Beautification of life 15 If we liken our mind to a stage, then our various thoughts will be the performers who go up on the stage alternatively and continuously. And if we are attached to these characters and fly the flag for each of them as they appear on stage, we will exhaust our life in such chaos. This is not only a waste of our identity as humans but, more dreadfully, leads us to accumulate unhealthy habits, which will influence future lives. The correct attitude is neither adhering nor rejecting, which means that one does not adhere to thought no matter how he likes it, nor does he reject a thought no matter how he hates it. When the mind is equanimous, thoughts will fade away due to our lack of response. Otherwise, we will be controlled by these surging and falling thoughts, and at the same time inject energy into them, making them increasingly powerful. Each time we stick to one thought, it will be strengthened. When such thought is powerful enough, it will be difficult for us to manage. Because of ignorance, we take many things that are impersonal as self. Why do people fear death? It is because we consider our body as the self. Naturally, we would be afraid that “I” would vanish when our body ceases to function. However, if we understand that the physical body is only a temporary abode in the continuum of life, then we won’t be so frightened or even panicked at the idea of facing death.
Beautification of life 14 Without a healthy lifestyle, our bodies would be sick. Without correct views and sound mental attitude, our inner turmoil would expand and cause spiritual afflictions. Nowadays although material conditions have increasingly improved, psychological illnesses, such as depression, autism, and mania, are spreading at an unprecedented rate. These diseases disturb people’s normal life, and in some instances, may even lead some to self-destruction. Relevant statistics show that depression will become the second-largest life-threatening condition in this century. Only in China, there are around 30 million patients suffering from depression. Worldwide, more than 500 million people are affected by this disease. How astonishing this number is! Then what is the remedy to such suffering? As the saying goes, “seek your salve where you get your sore”. The mind must be the focal point for treatment. We must understand that these defilements do not represent “me” and that they are just aberrations that occur in the continuity of life. In other words, we should take defilements as the object of our observation rather than always care about them and follow them. As a result, unwholesome thoughts and emotions will gradually subside. Buddhist meditation can produce exactly the above effect.
Beautification of life 13 Ignorance here does not mean the absence of knowledge we commonly refer to. I believe that all of you have your own professional knowledge and ability to cope with life. By ignorance, I mean being ignorant of the fundamental questions of humankind, such as who I am, where I came from, where I will go, why we are alive, and what on earth is fate. Some people wonder why we must think about these issues. Couldn’t we live without asking such questions? In fact, these are the eternal questions of human beings. A person who thinks deeply about life will definitely need to face these questions and try to look for answers. On the other hand, all afflictions derive from these questions. Every day we pay attention to and care about ourselves. Each of us thinks “I” am in love, “I” hate, “I” am sad, and regards these emotions as part of our life. In fact, these emotions don’t represent “I”. They are just spiritual tumors resulting from our life’s development.