It's been about half a year since I last shared with all of you. During this time, many friends have written letters or left messages asking me questions about meditation, such as how to observe, maintain mindfulness, cultivate awareness, and attain insight, among other topics. I have read these emails and messages attentively, but I haven't replied to many of them. The main reason is that these questions themselves contain issues.
Most of the friends asking these questions are influenced by mainstream meditation practices today. They begin with the assumption that there is something capable of being aware of external objects, and they aim to cultivate this awareness to observe the truth of things. They believe that after seeing the truth in this way, they can attain liberation and therefore put continuous effort into this endeavor.
However, in reality, they start off on the wrong foot because nothing, including the mind and consciousness, possesses the function to be aware of external objects. Furthermore, the Theravada tradition, in a mistaken manner, believes that the mind has the function to be aware of or observe external objects, dividing the knower and the known into the initial form of wisdom called "name and form discernment."
This leads to a series of compounded errors, where every so-called insight reinforces wrong views, and the path veers farther and farther from the correct course. Even those who oppose Theravada meditation practices end up on a wrong path due to various delusions. Some who believe they have practiced or understood the correct path end up distorting important terms and theories from the scriptures deliberately or inadvertently to make their experiences and viewpoints appear reasonable or in line with the classics. They then continue practicing based on these misinterpreted theories, creating a vicious cycle that eventually leads to various distorted paths and false liberations that, on the surface, seem very similar to the correct path. These paths are believed by many due to the inheritance of generations and continuous refinement, coupled with some special experiences.
Hence, it's extremely challenging to make people rid themselves of these wrong views. I often think about replying or writing some articles, but every time I finish, I realize it's not easy to comprehend for the general audience and may only add to their confusion. So, I haven't published them.
Many friends also hope that I can teach them meditation. However, I believe that without establishing the right view, even if people know what to do, they won't understand why they should do it and are prone to tread the wrong path. This is actually the most crucial and the first step of the Eightfold Path – Right View. So, in the future, I will continue to clarify some fundamental theories and terms. I will introduce specific meditation methods in detail when the right time comes.