Dhamma Letter No. 8
Q&A No. 3
Q. How does one deal with past memories during the meditation?
Memories will arise during mediation. In many regards, this is the purpose of meditation - to see oneself clearly. Arising memories is an inevitable and necessary aspect of meditation. When memories arise, one must use wisdom to decide to either 1) investigate the kamma associated with that memory or 2) acknowledge the memory, but put it aside for the time being.
In the first case, one uses their wisdom and discernment to decide that it is time to investigate the arising memory with the goal of comprehending its kamma. One must ask themselves, 'what role does this memory play in who I am?' How is it led me to right here and now?' These are particularly challenging questions which often lead to painful investigations. That is why one must be strong in their wisdom and discernment to take on the task of comprehending the karmic consequences of any particular memory.
In the second case, beginning meditators acknowledge the memories as they arise and understand that they are apart of their past, a piece of seeing oneself clearly. However, they opt to set the memory aside for now and save further investigation for later when their discernment and wisdom has developed to a point that lends itself to comprehension of that memory's kamma. That being said, this decision - the choice not to investigate and remain focused on the object of concentration - is wisdom in of itself. This skill is necessary to avoid ineffective and unfruitful memory-chasing.
May all accumulate the Paramīs and accomplish their own wishes!
May all beings be happy and well through the practices in this very life!
Buddha Sāsanaṁ Ciraṁ Tiṭṭhatu!
May the Buddha’s teachings last a long time!
Bhavatu Sabba Sotiṁ ca Maṅgalaṁ ca!!
May everyone be led on the path of peace and blessing!!
Sādhu Sādhu Sādhu !
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