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beginning to see

by sujata
pen-art by julio lynch

this book is dedicated to

the 9 to 5ers

and everybody else

a collection of epigrams
about the problem
of living
and the freedom
to be gained
through meditation

much suffering
comes into the
life of one who
tries to be anywhere
but here
in this present

are you
with where you are
right now?

because "right nows" are all you have

there is nothing
in this life that we can
have for very long

things and people
come ...
then leave us ...

an immense

amount of fear

is created if

we spend our

lives dodging


an immense amount
of fear is created
if we spend our lives
dodging pain

an immense amount
of fear is created
if we spend our
lives dodging pain

the world continually
demands that we
direct our

meditation teaches
us to revolt

and turn that
toward our insides ...

painful feelings *
in the mind indicate
wrong attitudes
about life

can show us
what we're doing wrong

* jealousy, envy, hatred, loneliness, frustration, depression

we live our
lives fearfully

to such an extent
that we live

there is dishonesty
in any mind
which demands
that reality
occur in a
yaw cificeps

we progress in this
life according to our
honest wisdom.

honest wisdom is
realizing what you feel
knowing what you think

and opening
your attention
to everything
which comes
before you.

we should take
time each day to
to watch exactly
what we experience
in walking and sitting

how to

start a

good day

every day you are
for how you feel

no one can make you
or nervous

choices in a
meditator's life are
very simple ::
do those
things which contribute
to awareness
refrain from
things which do not

spiritual growth is to
do what we love to do
and to become
aware of doing it

in what direction
are you taking yourself?
(is it worth your effort?
is it exactly where
you want
to go?)

systematically trains us
to be aware of everything
"we're up to"

the mind is only a

it is what it sees
ti si tahw ti sees

be careful what
you show it
you can be



can be a worrisome product
of unmindful
wandering thoughts

when powerful awareness is cultivated
we gladly learn that there is
no one who thinks ...
only thinking
no one who walks ...
only walking
no one who sees ...
only seeing
and finally the great burden
is dissolved

does not mean

it is made of
Loving Kindness
Sympathetic Joy

one of the
highest blessings is
a friend with whom
we can respond
openly and freely

it is hard
to be constantly

but it is
to be

this living is
so hard
how can we
be anything
but loving?

may all beings be happy.

anger is most

it destroys you,
the person next
to you,
and the place where
you live

when aversion arises in
our minds,
we must either mindfully
drop it
or start communicating

is a crime
in any of its forms --

resentment, aversion,
jealousy, anger, harshness,
disgust --

if we watch carefully
what it does to our
feelings and what we do
to other peoples feelings
when motivated by it
we have no choice but to
give it up

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we are very empty inside
just watch us work to fill
up the vacant hours _

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time on our
hands is very

we might stop long
enough to notice that
we are very unhappy
going nowhere
special ...

meditation is
for those who are
born without having
it all together

mindfully attending to the sensation
of the breath -
a tranquility and
insight exercise -

is politically
and spiritually
the practice

meditation is not straining
or striving

it is relaxation

the back should be straight
not tense

an insight
meditation exercise

for the development of clear, mindful awareness, observe closely the movements of the body and the mind. a good way to develop your attentiveness, concentration, and insight is to watch carefully the rising and falling of the abdomen. in this meditation exercise we begin by observing these obvious bodily movements. when these become clear we will also be able to be aware of the more subtle movements of the mind.

go to a quiet place and sit in a comfortable position with eyes closed and back straight but not rigid. the movement of the abdomen is always present :: place your attention on its natural in and out movement, making a mental note of each part of the process. it is not necessary to verbally repeat the words, "rising" and "falling," or even to think of "rising" and "falling" in the form of words. instead, only be aware of the actual process of rising and falling. as you become more and more alert and can follow the movements more carefully, you will become aware that the breathing is sometimes shallow, sometimes deep, sometimes rapid, sometimes slow and calm. these variations should be noted, however there should be no effort to control or to interfere with the breathing in any way. just choicelessly watch the movements as they appear when you are breathing normally.

while you are watching the rise and fall of the abdomen, the mind may, by itself, go towards other objects, such as thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations. these new objects should be noted as soon as they arise. if a thought comes to your mind, be aware of "thinking". if a sound comes to your attention, make a mental note of "hearing". after each such note, firmly and calmly return your attention to the primary objects of meditation, the movements of the abdomen.

as you develop more concentration on the primary objects, you will quickly notice any other object as it arises. however, until the mind is alert enough to notice these objects as soon as they arise, it will tend to wander unmindfully after these thoughts, feelings and emotions. sometime later, the meditator becomes aware that he has been day dreaming. as soon as one is aware that his attention has dristed away from the present moment, he should patiently note that his mind has been "wandering" and that he is now "remembering to be mindful". then one should lovingly return the attention to watching the rising and falling.

mindfulness can also be practiced during walking meditation, with the lifting, placing and putting of the foor as the primary objects of awareness. with head upright, keeping your eyes on the ground about six feet ahead, walk at a moderately slow pace, with steps small enough so that, without losing your balance, you can place one foot firmly on the ground before moving the next foot. remember to note each part of the movement as it occurs. it is a good idea to spend equal amounts of time in walking and in sitting meditaiton -- for example, thirty minutes of walking, then thirty of sitting, later, one hour of walking, then one hour of sitting.

during all moments and activities of the day --- eating, washing, moving from place to place, job to job --- one should be aware of the movements of the body necessary for each activity, or of any thought, feeling or physical sensation which arises predominately.

one who persists in noting all objects as they come to his attention will develop increasingly clear awareness. noting should be done neither too fast nor too slowly. it should be immediate, firm and clear, but not harsh. one is not to be lazy and sit day dreaming, but rather to develop an awareness of the objects which is accepting and alert. at a certain point when the mindfulness is well developed, awareness will be automatic, and there will be less and less need for making mental notes. however, whenever attention weakens, one should return to making clear notes.

it would be convenient if one could simply "decide" to be aware. however, we are conditioned not to be aware. our minds are trained to be complicated, and so it is necessary to re-train ourselves in order to be simply aware. the most skillful way for a beginning meditator to develop mindful awareness is to place himself under the guidance of a qualified meditation teacher for a period of intense practice. during a meditation retreat one leaves behind for a time the rush and trouble of his daily life, and in an atmosphere of quiet mindfulness and loving kindness, devotes his energy entirely to the development of awareness. the minimum length of time usually needed for beginning westerners is one month. after completing such a period of intensive meditation, one is better able to continue the development and practice of mindfulness in daily life.

what could be

better than a

meditation you

can take


is the first noble truth:

life is suffering

the price of


is pain:

but it is this wisdom

that cuts off

the suffering

finally, there is

no choice but

to bleed freely

your pain can be
the breaking
of the shell


only simple
minds can

if we accept everything
in life as our


we will soon

from the
pain of
unnecessary resistance
unnecessary desire

we run here and there
all our lives
trying to be successful,
correct and right
when the
of life

meditation does not necessarily make us feel good

but it does awaken us to the many things

we do feel

a meditation retreat
brings great relief because
for a time we don't have
to take our mind and its
problems seriously

we don't have to act
upon its thousand wandering thoughts

we just note them
mindfully and they pass
away . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

the untrained
mind is so
vulnerable to


something good
happens and it
is happy ...
something bad
happens and it
is in pain ...

one who has sufficiently
suffered the attachments
and aversions of their mind's uncontrolled wanderings
quickly becomes
watchful of
any direction
in which
the mind

your mind has

a mind of its





fit in?)

thoughts are not
necessarily connected
with reality

we must be aware
of them
before we are
by them

bittersweet goes the life of one
clouded and distracted
stranger to reality
without awareness
hurts themselves

if living were an easy
thing to do
there would be no need
for mental training

but because life often
becomes very
very hard

we often have
to meditate
very very

the mind is the
only means we have
of getting out of
this mess

with it

dull this single key

everyone needs
a period of mental
and physical
seclusion every day

meditating is
the kindest
thing we can
do for

our mind is a

by selecting
what it thinks

it can grow
thorny weeds
or beautiful
tender flowers

(but even a
little weed
can learn
to grow


you can



our characters are
developed by persistent practice

if we practice love
we become more loving

if we practice patience
we become more patient

if we practice generosity
we become more generous

- communication -
- love -
- insight -
form an interdependent triangle ::

neglect one and we
diminish the other two

practice one and all
are increased

life is unsatisfactory

1. it is not perfect
2. we only get two weeks of vacation each year
3. our joys are impermanent
4. no one gets out alive
5. our bodies have to be washed over and over again
6. the freeway is crowded
7. we must be taught by pain as well as by pleasure
8. our name sounds dumb
9. we must argue that life is not unsatisfactory
10. most of our happiness depends on mere thoughts of the past and the future

mindfulness is
the cure for the
disease of

take delight in mindfulness
control your mind
pull yourself
out of the mire of passions

as would an elephant
sunk in mud
come out of it

nothing is gained without effort
to train your mind
you have to work
every minute, every day, every year

from one life to another

be kind and merciful
let no one ever come to you
without going away
better and happier

mercy is the highest



one day a mother lost her only child. she went to the buddha in search of a remedy for her dead son, carrying the corpse. the buddha agreed to help her if she could bring him a bag of white mustard seeds. however, she had to obtain these mustard seeds from a house where no member had ever died.

the distraught mother went from one house to another asking if anyone had ever died in the house. the answer was always positive ... here the grandfather died 3 years ago, - there the mother died by giving birth to her last child, etc ...

in every house she was told : "the living are few, but the dead are many".

after a while she understood the nature of life. she returned to the buddha without the mustard seeds. the buddha comforted her explaining that death is common to all living beings.

she understood that the life of human beings flickers like the light of the lamp and she finally stopped weeping and accepted the death of her only son.

womb to tomb
womb to tomb womb
to tomb womb to tomb
womb to tomb womb to tomb
womb to tomb womb to tomb
womb to tomb womb to tomb
womb to tomb womb to tomb
womb to tomb womb to tomb
womb to tomb womb to tomb
womb to tomb womb to tomb
womb to tomb womb to tomb
womb to tomb womb to tomb
womb to tomb womb to tomb
womb to tomb womb to tomb

enlightenment is an


to life,

after life,

after life,

after life,

after life,

after life,

after life,

after life,

after life,
after life,
after life,

after life,
after life,

after life,
after life,
after life

during the time of the buddha, there was a young monk called nanda who did not understand the necessity for mindfulness. one day, nanda began to cherish the idea of giving his best robe to the enlightened teacher sangara. nanda was most infatuated with the idea, thinking that it would be an act of great merit to show such generosity towards a spiritually developed being.

he thought to himself, "by this noble deed, surely I will soon attain enlightenment". because he was not yet well trained to mindfully watch the nature of his thoughts, nanda did not recognize the selfish desire and attachment which made his intentions impure.

the next day, the young monk waited until sangara left the monastery. in his absence, nanda swept his room, brought water for drinking and washing, prepared a seat for him of cushions and flowers, and laid out the gift of the robe. nanda sat down and waited. when he saw sangara returning, he quickly went out to the road, greeted him respectfully, and brought him to his quarters. seeing the room, the teacher was pleased with the young monks energy and kindness. nanda invited him to be seated on the prepared seat, gave him water to drink, bathed his feet. then nanda took a palm leaf and began to fan the holy one. he began the presentation of the gift, saying that he wanted with all his heart to give this, his best robe, to sangara.

the teacher detected that the young monk had not been mindful of his desires and had allowed himself to become attached to the idea of giving this gift. seeing this as an opportunity to teach nanda the danger of unmindfulness, the holy one replied that he already had a complete set of robes and as he had no need for the gift, instructed nanda to give the robe to some needy monk. at this nanda repeated his request several times, only to have the teacher thank him for offering the gift, but instruct him to give it elsewhere.

this polite refusal hurt nanda's feelings and resentment arose in his mind. in this clouded state of mind, he stood fanning the teacher. rather than practicing mindfulness by dismissing his resentment and attending to the fanning, nanda permitted his mind to dwell on the incident. as his mind wandered concerning the declined gift, his resentment grew, and he thought,

"if sangara is not willing to receive my gift, why should I remain a monk? I will become a householder once more". then his thoughts began to wander restlessly, taking his attention farther and farther from the present moment in which he stood fanning the teacher.

"suppose I become a householder once more", he thought, " how shall I earn a living? I will sell this robe and buy myself a she-goat. as the she-goat brings forth young, I will sell them and in this way make a profit. when I have accumulated a profit, I will take a wife, and my wife will bear me a son. I will put my son in a little cart, and taking my son and wife along with me, I will make the journey back here to pay respects to the elder sangara. as we travel, I will say to my wife, "wife, bring my son, for I wish to carry him". she will reply, "why should you carry the boy? you push the cart". saying this, she will take the boy in her arms, thinking to carry him herself ; but lacking the necessary strength, she will let him fall in the road and he will land in the path of the wheels and the cart will run over him. then I will say to her, "wife, you have ruined me". so saying I will bring down my stick upon her head".

so pondered nanda as he stood fanning the elder. consumed by his reflections, he swung his palm-leaf fan and brought it down on the head of the elder. sangara considered within himself " why has nanda struck me on the head?" immediately becoming aware of every thought which had passed through the mind of his attendant, he said to him, "nanda, you did not succeed in hitting the woman, but what has an old teacher done to deserve a beating?" the young monk thought to himself, "I am a disgrace! the elder knows the foolish thoughts which have passed through my mind."

the teacher told nanda that if he sought forgiveness he should come and sit before him. trembling, nanda sat down, his eyes cast upon the floor he had so proudly swept a short time before.

sangara spoke quietly and patiently, "nanda, do you see that you have made no effort to mindfully watch you thoughts, and do you see how needlessly you have suffered because of your mind's unwatched wanderings.

"your gift was not freely given because you demanded that it be received in a specific way. when your demands were unfulfilled you suffered resentment. the resentment was allowed to grow unwatched until it had made you completely unmindful. as you stood fanning me, you negligently became absorbed in wandering thoughts which had nothing to do with the present moment.

"do you see now the danger of unmindful thinking? do you see that if the mind is not carefully watched, one will become painfully absorbed in unwholesome states of mind? one unwholesome mental state weakens the mind so that it becomes susceptible to another and another. in this way, your mind, weakened by selfish desires, became caught in attachment, which led to disappointment, resentment, delusion and now regret.

"nanda, work gently and persistently to develop the mindfulness. as you have seen, one who does not live each moment in mindful awareness is bound for one painful experience after another. he who learns to watch the restless cravings and painful attachments of the mind will soon give up the suffering".

the innocent mind is willing to try anything... just because of its innocence

to be free we
must be comfortable
in being someone, anyone
or no one at any time
in any place

attachment is

our greatest


please remember...
everything which
has a beginning
has an ending

eat well

sleep well

wise people are neither optimists
nor pessimists

they see things as they are ...

each morning if we
commit ourselves to finding
the truth of every

then miracles

come to us

all day long

when you find out who
you really are

it's beautiful
beyond your


is there

anything better

to be than


when you're


you can talk or not talk
sing or not sing
dance or not dance
laugh or not laugh
eat or not eat,
play or not play,
be serious or not be serious
draw a picture or not
draw a picture
touch someone or not
touch someone
go or stay live or die
and it all
tastes the same

joyful joyful joyful

karma means

then action


you do a good karma
it comes back to you



the result of kind living

money is always

it is not right to not want to be successful

get your but-

out of the way

i would
like to...
... but...
i'd go
i could
do that...

unbalanced reflections on the
negative things in life will depress you

at the end of the day
make a list of the good things
which happened to you

control your mind

don't be under the control

of your mind ...

a human being

who controls his mind

is a saint

your closets


the mirror


your mind

the only cure for

t e n s i o n

say to yourself

I can learn to relax




warts are



express your love to your children

tell them everyday
how much you love them

express your love to everybody

express what you think

what you feel


with love

our relationships
are unfree to the
extent that we
demand things of
other people

love is not possessive

impeccable means :

making conscious choice
of what we eat, where we live,
our friends, our clothes,
our everything

compassionate virtuous loving intelligent

energetic untense informed

learned courageous refined respecting

prosperous wellspoken handsome

generosity is the number one prerequisite for progress on the spiritual path. without joyful and natural giving, there can be no receiving. the reason for this simple generosity is the direct expression, in action, of non-attachment. and non-attachment is the key to freedom from suffering.

like all virtues, generosity needs constant attention to flower and mature. giving itself is an experience of prosperity.
where our gifts go is a personal experience, something everyone must decide for themselves.

giving is putting your money where
your mouth is, about generosity

not only god loves

a cheerful giver

the gift of truth excels all gifts

there have been many
would be saviours
in the world

no one
has succeded
in saving the world

save yourself

rather than trying to convince anybody
that meditation is the right path,
we can show by our attitude
(wisdom, mindfulness, happiness)
the benefits of meditation

believe nothing
merely because you have been
told it, or because it is
traditional, or because you
yourself have imagined it. do
not believe what your teacher
tells you, merely out of respect
for the teacher.

but whatever way by
thorough examination you find
to be one leading to good and
happiness for all creatures,
that path follow, like the
moon in the path
of stars

an american who began his search for understanding at an early age, sujata traveled half-way around the world where he found some very rare people who, unlike all others he had met, were not plagued by the universal human enslavements of hatred, attachment and selfishness.

using the tools of insight meditation which he practiced as a buddhist monk, sujata teaches meditators to watch carefully the ways of the mind. as resident teacher of stillpoint institute, he guides others along the buddha's path, through the difficult process of laying down the burden of self.

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