I can become a good person
and create one good person for the world.
And I think that if I can just do that,
then I might become a person
who can create more than that.
— Copper (via Genzaburo Yoshino)
(How Do You Live?)
In ‘How Do You Live?’ by Genzaburo Yoshino, Copper’s uncle shared the following with him in his notebook — ‘That is why I think the first, most basic step in these matters [of learning] is to start with the moments of real feeling in your life, when your heart is truly moved, and to think about the meaning of those [matters]. The things that you feel most deeply, from the very bottom of your heart, will never deceive you in the slightest. And so at all times, in all things, whatever feelings you may have, consider these carefully.’
Although his uncle was referring to ‘matters [of learning]’ in general, in a greater sense, it can apply to spiritual learning too. To balance the weightage on intuitively listening to the heart before ‘think[ing] about the meaning’, clear-headedness should come into the picture at more or less the same time too. After all, in many Asian cultures, the heart and the head are supposed to be unified, representing harmony of emotion and reason. If so, when one’s heart is moved, as in inspired, one’s mind is also moved, as in ‘awakened’, at least to some extent.
The Buddha’s enlightenment is perhaps the best example of the heart and head becoming fully evolved as one. It marks his heart being inspired with the greatest joy and his mind being fully awakened, both at the same time. What is a ‘real feeling’, that truly moves? It is what moves us to realise goodness and truth, such as compassion and wisdom, representing the purest emotion and ‘reason’ respectively. It is real because it arises ‘from the very bottom of your heart’ [and mind] – from your fundamental true nature that is Buddha-nature, the potential for Buddhahood.
It ‘will never deceive you in the slightest’, because it stands purely for reality. But lest you are tricked by a fleeting high, a worldly emotion in the heat of the moment, ‘in all things, whatever feelings you may have, consider these carefully’. It does take mindful practice to align with our Buddha-nature, such that whatever moves us in the heart and head truly springs from our deepest being. With the empowerment of great blessings, sincere mindfulness of Buddha is the most direct path to awaken our Buddha-nature. If we are to increasingly function in this way, we will surely always be truer to ourselves and the world, as our Buddha-nature wells out, to be naturally expressed, for the well-being of one and all.
And now I think I want
to ask all of you a question.
How will you live?
— Genzaburo Yoshino
(Ending of ‘How Do You Live?’)