The Human Angst
If you ever thought about who you were, why you are here, and where you will be after laying down your body, you are not alone. Most of people at some point in their life would ponder these questions. Why? It is because we all have the awareness that motivates us to find the answer of everything about our life. It is also because we all sense that human life is complicated and inevitably involves suffering. Life itself is amazing but is also an enigma which causes angst. The enigma arises when we are dealing with the spiritual aspects of life. Therefore, if the spiritual part is not explored, our life will forever be an enigma, comfort and peace will forever be unattainable. This is the very reason that Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, renounced his aristocratic living and searched for the answer.
Because our mind dominates our thinking, there is no better way to know ourselves by understanding our mind. But where is our mind? Though we cannot tell where our mind is, we do know we all have it. Mind is spirit in its functioning. It is the first cause of all creations. Without mind, nothing gives meaning, everything stops, and the world falls into complete stagnant and becomes lifeless. Hence knowing our life is to understand our mind. Our mind holds the path to eternal peace and comfort.
The Truth Of The World
If there is a beginning, there must be an ending. This is the very truth of this world. Nothing is permanent. Everything is in a constant change. If there is anything in this world that never changes, it is the change itself. Is it good or bad? The fact is it is personal. On one hand, vicissitude means every minute consists of a new life and new experience; on the other hand, it might mean every minute involves agony. We may want to tailor or tweak the situation to our preference, but mostly we have little control. A thing does not happen itself. It happens because every related condition comes together to make it happen. Wilful control of how things shall happen may ultimately end in vain. How things shall happen is out of the question. It is really up to us how we want to experience them. A wise person handles vicissitude in a healthy way, while a common person let it take control of his life. If we let the vicissitude take control of our life, we are away from eternal peace and comfort.
Peace Comes Not Externally
It is very understandable that a specific circumstance favourable to one person may be stressful to another. Nonetheless, we all have to confront different situations in life. Can we control the circumstances to fit us? Or shall we make ourselves to fit them? The answer is very clear that in most of cases, we have to accommodate ourselves to them. By accommodating, can we remain comfortable? If not, where are our comfort and peace? Peace does not come from circumstance because circumstance itself is a constant changing condition. Change means uncertainty; uncertainty may cause anxiety. As a matter of fact, if we rely on anything extrinsic to bring us eternal comfort and peace, we are fooling ourselves. So what can we do so that we can enjoy comfort and peace? The answer does not come from anything outside, it’s from inside. When we are consummate in dealing with the circumstances we confront, there is peace and joy. The answer is simple but to attain the proficiency requires tenacious effort, discipline and exquisite wisdom. Most of us can manage the effort and the discipline if we are determined. But the exquisite wisdom is really not something we can attain easily. It requires prolonged learning process to develop. The method and philosophy to develop the exquisite wisdom is called Dharma — the Buddha’s teaching and wisdom that leads to ultimate freedom and peace.
Spiritual cultivation dates back to thousands of years ago, so does the Dharma for the cultivators. The lineage is a lengthy heritage, but the essence of Dharma that every patriarch handed down remains the same. Dharma holds multiple meanings and has been used by Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism. A common translation of the meaning to English is Buddha’s teaching. There are two types of Dharma, i.e. exoteric and esoteric. Exoteric Dharma is for the public while Esoteric Dharma is for the people who are eager in pursuing spiritual awakening and want to become disciples of the patriarch. Once initiated and taught with the Esoteric Dharma, the disciple may reach enlightenment at the moment. It was said that awarding the Esoteric Dharma is the most extreme grace from the masters to the disciples. A well-known example would be Gautama Buddha said to everyone in a teaching assembly: “I have a treasure of true dharma eye, exquisite nirvana mind, formless true form of mysterious dharma path. It does not rely on written words and is transmitted aside from the teaching. I will transmit it to Mahakasyapa.” Through the lengthy historical human civilization, there have been 64 patriarchs inheriting the Dharma. Laotzi, Confucius and Siddhartha Gautama are among the well-knowns. The current patriarch and matriarch are Ancient Buddha Tiannan and Bodhisattva Yehhui. Though both of them have ascended, the Dharma is now held by I-Kuan Tao, an international religious organization with temples and teaching centres over 86 countries.