The Mind is not the objects that flow into and out of the mind

“What we are practicing here for is to see the original state of mind.

“Because we assume that the mind is happy or the mind is sad. But in reality happiness and sadness is not created by the mind, it is only different mental objects which come to trick and deceive the mind.  Then the mind gets lost in these emotions.

Therefore we need to train this mind to become wise and not to follow the mental objects. Then it can become peaceful.”

– Ajahn Chah


What Ajahn Chah is talking about here, what’s called in Zen/Chan Buddhism, your Original Mind – the fundamental awareness that you possess, the Buddha Nature, the Buddho – the One Who Knows – “that which is aware”.

  • Happiness is just happiness – a joyous feeling that arises and ceases WITHIN your Mind.  But “that which is aware” of the happiness is not the happiness.
  • Sadness is just sadness – a negative emotion that arises and ceases WITHIN your Mind.  But “that which is aware” of the sadness is not sad.

So no matter how elated or depressed you are, the swirling emotions is not you.  You are more like the eye of the storm, watching, observing the positive and negative movements within the mind.  But the observer itself – that which bears witness to the movements is not moving, unattached, unaffected by the movements.

So imagine all the winds of a cyclone swirling all around you.  All this chaos going on with your emotions.  But that which observes the emotions is not swirling – that’s the eye of the storm, totally still, no matter how fierce the storm rages.

Consider this – if the wind blows – there is the characteristic of movement because of the moving air.  But the emptiness within which the air moves is unaffected.  Gale force winds – with the strength of a hurricane – can not move the emptiness one bit.  Your fundamental mind is like this too – silent, still, totally, eternally unmoving.

How do we apply this in real life?

  • Something good happens to us and we’re happy.  
  • Something bad happens to us and we’re sad.  

If we’re this way then, we put ourselves at the mercy of external circumstances – and our happiness will always be dependent upon something outside of ourselves (not self) – these things are fundamentally not reliable.

  • But if something good happens – we recognize – oh that’s just goodness – it comes and it goes, so just let it be of itself.  
  • Something bad happens – we recognize – oh that’s just some bad external circumstances occurring – it’ll come and it’ll go, so just leave it as it is without getting emotionally involved with it, and then work around it.

So seek the stillness within the movement.  Your Mind is already fundamentally still!  So you don’t need spend all you time trying to calm it down, you don’t need to make your mind still – all you need to do is tune in to the stillness that’s already there and all the movement just drops away naturally.  

So this principle that I’ve just shared with you helps you to let go of things, relinquish your burdens, abandon your troubles – they are not fundamentally a part of your or yours, so let them go, leave them be.

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