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"Helping Own-Self Help Others"
By Ajahn Sujan

We conditioned ourselves with a set of routine and completely attached to it. If we look at in our life, everyday we are competing with time. It is inevitable that we won’t face any trouble or problems in life. When problems arises, many people think that there's only one way and if they cannot go further with that way, they think there is no option anymore. They have a single minded attitude and unable to see light at the end of the tunnel. As a result often people think that  "Oh, what are we going to do after all this trouble?" It's going to be disaster. It is so messy and troublesome. As a result, their life becomes very hard and stuck buried into the deep hole. Going into cycle into such thoughts people go for suicides and that's the common case. They did not see any other options or any way that could help them. They do not know what is the next? They couldn't find the next option. It is very sad to know that such cases are plenty in this modern civilisation. There are news of suicides, particularly research suggests that during festivity time is the high suicide incidents. When we are normal, we have many options without limits. We want to go here, we want to have this, we want to have that. There are moments that even we don't know what to get simply too many options.

We were busy organising centre since moved in. Surrounding area was covered with wild grown glasses and tree were full grown. Members of community came almost every day to help the centre. Everyone came to offer their labour as a dana according to their skills and capability. It is a part of giving that brings more merits. Every time people use the centre for different purpose it brings merit and that will go to those who have been part of this creation. Therefore, Buddhist from around the world whenever they hear establishment of Buddhist centres always come forward and help in different ways. There was a boy and a mother came from England to help clearing the centre for few days. It was a sunny day everyone was out their helping cutting edges around the centre. This boy, 13 years, was playing game inside the centre. I wanted him to engage with rest of other children. I asked him to go out and engage with the rest. Whenever I ask him that what does he want to do. He always replied ‘I don’t know. I don’t know how to do it’ I wanted him to think rather than just yes or no or I do not know.

In our life, there is always a choice. We have enough choices. Unclear mind and unsureness put us in a optionless position. At the very moment when we don't know, that means we have unclear mind. Our mind is distorted. Consequently, our mind does not know what should be known. The clarity is not there. because of no clarity of mind, we always look for options and do not know which one is right or wrong, which to choose, which one to go. A clear mind has no uncertainty. If you know clearly, what are you looking for or what do you really want, there is no trouble making decision. This is the path and this is the right thing and this is the right one. There will be no options.


There will be no choices. Just that's it. So, this is the thing, when we practice mindfulness meditation, what happens is, our mind just wanders. It goes to many many things, what to get, where we be, what we want to have, being not satisfied with what we have, being not happy with what we have and so on. Then one desires to get one thing and moment later another thing. Such activities diluted mind begins. When the delusion starts, mind is distorted, mind isn't happy, mind is just constantly dealing and dwelling in those things. As a result, we cannot be happy person. It is the cause of suffering, a problem. It is a state of the mind like a polluted lake allowing no one to see through what’s in there. It brings uncertainty and doubt. So does the polluted mind.

So, in practice of mindfulness meditation, when we pay attention to one object is simply to eradicate those distortions not having any other choices but one. We are making only one choice. It is very difficult to break our habit patterns that we have been used to with it for so long. We were fulfilling its desires and wishes at all the time. Now, we are trying not to fulfill its desires, ignoring its activities but telling it to be at the place where we want it to be. This act is not comfortable and unacceptable to the usual mind. It will begin to torture the mind, which is habitually, constantly moving one after another and twenty four seven days fulfilled nature. Mind is always on to something exciting and pleasurable.


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If we are falling in love with someone or having social pleasure or another one is sexual pleasure our mind is full of joy and happy. Whenever these emotions are there in the mind, we will not stop. We tend to indulge immediately. The Buddha once said that women's sight is the most pleasurable thing to a lustful man. It is similar to the ladies. Once the lady falling in love or have this attractiveness with a man, everything's just wonderful, his sight, sound and contact become pleasurable. Nothing needed for that person apart from desired one.

There was a beautiful lady at the time of the Buddha. Normally, this lady had invited 5 monks for alms everyday. Everyday she herself out of devotion and pure faith in the teaching of the Buddha offers food to the venerable monks. As she was very pretty, very beautiful and her beauty was spread entire country. There was a newly ordained monk, who had heard about her. He was fantasizing that;

"Wow, this lady, everyone’s talking about, how wonderful it is. I wish my turn comes, so I could have chance to audience with her and get food from her."

Over the period of time, his turn came. He was so happy from early morning. He was doing everything to make himself perfect. He was very excited. On arrival of a venerable monk, she comes out from her house with her full costume on to offer him alms. The lady was walking towards the monk with full of respect and take mindful steps. She was fully compost and looked very serene. The monk was fascinated by her look and character. He was just looking at her beauty. The monk was just fantasizing about her beauty. How wonderful her voice is. He was just amusing about her neck, her hands, her face, her body parts and so on. He physically left the lady and went back to temple, but mentally he was still there with her presence. He didn’t eat the food that he received. He was just daydreaming about her at all the time. He didn’t meditate, he didn’t sleep, he didn’t eat but just laying down in the daydream. For seven days, he was laying there thinking of her beauty without even eating, without sleeping and without doing anything. The food he got from her began to rot and smell began to spread around. It is the result of indulging or the mind is constantly thinking about her he was unable to come to normal terms. Mind was distorted. Mind is always out there not admitting to know about it and as a result, he was diluted. He was in delusional state of mind unable to make right decision.

Therefore, in the practice, when we are paying attention to one object, to eliminate these distortions and cultivating into the wholesome state of the mind. In particularly, the sensual pleasure and the sexual pleasure, being laziness to the practice or restless mind and having a doubt are the big enemy of our practice. These will takes us away from intended object. These will hinder from clearing the mind. It tries to let us indulge into the sensual world. Once mind is covered with these thoughts it begins to distort and making decision becomes distorted truth. Uncertainty in making decision begins. So, practice of mindfulness meditation, first of all we have to develop our mind to be with one. Train this mind to be with one object to break away from old habit patterns. Once our mind is focused, being able to be with the object for certain period of time and that moment our mind become calmer, clearer and clearer. See the object that we are paying attention to becomes more clearer. Mind becomes calmer and sharper. There remains only one thing that is the intended object and that moment we have is calm and clear mind. The state of mind is bright and pure. This is the state of a peaceful mind disconnected from the world around and we are connected within ourselves with the help of this object.

Once we are able keep the mind focused on to the object and achieved the state of calm and peaceful for a certain period of time, we have to realise that condition of mind and release.  Releasing the mind from the object to apply in our daily life. First one, do it in the yard, closing our eyes, shutting down everything, disconnecting from the world, just be in with yourself. Second practice is constantly being aware of our mind itself, the state of the mind and its activities. Suppose, the mind is lustful, acknowledging that state of lustful mind but not engagement, not going anywhere and fantasizing like in the story of  the monk, who was fantasizing the lady; like that. Rather observing that state of lustful mind without any opinion or judgements. Noticing that this is a lustful mind. Right, I am having this lustful desire. It is okay. Allowing the mind to have such thoughts but noticing it objectively. Knowing it clearly in its true nature, and releasing it, so finishing it. Same with the hatred mind. It is the most common as well. Somebody does something, we do not like it. Hatred begins in our mind and resentment begins at that very moment. Then I don’t like this person. My mind doesn't like this person. So, noticing that state of mind, being aware of that conditioned mind and with the awareness of this, we are making more clarity with nature of the mind that normally engages depending on condition. These are conditions and able to see it clearly. With the clarity of it gradually we will be able to stop from distortion states. One after another and there is no distorted mind. There's no distortion at all. It is simply because the mind is clear.

Therefore, development of concentration will help to develop awareness of things that is taking place in daily life. When there is lustful mind, one will be able to notice that I am having lustful mind. I am having hatred mind. When we are walking, when we do not like somebody or do not like incident happening; at the very moment we know that that is happening. At that very moment with mindfulness and awareness just acknowledge that I am having this thought of ‘I don’t like it’. Observing it objectively that Okay this is it. Rather I shouldn’t have paying attention to the mind and then through that, we will get to know the situation, there is the clarity. This clarity is helping ourselves to see it clearly, realize and helps to understand ourselves and others.

You should help own-self first. Helping own-self is to get progress within ourselves, to get the prosperity within ourselves and to get happiness in our life. If we are not helping ourselves no one would. We are our own boss. Be your own light to see through the darkness. In order to get the progress in life no matter what we are doing we have to have clear undistorted mind. If our mind is distorted, whatever we are thinking to achieve, we will not get any progress, we don’t get prosperity and we will not be happy. On the other hand, undistorted clear mind, there is clarity, then we begin to look after ourselves. Whatever we are doing or thinking, there is a progress. The mind with a pure heart brings success and happiness. whereas impure mind bring suffering and misery in life. Suppose, we are meditating with a pure heart, there will be progress and there is prosperity over there. The happiness is there.

Helping own-self is not good enough, we have to help others too. Without helping others, this goodness will not improve, the goodness will not increase. Helping others is here introducing the things that is helpful to them and then guiding them to right or wrong path for their good life. If they are following a wrong path, guiding them that this is not right thing that you are doing. If they are following the right path, encouraging them to follow and carry on working  on it. When we do things for someone, we feel good and we have to maintain that goodness and it will increase more as we do things for somebody. So, those are progress and that helping others will help ourselves in return.

First helping own-self to see, to know and to understand. Secondly, helping others to see, to know and understand and third helping others to help ourselves or helping both. This will bring benefit in this moment, in this life. If we are planning something, we will get benefit in the future, and that benefit will be more enjoyable, more harmonious, which bring more comfortable life. We have lot of problems in our society, in our family; family problems, society problems etc. These problems are most of the time, we are dealing with ourselves, helping ourselves but not helping others, not doing for others. Last two things, helping others is not done, and not doing for somebody else, so one has to do for both parties. There is no harmony because moral distortion is there, more problems is there, more problems, more unhappiness, there is no harmony. There is always clash and no happiness. If we are in a house, the house became a place, where we don't want to be back. One will try to find a place always want to escape and go somewhere; like that. So, there is all because we have distorted mind, having not a clear mind. These things will increase all long. But if we are mindful enough, there is a balanced mind, there is a balanced life. From this we can get either comfortable life being more concentrated on what we are doing. If we want to get more benefit, then knowing the mind which engages with the different progress. So, that's the path we are practicing. So, the insight meditation that we practice here with paying attention to the given first object and that's only to begin to settle down our mind only. The ultimate is to realize the mind which normally engages in different things. Gradually once we know it we will be able to let go and we will be able to look after ourselves, help oneself and helping others to get the prosperity and happiness in our life.

So, today we will practice. First scanning the body, and then paying attention to the breathe as a primary focus. Concentrating the mind on to the breath; as breathe in, able to notice in, breath out as the breathe out. Some people may have different breathe in and out. So, it depends on the nature of physical body of each individual. Once, you feel that your mind is settled and composed you may observe mental activities as they are. Just remember that observing it at they are rather than as you want it to be. Learning to know your body and mind with the help of breath. So, that's the basic practice that we will do today. So let's go to practice. We will do 20 minutes of sitting and then 20 minutes of walking and end with short sitting before break. There will be a discussion and question and answer time after the break.  Right, rather than me talking lets do the actual practice.

Find a comfortable position. sitting comfortably whichever position is comfortable. Gently close  your eyes and maintain stillness throughout the practice. Should you need to move or change do it mindfully in minimum. Observe the body and let it relax. Bring your attention to the breath and work with it until the end of the practice as I have said earlier. Once you hear the bell for walking meditation, you may stand mindfully on your own time and continue practice of walking starting from; standing, walking and turning. Practice a brisk walking to begin with and gradually increase to lifting and placing. Or you can practice as I mentioned earlier to observe yourself and feeling yourself as you practice. Continue awareness is the key for the success.

May you all achieve happiness and successful.

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