Chapter 5: The Discipline of Transcendence
The Buddha said:
When a man makes utensils out of a metal which has been thoroughly cleansed of dross, the utensils will be excellent. You monks, who wish to follow the way, make your own hearts clean from the dirt of evil passions, and your conduct will be unimpeachable.
Even if one escapes from the evil creations, it is one’s rare fortune to be born a human being. If one be born a man, it is one’s rare fortune to be perfect in all the six senses. Even if he be perfect in all the six senses, it is his rare fortune to be born in the time of a buddha. Even if he be born in the time of a buddha, it is his rare fortune to see the enlightened. Even if he be able to see the enlightened, it is his rare fortune to have his heart awakened in faith. Even if he have faith, it is his rare fortune to awaken the heart of intelligence. Even if he awakens the heart of intelligence, it is his rare fortune to realize a spiritual state which is above discipline and attainment.
O children of Buddha! You are away from me ever so many thousand miles, but if you remember and think of my precepts, you shall surely gain the fruit of enlightenment. You may, standing by my side, see me always, but if you observe not my precepts, you shall never gain enlightenment.
Consciousness is like a lake: with waves it becomes the mind, without waves it becomes the soul. The difference is only of turmoil. Mind is a soul disturbed, and soul is mind silenced. The mind is just the ill state of affairs, and the soul is the healthy state of affairs. Mind is not something separate from the soul, as waves are not separate from the lake. The lake can be without waves, but the waves cannot be without the lake. The soul can be without the mind, but the mind cannot be without the soul. When there are great winds and the lake is disturbed, there is turmoil. And the lake loses one quality in that turmoil, and that is the quality of reflection. Then it cannot reflect the real. The real becomes distorted. There may be a full moon in the sky, but now the lake is not capable of reflecting it. The moon will still be reflected, but in a distorted way. It will be reflected in thousands of fragments. It will not be any unity; it will not be collected, integrated. It will not be one. The real is one. But now the lake will reflect many millions of moons; the whole surface of the lake may be filled with silver. Everywhere, moons and moons - but this is not true. The truth is one: when the mind reflects it, it becomes many; when consciousness reflects it, it is one.
Consciousness is neither Hindu nor Mohammedan nor Christian. If you are a Hindu you are still in the mind, distorted. If you are a Mohammedan you are still in the mind, distorted. Once the mind has settled and the waves are no longer there, you are simply a consciousness - with no adjective attached to it, with no conditioning attached to it. And then truth is one. In fact, even to say that truth is one is not right - because one is meaningful only in the context of many. Truth is so one that in the East we have never called it one; we call it nondual - not two.
Why have we chosen a roundabout way in calling it not two? We want to say that it is difficult to say it is one, because one implies two, three, four. We simply say, not two. We don’t say what it is, we simply say what it is not. There is no “manyness” in it - that’s all. We have to express it via negativa, by saying that it is not two. It is so one and it is so alone; only it exists and nothing else. But that is reflected in consciousness when the mind is no longer there. When I say “the mind is no longer there,” remember, I am not talking about mind as a faculty. Mind is not a faculty. It is simply a disturbed state: consciousness waving, shaking, trembling, not at home.
What winds blow on the consciousness that disturb it? Buddha says: The name of that wind is passion, desire.