Cultivate to have a kind look in your eyes
Good morning everyone! Did you sleep well? This is today’s Dharma Espresso.
Yesterday, I talked about how to cultivate speech and cultivate the tongue. The tongue is
connected to one's heart, so we should be mindful of the timing, the circumstances and the appropriateness of what we say. Sometimes, we need to find the right angle of the story and speak gently so people are more receptive to our message.
Today, I shall talk about how to cultivate the eyes. The eyes are connected to the liver. Do
you know that generally when we say we want to change our life, then we have to change our viewpoint in such a way that our life will be transformed accordingly. However, do you
know that changing our viewpoint is changing our worldview? Worldview is our vision and
the different levels of our viewpoint. When we change our worldview, we effectively change our vision and broaden our view. Sometimes, we only look at a few people in a limited spectrum such as within a household. We forget to broaden our view to the outside world, the universe and many other distant realms.
We often need to shift our viewpoint from surviving, self benefiting, egocentric to altruistic.
We need to see things that are beneficial to others, and not always to ourself. In other words, the shift to broaden our vision and to elevate our viewpoint are part of the worldview. This is more of a guiding principle even though it is called a viewpoint.
Now, if we say we want to cultivate the eyes, then perhaps we have to describe how to look at everything around us and how to change the object of the physical eye rather than the object of the worldview. It is not good to only look at material things in our life and ignore any abstract objects. What we call an abstract object of our view, such as looking at books, words and its meaning, principles in the books, is different than looking at an object with materialistic values such as eating, drinking, etc… Therefore, the object of our view is very important.
What do you think would happen to our mind if we look at evil acts and unwholesome deeds all day long? We would be negatively influenced by it, wouldn’t we?
Can you imagine two persons who love to watch movies. One person prefers violent genre, the other likes harmonious and emotional topics. Naturally, these two persons will have different worldviews. So you can see that the object of your view is very important. It is a topic that you should think about every day. In Confucianism, they say that if anything is not ritualistic (rituals mean rules and procedures) then we should not look at or engage in it.
Nowadays, in the 21st century, when we look at many objects around us, there are too many artificial things such as machinery and housing. Occasionally, we need to find a balance by looking at the sky. Try to lie down on the grass and look at the sky above, contemplate the trees and plants, or look at something that is vast and open. Sometimes, we look at our loved ones and feel connected with a new kind of love, and look deeply to embrace love from our parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and our spouses, etc… When we look at an object, sometimes we just look at the external matter. We are not in touch with deep insights into people's minds; thus, knowing how to look is very important.
The question is: "What do Buddhas and Bodhisattvas teach us on how to cultivate the eyes?"
Kwan Yin Bodhisattva says if we want to cultivate the eyes, we need to look at others with
kindness: "Look at sentient beings with kind eyes". We should learn how to look with
kindness, and to look with kindness is to find Truth, Goodness, and Beauty in all the objects around us. When we see Truth, Goodness, and Beauty, the positive, genuine, and beautiful aspects in all things, then our eyes will naturally become kind.
The eyes are also strange. There are some fierce eyes that look very scary. There are eyes that are very dark and we can’t find any light when we look into it. There are eyes that express tolerance and acceptance. Hence, let’s try to see how we should cultivate our eyes.
"Look at all sentient beings with kind eyes" is our compass; we shall cultivate to have kind
eyes. How do we accomplish that? By becoming the glue for the community to come
together because people always seek refuge to find support and trust. Often, people look at our eyes rather than our faces in order to determine whether we can be trusted, dependable and that they can come back to us.
If the eyes are so fierce, people do not want to be near us. If the eyes look too bright, then
they just want to talk with us about philosophy. But when our eyes are kind enough, people knows that they can come near us and we do not punish them. The eyes and the eyebrows often combines together to form the way others can see our inner self. People used to say, "The eyes are the windows of the soul". Our liver is also called "Seed of the Soul". The liver is the place where the soul or the spirit gathers. What is the spirit? It is the tendency to gravitate toward Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. So when the liver always gravitates towards Truth, Goodness, and Beauty, our eyes are always looking for Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. When we look at anything, we always find Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.
In summary, why do we have to look at nature? Because nature is always beautiful. Why do we look? Because it allows us to feel the love of our parents, our brothers and sisters, our relatives since such love represents goodness. We should not use our eyes to watch bad movies and to look for darkness and negativity in others. In stead, we should just look at the beauty in evryone. These details are often very important in our lives. Doing so, our eyes will naturally become so harmonious and kind that everyone will come back to us. Tomorrow, I will talk about how we can look at our prejudice.
Thank you for listening to today's dharma on how to cultivate gentle eyes.
Thank you everyone.
Dharma Master Heng Chang
(Translated and transcribed by Compassionate Service Society)