Taming the Mind
Do no harm whatsoever,
Perfect positive actions,
Completely tame your mind;
This is the teaching of the Buddha.
—The Buddha Shakyamuni
What is the Basis for Taming the Mind?
The basis for taming the mind is the originally pure and perfect nature of our mind itself. In the Buddhist tradition, the mind’s true nature is described as the primordial unity of luminosity and emptiness, also known as “buddha nature.” This pure nature is the essence of every living being’s mind, and it is upon this basis that every one of us has the potential to tame our own mind.
What is to Be Tamed?
What is to be tamed, meaning eliminated, are those factors that obscure the positive qualities of our buddha nature and cause suffering. This includes ignorance, deluded perceptions, disturbing emotions, harmful actions, and the karma that results from all of these. By taming the mind, we seek to address the root cause of suffering – ignorance and the other factors that flow from it.
What is the Fruition of Taming the Mind?
The fruition of taming the mind is both temporary and ultimate peace and happiness. This means creating more causes of happiness and eliminating the causes of suffering, which ultimately leads to a complete cessation of suffering and ultimate happiness, or enlightenment.
What Tames the Mind?
An authentic path is one that tames the mind by providing methods such as meditation and contemplations that lead to happiness and eliminate suffering.
How Do We Tame the Mind?
We begin the process of taming our minds by relying on a qualified teacher – in the Tibetan tradition, a lama – who comes from a pure and authentic lineage. In this context, “lineage” means that the wisdom and compassion of the practice have been passed down from teacher to student in an uninterrupted and verifiable succession.
Relying on a teacher is achieved through alternating among listening to teachings, contemplating those teachings, and meditating upon them. Taming the mind through this threefold approach in gradual stages, as originally taught by the Buddha Shakyamuni, is extremely important. If we practice according to this tradition, our practice will be complete and correct, containing the vital points that lead to spiritual maturation. As a result, we will attain the power to benefit not only ourselves but all sentient beings.