A Tree in a Forest

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AIMLESS WANDERER

When we have no real home, we’re like an aimless wanderer out on the road, going this way for a while and then that way, stopping for a while and then setting off again. Until we return to our real home, whatever we do we feel ill-at-ease, just like somebody who’s left his village to go on a journey. Only when he gets home again can he really relax and be at ease.

Nowhere in the world is any real peace to be found. That’s the nature of the world. Look within yourself and find it there instead. When we think of the Buddha and how truly he spoke, we feel how worthy he is of reverence and respect. Whenever we see the truth of some thing, we see his teachings, even if we’ve never actually practised Dhamma. But even if we have knowledge of the teaching, have studied and practised them, but still have not seen their truth, then we’re still homeless like the aimless wanderer.

BANANA PEEL  When you see things in the world like banana peels that have no great value for you, then you’re free to walk in the world without being moved, without being bothered, without being hurt in any way by all of the various kinds of things that come and pass away, whether pleasant or unpleasant. This is the path that leads you to freedom.

BLIND MAN  Both the body and mind are constantly arising and ceasing, conditions are in a state of constant turmoil. The reason we can’t see this in line with the truth is because we keep believing the untrue. It’s like being guided by a blind man. How can we travel with him in safety? A blind man will only lead us into forests and thickets. How could he lead us to safety when he can’t see? In the same way, our mind is deluded by conditions, creating suffering in the search for happiness, creating difficulty in the search for ease. Such a mind can have only difficulty and suffering. Really we want to get rid of suffering and difficulty, but instead we create those very things. All we can do is complain. We create bad causes, and the reasons we do so is because we don’t know the truth of appearances and conditions and try to cling to them.

BOTTLE OF MEDICINE We can compare practice to a bottle of medicine a doctor leaves for his patient. On the bottle are written detailed instructions on how to take the medicine, but no matter how many hundred times the patient may read the directions, he is bound to die if that is all he does. He will gain no benefit from the medicine. And before he dies, he may complain bitterly that the doctor wasn’t any good, that the medicine didn’t cure him. He will think that the doctor was a fake or that the medicine was worthless, yet he had only spent his time examining the bottle and reading the instructions. He hadn’t followed the advice of the doctor and taken the medicine. However, if the patient had actually followed the doctor’s advice and taken the medicine regularly as prescribed, he would have recovered.

Doctors prescribe medicine to eliminate diseases from the body. The Teachings of the Buddha are prescribed to cure diseases of the mind and to bring it back to its natural healthy state. So the Buddha can be considered to be a doctor who prescribes cures for the illnesses of the mind which are found in each one of us without exception. When you see these illnesses of the mind, does it not make sense to look to the Dhamma as support, as medicine to cure your illnesses?

CHILD PLAYING  When we have contemplated the nature of the heart many times, then we will come to understand that this heart is just as it is and can’t be otherwise. We will know that the heart’s ways are just as they are. That’s its nature. If we see this clearly, then we can detach from thoughts and feelings. And we don’t have to add on anything more if we constantly tell ourselves that ‘that’s just the way it is.” When the heart truly understands, it lets go of everything. Thinking and feeling will still be there, but that very thinking and feeling will be deprived of power.

It’s like at first being annoyed by a child who likes to play in ways that annoy us so much that we scold or spank him. But later we understand that it’s natural for a child to play and act like that, so we leave him alone. We let go and our troubles are over. Why are they over? Because we now accept the natural ways of children. Our outlook has changed and we now accept the true nature of things. We let go and our heart becomes more peaceful. We now have right understanding.

COBRA

Mental activity is like a deadly poisonous cobra. If we don’t interfere with a cobra, it simply goes its own way. Even though it may be extremely poisonous, we are not affected by it. We don’t go near it or take hold of it, and so it doesn’t bite us. The cobra does what is natural for a cobra to do. That’s the way it is. If you are clever, you’ll leave it alone. Likewise, you let be that which is not good — you let it be according to its own nature. You also let be that which is good. Don’t grab onto liking and disliking, just as you wouldn’t interfere with the cobra.  One who is clever will have this kind of attitude towards the various moods that arise in his mind. When goodness arises, we let it be good. We understand its nature. In the same way, we let be the not-good. We let it be according to its nature.

We don’t take hold of it because we don’t want anything. We don’t want evil. We don’t want good. We don’t want heaviness

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