Typically, the Buddha’s teachings on Wise Effort involve directing one’s awareness in four ways:
- To prevent the arising of unarisen unwholesome states
- To abandon the arisen unwholesome states
- To arouse unarisen wholesome states
- To maintain arisen wholesome states
The Buddha seems to be implying that there’s a lot to do here in cultivating the ‘good’ and expunging the ‘bad’. But if we engage these injunctions with the view of a self trying to become better, trying to get somewhere, we establish a sophisticated self-improvement project, and we remain imprisoned within that view, ever and ever.
If we are willing to rest in awareness as the primary intention of our efforts, then we find that the ‘unwholesome’ and ‘wholesome’ mind states take care of themselves without the meddling involvement of the ego.
The modern teacher, Adyashanti, speaks eloquently to this point. Please take 10 minutes when you have the time and watch this succinct teaching: Rest as Awareness.
Originally published on November 23, 2012