Dhammapada Chapter 9: Our Ever Changing Mind States

Introduction

This chapter is based on the Dhammapada section called typically “Pleasure” or “Affection.”  However, verses 212-216 are more about how rapidly our oceanic minds transition from one mind state to another. 213 is removed to reduce repetitions.

Müller version

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/2017/2017-h/2017-h.htm#link2HCH0016

  1. From pleasure comes grief, from pleasure comes fear; he who is free from pleasure knows neither grief nor fear.
  2. From lust comes grief, from lust comes fear; he who is free from lust knows neither grief nor fear.
  3. From love comes grief, from love comes fear; he who is free from love knows neither grief nor fear.
  4. From greed comes grief, from greed comes fear; he who is free from greed knows neither grief nor fear.

My ‘paraphrased’ version

Today’s delights may soon pass. Anguish may then arise. Discomfort may then arise. One not seeking desires experiences neither anguish or discomfort.

Today’s longings may dissipate. Anguish may then arise. Discomfort may then arise. One not seeking such cravings experiences neither anguish or discomfort.

Those we hold dear today may soon become strangers. Anguish may then arise. Discomfort may then arise. One not seeking such bonds experiences neither anguish or discomfort.

Things that we seek today may soon lose our interest. Anguish may then arise. Discomfort may then arise. One not seeking to acquire experiences neither anguish or discomfort.

Practice

The above parts of this chapter contain already many other practices already. Here are some more.

  1. This book is not recommended for brand new students. But reading “The Heart of Buddhist Meditation: The Buddha’s Way of Mindfulness” by Nyanaponika Thera has many good practice suggestions. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18654414-the-heart-of-buddhist-meditation
  2. Sometime instead of reading a book before sleeping or just after being awake, watch your thoughts come and go. I find this a helpful practice.
  3. Throughout our day, especially during the stressful/busy part of the day, check in with ourselves. What are we feeling? thinking? What is distracting us? What have we learned to do or to avoid?
  4. Some recommend keeping a journal of your mental day. But this could aggravate rather than result in realizations. Or they review they same at the end of the day before sleeping. As long as you are not stuck in prior moments, this is good.
  5. Some Buddhist Sangha groups have a group that they text or send emails to. Each correspondence is a brief reminder to keep at it. Or an obstacle encountered or overcome.
  6. Simply saying ‘my thoughts and feelings are nothing to hold onto’, ‘this mind state will pass soon by’, ‘my thoughts and feelings are temporary’ and the like may be enough to keep us going and stay centered.

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