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936What is the Line Betwen Samsara & Nirvana?

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  • NamoAmituofo
    Mar 29, 2006

      What is the Line Betwen Samsara & Nirvana?

      Q : Is there any line between Samsara and Nirvana?

      A : The fine line is in the mind - because Samsara and Nirvana begins in the mind. Samsara is perpetuated in the moment when we give rise to thoughts of attachment, aversion and delusion. When something is (done) based on ego, it is Samsara already - simple as that - the rest is just a matter of extent of how samsaric it gets. 

      When someone seems egoistic, there might indeed be strong ego (attachment to an illusory self). But there is probably ego in the mind of the perceiver too, which one uses to recognise the egoism in someone else. Not practising humility and compassion to remind oneself or someone else of his/her ego is likely to be one's own ego at play too - especially when one has the capacity to help. The ego is the most subtle of our inner demons. When one's ego lessens, one will realise that many of the people one used to percieve as egoistic were only seen to be as egoistic as one was in the moment. How the world is perceived is a reflection of our mind. We must learn to see the repeating patterns in our experiences.

      In the mind of good practising Bodhisattvas, there are no Maras or enemies out there, all the demons are within oneself, and the real enemy is one's own ego - not someone else's ego. Everyone else is to be seen as a Bodhisattva training us. And we should be Bodhisattvas to everyone - even those we perceive wrong - regardless of their status. Did the Buddha not continually teach Mara too - even if indirectly? We should practise compassion in helping the wrong to see the wrong of their ways. If Buddhists do not help fellow Buddhists, the Maras are likely to "help" themselves with them! The failure of others to transform for the better is their problem only after we have tried our best. Bodhisattvas might pause in their efforts, but they will not give up looking for other skilful means - because they have great faith that all beings have Buddha-nature - even the very "worst" of them.

      - Shen Shi'an