The Most Glaring Obstacle in Self-cultivation

发布日期:2017-01-11   字体大小:   

The most glaring obstacle to a practitioner’s effort at carrying on self-cultivation may be such peculiar factors in his habitual way of thinking and in his habitual way of living as might incline him toward fostering an attachment to samaropa (the consideration that the nonexistent are really in existence), or an attachment to presumed permanency of things, or toward mistaking “the media that serve to guide a practitioner to gain access to the Buddhist truth” for the Buddhist truth itself. Here I would like to cite a relevant example: Sometimes Buddhist folk would use the term tianyan (天眼, literally: divine eye) to refer to very penetrating insight. But some other folk take delight in interpreting the term as the third eye in the face of a divine being apart from the pair of eyes already existing in his or her face. In Pilgrimage to the West (西游记), a Chinese literary classic, a character, Yang Jian (杨戬) by name, is a divine being who has three eyes in his face. And the extra eye (or divine eye) is at the center of his brow. Thus some people would intentionally or unintentionally misinterpret a metaphorical expression that refers to the abstract or the conceptual as an expression that refers to the physically existent. Suchlike misinterpretations are misleading not only for the misinterpreters but also for the general public. Having traveled to a foreign country, a traveler tends to find that it is quite different from what he thought it would look like. He may even be aware that the way he interprets the things around him in the foreign country is quite different from the way the natives of that country would interpret them. Therefore “such peculiar factors in one’s habitual way of thinking and in one’s habitual way of living” can be very powerful in conditioning the process in which his mentality is to be converted. The same can be said of the process in which a practitioner seeks to deal with various attachments that have been habitual with him in days when he was not committed to a self-cultivation career.(From My Heart My Buddha)