Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,
Maybe you can remember our CDHK month in which I used prompts extracted from "Manuscript Found In Accra", by Paulo Coelho in July 2013, or maybe you know "The Prophet" written by Khalil Gibran. Both are books in which people question prophets or spiritual people, or just wise people. This Theme Week "The Songs of Milarepa" the prompts are extracted from "Hundred Thousand Songs by Milarepa". This book is written in the same way as the both I mentioned above.
In "The Songs of ..." Milarepa answers different questions by people around him and today I love to share a part of "The Songs of ..." in which a young shepherd asks him a question:
[...] A young shepherd boy came to Milarepa and said:, "Dear Lama, last night I tried to find out what my mind is and how it works. I observed it carefully and found that I have only one mind. Even though one wants to, one cannot kill this mind. However much one wishes to dismiss it, it will not go away. If one tries to catch it, it cannot be grasped; nor can it be held by pressing it. If you want it to remain, it will not stay; if you release it, it will not go. You try to gather it; it cannot be picked up. You try to see it; it cannot be seen. You try to understand it; it cannot be known. If you think it is an existing entity and cast it off, it will not leave you. If you think that it is non-existent, you feel it running on. It is something illuminating, aware, wide-awake, yet incomprehensible. In short, it is hard to say what the mind really is. Please be kind enough to explain the meaning of the mind."
Listen to me, dear shepherd, the protector [of sheep)!
By merely hearing about sugar's taste,
Sweetness cannot be experienced;
Though one's mind may understand
What sweetness is,
It cannot experience directly;
Only the tongue can know it.
In the same way one cannot see in full the nature of mind,
Though he may have a glimpse of it
If it has been pointed out by others.
If one relies not on this one glimpse,
But continues searching for the nature of mind,
He will see it fully in the end.
Dear shepherd, in this way you should observe your mind.
The boy then said, "In that case, please give me the Pointing-out-Instruction*, and this evening I will look into it. I shall return to-morrow and tell you the result." Milarepa replied, "Very well. When you get home, try to find out the color of the mind. Is it white, red, or what? What is its shape? Is it oblong, round, or what? Also, try to locate where in your body it dwells."
The next morning when the sun rose, the shepherd drove the sheep before him, and came to Milarepa, who asked, "Did you try last night to find out what the mind is like?" The boy replied, "Yes, I did."
"What does it look like?" [...] (Source: The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa, page 123 & 124)
*) Lit.: "Through the 'Pointing-out-Instruction' one may glimpse it." The Pointing-out-Instruction is an essential practice of Mahamudra. The main concern of Mahamudra is the unfoldment of the essence of one's mind. To accomplish this, the disciple is given by his Guru the "Pointing-out" demonstration. This can be done in different ways with different gestures-a smile, a blow, a push, a remark, etc. This is strikingly similar to the “koan”-tradition of Zen, though the style and process appear somewhat different.