What is Dharma?…. Knowing Mind is Dharma
When we hear the word dharma what do we think of? Often we think of sādhana practice, study, visualizations, meditation, etc. But what is the real meaning of dharma? The real meaning of dharma is mind. Without knowing our mind how can we know what is dharma? We need to reflect and contemplate on how our mind is right now. We can do this by asking ourselves what is more important–body, speech, or mind?
Often we think that the body is more important. But who is the boss? Body, speech, or mind? When we are asked how we are we may refer to my brain or my nervous system ….not much mention of mind. We fail to understand our consciousness as being something other than a physical thing.
Yet, without valuing our mind how can we value the dharma?
Food for Body and for Mind
Nowadays there is great emphasis on eating, organic, natural, clean foods. We understand that if we eat rubbish food, we become rubbish! We feel lethargic, sluggish, and unhealthy. But if we eat good food we have more vitality and energy. Exactly the same applies in dharma. Dharma becomes valuable when we recognize our unhealthy thoughts, emotions, habits, or perhaps we can say “character”.
We may understand what is meant when we talk about negative behavior, but negative thoughts or negative emotions…what is meant by this??? So we can easily recognize negative behavior, our culture is very much focused on this. But where does this behavior originate?
The mind or consciousness. It originates in the mind and is expressed in our body and in our speech.
Even without saying a word, we can manipulate others just through the act of looking at them in a certain way.
“ Hey who you looking at?”, we may say to someone. We may call this an energetic expression ( for those who work with energy fields). But as dharma practitioners, we call it an emotional reaction.
Reflecting and Contemplating: Knowing Mind
Before we begin a session of meditation or formal practice we should spend a few minutes contemplating.
“What are my weaknesses and my strengths?”
“ What is making me angry, jealous, or irritating me right now?”
Recognize, acknowledge but do not judge. This is our first step as a dharma practitioner.
Three Categories of Mind: Important for a Dharma Practitioner.
How do we embody these three? These are the basic things to reflect upon when we begin the practice of dharma. And this is far more important than judging your practice in how long you meditate or how long a retreat you have attended!
So spend some time regularly looking where these positive qualities of kindness, wisdom, and confidence appear in your life. If they do not appear then we need to find ways to cultivate them…This is Dharma.
Can we check on ourselves honestly… “ What is more important..body…speech or mind? “
Take time to reflect upon our physical actions, our speech, and our thinking. Are they tellingly harming others? Are they helping or harming me?
First, reflect like this and then make a commitment to change.
Become familiar with ourselves, our strengths and weaknesses, acknowledge them, and endeavor to increase kindness, wisdom, and confidence in ourselves.