You cannot be, you can only inter-be.

“For instance, looking into a flower, you can see that the flower is made of many elements that we can call non-flower elements. When you touch the flower, you touch the cloud. You cannot remove the cloud from the flower, because if you could remove the cloud from the flower, the flower would collapse right away.
You don’t have to be a poet in order to see a cloud floating in the flower, but you know very well that without the clouds there would be no rain and no water for the flower to grow.

So cloud is part of flower, and if you send the element cloud back to the sky, there will be no flower. Cloud is a non-flower element. And the sunshine…you can touch the sunshine here. If you send back the element sunshine, the flower will vanish. And sunshine is another non-flower element.

And earth, and gardener… if you continue, you will see a multitude of non-flower elements in the flower. In fact, a flower is made only with non-flower elements. It does not have a separate self.

So the true nature of the flower is the nature of inter-being, the nature of no self.

A flower cannot be by herself alone. A flower has to “inter-be” with everything else that is called non-flower. That is what we call inter-being. You cannot be, you can only inter-be. The word inter-be can reveal more of the reality than the word “to be.” You cannot be by yourself alone, you have to inter-be with everything else.
The flower is there, beautiful, fragrant, yes, but the flower is empty of a separate self. To be empty is not a negative note.
So a flower is described as empty. But I like to say it differently. A flower is empty only of a separate self, but a flower is full of everything else. The whole cosmos can be seen, can be identified, can be touched, in one flower. So to say that the flower is empty of a separate self also means that the flower is full of the cosmos.

It’s the same thing. So you are of the same nature as a flower: you are empty of a separate self, but you are full of the cosmos. You are as wonderful as the cosmos, you are a manifestation of the cosmos.”

~ from Dharma talk by Thich Nhat Hanh

Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing.

Do not try to become anything.
Do not make yourself into anything.
Do not be a meditator.
Do not become enlightened.
When you sit, let it be.
What you walk, let it be.
Grasp at nothing.
Resist nothing.

– Ajahn Chah

Just become a nicer person

“Forget about enlightenment, just become a nicer person, this is already a difficult practice.”

~ Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo

Deeply aware of your own thoughts, words and deeds.

The Dhammapada, an ancient Buddhist text, says: “What you are now is the result of what you were. What you will be tomorrow will be the result of what you are now. The consequences of an evil mind will follow you like the cart follows the ox that pulls it. The consequences of a purified mind will follow you like your own shadow. No one can do more for you than your own purified mind—no parent, no relative, no friend, no one. A well-disciplined mind brings happiness.”

Meditation is intended to purify the mind. It cleanses the thought process of what can be called psychic irritants, things like greed, hatred and jealousy, which keep you snarled up in emotional bondage. Meditation brings the mind to a state of tranquility and awareness, a state of concentration and insight.

Meditation is called the Great Teacher. It is the cleansing crucible fire that works slowly but surely, through understanding. The greater your understanding, the more flexible and tolerant, the more compassionate you can be. You become like a perfect parent or an ideal teacher. You are ready to forgive and forget. You feel love toward others because you understand them, and you understand others because you have understood yourself. You have looked deeply inside and seen self-illusion and your own human failings, seen your own humanity and learned to forgive and to love. When you have learned compassion for yourself, compassion for others is automatic. An accomplished meditator has achieved a profound understanding of life, and he or she inevitably relates to the world with a deep and uncritical love.

The purpose of meditation is personal transformation. The “you” that goes in one side of the meditation experience is not the same “you” that comes out the other side. Meditation changes your character by a process of sensitization, by making you deeply aware of your own thoughts, words and deeds. Your arrogance evaporates and your antagonism dries up. Your mind becomes still and calm. And your life smoothes out. Thus, meditation, properly performed, prepares you to meet the ups and downs of existence. It reduces your tension, fear and worry. Restlessness recedes and passion moderates. Things begin to fall into place, and your life becomes a glide instead of a struggle. All of this happens through understanding.

Vipassana Meditation
BHANTE Henepola Gunaratana

Body Contemplation

When mastered, body contemplation is amazing and wonderful in all sorts of ways – not narrow at all. Wherever Luang Pu Mun went, he would rely on body contemplation to keep his heart light and at ease There are many monks with a lot of pāramī who claim that their mind is continually light and bright, that kilesas do not arise at all or only in subtle ways and that Dhamma is clear to them. They claim that they see everything arising and passing away and that they do not attach to any of it – so they do not see any need to investigate the body. However, this is just samādhi, being stuck in samādhi, being attached to a self-image of being enlightened, of being someone who understands Dhamma. But they are still stuck in saṁsāra without anything preventing them from falling into lower realms in the future. Kilesas are very tricky, very clever. If you look at the practice of truly enlightened people, you will see that they all followed the path of body contemplation. Luang Por Chah himself practiced this way. He taught asubha practice – especially investigation of hair, body hair, nails, teeth and skin or seeing the body as a rotten corpse – but he would teach this more in private to specific individuals.

Ajahn Dtun. This is the Path.

Look for the good in others

“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.”

Audrey Hepburn

When you recall the good qualities of others

‘When you recall the good qualities of others, you are able to look at the bigger picture; an overview of the world. This creates harmony.. allowing you to appreciate your fellow practitioners, monastics and lay people.’
~Ajahn Brahmali

The other person is merely an empty boat. The anger is within me.

A monk decides to meditate alone, away from his monastery. He takes his boat out to the middle of the lake, moors it there, closes his eyes and begins his meditation.
After a few hours of undisturbed silence, he suddenly feels the bump of another boat colliding with his own. With his eyes still closed, he senses his anger rising, and by the time he opens his eyes, he is ready to scream at the boatman who dared disturb his meditation.
But when he opens his eyes, he sees it’s an empty boat that had probably got untethered and floated to the middle of the lake. At that moment, the monk achieves self-realization, and understands that the anger is within him; it merely needs the bump of an external object to provoke it out of him.
From then on, whenever he comes across someone who irritates him or provokes him to anger, he reminds himself, “The other person is merely an empty boat. The anger is within me.”

The most mindful and compassionate response

“When something upsets you, when something happens that is not to your liking in your family or your community, you want to change it right away. You are tempted to use the little power that is available to you, as a father, a mother, a teacher, somebody, to change the situation. This is exactly the moment to stop and contemplate. Practice looking deeply into the nature of what upsets you to see what the most mindful and compassionate response may be.”

Entering into the quiet that is already there

“Meditation is not a way of making your mind quiet. It is a way of entering into the quiet that is already there — buried under the 50,000 thoughts the average person thinks every day.”

– Deepak Chopra