You might have heard about the ‘Buddha nature’ and you might have heard about ’emptiness’.
Some people misinterpret this as meaning that they are already a god-like being in nature and it is alright to behave as they please. Or to allow their mind to wander as it likes, since thoughts are emptiness. Or life is emptiness. Etc.
That is incorrect.
Do you know that the term emptiness appears later in the history of Buddhism? And do you know that the concept of emptiness is not to be discussed with people who are not spiritually developed yet?
Because teaching emptiness to a person with an immature mind is like teaching a kid, free will or freedom of actions when they do not understand about taking responsibility for their actions yet.
Therefore, for a beginner in Buddhism, it is critical to start with learning about Karma. We learn to watch our mind and not trust our mind first.
We learn to recognise craving, anger, and ignorance that is being generated in our mind. We do not allow negative thoughts and emotion to take root. We practice to remove negative mental habits. Habits that prevent us from seeing the reality of existence.
Therefore, for a beginner, it is important to practice the precept first. Use that to guide our mind and behaviour.
For the modern educated people, this seems like a hassle. You can’t do this and you can’t say that. We want to rebel the system like a kid? And when we hear the concept of emptiness, we immediately become attracted. The message seems to encourage freedom in our immature mind. We are attracted to that concept of emptiness due to afflictions in our mind. Not because we have wisdom in us. LOL
Therefore, the impact of teaching emptiness to a bunch of spiritually immature people results in a group of irresponsible ‘Buddhist’. ‘Buddhist’ who behave badly.
For beginners, it is important for us to recognize the imperfection of our mind. We learn to understand that our mind is afflicted by craving, anger and ignorance. In another word, we learn to accept that we are imperfect and spiritually ‘sick’
Our mind training practices such as chanting or meditation is the self healing therapy session.
Before going into emptiness, we must remove the ignorance of believing in the existence of a self first. When that happened, we remove our ego and automatically understand the importance of karma.
That understanding immediately make us want to do good and generate good karma. It makes us see the path clearly and we want to practice more.
Therefore, it is very easy to know if we are progressing in our practice. If we become a better person then we are on the right track.
In summary, do not trust our mind when it is afflicted by the 3 poisons. Watch it closely and don’t let it create bad karma.
May all be well and happy.