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Lions Roar : March 2019
T HE TEACHINGS ABOUT MIND ARE perhaps the most precious, profound, and foundational in Buddhism. Without some understanding of the expansive concept of mind described in these teachings, it’s hard to appreciate the full context of Buddhist meditation practice and the enlightenment promised as its ultimate goal. The Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana, an important text in Far East Asian Buddhism, begins by saying that mind—not only mind in the abstract but the actual minds of sentient beings—“ includes within itself all states of being of the phenomenal world and the transcendent world.” In other words, mind isn’t just mental. It isn’t, as we understand it in the West, exclusively intel- lectual and psychological. Mind includes all the material world. It also includes the “transcendent world,” which sounds odd. Isn’t it commonplace to think of Buddhism as having, refreshingly, no idea of the transcendent, which sounds like God? We are told that Buddhism is practical and down-to-earth, a human teaching for human beings. It’s about calming and understanding the mind in order to put an end to suffering. This is certainly true, and is the dominant theme of early Buddhism. But in contemplating what HOW MEDITATION WORKS EVERYTHING’S MADE OF MIND —AN D WHY IT’S SO TRANSFORMATIVE PHOTOBYLIZAMATTHEWS