Time : Saturday 2pm-4pm
Platform : ZOOM Cloud Meeting
Topic of Discussion : Controlling our thoughts, letting go and cultivating our mind
On 23 May 2020, Guan Yin Citta, Singapore held yet another online Buddhism in Plain Terms (BIPT) Group Study (in English). Covering the second half of episode two, the session delved deeper into the foundations of spiritual cultivation: Controlling one’s thoughts, letting go and cultivating our mind.
The first topic on the agenda was to elaborate on how we should let go of our attachments as happiness lies in letting go and being content, and is a yardstick for one’s wisdom. Participants discussed how detachment from all things worldly can allow for a peaceful mind. Indeed, the atmosphere of the session was serendipitous with Bodhisattva’s blessings and the positive energy of Buddhist practitioners who took mindful action to let go for 2 hours that day.
Following that line of thought, the discussion developed towards letting go of our prejudice and judgements. As a timely reminder to all, Buddhist friends took note that one should refrain from passing judgement on others as any conclusions we draw are often inadvertently biased, incomplete and a mere stereotype.
Next, the group explored how mind-cultivation must involve the cutting down of our desires, as these surely stem from the three poisons of greed, hatred and ignorance. As Master Lu said, it is through cutting down on worldly pleasures that we are able to experience real happiness within, and we need to curb our desires of today in order to avoid the regrets of tomorrow.
Let us now look at some comments from participants:
“I think the session is quite good as many Buddhist friends are actively sharing during the group study and I learnt alot from their sharing. Time really flies during the group study, and some participants even have no time to share.”
“Every time after each session, I become more sensitive about my own behaviour. I would check and correct myself with what I have learnt from the BIPT.”
“I learnt about the importance of BIPT from the sharing about the journey to heaven. For judgement on an issue, I learnt the method of using the three sieves: is it true, is it out of kindness, and is it important.”
? Next Buddhism in Plain Terms English Group Study:
⏰ Date and time:
Saturday 30 May 2020
Please click here to download the Summary Slides shared during the Group Study:
BHFF_Summary_Episode 2 (Part2)_230520
Buddhism in Plain Terms – Episode 2 (Part 2)
Control Your Thoughts, Let Go And Cultivate The Mind
Topic 5 “Let Go Of Attachment”
Please do not hold a Buddhist book in your hand and say those sacred words of the Buddha but at the same time, commit numerous negative karma of speech and taint your own Buddha-nature and virtue. Thus, the true sense of giving is to let go of the notion of self, there is no self. Where is the notion of self? What have I got? Saving face is a form of attachment. Sometimes I deliberately put some of you down in front of many people. This is to train you to let go when you make a mistake, don’t you think that you deserve to be criticised? If you feel embarrassed and go red, it shows that you have yet to let go of yourself. You are still attached to your views and its arrogance.
Firstly, we have to get to know ourselves well. What type of person are you exactly? Are you a good person, or you are neither good nor bad? Maybe you are a bad person? You should evaluate yourself as such. So, don’t be petty-minded with others and don’t sweat the small stuff. In fact, there is a price to pay for every petty thing that we get mad with. Only through understanding others can we move our karma in the positive direction. Only through lending a helping hand to others, can we be spared from adversities, slander or negativity. Hence, think about it, when you help others won’t they help you in return? Consequently, you will not meet with adversities in life. When you help others wholeheartedly, who will slander you? When you steer away from evil thoughts and intentions, what you reap is the fruit of kindness. Correspondingly, you will be loved by others, helped by others and they will correct their own mistakes.
Topic 6 “Do Not Judge Others”
Sometimes we should avoid being judgemental.“This person made a wise move”; ”This person is wrong”. For any problem, do not take it to heart when a person holds on to a view of what’s right and wrong, their comments must be wrong. I can tell you, nothing they say is right.
How do we know? “He is a real pain in the neck”. Do you believe he’s like this all the time? No one is 100% good or bad. As Buddhists, we should learn to forgive. We must not judge others with our evil knowledge and thoughts because if our view is biased, we will misjudge people. If you can’t take control of your heart and fail to see others with a balanced point of view, you will be looked down on by others in the end. When you misjudge people, they will surely have their share of comments to make about you. “He is always rude, uncultured”. The hatred and jealousy in you drive your desires and selfishness. Do you understand? With the grudge you hold against others, you hurt them gradually, you will lose your peace of mind.
Topic 7 “Cut Down On Desires”
Superficially, we see some people who are very well-kept in their dressing but not their heart, as it is impure. The essence of taking refuge in the right path is to control our thoughts and the motion of your mind. Only do the right things; otherwise, the moment a thought arises, you have broken the precepts. Hence, you have to be mindful of the precepts every single moment and with that you will never become a stranger to yourself. For example, you went for some grocery shopping today, you were very disciplined, and you never thought of taking anything without paying. Now let me give you a scenario. If you were buying something today and there was a thought flashed by “I don’t think I should pay for this”. Then imagine how uneasy you would feel – the next moment your hands would tremble with cold sweat, you’d look around nervously and when you walked to the exit and saw the electronic sensors, you’d be even more panicky. You’d be afraid that your misdeed might be seen by others.
Obviously, your thoughts have been set in motion. If your mind is under control, do you think you will still be scared? So, when one breaks the precepts, in actual sense, he is destroying his dignity. For one who observes the precepts, kindness is natural in them. So, a man of greed is a man of many desires. The desires within a person will definitely breed the greed in them over time. Needless to say, greed and desires are the cause of our mental suffering. Thus, those who give and help others can gradually let go and see the reality of things
In this world, the many unwholesome thoughts that occupy our mind have made this world and your inner world become filled with vexations and desires. Thus, sometimes when a desire arises, it may cause us to err and we feel remorseful and guilty. But we still need to take responsibility for our mistakes. Sometimes, when we feel bad for failing someone, just by reciting the Eighty-Eight Buddhas Great Repentance alone will not resolve the problem. Many, in their younger days had done others wrong. The pain will remain in their hearts forever.
So, I hope you understand that we need to be committed and resolved to be kind to sentient beings. The inherent noble qualities of a human being are indispensable. So where can we find our moral qualities? In its excellence at being human, respecting the elders and loving the young, putting others before oneself, avoid telling lies, and helping others. These are moral qualities. When people say that your accomplishment in Buddhist practice is commendable, it means that you are a person of moral integrity. Think about it – a person of moral integrity is less likely to have vexation and thus able to stay away from misfortunes. If what you have done, in modern context is open and above board, then there is no way that misfortune will happen to you. If you have done a lot of things sneakily that cannot be brought to light, your misdeeds will ultimately be exposed one day, and you will be in trouble then. These are the problems that I wish to touch upon. I want to tell you today how to make sense of these problems.
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