So far, we have learnt the importance of setting our spiritual intention beyond form, and we also learnt the importance of not following the notions of a self, others, beings, and immortality in our practice. One may ask, without the notion of the self, how can we set our spiritual intention?
Careful examination of one’s self reveals that the setting of spiritual intention is beyond the self, where the self merely claims credit of it soon after it happens. In a classic prayer, we would quiet our mind (in fact the entity that needs to be quieted is the self), and when the self is quite, there is communication, or reunion with our inner wisdom, our divine, or whatever we set faith in. Otherwise, it would become a “self-talk” which reinforce the notion of our “self”. Therefore, there is a difference between a prayer where our “self” pray to our faith, and a prayer where we put down our “self” in our faith.
Next time you pray, try and feel the difference:
1) “To (your faith), I pray to be a better person in You”
2) “To (your faith), I surrender to be the better person in You.”
Note: Where the former would seemingly strengthened the self and the latter weaken, real surrender does NOT necessarily lead to either (the strengthening and weakening of the self), but instead embraces the possibility of both. Ponder on it.
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ULTIMATELY THERE IS NO SELF, SEVENTEEN
At the time, Subhuti asked the Buddha: “World Honoured One, if a virtuous man or woman is determined to develop the Supreme Enlightened Mind, how should his or her mind abide and how should it be subdued?”
The Buddha said to Subhuti: “A virtuous man or woman who is determined to develop the Supreme Enlightened Mind, should thus develop it: I have to lead all living beings to put a stop to (reincarnation) and escape (suffering), and when they have been so led, not one of them in fact stops (reincarnating) or escapes suffering. Why?”
“Because, Subhuti, if a Bodhisattva clings to the notion of an ego, a personality, a being and a life, he is not a (true) Bodhisattva. Why?”
“Because, Subhuti, there is not really a Dharma which can develop the Supreme-Enlightenment-Mind.