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Skilful Desires

Start with Studying One’s Own Body

When we hold to the belief that the body is oneself, the mind will, accordingly, suffer every time the body is afflicted by sickness.

And as the body experiences the gradual changes brought about by ageing, this, too, will serve as a source of suffering for the heart.

Furthermore, when the body finally moves into its dying phase, or it is actually about to meet with death, this, too, will be a cause of suffering for our hearts.

Similarly, when we hold to our thoughts, moods, and emotions in the belief that they are the actual mind, then whenever any emotions of greed or anger have control over the mind, we will consequently speak and act in ways that will create more unhappiness and suffering within our lives.

This is all due to the mistaken belief that the moods and thoughts that we experience are the actual mind itself; that is, believing the mind is the mood or the mood is the mind. We do not possess enough mindfulness and wisdom to be able to separate the mind out from its moods and thoughts.

This lack of mindfulness and wisdom also makes us unable to see that our bodies are impermanent: once born, our bodies must, by nature, eventually die.

In the course of our lives, we study a variety of arts, crafts and academic subjects, all of which are external to us. We study them merely to sustain ourselves and experience some temporary happiness in our lives.

However, it is a very small number of people, to say the least, who actually think to study or investigate into the true nature of their own body and mind. One must start with studying one’s own body so as to verify whether or not the body belongs to some ‘self ’ entity that could be called ‘I’, ‘me’ or ‘you’.

This reflection by Ajahn Dtun is from the book, The Way to True Happiness, “Our Search for True Happiness,” (pdf) pp. 47-48.

This reflection originally appeared on Abhayagiri's website.
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