The Buddha said that defilement [mental qualities that obscure the clarity of mind: passion, aversion, delusion] is like a wide and deep flood. But then he went on to describe the practice of crossing that flood as simply abandoning craving in every action. Now, right here at feeling, is where we can practice abandoning craving. Bring the practice close to home. When the mind changes, or when it gains a sense of stillness or calm that would rank as a feeling of pleasure or equanimity, try to see in what ways the pleasure or equanimity is inconstant, how it’s not you or yours. When you can do this, you’ll stop relishing that particular feeling. You can stop right there, right where the mind relishes the flavor of feeling and gives rise to craving. This is why the mind has to be fully aware of itself—all around, at all times—in its focused contemplation, to see feeling as empty of self.
– Upasika Kee Nanayon (1901–1978), from “A Glob of Tar,” Tricycle, Winter 1997
Sign up for Tricycle’s newsletters