(My humble work space.)
For the past year I and a dozen other Dharma practitioners have been studying a wonderful Buddhist book on dharma called 'Universal Compassion' written in the 12 century by Geshe Chekhawa. This past weekend we had our discussion group which essentially means the room bombards 2 lovingly hand picked students for an hour and a half questions on the section we have just finished covering. And yes it is intimidating as it sounds but yet it is kind and in the spirit of wanting to gain a deeper understanding of the teaching of training the mind.
There is a line in the book that simply states: "Always rely on a happy mind alone.... A controlled mind will remain calm and happy no matter what the conditions." This line caught my attention and held it. I found myself contemplating its meaning and realized at first glance it can seem some what innocuous. But as I held it in my mind I started to work with it and wondered what would happen to my mind if I experienced the loss of my husband or son or another close family member could I remain calm? Yeah, I think calm could be achieved and I can say that without feeling I am being deceptive. The happy part kind of throws me. So I proposed the question to the class already knowing my answer in my heart having found it in my contemplation and meditation the night before.
I asked what does the line "A controlled mind will remain calm and happy no matter what the conditions" mean? Does it mean that we walk around with rainbows and unicorns in our minds even if the sky is falling? What if my husband were to die? I'm pretty sure I would cry. One person in the class told me I was attached and I should practice non attachment. Another student told me that I should not concern myself with samsara... My first inclination was to reject both answers but instead of doing that I checked my mind to see if I was attached or hung up in samsara and feeling pretty confident that neither apply I moved to the answer from my own heart. For me the answer is we should always rely on the happiness that is cultivated from a heart of compassion. It does not mean that we turn our back on suffering it means we embrace it with an open and loving heart. It's not a denial of what is going on in samsara but an embracing of our fear's and touching it with a loving hand and sending it on its way.
Having a loving kindness towards someone elses loss or their moving on from this life to the next... That's not attachment or being hung up in samsara. I don't think Buddha is asking us to our deny feelings or reality I think from my own side that he is teaching us to stand firmly with a certitude on ground that is constantly shifting!
What a lovely opportunity to learn a deep lesson from a simple line of dharma. Yes! We should always rely upon a happy mind alone. Always. xx