Being alone one could be freed of external distractions and in solitude, one has the time to listen to one’s own heart or mind, to discover peace and tranquillity within, to know oneself to be oneself.
OM MANI PADME HUM
Solitude Is A Great Opportunity To Know Yourself
Learn to live a quiet life and enjoy the bliss of physical and mental solitude. Learn not to yearn for company for the sake of companionship which will lead to the worldly and causing attachments of many kinds. Whenever alone, do not feel lonely or unwanted, it is a great opportunity to know yourself, to be with your own self. Away from distractions, seek the mind and discover peace and tranquillity. Do it by sitting and observing the mind patiently, to know the nature of the mind is to be able to subdue it. Let wisdom arise gradually. Realise that the troubled mind is in every being, even experienced meditators. Also know that until all desires can be held at bay, until you can break through the veils of delusion through vigorous and constant practice of knowing the true mind, true happiness will not be experienced, practice has been shallow!
You will find that the more serious you are about practising the Dharma, the more you will seek solitude. It is a natural state for all who are on the path. That is why so many people leave for the mountains to live in seclusion just to be on their own, unaffected by worldly affairs and cravings.
Take advantage then of every opportunity to listen to your own heart or mind. It is very interesting and rewarding. You will realise how it jumps about excitedly and in every direction, and how difficult it is to settle to a calm state. That is why the mind is ever deluded, that is why it is hard to practise concentration, that is why almost everyone you meet is suffering from a troubled mind without their knowing it. Unless the heart or mind is trained, how can true cultivation really begin?
Train, Watch And Discipline Your Mind
Practising Buddhism is to practise to develop the mind. The first requirement is a quiet and clean surrounding so that one may sit and meditate without distraction or with the least of distractions. Moral discipline is important because it is the very foundation that trains your body and speech which will be helpful in mind training. Be aware that the mind is far from peaceful, it is like a wild monkey being tied to the tree. It will cause a lot of trouble if it does not get what it wants - to be able to live wildly and without discipline. It is no use having such an animal, you have to train it before it can become a gentle pet or do useful work for you. Similarly, your own mind can be really dangerous to your own self unless you train it. You must discipline it with meditation.
When the mind is being watched, it will feel restricted and oppressed, it will become dissatisfied and begins to struggle. You will have to undergo some difficulty at this stage of training but you must be firm with your practice because you are aware of these reactions. To know that only a subdued mind will be useful to you for cultivation which will lead to samadhi, you will be strong enough to go through a bit of suffering. You will apply wisdom and patience so that practice will not slacken. Apply mindfulness, calmness, patience and contentment to your practice and soon all your doubts and uncertainties will vanish, this is the end result of right practice with right attitude.
Develop And Purify Your Mind
The way of developing the mind is the exact opposite of the way of the world. If you are not willing and ready to cast aside your negative emotions and defilements, how can a pure mind come to be? But many will cling onto worldly habits and desires which are painful to discard and at the same time hope to attain mental development that promises a happy future. This is gross ignorance.
If you want to practise the Dharma you must accept the teachings and methods of purification, you have to bow to the Dharma and not the other way around. The Buddha has shown that through quieting the mind, wisdom will arise and then enlightenment is gained. If the Buddha has chosen to remain within the palace, surrounded by pleasures and comforts, He would not have become the Buddha. One must therefore be prepared to forgo certain attachments which are hindrances to practice, one must accept discipline of body, speech and mind, before the pure mind can be realised. One must have Right Understanding and then practice is at once much easier.
Sit In Silence To Find Peace Within
The silence caused by a roomful of meditators can have a far-reaching effect to the mind, can cause one to become more serious in practice because the environment is suitable. The joys of sitting can only be felt in a quiet atmosphere and the mind becomes more adaptable for practice, because of the presence of holy images of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. To an ordinary person, this room may be peculiar and uninviting, but to one who seeks a suitable spot for practice, this is the most inviting room that he can find. It is suitable for practice and it is here that many will find peace. You must keep this place impeccably clean, the atmosphere inviting so that there is no need for anyone to go to the mountains to search for a right place to practice. Just offer them the place and let them find peace within themselves.
Wednesday, 19th December 1984
10th Moon, 27th Day