Appendix — Extract from another Dhamma talk

6 May 2539

(Extract from another Dhamma talk)

In general, samādhi is practiced in the two main kinds of meditation: Tranquillity Meditation and Insight Meditation. It is commonly believed that we have to go to a temple or to forests to practice. In fact, we should not delay. We should practice meditation in our daily life as the state of our mind is like the movement of our body, it gets used to what we do regularly as a habit. Like the way we walk, the way we do things, when we always do them in a certain manner, they become a habit. Similarly, our mind has the tendency to respond to the way we usually organize our thoughts. If we let our mind wander around, dig up negative emotions, and pick up unskillful matters to build stories around, we will become uptight and filled with anxiety. If this happens often, our mind will become out of control easily; no matter where we are, we will be prone to get tense immediately. This kind of mind lacks in samādhi and is not happy.

When we understand this issue, we will want to practice. We can use anything for our mind to contemplate on— something that unites body and mind. It can be as simple as the breath. When the breath is smooth, it can regulate the body and improve the working of the mind as well. The mind that has mindfulness as a supervisor will have stress loosened. These simple techniques can be very effective. If we do not want to use the breath, there are other objects we can use; anything that is positive, we can present to the mind.

As Buddhists, we revere the Triple Gem (ratanattaya). We can take the Buddha (the Enlightened One), the Dhamma (the teaching of the Buddha), and the Saṅgha (the Order) as objects of contemplation. We recollect their virtues. Other examples can be generosity, merit, virtuous acts, and the various points of the teaching. We can also investigate and reflect on the Dhamma. This will help calm our mind. As a result, wisdom will be born and stress dissolved.

In the beginning, let mindfulness come first. When the mind is invaded by unfavorable state leading to stress, we recollect ourselves. Mindfulness is remembering that this is not the right direction, we have to stop and change course. We should pick up something good instead. We shift to a favorable state of mind such as by contemplating on the breath. The state of mind changes and is thus regulated. We can concentrate on our in-breath and out-breath and at the same time, mentally saying something like

(in-breath) Bud (out-breath) dho

(in-breath) in (out-breath) out

There are a variety of meditation techniques that we can use. In terms of happiness, they are means to create happiness. It should be noted that there are two kinds of happiness: happiness with formation and happiness beyond formation. For ordinary people like us, if we practice samatha we will achieve happiness with formation—happiness that is still dependent on the formation of mental qualities. But if we go beyond this step to vipassanā, we will realize happiness beyond formation—an experience of freedom, independent of volitional activities. Nonetheless, both kinds can loosen stress.

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