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Buddhadharma : Spring 2006
spring 2006| 44 |buddhadharma to great suffering. This is important, so take a good look at it. Investigate these feelings of strong love or aversion, and then take a step back. If you get too close, they’ll bite. Do you hear this? If you grab at and caress these things, they bite and they kick. When you feed grass to your buffalo, you have to be careful. If you’re careful when it kicks out, it won’t kick you. You have to feed it and take care of it, but you should be smart enough to do that without getting bitten. Love for chil- dren, relatives, wealth, and possessions will bite. Do you understand this? When you feed it, don’t get too close. When you give it water, don’t get too close. Pull on the rope when you need to. This is the way of dhamma, recognizing imperma- nence, unsatisfactoriness, and lack of self, recognizing the danger and employing caution and restraint in a mindful way. Ajahn Tongrat didn’t teach a lot; he always told us, “Be really careful! Be really careful!” That’s how he taught. “Be really careful! If you’re not really careful, you’ll catch it on the chin!” This is really how it is. Even if he hadn’t said it, it’s still how it is. If you’re not really careful, you’ll catch it on the chin. Please under- stand this. It’s not someone else’s concern. The problem isn’t other people loving or hating us. Others far away somewhere don’t make us create kamma and suffer- ing. It’s our possessions, our homes, our families where we have to pay attention. Or what do you think? These days, where do you experience suffering? Where are you involved in love, hate, and fear? Control yourselves, take care of your- selves. Watch out you don’t get bitten. If they don’t bite, they might kick. Don’t think that these things won’t bite or kick. If you do get bitten, make sure it’s only a little bit. Don’t get kicked and bitten to pieces. Don’t try to tell yourselves there’s no danger. Possessions, wealth, fame, loved ones – all these can kick and bite if you’re not mindful. If you are mind- ful, you’ll be at ease. Be cautious and restrained. When the mind starts grasping at things and making a big deal out of them, you have to stop it. It will argue with you, but you have to put your foot down. Stay in the middle as the mind comes and goes. Put sensual indulgence away to one side. Put self-torment away to the other side. Love to one side, hate to the other side. Happiness to one side, suffering to the other side. Remain in the middle without letting the mind go in either direction. These bodies of ours are made up of the elements of earth, water, fire, and wind – so where is the person? There isn’t any person. These few different things are put together, and it’s called a person. That’s a falsehood. It’s not real; it’s only real in the way of convention. When the time comes, the elements return to their old state. We’ve only come to stay with them for a while, so we have to let them return. The part that is earth, send back to be earth. The part that is water, send back to be water. The part that is fire, send back to be fire. The part that is wind, send back to be wind. Or will you try to go with them and keep something? We come to rely on them for a while; but and relaxed. We can let go and put down. It’s like carrying a log and complaining it’s heavy. If someone tells you to put it down, you’ll say, “If I put it down, I won’t have anything.” Well, now you do have something – you have heaviness. But you don’t have lightness. So do you want lightness, or do you want to keep carry- ing? One person says to put it down, the other says he’s afraid he won’t have any- thing. They’re talking past each other. As the knower of the world, the Buddha saw danger in the round of sam- sara. For us who are his followers, it’s the same. If we know all things as they are, that will bring us well-being. Where exactly are those things that cause us to have happiness and suffering? Think about it well. They are only things that we create ourselves. Whenever we create the idea that something is us or ours, that is when we suffer. Things can bring us harm or benefit, depending on our understanding. So the Buddha taught us to pay attention to ourselves, to our own actions, and to the creations of our minds. Whenever we have extreme love or aversion to anyone or anything, whenever we are particularly anxious, that will lead us TuBTenYeshe