Oppose Your Mind
Consider the Buddha's compassion and skill. He taught us after his own enlightenment. Finished with his own business, he got involved in ours, teaching us all these wonderful means. Concerning practice I have followed him, I have made all efforts in seeking, giving up my life to it because I believe in what the Buddha taught-that Path, fruition, and Nirvana exist. But these things are not accidental. They arise from right practice, from right effort, from being bold, daring to train, to think, to adapt, to do. This effort involves opposing your own mind.
The Buddha says not to trust the mind because it is defiled, impure, does not yet embody virtue or Dharma. In all the different practices we do, we must therefore oppose this mind. When the mind is opposed, it becomes hot and distressed, and we begin to wonder whether we are on the right path. Because practice interferes with defilement, with desire, we suffer and may even decide to stop practicing. The Buddha, however, taught that this is the correct practice and that defilement, not you, is the one that is inflamed. Naturally, such practice is difficult.
Some meditation monks only seek the Dharma according to words and books. Of course, when it is time for study, study according to the text. But when you are "fighting" with defilement, fight outside the
text. If you fight according to a model, you will not be able to stand up to the enemy. The texts only provide an example and can cause you to lose yourself because they are based on memories and concepts. Conceptual thinking creates illusion and embellishment and can take you to the heavens and hells, to the far reaches of imagination, beyond the simple truth here in front of you.
If you undertake the training, you will find that at first, physical solitude is important. When you come to live in seclusion, you can think of Sariputta's advice to monks concerning physical seclusion, mental seclusion, and seclusion from defilement and temptation. He taught that physical seclusion is the cause for the arising of mental seclusion, and mental seclusion is the cause for the arising of seclusion from defilement. Of course, if your heart is calm, you can live anywhere, but in first beginning to know Dharma, physical seclusion is invaluable Today, or any day, go and sit far away from the village. Try it, staying alone. Or go to some fearful hilltop by yourself. Then you can begin to know what it is really like to look at yourself.
Whether or not there is tranquility, do not be concerned. As long as you are practicing, you are creating right causes and will be able to make use of whatever arises. Do not be afraid that you will not succeed, will not become tranquil. If you practice sincerely, you must grow in Dharma. Those who seek will see, just as those who eat will be satisfied.