Letting Preoccupations Go

When you’re sick like this, gather the mind into oneness. This is your duty. Let everything else go its own way. Sights, sounds, smells, tastes, whatever: Let them go their own way. Just stay focused on your duty.

If any preoccupation comes in to bother the mind, just say in your heart: “Leave me alone. Don’t bother me. You’re no affair of mine.” If any critical thoughts come up — fear for your life, fear that you’ll die, thinking of this person, thinking of that person — just say in your heart, “Don’t bother me. You’re no affair of mine.”

This is because you see all the Dhammas that arise. What are Dhammas? Everything is a Dhamma. There’s nothing now that isn’t a Dhamma.

What’s the world? The world is any preoccupation that gets you stirred up, that disturbs you right now. “How is that person going to be? How is this person going to be? When I die will anyone look after them?” All of this is the world. Whatever we think up — fear of death, fear of aging, fear of illness, whatever the fear — it’s all world. Drop the world — it’s just world. That’s the way the world is. If it arises in the mind, make yourself understand: The world is nothing but a preoccupation. Preoccupations obscure the mind so that it can’t see itself.

Not Clinging to Fabrications

Whatever arises in the mind, tell yourself: “This isn’t any affair of mine. It’s an affair of inconstancy, an affair of stress, an affair of not-self.”

If you think that you’d like to keep on living a long time, it makes you suffer. If you think that you’d like to die right now and get it all over with, that’s not the right way either, you know. It makes you suffer, too, because fabrications aren’t yours. You can’t fix them up. They’re just the way they are. You can fix them up a little bit, as when you fix up the body to make it look pretty or clean. Or like children: They paint their lips and let their nails grow long to make them look pretty. But that’s all there is to it. When they get old, they all end up in the same bucket. They fix up the outside, but can’t really fix things. That’s the way it is with fabrications. The only thing you can fix is your heart and mind.

Our Real Home: The Presence of Peace

This house you’re living in: You and your husband built it. Other people can build houses, too, making them large and lovely. Those are outer homes, which anyone can build. The Buddha called them outer homes, not your real home. They’re homes only in name.

Homes in the world have to fall in line with the way of the world. Some of us forget. We get a big home and enjoy living in it, but we forget our real home. Where is our real home? It’s in the sense of peace. Our real home is peace.

This home you live in here — and this applies to every home — is lovely, but it’s not very peaceful. First this, then that; you’re worried about this, you’re worried about that: This isn’t your real home. It’s not your inner home. It’s an outer home. Someday soon you’ll have to leave it. You won’t be able to live here anymore. It’s a worldly home, not yours.

This body of yours, that you still see as you and yours, is a home that stays with you a while. You think that it’s you and yours, but it’s not. It, too, is a worldly home. It’s not your real home. People prefer to build outer homes; they don’t like to build inner homes. You rarely see any homes where people can really stay and be at peace. People don’t build them. They build only outer homes.