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Investigating the Mind

Luang Por Sumedho | Investigating the Mind


The root of suffering is what we call avijja -- not knowing,

or ignorance of the way things really are.

This basic ignorance is one of not understanding our true nature.

We suffer because of views and opinions, habits and conditions which we do not understand.

We live our lives in a state of ignorance, not understanding the way things are.


~ Luang Por Sumedho


The root of suffering is what we call avijja -- not knowing, or ignorance of the way things really are. This basic ignorance is one of not understanding our true nature.

We suffer because of views and opinions, habits and conditions which we do not understand. We live our lives in a state of ignorance, not understanding the way things are. If you listen to yourself very much you can sometimes hear such statements as, I should do this but I shouldn't do that, I should be this way, I shouldn't be that way,' or that the, world should be other than it is, our parents should be this way or that way, and shouldn't be the way they are. So we have this particular verb tense ringing through our minds because we have an idea of what shouldn't be or should be. In meditation listen to that opinion within yourself of what should be and what shouldn't be, just listen to it.


Our tendency is to try to become something, and so we set a goal, create an ideal of what we would like to become. Maybe we think society should be other than it is. People should be kind, generous, understanding, loving, there should be brotherhood and people shouldn't be selfish. The government should have wise leaders, the world should be at peace and so forth. But the world is as it is at this moment in time and things are as they are. When we don't understand this then we are struggling. So listen inwardly to yourselves, to the constant crying, 'I am this way, I am not this way,' and penetrate this 'I am, I am not' with awareness.


We tend to just react and take it for granted that all the 'I am' and 'I am not' is the truth. We create ourselves as a personality and attach to our memories. We remember the things we learned, we remember what we've done -- generally the more extreme things; we tend to forget more ordinary things. So if we do unkind, cruel, foolish things then we have unpleasant memories in our lives, we feel ashamed or guilty. If we do good things, charitable things, kind things, then we have good memories in our lives. When you start reflecting on this, then you are going to be more careful about what you do and what you say, because if you have lived your life foolishly, acting on impulse out of desire for immediate gratification, or out of an intention to hurt or cause disharmony or exploit others, you are going to be faced with a mind filled with very unpleasant memories.


People who have led very selfish lives have to drink a lot, or take drugs, to keep themselves constantly occupied so that they don't have to look at the memories that come up in the mind.


In the awakening process of meditation we are bringing awareness to the conditions of the mind here and now, just by being aware of this sense of 'I am, I am not'. Contemplate the feelings of pain or pleasure, the memories, thoughts and opinions as impermanent, anicca. The characteristic of transiency is common to all conditions. How many of you spent the day really investigating this in every possible way while sitting, standing or lying down? Investigate what you see with your eye, hear with your ear, taste with your tongue, smell with your nose, feel and experience with your body, think with your mind.


Download The Way It Is in PDF

https://media.amaravati.org/dhamma-books/the-way-it-is

Page 7, Investigating the Mind

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