Dhamma Video Conference Talk and Q & A with Ajahn Anan – July 21st, 2017
L uang Por Anan: Welcome to everyone from your centers for our regular Dhamma session. I hope everyone is doing well tonight.
Today we’ll talk on the subject of the mind—when the mind has mindfulness to look after it and the mind has some metta, or loving kindness. But what about when the mind doesn’t have mindfulness and wisdom to look after it? If there’s no person looking after a child then the child can get into trouble. Our minds are like little children in this way–if we do not look after our minds attentively, they will get into trouble like unsupervised children doing bad things.
Here is the video, a cartoon from before even Ajahn Anan was born.
When one has sila, the five precepts, one has happiness. The mind without the five precepts is a mind full of monsters, the monsters of alcohol, drugs, or anger. This mind with the monster of no sila can do bad things that hurt others and oneself.
One man, his name is Mr. Walker. Usually, before going out to drive, his mind is in a normal state. Mr. Walker is one who’s in a really good mood in a good place, he has happiness and metta. Even meeting a small insect he doesn’t harm it.
But when he enters in his car, the mind that is normal changes in just a moment — the monster has entered– anger and cruelty.
When he touches the steering wheel, leaving the house, he’s not concerned about others– he’s lost to anger.
His mind has turned into an animal. He doesn’t care about anyone. He gets on the road and then he has changed from Mr. Walker to being Mr. Wheeler.
He does whatever he wants according to his likes at the expense of others—this isn’t right.
This is the steering wheel of someone who has drunk alcohol or taken drugs. This is the person in society who will cause a lot of chaos to others because the parts of the mind without awareness are malicious like a monster. When mindfulness and wisdom are weak the unaware mind that doesn’t have restraint comes up and controls the mind and it leads one to do evil– having no sila Dhamma people can kill, they can rape, whenever they have a chance to do something that is no good then they’ll do it because they are person with little sila Dhamma, little mindfulness and wisdom.
This type of person has difficulty living in society and will cause much trouble to society.
When Mr. Wheeler leaves the car and becomes Mr. Walker again, he is in a good mood. But the results of his past bad actions come back to hurt him, and he experiences the painful results of his past bad behavior. He cannot cross the street safely and various cars come by and hurt him or make his life difficult.
Having broken sila Dhamma a lot in the past, the bad habits stay in the unaware mind, and if it comes up it will push us to do bad and evil things.
We have to practice at building up this awareness of the mind in order to have sila, being able to control our actions and speech and having Dhamma at the level of being able to be patient. Being able to fight against the defilements (or obstructions of the mind), one is able to move up from an ordinary worldly person that is full of defilement to being a good person.
If the mind has no power of mindfulness and wisdom then the mind is full of the monsters of greed, hatred, and delusion.
Drinking alcohol and drugs is very dangerous — you need to teach your children and grandchildren to be careful, and for them to not be around others that use alcohol or other drugs.
Questions and Answers:
Luang Por Anan: If one does not have the intention to do something bad, but does something bad anyway, it is still bad kamma that will have painful results. Such as killing someone by accident after drinking alcohol. Drinking alcohol is already bad, then killing the person is again bad kamma. The person who died will have had a family and people that loved them that will feel sad. Though the bad kamma is less than if you have the direct intention to harm.
If you’re going to drink alcohol then definitely don’t drive.
The example of this is set in one of the suttas, is the story of a monk sewing a robe, then he accidentally kills an insect with the needle. He didn’t have that intention there to kill or harm an insect. And then in a future life he was reborn as a monk again and the insect was reborn as a hunter. The monk went to sit in the bushes and the hunter threw away his spear to hide it. The hunter accidentally killed the monk with that spear, which was the result of his past accidental killing of the insect.
Q: Can you give advice for not being selfish while in society?
Luang Por Anan: This is important when one is living in a society with other people, with people who are selfish, and so one needs to have the quality of equanimity. Whatever happens one can have a balanced and equanimous mind. Have loving kindness for yourself as well. You need these two qualities of metta and equanimity to live well in society.
What is important is to keep watch over the mind. If there’s any unwholesome states arising then one develops the mindfulness in order to not let the bad states arise.
Q: When Mr. Wheeler hurts others he is in a stressful state. It can be helpful to practice Dhamma in an environment that is not stressful since it helps us not to want to harm.
Luang Por Anan: One has to prepare oneself by developing as much mindfulness as one can. By being strong and firm in morality this is how one’s practice is developed before one gets in situations or stressful situations that may test oneself. It’s about looking after one’s mind because if one is in a situation with no stress, while one is there, and there’s no sort of unpleasant mental objects, then one can easily keep one’s morality, one can easily have mindfulness in that situation.
But it’s in those challenging situations or stressful situations where one has to try harder be able to maintain mindfulness and morality. So one should keep practicing and preparing oneself so that one can definitely be able to face those situations.
In conclusion, do your best not to be Mr. Wheeler, do your best to be like Mr. Walker, having morality and metta, or loving kindness, looking out over your actions and your speech and keep them normal. And one and should do one’s best to develop mindfulness this way.
Thank you to those who helped to think of this topic and subject and all of you coming to listen as well.