“Mind is the origin of everything in this world, mind precedes everything and everything is mind-made (Mano Pubbangama Dhamma – Mano Setta Manomaya…) said our Supreme Buddha the enlightened one. From the moment that we are born we have been thinking, saying and doing of various things that we cannot even remember. As per the Buddha, the origin of all such thoughts, words and actions is the mind – let’s discuss how.
We shall begin with this very moment. At this instance you are reading this article. You started to read this Mahamegha paper and thereafter this article, as a result of a thought. It is your mind which lead you to read this paper at this moment instead of doing something else. The characters, words, sentences, etc. that you see are identified and their meanings are recognized and understood by the mind. What you understand by reading this article differs from what others understand. Because, it is the state and nature of your mind that determines how you perceive the world. As an example, we know the story of a poor but courageous man who became rich by selling a dead mouse (Chulla Setti Jathakaya). Unlike most of us, he saw an opportunity in the dead mouse. That is how his mind responded when he saw the dead mouse.
Lee Kuan Yew saw the potential in the people and the peace of land called Singapore. His dreams, vision, strategies and actions to develop Singapore to its present status were all originated in his mind. The thoughts originated in his mind converted into words and actions which revolutionized the attitudes of its people that lead to the development of the country to become a global commercial, finance and transport hub. The real founding father of Singapore is the mind of a human we identify as Lee Kuan Yew. Similarly, the origin of all wonders of the world (e.g. great stupas like ruwanweli maha seya, great wall in China, taj mahal and eiffel tower) and inventions (e.g. light bulb, wheel, airplane, etc.) has been a mind of a human being. Even the great monasteries existed at the time of Supreme Buddha, like Jethawanaramaya and Veluwanaramaya were built and offered as a result of thoughts originated in a mind. In short, the origin of everything that we experience through our five senses (that are not natural) had been a mind.
The mind can also guide people to create disputes and invent accessories required to fight against each other. Today we come across various disputes among human beings arising mainly out of likes and dislikes. There are disputes between; individuals (at work place or home), religious groups, families, countries, ethnic groups, politicians, professionals, etc. It is the mind of human beings which precedes all such disputes. The manner in which a mind perceives what a person sees or hears would decide his or her reaction. More often than not a person, who is not aware of this fact and is not conscious of the behaviour of the mind, would retaliate and would strive to achieve his or her desires at the expense of others’ happiness. Everything that the man has created to harm or destruct another living being, such as pesticides and weapons, were once just thoughts generated in a mind. It is a mind of a person which leads to all terrorist attacks and murders.
“When a person speaks or acts under the guidance of a pure and wholesome mind, the happiness (sukha) generated from such good deeds (kamma) would follow him like a shadow” and in contrast, “if a person speaks or acts as guided by an impure and wicked mind, the pain (dukkha) generated from such bad deeds would follow him like the wheels of a bullock cart follows a bull” says the Supreme Buddha. Thus, we are the architects of our own lives and the world around us. The whole world that we experience is created based on our past deeds originated in our minds. The world that we will experience in future (in this life and thereafter) would be based on how we react to what we see, hear, smell, taste and physically contact. Our mind will determine our priorities e.g. whether to: watch a cricket match or a Dhamma sermon on TV, meditate or exercise, visit a temple or a friend, spend a holiday at a hotel or attend a meditation retreat, etc.
A mind of a human being is capable of: generating conflicts as well as peace, hatred as well as forgiveness; and restlessness as well as calmness. Mind can create enemies as well as friends. It can make one’s life miserable or joyful. Mind separates the world and it unites the world. Mind created history and it would determine future. If one can be conscious of the behaviour of this powerful mind, how various thoughts are generated and pass away, one day he will realize that we live-in and experience a mind-made world and it is not a real world (as we perceive). May we all have the good fortune of recognizing the creator of this world and thereby liberating from it!
By Mohan Senaratne