Saturday, March 22, 2008

Snow Lion's Dharma Quote of the Week

The weekly Dharma Quote of the Week from Snow Lion Publications.

(Each day before breakfast the founder and abbess of Sravasti Abbey, Thubten Chodron, gives a morning motivation for residents and guests. Below is a teaching given during March 2008.)

Quiet Place

Have you ever had this experience? You walk outside, and all of a sudden the silence strikes you--it's in such sharp contrast to the chatter that's going on in the mind.

We live in a very quiet place. We walk outside and it's pretty quiet--a few birds chirping, sun shining. Then suddenly the chatter in the mind stops because we see that it's just chatter. It's in such stark contrast to the silence that's outside.

We want to learn to notice that chatter before we even have to walk outside. And we want to be able to find that quiet place inside ourselves and keep it with us, so that even when we're in a place where there is a lot of noise, the mind can be quiet.

All that mental chatter is basically negative conceptualization. If we were thinking about emptiness or developing compassion with that kind of mental activity, fine! Continue that outside, inside, everywhere. But most of the time what's going on is, "I like this. I don't like this. I want this. I don't want that. Why does this person do this? Why don't they do that?" That kind of mental activity makes the mind quite stressful as well as accumulates negative karma and wastes a great deal of time.

As soon as we can catch it and be aware of what's going on in our mind, and come back to that silent space inside, the more peaceful we'll be. Our lives will be more productive in terms of having the Dharma grow in our hearts, and well be more focused in whatever daily activities we're doing. We won't be quite so distracted.

Thubten Chodron is the author of numerous books, including Buddhism for Beginners; Taming the Mind; Open Heart, Clear Mind; and Working with Anger

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