Wheels and Shadows
I often wonder about Buddha’s awakening. I imagine it to be simple. He simply sat and watched his mind. He noticed the movement of mind was inseparable from the movement of wind and waves and clouds—arising with no partiality and surrendering with no effort. He taught this ungraspable truth by means of simple analogies. Everything we need to know is in the first two stanzas of the Dhammapada:
1. Experiences are preceded by mind, led by mind, and produced by mind. If one speaks or acts with an impure (unsettled, distracted) mind, suffering follows even as the cart-wheel follows the hoof of the ox (drawing the cart).
2. Experiences are preceded by mind, led by mind, and produced by mind. If one speaks or acts with a pure (settled, undistracted) mind, happiness follows like a shadow that never departs.
I look at shadows cast by the sun and catch a glimpse of Buddha’s realization. I know it is my mind’s projection but it is illuminated by the light of awareness. Shadows teach us about light. Buddha employed comparisons one can easily understand by observing everyday experiences—noticing the behavior of basic phenomena. Cart-wheels and shadows reflect universal principles and they are mirrored in the movements of mind.
If you have not read the Dhammapada, now is a very good time to do so. There are many PDF editions available for free on the internet. You might want to look at a few different translations to find one that suits you.