Don’t Obey Your Desire
Teaching of ThaBarWa Sayadaw U Ottamasara
Delivered at Wat Ananda Metyarama Thai Buddhist Temple
Singapore, March 2014
Part - Three
Animals cannot understand about mindfulness and detachment so they have no choice but to keep on doing in this way. But human beings have intelligence and we can understand about Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha. This is why we can change our actions, we can change our lives; and we can change ourselves. We should try to represent the Truth of Ever New Impermanent Nature, which is not something, not someone.
The idea of someone makes trouble for us all the time. We are always thinking about ourselves, our family, our problems and our health. The cause is attachment for something or for someone. This is why the practice of mindfulness and detachment is necessary for everyone, but most people don’t understand. This is why they don’t want to be mindful, don’t want to detach.
In Myanmar there are a lot of meditators. I made a permanent meditation center. Everyone can come and stay for his lifetime. In the beginning only a few people were interested in meditating all the time because they didn’t want to lose their family, their job. Although they practiced meditation they continued their family life and their job.
That is why my teaching emphasizes detachment. Later more and more people will be able to detach. This is why there are many people in my center, over 2000. More and more people are interested in doing good deeds all the time and investing their lives, their intelligence and their abilities in Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha. Doing good, not doing bad and purifying the mind is the most important work.
First we must try to do this and then we can teach others how to detach from themselves and their actions. If you can detach from yourself, no need to worry, no desire. Desire comes from the idea of someone: you want to do, you want to go, you want to eat, you want to know. This comes from the idea of someone. If you can detach from the idea of something or someone, no more desire. If there is no desire, there will be perfection. There will be freedom, freedom from desire, freedom from fear, freedom from worry, freedom from the society also.
Now you are seeing from the side of a human. You are representing the human being. You are using the intelligence of a human being. What you are using is not complete. If you think like this you will believe there is no need to meditate, no need to detach. For human beings, 'something', 'mine' and 'yours', 'someone', 'I' or 'you' are essential. Something is necessary, something which we own; our own life or our own belonging, our own place, our own family; it is necessary for human beings. That understanding is not complete. We strongly believe: 'I am right', 'it is right', 'something is right', 'someone is right'. We strongly believe like this. This belief is wrong.
If you see from the wrong view, mindfulness and detachment is just non-sense, you will see no need to detach or to be mindful. To be free from the idea of something or of someone, you must detach from the idea of something or someone. You can never understand the Truth of no something, no someone if we see from the view of something or someone.
Besides you must be able not to pay attention to yourself and to what you are doing. We can speak, we can read, we can learn because of attachment to something. We are paying attention to one action. A lot of people are studying. A lot of people are speaking. A lot of people are thinking. We can do but paying attention to one action is wrong.
There are a lot of people in the world but we pay attention especially to ourselves and to our friends. This is using with the idea of something. This idea of something is wrong. This idea of someone is wrong. Why are we paying attention to someone? Why are we paying attention to something? Why are we paying attention to one action? There are a lot of actions, speaking, eating, thinking. There are many actions like this but while doing like this we should be able not to pay attention to one action. This is the practice of detachment.
To be free from attachment we must abandon our own habits, the habit of someone. If we are grasping our habits, it means that we are misusing our life, misusing with the ideas of 'mine', 'yours'. That understanding is wrong. In fact, the life is to use-only. We might be young or old, sick or healthy, male or female. All lives are to use-only, to experience-only, not to reject nor to attach. Attachment is the cause of all problems. Our mind should be mind-only.
Human mind is not free. We pay attention to living beings because of attachment for living beings. We are studying about the universe because of attachment for the place. Using with attachment is wrong. It will never end.
If we can detach from place, from time, from living beings and non-living beings, our mind will be pure and complete, peaceful, silent, still. Because nothing is stable, even the world is not stable, no man is stable, so if our mind is paying attention to someone, our mind will be unstable. We cannot stop the nature of things, the nature of living beings but we can detach from them. The practice of detachment is concerning our mind.
An excerpt from the book 'The Practice of Detachment' by Sayadaw U Ottamasara