The Condition of Your Mind

Zen Practice

I think everyone has been hurt. When we are hurt by others, resenting and rejecting them is human nature. In some cases, we may wish for the unhappiness and misfortune of those who hurt us. We think like this because somewhere in our mind is the idea that the person who hurt us should be punished.

However, resenting and hating people creates “burdensome” energy which consumes out spirit. Hating someone is not just spiritually, but also physically burdensome. Not only does it not bring about any benefit, but also worsens the illness in the mind of the one wishing for someone else’s unhappiness.

If you were to look in the mirror at your own face desiring to hurt another person, it would undoubtedly look frightening. Your speech would probably be overbearing too. Nobody wants to get near a person like that. People who are not loved or missed by anyone fall further into self-loathing and as a result, end up hurting themselves.

So, what should we do so that doesn’t happen? The answer is simple. Get rid of our minds of hatred. The best medicine to heal your wounded minds is not to hate others but to forgive them. Forgiveness is not for their sake, but rather to get back your own happiness.

Getting rid of a mind that is controlled by resentment and hatred is called「放下著」(hougejaku) or getting rid of our hang-ups. This phrase literally means “to throw away”;「放」 means to release, 「下」means down, and 「著」is the equivalent of an exclamation mark. Therefore, it would be appropriate to understand this phrase to mean “Throw it away with all your might!”.

Keeping our minds in a state of purity without getting caught up in things is an important insight for living in a stressful world. Maintaining a state of mental peace and tranquility may be difficult.

However, “Can” or “Can’t” is mental. It depends on your mental state. In order to “throw away with all our might” our negative mindset of resentment, hard feelings and discontent and instead acquire a mind of purity and innocence, we need to put the following three things into practice.

1 Once a day, calm your mind and adjust your body, breathe and mind.

2 Reaffirm the preciousness and value of life and love others as much as you love yourself.

3 Give thanks for being allowed to live and act in the interest of others.

In the Dhammapada is the following teaching: “Thou art thy best authority. In whom else canst thou rely? Prepare thyself well and obtain the difficult truth”.
The first part means “You are the final authority. Who can you depend on other than yourself?” In regard to “what is the self that you can rely on?”, the last half states that“the well-prepared self” is the true authority.

The well-prepared self is the one that is engaged in the previous three practices and “throws away with all its might” the mind which leads us to our weaker selves. If the self is prepared in this way, we will surely be able to live positive daily lives.