Significant Quotations: #1 All states of being are determined by mind.

This is my favourite of all quotations and has been a “guiding light” to me for the past 22 years. It is a saying of Buddha and an interpretation from the first verse of the Dhammapada, a collection of sayings from Gautama Buddha. It is essentially saying that everything we perceive or feel is an interpretation we place upon the experience, often in a negative sense. Conversely we can discipline our mind to merely “observe” the experience without interpretation as positive or negative. For example my ongoing recovery from an operation to remove my prostate cancer naturally involves some pains, twinges and aches, but if every time I experience this I think “oh hell its coming back” then I’m in a semi permanent state of stress! Instead of just feeling a twinge my mind takes over my whole being in a very negative sense. So, with a little effort I merely acknowledge the twinge and try hard to be mindful ONLY of what I am doing at the time ….. reading a book, making a cup of tea, cutting up the carrots …. you get the picture. The quotation is also a good mantra to use for meditation, I use it to start every meditation I do so as to discipline my mind away from stray or random thoughts popping into my head. As a final example, about 15 years ago I was about 100 metres away from the summit of my first Himalayan peak with my two departed mates, Ged and Mingma. I was absolutely exhausted at about 20,000ft and struggling up a snow slope of about 35 degrees. This quotation came into my head at just the right time as I repeated it silently with each step I took. Buddha got me to the top of that peak!

Categories: Buddha, Philosophy

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5 replies

  1. It’s definitely good to be aware of our tendency to create negative interpretations of circumstances. I’ve been quite guilty of that too much lately. Being aware, though, is only part of the solution. How to break away from it is another thing entirely!

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    • I think it’s all down to becoming more mindful of each moment. Three of Buddhas 8 fold path relate to mental discipline, they are Effort, Mindfulness and Concentration.

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  2. if buddha got you to the top, who/what got you home? since the summit is only the halfway point.

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  3. Interesting quote!

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