Entering Enlightenment:

He who wishes to follow the Training, should carefully guard his mind; he cannot fol- low the Training if the fickle mind is unguarded. Untamed elephants in rut do not cause as much harm as that caused by an unrestrained mind (and experienced) in the Avici hell and other worlds of woe. But if that unruly elephant, the mind, has been completely bound by the rope of mindfulness, then all danger has ended and every- thing good has come. The Truth-finder (the Buddha) has proclaimed that all dangers and fears, and the immea- surable sufferings (of existence) arise only from the mind. Whereto could I remove the fishes and other crea- tures, to save them from being killed? But if the thought of abstention (from killing and other evil deeds) has been conceived, it is deemed to constitute the Perfection of Virtue. How many evil men could I kill? Their num- ber is as boundless as the sky. But if the thought of anger is killed, all enemies are killed. Where could I find enough leather to cover the whole earth? But by the leather of one pair of sandals the earth will be covered. Ex- ternal circumstances cannot be guarded against like that. But if I guard my own mind, what other protection do I then need? In vain do those wander about in the worlds who wish to destroy suffering and win happiness, without having developed this hidden mind, the essence of the Dharma. Hence I must see to it that my mind becomes firm and is well guarded. If I neglect this observance, the guarding of the mind, what use have for me all the other many observances? As one injured will carefully protect his wound in the midst of an excited crowd, so amidst evil folk, one should always guard the mind which is like a (sensitive) wound. With folded hands I pay reverence to those who are willing to guard the mind. May you, with all your might, preserve mindfulness and clear compre- hension! As a man weakened by illness, is unfit for any work, so also is a mind inefficient in any activity if those two qualities are weak. A mind devoid of clear comprehension is like a pot with holes; it cannot retain in memory what has been learned, thought over or meditated. Many who are learned, and also posses faith and energy, be- come tainted by the blemish of transgression due to the fault of thoughtlessness. Those who are robbed of their mindfulness by the thief 'Thoughtlessness,' go to an unhappy destiny, even if they have accumulated meritorious deeds. Therefore, mindfulness should never be allowed to leave the door of the mind; and if it has left, it should again be reinstated there, remembering the miseries in the worlds of woe. If mindfulness stands guard at the door of the mind, clear comprehension will likewise join and, having come, will never leave. 'So-and-so must be my bodily posture;' having thus decided on a course of action, one should from time to time, verify the body's posi- tion. What, after consideration, one has started to do, should first be accomplished with singleness of mind, and without thinking of anything else (until it is completed). In that way, every- thing will be done well; but in the other case, both (activities) will come to naught, and the defilement consisting in the lack of clear comprehension, will increase. Wishing to move or to speak, one should first consider it in one's mind, and then act with skill and energy. But when noticing that the mind is swayed by attraction or repulsion, one should neither act nor speak, but be like a piece of wood. Similarly, if the mind is conceited, deri- sive, arrogant, sarcastic, insincere, deceitful, inclined to self-praise, to blam- ing, despising or insulting others, or to quarrelsomeness - then one should be like a piece of wood. One should think: "My mind ever craves for gain, honor and fame, for a large following paying obeisance, therefore I shall be like a piece of wood," If one notices that the mind is defiled by passions or intent on vain pursuits, one should, as a valiant man, curb it vigorously by suitable counter measures - and this at all times. By my body's (observance) I shall study (the Teaching); what use is the (mere) study of words? Can a sick man cure himself by reading prescriptions? Having first examined all the circumstances and one's own capacity, one may start on some work, or not; for it is better not to start then, having started, to give up. Also, in another existence that habit might contin- ue; and through that fault suffering will increase. Besides, the work remains unfinished, whilst the time spent in starting on it, is lost. Beware of the blows aimed at you by the passions, and return the blows vigorously as if engaged in a sword fight with a skillful foe. If, in such a fight, one has dropped the sword, one will, full of fear, quickly pick it up again. Similarly, if the sword of mindfulness has been dropped, one should take it up, remem- bering the worlds of woe. As one carrying a vessel full of oil and followed by sword bearers, will, in fear of death, beware of stumbling, so one should act in following the observances. One should seek company or attend to one's work with this in view: "How will the habit of mindfulness fare in these situations?" Remembering the (Buddha's last) words on Heedfulness, make yourself so quick of response that you are always ready before a situation arises. Therefore, enough of the ways of the world! Remembering the (Master's last) words on Heedfulness, I shall follow after the wise and ward off all sloth and torpor. Hence, for defeating all hindrances, I shall engage in concentration, pulling the mind back from wrong paths and binding it to its own object constantly. If one like me, still not free from the defilements, should propose to set free from the defilements the beings extending through- out the ten directions (of space), I should speak like a madman, ignorant of my own limitations. Hence, without turning back, I shall always fight the defilements. Thus resolving I shall put forth effort to follow the Training as it was proclaimed. How can anyone recover health through an effective medicine, if he ignores the physician's advice?