To me, living free means being simultaneously free from the inner prison of our own delusions and illusions and the outer prison of Karmic entanglements and transcending the infinite cycle of birth and death. Living free is being in the here and now and existing at a Timeless Inner Peace. Living free means re-integrating into the outer world and not being seduced by its illusions. Living free is living with the innate clarity and with compassion to help others also achieve their own freedom. Ultimately, living free is transcending Samsara to exist in Nirvana.
We each possess the Original No-Mind and an Inner Light as our innate inner core.The past deeds and collective consciousness can only progressively enshroud and encapsulate the Inner Light until it becomes non-translucent and hidden. The innate Inner Light itself can never be eroded and can once again be revealed. I believe that everyone can break out from envelopment of ignorance, confusion and self-deception. We can all transcend into true Freedom with The Teaching as our navigation guidance.
As Karmic citizens of this world, we all exist within same the outer prison. Karmic life is the prison of duality where all is finite and fleeting. The infinite cycle of birth and death, where duality exists, can only be transcended through Enlightenment. Our ignorance to life’s impermanence, falsely placed valuation on perishable achievements, and our faulty ideals drive us to plant Karmic seeds that further entangle us within the outer prison of existence.
Inwardly, we imprison ourselves within the confinement of our own mind and enshroud our innate Inner Light with ignorance and bias. As we live with mana, the dualistic mind also known as the ego-mind, our collective consciousness manifest in behavioural tendencies and beliefs that self-imprison us within the confinements of subjectivity and illusions. Living free requires us to break down our inner prison and for us to live with our Original No-Mind, so that we may ultimately transcend the duality of the Karmic cycle. Our individualised inner prison walls are based on our Alaya-Vijnana. Our current personality and perception of self-identity, and self-worth are ultimately shaped by our collective conscious database. We face the outer world, make our valuation, and execute life choices that affect the course of our future based on our past experiences. The present, entwined with the collective past, impair our ability to make informed choices. Truly informed decisions are based in neutrality and factual objectivity. Our past experience and behavioural tendencies subjectively influenced the present life course so that we arrive at our Karmic orchard. In the outer world, the past deeds resurface in the present by steering us into worldly life circumstances that are either opportune or challenging. Our past doings facilitate the arrival and departure of outer environments and conditions that entrap and imprison us within life’s ceaseless flow and perpetuate further entanglements.
We can break free of the inner prison and self-confinements built from the subjective reality of our own creation. Life “happens” and it is beneficial to recognise that all challenges and opportunities are merely occasions for inner growth and spiritual evolution. The collective stream consciousness is adulterated with past bias and emotional attachments. The aggregated conscious database shape the attitudes and beliefs in the here and now. This conscious database provides us with the subjective tools for assessment and make subjective the decisions in our present. It is all too easy to not see the forrest for the trees and lose sight of what truly matters. The resulting fautly appraisal and distorted outlook of reality lead us astray and imprison us within the cycle of Karmic creation.
Life is a boundless sea filled with waves generated from and brought to the surface by our past doings. Life is indeed a series of choices. We are the manifestation of our infinite past. As Karmic citizens, we entered each new lifetime with prior entanglements. We enter life with the Alaya-Vijnana, the collective stream of consciousness, that traps us in the prison of our own making. Yet, I believe we also come into the world empowered with the ability to chart our own fate. It is our past actions that enable and facilitate certain circumstances to enter our life in the present. There is nothing random in life. A life cycle is infinite and it is not possible to pinpoint the original seed planted nor predict exactly when the fruits shall ripen. The result from our past deeds shall resurface at the various junctures along our life journey. What we do with the ripen fruits during the harvest and how we manifest our future is completely in our own hands.
For me, most inspiring part of Buddha’s Teaching is that we are shown that we are accountable to our choices and we are all equally empowered with the capability to self-awaken from our self-imposed spiritual limitations. The Teaching allows one to break free from the victim mentality and own up to self-salvation and self-liberation. Compassion, clarity, and inner peace shall stop the perpetuation of further entanglements and break the cycle of seed and fruit. We are our own worst enemy. Our past choices can make our conditions for an opportune life journey to Nirvana less auspicious and lead us further away from The Path. It is essential to take accountability in the present and face both the opportunities and challenges with clarity and Inner Peace. We hold the key to freedom from the inner prison of our mind. We can set ourselves free by breaking down the outer Karmic world’s prison walls of duality and Karmic perpetuations.
It is essential that we recognise that we are imprisoned in the outer Karmic world due to the inner prison of our own mind. We must recognise The Teaching as The Path to freedom and go forward with an inner steel-will to reach our freedom. We can break out of our inner prison and make the escape from the outer prison of the Karmic life circle. We need to recognise that our inner bias and illusions numb and blind us to the actuality of the present. We can only break free by shedding the outdated subjective layers of our own mind’s reality and fully living in the present. Living free is existing at the unerring and unwavering state of Enlightenment.
We have the innate capacity for change and self-liberation. I am reminded of the teaching teaching of Sám Hói by Master Hui Neng, the sixth patriach of Zen. Sám Hối is an actionable and instructive concept for self-reflection and immediate change. “Sám” is recognising the misstep and “Hối” is immediate ceasing of the wrongdoing and its perpetuation. The words are used simultaneously together to show how the two stages merge into one integrated action to instantaneously break the cycle of delusion perpetuation and Karma generation. The “Sám” is achievable once we evaluate our life choices from a position of stillness and clarity unadulterated by the past subjectivity. The “Hối” is not a gradual titration downward. Instead, “Hối” is an immediate and instantaneous discontinuance of the error. Sám Hối is not an act of praying to an outer source for forgiveness nor avoiding the consequences from the past. Sám Hối teaches us that once we recognise our mistake, we immediately stop the making of the error. Sấm Hối facilitates our spiritual evolution so that we may return to our innate Original No-Mind. As our Karmic debts gradually decline, we encounter more auspicious conditions making our journey to Nirvana more opportune and achievable.
We are accountable for our own actions. The present, the past, and the future are intimately interconnected. The outer Karmic world is a closed system and while inside its enclosure we shall not escape our own doings. Both the positive and negative consequences are inescapable. Freedom from the inner prison of ignorance and subjectivity is the key to facing the outer circumstances with objectivity and clarity. Being free from the inner prison of our clouded mind allows us to exist at clarity and inner peace and ultimately transcend the Karmic existence. We can face the here and now with neutrality, stillness, and compassion. Both the challenges and opportunities shall thus pass by peacefully and benevolently. Nothing shall further entangle us to outer prison of duality nor perpetuate our existence within the outer prison of the Karmic existence. To me, we can only achieve living free by living with our Original No-Mind to exist at a Timeless Inner Peace. My definition of living free is to reach my ultimate spiritual destination: Nirvana.
Please be sure to watch this inspiring TED talk which accompanies my interpretation. In “What’s your prison” TED talk, the speaker shared a personal story of how he overcame all odds to change his life circumstances. He recounted his past behavioural tendencies and how they had lead him to imprisonment. He shared how he recognised the need transform from ignorance to knowledge through discipline and persistence. He took of ownership and self-accountability for inner change and growth. His inner evolution ultimately lead him to a life of freedom outside both the physical prison walls and his inner wall of self limitations. He spoke of his personal definition what it meant for live free. I find the “What’s your prison?” TED Talk to be inspirational, since I believe in the inner potential of each human being.