Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Flower and Weed Consciousness

In Touching Peace: Practicing the Art of Mindful Living, Thich Nhat Hanh speaks of the two forms of consciousness in Buddhist psychology. Given that this concept will play a large part in many future posts, it should be touched on briefly. In the Buddhist system, the consciousness is divided into "mind consciousness" and "store consciousness." While one may fall into the habit of viewing the division from the Conscious/Subconscious perspective, it is important to realize that the two differ[future post].
Each memory, experience, perception, view, etc. is stored in the store consciousness in the form of a "mind seed" or "seed." These seeds manifest in the mind consciousness either as joy, happiness, and peace or anger, sorrow, and fear, depending on the quality of seed that we collect on the way.
For example, if our good friend is promoted to a new position and we harbor ill feelings of jealousy and we hold this feeling inside and begin to hate, this will form a strong seed that will one day manifest into the mind consciousness again as anger. The greatest danger is that, as Thich Nhat Hanh explains, "any seed that manifests in our mind consciousness always returns to our store consciousness stronger." We sow the seeds for future suffering. A seed of joy becomes a flower and a seed of anger becomes a weed .

this diagragm illustrates why I took up music and not art.

We begin life with a relatively empty field. By the time we have gained control over our consciousness and have become aware of the patterning of all things and the fact that within pleasure seems to hide a bit of pain, we have already sown many seeds that have manifested as weeds, over and over.....and over. Of course, we have had our share of flowers, but as in the unkept garden, the weeds have dominion. It seems a little unfair that our first steps in the spiritual life are about 10,000 steps behind, but each of the steps is a teacher. Each weed that you pull will teach you not to plant another weed seed. Each flower will guide you to plant another flower seed. When we mindfully live in joy, happiness, and peace, we gather our flower seeds and grow strong roots. When we mindfully navigate difficult experiences we prevent the weed from being planted. When we mindfully intercept these seeds as they manifest into the mind consciousness, we design our garden.
And so we sit in meditation and we strengthen our power to concentrate so that we may strengthen our power to mindfully navigate our field of consciousness and bring forth the threefold flower garden.

Nhat Hanh, Thich Touching Peace: Berkeley:Paralax Press 1992



At 12:52 PM, Blogger Sujatin said...

And even if we can't pull up all the weeds we can discriminate as to which seeds we water.

At 6:12 PM, Blogger Bodhiwater said...

At each stage, new weeds seem to lie hidden behind "ego" and other delusions (in my own case). Your comment rings very true. Well said.


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