Whatever we see around us is a mirage, a result of causes and conditions. What is the Buddhist viewpoint of the global financial crisis? The material world that we are pursuing is essential, but we need to engage with awareness. Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it’s a materialistic truth. From the Buddhist point of view, I think we need to develop our inner qualities that help us understand the value of inner and outer wealth. We need to stop overemphasizing material wealth. The main ingredients are inborn qualities in human beings such as wisdom and compassion; they play an important part in knowing how to use material wealth.
Young people need to take small steps. If each individual decides to make a small change in himself then the sheer size of the young population will ensure a big change in the country. It could be in terms of just raising their awareness level and looking inwards. If we enhance our sense of compassion, we can live in a peaceful way without any revolutionary change. There are many qualities that we have when we are born, such as patience and enthusiasm; they are priceless inborn qualities. Just by taking small steps and focusing on these qualities, we can bring synchronized changes within us.
Truth is of two kinds: absolute and relative. To be able to understand it, you have to go through several processes of meditation, gaining a lot of experience and knowledge. You need to see that the knowledge you receive matches your experience. Then you can find out what is correct and what is not and you can find wisdom. It’s what the Buddha taught; the method is very special. A confused mind wants to engage in something concrete and real; it wants to know reality. Truth can be shown by certain signs, but it cannot be explained by words. When we are curious, we ask a question and we get an answer; sometimes we want to know if there is something more to the answer and in doing so, we actually miss the original answer.
One has to go about it in a balanced way. If you put pressure on yourself, it won’t last long. If you don’t have a goal, then just by taking baby steps and without breaking the rhythm and practice, it is possible to achieve a lot of things. When we evolve mentally, our mental wealth also increases. The more a realized being understands about himself, the richer he becomes in every way. They don’t have to doubt their material wealth and they don’t have to worry about it as it is not a priority for them. If there is a need, they can acquire it with little difficulty.
The mind makes its own realities. The more challenging part for us is to understand relative truth. The absolute truth is simple — everything is selfless, that’s all. It’s the relative truth that’s more challenging. The whole process of meditation and of being a practitioner is trying to understand the relative truth because the absolute truth is simple, and there is nothing much to explain there. It is the relative truth that is very complicated. One is true relative, and the other is false relative, but it is very difficult to understand that. Once you have understood the false relative and the true relative, you will soon come to understand the absolute truth.
The nature of relative truth is like a veil, with which people cover their face. You feel that there is something, but you can’t really explain it. We cannot understand what is really out there. For instance, the idea of self is a relative truth. We want to know whether there is a self or not. We must take time out to think how we want to live our life. You might have to make sacrifices. Meditation is not like a painkiller; it’s a medicine, and it needs to be applied like a therapy. You have to sacrifice some time for it, have a proper routine, and gradually, you will be able to concentrate.
When we talk about primordial wisdom or compassion, table or pen, from a Buddhist perspective, we talk about the unborn mind, an unborn table or an unborn pen. Primordial means that though there is a beginning, it really is beyond comprehension. Our ordinary mind cannot perceive it. That’s why there is no beginning, because nothing is born. If something is born, then there are many contradictions about it. For instance, if the table is born, does it have a cause, a tradition and an effect? If there is a cause, then it will be difficult to say that it comes from a chemical compound. Then where do the chemical compounds come from? The idea of the ‘Unborn’ was introduced by the Buddha and later emphasized by other great beings. It means whatever we experience, see, hear, touch, and taste are nothing but certain conditions that come from certain causes.
The unborn self is like a mirage. This unborn truth can be described better by using classical examples of a mirage or magic shows by magicians. Everything that appears is unborn; it never really existed — like a rainbow or a mirage. Sentient beings go through multiple births because of this mirage. They see a mirage and they follow it. For instance, water is unborn. Human existence is like a complicated and elaborate dream, crafted by the mind.
Never tell a story because it is true: tell it because it is a good story.