The eyes' only duty is to see. The ears' only duty is
to hear. What really matters is the mind's response to seeing
Bless all of you here. Today's topic is 'Heaven in the
Mind, Hell in the Mind.' Some people may understand the meaning,
others may not.
Accordingly, the heaven we have heard about, or have been
taught for hundreds or thousands of years from our parents,
grandfathers, grandmothers, is that heaven is a place outside of
us, so high and far away that we can't even see it. That is the
heaven we all know of, or have been taught about, so we are
unable to know while we are alive.
It is taught that in order to go to heaven , we must do
good deeds, or gain merit, so we can go to heaven after death.
In heaven, there are many levels, from the lowest to the
highest. If we have not done many good deeds, we will be in the
lower level. If we did many good deeds, we will go to the higher
level. So it is said or taught that we must do good deeds, make
a lot of merit, and render services. So that when we die, we can
go to heaven. Therefore, we do all of our good deeds and expect
the result in the future or after death instead of getting it
Let's think carefully, since now we do not yet know what
heaven is or how its tastes but we hope for it after death. Is
it possible? Right now, at this present moment, we still cannot
touch it and yet we want to get it in the future, it's
impossible. It is not provable.
We have been taught this way for so long that we forgot
the truth or misunderstood it. Therefore, we do not see the real
heaven in this life, and hope for heaven in the future. It is
the heaven of people who do not know, do not see, or do not
understand Dhamma. It is the heaven of people who do not know
themselves, do not see themselves. It is the heaven of one who
The heaven of one who knows himself, who doesn't forget
himself, exists in the present. It is to know, to see, and to
touch at the present moment. As it was mentioned in the texts,
there is nothing outside of ourselves. It is close to us. It is
quoted that 'sacha' means good humor. Good humor means that when
our eyes see something, we are not happy or sad - that is
heaven. If we don't have anger or hatred in our mind, that is
heaven, that's good humor. While we are seeing, observe our
mind, and our mood. If the mind is normal - that's heaven.
Similarly, when our ears hear any sound, good or bad, beautiful
or not, if we do not feel pleased or displeased, that is heaven.
This kind of heaven is provable. Everyone can prove it
while still alive. Don't waste your time talking about the
future. Now, at this moment while you are listening to me, can
you see your mind? Can you see your mood? If right now your mind
has no pleasure, no displeasure, that is heaven.
As they say, "heaven is in the mind." If one wants to go
to heaven, one should keep one's mood and mind in a normal
state. Now, at this very moment. If it is good in the present
moment, there is no need to hope for heaven in the future.
Because if there is heaven now, there must be heaven in the
future too. If there is no heaven now, there is no heaven in the
future either. Even though we desire it, hope for it, and pray
for it, we cannot get it because it is not provable. What we
have spoken about is the truth. Usually people talk about not
provable things. So we were lost and stuck and can't find the
way out. Therefore, we have doubt about our actions.
Next, we'll talk about "hell."
Hell is in the mind. Whenever our mind is suffering, we
are in hell. When our eyes see a person or an object, we become
displeased or unhappy, that means we are already in hell.
Therefore, when we see anything, we should look into our
mind. Don't let it disturb us. Whenever the mind feels uneasy
and confused, that is hell.
If what we have seen or known disturbs us for many hours
or many days, it means that we have fallen into hell - floating
and sinking in hell for many hours or many days.
In the same way, when we hear any sound that makes our
mind become uneasy and confused, that is hell. Therefore, when
we hear anything, we should look into our mind. If we are
unhappy, we again are in hell.
This kind of hell can be proved now, at this very moment.
Now, while we are sitting here, if there is a person that has
done something bad and doesn't feel guilty, but we are irritated
by his action, then WE are in hell.
In brief, heaven is in the mind, and hell is also in the
If after we have heard all of this, we still don't change
our attitude towards heaven and hell, and still hope for heaven,
and still do not see our own mind, I will be disappointed.
The hell and heaven that I have talked about is provable.
I want all of you to touch the real heaven and the real hell
now, at this moment.
The eyes' only duty is to see. The ears' only duty is to
hear. What really matters is the minds response to seeing and
Our mind and life is very difficult to control, to take
care of, and to understand. In order to see our mind and our
life, the Buddha taught that we have to have self-awareness, or
sati. If we don't have self-awareness, we can't see our mind,
thought and life, no matter how much we think and ponder.
Therefore, the Buddha taught us to be aware while
standing, walking, sitting, lying and of all of our bodily
movements; then we will be able to see our mind and our life.
If we cultivate self-awareness and have self-awareness, no
matter what happens in our mind, we will see it. Whatever is
dangerous to our mind or our life, sati will do its duty to
protect us from it.
It is said in the Pali texts that "...one who has
self-awareness is happy everyday" and "...happiness is not far
away if we have self-awareness." If we don't have
self-awareness, wherever we go seeking happiness, we will never
I would like all of you here to practice and develop
self-awareness. We can do it anywhere, any time, and while doing
any kind of job. While we are doing our job, be aware of our
bodily movements, our actions. This is the way to cultivate
self-awareness in daily life because no one can stay still. We
must know and be aware of our own actions. But there is a
technique to cultivate self-awareness. If we cultivate and
accumulate self-awareness, our sati will become stronger and
The method that I am going to suggest and demonstrate is
easy. In this method, don't stay still, don't close your eyes,
just be natural. Closing your eyes and ears is not natural.
We can practice this method even when we are traveling. At
this present moment, wherever we are, whatever we do, we can use
any bodily movement's to cultivate our self-awareness.
This method is in accordance with the Buddha's teachings
about "akaligo" - it doesn't depend on time or place. We can
prove it easily.
If we are interested in our own lives and are sincere with
ourselves, it is very simple.
This talk is about the truth that exists in a human's
life. Whether anyone knows it or not, it's always there. It
existed even before the Enlightenment of the Lord Buddha.
So we are only talking about what we can prove while we
are alive, not something not provable.
For whoever would like to prove the truth, I can guarantee
that what I've talked about is the truth that the Lord Buddha
taught more than two thousands years ago. There is evidence to
support it. I guarantee this with my life. As the Buddha said,
'sacrifice property to keep bodily organs, sacrifice organs to
keep life, sacrifice life to keep the Truth.'
You should not believe what I have said, but prove it for
yourself. If anyone just believes me, that's wrong. Change your
mind - don't just believe. Prove it with yourself and thoroughly
understand it - then believe. Otherwise, whom should we believe?
The Buddha? Don't even believe in the Buddha or teachers. We
must believe in ourselves. The Buddha taught us we will be our
own refuge. The Buddha said 'attahi-attano-nato' - "One is one's
own shelter." Since most people have no shelter, they turn to
something else which prevents them from finding the real
This article is from the book Beyond
Text, Beyond Scriptures by Luangpor Thong Abhakaro.