Like and don’t-like mind


Last night I heard a dharma talk about dualistic thinking. It provided some clear examples of how we allow our thoughts to pull us around in different directions, without our considering whether it’s a direction that will be good or right for us and those around us.

It’s only in the past few months that I have been aware of how regular meditation improves my ability to control my own mind. After a year of daily sitting, there’s no doubt that this practice has changed the way I think. My convictions and ideas are not affected most of all — what’s most acutely affected is the mechanics of my thinking.

Because of this practice of watching my mind, I now see (in many cases, not al!) when my mind is snapping into an old pattern or assumption. When I catch it, I can look at it and see what’s really going on in my thinking. And I can change it.

Evil is done by oneself alone;
By oneself is one defiled.
Evil is avoided by oneself;
By oneself alone is one purified.
Purity and impurity depend upon oneself;
No one can purify another.

From The Dhammapada, tr. Gil Fronsdal, Shambhala Library, p. 40.



4 responses

  1. The quote from the Dhammapada is spot-on. Dukkha is something that we actively manifest. It’s not simply a condition of living – instead, it’s a condition that results from our thinking (thinking in the broad sense, including intention and volition).

    Of course, when we’re not thinking . . . then what?

    Great post! Thanks!


  2. “When we’re not thinking…then what?” That what is what we are doing here, eh Barry? Great post. Thanks for sharing this.

    It is something else to watch the thoughts arise like bubbles out of a sea. And takes restraint at times not to indulge in them.

    I think we should teach kids, in kindergarten, to observe their thoughts. Now that might change the world we live in.

  3. Yes, as Buddhists.and as humans we have a great responsibility to take care of ourselves and others. As Buddhists we can truly understand that practicing daily we can change ourselves and we can change this world to a better place by taking care of ourselves and others. We’re all here together.

    I bow to you and other Dharmafellows, I bow to everyone and I bow to continuous practice of Buddha’s Way.

    Great post, thank you.

    With palms together,

  4. Wonderful blog – thank you so much.

    I had a mindful walk today in the countryside near Preston. It was really the perfect day, one that I will remember always. The blue of the winter sky contrasted beautifully with the deep-green fields. Sheep moved in the fields and I saw many winter birds. The wonderfully cold breeze made it easier for me to be mindful and experience something like the present moment.

    I wondered how the universe, or my awareness of it, could get from the energy of light and atoms to well-ordered fields, seperated by hedgerows. Perhaps it is the scale at which we exist, and that there are myriads of other lands at bigger and smaller scales.

    The idea of time too is an interesting one to look at from the Buddhist angle. Physicists are getting closer when they suggest that there may be no time but just one big “happening”. This makes it all the more important not to miss any of it.

    I hope you walk in the present.