Teaching of the month - Dec 2017

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Watch One’s Thoughts, Know One’s Mind!

06 Bai Yi Guan Yin

OM MANI PADME HUM

The decision to enter the Bodhisattva Path begins with a thought, the thought of saving others from misery. It is the thought that gives birth to all things in the universe and where does it come from?

For this reason the Buddha taught that mind is the most precious to man, that it must be watched at every moment. How does one go about doing that? Where is the mind? It is not appropriate to speak of what is the mind and where it can be found. That would enter into the subject of inherent existence.

For the average person, the watching of the arising of one’s thoughts paints the full description of the mind. Thoughts are to be watched and that is the most difficult practice for one who is new to the path. The reasons are many and simple. Within a few seconds multiple thoughts can come about and it is the nature to man to accept this as natural. So the awareness of each thought that arises is not normally practised. Only whatever gives a feeling or impression of pleasantness will hold one’s attention. That thought is recognised, magnified and then precipitates into desire and action.

Those who are able to stop and think for a while will at least learn to check the resultant actions of mental thoughts. Those who are unable to do so, will act without thinking and thereby creating many unskillful actions, for the great majority of thoughts are related to self-cravings or fulfillment regardless of the consequences. In a coarse way, it may be said that people having such a mind is no better than an animal for they too are driven to actions according to their desires which are lacking in wisdom.

Each person has a duty to guard his or her mind in life. Only when this is realised will anyone be able to rise above his or her present status. The quality of the mind determines the quality of a person and the quality of the thought shape the mind. Knowing the seriousness of a wrong thought to our life, it is therefore important that one does not act before careful consideration, otherwise who is it that will suffer?

The generation of a worthwhile thought is what is known as ‘aspiration’ which may be developed into a motivation. With one thought a man can change his direction in lives for the better or for the worse. It is always the surrounding influences that develop thoughts, it is always circumstances that bring forth new thoughts. Those who are in bad company are likely to hold irreligious or ignoble thoughts and therefore they are under their control. Those who have a purpose in life will always become strong characters and those who have a religious path to follow will most likely have similar thoughts. This is how serious it is, to have an unchecked thought, for a number of them will sway one’s mind to unskillful actions. The purpose of life is to learn to know one’s mind, to learn to improve it and not allow the un-subdued mind to exist!

Monday, 21st July 1986
6th Moon, 15th Day

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