Protect the Mind – Be Kind

Posted By on October 27, 2013

Once after a dharma talk at a meditation group, the teacher invited questions from the audience.  One person asked:  does Buddhism protect us?

The teacher wisely answered: well, it depends.  The best protection the practices provide is from ourselves.

Student: what do you mean?

Teacher:  if we know ourselves and how the mind works, we can see clearly when unwholesome thoughts start to arise and stop them before they slip into unwise action.  That protects the mind from developing or deepening afflictive tendencies like anger, greed, ill will, and cruelty, to name a few.

That sounds like pretty good protection to me.  So how do we initiate this kind of protection?  Slowly through a diligent meditation practice we come to see and know ourselves more thoroughly.  We recognize the two kinds of thought the Buddha referred to:  thoughts that encourage desire, ill will or cruelty, or thoughts that foster letting go, kindness and compassion.

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We all know how good it feels when our heart-mind is clean, clear and not polluted with unwholesome tendencies.  I encourage students to use the skillful protective quality of kindness as an antidote to unwholesome patterns and tendencies.  If you want to feel whole, be tolerant of yourself and send kindness as a healing element to your old habits when they arise.  Really take it in for several breaths, pausing to let the kindness flood your being.  In those moments, your mind is protected from adverse actions and speech – and you did it yourself! Over time patience, tolerance and kindness begin to extend to others as a natural part of your being.

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