Homo Sapien

We are born of risen apes, not fallen angels.

– anthropologist Robert Ardrey

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Phenomenon: Defilements

Defilements are like a stray cat. If you give it as much food as it wants, it will always be coming around looking for more; but if you stop feeding it, after a couple of days it’ll stop coming around. It’s the same with the defilements. If you stop feeding them, they won’t come to disturb you; they’ll leave your mind in peace. So rather than being afraid of defilements, make them afraid of you. You do that by seeing the Dhamma within your minds.

– Ajahn Chah

Buddhism: The path

Too many philosophies and schools teach you mainly what is good.
It is like telling you only about a beautiful place. Enticing you.
Thus many people want to get there. But they don’t know how.
And so many people pretend that they have reached the destination. Many people pretend that they are good and holy and noble when their actions and intentions are not.
The world becomes a confusing one of moral theorizing and moral rationalization.

The aim of Buddha’s teaching is the path.
Yes, the destination is great but it is the path that will get you there.
As long as you follow the path diligently, you will reach the destination.
This is the main aim of Buddha’s teaching.

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How to be good is just as important as what is good.
Or probably more important.

Meditation: Detachment

What is detachment?

When someone says something hurtful to you, your mind may broadcast the sensation of anger to consciousness.
If you identify with this sensation, your entire being follows.
You become angry.
It is no longer just a sensation; it becomes a state of being.
Your mind becomes angry too.
Your body becomes angry too.
The fire of anger burns and consumes your entire being.
Simply because consciousness attaches and identifies with the sensation.

If instead consciousness sits rooted on its throne of awareness and observes the sensation of anger like watching a movie – this is detachment.
Consciousness is not angry. It is only observing.
Your entire being follows.
Your mind is not angry.
Your body is not angry.
You are only observing.

Sooner or later the sensation of anger runs out of its own fuel and the fire sputters and dies out. You are no longer aware of it. It’s gone.

So, just as long as you don’t attach to and feed any sensation with attention energy, the fire will definitely die out without consuming your entire being.
Because you are detached from it.

*

What is detachment?

When you experience something negative, you don’t become negative.
You simply observe and remain aware.
When you experience something positive, you don’t become positive.
This is detachment.

*

Of course it is simple in theory.
It is the practice that’s important.
That is why in your daily meditation, learn to shift your consciousness backward and downward to sit on the throne of awareness.
Train it to stay there in detachment.
Be skillful in detachment.
So that when the real moment of test comes, you can remain detached in observation without catching fire.

Meditation: If you can’t let go, investigate

The path to enlightenment is through letting go.
Surrender all that is in your mind until it is ’empty’. And in that instant, your awareness discovers itself and you awaken to your ‘self’.
This is the main path of enlightenment – letting go.

However, when you encounter something that you can’t surrender, investigate it.
Why can’t I let it go?
Investigate through quiet contemplation:
Awareness.
Appreciation.
Acceptance.
Use these three As of contemplation to help you investigate.
Once the investigation is complete, you would be able to let it go. But if it still remains a mystery, your mind will keep thinking about it.
So, hold on tight and persevere in your investigation.

This is the paradox of meditation.
For everything that you have trouble surrendering, cling to it instead, so you may thoroughly investigate why.
Penetrate that thing to the core with contemplation and burst it.
Once it is burst, you gain wisdom, and will have little trouble letting it go afterwards.
The path to enlightenment opens up again and you can progress. Until the next obstacle.

*

If you can’t let go, investigate.

Phenomenon: Consciousness of the mind

Just like the body has many organs, the mind has many systems.
It is all about organization, dynamics, synchrony.

Consciousness is the system of the mind that feels and knows and has will. It can direct attention, which is simply mental energy.

When consciousness feels happiness, the rest of the mind succumbs to happiness.
When consciousness feels miserable, the rest of the mind succumbs to misery.
When consciousness knows morality, the mind becomes moral.
When consciousness dwells on the nose, the mind becomes the nose.
When consciousness contemplates breathing, the mind breathes.

This is the dynamics and synchrony of consciousness and mind.

Phenomenon: Samsara and retribution

The law of physics dictates that all physical manifestations go through the cycle of birth, growth, decay and death. This cycle is samsara.

There’s nothing we can do for our body. It is bound by this physical law: bound to decay and die.
It is different for our mind, however. Our mental world manifests according to its own rules.
It is possible for our mind to escape samsara and enter the birthless and deathless state.
It is only in ignorance that the instinctive mind follows this physical law and impose it on itself.

How can we witness the birthless-deathless state and educate our mind?
Simply let go.
Stop following.
Stop feeding all mental formations with attention energy.
They will thus stop growing, and so decay and die.
The sense gates close.
The thoughts quieten.
Then, there will eventually come a fleeting instant of great emptiness – after the death of everything and before the birth of anything.
A glimpse of the birthless and deathless.
And the mind is enlightened.

After this the rest is just a matter of persistent practice to eradicate old habits.
So that when the moment of our body’s death approaches, we can truly rest in peace.
For samsaric retribution is escaped.

Buddhism: The spider

Try watching a spider. A spider spins its web in any convenient niche and then sits in the centre, still and silent. Sooner or later a fly comes along and lands on the web. As soon as it touches and shakes the web, boop! – the spider pounces and winds it up in thread. It stores the insect away and then returns again to collect itself silently in the centre of the web.

In the language of Dhamma we can also say that, just as the spider traps the various insects, the mind binds up the senses with annica, dukkha, anatta. Where can they go? We keep them for food. These things are stored away as our nourishment. That’s enough; there’s no more to do, just this much. This is the nourishment for our minds, nourishment for one who is aware and who has understanding.

– Ajahn Chah