In practice, some come to see easily, some with difficulty. But whatever the case, never mind. Difficult or easy, the Buddha said not to be heedless. Just that--don't be heedless. Why? Because life is not certain. Wherever we start to think that things are certain, uncertainty is lurking right there. Heedlessness is just holding things as certain. It is grasping at certainty where there is no certainty and looking for truth in things that are not true. Be careful! They are likely to bite you sometime in the future!
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Try to be mindful, and let things take their natural course. Then your mind will become still in any surroundings, like a clear forest pool. All kinds of wonderful, rare animals will come to drink at the pool, and you will clearly see the nature of all things. You will see many strange and wonderful things come and go, but you will be still. This is the happiness of the Buddha.
Where does rain come from? It comes from all the dirty water that evaporates from the earth, like urine and the water you throw out after washing your feet. Isn't it wonderful how the sky can take that dirty water and change it into pure, clean water? Your mind can do the same with your defilements if you let it.
One day some people came to the master and asked: How can you be happy in a world of such impermanence, where you cannot protect your loved ones from harm, illness or death? The master held up a glass and said: Someone gave me this glass; It holds my water admirably and it glistens in the sunlight. I touch it and it rings! One day the wind may blow it off the shelf, or my elbow may knock it from the table. I know this glass is already broken, so I enjoy it - incredibly.
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Once you understand non-self, then the burden of life is gone. You'll be at peace with the world. When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness and we can truly be happy. Learn to let go without struggle, simply let go, to be just as you are - no holding on, no attachment, free.
You say that you are too busy to meditate. Do you have time to breathe? Meditation is your breath. Why do you have time to breathe but not to meditate? Breathing is something vital to peoples lives. If you see that Dhamma practice is vital to your life, then you will feel that breathing and practising the Dhamma are equally important.
Buddha once saw a jackal, a wild dog, run out of the forest where he was staying. It stood still for a while, then it ran into the underbrush, and then out again. Then it ran into a tree hollow, then out again. Then it went into a cave, only to run out again. One minute it stood, the next it ran, then it lay down, then it jumped up. The jackal had the mange. When it stood, the mange would eat into its skin, so it would run. Running, it was still uncomfortable, so it would stop. Standing, it was still uncomfortable, so it would lie down. Then it would jump up again, running to the underbrush, the tree hollow, never staying still. The Buddha said, 'Monks, did you see that jackal this afternoon? Standing, it suffered. Running, it suffered. Sitting, it suffered. Lying down, it suffered. It blamed standing for its discomfort. It blamed sitting. It blamed running and lying down. It blamed the tree, the underbrush, and the cave. In fact, the problem was with none of those things. The problem was with his mange.' We are just the same as that jackal. Our discontent is due to wrong view. Because we don't exercise sense restraint, we blame our suffering on externals. Whether we live in Thailand, America or England, we aren't satisfied. Why not? Because we still have wrong view. Just that! So wherever we go, we aren't content. But just as that jackal would be content wherever it went as soon as its mange was cured, so would we be content wherever we went once we rid ourselves of wrong view.
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One man watches a river flow by. If he does not wish it to flow, to change ceaselessly in accord with its nature, he will suffer great pain. Another man understands that nature of the river is to change constantly, regardless of his likes and dislikes, and therefore he does not suffer. To know existence as this flow, empty of lasting pleasure, void of self, is to find that which is stable and free of suffering, to find true peace in the world.
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We have limited time in our life, therefore we should try to teach ourselves, not to teach others. We should conquer ourselves, rather than conquer others. Whether coming or going, standing, sitting or lying down, our mind should be focused in this way. If we practise like this and develop mindfulness continuously, wisdom arises quickly and this is a fast way of practice.
To observe and watch one's own mind is something really interesting. The untrained mind will run and follow its old habit patterns. Because it has not been trained and taught, it will get lost in all kinds of stories and issues. Therefore we have to train our mind. The meditation practice in Buddhism is all about training one's own mind.
The ultimate truth is like the flavour of an apple which you can't see with the eye or hear with the ear. The only way to experience it is to put the teachings into practice. Once you taste it, you are no longer in any doubt about its flavour and you do not have to ask anyone else. The problem is solved.
If you want to understand suffering you must look into the situation at hand. The teachings say that wherever a problem arises it must be settled right there. Where suffering lies is right where non-suffering will arise, it ceases at the place where it arises. If suffering arises you must contemplate right there, you don't have to run away. You should settle the issue right there. One who runs away from suffering out of fear is the most foolish person of all. He will simply increases his stupidity endlessly.
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When we sit in meditation and hear a sound, we think, 'Oh, that sound's bothering me.' If we see it like this, we suffer. But if we investigate a little deeper, we see that the sound is simply sound. If we understand like this, then there's nothing more to it. We leave it be. The sound is just sound, why should you go and grab it? You see that actually it was you who went out and disturbed the sound.
A woman wanted to know how to deal with anger. I asked when anger arose whose anger it was. She said it was hers. Well, if it really was her anger, then she should be able to tell it to go away, shouldnt she? But it really isn't hers to command. Holding on to anger as a personal possession will cause suffering. If anger really belonged to us, it would have to obey us. If it doesn't obey us, that means it's only a deception. Don't fall for it. Whenever the mind is happy or sad, don't fall for it. Its all a deception.
Regarding this Dhamma, it is not something that we can simply talk about or take another's word for it. We need to develop meditation so that the understanding arises clearly within oneself. It is not the case that merely by listening to another's explanation our defilements will disappear. When we gain some understanding we need to chew on it again so that we see it for ourselves with certainty: paccattam.
Whenever we feel that we are definitely right, so much so that we refuse to open up to anything or anybody else, right there we are wrong. It becomes wrong view. When suffering arises, where does it arise from? The cause is wrong view, the fruit of that being suffering. If it was right view it wouldn't cause suffering.