We are not what we do, but what we do does in many ways stem from what we are.
Your personal mind is a meme communicated in a comparable fashion to biological genetics. But running all through this pool of psyche or “minds” is an energy that lies at the foundation of all reality itself; soul, the Brahman if you are Hindu, God if you are Christian. The explanations are as legion as the history of gods on this planet.
Buddha Nature? Yes, Buddha nature.
The psyche, like the sun shining down through water, experiences different degrees of refraction. In some cases the refraction is so diffuse as to appear completely dark, and in contact with this it can be easy to imagine that no light source exists. In other instances, the refraction is minimal, making the energy of psyche indecipherable, blinding. It would be similar to what Buddhists describe when they speak of their own understanding of god beings. They aren’t necessarily more enlightened than humans, but for a time they reached a point where they were very clear channels to psyche, and well, you have all points in between. Each aspect of life experience is like a colour between the two achromatic points, and they split from each other or blend with each other depending on the structure of an individual’s mind.
So the effort to achieve purity generally compromises the structure of an individual’s mind. In order to focus the light the facets have to be ground down. This occurs either due to psychological pressure or deliberate practice of “refinement”, and often having a rather comparable end. Thus the stories of the saints so often involve severe hardship, experience of what we might consider extreme suffering. Saint Lucia stands out in my mind. She took out her own eyes.
So we are all becoming saints? In a sense, yes.
And perhaps why the serial killer can go on to become enlightened? They have had the psychological pressure. Indeed this is why. It’s also why negative karma doesn’t serve to just simply condemn the person in all future lives. They, if anything, are perhaps a bit closer to surrendering concepts of ego as their previous ego states were such a burden.
Unfortunately, penitentiaries don’t make people penitent. Indeed they do not, often the opposite.
Do we confuse and conflate morality with purity? Indeed.
I have found that my own hardships have hardened me. Excellent point.
There is a story of a serial killer in the time of Buddha. The Buddha knew of him and found out that to get his 1000th kill he was going to murder his own mother. The Buddha stepped in at this point because he knew that the murdering of his mother would have done too much harm to the murderer himself so the murderer was then going to murder the Buddha. But the Buddha saw his nature and he relented. The murderer went on to become enlightened. There is an explanation behind how that can happen in our modern science, and perhaps we will go into it today.
My best friend for over thirty years is (was) a serial rapist. Our experience can both harden or weaken our minds. His mind is not subject to any confinement other than what he might impose on himself.
Yes, and he knows that! Excellent.
Even in chemistry purification is often done with pressure. Yes.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.