by Ven Sujiva
6 November 1994
It is not an task easy to approach on such a profound topic as Insight
Meditation in simple terms. But we have got to start somewhere. After
some years of introducing this type of meditation, I still find a lack
of introductory booklets for those without knowledge of Buddhism. Many
of them are extremely technical loaded with ancient Indian terminology
which words in the English vocabulary can never hope to substitute
perfectly. As such I have tried to come up with something easier to
read and make out. Even in this booklet I have used some English words
such as "conditioned" and "suffering" which needs special explanation
when it is used in a "Buddhist" sense.
What I have offered here would give you an idea as to what to do when
one decides to take the first step. Even for those who go for a
retreat, the initial instructions have to be repeated several times
before they get it right. As for a better grasp of the techniques and
ideas, it will be best to consult a meditation teacher.
See what you can make out of it. If you go one step further in trying
to practise for yourself this Insight Meditation after reading it, then
I have succeeded.
Santisukharama, Kota Tinggi 6 Nov 1994
If a person is energetic, mindful,
pure in his thought, word and deed,
and if he does everything with care and consideration
in senses restrain,
he earns his living according to the Truth.
And if the person is not unheedful,
the fame and fortune of that mindful person
2 The Magic of the Mind
3 The Main Control
Benefits of Mindfulness - Worlds of Difference
Gaining Hold on the Main Controls
l Walking Meditation
l Sitting Meditation
l Daily Activities
4 Insight and Concentration
l Follow-up Advice
5 Our Path is the Waterway
I think that great Indian Sage would have, if there were volcanoes
where he lived, used them in his teachings as he did it with the lofty
Not until recently, did I have an opportunity to behold these
fascinating spouts for the boiling bowels of the earth except in
geographical magazines and television screens. The craters that I
visited on my trip to Indonesia were not the most spectacular ones, but
they were enough to give me the idea that those people who devote their
entire lives studying this area of science concerning volcanic activity
may not be just for the sake of concern for human safety.
We live quite indifferent and unaware of many things around us. Coming
face to face with a volcanic crater jolted me to sudden awareness of
the superficial stability of the very earth we are standing on. Where
we live in Malaysia, just outside the ring of fiery volcanic regions,
tremors once in a blue moon do occur but earthquakes and volcanic
eruptions are generally regarded as something not part of our world.
People living on its slopes, should be more aware of the dangers but
this is not always so, for people often prefer to be like an ostrich -
remain blind to the dangers. Warnings will be issued, but still there
will be casualties. The fertile soil for one promises abundant harvests
and people grow attached to their homes. The earth, the blood and
emotions soon become quite inseparable.
There are many types of volcanoes, our guide informed us: Live
volcanoes, sleeping volcanoes and dead volcanoes.
Living volcanoes which are active as can be seen by its still fuming
crater, can blow up anytime although modern science has instruments
that can forewarn us to some degree.
Sleeping volcanoes are dormant because they have for some time not
shown any activity. But it can still "wake up" when the conditions play
up again. Pinatubo of Philippines which blew up in 1991 had been
sleeping for about 600 years.
When they are more sure of the extinction, the mounts which were once
active volcanoes are now considered dead. But then we can never be
truly sure unless we know what's going on underneath.
Think of the hot molten rocks called lava cascading at great speed down
those steep slopes and burning everything on its way although it's
other things such as pyroclastic flows that kill people. It doesn't
need much to kill man or inflict more suffering than man can bear, but
Nature's moods are impersonal and so when they blow their top, it's
'run for your lives'.
Java is the most volcanic riddled region in the world. Two of the most
disastrous, Tambora and Krakatau which claimed many thousands of lives
not to mention property loss, exist here.
People can also be seen in the same way - active volcanoes, dormant
volcanoes and dead volcanoes.
When you are in a fit of anger, consumed by lust or buried by delusion,
you are undergoing an eruption. It strikes terror in and around you and
you may lose some good things in life. Although it may not take lives,
it can and may even be more lethal than the actual volcano. How about
the atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki as an example. The Japanese
themselves killed some millions of Chinese in World War Two. Atrocities
by Man on himself can do more than Natural Disasters.
Therefore, if I may add, there are three types of eruptions - minor,
major and catastrophic:
Minor eruptions cause minor damage such as loss of wealth and "face".
Major eruptions cause more permanent losses such as loss of body parts,
permanent separation from loved ones and even loss of one's own life.
Catastrophic eruptions cause large scale wars, massacres and other
forms of unimaginable sufferings.
You may survive many minor eruptions but one major one is enough to
drive quite a few people off the rockers. Hope (against all odds) that
such unfortunate happenings will not come nigh unto you but tragedies
eventually will play its part. Look deep into your heart and you will
know what I mean. Look at all the other walking volcanoes around you
and at the instability of the world and you will be convinced. The
fires of greed, hatred and delusion run deep in everyone's veins. A
dormant volcano can sleep through centuries but these defilements spew
out dirt everyday.
What is it that can quell these fires? The answer is found where the
problem began - hidden underground where there are veins of hot molten
lava, there can also be the cool refreshing springs of life, that is in
the Mind itself - The cooling waters of mindfulness!
Resting for a minute on the largest stupa in the world, I could see the
distant volcano Merapi mixing its fumes with the clouds. Borobudur,
sometimes referred to as the Mountain of Buddhas, may have actually
been inspired by the presence of volcanoes.
Whilst watching the magnificent statues of our Lord serenely seated
with various hand gestures, it occurred to me that this is a genuinely
dead volcano, the fires of defilements which have long been extinct.
How marvelous it is to be part of the picture with this symbol of
Magic of the Mind
Magic can be broadly classified into two types: White and Black. We are
not talking about skin color but on mental states. Mental states are
called dark or black when they are enshrouded by delusion with regards
to reality. For example, one in a fit of temper is oblivious to the
goodness of the other party just as one obsessed by craving is blind to
the faults of the thing he wishes to possess. Such states as you can
see, finally will lead to no good.
Mental states on the other hand are described as bright or white when
they are pure and clear. You can experience its freshness and radiance
when you are mindful and at peace. It is not difficult to understand
why happiness follows such people like a shadow that never seems to
The mind is indeed a magician's box. Out from it come things beyond
your comprehension. You may liken it to a television set, a computer, a
transistor radio and more, all in one. When every thing is in order
then you can have all the fun you want, but if it gets out of hand,
then it's the gates of Hell opened wide.
You may be acquainted with what kids play with nowadays - video games.
They put you into all sorts of situations ranging from participating in
the World's Grand Prix, fighting aliens to saving damsels in distress.
You are even given a choice of vehicle, lethal weapon and who you want
to be. The idea is to overcome all obstacles, shoot down all alien
ships and collect the most points. However, if you do not happen to be
like one of those whiz kids who have spent hours without end fiddling
those buttons with nimble fingers, then you are more like a born loser.
But it's all right, it's all in a game and with some practice you'll
acquire the skill. It also won't be long before they come up with 3-D
Life is something like that, with the mind creating situations, but the
trouble here is that you can't switch it off whenever you are tired.
You can't consider getting cancer a nice game to play can you? Nor is
becoming a schizophrenic or neurotic much fun.
Even suicide will not be an answer to it all. The mind, we are told,
will lead you to a worse nightmare.
How, you may ask, does this happen?
The Mind is a complex of forces, or some may prefer to call it
energies. Try to sit quietly and watch your thoughts and you will see
them at work. It is endlessly trying to create new situations, real and
otherwise and responding to them. It is unfortunate many don't bother
to take a good look at the machinery and hence all those problems,
problems, problems! It is there that you have all those power, answers
and the fountain of joy.
Although the whole thing can be complicated, it is not too difficult
with some useful tips on the main points of control, to make this magic
box work for you.
The Main Control
The main controlling faculty of the mind is mindfulness. Remember the
moments you were calm and composed? The awareness that comes with them
are also bright and clear. As a direct opposite of it are those times
you were panic stricken or completely confused. Therefore with
mindfulness you can do any job as well as you possibly can, be it drive
a car, cook a meal or answer some examination questions. But this
potential is not as recognized as other things like faith and
concentration and so not emphasized. If we are to develop it until it
is really strong, lasting and revealing, then life will breeze by if
not ecstatically, then at least smoothly.
Benefits of Mindfulness - Worlds of Difference
Sometimes people say it is a thin line between sanity and insanity. The
mad genius, for example, is not far from a maniac. That's why
Frankenstein was invented and so was the Terminator. In any case, bombs
of all sort is bad . But no matter how thin a line it is, it is still a
line and even if it is real thick, if you are confused, you will still
Mindfulness actually is the line. When you are un-mindful, such as when
you are in a rage, you are indeed not different from a madman. It is
only a matter of degree. When you have zero mindfulness over an
extended period, then one can safely conclude that you are crazy. So if
you don't want to go mad then hang on to your dear mindfulness, for on
the other side, that is at the bottom, is living hell. Sanity indeed is
a thin line. It really does not need much, so to speak, to break a
person. Lock him up without contact for a few days or weeks and there
you are, someone fit for the mental ward.
If you are a meditator, you'll have some fighting chance and may be
even end up saner than anyone else. But they may still call you mad
because you are different. I remember how some people considered a
friend mad because he was not his usual excitable and irritable self
after a retreat. They were satisfied only when they managed to
infuriate him. Can you imagine how this can be so when they themselves
are supposed to be regular meditators? Who then is mad? But if you're
really mindful then you know for yourself without doubt that your mind
is clear and thinking rationally. It is they who are confused.
If it goes to say that with mindfulness, the mind is pure of
defilements such as greed, anger and delusion, then it will also mean
that it draws the line between genuine happiness and suffering. We can
understand why anger and delusion are suffering but not greed,
especially when it comes with joy. That is because joy tends to muffle
up the real state of mind. Take away the joy and what do you have left?
There will be a really restless state of craving and tenacious
clinging. It is like someone who is hungry. Therefore if you will have
real happiness, then look for peace of mind that is born of purity and
It is a kind of happiness that is truly satisfying, strenghtened by
noble purpose. No sensual pleasure can be equal to it. Besides, it can
be freely obtain at hand (as long as you practice) and you don't have
to pay anything to acquire it.
Mindfulness can also be the deciding factor whether it will be life or
death. A lot of careless mistakes and overlooking end up in death. It
may be just a slip from the stairs, ladder or along the road. Traffic
accidents claim lives daily. Then there are electrical short circuits,
or even choking through unmindful eating. It means not only your life,
but also others. What happens after that? If you are mindful at the
moment of death, it can mean a happy rebirth. If not it can mean hell.
Buddhists believe in the Law of Kamma (Law of Retribution). Mindfulness
means meritorious kamma and defilements mean unwholesome kamma. All
these done throughout one's life also add to the store of forces that
decide what will happen next - heaven or hell.
Last but not least, Mindfulness is also the factor that differentiates
between Nibbana and Samsara (Cycle of birth and death, suffering). In
the Noble Eightfold Path, the fulfilment of morality, concentration and
understanding depends on the build up of mindfulness. Without
mind-fulness, there cannot even be any moral base. Finally the
culmination of insight is that extremely strong and sharp mindfulness
that penetrates through the thick veil of ignorance to realize that
everlasting Peace, Nibbana. So until then please try to be as mindful
as possible to get out of the cycle of birth and death, suffering,
Gaining Hold on the Main Controls
Now that you realize (I hope) how important it is to have mindfulness,
you may perhaps be interested to know how to go about cultivating it to
make all the difference.
The main idea is to develop this awareness until it becomes habitual
and continuous, and then apply it for more specialized purposes such as
gaining knowledge and skills.
To begin with, let me offer you certain suggestions which will be
definitely be helpful in some way. These are simple exercises which you
can safely try out. They come under three sub-headings:
* Walking Meditation
* Sitting Meditation
* Mindfulness of Daily Activities.
Can you imagine the extent of things involved with walking? You walk to
the office, walk for exercise, sight-seeing, to the dinner table, to
ease yourself and many other wonderful as well as unmentionable things.
But one can feel and think quite differently when taking a casual walk
along an isolated beach in the light of dawn from a walk heading for
the dentist's chair. It's all in the state of mind. And mind you, that
state of mind can determine where you will end up and how you fare. If
you walk so unmindfully, you may end up either in the hospital or
grave. Of course many people nowadays cut down on the walking, they go
on wheels. At such speed that modern technology provides, you may have
to come out with even more mindfulness to ensure safety.
Let me offer you a few tips to start off your walking meditation:
þ To learn walking mindfully, you have to find a quiet spot with a fair
distance, say at least, about thirty feet. Preferably it is a straight
clean and level path without anyone around staring at what you are
about to do. Failing this, any distance of up to ten steps will also
þ First, you must try to bring to mind the clear awareness of your
standing posture. It's not visualization, but feeling one's body as it
is - the tension, firmness and maybe a bit of swaying. Make sure you
are relaxed with a straight posture. Hold or fold your hands together
to help keep the composure. You may close your eyes and make the mind
free, calm, relaxed and happy. Learnt to let go of all your problems
and thoughts. They are not worth clinging on to all the time. Give your
mind a break. Just be with the present moment and be aware.
þ Now, after having gathered your calm composure, start walking,
keeping the attention at the lower part of the moving foot, below the
calves. Walk freely (with eyes opened) at a pace you feel most
comfortable and relaxed. To help keep the mind at the feet you may
mentally say right, left or walking, walking or whichever word you
prefer. And remember, don't think, just keep the mind to the present
þ When it's time to turn, be aware of the turning action.
þ Whenever the attention runs to thoughts, you will then have to
recall your awareness, noting mindfully thinking, thinking and then
return to the footsteps. If tension or boredom creeps up, you will
again have to stop walking to bring back your awareness in the way you
did.While standing, note tension or boredom mindfully, before resuming
the walking meditation.
þ I would advise to walk at a certain rhythm which the mind can
catch on to. Once caught on, it will tend to flow along. Then maintain
that rhythm for the time being.
þ When you feel much calmer or somewhat tired, then you can slow
down your pace, at the same time be even more relaxed mentally and
physically. People who have gained concentration in this way can walk
for an hour or more and yet feel as if only a minute has passed. They
feel weightless and seem to be walking on clouds. You can end up very
þ There is however, one thing to add. When you feel really
relaxed, keep your mind keenly aware as it flows along with the
footsteps. Try to feel or sense the sensations that flow along - the
tension, pulling and pushing forces, the lightness or weight and
finally the contact of the soles on the ground.
þ To help the beginner gain a keener perception of this, teachers
have devised a method breaking each step to various phases starting
from two to six. Although three phases is sufficient for most people,
it can be increased progressively but only when one is ready for it.
þ During an intensive retreat or formal meditation exercise, the
standard procedure is to do one hour walking meditation, dividing it
into three periods - the first twenty minutes for one phase walking,
second twenty minutes for two phase walking and final twenty minutes
(adding up to one hour) for three phase walking.
þ The principle behind this is to gradually bring the mind to a
more concentrated awareness which can come about with slowing down and
a more thorough observation. As to the most suitable type of walking,
it will be the type that arouses the most mindfulness.
þ The phases of the steps from one to six are:
2. lifting, stepping
3. lifting, pushing, stepping
4. (heels) raising, lifting, pushing, stepping
5. raising, lifting, pushing, lowering, stepping
6. raising, lifting, pushing, lowering, treading, pressing.
(Refer DIAGRAM A on various phases of walking)
þ At each phase of a step, when observing closely, one will be
able to perceive the sensations or forces that can be felt along with
it. One can actually experience it as a flow of tension, thrusting
forces or a spread of hardness when stepping.
þ To make the picture complete, the intentions that arise prior
to each length of walking, the intentions to stop, turn, are also
þ If you can do this, you may actually arrive at a point where
you completely forget about yourself and what is left is the process of
awareness with its objects. Then you have begun the journey within, the
path to realize the Nature of Who and What we really are. Then all
conflicts with Reality, due to ignorance, which is the root problem of
suffering may finally see the end.
The same principle used in walking meditation is appli-cable to sitting
meditation only with a difference of basic objects. What principle?
The principle of three steps in mindful observation:
1. To be mindful
2. To follow or attend to the object of observation mindfully.
3. To observe into the Nature of the object without thinking and
This Nature here refers to the process of sensations which goes to make
up the object which we are observing.
While one is walking, one mindfully follows the footsteps and observes
the process of sensations that make it up. Sitting meditation makes use
of the sensations of the abdomen as one breathes. Some, however, use
the sensation of the breath at the nose tip.
þ Usually people who meditate will sit cross-legged with their
back straight (eyes closed) when they intend to meditate. Those with
stiff knees can sit on chairs. Do not lean back as that will not be too
helpful for keeping up the awareness although it will do very well if
you intend to relax completely into sleep, in which case you might as
well lie down.
(Refer DIAGRAM B on various sitting postures)
þ Breathe normally, and as one does, keep the mindful attention
on the sensations of the movement as the abdomen rises up and down.
þ Mentally say rising and falling in conjunction with the
þ To help beginners keep track of the sensations of motion, one
may rest one's palm lightly at that area until one becomes familiar
with the object.
þ When the mind wanders off to other objects such as thoughts,
sounds, itches and so forth, recall one's awareness as soon as one
realizes, noting mentally thinking, hearing, etc. and then return to
one's original object.
þ You will notice that when you try to do this, how intractable
and slippery the mind is. Well, at least you are getting to know
yourself better and doing something about it!
þ With practice the mind will wander less and stay with the
rising and falling movements. Then one can proceed to the next step of
thorough observation. At first one can only perceive up and down
move-ments. With effort one can notice much more. The movements vary
greatly from time to time. They can be long or short, fast or slow,
smooth or jerky and so on. Even within the rising movement there can be
many various sensations arising and passing away. Again it finally ends
up as mere processes of the mind and its object.
þ Finally, pain is often the last to call before you give up. Try
to ignore it if it is minor, but if it stands out and grabs your
attention, then you will have to make it as your main subject of
þ The idea is to make use of it to train up mindfulness (and in
this case also patience). The three point observation principle also
holds water here. You first has to watch pain with mindfulness. Then
watch it for sometime without being irritated by it.
þ If you can do that, then you can observe into the Nature of the
pain, whether it is hard, hot or numb. It could also be pulling,
twisting or cutting. There are more types than you can imagine and it
can be very interesting.
After that you can proceed to discover about its process - how
it arises, changes and break up. It is possible to gain deeper
understanding of your own Nature through observation of pain. Pain is
part of your individual set up. When you cannot bear it any longer,
then it's time to get up.
(Refer DIAGRAM C on flow chart)
One of the first things to learn is about mindfulness itself. We read
about it, hear about it, now it's getting to know it through direct
experience. It's not just knowing some-thing. It's knowing it with a
clear, steady mind. In that way you can't be wrong. Besides there
cannot be any defilements - attachment, anger, delusion, sloth,
restles-sness, skeptical doubts, jealousy, and so on. Once you can
define it, it is not difficult to call it up. It's just a matter of
will. How wonderful it is to be mindful all the time! But before that
can be so, you will have to be able to distinguish clearly between the
states of mindfulness and non-mindfulness. After that it is up to you
to practise, practise and practise.
In a way, maintaining mindfulness is comparable to making a journey.
There you are on your bicycle going along the rough roads and crossing
torrential streams. You need to keep an eye on the road, balance your
bicycle and keep on paddling. It needs considerable trials and errors
before you acquire the skill. Similarly, in life or in meditation one
needs to have the experience in handling various situations and objects
that one comes across. And when something particularly trying comes
along, one can become bogged down for quite a while until he has
learned to get over it. Pain is an example. It is also an unescapable
feature in life.
Once one is able to know what this mindfulness and maintenance of it
are all about, then one may go on to be mindful of all own activities
as best as one can and as often as it is practical. It will begin from
the moment one wakes up from slumber, one notes mindfully the opening
of the eyes. In the same way one maintains mindfulness when gets up,
washes up, eats, drinks and so on through-out the day until finally
lies down to sleep again at the end of the day.
During eating, for example, one will have to mindfully note the actions
involved step by step. Firstly, the intention to eat, then the looking
at the food, the stretching of the hands, the scooping of the food, the
bringing to the mouth, the opening of the mouth, chewing, biting,
swallowing and all other steps. During a meditation retreat, one can
afford to slow down one's actions to help concentrate the awareness as
much as possible. In fact one can be quite oblivious to the
surroundings. Finally one will, as in sitting and walking, be left with
However, at home or at work one will not be able to practise
mindfulness in this concentrated manner. Usually one will be able to do
so only at a general level. Only when one is free can one resume one's
mindfulness during the formal exercises with the desired intensity.
Insight and Concentration
The next thing that one needs is to be able to differentiate between
concentration and mindfulness. It will determine the direction you are
heading - whether you are on the path to tranquility or insight
Most meditation methods emphasize on concentration. They bring the mind
to focus on one point or object thereby achieving strength of
concentration. The results are very peaceful states and in extreme
cases give rise to supernormal powers. Isn't this what people are
hoping to achieve? No wonder most head towards that direction!
For Buddhists, that way does not lead us completely away from all our
sufferings although it can lighten it considerably for a period of
time. The answer to the predicament is Insight, which is the
realization of the real Nature of the world as it is, freed from
concepts. In simple words, all mental and material processes that make
up this world is really impermanent, unsatisfactory and non-self.
Seeing thus one turns away from them and finds refuge in the
unconditioned state, the everlasting peace of the absolute reality,
Nibbana. Without realizing the unsatisfactory state of conditioned
existence, one is greatly attached to it, and therefore emancipation is
To develop this Insight, mindfulness is emphasized as the main feature
and concentration steps down to second place as another necessary
To differentiate between mindfulness and concen-tration we can quote
þ Concentration holds on to and fixes the mind to the object. It
is like when you are holding tightly to something and not letting go.
It is also like you are staring at the television screen unable to tear
yourself away from it.
þ Mindfulness however is like making a careful observation of
what is happening on the tele-vision screen.
In other words, concentration pins the mind to its object while it is
mindfulness that carefully and thoroughly gets a good look at it. When
you have found out what that thing really is, then you have developed
From here we can conclude that concentration can come without
mindfulness but when mindfulness is present, to some degree, there is
Normally in tranquillity practice, although concen-tration is the main
objective, there must also be mind-fulness to bring it about. But that
mindfulness is not as thorough as you would achieve in Insight
meditation. Besides, its objects differ i.e. a conceptual one with
If one's aim is to really look within to discover who and what one
really is, then mindful observation must be borne in mind as the main
factor. Then one is like a scientist making a close and thorough
observation of his subject. Once there is enough, one gets the full
picture with all its details. That is when mindfulness is transformed
into insight. So in insight meditation, one observes with concentrated
awareness on the objects eg. rising/falling of the abdomen,
sitting/touching, pain, thinking, right foot/left foot, etc. and will
soon discover that all these (including the observing mind) are just
processes that arises and passes away so rapidly. The meditator then
realises that all these processes are changing (impermanent), beyond
individual control and unsatisfactory. In insight meditation this also
means the abandoning of the clinging to the false self and there is a
return of original natures.
The abolishing of the "I am" - that is truly supreme bliss.
Welcome to my favorite world. This world with nobody around, just
mental and material processes going on. This is what I find most
meaningful. This is where the real meaning of life is! When you are
really aware of these things, there's no place for attachment, anger,
hallucinations and all those negative qualities. They just don't fit in
when one is really aware of these things. There you are - the peace and
meaning to live by and that is to discover the final journey within, to
be home with the absolute.
Unfortunately, the scope of this little booklet has it that, I can only
give as much as an introduction to what Insight meditation is and the
basic exercises. There are definitely much more steps to be taken and
it will be best that you approach the people who have done it before
and is able to give you suitable advice. For this purpose there is an
attached reference to the various Vipassana (Insight meditation)
centers in Malaysia. It is of course preferred that you attend a more
complete course under a qualified instructor on a part time basis or at
an intensive retreat.
For those who are daring enough to try even with whatever they have in
this pamphlet, I have one or two more things to say.
Firstly, these minimal instructions are meant only for those without
any serious psychological problems. If one under medication or
treatment for mental abnormalities, it is stressed further that this
pamphlet is insufficient. They has to get in touch with a qualified
Secondly, if one gains concentration, one may meet with various
experiences. There may be joyful feelings, visions, voices, or even
fear. The simplest step is to note them mindfully. They should
eventually subside and pass away within a minute. Do not be attached or
panic if they don't. Worse comes to worse, just open your eyes and get
up. Do this also if the mind goes into worse states of restlessness
when the sitting progresses after half an hour. This can happen when
your mind is burdened by tons of problems or unresolved issues. Do
quick walking instead. The principle is to be MINDFUL. If mindfulness
does not increase, but worsen instead, something is wrong.
Last but not least, seize an opportunity to attend an intensive course
or retreat on Insight (Vipassana) med-itation. Please enquire from the
list of contacts given at the end of this booklet. The progress and
understanding of the practice in a retreat of about ten days can be
better than that achieved in a period of one year done by oneself on a
Our Path is a Waterway
Water is an element that we are all quite familiar with. Especially for
us in the hot climate, it brings a thrill even when we touch it. When
it comes in a pure form in nature, it's even more exciting. This
element has a strong similarity to the universal processes in Nature in
that it "flows". In Nature, it flows from the future to the present and
into the past. Each event is like a wave, and strong these waves can
be. Whether we sink or swim will depend very much on a number of
things. Beings who are infatuated and intoxicated by sensual pleasures
are described as those swept away by floods. They may think how
blissful it is at first, but the wise with far-sightedness will think
To remain afloat we must have mindfulness. It keeps our head above the
waters and with energy work towards safer shores. If mindfulness is
well developed, we are as if on a boat, riding along the waves to
Nibbana which is described as the Safe Island.
Insight Meditation is itself a process of processes. At first we try to
keep ourselves afloat with strong continuous mindfulness. After that,
the practice becomes a journey of discovery. Every experience we come
across undergo minute scrutiny. Our mind like a microscope of ever
increasing power of magnification, we discover the secrets of existence
which we have misunderstood for so long. With each realization we move
closer and closer where the waves break and cease altogether - that
absolute reality, the utter end of all Suffering. Is that not the
noblest aim for which man may live for? Wonderful knowledge like this
should not be postponed. Hop on board the ship of mindfulness!