Behavior Mirrors the Mind

Guan Ming

PureInsight | July 9, 2006

[] Our thoughts
are mirrored in what we say and what we do. From a person's
experiences, successes or failures, you can see his/her heart.
Likewise, the way a person behaves reflects his/her aspirations and
beliefs. Cultivators cherish the principle of "truthfulness,
benevolence and forbearance in their hearts," so they naturally guide
their behavior with this principle. Ordinary people often view fame,
wealth and human emotions as the sources of happiness. Therefore from
what they say and what they do you can always observe their pursuit of
worldly enjoyments. They do not believe in what they can not see, nor
do they understand there are goals you have to cultivate your mind to

There is a story about a pianist who was held captive during World War
II. He was locked in a small cage for seven years. The imprisonment
consumed his health, deformed his body, and forced him to witness
continuous deaths of other prisoners. But the pianist never gave up
hope of surviving. When the war was over, the pianist was sent back to
his homeland where he started a new life. To the surprise of all, his
piano skills were even more exquisite than ever. The pianist told
people that during the seven years of imprisonment, to overcome the
fear and encourage himself to hold on, he practiced piano playing in
his mind every day. The imagined playing was so vivid and accurate,
that he never forgot a single detail of piano playing.

Another well known story about the heart and the behavior happened in
ancient China in the Song Dynasty. Su Dongpo, the famous scholar, one
day joined Fo Yin, a Buddhist monk, in sitting meditation. They
meditated for some time before Su Dongpo opened his eyes and asked Fo
Yin, "What did you see in me when I was meditating?" Fo Yin looked at
him and nodded in approval, "You looked like a stately Buddha." Su
Dongpo was very pleased. After a while, Fo Yin asked Su the same
question. Su wanted to make a joke with him, so he said, "You look to
me like bullshit." Fo Yin smiled, and did not retort. Su Dongpo felt he
had taken advantage of Fo Yin, so he went back home in a good mood, and
told his sister, Su Xiaomei about it. To his surprise, his sister
laughed at him for his stupidity. Su Dongpo did not understand why. Su
Xiaomei then explained, "Monk Fo Yin cherishes Buddha in his heart, so
in his eyes you looked like Buddha. You said he looked like bullshit.
That means your heart is full of bullshit."

The story tells us that a person's criticism of others may not be able
to point out other people's problems, but it can surely reveal the
mind, knowledge and spiritual realm of the criticizer himself. People
are mirrors of their own mind, and the way one perceives others
reflects the state of his own heart. As said in Buddhism, "The
Buddha-light illuminates everywhere and rectifies all abnormalities."
If a cultivator's heart is full of benevolence and peace, the evil
around him will be dissolved, and everything within his sight will turn
out beautiful.

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