Category: Mind

How to be Mindful

How to be Mindful

You may have heard that you should be mindful all the time, whether you are at home or in the office, or on the bus or in your car or in somebody else’s car, etc. You may interpret this advice to mean that you should keep your mind focused all the time on your breath. While driving, if you simply read more

Mindfulness Meditation for Teens

Mindfulness Meditation for Teens

Recently, we ran a 4 sessions mindfulness meditation workshop with our SLBS teens. Each session was conducted in 1 hour during the Sunday Dhamma class for 4 consecutive Sundays.

The focus was on mindfulness of the body, feelings and thoughts.

Below is a short write up (about 19 pages) on what we did with the teens.

Mindfulness Meditation for Teens

My Unfindable Self, by Dr. Diong Kok Hui

My Unfindable Self, by Dr. Diong Kok Hui

I once set out to get rid of my self.

My self was causing all sorts of problems, or so I thought.

It was seeking.

It was suffering.

Telling stories of self-importance.

My sole interest was to be rid of this pesky self. All happiness would come to me, once I was rid of this damn thing, or so I thought.

But then I began to look for it instead.

Instead of trying to get rid of it, I just began to see if it was really here.

I saw a thought here or a thought there. I saw the thought, “ME,” but that wasn’t it.

The self seemed like more than that. It must be a collection of thoughts. Yet I never experience a collection. I only experience a thought, followed by another thought…none of which is a self. The notion of a “collection of thoughts” is, itself, just another thought. It is not a self.

I saw a memory here or a memory there. For example, I saw the memory of graduating high school and the memory of being with my family on a holiday. But those were memories. Each one merely a passing thought. Still no self.

Where was it?

I continued looking. There was a feeling of fear or a feeling of anger there. I placed no thoughts on these things. Instead, I just observed them without thinking. I let them be there. And not a single emotion was this self character. The emotions never said a word. They never said they belonged to a self or that they were a self. They just did the only thing they could do. Arise, then fall.

I looked at an experience here and an experience there. Each was so fleeting that, by the time I looked at it, it was over. No self there either.

I experienced all sorts of things, including spiritual experiences. Each one came and went. Not a solid, fixed, separate self in any of it. Just fleeting stuff, like butterflies flapping away in the wind until they became distant memories.

But then I thought, I must be this body. This body seems so solid, so separate, so ME. But when I looked for the body, I found only mental pictures of body parts, each one arising and falling like every other thought. Or I found sensations of touch, heat, vibration, tingling. None of these arisings were a self.

And then I looked at sentences that I would write about this self, like the one I’m writing now. I kept seeing the word “I” pop up. Could that be it? No, that’s just a letter, a scribble on a page.

I could not find my self. It’s emptiness was so apparent. It could not be found.

I still cannot find it.

And yet thought continues. Emotions continue. Experiences continue. So beautifully, so perfectly, just like before. But each so fleeting, without a hint that any of them could do anything but arise and fall away into thin air, leaving no trace. And so no suffering is left. No seeking. Just the coming and going of everything. And even if suffering or seeking were to arise, they would be bursts of energy . . . without a self to fall back into . . . only space.

Each time I hear someone talking of being free of ego, I just want to ask, “Don’t you have to find it before you can be rid of it?”

Regardless of the answer, I just go on living my life as ME, the ME that cannot be found but that somehow makes its appearance anyway. Sweet and simple! No more bells and whistles. No big spiritual experiences anymore. None needed. They wouldn’t be a self either.

Just the unfindability of this ME. And the unfindability of everything else. And somehow that’s why everything feels so alive and cool and interesting and joyful. I can no longer be at war with things that aren’t really here. So there is nothing left to do but enjoy the emptiness of all these things. There is nothing left to do but be ME.

A Little Bit More Mindful

A Little Bit More Mindful

Teacher : So…have you been practicing as I have taught?

Student : Yes, sir. Apart from my timed sittings, I have also been trying to be aware of the times when I feel happy, sad or angry.

Teacher : And have you been successful?

Student : Not really. There are times when it takes me days before I realized that I am feelinghappy or sad. But there were also times when I was able to catch it almost immediately.

Teacher : When mindfulness is strong, you will be able to notice the change in your moods quickly. When mindfulness is weak, you may not even realize that you are being made a fool by your emotions.

Student : What is mindfulness?

Teacher : The very instance that your mind becomes aware about a change in its state (eg. from happy to sad), that is the moment you have mindfulness. The moment that you “know” is when you are mindful.

Student : So, it is the moment when I know that my mind has drifted from my breath to a thought. Or the moment when I know I am feeling happy or sad. Correct?

Teacher : Yes. That is correct.

Student : I have another question. Sometimes when I try to sit in meditation, I get a lot of aches and pains, especially in my legs and my back. When that happens, I find it hard to concentrate.

Teacher : When there are aches, is the mind calm or agitated?

Student : Oh…It is agitated, for sure!

Teacher : If it is agitated, is there suffering?

Student : There is suffering.

Teacher : If that is the case, then you should make the effort to observe the mind when it is in a state of agitation and be aware that “this is suffering”.

Student : Okay. But, sir, just being aware about the pains does not solve my aches. In fact, it seems to be getting worse because I’m so fixated by it.

Teacher : Being aware is always the first step. Now, tell me what will ease your suffering.

Student : A change in position, sir.

Teacher : Then, on knowing that a change in position will relieve suffering, you should mindfully change positions.

Student : Ahhh…

Teacher : Now that you have shifted, is there still pain?

Student : No, sir. The change in positions has eased the pain.

Teacher : When there is no pain, is the mind calm or agitated?

Student : It is calm.

Teacher : When it is calm, is there suffering or not?

Student : There is no suffering.

Teacher : Very good. You have just experienced suffering and the release from suffering.

Student : Does that mean every time my leg aches, I can shift positions?

Teacher : Only after you make yourself aware of it.

Student : Okay.

Teacher : Most times, we are not aware of when we are scratching to relieve an itch, or shifting our sitting positions to relieve an ache. In fact, many are not even aware about their in and out breaths. Meditation aims to make you more aware of your own body. When you are eating, know that you are eating, when you are breathing, know that you are breathing. When you can understand your own mind, you can understand your environment.


Try to observe your breaths to see if you fall asleep on your in-breath or out-breath.

Near Death Experience (NDE): A Sharing

Near Death Experience (NDE): A Sharing

(This is a sharing on near death experience (NDE) which I received from Bro. Punna’s mailing group. I find it interesting and would like to share it here.)

We at Metta Lodge in JB are very grateful that we had a speaker who willingly shared with us her Near Death Experience. While we had read about NDEs or heard about it, it was never in the first person, hence the opportunity to hear about directly and the opportunity to discuss and have fellowship
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