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16487Characteristics of the Mind and The Method of Examining the Mind

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  • medit8ionsociety
    Jan 20, 2009
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      by H.H. Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara
      Supreme Patriarch of Thailand
      (Venerable Suvaddhano Bhikkhu)

      Characteristics of the Mind

      I would like to explain a little more about
      the nature of the mind; how difficult it is
      to tame and control with its habitual jumping
      and racing about. Even with mindfulness fixed
      on a single object, it will continually buck
      and pull away. Where does the mind jump to?
      It struggles around among mental objects,
      following after desires, wishes, attractions
      and the obstacles (palibodha) which are
      worries and anxieties. These external involvements
      are those concerns which we think and conceive
      about. Once they are caught up in the mind they
      agitate as worries and anxieties. If they are
      many and you are unable to throw them out, then
      the mind can't be pacified. However, everyone
      with true determination can expel them and
      achieve a calm mind.

      The Method of Examining the Mind

      Mindfulness is essential for guarding the mind
      right from the beginning. Any inattention, and
      the mind will have darted away in a flash. The
      mind must then be speedily led back inside if
      mindfulness is to be recovered.
      If one checks to see why the mind had darted away,
      one may find the cause in something like the
      sound of a car, of people walking past, or the
      noise of something falling. The mind zips away
      to that particular sound and then starts to roam
      further afield. It may have wandered on through
      many varied episodes before one realizes the fact
      and is able to return it to one's determined point.
      However, should another noise intervene, the mind
      may then be off again --continuing on from one
      thing to another in what might seem like a moment
      even though it spans many different episodes.
      Using mindfulness, always return the mind to
      your chosen point and, carefully establishing
      mindfulness, examine it there. The mind will
      then be pacified and, when checked in any particular
      episode, will usually not go off there again but
      will rather follow some other affair instead.
      This method must be repeated until the mind is
      tamed and able to come to calm with contentment
      (chanda), rapture (piti) and ease (pamojja). This
      will give a taste of the first stages of calm and
      samadhi, furthering your satisfaction in the
      practice and facilitating the focusing and settling
      of the mind in samadhi.