Aside

Let peace come to you

When you meditate, just relax.

Don’t try to control your mind.

Don’t try to stop it going here and there.

Just be peaceful.

Don’t watch your breath. Just breathe.

Be at peace when your mind is still. Be at peace when your mind is wandering.

Don’t judge one state as better than the other. It is just how the mind is.

Let mindfulness settle down with the breath.

As you stop judging, stop trying, and stop controlling, peace will come to you.

Welcome it.

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17 thoughts on “Let peace come to you

  1. Hi Bhante,
    I read and much appreciated your book, A History Of Mindfulness. When it comes to meditation techniques, I gather from your book – and what other Theravadan monks such as Thanissaro are saying is – that there is no “one size fits all.” As the Buddha had different approaches (methods) for different people, this would make sense. It would then seem that experimentation would be a necessary step for each individual to find out what works for themself. However, what you briefly describe in this post seems more like a Transcendental Meditation style ‘non method’ that leads to a rather spaced out state of mind. As I have tried many meditation methods before coming to Buddhism (as I went through different paths), just relaxing and following the breath effortlessly – like following a Hindu mantra effortlessly – leads to what the Advaitic sage Ramana Maharshi called ‘manolaya’ , a temporary cessation of the thought process (or just blanking out, to put it simply). It just leads back to thinking again and so it is generally a runaround. It is a temporary and elusive escape at best.
    My point is not to be for this or against that, but I simply wonder how your suggestions can lead to mindfulness. Not in terms of the result of a vipassana style ‘noting’… but in developing or coming to the awareness/attention of what is happening in the four foundations, which can lead to insight.
    Moreover, how do you position Ajahn Chah’s teaching to separate the mind from the breath? (To first follow the breath and later observe both the mind and the breath, when this comes becomes possible).

    My remarks are not meant as a critique but as an inquiry. Just wondering how mindfulness can “settle down with the breath” if there is not a minimum of attention/direction given to the mind. Seems to me the teaching of the middle way (in terms of meditation, in this context) is about the equilibrium between extremes. People and the marketing of meditation techniques have a tendency to go to either of two extremes. Either too much control or none at all. Even then, I don’t mean directing the mind as some dictatorial control, but as a leading on.
    Just wondering if you could address some of these issues. Are you advocating what is briefly presented in your post as a general pointer to meditation or just one of a variety of methods (like metta meditation, among others)?

    Many thanks in advance,
    Jacques

  2. Bhante,

    Can I share these reflections/instructions with the two meditation groups that I regularly attend?

    Thanks!

  3. Reblogged this on simple|suttas and commented:
    I’m going to make this an addition to the little chanting I do before sitting. What a beautiful way to approach meditation.

  4. Hi Jaques,

    Thanks for the question; but to be honest I don’t feel like answering right now! I’ve given lots and lots of talks and retreats on meditation, which you can find on dhammanet.net and elsewhere; also a talk at bswa on a similar topic. Normally I don’t blog about meditation; perhaps because I don’t think it’s a great forum for things of such nuance.

  5. Thank you very much for this Bhante! It’s lovely and profound. It also reminded me a bit of a quote from Tilopa that I read awhile ago and that has stuck with me (Ken McLeod’s translation below), though I find your words even more helpful.

    Tilopa’s Six Words of Advice
    Don’t recall.

    Don’t imagine.

    Don’t think.
    
Don’t examine.

    Don’t control.

    Rest.

    This advice consists of only six words in Tibetan. The above translation was developed to capture its brevity and directness. Some years ago, I also developed the translation shown below, which some people prefer:
    Let go of what has passed.
    
Let go of what may come.
    
Let go of what is happening now.
    
Don’t try to figure anything out.

    Don’t try to make anything happen.
    
Relax, right now, and rest.

  6. That is so beautiful and so profound! I have tried to meditate for years and the furthest I’ve come is the (inner) realisation that I need to first stop trying. Thank you Bhante!

  7. From a talk by Ajahn Punnadhammo, entitled “Simplicity And Purity,” (19:10-21:08):

    It takes an investment of energy to be distracted. Perfect meditation is completely at ease. There is no strain. Perfect effort is no effort. The mind is just at ease, perfectly awake. That we divert our energy into the projects of desires, this is as simple as the Second Noble Truth: all suffering is caused by craving. We divert the energy of the mind into the various projects of craving, so when an object arises to consciousness that has some emotional resonance to it – it might be a happy or a painful memory, or it might be a worry or a fear, speculation about the future – we can then take ownership of that, invest it with energy, and let it run us around for a while. The discipline or the skill is to see each object with clarity and equanimity. And if there is an emotional reaction, the emotion is an object that can be seen with clarity, to allow that just to be seen as an object.

    It seems like it should be easy to understand and just as easy to do, but it isn’t!

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