Playhouse performance at the Edinburgh arts festival, September 2009
You are a huge playhouse
showing a true-to-life drama

whose hero, heroine and villains are entirely within you. These are conventional suppositions and designations; if you strip them all away, what you have left is nothing but Dhamma: freedom, emptiness.

And simply being free and empty of any sense of self is enough to bring the whole show to an end.

The Dhamma is marvellous: If you start out with Right Understanding, you can understand the Dhamma all the way through. If you get snagged at any point, you can examine and contemplate things to see where you are still attached.

Keep cross-examining back and forth, and then everything will become clear.

Keep cross-examining the defilements. Don't submit to them easily. Resist their power and refuse to fall in with them. That's when you will really come to know.

When you really know, everything stops; craving stops, your wanderings stop, likes and dislikes stop. This knowledge sweeps everything away.

But if you don't know, you keep gathering things up until you are thoroughly embroiled: arranging this, adjusting that, wanting this and that, letting your sense of self rear its ugly head.

If your knowledge is right, everything is bright. You will see that there isn't anything worth clinging to. All the things you can cling to, are suffering and stress – affairs of ignorance, speculation, day-dreaming, taking issue with things, self, people, useless chatter, endless news reports.

But when you probe the mind, there is nothing, but letting go to be empty and free. This is where the Dhamma arises easily, as easily as the defilements arise on the other side.

So, start training the mind: Treat your desires the same way you would treat an addiction. If you are not intent on eradicating them, there is no way you can escape being a slave to them repeatedly.

Use mindfulness as your protective shield and discernment as your weapon to cut through and destroy desires. That way, your practice will have steady progress.

The Noble Eightfold Path is your escape route from defilements and desires. No matter what the time or season, whenever you have the mindfulness to stop and let go, there is no suffering. As you learn to do this over and over, more and more frequently, the defilements grow weaker and weaker.

– "Simply Stop Right Here", An Unentangled Knowing (1995) by Upasika Kee Nanayon