Be Here Now [ II ]
Q.: Maybe we need to change things. It is so difficult to start anywhere
with awareness.

Bhikkhu: Difficult? But if we start in the right way it is truly a start, and no
matter how slow it will be, one day we can reach the right end. But if we
are going fast the wrong way, it is frightening.
Q.: I do not think it is the wrong way when one is selecting simply in the
way that one is with what one is doing.

Bhikkhu: At the moment of selecting is there awareness of a reality? Is it
right or wrong if we are at that moment not being aware of what
appears?
Q: I think we are aware of what appears.

Bhikkhu: What is it that appears?
Q.: We see the scene that appears.

Bhikkhu: You have an idea of a self who is aware of something. Seeing is
not something ,colour is not something. Hardness here, it really is not
something at all. We change the name from “my knee on the floor “ to
“hardness” and then we might think that we are being aware. But we still
have an idea of some hardness that is here, that is maybe circular-shaped

down here, covering a certain area of my body. We still have an idea of
something lasting there. But hardness is not something at all. It is not a
knee and not the floor, it is even not a little patch of something down there
where your knee touches the floor. Hardness is not something, the
experience of hardness is not something. They don't last for a moment,
for a second.
Q: So, it is not proper to direct awareness?

Bhikkhu: Absolutely not. When we begin to develop awareness we have
so much accumulated wrong understanding that we cannot help trying to
direct the show. But we have to begin to understand that the directing is
not awareness. If there is any awareness it is not self that is aware and it
cannot be directed. It arises, wherever it arises, by conditions at that
moment. Not because somebody wanted to have awareness at that point,
or “took” his awareness and put it there. Awareness arises because of
conditions and then it falls away immediately. Prior to the moment of its
arising there is not any awareness one can put somewhere. And now we
still have an idea in our minds of “my awareness” but it is gone. We can't
help being full of the idea of self. But the more we understand, the more
we will see that really awareness too is anatta. Not just the colour, the
seeing, the sound and the hearing, but also awareness is anatta.
Q.: But can't awareness be directed without introducing a self?

Bhikkhu: By whom, by what? Why bother? If it arises, isn't that good
enough? Why do we have to have any idea of somebody or something
taking it and putting it there?
Q.: It is because we have the intention of being aware of certain things.
Bhikkhu: Why not be aware without intention because in fact, you cannot
be aware, nor can you do anything, just by intention. Intention is anatta,
not self. The condition for the arising of awareness is not an intention to
be aware, but the right understanding. If we would like to change
conditions, we can do so in our thinking, but in reality, we can't. If it
seems to us that we have awareness when we intend to have it, then that
is our thinking. And that is another subject - a very fit one- for awareness
to realize that it is not self who is thinking wrongly at that moment either.
Just another reality. There is no intention in the eightfold Path, none
whatsoever. Intention is not among the eight factors of the eightfold Path.
Q.: Is there any concentration involved?
Bhikkhu: Yes, there is always concentration. There is concentration with
each moment of consciousness. There is right concentration if there is no
intention to take awareness which does not last anyway and put it
somewhere. Just a moment of awareness and then be aware again of
another object. You can't keep your awareness here or there. That is
wrong concentration. Remember, the whole aim is to see anatta,
uncontrollability. Not to see controllability. So much patience is required to
start straight and to keep going right. We have to let go of all our ideas of
having awareness. We have to drop all our ideas that we are going to do
it right this time, we are going to do it straight, we are going to have it
now, we are going to be aware of this or that. At those moments there is
no awareness. One moment of real awareness in one lifetime- very rich
man because it is right and it will condition more of the same. Countless
moments of wrong awareness and you are not only not wealthy, you are
getting poorer every moment, because you are accumulating more and
more wrong understanding. This will make it more likely to have more
wrong understanding in the future. So, right understanding, not intention,
is the condition for awareness to arise. Right understanding is not only one
of the factors of the eightfold Path, it is the first factor.

Topic 48