I am a big fan of martial arts films. I know that most of them are terrible, the acting is woeful, the plot is the same every time and any form of dubbing or subtitling is normally hilarious. Nevertheless, I cannot help myself, I have watched quite a number of these films. There are some (and in this genre very few indeed) that have risen above the rest and have been recognised as appealing to a wider audience. Enter the Dragon with Bruce Lee is one such film. I watched it again the other day and one of my favourite scenes is where Bruce is teaching a young martial arts student. The clip can be found on you-tube at the following link:
The part that I like the most has very little to do with martial arts (most of the rest I like because like every martial artist I dream of being taught by someone like Bruce Lee and receiving Zen master style slaps whenever I don't get anything right!), and is when Bruce says, 'Emotional content, not anger!'. This reminded me of a way that many critics of Buddhism perceive the enlightened mind, as being without any emotion. There are people have have a great deal of fear and hostility towards meditation and enlightenment because they think that it will separate them from the world.
People attack Buddhism saying things like, 'If I am detached and not part of life, how do I fall in love? It is natural for me to want to love and hate, to be happy and sad, I do not want to be detached from these things because that is not life.' I think this is a common complaint and comes from a linguistic miscommunication.
The enlightened mind still feels, and has deep and meaningful emotional content. This is very different to the grasping emotions that we feel every day. To the enlightened mind emotions don't seize and control the entire being or whole life. The master is never burned up or consumed by rage, anger or even love and joy. These emotions come and go just the same as they do to others, but the master remains calm and centred. If anything the enlightened mind feels more, because she/he is able to be truly in the moment, but when that moment passes so does the emotional content of that moment.
Taoist masters raised children and had families, loved their wives and husbands and held down perfectly normal jobs. Becoming enlightened does not mean riding yourself of emotion. Chung Tse wept bitterly at his wife's funeral (in fact he caused a bit of scene), because that was how he felt, yet his grief did not consume him. He expressed it fully and then allowed it to pass. The enlightened mind is exactly the same mind, the enlightened heart is exactly the same heart.
Let me put it another way, all of our minds are like great bodies of water (some people have convinced themselves or have been convinced by others that their minds are small bodies of water, but they are not!). These water bodies accept all the stuff that they meet, a small pebble causes a small ripple, but a large boulder causes a big splash. Our minds are complex and have their own tides and currents. They can cause storms. The average mind is stuck to the coast, it deals with the future (the shore) all of the time and its constantly battered by waves (the past). The masters mind is like the middle of the Pacific Ocean, it is totally calm and open. The currents here have stopped, any stones that fall are lapped up and absorbed by the depth of the water, the ripples pass away and they do not crash onto the shore. That is not to say that there will not be stones falling and storms trying to form. The ripples from the stones are absorbed by the deep full ocean and the calm and balance of the currents and air stops the storms before they get going. This place is free, easy and cannot be disturbed.