Any questions or suggestions for discussion?
Okay. It looks like no suggestions. No questions. That’s good.
At the beginning of the meditation I mentioned the benefit of having determination. Once there was a yogi who who proceeded Buddha and asked Buddha, a very interesting question, for the meditator.
He asked, “I am practicing a certain teacher’s path. And also I see that you have a lot of students who are following you and also there are a lot of people who are following their own paths. But, everybody is trying to cultivate or develop their spiritual life, or spirituality. They are developing their spirituality because they think they can achieve happiness in this life. and also achieve happiness after life. Whether they have another life or not. They will achieve happiness after life. That’s the main purpose of practicing spirituality. Either we are looking for happy, strong self in this life… or, after life.”
After saying this, this yogi asked Buddha, “According to your understanding, what would be the most beneficial, or what would be the most supporting quality someone should have in order to develop their spiritual life?”
Buddha said, “The most important thing to have is commitment. The ability to commit.”
Just think about, we are practicing the commitment in various times in our life. But, each time, just think about it, if you are playing a certain game, as somebody who likes to play games on the computer or somewhere, in order to have a good result. That person must totally be committed to the game at that time. If that person is distracted or doing a little bit there and then doing something else, and then coming back. If you are cooking or preparing a dish, or making something, the commitment for that whole time is needed. At the beginning, during, or the end.
Maybe some of you may have the attention and the commitment at the very beginning. Total commitment. Attention. Then, you are going to do something else. So, when you come back, what happens? The same thing happens with the farmer…
So, for this spiritual development, for the desire of this spirituality, it is very important to understand the value of the commitment. Then, at that time, Buddha was talking about, what is taking your commitment away? What would lead you to distraction. How will you get distracted?
In a Buddhist term, and the very same term used in Hinduism, it is called mara. Mara means the influence for distraction. mara.
So simply think about what would be the obstacle for you, to distract you. Hunger? Laziness or sleepy? Some other influence coming from greed, anger, and distraction from ego, the idea of myself aging, sickness, or being unwell, Then, if you go a little bit beyond… family, relationships, So, again when you talk about family and relationships, there are so many varieties. There are sixteen of the things that you can be distracted by.
The most important thing is when you get distracted by one of these. That thing will become powerful. And you think, “I’ll finish this first, and then you’ll come back”.
Just think about the very same thing for a baker or a cook If something else comes up and you go for that, when you come back maybe probably you will burn your dish. Or if you have pets pets will attack. Pets will enjoy the dish before you return. There are so many things that can happen. The very same thing will happen to your spiritual practice.
I’m sure all of you will have experienced this before.
Even just with meditation. Just think about, what made you not come to some meditations in the past?
Probably one of those I mentioned. But, when that happened, we don’t think that as an obstacle for our practice. We don’t think it. Because we think that is very important. Now, when you are thinking about commitment and you are expecting success from your practice, the result, think how important it is for you to be engaged and committed. Once, when you get distracted your practice will hold.
The Buddha mentioned another example. A river. Just think, what is the nature of a river? It moves toward the ocean. But, if you drop something into a river, think of a block or a log which is floating on the river. If somebody is really pulling that wood from the river, that person has to continuously pull it. If that person think, “Oh, I need to go and do something else, before I come back.” What will happen if that person steps out? And goes and does something. When that person returns, that wood has gone several miles down river.
By using this example, Buddha was saying, “This is how our life and mind goes.” What is the current what is taking us away from where we are?
Again, our aging, time, time is moving all the time. Your health is moving all the time. Your age is moving all the time. Your abilities are moving all the time. That is how you are going away from where you are.
When somebody know that, when somebody knows the nature of yourself, which is moving away from where you are, that person will have strong determination for this commitment. Then you can be totally committed to you and your spiritual gain or spiritual development.
So at the end, the Buddha was saying, “Anybody, it doesn’t matter which faith they are following or which spiritual path they are following. As long as they are committed to the path, they are developing and move forward and will find their way. They will find their own spiritual gain.” So, just come back to you and check with yourself. How much are you committed to your own peaceful mind? What is taking you away or what is the priority in your life? What is taking your peacefulness away?
By building mindfulness, you can check yourself and help yourself move forward.
Any questions or thoughts? Maybe any experiences?
[A meditator asks] Do people often have one of those that takes them up first? I’m thinking that ego would be last Well that really depends with the person.
[Bhante Sathi replies] For somebody it can be ego. For others it can be a family for someone it can be desire. For somebody it can be greed. But, the mindful person will realize how we are justifying our own weakness. We don’t really see that as our weakness. We see it as our need. That it is very important That becomes a weakness of the spiritual development. If you don’t place the spiritual development, then you don’t see that as a weakness.
But, the angle of the angle of greed, you will see your entire life differently. Because we value things, what is the energy behind it?
But, if you have any of the peaceful mind. Or the cultivation of the peacefulness then that person can see, what is taking that value away? What is taking my peacefulness away? What is distracting me. As a mindful person you will see it differently.
Unfortunately, what happens is, if we get tired, then we say “Well, I want to take a break from this.” Because somehow we are cultivating certain pain or certain level of burdens. We are willing to give up our peacefulness. That’s why we get tired of certain things. And you will say “I want to take a break from this.”
Don’t think that any of those things are bad. None of those things are bad. The mindful person will handle all of those things while that person is developing their spiritual life. The person who has lack of mindfulness, will give up their spiritual practice for those things.
But, the mindful person will handle all of those things while that person is maintaining this spiritual development.
Some people misunderstand that. Some people understand Buddhist teachings as against the family, or against the pressure, or against wealth. It is not. It is a big misunderstanding about the spiritual development.
It’s about you are handling all of those things by knowing the nature of what they are.
Another time Buddha gave an example of handling a snake. The person who knows how to handle a snake (Now I’m talking about poisonous snakes, okay!) So, if you know how to handle the poisonous snake, you still handle the snake without getting harmed.
If somebody would say, “I’m really burned out because of my family.” That means that person does not know how to live with the family without getting burned out. That person is not really living with the family. If somebody says, “I’m really burned out with my work.” Same thing. If somebody says, “I’m really burned out with myself.” Same thing.
The mindful person will know how to handle all those things without destroying oneself.
The mindful person will associate with all of those things. By knowing you are aging, by knowing your sickness, by knowing the nature of your family, still you will find that quality time to practice your spirituality. You will not give up that because of those things.
I hope I answered your question. Okay. I think today we can stop here.