what does staying heedful mean?

the buddha's last words, he didn't talk about not self, emptiness, dependent co-arising:

achieve completion through heedfulness (appamada)

vigilance in protecting the mind against detrimental mental states


—The greatest danger is the mind's creative capacity for self-deception through rationalization of its obsessions


heedfulness (appamada)

is based on an awareness of kamma:

—just as our selfish, craving born actions lead to long term kiriya and dukkha vipaka

—our skillful, selfless actions also have long peaceful ramifications for the mind


heedfulness is the wisdom that sees we don't have much time and we want to accumulate as much merit as we can

its not possible to find inner peace if we're constantly engaged in dramas & attachments

dramas keep us ignorant of the peace & security available in the present, as it diverts our attention away to concerns that are not present based.

—we don't want to wait until greed or aversion are big trees in the mind

—opportunities arise to pick up merit in situations we often writing of: being sick (learning to not trust perceptions), waiting (patience), not knowing (embracing life as it is), grief and loss (learning how to refocus the mind)

—we're not a victim of suffering, we can be proactive in all situations


so we should look around us to see what opportunities there are to be heedful. moving from inner to outer states: meditation, mindfulness, precepts, generosity


meditation

the daily practice of relinquishing our dramas, attachments, concerns with what could be or what has happened, and becoming present

—attachment is the mind carrying around narratives, devoting mental resources (kiriya) to obsessive thinking (papanca)

—the foremost tool we have to drop out of the diversions and illusions of papanca is meditation, training the mind to stay focused on events occuring in the present, developing peace from within


mindfulness

remembering to keep the mind balanced with awareness of what's occuring presently within, not totally enraptured by the world

—its easy to avoid admitting a wrong, feeling we're protecting ourselves, but it can often lead to unintentional suffering to another and a feeling that


precepts

is when we refrain from causing harm, no matter how easy or tempting

—its easy to avoid admitting a wrong, feeling we're protecting ourselves, but it can often lead to unintentional suffering to another and a feeling that we cannot live happily in the truth

—not giving up, again a matter of accruing merit

—what's essential is focusing on the intentions behind all our actions


gratitude

when we realize how other we've been benefactors to other people's efforts:

—the food we eat didn't just jump from the earth onto our plates

—the houses we live in just didn't put themselves together

—the clothes we wear, the transportation that takes us around, etc


when we're trying to pluck out the weeds in the mind during meditation, its a skill that requires practice out in the world


the buddha said we can't attain the highest peace if we take things for granted and act from stinginess


monks who start out at monasteries often make the mistake of putting too much time into meditation at the expense of helping running and cleaning the monastery, working with lay practitioners. its very easy for their meditation to dry out. energy & self-esteem comes from helping out in the world; we're not here just for ourself.


ajahn fuang "grass at the corral gate"... everywhere there's easy merit for the picking