BUDDHISM BASICS page 10
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The 5 Paths
THE 5 PATHS:
3. PATH OF ILLUMINATION
a. decide how to think
b. understand others
c. change others
Still using Shaolin Chi Mantis to illustrate our Path, let’s review that we are now a Shaolin Chi Mantis INTERMEDIATE LEVEL Student. As such we have, first, passed an intensive Initiation Program. Secondly, as Beginner Level SCM Students, we carved our bodies into athletic machines. Then, as Intermediate Level Students we became SCHOLAR WARRIORS.
Our path to enlightenment has been paved on a path that conquered our body and created difficult physical abilities.
Now that our mind has conquered our body, learned self-control, and self-awareness, we can extend our awareness outward a little further.
In order to get where we are, our world revolved around us and what was important to us.
Now, we can continue on our physical path, while realizing the sun and moon do not revolve around our needs and desires.
To progress further, we need to desire to understand others with the same interest we now have in ourselves. This is called compassion. Without concern, love, and compassion, we are living in a small world and viewing reality like a television screen.
In order to understand people, we must feel what they feel and think what they think. This is not as easy as it sounds. When we feel what someone else is feeling, we are usually picking up an emotional vibration from them and INTERPRETING IT in our own way. Just as two people don’t view the same painting in the same way, so two people do not interpret an emotion in the same exact way.
What may offend one person, may amuse another person. So, illumination will require us to think the way other people think.
Why bother? It’s like talking. You could probably survive with only a 10 word vocabulary. By learning more words, you open more opportunities to better relate to other people. It’s the same with compassion. The more people you understand, the more people you can relate to.
This is very important in Buddhism, because now, like reading a good book and living someone else’s live vicariously, you can talk to people and experience their lives without having to become them or do what they do.
People argue when they try to force someone to think the way they do. A better way to influence or change people is try to understand the other person’s perspective first. Then, after finding some common viewpoint, start a bridge of understanding between you. Build it one step at a time.
Another person will appreciate your perspective more, when they know you have tried to appreciate their perspective first.
Set a good example. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Understand other people the way you want to be understood and appreciated. With this Intermediate Level ability to connect to other people, you will enlarge your reality, and increase your wisdom, by understanding others.
In Chan or Zen Buddhism we refer to this as The UNIVERSAL MIND. Nothing in reality exists in only one perspective. When we look at a tree, we see it from only one perspective. Someone on the other side of the tree would see the same tree quite differently. A bird in the tree sees it differently…
Illumination, like light travels in all directions.
How can our one view be many views? Experience, awareness, and compassion will all add more and more views to each thing we see. Next, we can reach out with our imagination and even more significantly, with our Qi energy or magnetic aura.
How do you know when someone is staring at you from behind? You feel their Qi as they focus on you. This reaching out of your energy can be controlled and advanced after you’ve harnessed your body, so you know its’ feelings and sensations, and have quelled any anomalies. Anomalies within your body can be as simple as stress that causes muscles to tighten or more complicated such as a hidden fear of someone disliking the shape of your nose. Most physical and mental limitations can be overcome just by being very healthy.
A healthy person is less distracted by internal physical and mental anomalies. As the SCM Beginner Student conquered his body, he/she also gained control of their mind. Your mind, now under your control has less distractions internally. Now you can sense more, feel more, and be aware of more. Now meditation will actually work.
Many Buddhists are frustrated with meditation that goes nowhere or accomplishes nothing. That’s because they are not SCHOLAR WARRIORS. They are not ready to meditate. They have physical, mental and emotional noise within. Unlike you, they have not conquered their body and harnessed their mind.
Shaolin Chi Mantis is a Kung Fu school that strives to make each student into a teacher, not a fighter. As each SCM student learns and appreciates these new abilities that enable them to appreciate life more, they naturally seek to share these wisdoms with others. This is the seed of Buddhist compassion that seeks to improve the lives of as many other people as possible.
Do not despair. You will be surprised how most people do NOT desire to improve their lives or improve their manners or improve their health or improve the way they think and interact with other people. This is like trying to get a baby to read a novel.
Most people NEED help but are either unaware they need help or have decided not to do what it takes to get help. Sometimes, we help people more by just setting a good example of how to live than by telling them how to live. Hopefully, the people in your life will eventually WANT to learn what you have to offer, or will pick it up accidentally by your being a GOOD INFLUENCE upon them.
Most important of all is YOUR WILLINGNESS to help them. I started to write ‘desire’ instead of ‘willingness.’ The word, desire, may be appropriate, but as we have learned in our previous Buddhist lessons, desire causes trouble. Even a GOOD DESIRE can turn into a frustration if unfulfilled. Being frustrated isn’t going to help you or them. This has been a hard-learned lesson for me. Despite the fact I could have improved many people’s lives and health much more than I did — I had to realize that many people would stop learning when they reached a new level of understanding — even if they could continue to new levels.
Although each Shaolin Chi Mantis student may not open up their own SCM school or start a Shaolin Zen SANGHA, they will naturally seek to help and improve the lives of those they are in contact with. The Path of Illumination contains a bright light that shines for you and all those in your life.
Now we are ready for the next level, The Path of Concentrated Contemplation.