HAPPINESS HAPPINESS HAPPINESS
The way of thinking for each individual is variable, for we as human beings are equal to enjoy our freedom of thought. Therefore, a conflict or disagreement on a minor issue or serious subject matter can happen.
An unresolved conflict can bring about many adverse consequences. They may start with a small argument and lead to a quarrel or an assault. At least, they bring about unpleasant conversation or annoyance between each other.
So what is the real cause of the conflict? It is because of our obsession with our own thoughts with conflict that until we are able to accept other people's opinion, it will still continue to cause a problem - wouldn't it?
Provided that the above hypothesis is true; namely, we let our belief and ourselves go without a careful consideration, the conflict with other people will occur endlessly and inevitably. To look at our mind and ourselves is seemingly the way to avoid such a conflict.
This guidance of Ven. Ajahn Sanong Katapunyo can help us to learn how to look at ourselves i.e. to train our mind by giving us a peaceful method in order to avoid any conflict which may happen to ourselves or with any other person.
N.B. If you cannot see the importance of reading this teaching. It is at least tempting you to find out what you will gain from trying to train your mind. Why do you not take a chance?
How to make our mind to be one
To study morality (what is right and what is wrong) is to make ourselves wise. It can expose ourselves to what we have not known and what we have not seen and understand the teaching of Lord Buddha. To understand Lord Buddha's teaching is nevertheless better than to know nothing about religion. It helps us understand the concept of religion, morality and meditation and helps us tackle problems and deal with any confusing, unpleasant or unexpected events that we may come across. When we are at home, we come across many things, some of which makes us unhappy and down, so we keep thinking about them. Therefore, we have no time to enjoy a peace of mind. How can we find peace and make ourselves happy? The suggested way is to turn ourselves to Lord Buddha's path and to make our mind to be single free from worries.
How can we make our mind to be one?
What we can do is to train our mind to reach a peaceful stage, being conscious and meditate on breathing in-out. When we breath in, we alert our mind to be conscious of breathing in and think of "Bud". When we breath out, we alert our mind to be conscious of breathing out and think of "Dho". The mere method of this kind of mind training is like a guiding direction for our lives. Mindfulness, concentration and wisdom derived from meditation can get rid of suffering, sorrow and worry. It can turn a precipitate person to be a calm man. Actually, we seem to solve problems by starting with ourselves (by training our mind) first.
Until we start training our mind, we normally express our anger, loathing and suffering. Those areas drain our minds physically and mentally and affect us. It is because we are unable to control those feelings and calm ourselves down. The consequence of such is derived from lack of mindfulness, concentration and wisdom to calm them down. Following Lord Buddha's principles, the practice of meditation can kill them.
For example, when we get angry, the practise of mindfulness on breathing and using the word Buddho can cure our mind condition to calm down and to be able to ignore those sufferings. It does not matter what we are doing or where we are. We can practise meditation anytime. The important thing is that we must be conscious of what we are doing, such as sitting, eating, walking or sleeping. We just pursue our mind's thinking whether it is good or bad. After following our mind's thinking, we will understand our mind condition. Any suffering or unhappiness found, can be killed by wisdom. This is a by-product of visiting a temple.
We cannot buy happiness with money. The investment of the practice of meditation and Lord Buddha's teaching must be made. Lord Buddha's teaching accordingly brings about the prosperity of peacefulness, mindfulness and happiness.
It is merely because of your mind condition. Good heart is recognised like an angle's heart due to no anger.
Not to get angry is considered a good thing as if you had magic like a wizard. Lord Buddha recognised a person who can train and control his mind is a wise, for our mind is delicate and sensitive and it is very difficult to control it. In fact, our mind's thinking is moving from one thing to another very fast like a monkey. Our mind keeps thinking of things all the time. That is why we need to train our mind to calm it down as if we tightened a monkey with a pole to stop it running around.
Stop arguing with others and train your mind instead.
Making merit (doing good which includes training our mind) is necessary for our lives. We should practise it until we get used to it and are able to apply it to our real lives where we normally come across suffering. Our mind condition always depends on external factors. We will be happy when the person who loves us speaks to us nicely. But, in reality, there are no lovers who can speak to please us all the times. Some speech is pleasant but some is not. It seems that the longer we are together, the more we have arguments. It is different from the beginning when we are first together. At that time, everything seems nice and pleasant. When time passes by, we stop respecting and pleasing each other. Our words can upset another. It is quite difficult for us to avoid this situation. Therefore, we should train our mind whether we are working or whether we are at home. For we are too close to each other, on the one hand, other people can easily upset and annoy us. On the other hand, we can also easily upset and annoy other people. It can be said that those things make other people and ourselves upset and unhappy. However, meditation, alternatively known as a "method of training our mind" as one of Lord Buddha's principles gives us an idea how to stop arguing, or swearing with other people and to calm ourselves down so eventually, we can put our mind at ease and find a peace. This is merely due to the meditation of "Buddho".
Training our mind helps us find peacefulness and makes our mind pure. Without training ourselves, we cannot find peacefulness. Instead, we will find unhappiness and unpleasant events. A comparison can be illustrated in that making an argument with other people does not make ourselves be good people(clean, pure, or white). Also, if a wife argues with her husband, it does not make the situation any better, vice versa. This can apply to colleagues at work, too. But to train our mind will make ourselves better.
What must be done to train our mind?
Rules of morality and meditation are means to train and clean our mind.
What is a consequence of training and cleaning our mind?
It is recognised as a good thing.
It makes us get on with other people because by training our mind we try to avoid arguing with other people automatically.
Surprisingly! Some people get on with other people very well and many people like to talk to those people. It is because they do not argue with other people. In fact, they probably do not say anything, As a matter of fact and in our real lives, having an argument becomes common, so we will be very happy to talk to people who do not argue with us. A conversation avoiding an argument can therefore make people happy.
However, in reality, when we have a conversation with other people, we like to argue with each other. For example, among husbands and wives, they know the weak points of each other. Children also know the weak points of their parents, so they use weak points to upset them. Picking other people's weak points brings about disagreements, arguments, or quarrels. Therefore, to avoid that situation, we should turn to look at ourselves, train our mind, calm down ourselves and avoid arguing with other people.
Lord Buddha never argued with other people
An argument with other people can happen to a beginner who has just learned Dhamma (Lord Buddha's principles) because he would like to inspect other people's behaviour when they do something improper or wrong. Like a student who has just graduated from school, he likes to express his disagreement when he sees something inconsistent with or different from what he learned from school. This can be seen as a self-centred habit. Those people like to tell people off when something beyond their expectation happens. By doing so, they always upset other people without a careful consideration.
However, when time passes by, they have learned to calm down themselves and stop upsetting other people unnecessarily. We can see from an experienced teacher in that he prefers to avoid arguing with other people because he has learned that it does not make it any better to anyone even himself. On the contrary, it can make him have an enemy.
As we are social animals and need to be in a group, we should not say whatever we want if those words can upset other people. We should stop upsetting other people and turn to look at ourselves (to train our mind by meditating on "Buddho"). By this means, we can train our mind as if we learned to argue with ourselves before we started upsetting other people. However, as a matter of fact, on the one hand, we never stop to learn to train our mind. On the other hand, we like to do what we like. As a result, it brings about problems and troubles to our lives.
Lord Buddha never argued with anyone. He seemed to say "yes" or not to argue with other people in the beginning but he eventually pointed out what was right and what was wrong to those people.
He never disagreed with a robber.
He never disagreed with a prostitute.
He never disagreed with a drunk man.
It was because he knew that these people did not want anyone to argue, disagree with or upset them for they never trained themselves but they, in fact, liked to upset other people. Therefore, Lord Buddha avoided to argue with them straightaway. On the contrary, he tried to be friendly to those people. He treated them as their good friend and an understanding teacher so that he could teach them the right thing afterwards, so because of that a robber loves Lord Buddha.
Why did Lord Buddha not argue with a robber?
"As a robber, I have to kill, do all bad things and be very rude", a robber said.
"If you are a robber, you are supposed to be a good (moral) robber! There is also morality for robbery and you should keep it", Lord Buddha replied.
"What do you want from robbery? Do you want treasure?", he asked.
"Therefore, when you rob, you should take only property and you should not kill the owner. He is not what you want. What do you get from killing people? You should not burn his house! You should leave a house to him for his residence", he said.
"You should take his treasure only. Don't kill people, don't burn his house and you should not threaten his daughters because just treasury is what you want and you should not fight against any authority so that you can be a good robber", he emphasised.
Upon the conversation between Lord Buddha and a robber, a robber realised that "as a robber, how can I not kill people? How can I avoid it because the owner tries to kill me first? I cannot avoid it. I cannot avoid burning his house. I cannot avoid threatening his wife and daughters . It is because of their self-defence, so how can I be a good robber?", he thought. Subsequently, he realised that he could not be a good (moral) robber so he decided that he should stop being a robber and become a good person, so he did not need to keep hiding or running away from the authority.
Finally, having listened to Lord Buddha's speech, he decided not to be a robber and contribute himself to monkshood following Lord Buddha's path and principles until he achieved the highest level of Buddhism (Arahatship). This is because Lord Buddha did not want to disagree with a robber in the beginning so a robber finally understood his teaching.
Suppose Lord Buddha did disagree with a robber and condemn him, he would get angry and accordingly he would see all other monks as his enemy. This can give us a lesson that we can have hospitality if we try not to argue with or upset other people, even a monk and a robber, they can be friends.
"It does not matter if you are a prostitute but you should not have an affair with other women's husbands, or steal their husbands from them. You should ask them before having an affair with him if his wife allow him to have an affair, or if he sneaks from his wife. If he is single, free and his parents as well as his wife does not mind, you can sleep with him. But if his wife does mind, you should not sleep with him. It is immoral and a sin. You should be a good (moral) prostitute", Lord Buddha said to a prostitute.
Having listened to Lord Buddha, a prostitute realised that "how can I be a good prostitute because all men will say that they are single but, in fact, they are not. They tell me lies. Therefore, I always make sins as I break the third precept, so I should stop being a prostitute otherwise I will make more and more sins.
After listening to Lord Buddha's speech, some prostitutes could understand his Dhamma, his principles and could achieve the first step of enlightenment (Sotapanna). Those people even they used to be a prostitute are recognised wiser and better than other people who are not prostitutes. This is the consequence that Lord Buddha tried not to argue with other people in the beginning until they trusted and believed in him and finally they understood what he tried to teach them.
There was a person asking Lord Buddha that "you are also self-centred and you never respect any other person, do you?"
"No", he replied.
"Why not, why do you still have too much self-confidence? You never respect the elderly people, monks, or even a king. They are all older than you. It is not a proper thing to let them (who are older than you) respect you, isn't it?", he said.
"That is right, I never respect anyone because I never saw anyone who is good enough (having adequate qualification of morality) and can get rid of depravity. I will merely respect a person even elderly people because they know nothing and are unable to teach me.", he replied.
"Right, I understand you now", that man replied.
"Do you train yourself and try to get rid of perception of image, sound, smell, and taste?", he asked.
"Yes, I do cut off the perception of image, sound, smell, and taste because I see them as bad things and lead to adverse consequence. If I am obsessed with them, I would find unhappiness and suffering, so I prefer to get rid of them. Actually, I do not dislike them. I just do not want them to make me unhappy", he replied.
This is a tip that Lord Buddha used to teach people. He avoided to argue with people in the beginning but he would point out what was right and wrong afterwards.
For example, when a wife is angry with her husband, but she cannot do anything to her husband so she then hit her children instead even though they did not do anything wrong. Hitting children is just a way for her to pass on her anger from her husband.
Likewise, when a husband gets angry with his wife and cannot do anything to her, he beats his children. This therefore makes members of a family unhappy and also affects the children particularly mentally. It makes them believe that their parents do not love them as they hit them unreasonable. It causes them a problem. It can affect their studies. This is because we lack of sensibility in governing our lives.