The goal of Buddhist practice is to find our true Self. This body, our form, our name, this life… Is only a grain of sand in the vast ocean of our Buddha Nature. Who were we before we were John Doe? Who will we be after John Doe? Our present form is simply a perception of our minds. Our true Self, the Buddha we will all become is hidden behind a dirty mirror.
Our mind is a mirror. We have a mirror mind. It’s all fogged up like the foggy mirror after we get out of a hot shower. Behind this foggy mirror is our true Self. The fog represents our ignorance, greed, and anger – the poisons that keep us from discovering our true Selves. To clean this mirror we might use the wet towel we just dried off with, but the towel barely cleaned the mirror. The mirror is still foggy, and now streaky with little fuzzies from the towel. So then we try to use our hand, but still it only took away some of the fogginess and the fuzzies. Our hand cleaned it up a little bit and we can begin to see a shape that is us. So then you use the hand towel to wipe away some more. The mirror is free of fogginess, but now it’s streaky and not completely clean. Now you can at least see if there’s any soap left in your hair. Your form is starting to look familiar but not completely clear. Finally, you use a window cleaner and a paper towel to clean off the mirror.
The mirror is now completely crystal clear and you can see all your pores and white hairs. You’ve found yourself. Likewise, to find our true Selves, you must work to clear the fogginess of our ignorance, greed, and anger from our mind. It takes effort and resources to clear away the fog, but in the end, the benefit is total freedom… Liberation. Buddhism gives us the tools and resources to reach our liberation. It is our job to make the effort, determination, and motivation to use the tools and resources. Otherwise we will always be looking at a foggy mirror; wondering who is behind it.
Smile and be well!