WISDOM (PAÑÑA) – RIGHT InforMATION (1)
◉ HOW TO WATCH THE MIND SKILFULLY| China Retreat 2014 Q&A (1 March 2014 PM; 1:00:30 – 1:08:06)
You need to be very skillful in watching your mind, then immediately you can change. Otherwise, it takes a longer time. So, before the defilements arise, every day you need to practice watching your mind all the time. Then it becomes easier. Make the awareness ever ready and strong, make it a habit; then when defilements come you can face them. Otherwise, if awareness-wisdom is weak, you will have no chance when defilements come. So, be ready with strong awareness. That’s why awareness meditation must be practiced all the time.
Because you identify with the defilements, you feel remorse. That’s why right view and right attitude are very important to awareness practice. Otherwise you become depressed when you watch your mind.
Whatever happens does not belong to you. The mind is mind; defilement is defilement. Defilement is not yours. Who is anger? Nobody can own anger; anger is anger, anger is nature. It can happen to anybody; nobody can say anger is me, right?
First know that the mind is nature. Wholesome and unwholesome minds are all nature. Then, the mind can accept and watch. Otherwise the mind will resist. Don’t complain about what is happening; just do what should be done.
Don’t forget a yogi’s job is only 3 things: remind yourself that everything is nature, be aware and maintain the awareness. This is the responsibility of the yogi. Whatever is happening is not your responsibility. Whatever happens in the present is the result of past conditions. We cannot change them.
◉ KNOW THE KNOWING MIND| China Retreat 2014 Q&A File: 20140221 (38:29-39:30)
Now, do you know the touching? Do you know the touching or the knowing of the touching?
The touching and the knowing mind are very different although they happen together. Everybody only notices the touching sensation because it is strong and obvious. But people don’t know that there is a knowing mind.
When you know the mind, the knowing mind becomes obvious.
◉ MIND IS DISTINCT FROM OBJECT| China Retreat 2016 03/04 Interview 16 (Volunteer 2) (1:13:47-1:15:12)
Yogi: Some people who have meditated a long time still habitually get involved with the object quickly without awareness.
Sayadaw: There is something wrong. Wisdom can change this habit very well. Step back means the mind already understands what is object and what is mind. That’s why you can step back; wisdom is already there.
◉ NO NEED TO MAKE THE OBJECT CLEAR; JUST KNOW UNCLEAR IS UNCLEAR| Gaia Retreat 2015 Q&A Group E & F Session 4 (47:54- 49:33)
You just need to know that there’s an object. There’s no need to see the object clearly; no need to make the object clear. If you continue to do this continuously, it will become clear by itself.
When the quality of the awareness is good enough, everything becomes clearer. But we don’t try to see harder, we don’t try to look closer. You just have to wait for the glasses to become clear.
If it’s unclear, just know that it’s unclear. Just keep knowing – that it’s unclear. When the awareness is strong enough, then it will become clear.
Our concern is not the object or how clear the object should be. Our concern is how to be aware and how to keep the awareness continuous.
So, we take care of the awareness.
◉ THE CORRECT MEDITATION OBJECT| China Retreat 2014 Q&A (1 March 2014 PM; 21:36-25:50)
When you practice seeing, what object are you aware of? The object for hearing is sound. What is the object for seeing? It is sight. People pay attention to the outside object, the things they see; these are concepts, not the meditation object. The meditation object of seeing is sight. Sight is happening here in the eyes, not outside.
Hearing is more obvious. Beginning when we practice hearing and listening, the sound is far away; but slowly when awareness becomes stronger, the sound is happening at the ears. And when the awareness becomes even stronger, the sound is happening in the mind. So, sound is not outside. It is inside just like bodily sensations and rising & falling. The sound object touches the ears, we then can hear. Sound is not an outside object; sound is an inside object.
So, if taste, smell and touch are happening inside the body, then why are sound and sight happening outside the body? All the 5 sense doors are here in the body!
You need to be skillful in all sense doors to meditate, and then you can practice in daily life.
◉ GUARDING THE SENSE DOORS| China Retreat 2014 Q&A (1 March 2014 PM; 25:49- 33:36)
You need to be skillful in watching every sense door, and then you can practice in daily life. When you’re seeing and looking, awareness must be present. When you’re hearing and listening, awareness must also be present. If awareness is not there, defilement is already there.
In daily life, you cannot practice rising and falling and anapana all the time. You can be skillful when practicing rising & falling and anapana, but if you’re not skillful at seeing & looking and hearing & listening, then defilements can arise. When that happens you cannot maintain your samadhi and wisdom cannot grow.
That’s why people can meditate in the meditation centre, but they cannot meditate in daily life. That is the problem.
If someone practices seeing and looking all the time, then naturally it becomes a habit; and then every time he opens his eyes, awareness is already there.
Seeing object is very obvious, but people don’t know how to practice seeing. It is very obvious because you see whenever you open your eyes. If you cannot practice this simple object, how to observe more subtle paramatha objects? That’s why we need to practice every sense door, not only bodily sensations.
◉ MIND QUALITY IN RELATION TO OBJECT| Shwe Oo Min Dhammasukha Tawya: 2015 Malaysian Group Interview 3 Dec 2015 File: 151203 – 173529
Yogi: The mind quality changes when someone enters my room or when I walk past someone. Why?
Sayadaw: That means that the mind starts to think about the object/the person. If you forget the object, then there is no problem. The mind quality only changes if the mind pays attention to the object and starts thinking about it. If you totally forget and don’t care about the object, the mind will remain strong and will continue to do its own job. Some people can do this – forget about other people. If the mind goes to the object, then just come back to your senses; don’t think about the (conceptual external) object.
If samadhi and wisdom are strong enough, then the mind cannot be affected. If the mind is weak; it’s easier to be affected. Even if someone looks at you or you hear and see someone, your mind quality changes. The mind is so fast.
When I was practicing as a layperson in the market, my mind was always very calm although the market was busy and noisy. The external activities didn’t attract my attention anymore because I was not thinking about them; I was fully aware inside myself, only interested in the process. The mind knew what was happening but it didn’t pay attention to it.
◉ HOW TO OBSERVE CALMNESS| IMS 2014 Group F4 Dhamma Discussion 8 May 2014
Especially with an object like calm, looking at calm, it will not be seen as changing. It’s when you know the awareness that it’s very clear that awareness is not static. You have a moment of awareness and then you have to renew it to know the same object over again and again. When you know awareness and there is renewing, it becomes very clear that the object is renewing over and over again as well.
It’s the same with an object like seeing. How do we detect that seeing is also changing? It is only possible when we know the awareness of seeing, then it can be understood that seeing is also changing.
◉ KEEPING THE MIND SIMPLE AND HONEST| Spirit Rock Retreat 2015 Q&A Group A Session 1 (53:18 – 54:18)
Don’t attempt to see the objects more clearly, don’t try to know your experience better. The more simple and honest the mind is, the clearer everything will become.
When the mind is liking or not wanting something, then the mind is not simple.
◉ KNOWING IS NOT NOTHING| Spirit Rock Retreat 2015 Group B Session 4 (10.50-11:35)
When we know nothing about why we are suffering, it can feel like a dead end. But when we know some of the conditions, even just intellectually by hearing something about them, it can give some relief. It shows us there is a way; if there are conditions, the suffering can be taken away.
◉ DIFFERENT MIND FUNCTIONS| China Retreat 2014 Q&A File: 20140221.1 (19:16-23:00)
We’re watching thoughts again and again, and slowly, we can see that there is something beyond the thoughts.
Thinking is thinking – thinking is not anger. Thinking is one function of the mind. But beyond the thinking, what mind is motivating the thinking? When one is angry, thinking comes. When wisdom arises, thinking also comes; when loving kindness arises, thinking also comes.
So, thinking is one function. Cetana is another function – lobha, dosa, moha, wisdom and loving kindness, they are cetana.
Attention is also another mind function. Beyond attention, there is an intention, a motivation. Because of wanting, you look, you pay attention to this, or when there are disliking and anger, you also pay attention to something.
◉ POSTURE NOT IMPORTANT, MIND QUALITY IS IMPORTANT| China Retreat Feb 2014 Q&A File:20140218-1 (33:16-33:53)
Posture is not very important. Just sit naturally – choose a comfortable posture. Posture is not important. Awareness and mind quality are more important. Or else, if someone can’t sit, how can he meditate?
◉ GATHERING RIGHT INFO AND DEVELOPING RIGHT UNDERSTANDING| Dhamma Lecture at Aquaplex, Arizona 5-11-2014, Q&A
If you can understand the relationship between thoughts, feelings and physical objects and how the processes work, then slowly the idea of ‘self’ fades away. In the beginning, the idea of self is very strong; thinking that body is ‘me’ and the mind is also ‘me’. “I know, I feel, I hear, I see.” Actually seeing process is happening, hearing process is happening; there is nobody there. But if you don’t understand how nature works, we believe strongly in ‘self’. The body is also ‘me’ – pain is ‘me’, hardness and softness are also ‘me’; everything is ‘me’.
[Yogi's note: So, how do you gain wisdom? By gathering information through repeated awareness; by piecing the whole picture together.] First, you learn to be aware of physical objects through the 5 sense doors: seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching. Second, you learn to be aware of your feelings. Third, get to know your mind. Later when awareness gains momentum, you can be aware of physical objects, feelings and mind at the same time.
When awareness is more continuous, awareness-wisdom can know many things simultaneously – physical objects, feelings and thoughts together. It can see the whole view (because it has more complete information). Then we try to investigate and get the answer. So, we start with physical objects to grow our awareness and samadhi (stability of mind). Later we try to understand our mind – feelings and thoughts – and how they are related. For example, when you have certain thoughts/ideas, how do you feel? When there is negative thinking, negative feelings arise. When there is positive thinking, positive feelings arise. Likewise, we learn how the mind and body are also related.