10 Ways to Tame Your Monkey Mind - A Zen Way

Zen Buddhists refer to the constant chatter of the mind as monkey mind.

The Buddha held that the human mind is filled with drunken monkeys flinging themselves from tree branches, jumping around, and chattering nonstop. He meant that our minds are in constant motion. 

Typical mind chatter sounds like the following:


Your mind reading off a laundry list of to-do items.

Your mind listing its fears, both real and imaginary.
Your mind recalling hurtful things that have happened in the past.
Your mind judging the present.
Your mind creating catastrophic “what-if” scenarios of the future.

As a result of this monkey mind, it’s nearly impossible to slow down and enjoy the present. In addition, all that negativity affects our mood—making us unhappy, angry, restless, and anxious; it hampers our ability to concentrate; it has a negative impact on our behavior; and it interferes with our ability to have positive interactions with others. It’s also very stressful to have a barrel of monkeys screeching in our head all day long. The good news is that there are ways to get the monkey mind to calm down.


Taming your monkey mind will do all of the following for you:



It will give you clarity of mind.

It will allow you to focus on the present and on the task at hand.
It will improve the quality of your sleep.
It will increase your sense of calm and of well-being.
It will make you happier.


So, let’s get to it! Below you’ll discover 10 ways to tame your monkey mind and stop mental chatter.


1. Know that Your Monkey Mind Can Be Tamed.

 The first step in your quest to calm your monkey mind is to know that it’s possible to do so. It’s very likely that up until this point you’ve allowed your monkey mind to run wild. But now you’re going to put an end to that. After all, your thoughts don’t rule you. You rule your thoughts.



2. Talk to Your Monkey Mind.


 When your monkey mind is in full swing, calm it down by having a conversation with it. Stop for a moment and listen to what your monkey mind is saying. Why is it upset? What’s all the raucous about? Then, do the following:

Is your monkey mind trying to remind you of something that needs to be done? Make a note of it and schedule the item so that your monkey mind doesn’t need to worry about it any longer.


Is your monkey mind anxious about something in the future? Reassure your monkey mind that everything is going to be fine. Conduct a worst-case scenario with your monkey mind, and come up with a contingency plan.

Is your monkey mind voicing resentment over something that happened in the past?  Realize that you need to create an action plan for dealing with your past so that your monkey mind stops bringing it up.

Sometimes your monkey mind just needs to be heard. Once it feels that it’s been allowed to voice its grievances and concerns, it will settle down.


3. Establish a Journaling Practice. 


This is similar to the point above, but it’s more deliberate. By establishing a regular journaling practice, you’ll be setting aside a window of time each day specifically to address your monkey mind’s concerns. Do the following:

Let your monkey mind know that every morning you’re going to give it 15 to 20 minutes to run amok.

During this time, write down what you’re thinking, what you’re feeling, and anything that you’re worried about.
Do this for the amount of time that you’ve allotted to journaling, and then stop.

Once the time is up, let your monkey know that it’s had it’s say for the day, and that you will not pay attention to anything else it says until the next day’s journaling session. Then, keep your word. If your monkey mind starts screeching at any other time of the day, refuse to place your attention on whatever thoughts the monkey mind is generating.

Tell your monkey mind the following: “Your session for today is over. Wait until tomorrow’s session. I’ll listen to you then.” Soon, your monkey mind will realize that it’s completely futile to make a fuss at any time other than during your journaling sessions.



4. Meditate.


 Meditating is the most effective technique you can use to calm your monkey mind. By meditating you’ll be training your mind to become still, and you’ll be regaining power and control over your thoughts. If you create a daily practice of meditation you’ll become skilled at quieting your mind and at silencing the monkey mind at will.


5. Practice the A-B-C Technique.

 A lot of the time, monkey mind is caused by your thoughts disagreeing with what’s going on. That is, there’s a contrast between your thoughts and your surroundings. When the present moment doesn’t align with what your monkey mind wants, your monkey mind begins to spit and howl.

The A-B-C technique can help you deal with the disparity between what your monkey mind thinks should be happening, and what is actually happening. Here’s how it works:


A is for “activating event”. That is, something happens.

B is for “beliefs”. Your monkey mind starts interpreting what’s happening based on your beliefs.

C is for “consequences”. As a consequence of the thoughts that you’re having about what just happened, you feel certain emotions.

The key to taming the monkey mind by applying the A-B-C technique is to question the beliefs that the monkey mind is relying on in order to reach the conclusions that its communicating to you. Here are three examples of questioning your beliefs:

Are people really obligated to act at all times in the way in which I want them to act?


Is it realistic to believe that things must always go my way?
Is it true that I have to perform well all the time?

If you reject the beliefs that your monkey mind is relying on to justify its temper tantrum, the monkey mind will no longer have a place to hang its hat on. And it will have no choice but to quiet down. 


6. Stop Assigning Meaning. 


The Spanish abstract artist Pablo Picasso once said the following: “If only we could pull out our brain and use only our eyes.” Although that’s a rather grotesque image, pause for a moment and reflect on the quote’s meaning.

What Picasso is saying is that you should simply allow your senses to take in what’s going around you, and then stop. Skip the step in which your monkey mind jumps in and starts judging, critiquing, and assigning meaning. Once you start doing this on a regular basis, you’ll notice that you begin to see things more clearly. In addition, you’ll be able to see much more than you did before.



7. Recite a Mantra.


 Interrupt your monkey mind mid-sentence and distract it by reciting a mantra. When you recite a mantra you draw in your scattered attention and focus it on a word, phrase, or sound. A mantra that I like to use is “Peace” (but you can use whatever mantra you want).

Although you can recite your mantra silently, it’s more effective if you it say out loud. That way, you’re also listening to the word, phrase, or sound, which engages your sense of hearing. The more senses you can stimulate, the easier it will be to distract your monkey mind.


In addition, by repeating a positive phrase–either to yourself or out loud–you’ll be listening to something positive, instead of listening to the negativity being spewed by your monkey mind.



8. Play a Game of Fives. 


The moment in which you hear the first monkey howling in your mind, you’ll know that it’s very likely that your mind has wandered off and that it’s no longer in the present moment. You can get the tribe of monkeys in your mind to quiet down by bringing your mind back to the present.

One way to bring your mind back to the present is by playing the Game of Fives. Pause your train of thought and notice five things in your environment. It can be five things you see, hear, or smell. Then, fully experience the sight, sound, or smell. You can do this by pretending that it’s the first time you’ve ever experienced that sight, sound, or smell, and by adopting a sense of awe.


The moment in which you do this all of your attention will be placed on the present moment, and your monkey mind will be silenced.



9. Engage Your Mind. 


I’m sure that you’ve experienced moments when your mind was completely still. Perhaps you were so involved in a book, or in a movie, or in your writing, that the monkey mind went silent. You just experienced directly what was going on, without your mind chatter giving you a running commentary of events, as they occurred.

This is because one way to silence your monkey mind is by engaging your mind. The next time your monkey mind is driving you nuts, look for an activity that draws you in completely, so that all of your attention is placed on what you’re doing, and there’s no attention left over to listen to the monkey mind.



10. Try Piko-Piko Breathing.


 Piko-Piko breathing is one of the basic practices of the ancient Hawaiian Huna philosophy. “Piko” means “navel” or “center”. The technique involves doing the following:

Breathe in deeply. As you inhale, place your attention on the crown of your head.


As you exhale, center your attention on your navel.
Keep breathing in and out as you switch your attention from the crown of your head to your navel.
Do this a few times.

The act of breathing deeply, centering the attention on one spot, and then automatically moving the attention to another spot will help you to calm your restless mind.

4 Different Kinds of Happiness According to Buddha

The Buddha used the word sukha to refer to different kinds of happiness because suitable words were not available to describe the various kinds of happiness in the language of those days. He sometimes qualified his usage of the term; for example, he enumerated four types of worldly happiness for ordinary householders:

1. Ānaṇya sukha: The happiness of being free from debt. Every honest householder knows what misery it is to be burdened by debt. When the debt is repaid, one becomes happy.


2. Atthi sukha: The happiness of possessing wealth and property, even if one is not enjoying it or using it. “My credit balance is increasing; the turnover of my business is increasing; the price of my property is increasing; the price of my stocks is increasing.” This sukha is the joy of possession.


3. Bhoga sukha: When the joy of possession becomes the joy of enjoying possessions. When this happens, one’s happiness increases. Due to one’s wealth, one enjoys various comforts: one sees pleasing sights; one hears melodious music; one smells sweet fragrances; one tastes delicious foods; and one enjoys pleasant physical contact. All these comforts give happiness.


4. Anavajjasukha: To abstain from deeds which go against the Truth. For a householder, there is a happiness that is greater than the preceding three. It is to abstain from those deeds that go against the Path. A householder examines oneself and ensures that he abstains from unwholesome conduct: he abstains from killing; from stealing; from sexual misconduct; from lying and deceiving others; from harsh speech, backbiting, and slanderous speech that hurts others. He abstains from the use of intoxicants. He ensures that his livelihood does not involve dealing with weapons, poisons, animals for slaughter, meat and intoxicants such as alcohol. His mind delights in this. He remains free from fear of laws of the government or censure from society in the present life, as well as fear of descending to the nether worlds in the after-life. He also remains free from the agony of remorse. Remaining joyful, calm and fearless, such a pure-minded person experiences a type of happiness that is undoubtedly superior to other worldly pleasures.



It is not possible to give a different name to each type of happiness. Even so, while comparing various types of happiness, the Buddha once explained, in detail, which happiness is lesser and which is greater:


1. The happiness of home and the happiness of homelessness (of a monk or a nun) — of the two, the happiness of homelessness is greater.


2. The happiness of sensual pleasures and the happiness of renunciation — of the two, the happiness of renunciation is greater.


3. The happiness of various realms and the happiness beyond all the realms of existence — of the two, the happiness beyond the realms of existence is greater.


4. The happiness accompanied by āsavas (intoxicating impulses) and the happiness not accompanied by āsavas — of the two, the happiness not accompanied by āsavas is greater.


5. The happiness of material comforts and the happiness transcending material comforts — of the two, the happiness transcending material comforts is greater.


6. The happiness of the ariyas (noble ones) and the happiness of anariyas (of unenlightened ones) — of the two, the happiness of ariyas (noble ones) is greater.


7. The happiness of body (one that comes from physical comfort) and the happiness of mind — of the two, the happiness of mind is greater.


8. The happiness accompanied by pīti (pleasurable sensations in the body) and the happiness without pīti (beyond the pleasurable sensations in the body) — of the two, the happiness without pīti is greater.


9. The happiness of indulgence and the happiness of restraint — of the two, the happiness of restraint is greater.


10. The happiness of a scattered mind (of the mind not in jhāna) and the happiness of a concentrated mind (of the mind in jhānic states) — of the two, the happiness of a concentrated mind is greater.


11. The happiness with pīti (pleasurable sensations in the body) as its object and the happiness beyond pīti as its object — of the two, the happiness beyond pīti as its object is greater.


12. The happiness dependent on indulgence as its object and the happiness dependent on restraint as its object — of the two, the happiness dependent on restraint as its object is greater.


13. The happiness with form as object and happiness with formlessness as object — of the two, the happiness with formlessness as its object is greater.


The Buddha has enumerated many types of happiness such as:


kāyikasukhaṃ, cetasikasukhaṃ, dibbasukhaṃ, mānusakasukhaṃ, lābhasukhaṃ, sakkārasukhaṃ, yānasukhaṃ, sayanasukhaṃ, issariyasukhaṃ, ādhipaccasukhaṃ, gihisukhaṃ, sāmaññasukhaṃ, sāsavasukhaṃ, anāsavasukhaṃ, upadhisukhaṃ, nirūpadhisukhaṃ, sāmisasukhaṃ, nirāmisasukhaṃ, sappītikasukhaṃ, nippītikasukhaṃ, jhānasukhaṃ, vimuttisukhaṃ, kāmasukhaṃ, nekkhammasukhaṃ, vivekasukhaṃ, upasamasukhaṃ, sambodhasukhaṃ.


So the term sukha (happiness) is dependent on circumstances and has different meanings in different contexts.


Thus, we see that this great sage enumerated different kinds of happiness by providing detailed, analytical explanation in words. But even more importantly, he taught a clear method to allow its practitioners to experience the superior kinds of happiness:


Cittaṃ dantaṃ sukhāvahaṃ


Restraint of mind brings happiness.


Cittaṃ guttaṃ sukhāvahaṃ


Guarding one’s mind brings happiness.


Dhammo ciṇṇo sukhāvaho


The practice of Dhamma brings happiness.


Wherever he discussed dukkha (suffering), he explained its cause, how to eradicate this cause, and the actual practice of its eradication. Anyone who says that the Buddha was a pessimist who discussed nothing but misery is only displaying ignorance of the Buddha’s original teaching.


Bhavatu sabba maṅgalaṃ — May all beings be happy!


By Acharya S. N. Goenka 

MORALITY NEEDED in Relationships & Married Life - A Buddhist View

Premarital Sex:

Premarital sex is a problem which is much discussed in modern society. Many young people would like to know the opinion regarding this sensitive issue. Some religionists say it can be considered as committing adultery, while others say it is immoral and unjustifiable.


In the past, young boys and girls were not allowed by their parents to move around freely until they were married. Their marriages were also arranged and organized by the parents. Of course, this did cause unhappiness in some cases when parents chose partners on the basis of money, social status, family obligations and related issues. But generally, the majority of parents did try very hard to choose partners who would be acceptable to their children.


Today, young people are at the liberty to go out and find their own partners. They have a lot of freedom and independence in their lives. This is not a bad thing in itself, but some of these people are just too young and too immature to see the difference between sexual attraction and true compatibility. That is why the problem of pre-marital sex arises.



Too much laxity in matters concerning sex has also given rise to social problems in modern society. The sad part is that some societies do not express liberal attitudes towards unmarried mothers, illegitimate children and the divorcees while they are quite liberal about free sex. As a result, young people are being punished by the same society which encourages free mixing of the sexes. They become social outcasts and suffer much shame and humiliation. Many young girls have become victims of their own freedom and have ruined their future by violating age-old traditions which were valued in the east as well as in the west.


Pre-marital sex is a modern development which has come about as a result of excessive social freedom prevalent amongst present day young people. Whilst Buddhism holds no strong views either for or against such action, it is thought that all Buddhists, particularly people of both sexes in love and contemplating marriage, should adhere to the age-old traditional concept that they maintain chastity until the nuptial date. The human mind is unstable and forever changing, with the result that any illicit action or indiscretion may cause undue harm to either party if the legal marriage does not take place as expected. It must be remembered that any form of sexual indulgence before a proper marriage is solemnized will be looked down upon by the elders who are the guardians of the young people.


Sexual Misconduct:


Laymen are advised in the Buddha's Teaching to avoid sexual misconduct. That means, if one wants to experience sex, he must do so without creating any violence or by using any kind of force, threat or causing fear. A decent sex life which respects the other partner is not against this religion; it accepts the fact that it is a necessity for those who are not yet ready to renounce the worldly life.


According to Buddhism, those who are involved in extra-marital sex with someone who is already married, who has been betrothed to someone else, and also with those who are under the protection of their parents or guardians are said to be guilty of sexual misconduct, because there is a rupture of social norms, where a third party is being made to suffer as a result of the selfishness of one or the other partner.


Irresponsible Sexual Behavior:


The Buddha also mentioned the consequences that an elderly man would have to face if he married without considering the compatibility of age of the other party. According to the Buddha, irresponsible sexual behavior can become the cause of one's downfall in many aspects of life.


All the nations of the world have clearly defined laws concerning the abuse of sex. Here again, Buddhism advocates that a person must respect and obey the law of the country if the laws are made for the common good.


By Ven K Sri Dhammananda ( A Happy Married Life ) 

The Buddha's Silence

When the questioner himself was not in a position to understand the real significance of the answer to his question and when the questions posed to Him were wrong, the Buddha remained silent.

The scriptures mention a few occasions when the Buddha remained silent to questions posed to Him. Some scholars, owing to their misunderstanding of the Buddha's silence, came to the hasty conclusion that the Buddha was unable to answer to these questions. While it is true that on several occasions the Buddha did not respond to these metaphysical and speculative questions, there are reasons why the Buddha kept noble silence.


When the Buddha knew that the questioner was not in a position to understand the answer to the question because of its profundity, of if the questions themselves were wrongly put in the first place, the Blessed One remained silent. Some of the questions to which the Buddha remained silent are as following:


Is the universe eternal?

Is it not eternal?
Is the universe finite?
Is it infinite?

Is soul the same as the body?

Is the soul one thing and the body another?

Does the Tathagata exist after death?

Does He not exist after death?
Does He both (at the same time) exist and not exist after death?
Does He both (at the same time) neither exist nor not exist?

The Buddha who had truly realized the nature of these issues observed noble silence. An ordinary person who is still unenlightened might have a lot to say, but all of it would be sheer conjecture based on his imagination.


The Buddha's silence regarding these questions is more meaningful than attempting to deliver thousands of discourses on them. The paucity of our human vocabulary which is built upon relative experiences cannot hope to convey the depth and dimensions of Reality which a person has not himself experienced through Insight. On several occasions, the Buddha had very patiently explained that human language was too limited and could not describe the Ultimate Truth. If the Ultimate Truth is absolute, then it does not have any point of reference for worldlings with only mundane experiences and relative understanding to fully comprehend it. When they try to do so with their limited mental conception, they misunderstand the Truth like the seven blind men and the elephant. The listener who had not realized the Truth could not fathom the explanation given, just like a man who was blind since birth will have no way of truly understanding the color of the sky.


The Buddha did not attempt to give answers to all the questions put to Him. He was under no obligation to respond to meaningless questions which reflected gross misunderstanding on the part of spiritual development. He was a practical Teacher, full of compassion and wisdom. He always spoke to people fully understanding their temperament, capability and capacity to comprehend. When a person asked questions not with the intention to learn how to lead a religious life but simply to create an opportunity for splitting hairs, the Blessed One did not answer these questions. Questions were answered to help a person towards self-realization, not as a way of showing His towering wisdom.


According to the Buddha, there are several ways of answering various types of questions. The first type of question is one that requires a definite answer, such as a 'yes' or 'no'. For example, the question, 'Are all conditioned things impermanent?' is answered with a 'Yes'. The second type of question is one requiring an analytical answer. Suppose someone says that Angulimala was a murderer before he became an "Arahant". So is it possible for all murderers to become Arahants? This question should be analyzed before you can say 'Yes' or 'No'. Otherwise, it will not be answered correctly and comprehensively. You need to analyse what conditions make it possible for a murderer to become a saint within one lifetime.


The third type of question is one where it is necessary to ask a counter question to help the questioner to think through. If you ask, "Why is it wrong to kill other living beings?' the counter question is, 'How does it feel when others try to kill you?' The fourth kind of question is one that should be dropped. It means that you should not answer it. These are the questions which are speculative in nature, and any answer to such questions will only create ore confusion. An example of such a question is, 'Does the universe have a beginning or not?' People can discuss such questions for years without coming to a conclusion. They can only answer such questions based on their imagination, not on real understanding.


Some answers which the Buddha gave have close parallels to the kind responses which are given in nuclear science. According to Robert Oppenheimer, 'If we ask, for instance, whether the position of the electron remains the same, we must say 'no'; if we ask whether it is in motion, we must say 'no'. The Buddha has given such answers when interrogated as to the conditions of a man's self after his death; but they are not familiar answers in accordance with the tradition of seventeenth and eighteenth century science.'



It is important to note however that the Buddha did give answers to some of these questions to His most intellectually developed disciples after the questioner had left. And in many cases, His explanations are contained in other discourses which show us, who live in an age of greater scientific knowledge, why these questions were not answered by the Buddha just to satisfy the inquisitive minds of the questioners.


By Ven K Sri Dhammananda ( What Buddhists Believe ) 

How to overcome sleepiness - 8 Ways! The Buddha's Advice

Once the Exalted One spoke to the Venerable Maha-Moggallana thus: "Are you drowsy, Moggallana? Are you drowsy, Moggallana?" — "Yes, venerable sir."

(1) "Well then, Moggallana, at whatever thought torpor has befallen you, to that thought you should not give attention, you should not dwell on it frequently. Then it is possible that, by so doing, torpor will disappear.


(2) "But if, by so doing, that torpor does not disappear, you should think and reflect within your mind about the Dhamma as you have heard and learned it, and you should mentally review it. Then it is possible that, by so doing, torpor will disappear.


(3) "But if, by so doing, that torpor does not disappear, you should learn by heart the Dhamma in its fullness, as you have heard and learned it. Then it is possible...


(4) "But if, by so doing, that torpor does not disappear, you should shake your ears, and rub your limbs with the palm of your hand. Then it is possible...


(5) "But if, by so doing, that torpor does not disappear, you should get up from your seat, and after washing your eyes with water, you should look around in all directions and look upwards to the stars in the sky. Then it is possible...


(6) "But if, by so doing, that torpor does not disappear, you should firmly establish the (inner) perception of light: as it is by day, so also by night; as it is by night, so also by day. Thus with a mind clear and unobstructed, you should develop a consciousness which is full of brightness. Then it is possible...


(7) "But if, by so doing, that torpor does not disappear, you should, conscious of that which is before and behind, walk up and down, with your senses turned inwards, with your mind not going outwards. Then it is possible...


(8) "But if, by so doing, that torpor does not disappear, you may lie down on your right side, taking up the lion's posture, covering foot with foot — mindful, clearly conscious, keeping in mind the thought of rising. Having awakened again, you should quickly rise, thinking: 'I won't indulge in the enjoyment of lying down and reclining, in the enjoyment of sleep!'


"Thus, Moggallana, you should train yourself!"


— AN 7:58

SLOTH AND TORPOR - 3rd Mental Hindrance & its Cures

Nourishment of Sloth and Torpor:

There arises listlessness, lassitude, lazy stretching of the body, drowsiness after meals, mental sluggishness; frequently giving unwise attention to it — this is the nourishment for the arising of sloth and torpor that have not yet arisen and for the increase and strengthening of sloth and torpor that have already arisen.

— SN 46:51
Denourishing of Sloth and Torpor:

There is the element of rousing one's energy, the element of exertion, the element of continuous exertion; frequently giving wise attention to it — this is the denourishing of the arising of sloth and torpor that have not yet arisen and of the increase and strengthening of sloth and torpor that have already arisen.

— SN 46:51
"May nothing remain but skin and sinews and bones; may flesh and blood dry up in the body! Not before having achieved what can be achieved by manly strength, manly energy, manly exertion shall my energy subside!"

— MN 70
Six things are conducive to the abandonment of sloth and torpor:

Knowing that overeating is a cause of it;
Changing the bodily posture;
Thinking of the perception of light;
Staying in the open air;
Noble friendship;
Suitable conversation.
These things, too, are helpful in conquering sloth and torpor:

The recollection of Death


To-day the effort should be made,
Who knows if tomorrow Death will come?
— MN 131

Perceiving the suffering in impermanence

In a monk who is accustomed to see the suffering in impermanence and who is frequently engaged in this contemplation, there will be established in him such a keen sense of the danger of laziness, idleness, lassitude, indolence and thoughtlessness, as if he were threatened by a murderer with drawn sword.

— AN 7:46
Sympathetic joy

Cultivate the meditation on sympathetic joy! For by cultivating it, listlessness will disappear.

— MN 62
Contemplation of the spiritual journey

"I have to tread that path which the Buddhas, the Paccekabuddhas and the Great Disciples have gone; but by an indolent person that path cannot be trodden."

— Vism. IV,55
Contemplation of the Master's greatness

"Full application of energy was praised by my Master, and he is unsurpassed in his injunctions and a great help to us. He is honored by practicing his Dhamma, not otherwise."

— Ibid.
Contemplation on the greatness of the Heritage

"I have to take possession of the Great Heritage, called the Good Dhamma. But one who is indolent cannot take possession of it."

— Ibid.
How to stimulate the mind:

How does one stimulate the mind at a time when it needs stimulation? If due to slowness in the application of wisdom or due to non-attainment of the happiness of tranquillity, one's mind is dull, then one should rouse it through reflecting on the eight stirring objects. These eight are: birth, decay, disease and death; the suffering in the worlds of misery; the suffering of the past rooted in the round of existence; the suffering of the future rooted in the round of existence; the suffering of the present rooted in the search for food.

— Vism. IV,63
How to overcome sleepiness:

Once the Exalted One spoke to the Venerable Maha-Moggallana thus: "Are you drowsy, Moggallana? Are you drowsy, Moggallana?" — "Yes, venerable sir."

(1) "Well then, Moggallana, at whatever thought torpor has befallen you, to that thought you should not give attention, you should not dwell on it frequently. Then it is possible that, by so doing, torpor will disappear.

(2) "But if, by so doing, that torpor does not disappear, you should think and reflect within your mind about the Dhamma as you have heard and learned it, and you should mentally review it. Then it is possible that, by so doing, torpor will disappear.

(3) "But if, by so doing, that torpor does not disappear, you should learn by heart the Dhamma in its fullness, as you have heard and learned it. Then it is possible...

(4) "But if, by so doing, that torpor does not disappear, you should shake your ears, and rub your limbs with the palm of your hand. Then it is possible...

(5) "But if, by so doing, that torpor does not disappear, you should get up from your seat, and after washing your eyes with water, you should look around in all directions and look upwards to the stars in the sky. Then it is possible...

(6) "But if, by so doing, that torpor does not disappear, you should firmly establish the (inner) perception of light: as it is by day, so also by night; as it is by night, so also by day. Thus with a mind clear and unobstructed, you should develop a consciousness which is full of brightness. Then it is possible...

(7) "But if, by so doing, that torpor does not disappear, you should, conscious of that which is before and behind, walk up and down, with your senses turned inwards, with your mind not going outwards. Then it is possible...

(8) "But if, by so doing, that torpor does not disappear, you may lie down on your right side, taking up the lion's posture, covering foot with foot — mindful, clearly conscious, keeping in mind the thought of rising. Having awakened again, you should quickly rise, thinking: 'I won't indulge in the enjoyment of lying down and reclining, in the enjoyment of sleep!'

"Thus, Moggallana, you should train yourself!"

— AN 7:58
The five threatening dangers:

If, monks, a monk perceives these five threatening dangers, it is enough for him to live heedful, zealous, with a heart resolute to achieve the unachieved, to attain the unattained, to realize the unrealized. Which are these five dangers?

(1) Here, monks, a monk reflects thus: "I am now young, a youth, young in age, black-haired, in the prime of youth, in the first phase of life. But a time will come when this body will be in the grip of old age. But one who is overpowered by old age cannot easily contemplate on the Teachings of the Buddha; it is not easy for him to live in the wilderness or a forest or jungle, or in secluded dwellings. Before this undesirable condition, so unpleasant and disagreeable, approaches me, prior to that, let me muster my energy for achieving the unachieved, for attaining the unattained, for realizing the unrealized, so that, in the possession of that state, I shall live happily even in old age."

(2) And further, monks, a monk reflects thus: "I am now free from sickness, free from disease, my digestive power functions smoothly, my constitution is not too cool and not too hot, it is balanced and fit for making effort. But a time will come when this body will be in the grip of sickness. And one who is sick cannot easily contemplate upon the Teachings of the Buddha; it is not easy for him, to live in the wilderness or a forest or jungle, or in secluded dwellings. Before this undesirable condition, so unpleasant and disagreeable, approaches me, prior to that, let me muster my energy for achieving the unachieved, for attaining the unattained, for realizing the unrealized, so that, in the possession of that state, I shall live happily even in sickness."

(3) And further, monks, a monk reflects thus: "Now there is an abundance of food, good harvests, easily obtainable is a meal of alms, it is easy to live on collected food and offerings. But a time will come when there will be a famine, a bad harvest, difficult to obtain will be a meal of alms, it will be difficult to live on collected food and offerings. And in a famine people migrate to places where food is ample, and there habitations will be thronged and crowded. But in habitations thronged and crowded one cannot easily contemplate upon the Teachings of the Buddha. Before this undesirable condition, so unpleasant and disagreeable, approaches me, prior to that, let me muster my energy for achieving the unachieved, for attaining the unattained, for realizing the unrealized, so that, in the possession of that state, I shall live happily even in a famine."

(4) And further, monks, a monk reflects thus: "Now people live in concord and amity, in friendly fellowship as mingled milk and water and look at each other with friendly eyes. But there will come a time of danger, of unrest among the jungle tribes when the country people mount their carts and drive away and fear-stricken people move to a place of safety, and there habitations will be thronged and crowded. But in habitations thronged and crowded one cannot easily contemplate upon the Teachings of the Buddha. Before this undesirable condition, so unpleasant and disagreeable, approaches me, prior to that, let me muster my energy for achieving the unachieved, for attaining the unattained, for realizing the unrealized, so that, in the possession of that state, I shall live happily even in time of danger."

(5) And further, monks, a monk reflects thus: "Now the Congregation of Monks lives in concord and amity, without quarrel, lives happily under one teaching. But a time will come when there will be a split in the Congregation. And when the Congregation is split, one cannot easily contemplate upon the Teachings of the Buddha; it is not easy to live in the wilderness or a forest or jungle, or in secluded dwellings. Before this undesirable condition, so unpleasant and disagreeable, approaches me, prior to that, let me muster my energy for achieving the unachieved, for attaining the unattained, for realizing the unrealized, so that, in the possession of that state, I shall live happily even when the Congregation is split."[3]

— AN 5:78
These things, too, are helpful in conquering sloth and torpor:

Applied thought, of the factors of absorptions (jhananga);
Energy, of the spiritual faculties (indriya);
Investigation of reality, energy and rapture, of the factors of enlightenment (bojjhanga).
When the mind is sluggish, it is not the proper time for cultivating the following factors of enlightenment: tranquillity, concentration and equanimity, because a sluggish mind can hardly be aroused by them.

When the mind is sluggish, it is the proper time for cultivating the following factors of enlightenment: investigation of reality, energy and rapture, because a sluggish mind can easily be aroused by them.

— SN 46:53

Simile:

If there is a pot of water, covered with moss and water plants, then a man with a normal faculty of sight looking into it could not properly recognize and see the image of his own face. In the same way, when one's mind is possessed by sloth and torpor, overpowered by sloth and torpor, one cannot properly see the escape from sloth and torpor that have arisen; then one does not properly understand one's own welfare, nor that of another, nor that of both; and also texts memorized a long time ago do not come into one's mind, not to speak of those not memorized.

— SN 46:55

(compiled and translated by
Nyanaponika Thera)

9 WAYS TO FACE AND OVERCOME FEAR

1. Get comfortable with fear.

Invite fear into your life. When you fear something, move toward it.  Feel it, and breathe through it.


Do the things that frighten you. Action builds courage. Tell yourself, “This fear will pass.” Your world expands as your courage expands.


2. Make your dominant thoughts positive.


Fearful thoughts attract more fear. Positive thoughts attract success. Instead of expecting the worst, train your mind to expect the best. Make positive assumptions about your future.


3. Don’t give time, attention, or energy to fear.


Hold yourself accountable. Be consistent, be prepared, be dependable, and focus on solutions.


Be innovative, take the initiative, and go the extra mile. If you don’t take action despite your fear, opportunity will pass you by.


4. Never dwell on scarcity.


Learn to think, speak, and live as an abundant person. Turn off the news. Celebrate what you have. Be generous.


Focus your attention on being ready, willing, and prepared for the beauty, wonder, connections, good fortune, and favorable circumstances that are yours if you are willing to work and be open to it.


5. Revisit your victories.


Strengthen your belief in yourself by reflecting on the last three years of your life and every success you’ve experienced.



Close your eyes and feel the celebratory emotion of each one. Bring the same drive, persistence, and talent into now and allow it to inspire and motivate you.


6. Live vicariously through the victories of others.


Use the success stories of others. Read how the Brooklyn Bridge was built. Study the success of Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Steven Spielberg, and Oprah Winfrey. Take note of the courage they developed and follow their path to greatness.



7. Ask your family and friends for encouragement.


My family can see my strength when I forget I have it. At my request, they don’t hesitate to remind me of all trials and triumphs we have come through. They’re generous with praise and encouragement.  Ask your loved ones to do the same for you.


8. Create a support group of friends or colleagues.


Robert Fulghum said it best in his book, All I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten: “When you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.” Sticking together makes tough times easier and easier times more fun!


9. Plan to be great.


Step into your power and dream big. Follow it up with calculated risks and deliberate action steps. Have no doubt about your success. Your dreams are at stake here!


You have the power to do what it takes to break through any obstacles that stand in the way of yourself, your dreams, and your happiness.

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