Those who merely read books cannot understand the teachings and, what’s more, may even go astray. But those who try to observe the things going on in the mind, and always take that which is true in their own minds as their standard, never get muddled. They are able to comprehend suffering, and ultimately will understand Dharma. Then, they will understand the books they read.
Photo by Pimthida.
Hundreds of stupid flies gather
On a piece of rotten meat,
Enjoying, they think, a delicious feast.
This image fits with the song
Of the myriads of foolish living beings
Who seek happiness in superficial pleasures;
In countless ways they try,
Yet I have never seen them satisfied.
7th Dalai Lama.
Photo by Manon G.
Remember, lifelong habits die hard. It is difficult enough to simply recognize our anger and jealousy, let alone to make an effort to hold back the old familiar tide of feeling or analyze its cause and results. Transforming the mind is a slow and gradual process. It is a matter of ridding ourselves, bit by bit, of instinctive, harmful habit patterns and becoming familiar with habits that necessarily bring positive results - to ourselves and others.
Photo by Wibi Udayana.
An area in Tibetan Buddhism which may be of interest to scientists is the relationship between the physical elements and the nerves, in particular the relationship between the elements in the brain and consciousness. This involves changes in consciousness, happy or unhappy states of mind, the effect they have on the elements within the brain, and the consequent effect that this has on the body.
Buddhist thinking relies more on investigation than on faith. Therefore, scientific findings are very helpful to Buddhist thinking. In my experience, Buddhist views may also give scientists a new way to look at their own field, as well as new interest and enthusiasm.
The Buddhist view is that in the external world there are some elements that are material, and some that are nonmaterial. And the fundamental substance, the stuff from which the material universe arises, is known as space particles. A portion of space is quantized, to use a modern term; it is particulate, not continuous. Before the formation of the physical universe as we know it, there was only space, but it was quantized. And it was from the quanta, or particles, in space that the other elements arose. This accounts for the physical universe.
But what brought about that process? How did it happen? It is believed that there existed other conditions, or other influences, which were nonmaterial, and these were of the nature of awareness. The actions of sentient beings in the preceding universe somehow modify, or influence, the formation of the natural universe.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Photo by Peter Hodurek.