These are easy things to talk about but hard to practice. Seeing the mind arise and fall so quickly sequentially. Asking, “The eye went to see, do you see that?” At that point so many mind moments have already passed. So let’s keep it simple. The Buddha taught cittanupassana. This is the practice for those who are not skilled in jhana, or deep concentration. Once we become quite skilled in observing the mind more and more and our mindfulness is sharp and with quality concentration, we will see the mind arising and falling at the senses. As we become an expert we will see clearly that all types of mind arise and fall. There aren’t any minds that arise and don’t fall. Seeing that the mind arises and falls we will gradually wash away wrong view of eternalism.
The term “natural phenomena” consists of only two departments, namely, the form and formless phenomena. Although there is another kind of phenomenon, which is called nirvāṇa or nibbāna, it is not accessible to a worldly person — thus, we should ignore this for now. We should continue observing the form and formless phenomena until we realize the Three Marks of Existence. We must observe them until the truth of the Three Marks of Existence is revealed. Therefore, what is critical in our observance lies in perceiving the underlying Three Marks of Existence within the form and formless phenomena.
Only when there’s the knower mind can we truly cultivate wisdom. Without a stable mind, we can’t really develop wisdom, because the mind is too scattered. I’ve been teaching about “don’t wander off and don’t overfocus” since I was still at Suan Poh. It sounds funny, doesn’t it? What kind of meditation is this “don’t wander off and don’t overfocus?” Essentially, it’s how to re-establish the concentration foundation. Without concentration, our mind wanders all over the place. With wrong concentration, we overfocus and suppress. A scattered mind prohibits us from being mindful of our body and mind. Even though we may be able to see our mind or the body while overfocusing, it’s impossible to see their truth.
Even the Buddha himself asked us not to believe him just because he said something. Even the Buddha himself, said not to believe him. We have to prove things in our own experience. So let’s not be at the ready to believe others. That isn’t being smart or a true Buddhist.So the true tools we require are mindfulness and clear comprehension. Mindfulness is what knows what has arisen in the body and mind. That isn’t ordinary mindfulness. It’s the foundations of mindfulness. Clear comprehension is a type of wisdom that knows what makes sense, what’s suitable for us. Samatha and vipassana, those make sense. What is suitable for me? Mindfulness of the in and out breath for samatha is appropriate. Practising vipassana, I’d watch the mind. Watching continuously, I was then able to observe all phenomena. We start with one of the foundations first. We have to see for ourselves.
How many billions of people are in this world, and how many are interested in Dhamma? How many of those interested get to listen to Dhamma? We come here to take Dhamma for our practice and then practice diligently — every waking moment. The exceptions are when we have to focus on works that require thinking, and when we sleep. Now if we practice sufficiently when we have a nightmare, mindfulness can even arise in our sleep automatically. If you’re skilful, mindfulness can detect our body tossing around while sleeping, without being awake.
Today is Asalha Puja (the first sermon) day. I arranged the teaching to honor the Buddha, as a commemoration to the day of his first teaching. It marks the day his first student became enlightened. So, it is an important day, where we first have all the three gems (the Buddha, the teachings, and the …
Stay mindful. Keep it up. Keep training. Familiarize yourself with phenomena like seeing the body sitting, seeing the body moving. Be aware of this. Regular awareness of phenomena, like the body moves and we know so, then later when the body moves, mindfulness will arise on its own, all by itself without trying. But for …