Nobody Likes Being Disturbed, by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu

The Mountain is Empty; A Pinecone Falls, Zekkai Chūshin (Japanese, 1336–1405),© Metropolitan Museum of Art We must first be aware of these two categories, ’empty of I’ and ‘not empty of I’. The former is called ’empty’ and the latter is called ‘disturbed’ and to save time that is how they will be referred to from now on.

Here your common sense may say straight away that nobody likes being disturbed. If I were to ask those people who like being disturbed to raise their hands, if anyone did so it would have to be a joke. Everyone likes to be empty in one way or another. Some people like the lazy emptiness of not having to work. Everyone likes to be empty of annoyance, not having the kids coming to bother you. But that emptiness is an external thing, it is not yet true emptiness.

Inner emptiness means to be normal, to have a mind that is not scattered and confused. Anyone who experiences this really likes it. If it develops to its greatest degree, which is to be empty of egoism, then it is Nibbana.

The disturbed mind is just the opposite. It is disturbed in every way — in body, speech, and mind. It is totally confused, without the slightest peace or happiness. For people whose minds are disturbed by ‘I’ and ‘mine’, even if they go and take refuge in the Triple Gem, receive the precepts, offer alms and make merit, there can be no Buddha, Dhamma or Sangha present – it is all just a meaningless ritual. For the true Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha abide in the empty mind. Whenever the mind is empty of ‘I’ and ‘mine’, then the Triple Gem is present right there.

An Extract from Heartwood from the Bo TreeAjahn Buddhadasa by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu. © 1985

Read more teachings from Buddhadasa Bhikkhu here.

Categories: Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, Buddhism, Buddhist meditation, Foundations of Buddhism, Theravada

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3 replies

  1. En la vida ordinaria se puede logra el vacío si nos damos algún segundo de contemplación …lo digo por experiencia propia cuando pude ser una con la imagen que veía … la luz vence a la oscuridad. No sigo ninguna escuela pero agradezco los regalos de este tipo que he tenido en mi vida ..

  2. I think the extract is about not being in a disturbed state …remaining calm…with the demands, noise…terrible problems that occur in life today. That is so hard. This is helpful.

  3. Some may approach anatta in a theoretical way but a lot of us can vouch for experiencing it in reality, albeit, it is often like a state of grace. One of my most memorable instances which came completely out of the blue was when I came across a nightingale on a tree branch singing. As I watched and listened there was a complete absence of ‘me’ – it was as if .’I’ wasn’t there and there was no division between subject and object. (It was only some time afterwards that I realised what had happened.)


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