Natural mind and inherent nobility

I’ve been reading a Buddhist book titled The Joy of Living by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche and particularly liked the following passage:

Imagine you’re a treasure hunter. One day you discover a chunk of metal in the ground. You dig a hole, pull out the metal, take it home, and start to clean it. At first, one corner of the nugget reveals itself, bright and shining. Gradually, as you wash away the accumulated dirt and mud, the whole chunk is revealed as gold. So let me ask: Which is more valuable-the chunk of gold buried in the mud, or the one you cleaned? Actually, the value is equal. Any difference between the dirty nugget and the clean is superficial.

The same can be said of natural mind. The neuronal gossip that keeps you from seeing your mind in its fullness doesn’t really change the fundamental nature of your mind. Thoughts like “I’m ugly,” “I’m stupid,” or “I’m boring” are nothing more than a kind of biological mud, temporarily obscuring the brilliant qualities of Buddha nature, or natural mind.

Interestingly, soon after I read this, I came across the passage from The Seven Valleys, one of my favorite books from the Bahá’í Writings.

Yea, these mentionings that have been made of the grades of knowledge relate to the knowledge of the Manifestations of that Sun of Reality, which casteth Its light upon the Mirrors. And the splendor of that light is in the hearts, yet it is hidden under the veilings of sense and the conditions of this earth, even as a candle within a lantern of iron, and only when the lantern is removed doth the light of the candle shine out.

In like manner, when thou strippest the wrappings of illusion from off thine heart, the lights of oneness will be made manifest.

(If you happen to be interested in that book, it can be found online here. )

It’s interesting that the first passage is talking about the concept of Buddha nature, that we all possess the potential to have the noble qualities of the Buddha, while the second passage is talking about the knowledge of the Manifestations, or the divine Messengers, of God. To me, it appears they are actually speaking of the same thing. We are born with inherent nobility, but we are unaware of the inherent wealth we possess. Ironically, it takes a lot of work to uncover this nobility within, but it’s always there.

A few other passages from Bahá’í Writings that I feel are along the same lines.

Thou art My lamp and My light is in thee. Get thou from it thy radiance and seek none other than Me. For I have created thee rich and have bountifully shed My favor upon thee.

Noble have I created thee, yet thou hast abased thyself. Rise then unto that for which thou wast created.

Thou art even as a finely tempered sword concealed in the darkness of its sheath and its value hidden from the artificer’s knowledge. Wherefore come forth from the sheath of self and desire that thy worth may be made resplendent and manifest unto all the world.