Dhamma Letter No. 70
Q&A 22 Right efforts 1
Q: How can I overcome thoughts that arise during meditation?
A: Many meditators view the thought itself as an enemy. It is a wrong view that arises from a misunderstanding of complaints about unwanted thoughts that arise during meditation. It's called a 'thoughts in delusion'. For more understanding, see Dhamma letter No. 65.
Once one has the wrong view, one will waste time for the practice in this life. Of course, you can experience ultimate nirvana only when all such defilements are removed. That is also the purpose of practice.
However, the important thing is that without thinking, we cannot even try to practice meditation, develop wisdom, and even aim for nirvana(nibbana).
The Buddha presented the Eightfold Path as a way to cessate all suffering, and the first is the right view(Samma ditthi). And there is a right thought(Samma sankappa). The obvious fact is that right thinking leads to right speech and right actions, and right thinking leads to right views, and the Eightfold Path is completed.
Right samadhi is also impossible without the right thought. If someone earnestly cultivates samadhi and desires to achieve results, it is possible through the right viewpoint and right thought.
Then, how to do it for the right thoughts?
The Buddha explained four types of right efforts.
1. When an unwholesome thought arises, stop immediately.
2. Prevent such unwholesome thoughts from reoccurring again.
3. When a wholesome thought arises, try to increase it more.
4. If wholesome thought does not arise, you should try to make it happen.
If thoughts that arise during intensive meditation invade the subject of meditation and interfere with meditation, you should immediately stop the miscellaneous thoughts and concentrate it repeatedly so that you can focus on the object of meditation.
However, in the case of insight meditation, which is a vipassana meditation, it is necessary to apply these four right efforts.
To be continued...
May you understand well and practice in Dhamma!
May you reap the fruits of your practice through the right efforts!
Ayyā Kosallā & Mahāpajāpatī Bhikkhunī Sangha
If you have any questions related to dhamma & meditation, please feel free to ask. You can reach Ayya Kosalla directly at Bhikkhuni.Kosalla@gmail.com .
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Buddha Sāsanaṁ Ciraṁ Tiṭṭhatu!
May the Buddha’s teachings last a long time!
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May everyone be led on the path of peace and blessing!!
Sādhu Sādhu Sādhu !