"When understood, the Buddha’s universe..is anything but alien and inhibiting. It is a world full of hope, where everything we need to do can be done and everything that matters is within human reach. It is a world where kindness, unselfishness, non-violence, and compassion achieve what self-interest and arrogance cannot. It is a world where any human can be happy in goodness and the fullness of giving." ❦ Eknath Easwara

March 5, 2012

What Is Your Mind Feeding On?

"If you're observing the precepts, practicing concentration, and developing discernment into what the mind needs to feed on, what it doesn’t need to feed on, what kind of feeding is good for it, what kind of feeding is bad for it, and then feed it in such a way that ultimately it gets so strong that it doesn’t have to feed any more, it can let go. And at that point an entirely new dimension opens up in the mind that you couldn’t have even conceived before.

That’s ultimately where the practice leads. It takes this mind—which is feeding on the body, feeding on feelings, perceptions, thought constructs, and consciousness—and tells it that there are better things to feed on. If you feed on these things, you’re going to be really sorry because your food source is going to run out on you very quickly. It’s going to keep changing—and with that sense of uncertainty and instability in life, how can the mind find any sense of well-being? At the same time it turns out that a lot of that food is junk food, which keeps you weak and unhealthy. So you teach the mind better ways to feed through the practice until the path finally issues in a point where the mind is at total equilibrium, doesn’t need to feed anymore, and you can let go.

So that’s where we’re headed. As the Buddha said, the only things he teaches are suffering or stress and then the end of suffering. That may seem like a narrow ideal. What about helping humankind and all the other great issues? He said to straighten out your own mind first and when that’s straightened out, when you’re really free, the type of help you can then give to people is the best kind of help.

There’s no hidden feeding agenda, no hidden need to feed on the sense of pride that comes from being a very helpful or very important person, which can actually spoil the help, spoil the compassion. You’re operating from a sense of compassion that comes from total freedom, total independence—which is ultimately the only compassion you can really trust."

Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Excerpt from "New Feeding Habits for the Mind" (click to download)
For more in-depth dharma articles and instruction, visit:  METTA REFUGE

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