There are some people that came by van today from quite far, Ubhon province. They didn’t plan any sightseeing for the trip, just to come to the temple here. In the past, I would travel to learn from the masters in the northeast, and the north. I would go far. I didn’t take a van. I would take a coach or the train. These days, there are vans that we can hire. Those didn’t exist in my time. It was difficult to travel distances. At times, I would arrive and the master wasn’t there, or he was incapacitated, and I wouldn’t get the chance to report to him.
In the past, it was much more difficult to visit the masters. Still, my time was easier than it was during the time of Luang Pu Dune and the other old masters. They would have to walk. Me, I would take a coach or the train. These days, it’s easy. We can just go on the internet and listen to Dhamma. But, I noticed something. We see the value in things that are difficult to obtain. We don’t see the value in the same way of things that we get too easily. It used to be so difficult to be able to visit a master. I would work and collect holidays and wouldn’t go anywhere, so that when I would have the time, I could go and visit the masters.
Occasionally, when I would sit and learn with Luang Pu Dune, I wouldn’t record it or write it down. He was not in favour of that. He wanted us to sit and meditate, and he would be silent for a while. When it was appropriate to teach, he would. Some masters though, would have us sit and meditate and would start teaching immediately. Each master is different.
Luang Pu Dune wouldn’t give Dhamma talks. Going to see Luang Pu Dune, we’d prostrate and then sit quietly for a long time until he would say just one short thing. Having the opportunity to listen to the Dhamma in those days was not an easy feat. So our minds were focused, listening carefully. After listening, we would contemplate and use the teachings wisely in our practice.
When we listen to Dhamma in a group, only some of it is for us. When the master teaches, there may be a hundred people listening. In the old days, it was hundreds, these days, it’s thousands. So a hundred people listening, and each person meditating there. When the master would give a talk, occasionally, the teaching would strike us, leave an impression. Our mind would wake up and listen. But when the Dhamma being expounded, wasn’t for us, then we’d just continue quietly with our practice.
In the past, that’s how we learned the Dhamma. There weren’t lectures, or courses, step by step, and whatnot. There was just us doing our practice in front of the teacher. When he would teach things for particular people or particular groups, and it wasn’t particularly for us, then our mind would just practice quietly within ourselves. When he would arrive at a teaching that was a point of interest for us, the mind would wake up to it. We weren’t sleeping, but the mind would come out of the peaceful state and receive the current of Dhamma. That’s the way we learn Dhamma, by transmission from the master’s heart, to ours.
The great monasteries don’t hold retreats or have a particular program. If we are diligent practitioners, and we visit a master or listen to them, our heart will connect with our teacher. That doesn’t mean we’re sending our mind out to bother him. We just do our practice and our mind or heart senses the presence of his heart. And he will expound the Dhamma in that moment for us, specifically the point that we require in that moment, or the place that we are at in our practice and not sure how to move further.
That’s the way that most of the masters I learned from would teach. I never felt that it was any type of miracle or amazing psychic ability being shown off. The masters never asked anything of me. I would go to him with a humble mind, with humility, the utmost respect, the desire to be good and to practice well. There was no interest in showing off defilements or any egoic purposes at all. Doing so, we don’t arrive at the truly good teachings.
I’ve told you all many times, when I was stuck somewhere in my practice, and I would go to visit a master, I wouldn’t even have to ask him and he would already answer. Many masters teach in that way. Except for example, Luang Pu Suwat. Before I was a monk I had been practising to a point where the mind had released the mind. Once that happened, once that state was there for a while, the mind grabbed the mind once again. When the mind released, and then picked the mind back up… if we haven’t practised that to that point, we won’t understand what that means.
You’ll think, “what is he talking about? I haven’t seen that in the scriptures?” It is a true phenomenon and we may not be able to understand it. But anyhow, the mind would release the mind and then pick it back up, again and again. I would think, “what do I need to do so I can release the mind permanently and not pick it back up?”
Five aggregates are a burden
In a Buddhist chant, it says the five aggregates are a burden. We carry this burden around and thus are not free from suffering. The noble ones, the arahants, have released this burden and do not pick it up again. They then are liberated from suffering. The mind is within the five aggregates, but it’s the hardest of all aggregates to release. It’s much harder to release than the body is. The mind is very subtle. The body is much more obviously something that is suffering and under oppression.
But when the mind is happy, and peaceful, it really seems like it is such a pleasant and wonderful thing. It’s not easy to release something that is so good and of such a high quality. But at times, the mind, for me, would release the mind. The five aggregates are a burden, and it would release the burden, but there were only arahants that would release the mind and never pick it up again. So it is in one of the chants, “Para Have Pancakhandha”. So I thought, “why does the mind get released but then it’s once again retrieved? It’s a burden, just like all the other aggregates.
The body is a burden. We wake up in the morning and we have many responsibilities. We have to make our bed in servitude to the body for the next day. We proceed to urinate and defecate, shower, brush our teeth and wash up, prepare breakfast… these are all burdens. Then we escort the body to work. Yet another burden. Bringing the body to the car, or the bus. Some people take the train to work. For others there’s the burden of driving. Then we sit at work, the body having to do all the duties. It’s tiresome. As tired as we are, when we get home, we have to freshen up once again and go to sleep. We sleep for maintenance of this suffering body. When the body doesn’t rest and is too tired, it’s very painful. The body is riddled with suffering from morning until night and then continues to suffer once again.
When we have mindfulness, we’ll see that aches and pains exist even while we’re sleeping, and we have to shift to the left, shift to the right, all night. We shift dozens of times during the night, back and forth. This body is suffering itself. We have to go out there and make money so that we have food to eat. The body has to do this hard work, it has to do the work in eating and defecating. This is easy to see, if we observe. Those that are not Buddhist or have not listened to the Buddha’s Dhamma, are able to see this too, that the body is suffering, that it’s a burden.
If we move to more subtle aggregates, like, vedana, or the feelings, there are pleasant feelings, unpleasant and neutral feelings. When there are unpleasant feelings, we suffer. When there are pleasant feelings, we don’t see it as suffering. When it feels neutral, we don’t feel that there’s suffering. It’s harder to see the truth of suffering with vedana. The suffering of the body is right in front of our face. But we won’t sense that vedana is always suffering. We see that there’s suffering only when there are unpleasant feelings. But when there is pleasantness in the heart, or indifference, we don’t see that that is suffering.
It takes a long time of practising to see that there is turbulence that occurs when happiness enters the heart. The peace is broken, and weightlessness is sacrificed. When the happiness that occurs is coarse, like sense pleasure, the heart will be turbulent from the sense pleasure. When we are truly strong practitioners, we’ll see that even when there is genuine happiness, that there is still suffering of mind. Happiness is not really worth our pursuit. It’s actually something that brings us suffering. The same is true for neutral feelings, although it’s even more subtle to see. Seeing equanimity as suffering is not an easy feat.
In the sankhara aggregate, mental formations, it’s hard to see the truth of suffering. There are wholesome and unwholesome formations. When the mind is unwholesome, it is suffering. That’s easy to see. But when the mind is wholesome, there’s happiness and we’ll neglect to observe. So, there are some hard things to see in the mental formations, like when the mind is wholesome. Sometimes we are entranced by it, enjoying the happiness and peace. We make merit and then we gloat because of it.
Others feel more harshly. Some people take a look at their teacher and then rapture occurs. Rapture is a mental formation (sankhara). When rapture occurs, the mind is turbulent, moving around. Seeing rapture clearly, it doesn’t seem to have any rhyme or reason to it. It arises and puts the mind off balance, shifting this and that way. Observe and see when anger arises, the mind is not happy. Any type of aversion, and the mind isn’t happy.
Only the practitioners will see this. Most people cannot see this stuff. When the mind is angry, people will look at the person or the thing that made them angry. They won’t see that the mind is angry. When greed arises, they look at the person or the things, whatever it was that made them greedy. They don’t see that their mind is presently greedy. When there is greed, the mind is either happy or neutral but when the mind is angry, there is suffering.
The angry mind is unhappy, so it’s the easiest to see. Greed is harder to see than anger. When observing our mind, the mental formations, know that anger is easiest to see because it’s unhappy. When there is suffering, we don’t want it to be that way. When there is greed or craving, sometimes there’s happiness or feeling neutral, one or the other, when there is greed.
So, when there is happiness, we’re just enjoying, and we don’t look and see that there’s happiness. The mind loses its freedom and its balance, moving and shifting under the influence of craving. When the mind has craving, it’s interested only in the thing that it’s pleased with, or is pretty. The mind goes to look at the attractive person or the beautiful flowers and such. Whatever we like, the mind will find enjoyment in looking at it. Or listening to music, entranced by songs, the mind moves out to listen to the song and doesn’t see that the mind has craving.
Practising Dhamma isn’t hard; it is only hard for non practitioners.
Luang Pu Dune thus taught that practising Dhamma isn’t hard; it’s only hard for non practitioners. Those that don’t practice are those that are lost and entranced by forms, sounds, scents, flavors, bodily sensations, in our stories and our thoughts. The mind is lost in these ways. When we practice, we’re not any different from those who don’t. Our eyes see forms and sometimes there’s happiness, sometimes unhappiness, sometimes neutral feeling. Pleased at times and not at others. Greed sometimes, aversion at times, or lost.
Whether we practice or not, these same things arise. But for those that don’t practice, once there is happiness, unhappiness, good or bad states that arise, they’re interested in what’s outside of themselves. They’re interested in forms, sounds, scents, flavors, textures, their thoughts and ideas. They’re not interested in themselves, in studying themselves, in seeing what their mind is like. And when there is no interest in our own mind, there is no practice. There is no learning the body and mind. The practice is learning the truth of the body and the mind.
Those that don’t practice, and those that do aren’t any different. The eyes see just the same. The ears hear sounds; the nose smells scents; the tongue tastes flavors, and the body makes contact with textures; cold, hot, soft, hard, tight or loose, these types of things; and the mind makes contact with thoughts and ideas. Both types of people make contact with the world just the same, but those that don’t practice, or practice incorrectly, once they are interested in something, the thing that they make contact with; the form, the sound, the flavor, the scent, the texture or the things that they’re thinking about.
For the true practitioners, once there is this contact, they aren’t interested in what is outside of themselves. They come back and see themselves. They’re interested in their own heart, and their own body. That’s the only difference. The body makes contact just the same. It makes contact with pleasant and unpleasant things depending on our karma and its results. If we have a lot of merit…
Some people don’t practice but they have merit they’ve accumulated. So they have pleasant things that they make contact with all the time. They’re with pleasant people. Their home is nice. Their profession is nice and smooth. They acquire money easily. Whatever they want, they get it. These people have made a lot of merit, well, in the past. But if they don’t practice, then they won’t be able to continue that and improve it. So we here, are practitioners. So let’s not be like those that don’t learn Dhamma. So when the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind make contact with objects, study your own body and mind.
When you make contact with something unpleasant and aversion starts, like, looking at this person’s face and start getting angry, if they’re scolding us, if we’re competent in watching the mind, then we see the anger arise. If we’re competent in watching our body, then we’ll notice the changes there, moving from that of a human to one a demon of sorts.
Sometimes we turn into a mad dog wanting to bite. We can feel the expression on our face change, according to what we’re feeling. We can just look at some people’s faces, and know that they are perverted because the face just shows it. When our heart is a particular way, you can see it in the face. For those that observe the body, when anger arises, if we’ve watched the body often, as the anger is arising, we’ll notice perhaps that we’re making fists or there’s tension occurring.
If we’ve practised mindfulness by watching the body, and there’s a change in the body, mindfulness will arise on its own. We’ll see the movement of the body, and then we’ll know that aversion has arisen in the mind. But if we are skilled at watching the mind, then we don’t need to observe the body. We’ll see the anger that comes up directly. So, observing the mind is difficult for many only because we neglect to observe it. We’re angry, and we just look at the thing that made us angry. We’re greedy and we just look at the thing that made us greedy or made us crave. We just get lost and enamoured by it. So try to keep watching. It’s not hard. It’s just hard if we don’t watch.
Luang Pu Dune thus taught: “the practice is not hard; it’s only hard for those who don’t practice. You’ve read and studied many books. So now, study your own mind”. Notice, observe your own mind. For those that are developing Citta Nupassana (insight into the mind). You see the mind that has greed and doesn’t have greed, the mind that has aversion, and doesn’t have aversion, the mind that is lost, and the mind that knows, the mind that is busy and the mind that is stuck. These are the four pairs to observe frequently.
The body is easy to see. All we have to do is practice a short time and we’ll see that it is suffering. Some vedana are easy to see, like, feeling unpleasant and easy to see because the mind doesn’t want that. But happy and neutral feelings, to observe those, and release from them, that’s not easy. It’s difficult to see the mental formations (sankhara) until we release from them, because we don’t want to look at them. We rarely look at them. We mostly have our attention outside of ourselves, and don’t come back to ourselves.
The mind itself, or consciousness, is the hardest to observe. But if we keep practising, one day the mind will release the mind. It might release it, and then it’ll pick it right back up. Then, no matter what we do, it won’t release it again. When that happened to me, I wasn’t yet a monk. When the mind released the mind, it wanted to maintain that experience. I wanted to ask Luang Pu Suwat about it.
Luang Pu Suwat had returned from America, and was at Suanthip Monastery on Wat Goo Street. I quickly got in my car and went to meet him. I wanted to ask him about this mind that released the mind, and how to manage to make that permanent. When I started to drive, the mind picked up the mind again and I kept trying to release, but it just wouldn’t. So I was focusing on it, concentrating on it, and it wouldn’t fall away, it wouldn’t release it. I had all kinds of tricks, but none of them worked.
I was driving from Nonthaburi and then when I arrived at the top of the street in Pak Kraeb, I felt discouraged, “Oh, the mind is not a self. I can’t order it. The mind picked up the mind, and I cannot order it to let go. The mind is not non-self”. The mind saw that, and when it saw that, it released the mind right then and there. When it released, I thought, “Oh, good. I’ll hurry to ask Luang Pu about it, and how I can maintain this”.
When I arrived to where he was staying, just in a small hall in a small residence, I sat waiting for him. After a little while, a monk rolled him out in a wheelchair. He was paralyzed from a car accident. He rolled him out and I paid my respects. There were many people there. The room was full and we were all sitting tightly against each other.
I prostrated, and he smiled this way, then smiled that way. I was sitting to his left, and he was looking to his right, and smiling a sweet smile, looking the other way. Then he just said, “When we practice Dhamma, sometimes the mind releases the mind. When that happens, it then picks the mind right back up again. What do we do to try to make it release again? Whatever we do to try to make it release again doesn’t work, not until our wisdom knows and sees that the mind is non-self. Then the mind will release on its own.
“When he finished saying that, he turned to me and smiled. I knew that he had answered my question. I was going to ask him, “What do we do in order to make the release permanent?”, and I got my answer. We have to see the three characteristics. So we have to see that the mind is the three characteristics, until it is sufficient. Then permanent release will happen. We can’t force this.
When the mind finally releases the mind, then all the other aggregates will be released along with it, because all of the aggregates arise out of the mind. Vinyana conditions nama rupa, the arising of the five aggregates. If we can release the mind, then we release all five aggregates.
If we would like to release and never pick them up again, we need to see clearly that in each of the five aggregates, there is but impermanence, suffering and non self. We especially we need to see this regarding the mind itself. That is the most subtle, the most profound and the hardest to see. It’s harder to see than vedana, and harder to see than sankhara. It’s because the mind, or vinyana, is not something that is dirty. It’s light and weightless, and it is the knower, the awakened and radiant one, all within itself. It’s automatically that way. It looks so good!
Thus, it is extremely difficult to see that this mind is suffering itself, that it is actually a bad thing. It is this knower mind, the mind that is the knower, that is awake and radiant. It is so bright, light and beautiful. It is peaceful and bright, but we have to penetrate deep within it, to see that it’s actually not pure and clean. This beautiful knower mind is merely peaceful and bright, but not pure. Why is it peaceful? Because nothing is dirtying it, manipulating it, or decorating it. Within itself, it’s peaceful, and bright and light. So when we see this, when we’re practising, nobody will release it.
The mind is suffering
One day, I was sitting with Luang Pu Dune. Usually when I just say Luang Pu, that means Luang Pu Dune. If it’s other masters, I’ll say their name. So I was sitting with Luang Pu and practising, and then after a long time of sitting, he said, “I’ve contemplated, and most of the well known practitioners have attained only becoming a large ghost”. Large ghosts, what are those? Those are Brahma deities. He’s referring to “anagami” or non-returners.
Non-returners aren’t all in the Brahma Suddha Vasa realm. Some of them are in the lowest level of Brahma deity, called Brahma Pari Sajja. That’s the lowest level, followed by the Brahma Purohita. Then there’s the Maha Brahmas. There are 16 levels of Brahmas. Non-returners can be born in any of them, except one: the unconscious being level. Not all are born in the Brahma Suddha Vasa level, as commonly misunderstood. Those that are in the Brahma Suddha Vasa realm, those are non-returners that are competent in the fourth jhana, and also have very strong spiritual faculties.
There are five levels of Suddha Vasa, each corresponding to a different one of the spiritual faculties and the strength of it. If there is strong faith, then they reside in the first Suddha Vasa level. If there is strong effort, then the second. If there is mindfulness, samadhi and wisdom, as the strength, then they appear in the third, fourth or fifth, respectively.
Non-returners whose strength is faith are born in that first level, and can remain non-returners for a very long time. With faith as their main strength, their power will not be strong enough to see the three characteristics of the mind with crystal clarity. Faith is intoxicating. Or those with effort as their strength, may not have the wisdom necessary yet. So it will take some time. The non-returners in these lower Brahma deity realms, take very long to enlighten. Often, just before their death.
Unlike the fifth level, Akanittha. These are non-returners who have achieved the fourth jhana, and have the strong faculty of wisdom. Many of these beings, when human, think they’ve enlightened. When when they die, they realize that they hadn’t yet. Then they wonder, why is it that it’s not over yet. The mind is still caught in something. Then they need to observe inside, see the truth and enlighten quite quickly from this realm, as an arahant. They have strong abilities with wisdom. If wisdom is not strong, then it takes a long time.
Seeing that the mind is suffering itself is not an easy thing to do. Observing the body is easy. Observing the vedana and sankhara are not too difficult. They’re not easy, but they’re not so hard, if we observe them. They’re difficult to see the truth of, because we neglect to observe them. When we’re happy, we are just lost in the enjoyment. When we’re unhappy, sad and moping, and neglect to see that the heart is sad. When the mind is wholesome, we gloat and beam. When the mind is unwholesome, like when it’s angry and we’re irritated and not liking something, it’s not equanimous.
When we’re greedy, then we can be happy and satisfied so we’re not going to observe ourselves. The mind is lost and can’t see anything. These are easy things to see, but seeing that this beautiful knower mind is suffering itself, is not an easy thing at all, because it’s so good. It is the best thing possible that one can experience as a worldly being. The mind that’s knowing, awake and radiant, is the happiest thing achievable in the world. So seeing that it is not a pinnacle of goodness is not easy. We must be very observant, very brave, in order to see it.
So gradually train the mind, and then when it truly sees the truth, it will release. When it releases with the highest wisdom, seeing the truth that the mind is suffering itself, then once releasing, it will never retrieve the mind again. Releasing, retrieving, releasing, retrieving… That’s because it doesn’t really know that it is suffering. It still thinks that the mind is something special and so it grabs it again.
When some masters are approaching the end in their practice, this beautiful knower mind that is happy, morphs right into suffering. The mind that was the knower and awake and delightful, having so much happiness –the highest happiness – turns right into suffering. But the suffering doesn’t disappear. When defilements arise, the mind suffers. When the defilement is seen, it disappears. Yet, when this knower becomes the suffering, it doesn’t disappear.
The more it is observed, the more suffering it becomes. It suffers so much, it’s like a mountain landing on you, and then grinding away at you. Not just sitting still, that mountain, but grinding as well. That extent of suffering. That’s when the mind will release. It will know clearly that this mind is not something good, or special. It is suffering, proper.
Some masters see that it is suffering because it is impermanent. They see that this knower mind is happy. Then, all of a sudden, it switches to suffering. This knower mind is not something that is reliable. It’s impermanent. Other masters see that the mind is under oppression, like a mountain that is grinding against you. Yet other masters see that there is no point, no rhyme or reason to it, and he or she disposes of it.
There was one master that I learned from. He said that he was practising one day, and his mind, grabbed the knower mind and tossed it out, like garbage. He said it was like taking your hand, grabbing a wad of grass, pulling it up with the Earth and then, tossing it out. Liberation occurred right then. He told me that he was so blissful, that tears would pour from his eyes, and this happiness lasted over a year. After a year or so, the mind got accustomed to this state of having liberated, and then became equanimous. He said, “So, I am this way now, I am nothing. I have not, and I am not, in this way”. He taught me that so I thought I would share it with you, so it might be useful one day. It won’t be useful quite yet, but that’s okay.
Keep the five precepts. Do your meditation each day and don’t neglect it. Do it each day. Then train to have your mind aware with you as much as possible. Once the mind is aware, then learn the truth of the body and mind. When the mind is rooted in awareness, we can observe and see how the body is and how the mind is, in any moment. You can observe the body, or you can observe the mind. In the beginning, choose whatever you like. Use what you are competent at.
Luang Pu Dune didn’t teach me to observe the body. He had me start with observing the mind. But he didn’t teach everybody that way. Many monks and laypeople were taught to observe the body first. Some, he asked to repeat, “Buddho”, some to breathe, some to contemplate their bones and such things. Each monk, each person was taught something different. So Luang Pu Dune did not teach exclusively to observe the mind. If we say that Luang Pu Dune taught to only watch our mind, that’s undermining his teachings. His wisdom and understanding was incomparable. Your wisdom is very little, and so he would teach you what was appropriate for you, whatever you could accept. So he would teach each person differently.
When going to see him, I said, “Luang Pu, I want to practice”. He sat and closed his eyes for a long time, for an hour, sometimes almost an hour. When he would open his eyes, he would teach what to do. He’d teach each person differently, just a sentence or two per person. That’s all. He taught me three sentences, the first time. He said, “You’ve studied many books. Now study your own mind”. He said, “the practice is not difficult, it’s only difficult for those who don’t practice. You’ve read and studied many books and now study your own mind.” That’s all he taught.
Luang Pu taught some people to observe merely one strand of hair. Not two strands, just the one. That monk then observed all of his hair and all of his body, and he did that for three months. There was no success, no results. Then it was time to go to visit Luang Pu, and he realized he didn’t do what he was taught. So he hurried to do his homework, and observed one strand of hair. Immediately, his mind entered deep meditation, and he was able to develop wisdom. Observing the hair is not vipassana but the mind can achieve meditative states that way.
Some monks observe the bones. They’ll do walking meditation, until they see the body is just a skeleton walking. For one monk, there were five skeletons walking. There was the one main one, and then four others as visions, walking with him. Five skeletons walking together. He wasn’t afraid of ghosts. The ghosts were afraid of him, when they saw him! Ghosts usually have just one set of bones, but he had five.
Luang Pu taught each person differently. Those that published books of Luang Pu’s teachings, would add some commentaries of their own. They would soil his work. They aren’t pure and they have others’ words and opinions in them. If we asked what the Luang Pu taught, he taught each person differently. He taught me as I mentioned.
The principles were: “Don’t send the mind out” and, “Have wisdom see the mind, like the eyes see forms”. He was making an analogy. Wisdom sees the mind in the same way that eyes see forms. Then he taught; “The causes must be eliminated. The results must be eliminated. And when all debts are paid off, one is free from the cause of birth”. The last time I ever saw him. He taught me: “Upon meeting the knower, destroy it. Upon meeting the mind, destroy it. Only then will true purity reveal itself.” If we are a knowledgeable listener, then we will understand the steps he is talking about.
When he says, “Having wisdom see the mind, just like eyes see forms”, he’s not talking about mindfulness. He’s talking about ñana, which is wisdom. When the eyes see a form, we’re not choosing what form to look at, whether appealing or unappealing forms. There is a form. There are eyes. There is light. There is interest in looking. The form then appears. There is no intention of choosing which form to see.
The mind is similar here. There are different components. There is an object of consciousness. There is contact. There is an inclination. There is sense contact. And so there is the experience of the object. It could be a pleasant or unpleasant object; the mind does not choose this. So what do we do if there is no choice? Then we just know the object is present in the same way that the eyes see forms. Once the eyes see forms, when the mind is pleased, then we know so. If it’s displeased, then we know so.
The mind sees objects like the eyes see forms. This means, once the object is known, and the mind being pleasant, we know so, and the mind feeling unpleasant, and we know so.
He taught us to have wisdom see the mind, in the same way that eyes see forms. It’s not just seeing with mindfulness. If we bring our mindfulness to stare directly at the mind, it is samatha; keeping it still, or spacious or empty. We don’t get anywhere. We can use it for rest, that’s all. So most people that observe the mind directly, are focusing on the mind and holding it still. They aren’t developing wisdom. They don’t have wisdom seeing the mind like eyes see forms. The eyes don’t choose which forms to see. Once there is a form seen, when the mind is pleased or displeased, we don’t choose that either. It just happens by itself. So when the mind makes contact with objects, if happiness, unhappiness, good or bad states arise, however it is, just know that it’s that way. That’s wisdom seeing the mind in the same way that eyes see forms. We don’t move in to interfere.
Why do most practitioners interfere? Because they see suffering arise and they try to find ways to make it go away. Or when happiness comes up, they wonder, “What can I do to make this stay?”.
When they see wholesome states arise, they want to find ways to keep it and to make it arise often. When they see unwholesome states, they think, “What do we do to have it not arise? And if it does arise, how do I make it disappear?” So there’s just doing and doing and doing. The word “seeing” escapes them. So have wisdom see. The verb is “to see”. Nothing else.
So let’s keep practising and training. One day, we’ll see the truth, that these five aggregates are suffering. We’ll see this stage by stage. When we see it, we will release, and be liberated from suffering. In that moment, the mind will encounter true shanti, true peace, true happiness. Some masters call it “Amata Dhamma”, the death-free Dhamma. If we haven’t practised deeply, then what I’m saying now will just make us dizzy about true Dhamma, and the Dhamma element. So that’s enough for today then.
Be careful of COVID. Don’t drop your guard. This morning, my attendant Ajahn Aah, had me look at the regulations set out by the government of Chonburi. This is the ninth day that there is no infection in the province. Actually that was yesterday, the ninth day. Then, it mentioned that if anybody from Chonburi was at the Bang Kae Market within particular dates, then go test for COVID right away at your nearest hospital.
So if we are careless we will encounter COVID here again because the vaccines haven’t been administered here yet. So we can’t be careless yet. Chonburi also continues to recommend that we keep our distance, wash our hands, wear masks and scan our phones when entering businesses. So these are the four recommendations. Each province has its own regulations. They’re similar but they use different language.
Chonburi has its own way of speaking. It’s become popular. Not that Chonburi is any better than any other province. This world is just a temporary place to reside. One day, it’s bye-bye. You do your thing and I’ll move on according to my karma. Everybody separates from each other in that way. That’s enough for today.
Wat Suan Santidham
14 March 2021