A reminder from the last issue:
The Buddha radiated light and manifested auspicious portents, hoping to cause Ananda to understand his mind and see his nature. Ananda failed to awaken, so the Buddha spoke about the two roots.
That Which Is Searching for My Mind Is My Mind
The Buddha has used light, and he has exposed the root. But Ananda still holds onto his conscious mind. Finally, the Buddha has to shout at him. "Hey! Ananda, that is not your mind!" As with the light, the shout is another non-verbal attempt to jolt Ananda awake. The Buddha is by-passing the critical, analytical, argumentative aspect of Ananda's conscious mind.
But besides its non-verbal effect, the shout is full of verbal impact. Ananda says, "What I'm using to look for my mind with, IS my mind." And the Buddha comes back fast, "NO! That's NOT your mind!" Ananda is shocked, starts to his feet, and blurts out, "If that's not my mind, what is it?!!" "It's your thinking, it's your false perceptions, it's been going on for ever-so-long. It's what causes you to keep having to get reborn. You keep making the same mistake. You keep thinking it's reliable. You keep thinking it's you. It causes you to be deluded. It makes you confused. It prevents you from seeing your true nature--your true mind."
The Buddha strongly negated Ananda's idea that the very mind he was using to search for his mind with was his mind. That sudden decisive negation by the Buddha frightened Ananda.
The Buddha Comforts Ananda and the Assembly
"I don't have anything else to use," protests Ananda. "The mind that directs me to do good, or even directs me to do evil--it's that mind. How can you say it doesn't exist? That makes me have lots of doubts. It's not just me who doesn't understand what the Buddha is saying, all those people in the assembly who think like I do also have the same doubts! As far as we can discern there is nothing beyond this mind."
"Ananda," the Buddha says, "stop and think about it. Everything in the world has its shape and appearance--even space has properties we can recognize it by. If that's the case, how could something as essential and important as your own nature--your true mind--be devoid of a substance? Of course it exists and has substance--it's just the false mind that doesn't have any substance, not the true one." We need to recognize what the Buddha is doing here. He is still using provisional teaching to comfort Ananda in the face of his insecurity. Ananda cannot accept Actual Teaching yet. He has not certified to Patience with the Non-Production of Dharmas, and so he experiences fear when told that the mind he is using is not really his mind. The Buddha's intent is to discredit the false-thinking mind. He is managing to do that. He doesn't want to push Ananda too far right now, so he resorts to expedients and assures him that although the mind he thought was his mind doesn't exist, nonetheless, there is another mind that does exist.
The Mind Should Be Complete in and of Itself
Having reassured Ananda, the Buddha drives home his point about the false-thinking mind. "If you insist that what you are using is your mind, then we need to analyze that. The mind should exist complete in and of itself. The mind you are using cannot. For instance, right now it is processing the sounds of my voice and distinguishing them into intelligible teachings. Or suppose you argue that in meditation the senses are close down and the mind is not processing their data. But even when you are in some sort of state of quiet composure, still, the impressions left by the six defiling objects remain like shadows in that mind. We must conclude that the mind you are using does not exist separate from external and internal stimuli.
To be continued
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