The Pollution of Human Thought

CW27: No.07

Yogi C. M. Chen


A. The general pollution of matter, such as air, water and earth is a subject not only acknowledged by the industrial West, but also by such eastern countries as Japan and the Republic of China.

B. Many surprising and terrible predictions have been made concerning pollution, especially in the United States. For instance, the magazine Good Housekeeping (August 1970) contained an article entitled "Within a Generation It Will Be All Over for Man" which warned: "By 1980 or 1983 an air pollution catastrophe will kill thousands in some U.S. cities. By the mid-1980’s every man and woman and child in the hemisphere will have to wear a breathing helmet to survive outdoors. Most animals and plants will be dead. By the end of the 80’s the U.S. will begin to experience major ecological breakdowns of its soil and water. Plagues of new diseases—which humans cannot resist and which our medicine cannot cure—will rage. By 1990 those of us who are left will be living in doomed cities."

C. Motor vehicles, industrial processing, and power generating plants all contribute to air pollution. Tainted air rots nylon stockings, corrodes paint, steel and stone. Chemicals in the air stain skies as well as blacken wash on the line. Each year dirty air damages both crops and forests.

Many harmful substances from polluted air filter into water; solid wastes from the land pour into the sea; liquid sewage, sediment, manufacturing wastes, oil, and detergents are dumped directly into the water, even though it seems the water creatures die from such poisons in their environment. Indirectly, however, these poisons are often returned to man when he kills the creatures and eats their flesh. Likewise, long-lasting pesticides washed into streams, lakes and oceans also cause harm to mankind.

Plastics, glass, tins and aluminum cans litter the landscape. Nature recycles some of our solid wastes by the process of decay. Springs become silent; there will be no butterflies, no flowers, no birds in our beautiful globe once so beloved.

The United States is the first country which has become aware of pollution to such extent as to assemble 2,000 delegates from across the nation to participate in a conference on pollution control. Well-known U.S. Senators and representatives, top spokesmen from the U.S. Public Health Service, heading state and municipal pollution control officials plus top-level representatives from great private industries as well as ninety-two manufacturers and distributors were present. But no reliable solution or effective action ensued. It seems men have become accustomed to living with pollution and accepting it as their necessary destiny.


A. Although little has been accomplished in actually reducing the process of pollution, certain men of position in the United States, such as Steward Udall, have clearly informed the public of the dangers of pollution. Mr. Utah said: "America today stands poised on a pinnacle of wealth and power, yet we live in a land of vanishing beauty, of increasing ugliness, of shrinking open spaces, and of an over-all environment that is diminishing daily by pollution and noise and blight."

In spite of such a statement, the majority of people continue to pollute the air with their automobiles, the water with their sewage, and the whole earth with their bottles and cans.

B. But who can forbid them to do so? How many dollars should be used to purify the air, to clean the water, to move the mountains of trash? Scientists and politicians who warn about the dangers of pollution seem like a group of rats discussing the problem of a cat and wondering how to avoid being caught by him. They all agree that some warning of its presence is necessary, so they decide to fasten a bell around the cat’s neck, but not one rat is daring enough to actually do it.

Apparently the pollution problem is presently insolvable, even for the "Golden Country"—America. Although many organizations have been established, many designs and plans have been made, they are like a cup of water used in hopes of extinguishing a great, blazing fire.

C. After an elaborate study was made concerning the needs of each new American during his lifetime, the following statistics were presented: an average of 56 million gallons of water, 37,000 gallons of gasoline, 5 1/2 tons of meat, 9 tons of milk and cream, 5 1/2 tons of wheat.

The problem in the material sphere seems to have no solution. Even those dropouts who are able to follow the example of the Tibetan Yogi Milarepa still must take some herbs and drink some water. How can we make each person in the world become a monk, walking barefoot with no automobile and eating only vegetables with no meat or milk?

Since these are not the aspirations of the multitudes, the pollution problem in the sphere of matter has no solution. We have to turn our attention to find the solution in the mental sphere.


A. To cut off the source of pollution is to purify the thoughts of pollution. But man is only aware of the material pollution in the branches of the polluted tree. He has disregarded the seed or root of thought pollution which gave growth to that tree. So without destroying the root basis of pollution, the source can never be purified.

B. Since the material pollutions have already directly harmed human life, animal life, and even plant life—how has this come about? The cause of pollution lies within the mind of man whose thought, according to such non-Buddhist religions as Christianity and Judaism, has been polluted since the very birth of mankind, since Adam and Eve. God Jehovah himself is proud in his Godhood, angry when encountering evil, and causes war to protect his believers—actions which are the result of impurity of thought.

C. Where there is life, there is thought; where there is life, there is pollution. We read in the Old Testament, Proverbs Chapter 23, verse 7, "As he thinks in his heart, so is he" and again Marcus Aurelius said, "Life is thought, our life is what our thought makes it." Before material pollution happens, thought pollution is there as the seed of every potential impurity.

Emerson wrote, "Every thought which genius and pity throw into the world, alters the world" and that "great men are they who see that the spiritual is stronger than the material force—that thought rules the world."

Grenvilles Kreiser has written a poem expressing similar ideas:

It’s what you think that makes the world
Seem sad or gay to you;
Your mind may color all the things gray
Or make them of radiant hue.

So don’t think thought is only invisible, psychic and can do nothing. Actually, it has both hands and legs—that was why Sophocles emphasized, "Thought is stronger than the hand," and John Ray said, "It has good legs."
Remember that thoughts are mightier
Than time can wrong,
Made splendid once with speech
Or made sublime by song.
One can control one’s hand to rob nothing, control one’s legs to kick nobody, but one can scarcely control one’s thought without thinking. Many objects of material pollution, such as D.D.T., are invented through the polluted thoughts of scientists.


A. How and when is the thought of human beings polluted? No psychologists seem to be aware of this, nor do they try to purify it or recognize the procedures and process of thought pollution. But the Buddha has followed the pollution process from gross to refined, from its very beginning to its very end, from its interior structure to its ultimate influence on the exterior, from that of man to that of Arhat to the final ten stages of the Bodhisattva. Realizing the process of thought pollution, only the Buddha is completely purified.

B. Neither philosophers, scholars, nor writers in both West and East have been able to destroy their thought pollution. Although most well-known thinkers or philosophers do lay most stress on letting their works reveal the truth, but none of them know the real Truth. They may be more or less skilled in describing beauty or goodness, but never has a thinker or philosopher entirely disclosed the Truth; they may at most touch a part of the Truth. This is because the obscuration of the Truth always remains in the mind of every thinker who has not practiced or experienced the real Truth through the various Buddhist meditations. Buddhism is the only teaching revealing the complete reality and the ultimate truth. The one and only Truth which may be experienced through the method of Samadhi as taught by the Buddha is the ultimate Truth for every human being. This Truth cannot be experienced through any thinker’s thought or dream or suggestion or idea or perception or consciousness—all such knowledge is mundane and not transcendent.

C. Actual experience of the Buddha’s Truth frees one from egoism and ignorance—the very source of thought pollution. Neither the God of Christianity nor the God of the Moslems nor the God of Taoism nor the God of Hinduism is liberated from the pride of egoism resulting from the sorrow of basic ignorance. From the very non-beginning these Gods contain the source of thought pollution and perceive things differently from their true face. The brain, thought, or consciousness has many more illusions than the eyes.

The history of human thought is a record only of illusions. Man is unceasingly troubled by his own thoughts. As John Webster said, "There is nothing of such infinite vexation as man’s own thoughts." And Tolstoy sighed, "Man suffers from thinking more than anything else." James Bryce also agreed that to most people nothing is more troublesome than the effort of thinking. George Elliot confessed, "Our thoughts are often worse than we are."

As thought is too deep to be expressed, too strong to be suppressed, too fast to be drawn back, he that will not command his thoughts will soon lose command of his actions. The wars and struggles and quarrels of mankind are very often caused by this.


A. Let us consider from the standpoint of Buddhist philosophy, how human thought becomes polluted. Thought arises from the eighth consciousness, called "alayavijnana" in Sanskrit, meaning a storehouse of every kind of seed, either good or evil. The alayavijnana is also called the "consciousness of different harvests." According to the seed which first matures, one’s personality is formed. Those seeds not matured at present remain latent in the eighth consciousness which is held to by the seventh consciousness ("manas") as his own self. The seventh and eighth consciousness are neither high nor low self which are only selfish ideas. The seeds of pollution are kept intrinsically in the eighth consciousness which is neither created by God, nor produced by one’s own free will.

Sentient beings of the six realms are much more polluted than the Holy beings of the four realms, for every human being has the eighth consciousness in which are gathered and stored pollutions from many past lives. As this consciousness has no changing characteristics and always exists, it has been presumed by the seventh consciousness to be the "self" and called by Jains and Hindus as the "soul" or "High Self" or "Atman." The Hindu holds the eighth consciousness as his "High Self" when in static meditation, but when thoughts dynamically arise, many ideas and desires arise from the "Low Self" which is the master. Where any self appears, pollution is there. This "soul" is the subtlest and greatest veil obscuring the final Truth. By the time Buddha was a Brahmacharya he had attained this consciousness and had recognized that this high self is not the highest truth. So he meditated again until he attained the final Truth which was that of complete non-egoism.

No matter how high this "self" is, it is not the highest Truth. But it is the essential force of transmigration. This consciousness creates Human Life as it is the first entrant into the mother’s womb upon rebirth and is the last to depart upon death of a human organism. A person may commit suicide with his body but no one can destroy his eighth consciousness. Therefore, suicide can not be the hoped-for end to one’s pains of life. It is only the Holy Being, Arhat, or even the higher stage of Bodhisattva or Buddha that is truly free from the pollution of life and of the thoughts of the eighth consciousness. No matter how much good karma you have accumulated, how many millions of pagodas, temples and lives you have saved, no matter how deep or profound your knowledge is, or how wonderful or skillful your supernatural power or your meditation are, until you have purified the eighth consciousness you will still remain in the cycle of transmigration.

The nature of the "storehouse" consciousness was recognized by Buddha who possessed five kinds of eyes and who from his experience taught us the Truth. This was not just the realization of worldly knowledge such as psychology. Worldly psychology has understood only the cognition of the mind and the emotions, and the connection or Will. This knowledge is derived from the daily life of the individual or society and from the statistics of worldly experience through thinking, studying, experimenting and arriving at conclusions which are never free from ignorance. It never touches the rear mind of consciousness. But Buddha’s discourse is free from subjectivity. He made contact with the Truth in his Samadhi but not by twining or emotional response or study of his brain. And so Buddha is not polluted and can truly be relied upon.

B. Why do I dare to say that God’s thought is polluted? If we read the four Vedas of Brahmanism and the Old and New Testaments of Judaism and Christianity, we find that they all say the same thing—that I am the One and only God and you must not worship any idols or other Gods. But before Jehovah made this statement, many thousands of years before, the Indian God Brahma also said, "I’m the only God. You should not believe any others." He did not know that after thousands of years, Jehovah, a God in the West, would appear saying the very same thing.

If there is only one God, who is the real one? Who is the false one? We are in an age of fast communication; within one or two days we can pass from the area controlled by one God to that controlled by another.

Such egoism and egotism is a kind of fundamental pollution. The Jewish God guides Israel to war with the Moslems. Such warlike Gods who can hide their pollution of thought are a Godly source of great anger and a poison for every sentient being, because the eighth consciousness of these Gods has held on to egoism without purification by the truth of non-egoism; therefore, their thoughts are polluted. Many wars between the different schools of Christianity have happened in the religious history of mankind; and at present the war between Catholics and Protestants continues in Ireland. Neither God nor the Pope can stop it.

C. Pollution can function like either dust or gold powder in the eyes. Just as a piece of pure white paper may turn either black or yellow from contamination—both are pollutions. In like manner, both dust and gold powder can make trouble in the eyes.

Though we know God to be a holy being of goodness, in truth there is no goodness or badness. Anything touching the truth or moving the truth or changing the truth is a pollution.

Many religious persons think that only if one is good, is one pure. But in truth, goodness is also a kind of pollution. That is why a certain follower of Ch’an (Zen) always said, "Better is nothing rather than the good thing."

In the eighth consciousness there are many seeds, some good, some bad—both are pollutions. Before all the eight kinds of consciousness are transformed into the five wisdoms of Buddhahood, the truth is hidden by the consciousness and the pollution is naturally or intrinsically there. That is why all well-known philosophers, no matter how good their character, remain more-or-less polluted in their thoughts.

The ivory tooth of an elephant is good for making beautiful special things, but this use of the ivory is not good for the elephant himself. The elephant usually dies when deprived of such a good thing. The musk of a deer is good for making an excellent scent, but the deer also dies when it is taken from him. The skin of a snake is good and beautiful, but the snake is hunted and dies because he has such a beautiful skin.

In ancient times in China, the prime minister of the Shang empire, named Bee Gan, was very faithful to his emperor. The emperor wanted to see his prime minister’s good heart, so he was killed and his heart was cut into pieces by the emperor in hopes of seeing where the goodness was to be found.

Many a star in our modern age outshines herself because of her beauty. Many rich people are killed by robbers because they have a great deal of money. Behind the Iron Curtain of China a good person may be killed because he has many followers who do not believe in Communism, which to the Communists is like being robbed.

Let us try to examine our ancient scientists, philosophers, writers, and psychologists. Did they, before their books were written, practice samatha to purify their disturbed or sleepy minds? Did they free themselves from their subjective ignorance and see everything in its objective truth value? Did they change their ideas and make their books of their old age different from those of their middle years? Did they really discover the final or ultimate truth which is, was, and always will be the same?

What guarantee is there that new scientists will not discover the mistakes of old scientists, and what guarantee is there that the present scientific conclusions will never be changed by future scientists? lf materialism is true, why is there spiritualism? If rationalism is true, why is there empiricism? If realism is true, why is there idealism? If labor-autocracy is the true way, why is there the mutual aid theory? In short, the knowledge of human history is quite delusive.

Every famous thinker, philosopher, psychologist and scientist plays their games of thought just like the blind men who each touched a different part of the elephant corking to different and erroneous conclusions about the same object. Although some good philosophers may have discovered a likeness of truth, no one except Buddha has propagated the ultimate truth for his followers. Neither Lao-Tzu nor Socrates, neither Confucious nor Plato, neither Mencius nor Aristotle purified the human consciousness so that their mind functioned without pollution of any kind. Since they were born with, lived with, and died with polluted thoughts, they continued the non ending transmigration—making it flow on and on. For instance, consider the seven doubts of the thinker Emil du Bois-Reymond which he carried to his death:

  1. The boundary of the great nature
  2. The entity of all quality
  3. The energy of the entity
  4. The starting source of movement
  5. The beginning of life
  6. The establishment of mind
  7. The liberty
All these seven doubts are perplexities. Unlike the Buddha, Emil du Bois-Reymond did not discover the teaching of Truth, hence his thought was polluted with heavy clouds.


A. Having considered the eighth consciousness, let us turn to the process of pollution in the seventh consciousness. Nobody can be born without the eighth consciousness which is held onto by the seventh consciousness as if it were his soul, his ego, his life. The root sorrow, the spring of evil, and the foundations of ignorance are all based upon the seventh consciousness holding the eighth consciousness as his "self"; all selfish things become its master, causing the four main pollutions of the seventh consciousness, viz., self-lust, self-love, self-pride, self-ignorance. Every person whether wise or stupid has their selfish desires arising from the seventh consciousness—egoism.

B. To explain in detail about the four fundamental sorrows of the seventh consciousness, I should say:

1. As concerns self-ignorance: It is avidya, a Sanskrit term meaning "unknowing," indulging itself as egoism; it cannot comprehend the truth of non-egoism. As self ignorance becomes stronger and stronger, the following sorrows such as delusions, a sleepy mind, disturbed thoughts, false views, forgetfulness, and not-right-knowing inevitably follow and remain.

2. As concerns self-lust: It holds that every man has self, that every Dharma has self. Self-lust initiates action against one’s self and others, never aware of the truth that is non-self.

3. As concerns self-pride: It treats himself very high and considers all other selves to be very low, just like in the following poems:

"Pride brings wants;
Wants make rogues;
Rogues come to be hanged
And the devil’s alone the gainer."
"Pride Goethe forth on horseback grand and gay
But comes back on feet and legs its own way."

Hence, self-pride is at the bottom of all great mistakes done by leaders, emperors, and presidents.

4. As concerns self-love: The one who loves only himself, loves all his possessions and suffers much pain within. Self-love is the wisdom of the fool and the folly of the wise. For instance, Joaquin Miller made this criticism, "The man who lives for self alone, lives for meanest mortal known." Tertullian quite agreed with this: "He who lives only to benefit himself confers on the world a benefit when he dies." How many people in mainland China wish Mao to die the sooner the better! (Editors Note: This booklet was originally written and published in 1973, three years before Mao’s death in 1976.)

C. Since the seventh consciousness holds the eighth consciousness as self, it not only subjects the 4 main sorrow to co-operate with it, but, as mentioned in the last paragraph, also results in some bad characteristics of selfishness as follows:

1. Self-Interest: "The world is governed only by self interest" as Schiller (1759-1805) said; the ruling Tyrant Mao is neither really a Communist—if so he would not fight with Russia, nor a Nationalist—if so he would not kill so many Chinese people. He is just an "I’m" of self-interest under which Liu Shao Chi was buried away in a Labor Camp, Lin Piao was killed, and many red guards were slaughtered. His pollution of thought is much heavier, thicker, and stronger than Hitler and Stalin. He emphasizes brain washing in order to achieve his self-interest which is itself continually changing: now pro-America, then anti-America. Millions of people have died under his self-interest. He seeks his self-interest as head of the Third world countries at the whole world’s cost. To such a self-interest Demon, Tertullian has given such criticism: "He who lives only to benefit himself confers on the world a benefit when he dies." Now every man and woman in China hopes death comes to him soon. An applicable mourning poem for his death in the near future has already been made by the poet Scott:

High though his titles, proud his name
Boundless his wealth as Wish can claim.
Despite those titles, power and pelf
The wretch concentrates all in self.
Living shall forfeit fair renown
And doubly dying, shall go down.
To the vile dust from whence he sprung
Unwept, unhonored and unsung!

2. Self-Conceit: Self-conceit is a weighty quality and will sometimes bring down the scale when there is nothing else in it. It magnifies a fault beyond proportion and swells every omission into an outrage through which many religious persons such as Protestant pastors, Catholic fathers, Hindu yogis, Buddhist monks, Tantric Lamas and Ch’anist masters have been killed by Mao and every religion is treated as opium. Under Mao’s self-conceit, Communism seems to be the only and most advanced theory. He never thinks of the fact that mankind got along very well before his birth, and that in all probability they will get along very well after his death. Most true was the saying of Francis Quarles (1592-1644): "Wouldest thou not be thought a fool in another’s self conceit, be not wise in thy own. He that trusts his own wisdom, proclaims his own folly. He is truly wise and shall appear so that has folly enough to be thought not worldly-wise or wisdom enough to see his own folly."

To those who are so self-conceited, the following poem made by Isaac Watts is a piece of good advice:

Let not soft slumber close your eyes
Before you recollected thrice
The train of action through the day.
Where have my feet chose the way,
What have I learnt, where’ve I been,
From all I’ve heard, from all I’ve seen,
What have I more that’s worth the knowing,
What have I done that’s worth the doing,
What have I sought that I should shun,
What duty that I have left undone
Or into what follies run.
These self inquiries are the road
That leads to virtue and to God.

3. Self-Injury: When one is disappointed in all his desires, good or bad, in all his wishes, right or wrong, he will injure himself with drugs, liquors and self abuse till a final suicide is attained.

It is equally a mistake to hold oneself too high or to treat oneself too badly. The higher you consider yourself to be when you are so self-conceited, the easier you will be disappointed and end in suicide. Nowadays suicide has been taken as a gift of God to man just as the elder Pliny said, "Amid the suffering of life on earth, suicide is the Gods best gift to man." Many youths take this cruel way to escape their mental illness and pain from all the tensions and difficulties caused by social intercourse, school examinations and homework. But they are never aware of the long painful journey of transmigration which cannot be ended by suicide, even through many suicide deaths committed in many lifetimes. Newspapers reported that a French youth burned himself alive only because he loved his long hippie hair which his parents compelled him to cut. What a pity to commit suicide only for one’s hair.

To those thinkers of non-Buddhism, it is a serious philosophic problem; judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy. But Buddhism, especially Tantra, emphasizes that the life of mankind is much more worth living than that of heaven. For a heaven body is not fit for the purpose of vajra love practice, but a man’s body is. Many Bodhisattvas or Vajrasattvas descend from their Pure Land to this earth for this highest purpose of vajra love practice. Suicide is a great sin and has usually been forbidden by every yana of Buddhism. Death by suicide is a kind of premature death which is said to never allow one to ascend up to heaven or Pure Land but only to fall into bad states.

Such a cruel result is based upon selfishness which is subject to the false concept of the existence of a "self" which is the root of all evils.


A. The eighth, or "store-consciousness" is not free from evil seeds and so is naturally polluted. The seventh consciousness we can consider simply as polluted and a mind tainted with selfishness. The sixth consciousness (manovijnana) is thought itself; all thought pollution comes from it.

A stanza in a sutra summarizes the seventh consciousness in this manner:
The polluted consciousness is always there,
In which those four sorrows appear or disappear;
If all the four sorrows are liberated from it,
It has no such things and will be no more.
As the seventh consciousness is in the center of thought pollution, we should try to destroy it for it is our real inner foe. The sutra also says,
If there’s such a polluted and bad consciousness,
All other consciousnesses are base;
If this has not been destroyed by you,
The tie of consciousness you have to face.
The sixth consciousness is the mind which has the function of recognition, from which arises the ten perplexities divided into two categories: the five perplexities of view make the truth obscure and one cannot see it clearly; the five perplexities of sorrow make one’s mind restless and cause it to fall into the ocean of sorrows.

B. As a detailed explanation is needed for these ten perplexities, we will consider them below:

1. The five perplexities of View

These have been called "keen drivers" as they very skillfully drive a man to false ideas, false opinions, false understandings and false volition. These five perplexities of View are:

1) View of Personality: in Sanskrit, Satkayadarsana. This view holds one’s own body as comprising oneself. When one loves one’s body and dislikes the body of others, one is driven to Commit deeds of evil.

2) One-sided View or Extreme View: in Sanskrit, Antargraha. These include all one-sided views of extinction. For instance, some people say that a man will always be a man as in the Hindu text the Bhagavad Gita which relates that man will be born again, that death is like changing clothes. This is a one-sided view of permanence. Other people believe as the ordinary man and scientist of today believes, that man will become dust or simply disintegrate into elements when he dies, that there is no soul or life-force which remains after death. This is a one-sided view of extinction. There are many such one-sided views found in various pairs or couples.

3) Perverse View, which denies the Law of Cause and Effect. In Sanskrit, Mitaya. This view destroys the foundation of ethics or morality. One who follows such a "driver" may commit every kind of evil without any fear of Law or God. Most communists seem to hold onto this view.

4) Stubborn Perverted View: in Sanskrit, Drsti-parmarsa. This perspective views inferior things as superior, or considers the worse as the better. Some people who are caught by this view follow the worship of Bull and Chicken Gods. By doing this they hope and believe they can ascend into heaven. As in some ancient religions in Bhutan, they take the life of another in order to prolong and better their own existence. They never try to understand the true situation. There is a Christian proverb which runs: "Stolen water is sweet and bread eaten in secret is pleasant." Those who truly believe and act on such principles are holding onto the Stubborn Perverted View.

5) Rigid View, in favor of religious ascetic prohibitions: in Sanskrit, Sila-vrata-paramarsa, i.e., covering oneself with ashes or holding water in a hat or one’s head for a long time despite insects around one’s face.

2. The five perplexities of Sorrow

These five perplexities of Sorrow are called the Fundamental Sorrows. They are:

1) The Sorrow of Lust: When one loves some person or thing, one wants to take it, keep it and protect it for oneself. Pain. suffering and disease will follow not only the person holding such a polluted view but will trouble the very person whom one is trying to protect.

2) The Sorrow of Anger: When a person hates someone or thing, he becomes angry and wants to leave or fight with the despised object. In doing so, he gets killed or kills others.

3) The Sorrow of Ignorance: When a man is stupid and knows nothing clearly, he doubts what should be believed and brings upon himself many sorrows.

4) The Sorrow of Pride: A man of great pride treats himself as higher than anyone else. He cannot be humble even to those persons who are holy and learned.

5) The Sorrow of Doubt: A man with such a sorrow doubts Goodness and holy people. He doubts the result of good conduct and does not follow the Good and the Dharma.

These ten perplexities above and those doubts on the Four Noble Truths make 88 perplexities, according to the Hinayana Doctrine, for sentient beings of the three realms; 32 perplexities in the realm of desire, 28 perplexities in the realm of form and 28 perplexities in the realm of non-form. According to Mahayana Doctrine there is a total of about 120 perplexities. They all belong to the perplexities of View concerning delusions or sorrows. Those beings living in the nine realms of haveness have 120 perplexities. All of these pollute the mind of the individual.

C. In addition to the five perplexities of View above and five of Fundamental Sorrows, there are 20 evil thoughts that arise from the sixth consciousness, viz., (1) Anger (Krodha) (2) Enmity (Upanaha) (3) Concealment (Mraksha) (4) Affliction (Pradasa) (5) Envy (Irasya) (6) Parsimony (Matsrya) (7) Fraudulence (Sathaya) (8) Deception (Maya) (9) Injury (Vihimsa) (10) Pride (Mada) (11) Shamelessness (Ahrikya) (12) Non-Bashfullness (Anapatrapya) (13) Restlessness (Auddhatya) (14) Low-Spiritedness (Styana) (15) Disbelief (Asraddhya) (16) Sloth (Kausidya) (17) Negligence (Ramada) (18) Forgetfulness (Musitasmrtita) (19) Distraction (Viksepa) (20) Non-Discernment (Asamprayna).

Many misdeeds are committed by people who indulge in these evil thoughts and sorrows. By such action, mind pollution expands its full length within the individual. No one who does not follow the right Dharma will be able to purify himself.

D. Besides these 20 evil thoughts, every man has five desires, viz., wealth, sex, food, fame, and sleep. Through these, pollution is increased. Based upon these five desires, man develops many things to satisfy his own desire as well as establishing industries to satisfy the desires of others. Smoke from these factories is ever increasing. The air has been polluted; the water is also polluted. Men want to eat fish but the pollutants are killing the fish, and so man gets a share of the poison from those fish which are caught. Industrial residue, waste water, and excretory matter are all poured into the water. The water cannot become pure again. Old tin cans, bottles and skeletons of discarded automobiles and machines are heaped together into mountains of refuse. There is little earth space to be found. There is no great new unspoiled land to be found.

E. To a Buddhist hermit who has completely dropped out, five things are quite sufficient for life: air, sunshine, water, cave, and herbs. Even such a man does not necessarily get supernatural power. If he does get supernatural power he does not need even these five things. His Tummo (heat practice) is his fire; his nectar is his water; his meditation is his food; his own warmth is his clothing. Dakinis will come to him automatically. Protectors will follow him voluntarily.

But to the common multitude whose desires have no bottom, it seems that rice is not enough, they must have bread; bread is not enough, vitamins; vitamins is not enough, hormones; hormones is not enough, brandy; brandy is not enough, heroin; heroin is not enough, L.S.D.; and many kinds of drugs are continually invented to produce more desires ad infinitum.

To the lustful person a wife is not enough, must have concubines; concubine is not enough, child lover; young child is not enough, prostitute; prostitute is not enough, famous beauty; famous beauty is not enough, homosexual partner; homosexual partner is not enough, wolf-like dog; etc. The pastimes of man are also of many kinds: baseball is not enough, golf; golf is not enough, theater; theater is not enough, television; television is not enough, night club; night club is not enough, private club; and so on until his life is finally finished.

Where desire does bear the sway
The heart must rule, the head obey.
So Francis Davidson said. But desire is bottomless as I have said before. So Sir Walter Raleigh also proved: "Desire attained is not desire, But as the cinders of the fire." Shakespeare also expounded: "The sea has bounds but deep desire has none." Aristotle advised us, "We should aim rather at leveling down desires than leveling up our means." Thomas Wilson also warned that the fewer desires the more peace. But at present we are all a part of this dangerous condition, i.e., more desires and less peace. Nay, we may say that there is no peace at all. The communists still exist and want war to fulfill the desire of Mao to be head of the people of the world. Mao has a special desire for cruelty: kills the rich; that is not enough, kills laborers; not enough, kills students; not enough, kills his war friends; that is not enough, kills his own successor; not enough, he is going to kill his wife.

F. We can also see the workings of the five desires in our lives and in our world:

1. Desire for Wealth—Kill all the landlords and seize all their property and Mao will become the only Landlord under the pretext of food for the nation, the people, or the international party. Those communists whose position is lower than Mao sooner or later will be killed by him. As Henry George said, "There are only three ways to get riches: by work, by gift and by robbery, and clearly the reason why the workers gets so little is that the beggars and the robbers get so much." The salary a Chinese laborer receives in six years is equal to the amount received by a Hong Kong laborer in one month. Mao takes more from the laborers than in any of the rich capitalist countries. If there is bad capitalism, it is only in communist countries, not in any of the free world.

2. Desire for Food—When someone’s heart is Catholic but his stomach is Lutheran he is greatly polluted by desire for food. His table robs more than a thief. There are many fools who are highly fed but of lowly thought. They live to eat and do not eat to live. Actually a small amount of grain would suit one’s necessity better than large repasts. In China today laborers and farmers have too little to eat; Mao alone becomes fat. Such a man digs his grave with his teeth.

3. Desire for Fame—Russians helped Mao to achieve his high position. But Mao’s desire for fame has no end and he wants to have more prominence than Russia. He would rather make friendship with America than with the U.S.S.R. Such is an example of why Thomas Fuller said, "Fare is dangerous; good bringeth envy, bad shame." Mao surely will fall in his attempt to fight with the Soviet Union. He never experiences shame. Even if he were to fall to the position of a local robber as he once was he would feel no remorse. Emerson has a poem upon the subject of fame:

He pays too high a price
For knowledge and for fame;
Who sells his sinews to be wise
His teeth and bones to buy a name.

But Mao pays even a higher price than this as he sells the entire traditional Chinese culture and civilization to buy himself an infamous name.

4. Desire for Sleep—In China even Confucious taught everyone to arise early. The powerful emperors and their officials all gathered before 5 A.M. for a morning meeting to worship the emperor. But now even merchants do not arise before 8 A.M. Many lazy countries follow this bad habit. When people are tired with the amount of their thought pollution and desire, they sleep only to renew their capacity for more pollution. Percy Bysse Shelley has criticized this habit: "We rest, a dream has power to poison sleep. We rise, our wandering thought pollutes the day." Actually sleep is a kind of thought of the lower consciousness hidden by the darkness and it is a source of pollution itself. Dream is the form of the pollution and sleep is its source and poison is the result. Every person wastes half of his lifetime in sleep.

Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poem agrees with my idea:

Cut if you will with sleep’s dull knife
Each day to half its length, my friends
the years that time takes off my life
he will take off the other end.

5. Desire for Sex—This subject has been spoken of earlier. When people are possessed by the thought pollution created by these five desires, they can not save themselves any more and die in vain.


A. If we examine all the thinkers, philosophers and scientists of the world with these ten perplexities of View and Sorrow in mind, we find none who was filled with pure thought except Buddha. As all the five dull drivers, i.e., the five perplexities of Sorrow, involve the conduct of one’s private life, they must be omitted in judging the history of mankind as we have no true knowledge of the intimate life of individuals. So using the five keen drivers of Perplexity of View, let us examine and open the whole history of human thought. Who has even for a short moment lost his own personality? There is no one either in the East or in the West. All those well-known men have more or less laid stress on their own personality. All their isms or theories or philosophies contradict one another; they represent individual one-sided views. When you study each man’s work separately you seem to agree with his point of view; but when you enter upon a comparative study of the different authors, you find their opinions quite different from one another. There is often a dichotomy between spiritualism and materialism, with stress laid on one part only.

B. We can find some curious theories in history which appear contrary to the common ethics and morality of humanity.

Machiavelli (c.1469) created ten creeds as follows: (1) look out for your own interest. (2) honor nobody but yourself. (3) do evil but pretend to do good. (4) covet and get whatever you can. (5) be miserly. (6) be brutal. (7) cheat whenever you get the chance. (8) kill your enemies and if necessary your friends. (9) use force rather than kindness in dealing with people. (10) think of nothing but war.

This is actually the Guru and disciple doctrine of Mao. Most people think of Mao as a communist; if so he must believe in materialism, but actually he emphasizes brainwashing. Rather than dealing only with the distribution of resources, he stresses the delivery of one’s mind and heart to Maoist. He has no "ism"; if he has, it is only Machiavellism, as his conduct seems to be based upon the philosophy of the ten savage commandments decreed by Machiavelli. Machiavelli himself had little chance to act on his credo, but Mao has practiced it widely and deeply. This is an example of how one’s pollution of thought may greatly influence and effect the thought of others many years later under very different circumstances.

Other Communists are of similar view. Once the Prime Minister of the U.S.S.R. came to India and as he passed through the streets of Calcultta he gave some advice to Nehru and said that the buildings were too high in consideration of the great war ahead in the future. This is an example of the tenth creed of thinking of nothing but war. This kind of thought pollution is a kind of perplexity of Perverse View.

We also know of the masochism founded by Sacher Masoch of Australia which emphasized that any cruel treatment, even torture, may be a great pleasure if executed by the opposite sex. This is also a kind of perverse perplexity.

C. Most Perverse Perplexities are centered upon one’s own selfishness. There is a story told: some thieves upon breaking into a house found nothing in it but a cock. Because of its useful service to wake man before daybreak to start work, the cock asked to be kept alive. But the thieves fearing to be seized replied, "That is all the more reason to kill you." So the cock and the thief have their different view depending upon what they feel is their self interest. Man, either philosopher or scientist, has his own selfish views. They differ from one another depending on the needs of the individual.

Regarding the one-sided views, I need not state too much about them. A list is enough to show the two extreme views in our human thought history.

Evolution Theory of Religion
Degeneration Theory of Religion
Gynaecocentric Theory
Malecentric Theory
Practical Philosophy 
Theoretical Philosophy
Psycho-Physical Spiritualism
Psycho-Physical Materialism


A. Let us consider the influences upon human thought pollution in our generation. We must first examine human thought through the history of Philosophy, Science, Politics and Literature. We know that in ancient times there was rationalism, spiritualism, idealism and epistemology, all of which lay great stress on metaphysical understandings and not on physical concepts. As time went on, materialism developed and became a strong influential force. Evolutionary theory arose and man seemed to be connected with his animal brothers. The study of psychology also developed and became important, but no longer just pure psychology which is involved only with mental attitudes, but behaviorism which is involved only with physical attitudes. Darwin advanced his theory of human evolution wherein man is involved in a struggle for survival of the fittest just as the lower animals are. The Machine Age began and commerce and industry became based on Science. As the machine has risen in importance, man has become no more than a machine himself. Recently, the computer has proven its usefulness and became important. Man has not only changed from a manual being to a machine but has also transformed from a simple machine into the slave of complex computers.

In the West, as well as in the East, the two classic struggles, the evolutionary struggle for survival and the struggle within man-created political systems, occupy human thought and there is constant war. There can be no peace at all while these two great and heavy pollutants remain prominent in man’s mind.

B. Mencius said, "That whereby man differs from the lower animals but little, the mass of people cast it away, while superior men preserve it." Did Darwin’s evolutionary theory speak about what in man has advanced beyond the other animals? In his Descent of Mankind he says, "We must, however, acknowledge it as it seems to me that man with all his noble qualities still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origins." Is this the man of evolution? As the lowly animal origin remains, so why not speak of the man of declination, degeneration, as the theory already points out?

The principle of the struggle for existence has been acknowledged and individuals and nations have involved themselves with the business struggle. Nations became involved in business for their own profit and to protect themselves from others; this led to war as the struggle arose between various nations wishing control of their own colonies from which great power and wealth issued. So groups of nations began fighting with other groups of nations and the great wars encompassing the whole world began. Since the occurrence of Communism the struggle has spread from the iron curtain countries to the so-called free world. Violent conflict between individual races of people within their own nations has developed. War has never ceased. "Survival of the fittest" continues. Is this increase in war the product of man’s evolution?

Now every country either great or small must belong to one of the two opposing ideologies. The entire globe is a battleground. Every country prepares to go to war and the leaders of the two political blocks develop many kinds of destructive weapons and bombs. Man will annihilate himself with the Third World War. It is all caused by these two theories: the struggle for existence and the political struggle between the rich and the poor. Thought pollution has so completely dominated and influenced our age that it becomes very difficult to attempt to cut off this tendency within man.

C. That materialism has developed into communism is a natural product of the tendency created by such polluted thoughts. It seems very easy to explain. But very few people even now are aware of the pollution caused by evolutionary theory. They are overwhelmed by the pollution from materialism, that is, from the many desires of mankind. Evolution means a process of developing something contained or implied in something else. For instance, the transformation of the flower from the bud, the butterfly from the caterpillar, gas from limestone, and the various types of animals and plants developing from preexisting types as opposed to the theory of separate creation of each species. The later development should be more advanced than the earlier one, just as the blooming flower is more beautiful than the bud. As W. H. Car Ruth’s poem says:

Cried this pretentious Ape one day
I’m going to be a man!
And stand upright, and hunt and fight
and conquer all I can.
An example of such thought is Mao who has conquered mainland China and still is not satisfied. He wishes to conquer the world including the Soviet Union and the United States. Can his individual evolution be successful? One can not escape from the criticism of Tennyson: "Evolution ever climbing after some ideal good, and Revision ever digging Evolution in the mud." W. S. Gilbert uses this criticism, "Darwinian man, though well behaved, at best is only a monkey shaved." Thomas Henry Huxley had this to say, "It is error to imagine that evolution signifies a constant tendency to increased perfection. The process undoubtedly involves a constant remodeling of the organism in adaptation to new conditions. But it depends on the nature of those conditions whether the direction of modifications effected shall be upward or downward."

Of the three kinds of evolutionary selection, natural selection and the sexual selection do not seem true. Why do the strong lions become fewer in number and the weak ants greater in number? Why do the elephants decrease and the mice increase? Why do the beautiful woman never increase and the unattractive ones remain in the majority? Why do the flowerless plants still exist and the flowered plants not destroy those without their beauty?

Our history tells us that the people of Classical Athens never liked to fight but those of Sparta loved to fight and trained themselves in the martial arts. Not only did they like it but developed a system whereby all weak and feeble infants would be killed and those surviving would begin their training at a very young age. According to Darwin’s theory, Athens might be vanished, and Sparta still alive. But this is not the fact at all.

In the Communist countries the leaders took advantage of the strength of the poor folks in order to kill the rich people, and then enslaved the poor workers to very hard labor and receiving very little in return. Should a class struggle go on between Communists within their own united classes? Communists fight with Communists. What does such a struggle mean?

In the theory of Mao there is nothing achieved without struggle. Mao said politics is war without bloodshed, while war is politics with bloodshed. Hence, anytime is a time of war. It is just like the basic struggle for existence. These two theories have made our age a generation of war.


A. Since Buddha discovered the Truth and became aware of the pollution of human thought, three thousand years have passed! Though some of the Bodhisattvas in Mahayana, Vajrasattvas in Vajrayana did purify their mental pollutions, yet most of the multitude remain polluted and even indulge in the pollution. Through this fundamental pollution, now mankind falls into the weighty material pollutions. It seems to be hopeless to purify either.

B. Newspapers report it is fast approaching when the sea will be covered with plastic and rubber rubbish containing 35,400,000 bottles and 6,000,000 sandals forming a floating island in the north pacific ocean, as an American scientific team warned. 134 Children are suffering from lead poisoning of Asarco, but still 500 new chemical pollutants are developed each year. Less and less of our water supply is drinkable. The West German historic Cologne Cathedral which took 600 years to build, now is being destroyed by the air pollution. The repair work by the 50 men must take 80 years. Endless reports of all kinds of pollution in materiality cannot be quoted here.

Regarding mental pollution, there is nobody aware of it. I am just like the "Public Enemy of the People" described by Henrick Ibsen in his work "En Folkefeende" (1882).

The novel named Water Beach (or River Bank, Shui Hu) taught how to rob and has been emphasized by Mao as a good book; Plum Flower in the Golden Bottle (Chin Ping Mei), a sex book, is used as a text book in some American Universities; in the markets of Sweden, erotic personal colorful photos are sold in large quantity at a high cost.

Modern artists draw abstract pictures and increase confusion and perplexity among the young. Modern impressionists draw a woman with eyes like those of a leper, making a beautiful woman ugly and upside down. Modern music, instead of making listeners quiet, makes them angry through their tunes full of uproar and tumult, yet these works win loud approbation. While my books, which are written in the traditional way of ancient sages (i.e., the Holy Beings grant permission before writing, evidence the conclusion, and protect the distribution) and are sent freely to National Libraries, Buddhist societies, Buddhist scholars and practitioners all over the world, are viewed by fools as having no value just because they are not for sale. Nevertheless, I still write neither for money nor for love, but only for the purpose to purify human thought.

4. Though the complete purification results in the transformation of the eight consciousnesses into the five wisdoms, it is very difficult to achieve, even in ancient times. But to practice the two-fold path of non-egoism is not impossible. The self held by the seventh consciousness may be purified. All struggle between men or nations may cease. If we cannot get rid of the pollution of the sixth consciousness, i.e., the mind, at least we must reduce some of the five desires and may also be changed. A temporary peace may be attained. This is what I have prayed for and will continue to pray the ten perplexities. In doing this, most believers can change demerit into merit, and the common Karma of the whole world for over and over. If there would be even one person who is inspired, I would not be discouraged.

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