Let’s say we have a glass of clear water. If you put ink in it, it becomes inky water, and if you put honey in it, it becomes honey water. But whether you add ink or honey, the character of the water doesn’t change. Our original nature is like that pure water.
Depending on what you put in the water, it can become honey water or it can be salt water. Even if you make it muddy water, the original character of the water itself is no different from that of the honey water. If we recognized that everyone’s original character is like pure water, we could be friends with everything. But it we insist only on honey water, then we can’t mix with muddy water.
There are so many kinds of water in this world, but only pure water quenches thirst and can purify what has become polluted. No matter how much honey water you drink, it won’t quench your thirst; it only makes you thirstier.
Many people have forgotten the taste of pure water. Because they’ve become conditioned to honey water over a long period of time, they’ve forgotten what pure water is like. However, more and more people have begun to feel the limitations of that honey water. That’s because there’s a fundamental thirst that can’t be quenched no matter how much honey water you have.
If you want to quench that thirst, don’t reach for honey water, opt for the pure water. Instead of pursuing superficial brightness and happiness, go deeper into the origin. The original brightness, the brightness of the True Self, the essential being, is so bright that there’s no way to express it with our discernment. It’s a brightness that is in a place beyond the world of all judgment and preconception.
We’re conditioned to look for what’s bright and good. That’s what makes us constantly anxious. Even if we’re holding onto something good, we feel anxiety from our effort to preserve it. Whether we have something or not, we still suffer. The only place where we can attain peace is the place of the True Self beyond brightness and darkness. It’s not honey water or soda, but pure water.
As you live in the world, don’t say that it’s dark or bright. Nor should you say that it’s fast or slow. Don’t say you’re happy or unhappy. Instead, be alive in the present moment. While you’re arguing over happiness or unhappiness, the present moment has run all the way over there. Only when we are completely focused and absorbed in the present moment can we become pure water.