By Amaravati & Cittaviveka Buddhist Monasteries The Nun's Community
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Extra resources for Awakening Presence
Our habitual way is often quite extreme and simplistic: I like/I grab, I don’t like/I kill. The level of response can be quite aggressive. Or, it may be more reﬁned – maybe you don’t kill, but there’s still aversion; maybe you’re not averse, but there’s still irritation. From feeling peaceful, relaxed and calm, you suddenly feel irritated. How do we respond when this happens? Do we remember the goal of practice? 48 Ajahn Sundara¯ The goal is to release the mind from suffering. The means is awareness, our capacity to observe ourselves and the activities of the mind, without any agenda.
That’s Vipassana’, she says. She did not mean that we should really kill anything, but that we should develop a sharp mindfulness to free the mind from all its delusion. Mindfulness acts like a knife cutting through the misery we carry around. Enjoy your journey during this retreat. When you get up in the morning, whether you feel utterly wretched or you feel like you are going to transcend it all in one day, whatever you feel, that is a gateway to enlightenment. In the early morning, you go to the sink, brush your teeth feeling cold and miserable: ‘Oh no!
As we practise, we start to realise its profoundness: when we can actually come into here, come into now, and be with this. Many of you will have experienced that when we come into the pain in our bodies, come into the pain in our hearts, it can be lovely. What is lovely is being here and being willing, open, and receptive. When we stop arguing with conditions we sense a stability of mind. The Buddha’s teaching is extraordinary in pointing out that, rather than instinctively moving away from pain and suffering, if we trust suffering, come into suffering, then in that very act there is the cessation of it.