Buddhism was founded by Saddharrha Gautama. He discovered soon after that the mind was the most important aspect of human existence. In Gautama’s believe he believed: “Our mind is like mercury. It is also like a monkey who is struggling all the time to free himself. When he is pulled back, he may stay still for a little while, but a moment later, he will try to move away again.” In his belief’s he believed that man needed to pull back and control our minds frequently, otherwise it will not remain still and it will wander away according to its emotions. The mind will follow whatever arises in it when there is nothing to discipline and tie it down. We must have mental training to stop its wandering.
So meditation is the tool to tie up ones mind. It will cultivate mindfulness which is the foundation of the practice. Concentration stills the mind and reduces impulses and emotions. Its the same as tying the rope around a post and then tying the money to it. It does not matter how much the monkey struggles, he will have to stay within the limits of his bounds. As he is tied with the rope, he can only go back to the same spot again. The only chance for him to stop is when he is exhausted.
When we fallow the movement of our mind, it is like watching the monkey. We do not have to become the animal, we just sit and watch him. Stay still, do not struggle like him. If we struggle like him, we will turn into a monkey and will become really exhausted.
To practice Concentration is like looking at the monkey. In the process of watching, he will go round and round until the rope is so tight that he is bound up. In the end he will have to stop and sit still. The monkey also knows that it is time to stop when
the rope is so tight that it strangles him. The movement of our mind is very similar, so if we keep on meditating in order to observe it (the mind), then it is like watching the monkeywithout behaving like the monkey. If we act like the monkey by creating thoughts, we will be exhausted by our meditation because the mind never stops. We have to be in control at the post where mindfulness and concentration are. Fix attention on body and mind. Peace will occur. Wherever the mind wanders it will return. The moment we are quick enough to be aware of thoughts when they start to form, the mind will come back to where it started. It is as though we have passed the examination for mastering our own mind.
To study a religion is to study the mind. The Buddha did not teach many things. When he taught the 5 ascetics, he told them to contemplate the body and its 32 organs and to analyze all its elements. The Buddha also pointed out to them that the body was
born from cooked rice, fresh cakes, nuts, sesame, butter, earth, water, fire and wind. All theses factors were analyzed by him. The next step was to view the body clearly, so
clearly that they could see that the body starts to decay and eventually disintegrates. As the result, they would have to concentrate as an object of consciousness which consisted
of applied thought, sustained thought, joy, bliss, and one
pointedness of mind. He continued to elaborate on the cause of suffering also known as samudaya. Suffering takes place from the mind and the consciousness. Desires can be stopped by having
sharp awareness. At first the teachings were for the 5 ascetics. Later on Ananda and Sariputta, two the main disciples were tough the same thing. Ordinary people were also taught this.
When the Buddha was alive there was no chanting, no ritual and no ceremony, only meditation. There was no assembly hall, pavilion, living hall, or shrine hall. Though there were 3000 monks, there was still no temple. Those monks lived and practiced under trees, in caves, and in the forest. Three thousand monks is a great
number compared with less than 1000 at wat sanghathan. Even a congregation of 200 lay people is considered quite a number in todays world. In the early days of the order monks lived close to nature. The ordination did not require a meeting reviewing the rules, only the Buddha’s words “ehi Bhikkhu Upasampada” (“Come, Monks! well taught is the doctrine; lead the Holy Life to make a complete end of suffering.” With these words the Buddha conferred the ordination. Monks then knew all about the dhamma and could teach ‘panja kammathana’ (The five meditation exercises).
When the Buddha are not successful in there meditation, it means that their meditation is not up to standard. It is not perfect as they have not experienced peace and do not have enough patience or diligence. If those qualities were not attained they would not gain freedom. It is the belief that the merit of mans past lives gives man rebirth as human beings in a Buddhist land, the land of the Dhamma. As people are different from one another, some are more careful then others, and some have more mindfulness and wisdom. It is believed however that all men possess a certain amount of merit and perfection’s, no matter what kind of merit it may be. It depends on the amount of meditation which we have done. If man has not “entered the stream”, but are only half way, man will still accumulate merit. Man must persevere to complete there accumulations in order to be enlightened.
There is a teaching about understanding the relationship between the body, speech and mind. It is easy for a person to do good or evil by using the body with an armspan in length of 25 cm. in width. Through mental volition one acts through body and speech. in the past it was easy for man to get close to monks and religion. All the temple goers practiced and understood meditation, the 5 precepts, that which is evil and that which is meritorious. Though they are illiterate, they were all intelligent because they were very knowledgeable about Buddhism and skillful in training their mind. There fore to understand Buddhism as a religion man must revive its practice. Man usually takes the temple as the refuge for practice. It means we depend on material things, instead of the supreme spiritual beings.
In conclusion in Buddhism the world is a sea of life and full of craving. Its the sea that we must pass through to achieve our higher selves. To be truly wise, a person must journey this sea and forgo all cravings. For example, when we are angry we go down to hell; when we are deluded we become animals. The Buddha could understand the fleeting nature of mind by Concentration training, and acquired Yana or visions of truth. Wisdom will follow once Yana is obtained, and there will be knowledge and understand about the principle of peace.