|"Monkey mind" is mental frenzy brought on by the Five Hindrances (patheos.com)|
|A monkey with a foolish and greedy nature will soon be ensnared (childhoodrelived.com).|
And on Himavat there is rugged and uneven land where monkeys indeed wander, whereas humans do not.
And on Himavat there is a level stretch of land, quite pleasing, where both monkeys and humans wander.
There a hunter set a sticky trap on trails used by monkeys in order to ensnare them. Some monkeys there were foolish by nature, but not greedy. Seeing the trap, they stayed away.
|The burnt nose she-monkey (motifake.com)|
Thinking "I'll free both hands!" he grabbed it with his foot. It got stuck there. "I'll free both hands and a foot!" he thought. So he grabbed it with his other foot. It got stuck there.
"I'll free both hands," he thought, "and both feet!" He grabbed it with his snout. It got stuck there.
Now that monkey, ensnared in five ways, lays down and howls. He has fallen into trouble, fallen into ruin, for now the hunter can do with him as he pleases. Not releasing the monkey, the hunter skewers him then picks him up and goes off with him. This is what happens to those who wander beyond their range, in the sphere of others.
Therefore, meditators, wander not beyond your range, in the sphere of others. Wandering there, Mara (the killer, the corrupter, obstacle to enlightenment and liberation, the personification of death) will gain access, will gain a foothold.
|Whoa, you're skating on thin ice, boss! - What? I'm just monkeying around, worker.|
Beyond one's range
And what, for a meditator, is beyond one's range, the sphere of others? The five strands of sense desire are. What are the five?
- forms discerned with the eye -- appealing, pleasurable, yearned for, and lusted after
- sounds discerned with the ear...
- fragrances discerned with the nose...
- flavors discerned with the tongue...
- touches discerned with the body -- appealing, pleasurable, yearned for, and lusted after.
- One abides observing body as body -- ardent, mindful, clearly aware, leading away from unhappiness and worldly concerns.
- One abides observing sensations as sensations...
- One abides observing mind as mind...
- One abides observing mental phenomena as mental phenomena -- ardent, mindful, clearly aware, leading away from unhappiness and worldly concerns.
Andrew Olendzki (edited by Wisdom Quarterly)
|Andrew Olendzki (dowling.edu)|
The story is taken from the collection of discourses which discuss the Foundations of Mindfulness (Satipatthana Samyutta), the root teachings of the insight (vipassana) meditation tradition. The message has to do with applying "wise attention" (yoniso manasikara), changing one's frame of reference through which we receive and process sense experience.
If we give our attention to the appeal of the pleasure that accompanies sensory experience (the sticky tar trap), we are necessarily caught by the object of perception. There can be no freedom of mind/heart, because we are subtly and usually unconsciously yearning for more gratification. Instead of satisfying our desires, such experience merely stirs up more desire. We take it as normal, so we seek satisfaction of sense desires by pursuing pleasure in the realms of the senses.
The intensive-meditative and monastic ideal that shaped early Buddhism involves a different way of relating to experience. The idea is not that monastics avoided or ignored sense data -- which is hardly possible when all of our sensory experience passes through these gateways. Rather, the instruction is about not getting ensnared by our craving for sense pleasures. Sense data itself is not harmful, but the sweetness of pleasure wrapping each sense ensnares us when we are overtaken by our "foolish and greedy nature."
The different strategy is that an intensive-meditator wander in a more fruitful range, within the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, in the presence of equanimity. Insight meditation trains us to attend more dispassionately to alluring and annoying experience. When we simply observe with mindfulness and clear comprehension, we undermine what the hunter has set for us (i.e., Mara's trap). We are then able to overcome death and attain "deathlessness" (nirvana).
- Wandering too far: Six missing in Nevada cold found alive Couple and four children get lost in Nevada desert, under an overturned jeep, and survive -16 degree overnight temperatures before being rescued.
- Not wandering far enough: Two charged with child abuse Mom and stepdad kept her three daughters -- ages 12, 13, and 17 -- in their rooms for two years in Tucson, Arizona.