The body and mind are what stir up trouble. But the body and mind can bring peace.
Analogy of Dyed Water
Actually, the mind is already at normalcy. It’s like rain water, water that’s normally clear, pure, and clean. But if you put green or yellow dye into it, it turns green or yellow.
It’s the same with the mind:
- If you meet up with a preoccupation you like – the heart feels good and at ease.
- If it meets up with a preoccupation you don’t like – it feels dis-ease.
It gets murky—like water that turns yellow when mixed with yellow dye, black when mixed with black dye, green when mixed with green dye. It keeps changing its color.
But actually, the water that’s yellow or green: Its normalcy is that it’s clear and clean. The normalcy of the mind is like rain water. It’s a mind that’s clear and clean. It’s a mind whose normalcy isn’t stirred up and troubled.
The reason it’s stirred up and troubled is because it takes after its preoccupations. It falls for its preoccupations.
Analogy of the Leaf being blown
To put it so that you’ll see this clearly: Right now we’re sitting in a forest that’s quiet, like a leaf. A leaf, if there’s no breeze blowing, is still. Quiet. If a breeze blows, it flutters in line with the breeze.
The same with the mind. If it makes contact with a preoccupation, it flutters in line with the preoccupation.
The more it’s ignorant of the Dhamma – the more you keep letting it run loose in line with its moods:
- If the mood is happy, you let it run loose
- If the mood is unhappy, you let it run loose
and it keeps staying stirred up—to the point where people have nervous breakdowns, because they don’t know what’s going on. They let things run loose in line with their moods.
They don’t know how to care for their minds. When the mind has no one to care for it, it’s like a person with no parents to care for it, a destitute person. A destitute person has no refuge. A person who lacks a refuge suffers.
The same with the mind. If it lacks training in making its views right, it’s put to all sorts of difficulties.
Still Flowing Water, Translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, p6