Day 7
The key to understanding is to keep the mind pure

Spirit Rock Meditation Center Retreat, April 25-May 9, 2015

Translation from Burmese by Ma Thet and transcription and editing by Douglas McGill

Appreciate the awareness that you have.

The nature of the mind is that when awareness is present, then understanding of whether something is suitable or not, beneficial or not, comes along. It starts to kick in once in a while.

The nature of this practice is so long as you are not searching for something, expecting something, i.e. greed is not operating in the practice, then the nature of the practice is that wisdom will begin operating.

When you find yourself interested while you observe some things, it means that wisdom is operating. Recognize that.

When your mind finds something interesting, recognize, we need to acknowledge that interest is present. And when there is no interest, we can also recognize that interest is not present.

When there is a defilement in the mind it can be difficult to feel interested in just the process, or to be interested in just the process.

If your mind is naturally inquisitive, you know in your daily life you tend to be someone who likes to sort out things, to figure things out for yourself. Then when you meditate you don't need to do much deliberative meditation, that natural quality of your mind will come out when it's necessary. Just be mindful.

But at times when the mind seems to be up against a wall, it's all fog, there is a lot of moha and you can't seem to see through anything, that's when you need to bring out a little bit of curiosity.

What is happening here? What am I not seeing? Bringing out those qualities of wisdom to help the mindfulness of the present moment.

Through all our experiences, all the objects that we know, the knowing is always new. Reality is always new, always arising.

But don’t search for, or identity things, as arising and passing away, or coming and going. Just know what is happening in the present moment as it is.

Our individual ways of understanding principles, such as impermanence, is different. When the understanding strikes you, it may be an understanding that things change, it may be an understanding that things are always arising, or an understanding that things are always passing away. Or an understanding that things arise only to pass away.

But it is the understanding that we are talking about. It is not the experience of seeing something and saying something, “Oh this is coming and going,” or “This is always coming,” or “This is always going.” It's not that. And understanding arises that this is the way things are.

Reality is never static, never constant, not still. It is always changing, constantly arising.

The key to understanding is just to keep the meditating mind pure, to not have greed, aversion or delusion in the way that you observe, so that then awareness, stability of mind and wisdom are arising in the meditating mind.

The mind that is observing usually sees the object that matches its level of purity or wisdom, or non-wisdom.

When the wisdom is strong enough, then it allows the mind to see more clearly, more detail, more cause and effect relationships, more connections. But this is when there is wisdom, not something to strive towards.

Again, a warning to watch out for ideas you might have of what understanding might be like or what you should be experiencing that will signify that you have understanding or momentum or whatever. Watch out for that tendency to believe that your idea of something is what must happen.

When you look for something it doesn’t mean you will see it. And you don't see something just because you want to see it. It’s when you are able to see it that you can see it.

In meditation we are not trying to see the objects, or to see the experience. We are building the natural ability of the mind to see for itself.

Progress in meditation is happening as long as you continue to practice. Progress only stops when we stop practicing.