Listen. Understand. Practice. Again. Again. Again.
Do this all day long.
early 14c., of alcoholic distillates, brandy (ardent spirits), etc., from Old French ardant “burning, hot; zealous” (13c.), from Latin ardentem (nominative ardens) “glowing, fiery, hot, ablaze,” also used figuratively of passions, present participle of ardere “to burn,” from PIE root *as- “to burn, glow.”
The figurative sense (“burning with passions, desire, etc.”) is from late 14c.; literal sense of “burning, parching” (c. 1400) remains rare. Ardent spirits (late 15c.) so called because they are inflammable, but the term now, if used at all, probably is felt in a figurative causative sense. Related: Ardently.
Little thoughts, subtle thoughts when followed stir up the heart.
Not comprehending the thoughts of the heart, one runs here and there, the mind out of control.
Comprehending the thoughts, one who is ardent and mindful restrains them.
When followed, they stir up the heart.
One who is awakened, let’s them go without trace.
Do Not Let Your Thoughts GO Beyond Your Immediate Duty and Circumstance.
“Do what?” you mutter.
Listen. Understand. Practice. Yes. Very good. Ask a question when you do not understand. Then, listen, understand then, practice. Develop the ability to remove the painful mind-stuff with a less painful thought much like removing a small splinter from your finger with a stiff, sharp needle. Both are painful, but the needle is less painful, less dangerous than the splinter. It, too may hurt, but it removes the painful splinter stuck in under the skin. Difficult to do. BUT…there is something to do when a harmful thought arises. Wanting to go changes to wanting to do and this is a spiritual opportunity.
Ask yourself have you ever been overlooked or harmed? The harmful thoughts are often met with thoughts of wanting to do something about the harm received, i.e., retaliation of some sort or another. This type of thought is another harmful thought and leads to the mind out-of-control.
BUT…if you comprehend or understand the thought you can restrain them.
What is the understanding?
Everything comes to awaken you.
Woolly-Headed Example? Maybe? Maybe not? Let’s take the two characters called Adam & Eve. They were captured by the influence of the serpent. The serpent whispered to Eve, Eve whispered to Adam and all hell broke loose. All these thoughts led them to get out-of-control. BUT…we need to keep going…the antidote or cure for this ignorance was death and work., i.e., labor in child birth and labor of the ground. Two boons. The 5 remembrances and work are for our benefit: to purify our tendencies that we have fabricated into habits which block the light of the ever-present unborn, undying, immutable.
Direction. The direction is one-pointedness. In order to be one-pointed we need to study our mind states, our attitude and the content of the mind-stuff. We also need to watch the temporal attacks in the mind: from the past, from the future, from the present. They are like canker sores that suddenly appear and cause pain. Our tendency is to go over and over and over these temporal attacks. Like canker sores, the cause of these painful sore spots from the past, future and present are related to a tendency; we are prone to getting them.
The canker in the mouth goes away when we leave them alone. Time cankers in the mind also dissipate when we leave them alone. When we get entangled in these sore-spots-in-the-mind we get caught up in all sorts of suffering. We must teach ourselves to purify the mind by brushing away these sore-spots-in-the-mind. Work is the main cure.
Harmful and Not-harmful. First, we need to examine and study the mind-stuff and identify the mental formation as a pathogen that will lead to unease (suffering) or a pathogen that is not-harmful. Notice that there is not a dichotomy in the mental formations along the lines of good versus bad. The reason this is not divided along these lines is because at some point along this path all mental formations are relinquished. For the time-being we study our mental formations along the lines of harmful and not harmful.
How We Learn. Here is a process that will help us purify the mind. We start by watching the mental formations, the mind-stuff, along the lines of harmful and not-harmful. Now, some of us learn what is harmful by a trial-and-error method. It is to some extent a method of a toddler, i.e., we have to either stick our finger in the hot water and yell “ouch” and cry or we have to be told again and again sticking your finger in hot water will hurt you. Someone else must pull us away. Others of us are one-time learners. One time and never again. And perhaps most of us are somewhere in the middle depending on the mental formations and our attachment to them.
Unfortunately, there is a fourth. The fourth method functions on either side of the extreme of excess or deficient. Arrogance and ignorance reign in the fourth method. It is generally a choice made by the person as choice is a factor in all four simple methods. We choose to study our mental formations in order to purify the mind according to some tendency or we choose not to study our mental formations because we do not see any merit in this practice.
Types of Thought. Logical, rational clear thoughts with a one-pointed concentration. Valid knowledge. Concentration on the unborn, undying, immutable. That which is beyond. The 5 remembrances are an example of valid knowledge which, unfortunately we often ignore which is verified by our sense of shock when we encounter them.
Incorrect perception. Jumping to a conclusion; defending a position, dominating the other, Mistaking one thing for another. Meeting someone and thinking they are your lover and finding out they are not. Mistaken identification. Misunderstanding. Misinformation. Malinformation.
- Misinformation is false, but not created or shared with the intention of causing harm.
- Disinformation is deliberately created to mislead, harm, or manipulate a person, social group, organization, or country.
- Malinformation is based on fact, but used out of context to mislead, harm, or manipulate.
The serpent is akin to these types of mental formations. It may be that at one time or another you have either encountered the serpent or were yourself serpent-like in wanting to influence something or someone. In other words, we are prone to do harm and to be harmed. The serpent in the woolly-headed story previously mentioned was not killed, he was wounded and lost his ability to walk and was forever put in a position of abhorrence. We, too, get disgusted with ourselves from time-to-time. INFORMATION
Author: Fashi Lao Yue
ZATMA is not a blog.
If for some reason you need elucidation on the teaching,
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Change Course When Encountering the Serpent; Whether Inside or Outside
 Day Two – March 4, 2022