The heart’s weather should always be clear, always sunny and calm. The only time the weather could turn bad is when clouds of lust and attachment form. These always bring storms of worry and confusion.
This comes from the concept of Buddha Nature. The core of our being is wakefulness. Our natural state is full of love, kindness, and wisdom. We have an original goodness that is our true nature. We only aren’t aware of this basic goodness because we have emotional baggage, attachments, and preconceptions that confuse us and lead us into worry and confusion. These things are like clouds in the sky. When they’re very bad they are like storm clouds. But our true nature is the sky behind the clouds. Your basic goodness is the sky. Everything else is just the weather.
Having this understanding helps us a great deal. If we think our true nature is basically good and awake, then we don’t beat ourselves up for struggling so much, and also the path doesn’t seem so insurmountable. If we can believe our true nature is good, then being compassionate to everyone sure sounds a lot easier.
After all those wonderful words about our basic goodness, Han Shan wants to remind us of something else. Negative actions and even negative thoughts always have consequences. So we always practice and we keep practicing. Even great masters like Han Shan have to keep practicing to keep the mind clear, so we can see that blue sky.
A single speck in the eye blurs good vision, we see double or triple images. A single dirty thought confounds a rational mind. Many errors in judgment can arise from it. Remove that speck and see clearly! Remove that dirty thought and think clearly!
Seung Sahn said, “Try, try, try for 10,000 years.”
That’s not literal, of course, but it’s meant to indicate that we must have unlimited diligence in the path.