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Watch What You Eat (With Your Mind): Buddhist Meditation

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  • medit8ionsociety
    By Anushka Fernandopulle The well-known opening verse from the Buddhist text The Dhammapada: Mind is the forerunner of all things Act and speak with an
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 17, 2012
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      By Anushka Fernandopulle

      The well-known opening verse from the Buddhist text
      The Dhammapada:

      Mind is the forerunner of all things
      Act and speak with an unwholesome mind,
      And unhappiness will follow you
      As surely as the wheel of the cart follows the ox
      which draws it.

      Mind is the forerunner of all things.
      Act and speak with a wholesome mind,
      And happiness will follow you
      Like your never departing shadow.


      Sounds like a simple and clear instruction. But what is
      wholesome vs. unwholesome mind? Wholesome mind refers to
      wise, kind states of mind like compassion, joy, equanimity, generosity and love. These mind states originate from wisdom
      and an understanding of the truth of interconnection.
      Unwholesome mind refers to states that originate in delusion
      and a sense of separation, such as aversion, greed, fear,
      hatred, jealousy, revenge or confusion. They are suffering
      in the moment they have arisen, and the speech and actions
      taken from these states have unpleasant results for oneself
      and others.

      During the course of one day, we can have a wide variety of
      mind states appearing, like different colored lenses that
      drop in front of our eyes. Many times we are unaware that
      these lenses are present, except in the strongest of cases,
      so speak and act (and type e-mails and text!) through whatever
      filter happens to be there at the moment. It's a gamble whether
      the speech/action is filtered through wisdom and kindness or something less positive like anxiety or irritation. Which means
      that sometimes we do, say (or type!) things that we later regret.

      An underlying problem is that we blindly believe our thoughts
      and repeatedly take them to be ourselves. Thus we take up
      anything that occurs in the mind indiscriminately, though it
      would be much better for us to practice some discernment.

      In this way we are like babies who will pick up anything and
      put it in our mouth. You have to watch babies very carefully
      when they are young because they will eat anything off the
      ground -- toys, stones, worms, plug points and occasionally
      a piece of food if they are lucky! They have no ability to
      discern yet between what is edible or inedible. As the adult
      you have to constantly be on guard, and often pry things out
      of their little mouths. It doesn't take long for babies to pick
      up some random thing and try to eat it! It also means that they
      end up choking a lot on the junk they pick up, and crying when
      it tasted bad or hurts their mouth. Does this sound familiar
      to you? Not just with babies, but with yourself regarding your
      mind?

      In the same way the untrained mind will take up any thought
      and mind state no matter how toxic. We pick up the equivalent
      of indigestible stones, dirt, worms and plug points (hatred, jealousy, etc.) and consume them. It is only after we choke
      that we notice something is wrong. The path of practice includes learning to be aware when a thought or mind state has arisen: what
      is this and is this something that is wholesome or unwholesome: edible or inedible? This usually takes training, just as we have
      to train children about what they should put in their mouths.
      But we might as well learn, since otherwise we are constantly
      in danger of choking!

      With insight meditation or mindfulness practice, we get a
      chance to practice this in sitting meditation, in the most
      basic of conditions. Sitting silently, simply breathing, then becoming aware of what is arising in the mind and in the body.
      What thoughts and mind states are occurring? Are they wholesome
      or unwholesome? Edible or inedible?

      From this practice we can develop the ability to see clearly
      under simple conditions, which helps us to discern under more
      complex conditions as well. Then we can see what is in the mind
      when we are in the middle of a meeting, driving the car or at
      the grocery store. Practice can seem to take a lot of effort,
      but it will be well worth it for your own sake and the sake of
      all those you meet for the rest of your life. The unwholesome
      mind states can be diminished and even uprooted from the
      mindstream. And happiness will follow you, like your
      never-departing shadow.


      Follow Anushka Fernandopulle on Twitter:
      www.twitter.com/@AnushkaF
      --------------------------------------------------------------------
      Fair Use Notice: This document may contain
      copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically
      authorized by the copyright owners. I believe that
      this not-for-profit, educational use on the Web
      constitutes a fair use of the copyrighted material
      (as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law).
      If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes
      of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain
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    • walto
      That s a nice, thoughtful sentiment. Thanks. W
      Message 2 of 2 , Dec 20, 2012
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        That's a nice, thoughtful sentiment. Thanks.

        W

        --- In meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com, medit8ionsociety <no_reply@...> wrote:
        >
        > By Anushka Fernandopulle
        >
        > The well-known opening verse from the Buddhist text
        > The Dhammapada:
        >
        > Mind is the forerunner of all things
        > Act and speak with an unwholesome mind,
        > And unhappiness will follow you
        > As surely as the wheel of the cart follows the ox
        > which draws it.
        >
        > Mind is the forerunner of all things.
        > Act and speak with a wholesome mind,
        > And happiness will follow you
        > Like your never departing shadow.
        >
        >
        > Sounds like a simple and clear instruction. But what is
        > wholesome vs. unwholesome mind? Wholesome mind refers to
        > wise, kind states of mind like compassion, joy, equanimity, generosity and love. These mind states originate from wisdom
        > and an understanding of the truth of interconnection.
        > Unwholesome mind refers to states that originate in delusion
        > and a sense of separation, such as aversion, greed, fear,
        > hatred, jealousy, revenge or confusion. They are suffering
        > in the moment they have arisen, and the speech and actions
        > taken from these states have unpleasant results for oneself
        > and others.
        >
        > During the course of one day, we can have a wide variety of
        > mind states appearing, like different colored lenses that
        > drop in front of our eyes. Many times we are unaware that
        > these lenses are present, except in the strongest of cases,
        > so speak and act (and type e-mails and text!) through whatever
        > filter happens to be there at the moment. It's a gamble whether
        > the speech/action is filtered through wisdom and kindness or something less positive like anxiety or irritation. Which means
        > that sometimes we do, say (or type!) things that we later regret.
        >
        > An underlying problem is that we blindly believe our thoughts
        > and repeatedly take them to be ourselves. Thus we take up
        > anything that occurs in the mind indiscriminately, though it
        > would be much better for us to practice some discernment.
        >
        > In this way we are like babies who will pick up anything and
        > put it in our mouth. You have to watch babies very carefully
        > when they are young because they will eat anything off the
        > ground -- toys, stones, worms, plug points and occasionally
        > a piece of food if they are lucky! They have no ability to
        > discern yet between what is edible or inedible. As the adult
        > you have to constantly be on guard, and often pry things out
        > of their little mouths. It doesn't take long for babies to pick
        > up some random thing and try to eat it! It also means that they
        > end up choking a lot on the junk they pick up, and crying when
        > it tasted bad or hurts their mouth. Does this sound familiar
        > to you? Not just with babies, but with yourself regarding your
        > mind?
        >
        > In the same way the untrained mind will take up any thought
        > and mind state no matter how toxic. We pick up the equivalent
        > of indigestible stones, dirt, worms and plug points (hatred, jealousy, etc.) and consume them. It is only after we choke
        > that we notice something is wrong. The path of practice includes learning to be aware when a thought or mind state has arisen: what
        > is this and is this something that is wholesome or unwholesome: edible or inedible? This usually takes training, just as we have
        > to train children about what they should put in their mouths.
        > But we might as well learn, since otherwise we are constantly
        > in danger of choking!
        >
        > With insight meditation or mindfulness practice, we get a
        > chance to practice this in sitting meditation, in the most
        > basic of conditions. Sitting silently, simply breathing, then becoming aware of what is arising in the mind and in the body.
        > What thoughts and mind states are occurring? Are they wholesome
        > or unwholesome? Edible or inedible?
        >
        > From this practice we can develop the ability to see clearly
        > under simple conditions, which helps us to discern under more
        > complex conditions as well. Then we can see what is in the mind
        > when we are in the middle of a meeting, driving the car or at
        > the grocery store. Practice can seem to take a lot of effort,
        > but it will be well worth it for your own sake and the sake of
        > all those you meet for the rest of your life. The unwholesome
        > mind states can be diminished and even uprooted from the
        > mindstream. And happiness will follow you, like your
        > never-departing shadow.
        >
        >
        > Follow Anushka Fernandopulle on Twitter:
        > www.twitter.com/@AnushkaF
        > --------------------------------------------------------------------
        > Fair Use Notice: This document may contain
        > copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically
        > authorized by the copyright owners. I believe that
        > this not-for-profit, educational use on the Web
        > constitutes a fair use of the copyrighted material
        > (as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law).
        > If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes
        > of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain
        > permission from the copyright owner.
        >
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