Sunday, October 19, 2008

Mind your mind

hello Justin. I do not really have a question for you this time around (sorry), but I wanted to share a quick story with you. i learned a good lesson in mindfulness yesterday at work:
I was sitting at the ambulance station at night (my partner was sleeping) and I was reading the "Dhammapada". I stopped to rest my eyes and started thinking how good I was feeling at that moment. How I was living a good life, free from a lot of ego-desires, how I was lucky to be healthy, and how I was actually understanding and applying the words of the Dhammapada. I sat there lost in my thoughts of how good things were and then took a sip of my tea without paying attention...I spilled hot tea all over my white work shirt. Lets just say I was suddenly "in the moment" for sure!

My comment:
Nice of you to come back and share experiences. The more we share the more we learn.

Your experience points out 2 characteristics of mindfulness. One is that it is possible to maintain mindfulness through constant practice. The other is that it is very difficult to sustain mindfulness continuously. At any moment our mindfulness is lost, which is most common. The lesson to learn is that we are still very imperfect. So strive on.

Please keep in touch. I would be very disappointed if you don't come back, ever!

Smile from justinchoo :-)


Barry said...

Justin, thank you for sharing your correspondent's wonderful story.

As it makes clear, the Buddhadharma has little to do with good feelings and much to do with watching how our mind gets lost in feelings, both good and bad.

Best wishes in the Dharma,

Justin Choo said...

Thanks Barry for your interest shown.

Many are restricting themselves only to study the "dry" Dhamma discourses. They are not interested to discuss more mundane and practical aspects of life. Many are also restricted in their thoughts of what "can be done" and "what shouldn't be done" in the name of Buddhism, rightly or wrongly so. This is especially common in temples where you have "charismatic" preacher(s). Their words are taken as "God's" truths.

Have you visited Rev Dhammika's blog? He is a wonderful Dhamma teacher, and I have learned a lot from him. His blog is at :

Take care.

A true Malaysian said...


This topic is too 'technical' to me. Can you express in layman term about this 'mindfulness'?

I will spend some time to read Rev Dhammika's blog. Again, the blog may be too technical to me, but I will try to understand his thoughts.

Justin Choo said...

A True Malaysian,

My comments are always in very simple terms; in layman's language.

What is it that you don't understand?

Barry said...

Hi Justin,

In my limited view, the Buddhadharma comes alive in the mundane and practical aspects of life - indeed, these are the only places where enlightenment can appear.

Thanks for the reference to Dhamma Musings - it's a wonderful site!

Your friend in the Dharma,

Justin Choo said...

Barry and A True Malaysian,

Please let the Rev know that I recommended you there. At least he will know that my efforts are bearing fruits.


A true Malaysian said...


I don't understand the true meaning of 'mindfulness'.

To me, whenever decide to do something that affect others, I will try as far as possible, stand in the shoes of that other person. Is this one example of 'mindfulness'?

Sure, I will let Rev knows. I am impressed with his 'Contentment'.

Justin Choo said...

A True Malaysian,

What you did was actually "empathy".

Mindfulness is 'being aware of the present moment'. Example; when we get angry; at that moment if you can be aware of your anger, then it is awareness of the present moment....mindfulness of the anger.

Like in meditation, we can focus our attention to our breathing in and out. When we are aware of this, it is mindfulness of our breathing.

You can try this by closing your eyes and be mindful of the breathing in and out. You will realise after a few seconds your mind is somewhere else maybe thinking of how to "teach" Dr Hsu to leave Gerakan!!! Then you're not being mindful of your breathing.


A true Malaysian said...

I leave politics out of this blog.

I will try what you suggested. I wish to learn Buddhist meditation and try to throw out politics out of my mind when practising meditation.

Li Li said...

Hi Justin,

Even though I am a catholic, I find the teaching of Buddhism very good especially in controlling our anger, frustration, greed & active mind.

After I went through a meditation session in the U, I try to be more mindful of what I am going to say each time. If I am too angry, I usually pause 1 minute and then only decide carefully what words I am going to use.

Meditation is very good in controlling our feelings.

Justin Choo said...


Looks like you have already possessed the wisdom to remain cool and calm in times when it is really needed. That's why you are so successful in your social work.


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