Dust of the Mind

We get caught up in our individual gains and losses, pains and pleasures, imagining ourselves to be isolated centers of thinking and action, engaged in pursuing selfish interests. Self-centeredness, however, causes trouble for others and for society and gives rise to suffering. In fact, we are meant to live our lives while helping one another as brothers and sisters and ought to take care not to use the mind in self-centered ways. Tenrikyo warns us against such ways, likening them to dust.

Essentially, particles of dust are so light and minute that they can be blown away by a single puff of breath. If the cleaning is done promptly, dust can be cleared away easily. But dust accumulates quickly and, if we are negligent, the dust will in time pile up so high that the cleaning will be very difficult no matter how hard we attempt to sweep or wipe it away.

Our use of the mind works in much the same way. The dust of the mind can accumulate and become habits of thought and conditioning even before we know it. To prevent this from happening, it is important to pay close attention to our use of the mind and watch for selfish mind states as we proceed through each day.

As a means to help us reflect on the dust of the mind, God the Parent cited eight kinds of dust: miserliness, covetousness, hatred, self-love, grudge-bearing, anger, greed, and arrogance. In addition, God warns us against falsehood and flattery.

Miserliness
This dust is to begrudge giving one’s services in mind or body, to begrudge lending things to others, to begrudge paying an imposed charge, to begrudge the effort to help others–all these ways of begrudging money or effort are dust.

Covetousness
This dust is to desire more and more without appreciating that one is already given sufficient, to desire what others have, and to seek rewards without doing the necessary work.

Hatred
This is a mind state that hates others because of sheer selfishness. This dust indicates, for instance, disliking others just because one doesn’t like them and despising others because some discourtesy or mistake on their part has injured one’s pride.

Self-love
This refers to partiality and to caring only about oneself, forgetting about others. It is a self-centered mind that shows kindness only to certain people and thinks only about oneself, one’s own children, one’s own family, etc.

Grudge-bearing
This dust is to bear a grudge against others, thinking that they have gotten in the way or that they have been unkind; to bear a grudge against others without reflecting on one’s own lack of effort; and to envy others their happiness.

Anger
This means to get angry just because someone has said something one doesn’t like or to get angry even over tiny things because one is in a bad mood. This dust indicates short-temperedness, in which there is neither tolerance nor forgiveness.

Greed
This refers to a self-centered use of mind that wants to have everything. It is a use of mind that desires more and more although one has sufficient already. This use of mind, for instance, wants to take as much as possible, even by cheating others, and wants to make profits beyond what would be considered fair.

Arrogance
This indicates the use of mind where one pretends to know something one doesn’t know, flatters oneself that one is superior to others, never listens to others’ opinions though willing to do anything to push one’s own opinions through, and finds fault with others.

In addition to these eight kinds of dust, we are encouraged to watch for “falsehood and flattery.”