A little master that flew by Dharma Aft erm ath
by Rasika Quek
I was sitting in my favorite coffee shop waiting for my “century egg” porridge and warm barley drink to be served when I saw a little sparrow fly in and made itself at home below one of the unoccupied square tables. It was an ordinary Saturday afternoon where thankfully, the sky was blue and free of haze. The little creature looking for scraps of food looked like it was risking its life by flying into a human habitat to try its luck. Maybe there would be a tasty morsel here and there lying on the floor underneath the tables. What was remarkable was its apparent lack of fear in making its way to the shop, totally oblivious of events in the human world. The sensational news about a few prominent people being shot in broad day light probably meant nothing to the birds. The world can be a dangerous place for both humans and birds alike if the seeds of karma ripen against us.
And this little bird could teach us a thing or two. To achieve what we want in everyday life, we have to master fear and not let it paralyze us into doing nothing. For a little bird, it means becoming aware of the surroundings – where food would most likely be found and where the escape routes were if unfriendly humans spotted its presence. Once it was fully appraised of the situation only then would it make its move. Birds do not read Sun Tzu’s book, the “Art of War” for survival but depend on their instinctive judgments to take action. One wrong move could spell instant disaster, for life in the animal kingdom can be merciless where the drama of existence plays out transparently and relentlessly. That which seeks out food becomes food for another even at the very next moment.
I do not know whether animals are aware of the Law of Attraction. Briefly, the Law of Attraction postulates that we attract into our existence what our dominant thoughts create. I believe a confident little sparrow with awareness of its surroundings can survive a little longer than its other brethren. According to the Great Sage, the Mind is the fore-runner of all things. If the Mind perceives things in a wrong way and acts accordingly, then much grief is sure to follow. For a sparrow to live a little longer, it must perceive in its own mind abundant opportunities even if danger lurks. It must learn how to acquire food even if there is danger all the time (from humans
and other animals). It will soon perish if it chooses not to seek out food, paralyzed by fear and inaction.
For most of us humans, the root of fear lies with uncertainty. When we are uncertain, we have fear and much restlessness as we are anxious of the outcome, the steps to take, what the future will hold, what people will think, etc. The inability to resolve our dilemmas or find a solution that works makes us seek an escape route by not confronting the situation or running away. We refuse to accept what is happening to us and forget that the situation can be transformed by changing our own attitude. Imagine a mature tree with strong roots and a sturdy trunk refusing to take root after being transplanted to a different location, all the time wishing to walk away from the new place because it was too comfortable and attached to its old place. If we can remember this walking tree analogy, we would realize that most of the time in life we are behaving just like that tree, preferring to walk away from the challenges that
confront us. Because of that, we don’t take root and are“unstable” both in the physical world and in our emotional well-being.
When we face unfamiliar surroundings or situations, the tendency is to blame other people or things and make them responsible for causing us fear or uncertainty. But this is not seeing things rightly. The fear does not come from outside. It comes from within and is projected outwards towards an external object or entity in such a way that it seems to come from that external source. Using the mirror analogy, our fear originates from our own mind and we use the external objects as a sort of mirror in order to bounce back that fear back to our physical senses. In this way, we succeed in making that fear appear as if coming from an external source so that we can absolve ourselves of blame and make others responsible for our fear. Of course, this is self-deception at the deepest level. But how many people actually realize this? As the Great Sage said, it is our own Mind that is the Creator of our own suffering or happiness. Blaming other people or things for whatever misery that befalls us shows our ignorance or refusal to take personal responsibility for things that seem to happen to us. Actually, things do not just “happen to us.” We were responsible for planting the very seeds that produced the corresponding fruits or results we now experience through our five senses.
When we choose to perform a wrong action, we will definitely experience a corresponding painful result. Similarly for a right action, we will definitely experience happiness as a result. When we blame politicians, the weather, the economy, etc. for all our woes, we are actually deflecting the responsibility of our well-being to external causes. If that is the case, we are only nominal Buddhists for we don’t actually believe that it is our own Mind that creates the misery or suffering that we experience. We attribute our misery or happiness to external physical bodies or things that seem to dictate our destiny. That is a grave wrong view for we believe that our own Mind has no power to decide whether we want to be happy or not. So we believe that whatever that comes from external sources has the power to determine our own happiness or misery. Actually, that misery or happiness had to originate from our Mind first. The external objects are just mirrors that reflect back the same vibrations that we created. In other words, we are both the transmitter and receiver of the vibrations or frequencies and the external objects function just like mirrors. All the time, we make choices, sometimes sub-consciously, which then transfers the responsibility of the consequences to the external. By doing so, we absolve ourselves from blame and forget that we are the real Creator of our experiences, good or bad.
When we start to see our brothers and sisters with the eyes of loving-kindness, we see Oneness instead of separation. When there is Oneness, the mirrors reflect the same reality – there is nothing really external or internal except by the way we perceive things. All phenomena are then seen as inter-related and transcend personal ownership and they change rapidly according to intentions of the Mind that come and go in an unceasing continuous flow. EH