Chapter 3 – See the Normal State of Mind

See the Normal State of Mind

How can we use ourselves to get rid of our ‘self’ ?


If you see the normal state of mind, in that instant,

Ask yourself “is there a self”?


There is no act of holding on to anything,

Only the act of letting go.


“This normal state of mind exists in each and everyone of us.

But we just rarely pay attention to it”.

When we’re at home, sitting still after a long workout or after you’ve been exhausted from doing something, you just want to sit and rest – that is when the normal state reveals itself, right?

If you just observe …. the feeling of neutrality (not positive or negative).

There’s nothing going on … just resting.

Completely still and weightless.

There’s no yearning or wanting anything.

There’s no craving or not craving for anything.

Feeling completely neutral.

Just observe it.


Observe that feeling as it is.

Just accept that there’s nothing going on … it’s resting.

Completely still.

Simply observe that it’s resting.


The question is, do we need to let go of our ‘self’ by observing the feeling?

…. The answer is, no.


It automatically sets free of a ‘self’.  There is nothing clinging onto it.


The feeling of neutrality has no desire and no wanting or not wanting for anything.  Do we still need to let go of a ‘self’?  There is totally nothing to let go off.  In that instant, it is pure in itself.  This is what I mean by …

The Buddha’s State of Mind exists in each and everyone of us.

It’s not like we have to let go of anything.  That is a misunderstanding.  The truth is, there is no need to let go of anything … we just observe it as it is and the action of letting go will happen automatically.

Often times, we’ve been taught to let go of a ‘self’, let go of the attachment to our own self and what is ours.  Let go of the false views or let go of the attachment to the ‘I’ and ‘mine’.  But does it really work to let go just like that?

We’ve all been reading about it, but no one can actually let go of anything.  I, myself, have also been reading about this and I could not let go either.

Letting go cannot be done.

Simply because the moment we try to let go of something,

there is ‘us’ involved in trying to perform the action of letting go.


There is an ‘individual’ or a ‘self’ involved in the action of trying to let go.

How can we use ourselves to get rid of our ‘self’?  It’s impossible … we cannot truly let go.



However, whenever we see this normal state of mind, is there a ‘self’ in that moment in time? Does it feel like there is a ‘self’? …. The answer is no.

That is because there is no yearning nor not yearning,

There is no wanting nor not wanting,

It is simply neutral.


The moment we feel neutral about things, what’s there to be involved?

….There’s completely nothing…

In that moment, the action of completely ‘letting go’ just happens all by itself.

“It happens automatically”.

This is the real meaning of ‘letting go’.



Looking Through the Lens of ‘No-Self’


What is the samma path (the right path)? This is what we consistently need to ask ourselves.


As mentioned before that there are many roads that lead to the top of the mountain.

But this very road is the most direct shortcut, stabbing straight right through the avijja (ignorance).


In other words, it goes straight right to the Buddha State.

It can reach the Buddha State in any second that you see it.

It is a straight road … it is a samma path all the way through.


On the other hand, if we just try to see the ti-lakkhana (the Three Characteristics of Existence) or just trying to follow and see the different forms of reacted states of mind, chances are you will get absorbed right into those states very easily.  You will get deeply drawn into those manifested forms of the mind. Just observe yourself carefully and see if this is true or not.


Once you get absorbed into the reacted states of mind, what will follow is that you will be filled with doubts and questions about those reactions. Why is it like this, why is it like that? Why does it get attached to this? Why does it feel so weighty? Why, why, why … it’s full of problems.  This is taking a detour.

It’s because we have already set certain pictures in our mind about what we have to do.

What we have to see.

We have to … this and that ….. whatever it might be.


Oftentimes we just forget the most basic concept

And that is sila, the normality”.


As the Buddha had taught about sila, samaddhi and panna.


“The first step is sila … that is to see the normal state of mind”.


Just sit comfortably, there should be no feeling of congestion or weightiness … completely nothing.  When the mind transitions itself to the normal state, no matter what the reality manifests “we will observe them from the basis of no-self point of view”.

When we’re observing this normal state, as the mind wanders off and starts to think, we also see it wanders off, right?  At the same time, we also see the normal state of mind, correct?

Understanding this concept cannot occur through listening and thinking with our brain, we can only understand it by experiencing it ourselves.  Listening and using brain functions are all part of the thinking process – you’re just imagining it all along.


But if you were told to just observe … like I’ve just asked you to, could you observe it? Do you see that the mind is resting, it is at its normal state, there’s no wanting or not wanting, there’s completely nothing in that state of mind, not even our ‘self’.

“That is the Buddha State of mind, which is already there all the time”.

But we keep forgetting that it is there, we just don’t see it. We keep searching for other things like seeing the ti-lakkhana, seeing the reacted states of mind and things like that.  If you can see it correctly, then it’s fine, but the problem is the majority of people see it incorrectly.  They “get absorbed into those reacted states of mind”, which becomes a major problem.

No matter what states of mind you observe, you should always observe them with a mind which has the right samadhi and equanimity.  However, most people do it incorrectly and observe them with a mind that does not have the right samadhi nor equanimity, so they get drawn into the reacted states of mind.  Once the mind gets deeply absorbed into those states, it would get stuck there and doubts would also arise, which actually cause us to be stuck even deeper into the thoughts.


“Start with the normal state of mind”, this is very important.

If our mind is at its normal state, it will automatically have the right samadhi

and as well as equanimity.


There may be times when your mind isn’t equanimous because your samadhi is still not sturdy enough, which is totally fine.  Just make sure you start from the right beginning.


“Start observing the different reacted states of mind through the lens of no-self”.


The lens of no-self is just “the process of observing the manifested feeling”.


That means “just know the manifested feeling.

It is not you that feels the feeling,

but rather seeing the feeling objectively”.



Start from Being Comfortable


When it’s time to sit and meditate, this is how you should start off for today.

In a sitting posture, breathe in and breathe out comfortably.

Keep your eyes open, no need to shut them.


Again, breathe in and breathe out comfortably.

The breath doesn’t have to be deep nor shallow.

It’s entirely up to you, whatever feels most relaxing.


Sit comfortably.

You will be able to feel the mind as it becomes calm and tranquil,

As well as when it becomes normal and neutral.

Relaxed, open, clear and empty are the keys.


You will see and realize that oh … this is what’s happening at this moment.

(The next moment) Oh … this feeling arises now, I see it.

(The next moment) Now I can see the feeling is neutral.

(The next moment) It is now at “its normal state”.


What’s the feeling now? It’s feeling normal.  It’s like you’re asking yourself, can you feel that the mind is calm and tranquil, is it at its normal state and neutrality? Asking these questions to yourself is how you can teach yourself that:


The normal state of mind is there all the time.

We do not create this state up ourselves.

It starts from being comfortable.


Now try to move your hands (hand moving meditation in 14 steps originated by Luanpor Tien) so you won’t have to close your eyes.  By moving your hands, you will not feel the fatigue or the burden of having to move the hands because there is no ‘us’ in doing the action.


You just observe that the body is moving. It’s simply just a part of the body that is moving in motion, at the same time, you are also able to observe that the feeling is still normal, neutral and empty.  There is no agitation, no feeling of laziness, no thinking when is the time going to be over and totally free from any worries.


If something arises in the midst of this emptiness, just accept that now the mind is not at its normal state. Just observe the abnormal state as it is … it is totally ok not to be normal.  Keep moving your hands, and be aware of the movement.  Simply continue to be aware of the motion of the hands and the presence of the body.


Once you let the awareness of the whole body continues for a while, the feeling of comfort, openness and clearness will gradually reveal themselves … and you will realize that oh, the normal state is back again. That’s it.


The normal state will increasingly take up the space of the abnormality … as simple as that.


One important point about this concept is that when you begin to sit down, don’t rush into practicing and start meditating right away … that’s not how it works.

Instead, as you sit down, sit comfortably like you would sit at your leisure time.  At the same time, you should also observe any feelings that arise at that moment.

Is it now beginning to be calm … and normal?

Open and clear already.

Observe your own feelings.


It’s like you just have to change the starting point a little bit.

However, the later part of the concept remains the same, which is:


Whatever arises just observe it.

Observe and let it passes.

And then change the focus of the awareness back to the framework of the body.


When changing the focus of the awareness back to the movement of the body, what you should NOT do is to just sit and watch the hands move. You should instead feel the movement of the body, just feel its motion. That’s it.


Simply start with the right beginning.


Then we add in another step and that is to observe the feeling objectively.

Just observe as it becomes normal.

Seeing that the feeling is already at its normal state.


We only just add in another simple step.

We did not change anything much.



Taking Over the Abnormal State


“We just observe things that are already there.

We want to see things which we already have.

It is there but we just don’t see it.

We neglect it.

We look pass what is very valuable.”


All I’m trying to say is do not neglect it.

Do not look pass this very important door.

Just simply do not disregard it.

Because this would be the door opening to the shortest shortcut.


In the past, our lives were filled with the abnormal states.

Everyone in this world has been experiencing the abnormal states throughout their entire lives.


How do we take over this abnormal state of mind?


We have to see the normal state instead.


In the past, (before we started practicing Dhamma) we never see it.

Once we started to see it …


This normal state …

will gradually take over the space of the abnormality.

Whenever it takes over the entire space … our job is done.

The abnormality no longer exists.


When the abnormality disappears,

there will be no arising and no passing away.


No arising and no passing,

That’s when one becomes an “arahant”.

No more reincarnation in the next life,

Because there’s nothing left to start the process reincarnation.

There is no more fuel left to burn.