Thinking While Practicing


An excerpt from Dhamma Everywhere by Sayadaw U Tejaniya

So, should you think or not think while practicing? You should be watchful of the kinds of thoughts that will increase craving, aversion, or delusion. When people say there shouldn’t be thinking, they are referring to defilement-motivated thinking. Of course you can’t help thoughts that just arise naturally but you don’t help these defilement-motivated thoughts to grow even more.

This information I’m giving you now will be working in the mind when you are practicing and you use the theory along with your own intelligence to work skillfully with the situation at hand. Utilizing the good qualities of the mind (i.e. sati, viriya, paññā) and applying intelligence is the work of mindfulness meditation.

Question: There is the object and there is the watching or observing mind. Which is
more important?
Answer: The watching or observing mind is more important.

You need to pay attention to the observing mind if you want to understand the truth. Regularly check on how you are practicing. Wisdom can not arise in the presence of craving, aversion, or delusion in the observing mind. What attitude is the mind practicing with? Check your attitude regularly. Don’t be fixated on experiences. They will arise according to their nature and they only
serve to keep the awareness.

A wise yogi uses the six sense objects to develop awareness, stability of mind, and wisdom. For those whose practice are not so mature, the same objects will only increase craving, aversion, and delusion.

Question: Which object is better, the incoming / outgoing breath at the nostrils or the rising / falling motion of the abdomen?
Answer: It’s neither! One object is not better than another. An object is just an object. If you perceive one object to be better than another object, you will naturally become attached to the preferred object. Later, when you can’t pay attention to that specific object, then you may think that you are not able to practice.

Craving will surely arise when choosing one object over another. Aversion comes in when you don’t find the object of your choice. Believing that an object is “good” is really delusion at work!

So, is it your responsibility to develop the object or the faculty of awareness in meditation? Objects will always present themselves according to their nature; your work is to develop awareness. You are not trying to change anything that is happening but working to strengthen and improve the mind that is not yet strong in awareness. Right now, there’s little stability of mind, wisdom is weak, effort feeble and faith lacking. Meditation is the work of cultivating and strengthening the spiritual faculties of sati, samādhi, viriya, saddhā, and pāññā.

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