There Is No Suffering 98

How do you practice this? When your body and mind are moving, reflect on whether your actions are with or without wisdom. In the beginning, it is easy to see which actions are based on a strong feeling of self-centeredness. With practice, you can experience expanded self as you feel the boundaries between yourself and others fade; or unified self, when you feel at one with all existence. However, you must be careful not to mistake unified self for enlightenment. It might be difficult to discern by yourself whether your level of clarity and stability is true wisdom or just unified mind. One way to tell is that when we experience unified mind, we also have overflowing feelings of love and compassion for others. This is still wisdom with outflows, not genuine wisdom, because the self-reference is still present.

True attainment refers to true merit and virtue in the Buddhist sense, of which there are two aspects—wisdom and compassion. Wisdom manifests when there is prajna without vexation. At that point, you will help others without thinking of yourself or others. This selfless wisdom is compassion. Thus, wisdom and compassion are not separate. Moreover, acts of compassion lead to more merit and virtue.

However, constantly thinking of merit and virtue can be burdensome and painful. If you do something for others only with the thought of receiving something good in return, ultimately you will be disappointed. This is a sign of a greedy mind. It is best to act with no thought of gain or loss. Then, whether or not merit and virtue come will not matter. Acting with personal gain as your motivation will bring vexation, not merit and virtue.