… continuing from previous post quoting ‘Mai nae’ section in Stillness Flowing:
Luang Por gave this practice the greatest importance: ‘Mae nae is the Buddha himself’, he would say, ‘It is the Dhamma.’ He taught the recollection of ‘mai nae’ both as a means of re-educating a person’s attitude to their life, and also as a specific technique in meditation. As hindrances arose in the course of a sitting, he would encourage the meditator to recognize the hindrance as ‘mai nae’, or ‘changeful’ before returning to the breath. As the mind became more subtle, this accumulated perception of ‘mai nae’ – that whatever arises does not endure – is an exercise of the wisdom faculty that ensures that the mind does not fall into the trap of attaching to joy or to stillness, and is primed to develop vipassanā.
When you see impermanence clearly, you become a true monk. Seeing the impermanence, the instability of form, feelings, perceptions, mental formations and consciousness, the mind does not attach to the five aggregates.
It doesn’t matter what it is – even if something happens that upsets you so much that tears are forming in your eyes – remind yourself, ‘This is mai nae.’ Always bear this in mind, with your sati, with your alertness. Whether you feel satisfied, dissatisfied, think this is good, this is bad – see it all as ‘mai nae’ and you can release the attachment. When you see things as ultimately without value, the letting go occurs automatically. ‘Mai nae’ is the object of vipassanā.
When something arises, call it ‘mai nae’. Don’t forget this word. Don’t let it drop. The Buddha taught us not to grasp on to the good or the bad. Whatever arises, pool your resources in this word. It is the source of wisdom and the object of vipassanā. Make it your constant focus of attention; it will take you beyond doubt … ‘mai nae’ is a tool to uproot attachment to experience. It will enable you to see the Dhamma clearly.
One of the means by which Luang Por sought to inculcate the principle of ‘mai nae’ in his disciples’ minds was by maintaining an element of unpredictability in their daily lives. Changes would be introduced to the monastic schedule without prior warning and with no indication of how long they would last. A monk preparing for the annual Rains Retreat at Wat Pa Pong might be told a day or two before it began that he would be doing the retreat elsewhere, that he should gather his things together, clean up his kuti [hut], and be ready to leave within the hour for a monastery hundreds of kilometres away. It was a style that kept monks on their toes, and it enabled Luang Por to create a singular atmosphere in his monastery, one in which the calming effects of simplicity and repetition were enlivened by a sense that nothing could be taken for granted. Ajahn Jun remembered how plans could change in a single moment:
“He’d say to me, ‘Get your bowl and robes. We’re going to such and such a place.’ By the time I got back again with my things he’d say, ‘Change of plan.’ This happened so often that I got a real feeling for ‘mai nae’ … Afterwards, I came to understand it to mean dividing things up 50/50, maybe/maybe not. I adopted it as my guiding principle in practice.”
[End of Mai nae section]
The entire 800+ page book, Stillness Flowing, may be downloaded for free here: https://www.abhayagiri.org/books/617-stillness-flowing