Dhamma teachings from Upasika Kee
Opening the Way of the Heart

Once you can read your mind correctly, you can catch hold of defilements and ‘kill’ them off: that’s insight meditation. The mind becomes razor sharp, just as if you have a sharp knife that can cut anything clear through. Even if defilements arise again, you can dig them up again, cut them off again. It’s actually a lot of fun, this job of uprooting the defilements in the mind. There’s no other work nearly as much fun as getting this sense of ‘I’ or self under your thumb, because you get to see all of its tricks. It’s really fun.

Hammer Pond, Chithurst Hammer Pond, Chithurst

Whenever it shows its face in order to get anything, you just watch it – to see what it wants and why it wants it, to see what inflated claims it makes for itself. This way you can cross-examine it and get to the facts.

Once you know, there’s nothing to do but let go, to become unentangled and free. Just think of how good that can be! This practice of ours is a way of stopping and preventing all kinds of things inside ourselves. Whenever defilement rises up to get anything, to grab hold of anything, we don’t play along. We let go. Just this is enough to do away with a lot of stress and suffering, even though the defilements feel the heat.

When we oppress the defilements a lot in this way, it gets them hot and feverish, you know. But remember, it’s the defilements that get hot and feverish. And remember that the Buddha told us to put the heat on the defilements, because if we don’t put the heat on them, they put the heat on us all the time.

So we must be intent on burning the defilements away, even though they may complain that we’re mistreating them. We close the door and imprison them. When they can’t go anywhere, they’re sure to complain: ‘I can’t take it! I’m not free to go anywhere at all!’ So simply watch them: Where do they want to go? What do they want to grab hold of? Where? Watch them carefully, and they’ll stop – stop going, stop running. It’s easy to say no to other things, but saying no to yourself, saying no to your defilements, isn’t easy at all – and yet it doesn’t lie beyond your discernment or capabilities to do it. If you have the mindfulness and discernment to say no to defilement, it’ll stop. Don’t think that you can’t make it stop. You can make it stop – simply that you’ve been foolish enough to give in to it so quickly that it’s become second nature.

So we have to stop. Once we stop, the defilements can stop too. Wherever they turn up, we can extinguish them. And when this is the case, how can we not want to practise? No matter how stubbornly they want anything, simply watch them. Get acquainted with them, and they won’t stay. They’ll disband. As soon as they disband, you realize exactly how deceptive they are. Before, you didn’t know. As soon as they urged you to do anything, you went along with them. But once you’re wise to them, they stop. They disband. Even though you don’t disband them, they disband on their own. And as soon as you see their disbanding, the path opens wide before you. Everything opens wide in the heart. You can see that there’s a way you can overcome defilement, you can put an end to defilement, no matter how much it arises. But you’ve got to remember to keep on watching out for it, keep on letting it go.

Thus I ask that you all make the effort to keep sharpening your tools at all times. Once your discernment is sharp on any point, it can let go of that point and uproot it. If you look after that state of mind and contemplate how to keep it going, you’ll be able to keep your tools from growing too easily dull.

And now that you know the basic principles, I ask that you make the effort to the utmost of your strength and mindfulness. May you be brave and resilient, so that your practice for gaining release from all your sufferings and stress can reap good results in every way.

Also see The Practice in Brief, and The Pure Present.

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