The Pollution of Human Thought
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,
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
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
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:
- The boundary of the great nature
- The entity of all quality
- The energy of the entity
- The starting source of movement
- The beginning of life
- The establishment of mind
- 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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
VIEW ON ONE SIDE
VIEW ON OTHER SIDE
VIEW ON ONE SIDE
VIEW ON OTHER SIDE
Evolution Theory of Religion
Degeneration Theory of Religion
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
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
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
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
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
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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