What is going on in the inside?

Many of us are still immature (bāla) and do not fully realize it.  In such a state we easily build up a system of misunderstandings and wrong interpretations of life, including fault finding and blaming others for what in reality is our own immaturity that we wish not to confront.  It can very easily lead to a kind of delusional state of mind.

In such a state of mind one lives almost entirely on the outside whereas their inside is laden with emotions/feelings and a lot of changing mental images.  From this position, it is much easier to be aware of things on the outside and pay much less attention to what is going on in the inside.

In Buddhism, we must bring our awareness more to what is going on in the inside in terms of the emotions/feelings which mark the level at which we are attached to the psychophysical body (skandhas).  This attachment is more apparent with regard to anger, even short temperedness, and sexuality.  While the outer may trigger the inside forcing it to react, it is from the inside that our emotions/feelings emerge as well as our spiritual ignorance.  This will be the main focus of Buddhism and especially in Zen where the effort is totally dedicated to intuiting the Buddha-nature.

The immature person is continually fixated on what goes on outside and pays scarcely any attention to the inside except to the emotions/feelings, desires, impulses, and sexual urges which continually move an individual.  This immature individual never sees the inside as a spiral staircase that goes down into a much different world than what is on the outside.

The biggest mistake beginners make when they enter the world of Buddhism to confront their immature selves is to believe that the teacher is capable of addressing their needs and cleaning up their mess.  This is not true.  Buddhism only equips us at best on how to confront our immature self and the stages we will go through when we begin to change ourselves.  If a person can’t manage this then probably they need to go to a psychologist or a psychiatrist for additional help.

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The Zennist

Author of The Zennist blog since 2007.

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