RIGHT EFFORT / PERSISTeNCE
( VIRIYA )
◉ CHECK THE ENERGY USED| Shwe Oo Min Dhammasukha Tawya 2014 Vassa Q&A File: R05_0006
Often check the way you’re practicing. For example, check how much energy you use; are you focusing too much? Just check, that’s enough. Every time you notice that you’re over concentrating, back up and relax. Checking your mental state is also meditation. Don’t follow the object all the time, then you forget how the mind is working. You need to be patient – practicing again and again – and gather more experience.
◉ RIGHT EFFORT DOES NOT MEAN STRONG EFFORTSwitzerland Retreat C4 Group Interview 20160527 (2:53:33-2:55:21)
Momentum is also one of the nature that we can make use of. If we continuously cultivate a wholesome quality of mind, that wholesome quality will become stronger; and it will come more naturally to the mind. It will become a habit of the mind, and it can become a power of the mind. That’s what I call momentum.
Something that we’re cultivating becomes strong enough to live on its own like the mindfulness remembering to remember on its own, the mindfulness coming naturally and having a momentum that it keeps remembering to be mindful without putting in the effort. And that’s momentum.
Understand this nature of how momentum can be gained so that we can relaxingly do something repeatedly to make it powerful.
If we do this for the wholesome qualities of the mind, they become paramis or perfections because we keep fulfilling the wholesome qualities of the mind until they become more powerful, more perfect.
Momentum is the direct result of the fact that cause and effect is there. If every mind arose and passed away, and left nothing behind, then it would not be possible to grow any quality in the mind.
◉ WHAT CONDITIONS CONSISTENCY OF AWARENESS?| Spirit Rock Retreat 2015 Group C Session 4 (1:01:45-1:02:00)
Yogi: How to make awareness continuous, what are the causes and conditions that lead to continuity of awareness naturally?
Sayadaw: To understand that sort of thing, one sitting or one retreat may not be enough. It is like an ongoing lesson.
That investigation requires us to take our mindfulness with us off retreat into life; then onto retreat and off retreat again repeatedly. Mindfulness needs to stay with us.
◉ JUST KNOW AWARENESS IS PRESENT| Shwe Oo Min Dhammasukha Tawya 2014 Vassa Q&A File: R05_0008
If you know your mind activities better, when you lose awareness, you will know that you have lost awareness very fast. Immediately you will know that there’s no awareness. You’ll also be clear when awareness is back. That means you can see your mind activities. Before it may take you 5 to 10 minutes to realize that awareness is gone, but if you know your mind activities well, you will quickly realize that awareness is absent.
And if you can know your awareness, you just need to check whether awareness is present or not; that’s enough. Do it again and again.
◉ HOW CAN AWARENESS BE CONTINUOUS| China 2014 Retreat Opening Talk
Awareness means not to forget what is happening in the body and mind moment to moment. But we should not focus too much because we need to practice the whole day – i.e. from the time we wake up till the time we sleep. If you use too much energy you will tire easily and cannot practice the whole day.
When you focus too much, the mind becomes tense; if you’re too relaxed, you’ll get sleepy. So, you need to adjust and exert just the right amount of energy to stay aware relaxingly.
How to make awareness more continuous?
Our mind is always paying attention outside and daydreaming; we don’t have the experience of being aware continuously. So, to bring back awareness, very often we have to remind ourselves: What is the mind doing? What is the mind aware of? Then awareness comes back naturally. If we are thinking about the body, about the mind, about the practice, awareness is already present.
◉ PRACTISING IN DAILY LIFE| Spirit Rock 2015 Group D Session 4 (5:09 -10:00)
Think about days as moments rather than as a whole day and take them in packets. We can only deal with one moment or task at a time. To practice in real life we have to try harder.
The first thing we’ll come across is how when we’re eager to do something we lose mindfulness – if we are in a hurry we lose mindfulness. So, how do we reduce that so that mindfulness can remain? We need to find our own way.
Second, be interested in your practice because we have to think about how to practice in order to practice effectively. When I started, I didn’t know how to make awareness continuous in my daily life either but I just tried and as I kept watching and wanting to learn, and learning from different situations, different moments and what I needed to do at those, I slowly learnt lessons.
So long as there is that intention to have the Dhamma in our lives, the practice in our lives, we will find a way. It’s only in the beginning that it’s hard.
When we get home from the retreat it’s not going to be the way we want it to be, mindfulness will fall away repeatedly because the surroundings are different. You have to be patient and keep trying; the world teaches you.
◉ DAILY AWARENESS NEEDS NOT BE REGIMENTED| China Retreat Mar 2014 Concluding Talk
Meditation is something we do the whole day, so there is no need for a daily schedule. You can decide to sit and walk anytime. People just have the habit of following a time-table. If not, the yogi gets lost – it only means that the yogi doesn’t use his intelligence to think what he should do. Likewise during meditation, you should learn what to do: what to watch when pain arises. Nobody can come to advice you when pain arises.
Usually at every retreat, the yogi doesn’t think – everything is prepared already. But daily life is not like this, we must have a plan when defilement arises. What to do and then what to do next. At that time you need to think, you need to be aware of your thoughts; why are you doing what you’re doing.
But for yogis, during sitting meditation, you don’t want to look at your thoughts; you don’t want to be aware of your thoughts. But you cannot avoid your thoughts in daily life.
Here there are adult yogis with many family duties. They have lots to think about – the question is: How to think peacefully? All the time, we think with anger, worry and anxiety. Now we practice how to be aware of our thoughts and think and plan peacefully. So you need to practice watching your thoughts. Every retreat you want to focus and calm down – getting good concentration and not think; calm down and go back home. But this is not useful in daily life.
You need to know how to be aware of your mind, your thoughts and your feelings. You need to understand them. Because yogis are used to the old idea of focusing and getting concentration, they will be confused in the first 1-3 days.
So, now I encourage yogis to watch your thoughts and feelings. Then it becomes a habit and you can use this in daily life.
Why do we need to meditate all the time? If you don’t, defilements arise all the time. When our defilements are strong, we must have enough awareness strength, or else we won’t be able to handle them. So we need to meditate to build up our strength to be strong and ready. And also we need information. When we try to be mindful all the time, we can know different mind activities. The mind reacts differently to every situation. If you’re alone, the mind is different; if you’re with others, the mind is also different. Also, with your family and with your friends, the mind has its pattern.
For a good meditator, the mind is the same in every situation – awareness is present and the mind is calm – she can maintain her peacefulness.
Now when you are outside, the mind pays more attention to the outside. In daily life we need to pay attention to the outside world, we cannot pay attention to ourselves all the time. It is not easy. But if you know your mind, when the mind pays attention to the outside, you can still maintain the awareness. Looking and listening are also mind; so if you know your mind activities, you can look and still be aware.
Everything starts with mental action. So, if you know your mind very well, awareness is already involved. If we’re not skillful in watching the mind, it is impossible to practice in daily life because we need to think a lot in daily life. We are usually eager to finish a task fast; hurry, hurry. The mind is agitated all the time. If the mind is not stable, awareness disappears.
◉ COMMITTED TO KNOWING UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES| China Retreat 2016 02/26 Interview 2 (B1) (2:13:1-2:14:58)
Know your mind under any circumstance [yogi’s note: e.g. during festive seasons] and then do whatever you do. Try, that’s all. Know your mind and then do whatever. Try to know about your mind all the time.
If you’re involved 100% with the experience, then your awareness is gone. But you can do this, even when the defilements overwhelm you, you can still try to be aware – let one mind say: I want to know; still knowing, try to know. If you try to practice, you can be aware.
Yogi: I cannot because the mind is so occupied with the storyline.
No, it depends on your idea, right? [yogi’s note: You believe that you’re too occupied with the storyline to have any awareness; but are you sure?] Delusion believes in what the mind thinks. So, delusion is so strong that awareness is gone.
◉ ADVICE FOR THOSE WHO PREFER DAILY AWARENESS TO SITTING AND VICE VERSA| China Retreat Feb-Mar 2016 – Interview 1 (A1) (1:25:09-1:27:15)
In daily life, we are busier; so the mind is more awake. But sitting time must be the same because there’s only object and awareness, right? During sitting, there’s object and awareness. In daily life, there’s also object and awareness; right? Actually, both must be the same, but if you think that awareness in daily life is better, then you’ll not be interested in sitting meditation.
You’re sleepy when sitting because of lack of interest; you’re interested in daily activities, but not when sitting. So, you’re judging that this is good and that is not good; that’s why the mind is not interested when sitting. Actually, they are the same – sitting time also object and awareness; daily life also object and awareness. You can learn too when sitting; right? But you cannot accept drowsiness because the mind doesn’t like drowsiness.
Actually, why is the mind sleepy? Because of lack of interest; how to be interested? Use your intelligence. Sometimes sleepiness is due to less effort, and then interest drops as a consequence. If the mind is working properly, you’ll never be sleepy. So, check how the mind is working, how the mind is being aware; the mind becomes awake then.
◉ THE ZEAL TO BE CONSISTENTLY MINDFUL| Spirit Rock 2015 Retreat Morning Instructions Day 10 – 20150505 (24:35-35:25)
Notice just from this sitting. When you finish this session and you get up to go, the quality of mind changes. Look at the sense of commitment you have while you’re sitting; and when you get up to go, why does it change? Are you carrying that same commitment with you, the same zeal to be mindful?
The change in body posture is not important, only mindfulness needs to stay with you. Therefore be more vigorous, zealous and committed to being aware of your daily activities; try and make it continuous, as much as possible.
◉ CHANGING DIRECTION TO THE RIGHT WAY REQUIRES PERSISTENCE| Kalaw Retreat 2016 Day 6 Dhamma Discussion Group C File: 20160402 (2:01-2:45)
Ordinary people always react to experiences with defilements. Now we are trying not to do this – we try to change the direction to the right way. Before, it has always been the wrong way, again, and again, and again. We repeat again, and again, and again; that’s why our reaction becomes automatic.
That’s why we try to change the direction of the mind to grow the good qualities of the mind; that is the meaning of meditation – and if we continue to practice like this for a long time, slowly the behavior changes. Before, the pattern is this way; now, it is that way.
◉ EFFORT IN TANDEM WITH WISDOM| Hong Kong Retreat March/April 2015 Day 6 Q&A Group A (1:23:02-1:24:07)
For beginners, they get tired whenever they try to be mindful and are relaxed when they let go. They think this way because they don’t know how much energy they use, and awareness is not skillful yet, no momentum yet, and they need to be mindful, mindful, mindful. They use more energy.
But advanced yogis have the opposite view. If they are not mindful, the mind becomes messy, thinking of the past and future – and a lot of defilements come, the mind becomes messy and more suffering. When they are mindful, the mind settles down immediately. Now he’s mindful, now the mind settles down because the mind is skillful and strong.
In the beginning, the mind is a lot deluded. Advanced yogi, a lot of wisdom is present. That’s why his view is different.
◉ WHEN AWARENESS GAINS MOMENTUM| China Retreat 2014 Q&A File: 20140221.1 (11:56-13:23)
Momentum is very important. When awareness gains momentum, then vipassana becomes real. At that time, we can say real vipassana is working but now, personal effort is involved.
When the practice is really natural, at that time you are not practicing; nature is practicing. You don’t have to try to be mindful. Mindfulness is already there. Upon waking up awareness is already there.
At that time, anicca and anatta are very obvious. Anatta has to come first; otherwise, who knows anicca? Anicca is me, I know the anicca! anatta is nature first.