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Pure Mind Leads to Nirvana

Maitreya said, "Discrimination is consciousness. Nondiscrimination is wisdom. Clinging to consciousness will bring disgrace but clinging to wisdom will bring purity. Disgrace leads to birth and death but purity leads to Nirvana."

"Discrimination" refers to discriminating and holding views. To the Buddhist, discrimination is a wilderness, a turmoil, a clinging, a bad path and a false way. He who travels on it will not achieve nirvana, even if he becomes a Buddhist. A mind filled with discrimination is a mind that is always in turmoil.

No matter how long he meditates, the man who discriminates will not achieve through samatha the calm mind necessary practice vipassana meditation with success. For vipassana helps the Buddhist achieve the Pure Mind.

"Pure Mind" is achieved by "abandoning the killing of living beings, abstaining therefrom; abandoning the taking of what is not given, abstaining therefrom; abandoning misconduct in sensual pleasure...abandoning false speech...malicious speech...harsh speech...gossip, abstaining therefrom. Abandoning greed, he is no more greedy. Abandoning malevolence and hatred, his heart becomes free from ill will. Abandoning wrong-view, he
becomes one of right view.”

"Consciousness" refers to rebirth in the six realms of desire, which is the destination of people with a mind of discrimination, which results in an impure mind. Thus "discrimination is consciousness" implies that discriminations leads to the evil karma associated with rebirth.

It is good karma to achieve nirvana, since the goal of Buddhist practice is to escape the wheel of karmic existence that is rebirth. For hard is it to achieve nirvana, and most consciousnesses are destined for rebirth due to evil karma from both past and present existences.

"Nondiscrimination" is associated with the mind tamed by samatha practice, for a calm mind is a mind of clarity. With a clear mind, it is possible with vipassana meditation to achieve Pure Mind.

"Wisdom" refers to fruit of the Pure Mind. For a Buddhist who has achieved Pure Mind is freed from the bonds of discrimination and the evil karma arising from acts of discrimination. Indeed, discriminations results in evil karma for anyone who acts upon it. Anyone who holds the discriminating view is sure to becloud his mind, judging other people and acting out of the ignorance that such discrimination causes. For ignorance is the result of evil karma due to discrimination.

Thus vipassana helps the Buddhist with his mind calmed by samatha practice to abandon the six worldly dusts of killing, theft, misconduct in sensual pleasure (including sexual misconduct such as adultery, child abuse, rape and sexual deviancy), wrong speech (lying, gossip, criticism, verbal abuse, and greed), ill will (malevolence and hatred), and wrong views.

Freed of the six dusts, the Buddhist becomes wise through practice of samatha-vipassana. This is why it is important to not just practice samatha and achieve the calm mind. For the Buddhist who practices samatha meditation is like a farmer who plants soy and other legumes to make a field fertile. After the season of soy is over, he can plant rice and flood the land to obtain rice and other grains, provided he alternate with grozing legumes on it. Likewise, the practice of samatha meditation not only prepares the mind of a Buddhist for vipassana meditation, it also helps him to deal with the challenges of daily living. Thus, samatha-vipassana meditation not only prepares the Buddhist to achieve Nirvana, it also prepares him to become a better person than he would be were he a farmer ignorant of Buddhist practice.

Thus "nondiscrimination is wisdom" means the abandonment of the six dusts which frees the Buddhist from ignorance and the cycle of rebirth. With continuing practice of samatha-vipassana meditation he can then understand that "clinging to consciousness will bring disgrace but clinging to wisdom will bring purity."

With the Pure Mind achieved through samatha-vipassana meditation, the Buddhist will realize that "disgrace leads to birth and death but purity leads to Nirvana."

For what is birth and death but the cycle of rebirth in Samsara, the Six Realms of Desire? And what is the Pure Mind but the means by which the Buddhist achieves Nirvana?

So go forth and practice meditation, knowing that your practice will result in the Pure Mind. Indeed, with the Pure Mind, the Buddhist shall achieve Nirvana!


East Asian Yogācāra - Later history and the modern era:

Discrimination: a Buddhist perspective:

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