Shaving Head: A Means of Subduing the Mind
Man is seldom free. He is enslaved. Who did enslave him? the self or the mind? and by what means of empowerment? Human mind is enslaved by its own.
A test that anyone can try is checking email multiple times within a single hour. That will result putting the mind into a box. Mind will then do the task of email-checking by its own motivations free from external commands if there ever was an external command in the beginning. Such mechanism is very powerful for the good, and as any powerful machinery, it can serve for the bad, also. It is a double-edge sword, let us say. One can sharpen one edge of the sword not only with the help of a whetstone but also by blunting the other edge of the blade. Therefore, one edge cannot be harmful, so it could be used only for the good. Is that correct? Absolutely not! Both edges must be sharp for good functioning, but one slightly blunt enough for the other to represent itself sharper.
Now, let us assume one has full control over the mind (which is rather unlikely), and could train it for any other obsessive behaviour rather than email-checking. What are the features of that particular obsession or any other obsessions?
One of the features could be fulfilment of one or several demands that are nested in the body or the mind, and yet they are connected with the world outside.
Let us imagine another example that might be true for a lot of men who grow beard. When a man explores his thoughts deeply, he may also play with his beard. Why? And who does that? the man or the mind? We shall begin the investigation with the assumption that the man performs the act of playing with the beard. He might have learnt doing so during contemplation. Or perhaps he had a source of imitation. Regardless of studying the teacher, one might wonder, what purpose does it serve the playful act of scratching the beard? It could be a form of meditation, otherwise the mind would be interrupted. Is it a sin to interrupt the mind? It depends what has occupied it, indeed. One never desires to distract the mind from joyful images of any kind. For that reason, mind must have learnt through trial and errors of the clueless man that such act of playing with the beard could prevent the man from making interruptions for the mind. Therefore, every time man sinks in contemplation, or at least decides to sink, his mind commands a hand to creep on to the beard before it is late. For mind does not fancy to be interrupted when it encounters its desires.
Could it mean no man is in control of the hand? He could be, if and only if, he has harnessed the mind.
It is self-evident that mind learns all sorts of machinery. How should one teach it appropriate manners instead of vulgarity? If mind can learn anything as if it knows nothing, and if its primary mode of action is to learn no suffering or struggle but joy only, how can one tame the joy-seeking mind?
One can teach it the suffering, too. Thus, the mind’s view of the world, and its view of existence in general, would become completer to certain degree.
Does the mind have a view towards the world? or does it merely have preferences that structure a view?
Assuming it has a world-view of a sort, how did it achieve it if not through countless participation in both pleasure and pain? Did gods blow the architecture of the view into the foolish mind? One might say it is not probable, although men of great wisdom lived to make the above-mentioned enquiry appear rather probable.
Mind gains a view of the world with the aid of suffering only to devise a good taste for pleasure. Therefore, mind is taught by the mind to seek what mind desires, and to avoid all that the mind loathes. Is that good in any way? It is certainly the wrong question. No one can survive drinking a barrel of wine in one attempt, although the mind could acquire a lust for it.
We shall then ask, is it possible, by any means, to tame the mind, to teach it good manners? Despite the fact that it is possible, it is no easy task. No mad horse can be tamed without a few necessary strokes of the whip.
One must show the mind both good and bad, and let it decide what is best to take. Of course it will choose the bad if it has no knowledge of the consequences, or if it has destructive intentions. Nevertheless, one must permit the mind to take any paths it wishes, though one shall not be reluctant to offer any necessary consequences of harsh nature. As a result, it could learn two important lessons. One is that it has no power against man. The other is that actions of any sort bring results that could be unpleasant. Thus, it is best to choose to take proper actions for the good. It shall learn, in the same manner it once learnt about pain, that wrong actions will cause pain later in time if not immediately.
A rigid technique of mind-subduing is to shave the head. That is utterly irrelevant, one might say. However, practice of Buddhism is a compelling demonstration of the above-mentioned proposition.
Shaving head is not solely a means of exercising simplicity in life. If it is done with no intention of designing an appearance, it could also be a means of not allowing the mind to be in the position of possession, possession of the mind itself and the soul. Hair has greater power than one can imagine. It is capable of providing temptations to both the world within and the world outside. It fools the mind to seek false beauty. It may be harder to admit such greater sin that it even fools the mind to exercise but a state of false beauty. The sort of beauty that wind can effortlessly ruin it to reveal its true nature. Wind is a god. He is without doubt wiser than man.
Shaving head is a means of understanding and caring about what is more important. It teaches the mind a number of good manners. It renounces an element of the bodily nature of man: the evil he grows that is but capable of possessing him and his mind.