Monday, September 7, 2015

Ajahn Liem on Buddha Essence

Ajahn Liem (1941-present): An awakened smile

Usually, in our behaviour we start off with our emotions, letting them lead us, just like the people out in the world who think their moods are what count. But emotions and moods are illusions that swindle. They are tricky. Sometimes they take us on a good path, sometimes on an evil one. Following our moods easily turns to our disadvantage.

We should take superior states of mind rather than moods and emotions as our guide. Why not let being the One who is called “Awakened” and “Blessed” lead us? Let “Buddha” walk in front of us. Let “Buddha” be the essence to take us along. Let “Buddha” be our guideline. Whatever we come to do, there will always be moods, but our practice is to let “the One who knows”, the qualities of awakening and knowing lead us. In this way eventually there is no danger. There are no drawbacks with these mind states. We are on the watch.

Let the various moods and emotions that come up simply be as they are. In this way we train really to be with ourselves. We train this very self to sit and really be there, to stand and be really there, to walk and really be there, until always, in whatever changing posture, we can be called fully aware. We are fully there through our peace. It’s different from being on top of our experience through getting carried away with pleasures and having fun. Instead, being fully up to life comes from peace of heart. If there is peace, we are in a state where we can adjust to anything that comes up, so we can always be in the appropriate mode. We see things correctly and have right understanding because the mental impulses (sankharas) are quiet. There are no proliferations. We feel the sankharas at peace. With all the kinds of opinions that could come up, we won’t start arguing.

When relating to the world and society, those who are intelligent, understanding and have a feeling of peacefulness will praise us. But should they praise us, we don’t get happy because of it. We don’t get infatuated with it. Ultimately, the praise of someone is just a product of the delusion of the one who expresses it. Just that much. We don’t have feelings of like and dislike. Praise is just what it is. We don’t feel that we need to foolishly run after it. We don’t want to get on the track of being a slave. If we maintain peace, there is nothing that can do harm to us. Even if others should blame, criticize or condemn us, making us subject to suspicions out of enmity, we nevertheless have peace. We have peace towards the anittharamana, the mental states we don’t wish to have, which don’t go according to our likes. Even they can’t cause us harm and be disadvantageous. Should someone criticize us, it’s just that much. Eventually it all dissolves by itself. It flows away in it’s own specific way. This is where the lokadhamma can’t dominate us, since we have nothing but peace in our hearts.

When standing, when walking, when sitting, when sleeping and when getting up, this is it. If we deal with society, and with things in the world around us, we can relate in a way that is of benefit for all. We don’t go astray and drift away. We behave like one who can let things be. We behave like samanas, like anagarikas (homeless ones), who are not bound up. This is the way we train. Training ourselves like this is really peaceful. We make peace arise all the time. Whenever we are in society, we will always have smoothness and tranquillity.

The above is extracted from the book ‘From the Darkness to the Light,’ which is freely downloadable here. Ajahn Liem has been a Buddhist monk since 1961, and is abbot of Wat Nong Pa Pong, a renowned Buddhist forest monastery in Northeast Thailand. He studied under the famous meditation master Ajahn Chah, and has taught Buddhism to monks & laity across the world.

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