The Mind of Clear Light
Buddhism teaches that the essential nature of the mind is pure, and as clear as light. It teaches us that our basic subtle consciousness is untainted by negative emotions. This is described for us in the Buddhist tradition as the "Clear light mind” or “Buddha nature". Buddhism also teaches us that negative emotions are not an intrinsic part of our underlying consciousness.
Negative emotions such as hatred, fear, anger and jealousy are the result of conditioning and our personal suffering. Thus, it is possible to eliminate negative emotions which are not a part of who we are fundamentally. This means is that we are all pure and good by our very nature. Knowing this provides a ray of hope for us as individuals, as well as our entire human family. It also means that within each one of us is the potential for change, and that we are not trapped by our past life experiences. It means that we are much more than the sum of our familial and social conditioning. In the words of Pema Chodron, "This is news that we can use”.
Consistent meditation practice is designed to counteract our negative emotion by promoting good mental hygiene as we journey through the promoting of compassion and eliminating harmful emotion. This process is quite simple to understand and easy to put to the test. Those who meditate regularly have proven throughout history that the practice of meditation cultivates positive emotions such as love, compassion, equanimity and appreciative joy. These positive emotions alleviate and often completely dissolve negative emotions such as fear, anger, hatred and jealousy. By doing so, we are capable of cutting through the many layers of negative emotions and social conditioning, thus restoring ourselves to our clear light mind.
Modern science has proved that the human brain is capable of change through reconditioned or alternative ways of thinking. Studies have shown that antidotal thinking, replacing negative thoughts with positive ones, can literally change the structure and function of the brain. By cultivating these new, positive thoughts we can, in fact, overcome negative or unhealthy thinking through the development of new neurological pathways. It is important to note that this practice is not static, or one of faith, but dynamic, one of action. Bringing about positive change or personal transformation requires positive determination on our part. Determination and willingness to push effort forward into learning. We must be bold in our conviction thereby strengthening our determination. These qualities are realised and enhanced through our willingness taking action.
Diligent meditation practice will counteract negative emotions that hinder our ability to experience true happiness. This regularity cultivates stability and quiets aggression. This inner landscape is crucial for us to experience true happiness. The Dali Lama has spoken regarding this saying, "Positive states of mind can work as direct antidotes to negative states of mind”. He has also publicly stated that if we trained all 8 year olds to meditate, we could eliminate war in a single generation.
We have it within our means to undo years of conditioned negative attitudes and emotions. Each one of us has the ability to focus the light of our awareness on the pure, underlying nature of who we really are. Seated meditation practice coupled with breath-focused consciousness is the best possible way of training our minds to do this. It is important to reiterate that meditation is not simply a practice of faith, but one of direct action. Much positive action can be accomplished from the art of sitting in stillness. Meditation is a non-aggressive action, it is a gentle confrontation of the self. Meditation in all forms of practice is the opening of the heart to its own ability to give and receive compassion. It is the practice of training the mind to return to "The Pure Land”, that place within each and every one of us that is beyond all conditioning, that is the source of true peace, love and compassion.