Losing Your Mind

by Bhikshuni Heng K'ung

      To have success in cultivation we must be willing to take a loss. This means that we must first lose our mind in order to find it. It must be lost in those about us as we do the Buddhas work. A genuine interest in the welfare of others must be cultivated to the extent that we have no affairs of our own.

      The solution to the problems of life can never be resolved through a process of analytical reasoning, because intellectual attempts are always rooted in a desire for self-improvement that is not necessarily for the purpose of making a better individual, but rather to make oneself superior to others and to be the "life of society," so to speak. We simply wish others to like us, plain and simple. If we succeed, at best we will create a mask that covers over our faults.

      Cultivation is very real, and what it creates is very real. No room here for subtle forms of self deception. But creating a true individual is an art not easily approached. It is based on cause and effect. By benefitting others we benefit ourselves. If we remove someone else's obstruction, in some my-sterious way our hindrances will vanish without our even knowing about it.

      In order to be of real service we must cultivate a genuine concern for the welfare of others. This can be only done through deep meditation and the contemplation of transcendental Truth. The problem of birth and death must become real, and compassion must rise in our hearts for those that are not aware of the problem. Higher states of happiness free of externals can be achieved through the contemplation of mystic Truths that will enable us to understand the hopelessness and vanity of a human life bound up in externals. This will also cause a kind of compassion called sympathetic joy to arise within us, accompanied by a desire to cause others to seek within and gain freedom from externals.

      So in losing our mind in others, we don't seek to know others' faults, but simply show them the right way, so that they too may detach their minds from afflicting personal interests. The paradox of course is that only by not looking can we see. This is the natural spiritual fulfillment resulting from selfless service and is the natural and unexpected result of our efforts.

      The characteristic of unexpectedness is another distinguished characteristic of importance in developing a proper attitude. For success is blocked by expectation, and expectation of results is an indication that our interest in truly selfless work has not been adequately developed. We have yet to become CENTERED and we are not yet ripe for results.

      It is well established that what is a burden to one seems incidental to another. Therefore, there is the saying, "In the affairs of others, even the fool is wise, but in one's own affairs, even the Sages make mistakes." Therefore, we should not shoulder our burdens but must allow them to rest on a carefully mapped out routine of cultivation.

      Losing one's life in those about one becomes real only through a steady application of effort, and is hindered when we are anxious about results. We should wait for an inspiration to arise within us before acting, and avoid impulsive actions. If, as earlier mentioned, our meditation and contemplation are deep, we will become like tools for a higher power to use. Like puppets we will be moved about and the work to be done will be clear to us. This can only be real if our sacrifice is real. Otherwise we will be bogged down by a continual effort to try to guess the right thing to do. If cultivation is real, no planned procedure is necessary. No tactics. All we need do is be firmly centered within, and when we must respond we will instinctively realize it. An intuition is developed, and this moves through us in mysterious ways. It will give authority and power to our actions and a sense of conviction to our spirit. Indeed we will be moved to move. This is the natural expression of Knowledge born of deep meditation and is far apart from the common willingness to help which is usually a case of looking for something to do, and to which the word sacrifice is a stranger. When we don't utilize our knowledge but rather our knowledge utilizes us, we become instruments of expression, and this is the way it should be.

      There are two primary attitudes of cultivation suited to two major classes of natural inclinations. The one is the path of wisdom, or knowledge, and the other devotion. This essay pertains to the latter. When we cultivate devotion we offer our body, mind, and substance without reservation and become the instrument of a higher authority. This is real "non-assertion" and will make us sensitive and perceptive to the needs of others. By losing ourselves we find ourselves, or rather, our true Self finds us. This is just losing the mind. It is having no mind of self-benefit or wish for personal gain, and is true cultivation of the Way.