Dharma Discussion: Monkey Mind (September 6, 2020)

Discussion Questions

  1. What sights, sounds, smells, flavors, feelings or thoughts rile up your monkey mind?
  2. Do you have any techniques that help you bring the monkey mind to rest?

Further Reading

From the Collection of Passages on the Land of Peace and Bliss AN LE CHI by Tao-ch’o

Translated by: Zuio Hisao Inagaki

. . . minds of ordinary people are like wild horses and their consciousnesses move about more wildly than monkeys. Chasing after the objects of the six sense organs, they never cease to move. Therefore, each one should awaken faith, concentrate one’s mind, cultivate good nature, and strengthen the roots of good. As the Buddha [Sakyamuni] said to the great king,

“If a man practices good, he will not have evil thoughts at the time of death. It is like a tree tilting and falling down towards the direction in which it is bent.”

Once the sword wind blows, a hundred tortures gather around one’s body. Without habitual trends from the past, how could the nembutsu be practiced now? My advice is: You form a group of three or five and vow that, at the time of death, you remind each other to recite Amida’s Name and attain birth in the Land of Peace and Bliss; then, let the ten times of nembutsu recitation continue voice after voice. It is like a wax seal impressed on the clay; as the wax seal is destroyed, the letter is formed. When one’s life ends, one is born in the Land of Peace and Bliss. Once the rightly established stage is attained, there is no more worry [about one’s spiritual progress]. One should ponder on the great benefit. Why do you not apply serious mindfulness to this matter beforehand?

(Page 62, Here Tao-ch’o/Daochuo is citing a teaching by Tanluan found in the Ryakuron anraku jōdo gi “Abbreviated Commentary on the Pure Land of Peace and Bliss” in Shinshū Shōgyō Zenshū V. 1, pg. 375)