Bhikkhuni Triệt Như – The Fount of Happiness – No 42
Translated into English by Ngọc Huyền
THE “MIND” DRAMAS
In the last two weeks, I paid visits to the two closest Sunyata Meditation centers, one in Sacramento and the other in San Jose, California. For two years of staying far away, it was so excited to see everyone again. Then, ya, new shows started every morning or evening over there.
Each broadcast caught its own attraction. It might be a Cailuong Broadway with melodious music. It might a chick flick with lengthy intimate speech from the main actress or a comedy whose characters were in the seventies. They talked and laughed happily. Sometimes it was a combination. This person played Vietnamese Soap Opera in his own tune while the other, European-influenced songs with her own creative acting. All were accompanied by various musical instruments. But there was one shared thing. They all performed the shows in their own way regardless the audience liked, neglected it and either were wakening or sleeping. When the dark red velvet curtains dropped down, every actor and actress enjoyed various specialties of the day. There might be the Huế various tapioca pastries. There might be the Northern traditional sticky rice cakes or stuffed rice rolls; or it might be the Southerners’ banana pudding or stuffed-fried crêpes. Other assorted international foods were also offered such as European cream puffs, buche de Noel, Italian spaghetti and pizza, Thai’s sour and sweet noodle soups.... Unable to list them all, eh....
Let’s remember the Sutta of Mahaparinirvana. When the Buddha chose the sala grove in the town of Kusinagara to immerse into the Nirvana, Respected Venerable Ananda politely asked the Lord to move to bigger cities like Vailsali, Kosambi or Rājagaha to do that nobility. But the Lord said that very place, long time ago, in the time of Dharma Wheel-Turning King, Mahāsudassana, had been a prosperous imperial city where nine sounds from metal gongs, drums, elephants, horses...heard every day. And the last sound was the invitation “ Hey folks! Grab foods and drinks.”
People in those Zen centers also pushed everyone to eat more and drink more. If everyone is happy, it is the celestial realm. If everyone is stressful, frustrated or furious, the nice realm turns into the hell right away. Resultly, the shows, gleeful or somber, depend on our own creation and our own action in the roles of the main characters. Everyone who share the same mood and situations often gather to join in the same plays. It happens in that way life after life.
Let’s see when launching a new drama, what have we done?
As you know, we possess lots of actors and actresses. Here is the guy named the Thinking Mind. He controls the Archive and always wants to broadcast the very old plays he has memorized for long. Over there, that’s the Intellect folk who is the wisest, quickest, smartest. His mouth and four limbs can simultaneously work together. Someone might say one word to him. But he can respond up to ten ones. Without any references or evidence, he is able to assume everything or fancy the perspectives, in his own way, that might be either true or untrue. The supervisor of those two men is the Consciousness. He is the very man who widely opens the five doors, eyes, ears, nose, tongue and body, to the outside world. He warmly welcomes all the circumstances, materials, sounds, smells and tastes into his house. The Thinking Mind receives such guests. He, then, traces back his records to identify their names, personality, special characteristics and other private info. The Intellect will foresee who would do what and what is going on…
When exploring and studying the world outside, all the three men are supervised by a hidden super leader. We give him a temporary name to quickly refer to him, Mr. Paramount Ego. No one has seen him, but his orders are always strictly complied. It is easy to understand the reasons. He knows how to make the best advantages for him. He takes care of himself before doing it for other people. He tries to obtain properties as many as possible. He has never satisfied with his money, fame and power. Just because when he thinks it’s enough for him, then, he has to cover his family; later on, his party, religion and country. A question raised when it could be enough for him. It’s so funny that riches, distinction and high authority always intertwine to each other. They seem to be the three faces of Mr. Paramount Ego. If someone could see his control, then, turning to the other side, they would see his other two portraits.
Looking deeper, we’ll discover a new thing. Actually, the Buddha indicated it some thousand years ago. Who is the Paramount Ego? It is the Father King of the Five Dragon Princesses, Money, Materials, Fame, Eating Desire and Sleeping Desire. We temporarily call them princesses because we always adore and feel happy to please them. They are all present in our shows where they, mostly Princess Money and Princess Materials, alternate to be the main characters in the dramas. They are so young, pretty and attractive. No one could say no to their allurement. Eon and enon in the rebirth cycle, we have chased after them and got lost in there.
Folks, remember? The Buddha, before his utmost enlightenment, those ladies also appeared to lure him the last time expecting they could shake and change his mind. The Buddhist canons call them “Mara”, or the God of Devil’s daughters. That God is the Deep State which dominate us. It is the very Paramount Ego or us, ourselves, my dear! So ironical, eh up! When the worldly lusts still affect us, we are still being tempted by such Mara.
We have not seen the Super Boss. Who is he? He is gentle, nice and kind. He is in his own house. Nowhere else! He usually keeps quiet or speaks just a few words. He only voices when someone listens to him. The five doors of his house are always widely opened. If the guests enter, the Thinking Mind, the Intellect and the Consciousness hurriedly and warmly receive them. The Boss is still in his room and silently look at them. With a quick glance, he knows who they are; but he does not say any word. Most of the time, the guests cannot see him. They are busily and interestingly dealing with those three clamorous guys, in various moods, day by day, till the end of their life. They never meet the house owner.
Though the house is noisy, there is only one speaker there. The leader, the Consciousness, frequently reserves the priority to voice up the final decision on behalf of his two brothers. When they move back and forth, twist their faces or frown their eyebrows, they are clinging themselves over the situations. Theoretically, they have built their bad thinking karmas. Now the guy Consciousness decides to make public announcement of their work processing. He takes the only microphone for that report. When the signs in our mind get through Broca, the Decoding Area, they are converted into intelligible language in the way the Consciousness likes. Here, he transmits it to the Talker, the Speech Area. Then to the Receptive Structure, the Somatosensory Area where it will be moved to lips, tongues, teeth, glottis, vocal cord to turn into sounds or words. It might be transferred to the four limbs to create actions. At this phase, the speech or actions will affect other people and bounce back to the doers. It is the very karma. In that way, show after show and drama after drama continue and continue. None of the characters graduate from any Arts Academy. But they live their roles as beautifully as professional artists without using any external tools like the hot balm for tear running!
When those noisy groups get tired and have to stop for rest, the Super Boss wakes up and starts his tasks. He quietly turns on the lights. Everywhere is brightened up. The Mara and the God of Devils disappear. Ah! Because our house is too dark, they come to raise Cain. Now the house is shining. Over there, the Thinking Mind, the Intellect and the Consciousness all dress up and get ready for their Super Boss’s commands to perform their own functions. The Consciousness transfers the info in the neutral way. The Thinking Mind quickly goes over it; and the Intellect gives sharp justification on it. It shows the Super Boss delivers his orders clearly and accurately without any hesitation. Whenever the Boss gets up, wisdom is illuminated, the Paramount Ego and his five princesses immediately vanish in the thin air.
At last! The chick-flicks “ the Mind” are over. Sleep, all the member cast, the troublemakers. The red velvet curtains have drawn down. Now, everywhere is the very emptiness, tranquility and brightness.
Sunyata Monastery, December 21, 2021
Ngọc Huyền , February 2022
Link to Vietnamese article: https://tanhkhong.org/p105a2907/triet-nhu-snhp042-tuong-hat-mang-ten-tam