The Path to Enlightenment in Buddhism is entirely concerned with being mindful. There is no alternative path.
To be mindful is the most direct way to free ourselves from the world of conditioned reality, the world of thinking, which hinders us from seeing the Absolute Truth. Once we can separate ourselves from the world of thoughts we will be able to see the true nature of things, how they all arise and then pass away. The mind will evolve and eventually become equanimous, freeing itself from all defilements. It will gain wisdom and understand the Absolute Truth beyond conditioning.
However, this realization cannot be achieved by practicing dhamma with volition, even if the action is wholesome, like giving alms, observing the five precepts, or doing concentration meditation. (These actions are considered unwholesome if done with delusion and craving). Examples are: when stinginess arises, try to overcome it by giving alms. When greed or aversion arises, try to prevent doing physical or verbal harm to others by following the five rules of morality. When distracted or restless, try to calm the mind by doing concentration meditation. When sensual desire arises, try to suppress it by meditating on the decay of corpses. These wholesome actions are good, but cannot eradicate defilements. It is like trying to suppress an illness temporarily with a painkiller instead of finding the cure to eliminate the problem at its root cause.
To arrive at the Absolute Truth, we must first wake up from the world of conditioned reality, encounter all mental and physical phenomena, even of the most unwholesome varieties, with a completely unbiased mind, without being transfixed or getting lost in thoughts. This is the only way in which conditioning can be minimized, until finally diminished altogether. Only then will the Absolute Truth be revealed. But to be awakened from the world of thinking is something we are not used to. This is why it is so important to study, understand, and begin the mindfulness practice with an open mind.
This book is a compilation of writings by His Venerable Luangpor Pramote Pamojjo who, when the book was first published on November 1, 2001, was still a layperson by the names of Pramote Santayakorn, Santinun, and Ubasok Niranam. All four chapters share one common theme, mindfulness practice, in varying degrees of difficulty.
Chapter 1, “For You, the Newcomer: A Simple and Ordinary Essay on Dhamma”, is for any interested reader and does not contain any difficult Buddhist terminology.
Chapter 2, “A Brief Guideline for Practicing Dhamma“, is an elaboration of the first chapter.
Chapter 3, “A Guideline for Practicing Dhamma”, explores an approach in mindfulness practice of a student under the guidance of Pra Ratchavutajarn (Luang Pu Dune Atulo).
Chapter 4, “Observation of the Mind: Meaning, Method and Outcome of the Practice” is an explanation of mindfulness practice in academic terms with Pali vocabulary so that practitioners and those who study the scriptures can come to a common understanding.
May all Buddhists find this Path to Enlightenment, the Path that the Buddha has so carefully paved for us all.