Covid-19, The Mind and Dharma

Firstly, I would like to pay homage to Root Guru Grand Master Lu, Si-Mu, Lineage Masters and the Triple Gem – Amitabha!

Good Day, Masters, Lamas, Dharma Instructors, Dharma Brothers and Dharma Sisters.  Happy New Year!  I wish 2021 will bring new opportunities, fortune, harmonious relationships, and good health to everyone. 

What a year!  2020 has been anything but normal – challenging the ways in which we live, work, commute and communicate with each other.  In this instance, the presence of Covid-19 has forced us into “mini-bubbles” and more “time” to ourselves which, typically, is a good thing.  However, these times have also presented some mental health challenges such as depression, fears, anxiety, doubts, and obsessions.  As cultivators, we must recognize this as they represent a form of suffering (“dukkha”).  We must use the wisdom from Buddha’s teachings as well as from our cultivation to help guide us through these challenging times. 

In “A Collection of Treasure Remarks”, Book 107, Grand Master stated the following:

“Observations over a long period of time make one realize that devils come from the mind. An ego-attachment is the origin of all devils and the beginning of all kinds of transmigration.  The devil of hindrance arises from attaching oneself to all sensual forms and the devil of non-hindrances arises from attaching oneself to all kinds of thinking, in which gods or ghosts will come at the thought of them.  Therefore, all devils is the consequence of ego attachment.

In principle, all the occurrence of devils is accompanied by self.  It originates from the six internal sense fields, or from one’s own thought. All this is due to the ego-attachment.  The coming and going of devils are caused by the mind.”  

Our minds and thoughts are powerful and impact us at every moment.  Even subconscious thoughts have a significant influence on how we think and act.  As such, it is important to reflect on our daily thoughts and actions and eliminate those that are due to the ego-attachment.  This will require some effort and an honest assessment of ourselves.  There will also be times where we will fail but, as cultivators, we must continue to rise, learn from our mistakes, and keep moving forward. 

As noted, our minds are very powerful.  As such, it is important that we cultivate daily – one practice, one mantra, one sutra.  The practice of sutra and mantra chanting will help focus our minds, while the practice of meditation will stabilize our minds.  Only when our minds are stabilized, can we start to see the ego-attachment and our innate buddha-nature. 

The practice of mediation is simple but not easy, as our minds are constantly grasping or trying to attach itself to something.  As such, it is important to find the middle path – not too hard and not too relax on ourseleves.  Apart from our daily practice, we can also engage in other meritorious activities, which will help improve and change our mindsets.  Temple activities are currently suspended as we work together in keeping everyone safe.  However, the temple is still open and as such, one can continue to make offerings, lit incense, make donations, or burn joss paper.  Further, one can also practice walking meditation around the newly constructed Guan Yin Garden with the Thousand Hand Thousand Eyes Guan Yin and Usnisanijaya Stupas, which will bring boundless merits. 

Just like 2020 that has come and gone, our time here will also pass.  As True Buddha School disciples, we must treasure our time here with each other and be diligent in our practice.  It is never easy, and we are not perfect, but as long as we are trying and mindful of our Root Guru, we will reach the other shore one day. 

“Correct responses will be attained after long practice,

Since the Buddha and sentient beings are closely related.

When merit and wisdom accumulated as much as the sea,

The Dharma wheels turns to review the truth.”

~ Grand Master – The Art of Meditation, Book 45 ~

Om Mani Padme Hum.

Best Wishes,

Dharma Assistant M.B.A. Lotus Simon Chin