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Pests and monkeys
December 17th, 2014

illustration (attribution, if any possible, is at the end of the article)

Pests and monkeys

   If you mindlessly leave food around, pests are likely to come and stay, they might even "take over" the place and drive you out!

   It is advised to clear your mind in order not to fuel unhelpful thoughts.  When your head is spinning, full of energy, unhelpful thoughts are likely to arise, and to stay. They might even "take over" the place and drive your True Self out (!
   Calm-abiding —a single slower breath is enough!— may prevent this, by taking a key condition away; it's like keeping the room clean, without food lying around.

   A key point to remember though is not to confuse the correct practice of calm-abiding with a complete absence of thoughts.

   Even if you don't leave food around, pests might come and check! They'll quickly leave if there's no food, the room will stay clean, and they won't come often… but they still come, pop their heads up and look around! They might come again from time to time.

   When pests come and find that the room is without 'opportunity' for them, they'll leave soon enough. You don't need to assault them, kill them, forcibly suppress them…
   When thoughts arise, you don't need to pounce on them either. You can always watch them, even have a sense of humour or fun during the observation… They'll still leave soon enough!

   But if you take the pest in 'pity', and start getting them food when they turn up, with some blind and generic narrative about reducing suffering, maybe you're not seeing causality or the complete picture?
   Similarly, attending to your thoughts requires wisdom. Lack of discernment and a compulsive sense of "I need to attend to these"  might lead to feeding unhelpful thoughts.

   In some context, feeding a cat is helpful; in others, it's not.

   Wisdom as well as expedient means both require discernment. Sometimes they require to discern the illusions of 'others', and certainly not to ignore them (by some sense of 'separation'): monkeys might try to steal your plastic bags even if there's no food in them, because… they don't 'know' there's no food, and there often is food in plastic bags! The gamble is worth it! A clean room is not just without food: it's without plastic bags that might attract monkeys ;-)
   Similarly, even "right views" can become hindrances! Practicing all the "right"s might lead to e.g. righteousness, conceit, inflexibility, biases… Handling the "right views" with discernment is necessary. For starters, "right views" should probably be translated as "complete views" (views not limited to the self-centric perspective): focusing on one monkey, you might miss another!

#Buddhism   #Dharma   #meditation  
unattributed photo