Know the Six Sides of our Nature

To be at Peace, to feel Fulfilled, to Love and Care for all as ourselves and to Act Accordingly.

The Six Wisdom Guidelines Given in the Heart Sutra and by Zen Masters

18th May 2023

The First Guideline: Get to Known Your “Content of Mind” Side.

Quote: Know yourself (ZMD)

Commentary: We first get to be aware of the nature and effects of contents of our mind, its origination, needs, appearance and mutable nature, how this effects and direct our lives, and then how to manage this. 

Our content of mind includes our views, beliefs, thoughts, judgements and habitual internal narratives and how these affect and support our inclinations to be angry, anxious, stressed, worried or full of self-doubt.

Practices to Cultivate this awareness 

The Second Guideline: Get to Know Your “Other-Side” and Be Free of Suffering and Distress

Quote: Forget Yourself (ZMD); Get Over Yourself; All Skandhas are empty. The “skandhas” are form, reactivity, perceptions, impulses and what we hold in consciousness (HS)

Commentary: As we practice the First Guideline, we start to become aware that all our suffering and distress is a consequence of what we are holding to, attached to in mind.  As we practice this Second Guideline, we start becoming aware of a “space” in our minds, which we can refer to as our other-side which is empty of all contents of mind, and when we abide here, we are free of suffering and distress. It is almost that simple.

Practices to cultivate this wisdom

The Third Guideline: The Universal Side: Get to Know That There is No “Other” and then Love and Care for all as ourselves. 

Quotes: That which is form is emptiness, That which is emptiness form (HS);  All Dharmas are marked with emptiness; They do not appear or disappear, Are not tainted or pure, Do not increase or decrease. (HS)

Note in this context, “Emptiness” is that which is before the appearance of matter. Emptiness is That which is before the “big bang” but at the same time this Emptiness is “pregnant” with everything, all forms yet to be. Dharma is all experience, all is truth.

Commentary: There can be little doubt that all GBV, wars, all discriminations, environmental destruction, the enabling of all disparities are dependent on us dividing the world into me and other.

If we simply replace this separate view with one that there is no other, this immediately changes everything. With this simple change of view, I find that I love and care for all as a different appearance of my-self. All that appears is the truth. Awareness of Sangha grows, starting with Practice Group, and then expands to all living beings and then to all that appears. If I am That Emptiness, And If you are That Emptiness, Then I am You; We just appear different, so conditioned to be by the perfect laws of nature and nurture.

Practises to cultivate this wisdom

This is Perfect

That is Perfect

Perfect comes from Perfect

Take Perfect from Perfect, the remainder is Perfect.

May peace and peace and peace be everywhere.

Isha Upanishad

The Fourth Guideline: Get to Know our Don’t Know Side

Quotes: In emptiness, no eyes, no ears, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind (HS).

Without like this, universal substance, primary point, before-thinking mind (ZMSS)

Commentary: Contemplate and acknowledge the un-knowable, the Emptiness, the Ground of all, the Universal Substance, That without Form.

Practises to cultivate this wisdom

The Fifth Guideline: Get to Become One With Our Don’t Know Side 

Quotes: No Ignorance, and also no extinction of it, no old age and death, and also no extinction of them, no suffering no origination (HS).

Commentary and Practices to cultivate this wisdom

The Sixth Guideline: Get to Know Our Responsible Side: Now Act! Love, care for, help all, free of  fear,  hindrances and  self- interest.

Quote: Just do it, Only Don’t Know (ZMSS).

No stopping, no path, no cognition, non-attainment with nothing to attain. The mind is no hindrance, without hindrance, no fears exist, far from every unnatural view one dwells in Nirvana (HS).

Commentary and Practices to cultivate this wisdom

These Six Guidelines given at practice to our Knysna Zen Centre. Lessons given will be based on one of these Guidelines. This is to be seen as a circular rather than a linear process. Through this our circle wisdom love and care ever expands .

Kevin Treffry-Goatley

Sources: Heart Sutra (HS); Zen Master Dogen  (ZMD); Zen Master Seung Sahn (ZMSS); The Satipatthana Sutra,
The Four Pillars of Mindfulness (SS)