• Deborah Bowman

Guardians of the Mind

"Learning to discover the treasure within you is the most worthwhile thing in the world. If you can put this into practice, you can live freshly, with a mind open like the sky, always overflowing with compassion."
Daehaeng Sunim
As Sky Guardians, Apsuras grace this colorful Cambodian temple. photo: D. Bowman

Mind as Sky


In Buddhist philosophy and poetry, the sky is often a stunning metaphor for mind; infinitely spacious, clear and compassionate. These figures, Apsuras, are protectors of the sky and in the image appear to be standing guard of the temple and the treasure of mind that it represents.


In Buddhist philosophy and poetry, the sky is often a stunning metaphor for mind; infinitely spacious, clear and compassionate. These figures, Apsuras, are protectors of the sky and in the image are standing in guard of the temple and the secrets to the treasure of mind that the temple represents.


Clouds of Confusion


The secret is actually no secret at all. It’s just so close to our nose that we don’t see it at all. Like the sky, the mind is transparent yet all-pervasive. The depth of understanding that the mind affords us leads directly to a compassionate view of all of life, including ourselves and every human being.


Yet mind’s clarity is often obscured by the clouds of our confusion. Clouds we inherit from the prejudice of our culture and clouds we pile on through our habitual patterns and personal prejudice. We pre-judge all of experience through the overcast lens of our past and foggy hopes for the future.


Practicing Peace


The temple of the mind needs to be continually blown clean for us to see reality just as it is. When we clearly see, both lifes suffering and lifes beauty, our hearts naturally overflow with compassion.


The practice of mindfulness, like a cleansing wind, guards us from the clouds of confusion and helps us to see clearly what is right under our nose. This clarity, as guardian of the mind, is no other than compassion.


Noticing the breath, like a gentle wind, is a companion guardian of mindfulness. When we notice the breath, we stop thinking and tune into the sensation of air and the rise and fall of our chest. We let go of distraction and pre-judging whatever situation we are in. In one breath, we practice peace.




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