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Concentration of Mind

While meditating, we attempt to concentrate our mind.  In meditation, this concentration of the mind is extremely important. How have we understood this state of mind? How do we identify this important factor? What do we mean by the words “concentration of mind”? This is something important to think of. Concentration of mind is often defined and interpreted as a process of thinking only of a single matter or a subject. This is the popular belief. We can rely on this concept if we do not practice meditation. When our mind is concentrated following meditation, one could conceive an idea in the mind, that no further thoughts would arise, that the mind doesn’t wander about and no trains of thought would enter the mind. That interpretation can be applied for concentration of the mind so long as one does not meditate. But once we start meditating, we understand that the real state of the mind, is that thoughts keep on flowing in. That is what is referred to as the mind. These are not two separate things. The mind and thoughts are not two different things.


A Radio Interview

Mr Gamage: If we look at this human life we can see that the mind or the thoughts are the basis of our actions or words. We think before we say or do anything. What emerges from that point is our happiness or unhappiness is based on our thoughts.

Our minds create unhappiness or it helps us to live happily. But the ordinary mind creates unhappiness in us most of the time. We experience this sadness due to the things we hear or things we see or due to our memories. Our minds use these things to get rid of the happiness of the present moment. So, are we going to suffer by listening to the ordinary mind? Or are we going to understand the mind and have it under our control and live in peace? This is what we try to do in meditation.

A mind is not something that is solid. It is a process. The mind is in process due to various causes. These causes create happiness or sadness. What we try to do in meditation is to find out these causes.

Why am I unhappy?

Why am I sad?

Why am I angry?

Why am I agitated?

All this effects are due to various causes. We have to find out these causes and get rid of them. Then we will have a peaceful mind. That is the purpose of meditation.

Radio: Mr. Gamage, there are many people who find it very difficult to control the mind.

Mr. Gamage: Yes, it will be very difficult if we start at the wrong point. Dhamma compares the ordinary, agitated, uncontrolled mind to rippled waters. We cannot calm rippled waters. If we try to calm it the water would be more disturbed. Buddhism advises us not to try to calm the water at once. Advices us to watch the water from a distance. Why is this water disturbed?

What are the reasons of the disturbance? If we can detach our selves from the water and watch it without any influence on it we will understand that the water is calm. In meditation we do not wage a war with our minds nor do we fight it. The best method to control the mind is to watch the mind detached and from a distance. Then that mind will be controlled.


Inner Fires

Meditator: What is the Enlightenment?

Teacher: Well, the Pali term for Enlightenment is NIBBANA. That’s the Pali word. NIBBANA means “blow out the fire”, no more fire, no burning, totally peaceful.

There are many kinds of fires inside us …..and we use the external sensual impulses as a fuel for these inner fires. The desire can be a fire; you can see: if you see something beautiful, if you hear something beautiful, when you experience something tasty – we use that external sensual impulse as a fuel to that desire, to increase that desire.

We use some other things as a fuel for the fire of anger, the fire of proud, the fire of jealousy. So in one way fire is inside and what we are usually doing – we are offering, we are feeding this inner fire by experiencing habitually, by doing things mechanically.

In meditation we are doing two things: the first thing is we try to reduce the fuel, the supplies of fuel to these inner fires. And the other thing is – we try to blow out the fire the inner fire. 


Everything can be a mistake
.... So I was happy to speak about myself. But later I was thinking about this topic and I realised this is the most difficult thing – to speak about one’s own self. I can speak about Nibbana for hours and hours, about absolute truth for hours and hours, but how to speak about myself? So I thought, “that was my mistake”. I told Miss Amy by email that my meditation is a mistake! When I wrote this email I didn’t expect that they would take it seriously.

Unfortunately they took it seriously and they posted advertisements saying that Upul would be talking about his mistakes. So that was my second mistake! But still I think in this way, and I would like to share my experiences with you. I think you will gain some wisdom by listening to my mistakes, not to do them yourselves.


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Translated by Ven Dhammadipa