It is often necessary to have a way to measure our individual development, to ask yourself how authentically human have I really become? What is the best way to be and live life to its fullest? Are there just a few points to check if I am right or wrong in a situation, in dealing with life? This is true whether one is a farmer or businessman, politician or carpenter, single or in a family, man or woman. It makes absolutely no difference, everyone needs a spiritual guideline and a code to live by. Here is one with four straightforward and deep words.
In the old style of questioning the Buddha as written in the sutras, the Buddha responds with four simple words to remember, understand, train in and live by: train in being impartial, altruistic, non-aggressive and free of prejudice, and hereby realize the equal nature of all things. These four words point to our deepest state of being, our basic innocence, the child-like open mind we all love and admire. They are key points, simple to remember and simple to be. Witness how they require no rigid form or behavior.
- Impartial: Just like you feel pleasure and pain, so does everyone else. There is no difference. Every living being deserves to be respected on that level, because it’s true that we are all sensitive.
- Altruistic: The tenderness that you feel when open-minded, toward a loved one, your child, your parents gives room to a simple wish: may you be well.
- Non-aggresive: The attitude of causing no harm is the most fundamental principle for peace in the world, in the family and in the mind. It’s the dividing point between savagery and civilization and the support for genuine self-worth and human dignity. It makes it possible to live together and blossom in harmony.
- Free of prejudice: To judge other in advance is always unfair and yet, we judge not only others, but each situation and state of mind. Prejudice narrows and hardens the living sensitive heart. It’s a self-created cage. Freedom of prejudice is the entrance door to freedom.
In real meditation all these four qualities are present and its our job to let them blossom fully. Enjoy this timeless scenery and classic human drama when a brilliant young Indian man asks on behalf of all of us these questions to the Buddha, the Awakened One:
Thus have I once heard: there was a time when the Buddha, known as the Transcendent Perfect Conqueror, was dwelling on Vulture Peak Mountain at Rajgir together with the great gathering of one hundred thousand monks. He was also accompanied by eight million bodhisattvas who were only obstructed by one rebirth, and who understood clearly by means of their higher perceptions. They had assembled from the world-systems of the ten directions, having fully realized the dharanis and sutras.
They enriched all sentient beings with the gift of the spiritual teachings, being skilled in expounding the wisdom of the great superknowledge. They had reached the other shore of the most sublime of all perfections. Adept in entering all the meditative states of bodhisattvas, they were honoring all buddhas through praise and eulogy. They were skilled in magically journeying to all enlightened realms, skilled in terrifying all demonic forces, skilled in understanding all things as they are.
Then Youthful Moonlight rose from his seat, bared his shoulder, knelt on his right knee, joined his palms respectfully towards the Transcendent Perfect Conqueror, and said: If the Transcendent Perfect Conqueror would grant me the opportunity, I wish to ask a few questions of the Transcendent Perfect Conqueror, the Tathagata Arhat Samyak-sambuddha.
The Transcendent Perfect Conqueror spoke to Youthful Moonlight in these words: Youthful one, when a bodhisattva great being possesses one quality, he will acquire all virtues and quickly awaken truly and fully to unexcelled true and complete enlightenment. What is this one quality? Youthful one, it is the bodhisattva great being’s impartial attitude towards all beings; it is the altruistic frame of mind, the attitude of nonaggression, the mind that holds no prejudice. Youthful one, the bodhisattva great beings who are impartial, altruistic, nonaggressive, and free of prejudice, will attain the samadhi that fully reveals the equal nature of all things.
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