Sunday, March 10, 2002

Is the Mind of Man Imperfect?

There was a Seicho-No-Ie Public Lecture in Nagoya City, and, as always, when we asked for questions regarding my lecture in the morning, I received about 30 forms. When there are this many, it's difficult to answer them all, due to time constraints, so we need to select the ones that I can answer. Since there were many questions asking that I "explain in more detail the principle of the world being a reflection of the mind", I used the first half of the afternoon session to do so. I explained this teaching during the morning session as well, but it was probably insufficient. When I said, "Since Man's five senses are imperfect, we cannot perceive existence exactly as it really is", it must have been because I emphasized the part of the senses being "imperfect", a 21 year old male student from Tokorozawa City asked the following question:

"How can Man view a perfect world (perfect and harmonious) with an imperfect mind? As long as we have a mind, I don't think it's possible to see the True Image. Can it not be said, then, that, as long as we are alive, we cannot ever realize Heaven on this Earth?"

What I said was that, "Man's senses are imperfect," but this person understood it as meaning, "The mind of Man is imperfect." It seems that I did not explain it thoroughly enough. What I meant in my explanation was that, Man's five senses are all imperfect and cannot perceive all things, and, when we construct a world from the information perceived through our five senses in our minds, we cannot do so perfectly as in the Reality. So, I guess it can't be helped if this was interpreted as meaning that "the mind, too, is imperfect." But, in the same context, I said, "The reason that Man seeks truth, goodness and beauty is because Man knows what they are." Since "truth, goodness, beauty" are also known as the "Virtues of God", they can be used interchangably with the word, "perfection." If we assume that, then we can say that "Man seeks perfection because Man knows what it is." "Man knows what it is" is the same as "Man's mind knows what it is", namely Man's mind knows "perfection." That which knows perfection has the basis for "perfection" within. In that sense, the mind of Man is perfect.

Let's discuss this in more detail. I touched on this in my lecture, too, but, watching the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, I was really quite impressed at "how Man strives so hard to reach 'perfection'." How did you readers feel? There were speed skaters who tried hard to beat times within 100ths of a second. In figure skating, it used to be that "triples" were the best skaters could do, but this time "3 and a half" jumps and "quads" were performed. In cross-country skiing, there were athletes trying to test the human body to the extreme limits. Why does Man try to push himself "higher and higher" still? Skating one second faster, or jumping one meter further, or making half a revolution more does not make that person's existence any more fit than another's. At the very least, it's not something that one has to do in order to survive. Despite that, people make great sacrifices and expend a tremendous amount of energy to do so. Watching it all, people throughout the world excitedly respond and are deeply moved. Is this not Man trying to express the perfection within?

This is not only the nature of athletes. Artists, musicians, actors, writers, directors, businessmen, inventors, engineers, scientists, farmers, chefs--trying to do something a little better, a little more excellent is what they live for. In other words, Man is an animal that finds great joy in achieving a certain level of excellence in all aspects of daily life. We can't help but think that there is an image of "perfection" in the mind of that kind of Man.

To recognize or feel the "perfection" within ourselves is what we believe in Seicho-No-Ie. When the young student said, "Man cannot perceive perfection with an imperfect mind", he probably wanted to say, "We cannot perceive God with a deluded mind." When we bring out a deluded mind into time and space, the undeluded, true mind appears. In other words, if we do something with a deluded mind, and, even if the result is unsuccessful, Man has the ability to look at that result and get a more perfect understanding. Hasn't that been the case with the history of mankind? Through these activities, it is possible for Man to create "Heaven" on this earth, and I think such activities are actually happening around us.

That's why we must look more towards the perfect, find more aspects of excellence, and pay more attention to those things on earth that show truth, goodness and beauty. That's what I think. Focusing on the mistakes, scandals, corruption, killings and cheating of people will only cloud one's mind with "imperfection", and then, the "perfection" that we should know deep within ourselves is hidden, and there are instances when we may not be able to express that perfection. This is the state of "delusion." There is no better way to rid ourselves of delusion than to look towards perfection. There is no reason why Man, who has that perfection within, cannot do this.

- MT

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