Don’t Obey Your Desire
Teaching of ThaBarWa Sayadaw U Ottamasara
Delivered at Wat Ananda Metyarama Thai Buddhist Temple
Singapore, March 2014
Part - Two
When you meditate, you are not the only one who is meditating. There are a lot of people meditating. Some are in a forest or in a cave, some are in a meditation center. There are a lot of people who are meditating. Because of someone, we pay attention to someone, to one of the meditators. That habit must be abandoned. If we cannot abandon the habit of paying attention to someone, we are not following the Middle Way. The Middle Way is free from rejecting and attaching.
There are many meditators who practice meditation but they cannot abandon their habits; if they work they will pay attention to their work. They will pay attention to their life as a worker. If they meditate, they will pay attention to this life of a meditator and they will pay attention to their action of meditation.
Although they are meditating they cannot detach from themselves and from their actions. I mean, they are doing good deeds for themselves. They are misunderstanding the practice of meditation as being their own work. If doing with the idea of something that we own, it will never end. We are usually representing something or someone. So we must try to represent the Truth , which is Ever New Impermanent Nature.
We can understand, we can think, we can recognize, we can feel the sound, we can feel the smell, we can feel the cold. We misunderstand that 'I understand' or 'I am thinking' or 'someone is thinking' or 'someone is feeling cold'. This is wrong. All these powers are concerning the Ever New Impermanent Nature. Only the Ever New Impermanent Nature can know, can think, can feel, can remember and can make actions. This Ever New Impermanent Nature is not something, not someone.
We are always using the power of Ever New Impermanent Nature, but we misunderstand; we don’t know the Truth, which is Ever New Impermanent Nature. This is why we misunderstand that there is someone, 'I' or 'you', there is something: 'mine' or 'yours'. We can use living beings, including ourselves. We can use non-living beings, but we must try to detach from the idea of something or of someone.
So the practice of detachment is not paying attention to something or to someone. We can pay attention but we must try to stop that habit. Not daring to abandon the habit of paying attention is attachment. We can eat, but we should also try not to eat. We can sleep, but we should try not to sleep. We must understand that abandoning is necessary.
Abandoning is also an action. Normally we understand that we have to work but we should understand that the work is necessary to be done and also to be abandoned. Eating is also to be done and to be abandoned. Sleeping is also to be done and to be abandoned. We understand that we have to 'occupy' our life; this is not complete understanding. Life is also to be used and to be abandoned, to be lost. We must try to abandon our belongings and also ourselves. If we don’t understand that, we will only understand that we must work, we must learn, study, we must try to get everything.
So we want everything because we understand that things must be possessed. We understand that food must be eaten. This is why we want to eat all food. We understand all places are meant to go to; this is why we want to go everywhere. Because our understanding is not complete. We can go, we can eat but we must understand both doing and abandoning. We must try to do and we must try to abandon also. In this way we will be able to control ourselves.
Here in Singapore and in Japan the people think they have to work too much. Without work no food, no life. They are believing in the wrong way. This is why they cannot live without work. They are using incomplete understanding. This is why their action is also not complete. We should do when we have to do. We must be able to do when we should do. We must be able not to do when we should not do. We must eat when we should eat. We must not eat when we should not. All the actions are also to be done and to be abandoned. If we understand that the action is to be done there will be strong attachment for doing and in this way we will be busy all the time.
Most people in society are interested in education, business, sports or politics but they rarely are interested in meditation and the practice of mindfulness and detachment. They are not paying attention to Buddha’s teaching. This is why their understanding is not complete, so their mind is not complete, their life is not complete. We can do education, business, politics but we must also be able to do meditation, to do good deeds and not to do bad. We must each purify our mind also.
There are a lot of problems in the mind of people. Because they don’t care, they are not interested in purifying their mind. They are paying attention to work, money, and to success; that is why their mind is not pure. This is why they suffer.
You should try to meditate daily, at least one hour in the morning. In this way you are trying to detach from your daily work. If you do not meditate, you will be busy with your work all the time. By meditating daily you will be able to detach from your work for one hour. In this way you must continue to detach for longer periods of time. If you can detach from society, from your job, then there is no need to do as other people do. Because of attachment, human beings are busy with their work. So also animals are busy with their work.
To be continued