Forest SanghaNewsletter July 2002

Foundations of Virtue & Right View; Ajahn Pasanno
Unity of Dhamma; Luang Por Chah
Yogi Mind; Ajahn Thanasanti
Deep Attention: Connection to Letting-Go; Ajahn Sucitto
The Path to Happiness; Sister Thaniya

Unity of Dhamma
An extract from Clarity of Insight, a talk by Luang Por Chah, translated byAjahn Kalyano.
The compete talk is available here

During the course of practising, it is normal that you experience thedifferent conditions of the mind. You constantly experience desires to dothis and that or to go different places, as well as the different moods ofmental pain, frustration or else indulgence in pleasure seeking -- all ofwhich are the fruits of past kamma (actions). All this resultant kamma swellsup inside the mind and puffs it out. However, it is the product of pastactions. Knowing that it is all stuff coming up from the past, you don'tallow yourself to make anything new or extra out of it. You observe andreflect on the arising and cessation of conditions. That which has not yetarisen is still unarisen. This word 'arise' refers to upadana or the mind'sfirm attachment and clinging. Over time your mind has been exposed to andconditioned by craving and defilement and the mental conditions andcharacteristics you experience reflect that. Having developed insight, yourmind no longer follows those old habit patterns that were fashioned bydefilement. A separation occurs between the mind and those defiled ways ofthinking and reacting. The mind separates from the defilements.

Your ability to experience the world through the senses remainsintact, just the same as before you started practising insight, but themind's reaction to sense impingement is to see it as 'just that much'. Themind doesn't attach to fixed perceptions or make anything out of theexperience of sense objects. It lets go. The mind knows that it is lettinggo. As you gain insight into the true nature of the Dhamma, it naturallyresults in letting go. There is awareness followed by abandoning ofattachment. There is understanding and then letting go. With insight you setthings down. Insight knowledge doesn't lead to clinging or attachment; itdoesn't increase your suffering. That's not what happens. True insight intothe Dhamma brings letting go as the result. You know that it is the cause ofsuffering, so you abandon attachment. Once you have insight the mind lets go.It puts down what it was formerly holding on to.
When you have unwavering mindfulness of the mind within the mind, you don'tforget yourself. Whether standing, walking, sitting or lying down, theawareness within makes it impossible to lose mindfulness.

Another way to describe this is to say that you are no longer fumbling orgroping around in your practice. You are no longer blindly groping andattaching to forms, sounds, smells, tastes, bodily sensations or mindobjects. The experience of sense objects through the eyes, ears, nose,tongue, body and mind, no longer stimulates the same old habitual movementsof mind where it is seeking to get involved with such sense objects or addingon to the experience through further proliferation. The mind doesn't createthings around sense contact. Once contact has occurred you automatically letgo. The mind discards the experience. This means that if you are attracted tosomething, you experience the attraction in the mind but you don't attach orhold on fast to it. If you have a reaction of aversion, there is simply theexperience of aversion arising in the mind and nothing more: there isn't anysense of self arising that attaches and gives meaning and importance to theaversion. In other words the mind knows how to let go; it knows how to setthings aside. Why is it able to let go and put things down? Because thepresence of insight means you can see the harmful results that come fromattaching to all those mental states.

When you see forms the mind remains undisturbed; when you hear soundsit remains undisturbed. The mind doesn't take a position for or against anysense objects experienced. This is the same for all sense contact, whether itis through the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body or mind. Whatever thoughtsarise in the mind can't disturb you. You are able to let go. You may perceivesomething as desirable, but you don't attach to that perception or give itany special importance -- it simply becomes a condition of mind to beobserved without attachment. This is what the Buddha described asexperiencing sense objects as 'just that much'. The sense bases are stillfunctioning and experiencing sense objects, but without the process ofattachment stimulating movements to and fro in the mind. There is noconditioning of the mind occurring in the sense of a self moving from thisplace to that place or from that place moving to this place. Sense contactoccurs between the six sense bases as normal, but the mind doesn't 'takesides' by getting caught into conditions of attraction or aversion. Youunderstand how to let go. There is awareness of sense contact followed byletting go. You let go with awareness and sustain the awareness after youhave let go. This is how the process of insight works. Every angle and everyaspect of the mind and its experience naturally becomes part of the practice.
The investigation and development of insight into the Dhamma gives rise tothis profound peace of mind. Having gained such clear and penetrating insightmeans it is sustained at all times whether you are sitting meditation withyour eyes closed, or even if you are doing something with your eyes open.Whatever situation you find yourself in, be it in formal meditation or not,the clarity of insight remains. When you have unwavering mindfulness of themind within the mind, you don't forget yourself. Whether standing, walking,sitting or lying down, the awareness within makes it impossible to losemindfulness. It's a state of awareness that prevents you forgetting yourself.Mindfulness has become so strong that it is self-sustaining to the pointwhere it becomes natural for the mind to be that way. These are the resultsof training and cultivating the mind and it is here where you go beyonddoubt. You have no doubts about the future; you have no doubts about the pastand accordingly have no need to doubt about the present either. You stillhave awareness that there is such a thing as past, present and future. Youare aware of the existence of time. There is the reality of the past, presentand future, but you are no longer concerned or worried about it.
The mind completely transcends doubt. You are no longer uncertain orspeculating about anything. The lack of doubt means you no longer fumblearound or have to feel your way through the practice. As a result you liveand act in accordance with nature. You live in the world in the most naturalway. That means living in the world peacefully. You are able to find peaceeven in the midst of that which is unpeaceful. It means you are fully able tolive in the world. You are able to live in the world without creating anyproblems. The Buddha lived in the world and was able to find true peace ofmind within the world. As practitioners of the Dhamma, you must learn to dothe same. Don't get lost in and attached to perceptions about things beingthis way or that way. Don't attach or give undue importance to anyperceptions that are still deluded. Whenever the mind becomes stirred up,investigate and contemplate the cause. When you aren't making any sufferingfor yourself out of things, you are at ease. When there are no issues causingmental agitation, you remain equanimous. That is, you continue to practisenormally with a mental equanimity maintained by the presence of mindfulnessand an all round awareness. You keep a sense of self-control and equilibrium.If any matter arises and prevails upon the mind, you immediately take hold ofit for thorough investigation and contemplation. If there is clear insight atthat moment, you penetrate the matter with wisdom and prevent it creating anysuffering in the mind. If there is not yet clear insight, you let the mattergo temporarily through the practice of tranquillity (samatha) meditation anddon't allow the mind to attach. At some point in the future, your insightwill certainly be strong enough to penetrate it, because sooner or later youwill develop insight powerful enough to comprehend everything that stillcauses attachment and suffering.