“Not-self” from the Beginning

ฐานิสสโร ภิกขุ

There are a lot of things you could focus on right now, so focus on something that’s good, that brings the mind a sense of peace and well-being. Just pay careful attention to what you’re doing right now and the effect that it’s having on the mind.

One of the reasons why we meditate is to train the mind to realize how important it is where it chooses to focus its attention. As for things right now that are not useful to focus your attention on, you can just think of them as not self. This is where the “not self” teaching is very useful right from the very beginning.

When the Buddha gave breath instructions to Rahula, he prefaced them with a number of meditation exercises, one of them the topic of “not self.” We tend to think of that as a very advanced teaching. But here it is right at the very beginning to remind you that your sense of self is something you choose to identify with. It’s not that your self is a given, that you’ve got this conventional self or you’ve got this ultimate self that’s there willy-nilly, whether you like it or not. Your sense of self is a jumble of choices you’ve made. Some of them are coherent. Some of them are incoherent.

This is why when you start looking into what you are, you get all kinds of different answers. But for right now use that “not self” teaching as an aid in your concentration. Anything that makes it difficult to stay here with the breath, just think of it as “not self.” That’s not you. It’s not yours. Just let it be.

There’s a lot in the world you can’t control, as if we’re running around trying to control everything. It’s like a mother chicken trying to chase down all her little baby chicks. It’s not worth it. There are a lot of things you can let go of right now. Things you would normally identify with. But it’s good to realize you don’t have to. Nobody is forcing you. You’re the one who made the choice to identify.

That takes a huge load off the mind.

This reflection by Ajaan Geoff is from the talk, Power of Choice, September 14, 2012.

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อาจารย์ สุจิตโต

The first things we feel we don’t require so much are the sensual objects: fine clothes, entertainment, and sexual activity. When I first entered the monastery, it was easy to relinquish entertainment and relationships. I’d had enough of al…

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ฐานิสสโร ภิกขุ

Q: I’ve come to meditation to help me bear the atrocities of the world. What is awakening? Is it a moment of conscience when one embraces all the sorrows of the world, and in that case means hello to all sorrows or is it on the contrary a s…

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อาจารย์ ชา

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อาจารย์ ยติโก

We can take these next few minutes as a time to establish mindfulness and provide ourselves with a break. We can break the momentum of the mind, which so easily gets caught up in the process of becoming, especially when we have ongoing proj…

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อัยยา เมธานันทิ

We have to practise being present no matter how excruciating. In our fury or fear, we want to scream, “Enough!” But can we bear the pain a little longer? Without wishing it to subside and disappear, or demanding that it change, are we able…

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The Moment of Death

ฐานิสสโร ภิกขุ

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Why Five?

อาจารย์ ถิรธัมโม

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The Brahmaviharas

อาจารย์ ปสันโน

The brahmaviharas are a means of uplifting the mind, for brightening and bringing it joy. However, if the practice causes confusion, then something is wrong in the practice. You have to review it and look for the reason. This is where inves…

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อาจารย์ จันทสิริ

His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, speaking to a capacity audience in the Albert Hall in 1984 united his listeners instantly with one simple statement: “All beings want to be happy; they want to avoid pain and suffering.” I was impressed at how…

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