The Heart of Enlightenment

The heart of enlightenment is twofold: Clear seeing and complete understanding.

These two are really not two; they depend on each other.

If there’s clear seeing without complete understanding, then that’s like a person hallucinating the full moon on a new moon night. They might see the moon clearly with all of its canyons and craters. But the moon isn’t there.

If there’s complete understanding without clear seeing, then that’s like a person watching the sunset. Once it’s sunk below the horizon and night falls, they think that the sun has disappeared and that it’ll be night forever.

If there’s neither clear seeing nor complete understanding, then that’s like a person hallucinating the full moon on a new moon night and who, upon seeing the moon sink below the horizon, laments at its passing, feeling that it’ll never return again.

If there’s both clear seeing and complete understanding, then that’s like a person seeing no moon when there’s no moon. This person also understands that, even though the sun has set, the night is impermanent and that the dawn will come again.

Clear seeing is cultivated through Right Morality and Right Meditation; complete understanding is cultivated through Right Meditation and Right Wisdom. The Noble Eightfold Path and/or the 6 or 10 Perfections are used to craft the mind into a welcoming and hospitable place for clarity and understanding.

Through bodhicitta, seeing clearly and knowing completely become our main desires in life. Through nekkhamma, we lose interest in everything that hinders their development.

A life dedicated to clarity and understanding is a good life; a mind that values them is a strong mind; a heart that beats with them is an open heart. Clarity and understanding are the highest good in all the world, because everything that’s good, true, kind, and strong flows from them.

An understanding, clear mind sees no separation between the Dharma and itself, between the Dharma and anything that appears. This is the utmost joy, and the unshakeable peace right there among the misery and chaos of ordinary life.

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