Setting mind at peace for the present

From:Voice of Longquan     Author:Ven. Master Xuecheng      Time:2016-07-15 10:11:22
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When we can set our mind at peace and live in the present moment, our inner-mind will naturally become concentrated slowly and wisdom will increase continuously. Then the great path of liberation will spread out for us, with the future full of freedom and brightness.

Our inner mind is not under our control most of the time and is inclined to change as the outside world changes. All types of delusions and attachments prevent our mind from settling into peace, or from being set free. We can’t even eat a meal quietly or walk on a stretch of road in a peaceful manner if our minds are caught up in the outside world’s changes.    

When having dinner, do you know what you are doing? Many people just eat their meals like machines gulping down fuel, with their minds preoccupied by various delusions, and they finish their meals without knowing what the food tasts like. Also, many people eat their meals with all sorts of preoccupations about how special this or that dish is, how special the taste is, and how extraordinary the amount of food is, all as part of one’s favoring food over everything else, which makes it hard for them to have a meal quietly.     

It’s the same for walking. Do you know you are walking while you walk?  Many people look all around as they walk, distracted by anything they see, hear or smell, and their minds attach respectively to all and any sort of situation they are in. Some people like to think while they walk, or cling to what has happened, or worry about things they are going to do, bothering with all kinds of matters that prevent them from a nice, peaceful walk. So what can be done to get away from various delusions and attachments? What can be done to liberate the mind? The Buddhist Dharma teaches us to set our mind at peace by living in the present.  

To set the mind at peace by living in the present, while taking a walk we should walk mindfully. According to the Buddhist precepts, when a monk walks, his eyes should look straight ahead so that, on one hand, he dignifies himself — keeping the right mindfulness, on the other hand, to set his mind at peace, focusing on his own feet to avoid stepping on an insect. Furthermore, by walking mindfully, one can feel the movement of the feet, or chant the names of the Buddha at each step. All these methods of walking mindfully can help us set our mind at peace and live in the present moment, preventing our own inner mind from being distracted by delusions and external circumstances.     

To set the mind at peace and live in the moment, we should eat our meals in a well-behaved manner. According to Buddhism, a monk should “have the five meditations” before a meal, on one hand, acknowledging the fact that food is hard-earned, and reflecting on whether one deserves the food, with thankfulness and shamefulness ensuing; on the other hand, reminding us to be neither too attached to food, nor to judge food by individual taste so long as we can be sustained for the only purpose of accomplishing the great karma of Buddhahood. By doing so, we can maintain the right mindfulness, knowing how to concentrate on eating, on why we need to eat, and that we are eating at the moment of eating, all of which are very important.             

As it’s said in The Great Learning, “The point where to rest being known, the object of pursuit is then determined; and, that being determined, a calm unperturbedness may be attained to. To that calmness there will succeed a tranquil repose. In that repose there may be careful deliberation, and that deliberation will be followed by the attainment of the desired end.” When we can set our mind at peace and live in the present moment, our inner-mind will naturally become concentrated slowly and wisdom will increase continuously. Thus the great path of liberation will spread out for us, with the future full of freedom and brightness.    

Editor:Nina
Tags:setting mind, inner peace, at the present

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