Thursday, September 2, 2010
I think the "western mind" bears issue with the pure simplicity of the Buddha's statement (which is a paraphrase, since there is no written record of his specific words). We reject it because our world is filled with distractions and we are rarely taught as children or as adults to consider what is going on in our own minds. But when someone understands the nature of reality in the way the Buddha understood, the seeming dominance of the outer experience becomes moot because, like any duality there is a primary interaction between our outer environment and our inner selves.
While it seems that we can only modify our outward environment, the impetus and direction for change really begins and proceeds from our inner state. Think about these solutions to a mind in turmoil: meditation, simplicity, silence and encountering nature are seemingly cosmetic solutions; but they work because they require our attention to our environment. Within that attention is the desire for implementation of our wisdom and subsequently a desire for peace and balance, which is not caused by outer influences but by our own personal suffering.
The Buddha was very careful not to demonize desire, although you will find many stories where he wrestled with temptation before achieving enlightenment. Instead he recognized a recursive truth, that within desire was an equal reality of suffering. Understanding that within your own mind is the solution, allows you to recognize the remedy to suffering as being quite simple in itself: bring your attention to your inner state, breath, simplify, relax and enjoy the beauty of the world around you... and do that every day.