The Freedom of the Heart and Mind 

Shared by Reni

  Stephen Batchelor introduces us to modern-day Buddhism in contemporary life. He published multiple books on Buddhism after he studied Tibetian, South Korean and European Buddhism he culminated his own way of Secular Buddhism. In his younger age he visited India where he was introduced to Tibetan Buddhism and he chose to take monastic ordination due to the strong personal connection to its fundamental ideas, later on he decided to move to South Korea, where he continued his studies in contemplative practices in Rinzai zen. 

     Stephen Batchelor, in his book, calls to mind the way of being in the construct of emptiness. Within the search of self, one can easily get confused by simply thinking “no-self” leads to a meaningful life. However, I think denying oneself takes away from everything that truly matters in this world. How can compassion, caring and universal love arise in someone’s heart without knowing the individual self? The very individual self that can recognize its shortcomings and take responsibility for its own existence while it’s harmoniously connected to the conscious universe.

       Understanding the dualistic nature of egoistic self where the mind creates conflicts, hatred, violence, divisions, beliefs and dogmas. The author states in his book: “The four ennobling truths become principal dogmas of the belief system known as “Buddhism”. The Buddha’s teachings lost its meaning once it was elevated into an unreachable moment for an everyday person without spiritual guidance.

      Buddha’s nature is attainable to everyone. Nevertheless, emptiness is a heartfelt personal moment. The Buddha found his own pathway and he encouraged us to find our own ways to reach the same central pathway. He was able to alleviate his own pain without any self destruction and find the way to authentic awakening. Emptiness is such an elusive word, it can mean freeing ourselves away from harmful negative attachments. I think emptiness is the infinite depth of oneself mirroring the universal consciousness. The freedom of the heart and mind can help us experience new life stories without the burden of preconceived notions and prejudice. 

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