My teachers have instructed me that to truly develop the insight that will lead to liberation it is necessary to consistently establish mindfulness based in the physical body and then to investigate the very nature of the body with a collected mind - by looking at the various parts which comprise it, and further separating these into elements. This is because a large part of our attachment is based upon perceiving this very body as a ‘Self’ and as ‘Ours,’ but when we have a really close look we will discover that no ‘Self’ can actually be found there. The contemporary Forest Tradition Masters of Thailand have demonstrated that when cultivated diligently, these practices truly can and do liberate minds.
This talk introduces the theme of body contemplation with a lot of care and kindness. That is because it is very important to investigate the truth of ‘Not-Self’ with a gentle yet determined attitude of one who, motivated by compassion, aspires to realise the truth. If we try to destroy the ‘self’ by wilfully negating it, or dissect the body in the minds eye with energy like a mad professor, we could wind up with even more problems than we started with! But when we come from an attitude of Loving-Kindness coupled with a sincere interest in understanding the truth… both Wisdom and Compassion will grow. We are able to relate to the conventions of the world skilfully, while noticing the deeper truth with ever deepening clarity. As my teacher Ajahn Anan has stressed repeatedly to me, the practice of metta supports the development of insight.
This half hour talk leads into a half hour Guided Meditation.
These practices do not uproot all ignorance and attachment overnight, we have to keep up with them over a long period of time. They do however begin to weaken our latent attachments, grasping and delusion. So whatever stage we are at in our practice, these kinds of meditations can be useful.
May we all grow in Mindfulness, Wisdom and Loving-Kindness.
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