Taking the Shinbashira Seriously
The various things Oyasama spoke of comprise the teaching for the Joyous Life that enables us human beings to live out lives happily and spiritedly. While demonstrating how we can replace our minds to accord with the Joyous Life through our own effort. She continuously trained us to realize that the Joyous Life can be attained depending solely upon our own mind.
SAS, October 26,1994
Though, as always, this paragraph is dense with significant meaning, there are three points that I would like to reflect upon today:
"Demonstrating how we can replace our minds to accord with the Joyous Life"
Though I am aware that there are no two human minds that are exactly the same, still I think that there are tendencies that we human beings have in common. With that in mind I would like to share my personal experience of some of the pitfalls that I have encountered in the task of replacing the mind, in the hope that they will prove to be a sufficient exploration of some of the paths that do not lead to the Joyous Life and thus save someone else the trouble of going over the same ground.
There are good reasons to make the effort to replace one set of worldly common thoughts with another set of worldly common thoughts. This is the way of civilization and education. In this regard practical, moral and ethical systems have been developed. It is a mistake however to think that God the Parent is hastening us to settle for replacing one set of self-centered worldly common thoughts with another set of self-centered worldly common thoughts, no matter how lofty and well meaning they might aspire to be. This is the tricky part for us. Perhaps a metaphor will help here. If we were to view our efforts to replace the mind as a construction, then we should be able to understand that the scaffolds and tools to be used in the construction are worldly common materials gathered together for a temporary purpose. We can all see then that when the construction is complete, the scaffolds and tools are intended to be removed revealing the new and marvelous structure that has been made. This is necessarily true because, to employ another metaphor, the finished construction is revealed in the "mind like clear water" and there isn't any room there even for the tools that were used to make it so.
So, though the construction of a mind of Joyous Life may require the use of various scaffolds and tools, they are temporary measures with a temporary purpose. God the Parent shows the way to quickly realize the completion of the replacement / construction of a mind of Joyous Life, we should be careful not to become complacent, mistaking the tools and scaffolds for the finished construction as that would just amount to replacing one set of worldly common thoughts with another.
The replacement that God the Parent is hastening involves the removal of the self-centered imagination as the foundation of all of our thinking. It is intended that that foundation be replaced with a the original foundation that is the truth of origin. The truth known and understood that any and everything of this universe is the body of God and that we human beings (self-centered imaginations) are things borrowed from that true and original one.
The distinction between the original and the imaginary can be made by settling the self-centered imagination. If we use water as a metaphor for our mind then the true foundation is revealed in the mind like clear water. It is the way to quickly make that distinction that is demonstrated in the teachings of the true and original parent of origin.
"Through our own effort"
Moment to moment, this universe is an expression of causes piled up since the very beginning. Everything, without exception, is the ongoing result of causality ("innen"). As we ponder over the long journey of human beings we can see that because of the marvelous power of our imaginations we have been able to identify various paths of causality and have used them to both our advantage and to our loss. In general our use of our understanding of paths of causality involves the setting of a goal and then the definition of the steps necessary for realizing that goal. We of course are all aware that there are problems with this simple truth. The goal that is set may not be clearly defined or understood and so too with the steps for realizing the goal.
God our parent has clearly defined a goal of single-hearted salvation to be quickly realized by returning the mind to its original pristine condition so that the truth of its origin can be clearly known and understood. The method demonstrated is the step by step settling of the self-centered imagination in whatever way is appropriate for each and every human mind.
If we decide that we would like to quickly realize this truth we can do so by quickly following the instructions (the causal path of returning the mind to it origin). Doing so involves calming our self-centered imaginations and pondering the truth that this entire universe is the body of God. This path of causality for returning the mind to its origin is sure and correct in every detail. Failure of a mind to realize the goal means that that mind is not following the instructions and though perhaps sincerely occupied, is doing something other than following the causality of quickly returning the mind to its origin. Obviously this is the most common condition. We should not be discouraged by it but rather be high spirited in the knowledge of the problem and the challenge that it poses. We can, through our own effort, work through the distractions and misunderstandings and gain sure footing on the path.
Finally, there is the tendency to project the goal beyond what is causally possible and in so doing perhaps even passing the truth of origin by as being not spectacular enough. God works in the universe through causality ("innen") and God wishes to teach us all the causality to quickly return our mind to its original natural condition.
"The Joyous Life can be attained depending solely upon our own mind."
The path of single-hearted salvation and the joyous life that flows from that single-hearted salvation is entirely about the state of our mind. When we approach the path it is natural that we should bring with us all sorts of garbage and baggage. In that respect the beginning of the path could be compared with a crowed and cluttered bus station. Very little of the stuff that we all bring along can be accommodated on the path and ultimately none of it will be able to make the trip and enter the origin.
When we stay focused on the simple instruction that the journey depends solely upon the state of our mind pondering the truth of the metaphor "clear or muddy" the more quickly will we be able to board and move out onto the path to quickly realizing the joyous life. The alternative is being stuck in the station haggling over the excess baggage and pursuing rumors that a bus exists that will take along all of our stuff.