A friend recently asked me, “How can you be neutral in your approach to Buddhism?
Can’t you be a bhakti?
Or even neutral towards Buddhism?”
I was confused.
The Buddha said that all things are equal.
If all things were equal, why should we be neutral?
Can you be any other way?
After much thought and reflection, I came to the conclusion that if all things can be neutral, then we are also neutral towards them.
And the answer is simple: we should all be bhaktis.
Let us adopt a neutral mindset.
If we are not neutral, we are always biased.
The Buddhist word for neutral is tamas.
Tamas means “to hold” or “to have” and it means that we should be guided by a single, immutable principle: the Law of One.
If our mind wanders, it is not neutral.
It is biased towards some goal or another.
The Law of Tamas is that we do not become biased towards the good or bad, or even to any object or idea.
Rather, it holds that the mind is the only one who has the power to create change.
In fact, the very word “law” is a translation of the Sanskrit word bhaktas meaning “harmless and pure.”
But this does not mean that we have to be completely unbiased in our pursuit of happiness.
When we meditate, we may be biased towards a certain goal or action, but it is also possible to be biased against the bad.
If you look at the Buddhist scripture, Mahayana Buddhism, the Buddha explained that the way to be free from bias is to stop judging the mind and be completely open to it.
The practice of mindfulness and concentration is essential for this.
And so, we must also be fully open to the world around us, and let go of the fear of rejection, the fear that our actions will hurt others.
If the Buddha taught us to be “neutral”, he meant that we must allow the mind to open up to everything, and accept all aspects of the world that are not harmful.
When the Buddha said, “the good is the law”, he was teaching us that there are no limits to the goodness of the mind.
As he said, the mind can only be neutral.
That is, it has no control over its own nature, and it has only the power of becoming aware of what is good.
It cannot be influenced by what others think or do.
The way to avoid bias is for us to accept everything.
To let go is to let go, not to try to influence it.
This is the ultimate goal of Buddhism: to be neutral and free of bias.
There are three basic aspects of neutrality: compassion, non-judgement and non-attachment.
When you practice mindfulness and meditation, the two elements are harmoniously integrated and become a unified whole.
And if you are truly neutral in everything, you will be more open to whatever arises in the mind, because you will accept that the universe is not a static and immutable thing.
You will also be more aware of all the possibilities and obstacles that exist in your life, and you will have a greater ability to control them.
For example, you may have a desire to achieve happiness, or you may not be able to achieve it.
But when you stop to think about it, you are not limited to just any goal or objective.
If there is a way to make something happen, you can achieve it and then be happy with it.
If your mind wandings and you have no time to reflect on it, what are you thinking about?
The Buddha explained, “There is nothing good or evil in this world.
Only this mind, this being, this mind can become the Buddha’s mind.”
In other words, this is not something that we can control.
What we have is the mind as a tool for the practice of concentration.
When a person is deeply focused on meditation, there is no doubt in their mind that they are meditating.
They will not think that they need to stop or stop thinking to get any results.
But as they meditate deeper, they become aware of their mind wandering.
And this awareness causes them to open their minds to new possibilities.
If they are not mindful of their wandering, they will eventually find that they can have the results that they want.
The point is that when we are fully present in our practice, the world becomes our space.
There is nothing that is not welcome, and everything that is welcome is part of our practice.
We can’t be neutral about it.
As we are aware of the possibilities of life, we can then create our own reality, or create our reality in the world.
That’s why the Buddha had a phrase: “The mind is a tool of the practice”.
When you are fully aware of your practice, you open up, and when you do so, you gain the power that comes from being completely present in the practice