Dear Still Water Friends,
My dear friends,
This Thursday night we will be reading Thay’s talk on wateringthe good seeds. I am in the midst of watching my garden grow. Weare growing flowers, basil, rosemary, squash, tomatoes, strawberries,beans and much more. These beautiful seeds which we have tended tofor several months are now sprouting leaves and flowers which will soonproduce lucious fruits and veggies.
We each have a garden within our own soil ofconciousness. What would you like to water in your heart gardenthis summer? What fruits of love, joy, peace, trust and wisdomwould you like to harvest? We will be talking about how to waterthese wholesome seeds and we will spend the last 1/2 hour experiencinga practice called “Yoga Nidra” which is a powerful way ofencouraging deep relaxation and removing the subconsious blocks whichkeep us from being fully human and having a delicious, loving summergarden.
With great love and a big bow,
Joyful Song of the Heart
The following is an excerpt from a talk Thay gave at Plum Village in 1997:
I spoke to you at the beginning of the Dharma talk about this sectionof the orange: consciousness as the soil of the mind, containing allkinds of seeds. Each mental formation stays there in the form of aseed. A seed means something that has not manifested yet. That is thetechnical term “bija,” seeds. So your anger is there in theform of a seed. Now you are not angry at anyone, you are fine, but thatdoes not mean that anger is not in you. It is in you, but in the formof a seed only. You may think that anger is not in you, but that is notcorrect. If someone comes and says something, and touches that seed ofanger, you will see that seed manifests itself and you will soon beoverwhelmed by the energy of anger.
So bija is the seed, and we have all kinds of seeds in us, positive andnegative. We have the seed of perfect enlightenment in us, that is theBuddha-to-be in us. We have the seed of Mara in us. We have the seed ofholiness in us, and we have the seed of unholiness in us. So sometimeswe may be called “His Holiness,” sometimes “HisUnholiness.” The mind is a screen upon which every mentalformation can be revealed. A good practitioner knows how to keep thenegative seeds here [in the storehouse consciousness], and tries by hisor her practice to help the positive seeds to manifest. If the positiveseeds continue to manifest here, the negative seeds become smaller,smaller, less important. When they are tiny, not important, it isdifficult for them to manifest. I don’t get angry very often. Even whenI get angry, you might not see it. You may say, “I have neverseen Thây angry,” and you believe anger is not in me. Thatis not true. The seed of anger is always in me, but since I practice Idon’t give it a lot of chance.
You also have to see things in terms of interbeing. When you practicedo not entertain the hope that you will wipe out all the negativethings in you. Please don’t! It’s like a gardener. She only wants tohave flowers and no garbage in her garden. But it is a necessity for aflower to become garbage. You cannot keep a flower alive forever andever. There will be a time when a flower has become a piece of garbage.The love in us can be like that, is like that too. But a good organicgardener is not afraid of garbage, because she knows perfectly how totransform the garbage back into flowers. Both flowers and garbage aremade of organic matter. Mental formations are also organic. This isvery interesting: all our mental formations are of an organic nature.That is why we can transform. Love can be transformed into hate. But ifyou have hate, don’t be afraid. Learn, learn how to transform your hateback into flowers. Many couples after two, three years living together,see that their love has transformed into hate. In the beginning,“How can I survive without her?”But now, “How can Isurvive with her?”
So love has transformed into hate. But if we know the law oftransformation, we know also that it is possible for us to transformgarbage back into flowers. The hate, anger, if we know how, we cantransform them. So may I urge you not to be afraid of your sorrow, yourpain, your afflictions. Don’t be eager to throw them away, because itis exactly with these materials that you can fabricate the flower ofunderstanding and love in you. That is the principle of nonduality thatis so important in the Buddhist tradition. An organic gardener is notafraid of the heap of garbage. She is confident. She does not want tothrow the garbage away because she knows that she is capable oftransforming the garbage back into flowers, into lettuce, cucumbers. Sosmile to them, say “I know you are there, I am going to take goodcare of you and make you into flowers.”Don’t throw anything away.
So day is because night is. Enlightenment and affliction, theyinter-are. It is like the lotus. Although they are fragrant, beautiful,refreshing, all of them grow from the mud. But they don’t smell likemud. That is why the Buddhists like very much to use the symbol of thelotus. You live in the world of afflictions, of suffering, and yet youare able to make use of them, to transform them. You live in the world,but you are not overwhelmed or affected by the world. Instead you canhelp the world to transform.
If you live in a couple, if you live in a family, if you live withanother person or several persons, you may ask them to be careful. Youmay ask them to be aware of the seeds you have in your storeconsciousness. “Darling, I know that I have these negative seedsin me. And every time these seeds manifest, I make myself suffer and Imake you suffer, also. So, please, if you love me, if you care for me,be careful not to water these seeds in me.”Among lovers, thereshould be such an agreement. That is the practice. “Darling, ifyou really love me, water the positive seeds in me, because I do havethe seeds of understanding, of compassion, of forgiveness, of joy inme. Even if they are still small, if you know how to touch them in meevery day, I become a much happier person and when I am happy, youdon’t have to suffer as much.”
If you really understand what your store consciousness is, youunderstand yourself. If you understand the person you love with herweaknesses and her strengths, you would know what we call the practiceof selective watering of seeds. Refrain from watering the negativeseeds in him. Try your best to identify and to water the positive seedsin him every day, and you will see the situation will improve in justone week. The degree of happiness will increase very quickly,especially when you are supported by brothers and sisters within thepractice to show you the way.
Consciousness sometimes is called sarva bijaka. “Bija”means seeds and “sarva” means all, all seeds. This is thetotality of the seeds that are in you, the consciousness of thetotality of the seeds.
When you live mindfully, you will be able to identify each variety ofseeds that is about to manifest. When there is a stimuli and a seed isabout to manifest, you know already and you immediately begin thepractice of mindful breathing and walking. Stop everything else. Thisis very important. If you don’t, the seed will manifest. When the seedmanifests it is still possible for you to practice, but it is betterthat you practice when it is about to manifest. If you can do that itmeans that you have been practicing mindful walking, mindful breathingfor several weeks. When a seed is about to be agitated, to be watered,you know and you put yourself in a state of being alert and youpractice. You practice for you, yes, but you practice for him, for her.She will be grateful for you because you know how to take care ofyourself, because taking care of yourself is to take care of him or her.
“I walk for you, I breathe for you.”Selective watering of seedsis your practice and it does not take a long time. You can transformyour situation very quickly.