Practice not to force anything whatsoever by yourself, but act in accordance with the Dhamma. That means not allowing biases and prejudices to arise and affect you. Keep to the principle of always watching over yourself. See whether prejudices are developing, and look at others and the society around you in a completely unbiased way: seeing things with equanimity, acting with equanimity, not expressing feelings of liking or disliking. This will give rise to feelings and experiences that are very supportive to living in the Dhamma. This, indeed, is something very good…
In this practice, we really need to train by ourselves. If we are going to rely on the teacher, we should do this by taking on his methods and standards. We should take these standards and equip ourselves with them, making them our own regular practices. Here we are not talking about much more than simply observing the daily schedule and routines.
But in our attitude towards these things, we need to maintain our mindfulness. Hold on to being mindful as a principle. Yet, our faculty of memory (sanna) is such that it may occur that we sometimes are forgetful or deluded about things. That’s fine. Let’s allow this to happen and yet keep our awareness perfectly ready and be fully alert. I would say, if we can keep our alertness in this way, what we experience is what is called “patibhana”, ready wit, one of the facets of insight. That can be an excellent refuge for us, even if only to the level of allowing us to be able to question things for ourselves.
Question those proliferations that arise and deceive us, appearing to be a problem. Just like when somebody approaches us in a threatening way, we can face him and ask him to reveal his intentions.
With mindfulness and alertness, we are able to question ourselves and inquire about the things that arise. If one can inquire about things, one can also stop them. That’s the way it is: when problems arise, let them give you the answer by themselves. If a problem has arisen, it can also be solved. When obstacles come up, they can also be overcome. This is the way to approach things. The solutions are there. It’s not that there are no solutions…
Just like in the saying of the Buddha: “Whenever there is darkness, light also has to exist.” We have to look at things in this way. If no light existed at all, the Buddha would not have taught. If it was the case that no one could manage to do these things, the Buddha would not have made the effort to teach and guide people. Those people that are not good, he teaches to be good. Those people that do not know, he teaches to know. Please understand it this way.
Don’t just wait and be totally dependent on others. That’s not the way. One has to rely on oneself. Train yourself to be self-reliant.
Whatever concerns other people, let it be their problem. Whatever concerns one’s physical condition, let it be just that. We try not to object to our physical limitations. If the body is weak, or it shows signs of deterioration, then we see this as natural. We know the way the body is, and react appropriately. We adapt and train ourselves to keep making adjustments.
But we should always maintain knowledge and understanding – really knowing, developing this all the way until true knowledge arises, as is referred to with the word “Buddha” or “Buddho”, “The One Who Knows”, “The Awakened One”, “The Blissful One”. Then, eventually, all the various problems will disappear: no suffering or drawbacks of any kind.
All that is left is freedom.
One experiences the freedom of being one’s own refuge.
The body, however, still relies on external conditions. No absolute freedom in this sense exists. The body still depends on nature. It still depends on certain conditions for support according to its age. One needs to see this independently. Not seeing the physical condition independently means not to have understood it yet. Our experience needs to differentiate these aspects.
Everything else depends on how our spiritual potential (parami-perfections) unfolds, on how much energy we have. If our spiritual powers have matured and reached a certain level of completion, they will find ways of erupting, breaking loose and manifesting themselves. It is just like an egg that cracks open when the temperature becomes just right for it…When it is time, the chick destroys the egg-shell, and comes out. That’s the way it is. It overcomes the situation of being confined, constrained, and hindered. It pierces the thick shell, cracks the case and comes out. So we too must undo things that hold us back and free ourselves in a process that is self-evident. Eventually this will culminate in an experience of becoming one’s own master.
So seeing the practice in this way, we know: if all of us truly and sincerely keep up our efforts in the training, with practice (patipati), eventually there has to be liberation (pativedi).
That is why the Buddha praised this training, conduct and practice.
It is because of this practice that the True Dhamma still exists as a counterpart to the world…The same holds regarding ourselves: as long as there is this honesty and sincerity in us, the truth will eventually have to manifest.
Without honesty and sincerity, there is no truth. This is why the Buddha praised making effort in practice. This applies to all of us: if this potential for perfection exists, we can’t say we are not ready. All of us are ready: each person, each monk, each and every one is well-equipped, but will have to do the job of building things up by themselves.
Look at your spiritual potential (parami). Look at your faculties (indriya) and observe uninterruptedly what you are experiencing. Is your awareness continuous? Does it follow up all the time? If not, don’t try to force it. These things cannot be forced…
So this is the way all of us should practice: continuously.
If we practice continuously, our practice will show signs of growth and development by itself. We can compare it to the work of maintenance and caretaking. We have a duty to maintain and take care of the standards of practice (korwat), going about our routines in a continuous way so that it becomes samma-patipada, complete practice. This will bring about certain qualities, including strength and energy.
The experience will let one know for oneself that this is samma-patipada. If we keep practicing in this way, there comes a day, there comes a time, where we too must eventually come to the point of liberation.
If one keeps travelling, it is impossible not to arrive at one’s destination. If we keep walking without stopping, this has to be the case.
We simply need to set our aspirations towards freedom.
(“Peace Beyond Delusion” are excerpts from a book of the same name, which relates a Dhamma talk given by Luang Por Liem to monks at Wat Nong Pah Pong in 1991, describing his experiences practicing under Luang Por Chah in 1969. A group of monks requested permission to transcribe and later translate this talk for the benefit of people around the world, with the hopes that it would be of assistance to many faithful practitioners cultivating the path to peace.)