something that is big enough and challenging enough for me to spend my whole life in. That is something I call the art of life, and I believe everyone should find his/her art of life. Coffee is too small to consume my whole life with.
One guy mentioned his conflicting mind on making goals for himself because he felt setting a high goal for himself making him ignoring other people’s needs. This is a tough guy and has a strong drive. As one grows, one will realize that to grow bigger one has to help other people to achieve themselves. That is what makes oneself bigger. So the real high goals should be making other people happy. And he is in that position to be able to make other people happy (If I heard correctly, he is the boss of his company). Many people want to help other people, but are not in the position to be able to help a lot of people. He is already in that position. As what is said, can one just save himself without saving other people? Can one just save other people without saving himself? If making other people happy actually makes you happy, why would you say they are not you?
My brother is now helping a childhood friend to pursue his singing potential. It is amazing to see how much time and efforts my brother put into this to help this friend. Sometime in our lives, we will realize that we want to help other people achieve their dreams. Likewise, if we work hard and have talents, we also want other people to cheer for us. That is a lot of fun. When we do that, we grow bigger.
In Buddhism, we say that the origin of the universe is the pitch darkness. There was nothing. It was totally emptiness. (Attention, I said total emptiness) (It was said that the westerners don’t like to hear this. What the heck! From my experience with the westerners, I think the westerners are very much truth-loving people. Anything, as long as it is truth, has endless beauty.) Out of that original source arise many things, including ourselves. When something rises from Zero, it is always the result of plus and minus opposing force working together. When you have desire, you recognize yourself, and your recognize the outside world that you are interacting with. This is plus. As plus arises, the minus follows immediately, which means this recognized self is at the same time in connection with everything else and one with everything else. Only by recognizing both plus and minus force, can we use our body to follow the flow, to help all other beings. When we do that, because human being have feelings, we can say we are really playing, or we can say we are really in love. Love is this experience with our original source. When you are really playing or you are in love, you lose yourself and you become the space. And that is your true self. Living as the space is your true happiness. This is a very brief summary of the emptiness and plus and minus. I will talk about this more in the future posts.
Understanding this and conduct our daily life according to it is something I call spirit of being rational (or any better expression?). Being rational means doing what you should do at the moment instead of being dragged around by the desires. Deeply you know that is what you want to do, and if you don’t do that you will regret and feel lost and not awake, and mostly importantly only by doing what you should do at the moment, can you grow.
People who are attached to desire often mistakes this body as their body. Actually this body is not their body. When you sit in great pain, you can still keep your consciousness very clear. So this body is not your body. Then what is your true body? If you can put down your thinking self in your meditation, you will see clearly your true body. And that is the source of your happiness. So don’t be attached to desire. It poisons your mind.
Whatever your desire, the bottom line is: do no harm to other people.
The group discussions in theIDProject always help me understand more of Americans and get into context here. Otherwise I will only have the very abstract things left in my memory. For this, I owe them big. And this post is for them. It is a lot of fun to get back into rich context. Actually living is all about those details.