1. Dhamma Motion - When We Live In Grief (English version) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNJeJzMBt6M&hd=12. Dhamma Motion - When We Live In Grief (Thai version) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6_0uwp9v-k&hd=1
You can watch this motion piece at youtube.com by searching “Dhamma Motion – When We Live in Grief” for English version, and “Dhamma Motion – เมื่อใจเรามีทุกข์” for Thai version.
I created this one-and-a-half-minute animation, with hope to free those who live in grief from grief, and to teach the principles of awareness meditation. It contains several Dhamma principles from the teachings of many Dhamma teachers. For a thorough explanation, please read the following explanation.
1. The character design represents how beings are made of bones, muscles, and structures, inherently not different from each other. However, the outer appearances represented by dark shadows create illusions of differences, beauty, and materialism, leading to bias and an endless cycle of attachments. If one’s mind is trained, one will see that all things are no more than elements and khandas joining together. The mind that knows of emptiness has compassion for all things. To achieve such goal, this animation presents a journey of a Dhamma practitioner towards enlightenment.
2. When we live in grief, we are troubled by past events, represented by the crocodile on the left, and worried by illusions of the future, represented by the crocodile on the right. The crocodiles or the thoughts discourage the person from moving on.
3. Whenever we become aware that the mind is holding on to grief, the thinking process stops and we become free from grief. The title “When We Live in Grief” signifies that grief is not the mind. It is just a state the mind dwells in.
4. One obstacle that practitioners encounter is that grief does not disappear when being noticed. This is because the mind struggles against grief. The more we try to avoid and block negative thoughts, the more we dwell on them. The phrase “be mindful” in Thai culture becomes overused and distorted in meaning. People believe that they have to take a certain action to be mindful. In fact, mindfulness or awareness is natural. The true meaning is to relax and become aware of uneasiness with compassion. To help the audience realize this, the motion piece uses relaxing words, voice, music, while comparing happiness and sadness to the sun and the rain. This persuades the audience not to be afraid of grief, and to accept it as a phenomenon coming to pass. If one becomes aware of mental sufferings naturally, they would definitely vanish for the moment.
5. When the Dhamma practitioner knows how to practice awareness meditation, the Torii gate turns into a boat, giving him hope, and carry him away to a journey. One who dwells in grief does not know that the body and mind can take oneself away from grief. The body and mind can teach us Dhamma and is comparable to the boat freeing us from suffering.
6. In life, we have a duty to learn and know of the created reality, so that we can live without doing harm to others, such as having a legitimate work. We, however, do not dwell in thoughts beyond necessary. The tiger and snake signify obstacles in life, such as criticism and threats. They are on another level and unrelated to the Dhamma practitioner. Even they are offensive, we just avoid them and continue rowing the boat with calmness and vigilance. While doing so, we are always aware of the cycle of feeling.
7. Awareness meditation is about learning the true nature of the body and the mind. We frequently observe the state we currently experience. We may feel happy, sad, neutral or not knowing what the feeling is. It is not important to know what they are called. All states are natural phenomena occurring in cycles like the sun and the rain. At first, practitioners would feel that sadness and happiness last for a long time. When awareness naturally occurs faster, practitioners would see that the cycle occurs all the time. This is represented by the faster blink rate. The smaller sun and clouds within the larger shapes signify that a well-trained mind becomes more perceptive. For example, the un-trained mind may recall a past memory, assign a negative value to it, and then dwell in negative thoughts for a long time before awareness rises. The better-trained mind, instead, may notice that suffering already occurs when the mind recalls a past memory. Awareness then rises at this moment and ceases the thinking process. The mind no longer dwells in attachment for long.
8. When the mind sees the impermanence over and over, it will feel neutral to changes and no longer try to avoid suffering. The small sun above the small cloud represents the mind that no longer differentiates between sadness and happiness.
9. Once the mind deeply realizes the impermanence of a certain aspect of the body or the mind, which are the feelings in this case, it leads to the realization that all things are impermanent. When the body and mind are no longer treasured, the practitioner lets go of their attachments and attains Nibanna , but the human life still remains. This is represented by the transformation into a Buddha-image silhouette. When the last moment of life comes, the elements joining together then return back to nature, completing the process of Nibanna.
10. Practicing awareness meditation is like set sailing. Whether we reach the shore or not is beyond our control. However, we have control of every present moment, by becoming aware of the current state of body and mind. The Buddha himself was born not different from us. If we practice with diligence, we can feel fulfilled, as we are on the path to end suffering. The boat is similar to Dhamma. It saves those who rely on it and passes on to the next generations.