As I taught in my Religion article in April, “True and lasting happiness is not distant. It is within us; we must just allow oneself to sit still, to let go of all thoughts and be quiet in the present moment.”
Meditation is the path to bring us to true happiness and stillness is the key to success.
Practice to reach true happiness. We must allow our mind back to ourselves in its own place. We can find the source of happiness in the center of our body, about the end of our deep breath. It is our body’s center of gravity, the balancing point between mind and body, found exactly above the navel level, two finger widths. When the peaceful point is activated or connected the practitioner will be able to reach the source of happiness.
However, it is the nature of the mind to find happiness is hard to guard, difficult to control and changes quickly as one desires. (Dhammapada: Chapter 3 Verse 33)
In Buddhism, the six senses are compared to six kinds of animals which the practitioner must know how to subdue. (Chappana Sutta: SN 35.206):
The eyes are like a snake that would love to go into an anthill. (People’s eyes are like snakes. They like to see what people hide, what is concealed, prying into other people’s personal matters.)
The ears are like a crocodile that likes to go into a river. (People’s ears are like crocodiles. They like something cool or love to listen to some kind words. Or love to listen to any matter that does not create any troublesome issues.)
The nose is like a bird that likes to fly up into the air. (People’s nose is like a bird in a cage, struggling to smell something, exactly where it came from.)
The tongue is like a dog that loves to go into a village. (Our tongue is like a mad dog, crazy with empty saliva. They are addicted to food, love to eat.)
The body is like a hyena who likes to go into the channel ground. (Our body is like a hyena. It likes warm places that are soft and like to snuggle up, such as to snuggle up in a person’s lap. It loves to lean on that person.)
The mind is like a monkey that likes to go into the forest. (Our mind is like a monkey. They are naughty, they think about things in the past, in a moment and future, not staying still, not being calm.)
These six animals have their own nature and different preferences. Each of these creatures would pull in a different direction, trying to return to their favorite places. They would be caught by binding with a strong rope and tying a knot in the middle, in the sense that the six senses are tethered by the stage of mindfulness.
To develop mindfulness, one must restrain the six sense bases, to ensure they do not let any unwholesome emotions or defilements arise in the mind. That means, in addition to guarding the monkey mind, we must also guard and protect our eyes, ears, nose, tongue and body to achieve true happiness.
Phrakrubhavanavides (Manikanto Bhikkhu) is the senior Abbot of the Dhammakaya Meditation Center Silicon Valley. An ordained Buddhist Monk for 35 years, Abbot Manikanto has been in South County for about two years. He is an active member of the Interfaith Clergy Alliance and can be reached at [email protected].