Magnetic mind


One teacher gives this example – it’s a modern example.  The Romans and the Chinese knew about magnets, and so did the Greeks.  If you have a magnet and it hangs free, if something comes near it there’s attraction, but it can also be repulsion.  Repulsion or attraction, one of the two.  The teacher says they’re generally listed together in the classics – love and hate, because they both depend in fact on interest.  You can’t hate someone you’re not interested in.  It means that the mind is charged, it becomes a magnet.  Most minds they say, it’s just a question of what is the nearest source of attraction or repulsion – to go to that, or go away from that, and most minds simply revolve like that.  That was all the Romans saw – they hung up these natural magnets, these loadstones, by a thread.  That was all they saw.  They never noticed that if the magnet was isolated, it would gradually settle down and it would give a direction.  The Chinese noticed it – they noticed if the magnet was hung free in isolation would give a direction.  Of course, the Chinese are so different from us in every way – they thought it was the south-pointing needle; whereas we know, of course, that it points north.  But still, the principle holds – they discovered it.  There’s nothing there but the magnet, but if it’s sheltered from outside influences and if it’s left long enough to settle down, then there’ll be new information – information that can save your life.  That is in everybody, not just in the brilliant, the clever, the eloquent, the powerful, the strong characters, but in everybody.

In the Burma jungle those who were going on the Chindit expeditions against the enemy they were given little cigarette lighters, and they were very, very poor – they were semi-rusty when you got them.  The lighter wheel was so bad they would just about work; so they were not worth stealing, they were so poor.  But underneath the wadding there was a tiny little compass.  So if he was caught by some of the villagers and his things were taken, they wouldn’t take that because to start with they’d have no petrol to use it and secondly it was partly rusty.   But inside that there was a secret, giving the north-south, using which he could escape from the jungle and get free.  But it had to be made very, very poor, because otherwise it would have been stolen from him.

One teacher said that the burglar when he’s looking for the money, where it’s hidden, he doesn’t go to the central place in the room; but he digs under the coffee tin.  Under the coffee there’s an envelope with a hundred-pound note – that’s where it is.  A dirty, rusty pot with stale coffee and that’s where the treasure is, so that it won’t be discovered and stolen easily.  He said you should think of that.  The outside of people gives no clue as to what’s inside, that there is a treasure inside.

Then the next point is about effort.  There are two trains of instruction, which sometimes people notice.  One says that in the highest consciousness, the highest awareness, there’s no effort; and the other says you have to put your whole heart and soul into it.  They say, as one does say when one wants to get out of something, “You’re told these things are effortless and you try to attain them by making tremendous efforts.  Isn’t it absolutely ridiculous.  It’s a self-contradiction.”  So they either go in for meditation which practically is falling asleep, or else they go in for [?] meditation and they never attain any calm at all.

One teacher gives this example – when you’re tired, you get home and you’ve been working very hard and you’re tired.  You’ve just managed to have your meal and you’d like to go to bed, to sleep.  Going to sleep is no effort, but you have to make the effort to get up and go into the bedroom and turn the blanket and get into bed.  Without those preliminary efforts you either won’t fall asleep because you’ll be uncomfortable, or you’ll sleep very badly.  So he says the efforts in meditation and following the discipline and not to attain a new state of consciousness, but they’re to remove the obstacles to that consciousness.  Just as it’s not that getting up and going to the room and turning back the bedclothes produces sleep, but it simply removes the obstacles to our natural sleep.

Another example is given. In Japan the Emperor is often retired traditionally, and when they retired they had to make a sort of formal act of abdication.  We had one in this country in ’37 when the king abdicated.  To abdicate means to give up all the royal powers entirely and they’re considerable.  When he abdicates, the instrument of abdication is presented to the king and he seals it and signs it – but those are assertions of the royal power.  So he’s doing the opposite of what he wants to do – to give up that royal power.  But it’s by this assertion of the royal power that he can give up the royal power.  In the same way, the teacher said, by these actions of the mind, body and following the discipline we are enabled to give up the enslavement to the things and circumstances which surround us.

In Japan inspiration has come through those who sit in silent meditation.  We can think, “What would they produce?”  The great Kobo Daishi, the great saint, Kobo, he invented the Japanese alphabet in his meditation.  In this way the Chinese language was brought, and the Japanese didn’t have to learn Chinese as they could adapt the Chinese to the Japanese language.  That could have been done by any very bright analyst, but Kobo devised the alphabet to cover each of the syllables of the Japanese alphabet once and once only in a rhyme which is used today.  Then he made that rhyme mean the essence of two lines of the Nirvana Sutra.  It says that all things are transient, this is the law of all existence, but we can pass beyond that transience and we can be in the peace of nirvana.  Now Kobo, this great genius in 700 A.D., he had the inspiration by which he composed a rhyme in which every syllable of the Japanese language comes once and once only, and it has the meaning of the Nirvana Sutra.  When we recite our alphabet, we just say each letter in order without any meaning.   Kobo through his inspiration produced this rhyme in which the meaning is; “The blossoms are fragrant, but alas they fade.  In this world of ours who can remain for ever.  This day, crossing beyond the mountains of illusion, we see no more shallow dreams, nor are we intoxicated by them.”

Titles in this series are:

1. Penetrate deeply into truth

2. Magnetic mind

3. Kobo Daishi made a new alphabet

4. People sell themselves cheap

The full talk is: Notes and Anecdotes 1989

© Trevor Leggett


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