Vipassana Meditation(Part 2) ; Intentions
Everything that we encounter in life is the result of our own actions. Consequently, we can each become master of our fate by becoming master of our actions. Each of us is responsible for the actions that give rise to our suffering. Each of us has the means to end the suffering in our own actions.
Each one of us is like a blindfolded man who has never learned to drive, sitting behind the wheel of a speeding car on a busy highway: He is not likely to reach his destination without mishap. He may think that he is driving the car, but actually the car is driving him. If he wants to avoid an accident, let alone arrive at his goal, he should remove the blindfold, learn how to operate the vehicle, and steer it out of danger as quickly as possible. Similarly, we must become aware of what we do and then learn to perform actions that will lead us to where we really wish to go.
3 Types of Action
There are 3 types of actions: physical, vocal & mental. Normally we attach most importance to physical actions, less to vocal actions, and least to mental actions. Beating a person appears to us a graver action than speaking to him insultingly, and both seem more serious than an unexpressed ill will towards the person. Certainly this would be the view according to the man made laws of each country. But according to Dhamma; the law of nature, mental actions is the most important. A physical or vocal action assumes totally different significance according to the intention with which it is done.
A surgeon uses his scalpel to perform an emergency life-saving operation which turns out to be unsuccessful, leading to death of the patient; a murderer uses his dagger to stab his victim to death.
Physically their actions are similar, with the same effect, but mentally they are poles apart. The surgeon acts out of compassion, the murderer acts out of hatred.
The result each achieves will be totally different, according to his mental action. Similarly, in the case of speech, the intention is most important.
A man quarrels with a colleague and abuses him, calling him a fool. He speaks out of anger. The same man sees his child playing in the mud and tenderly calls him a fool, he speaks out of love.
In both cases the same words are spoken, but to express virtually the opposite states of mind. It is the intention of our speech which determines the result.
Words and deeds or their external effects are merely consequences of mental action. They are properly judged according to the nature of the intention to which they give expression. It is the mental action which is the real (kamma; action driven by intention), the cause which will give results in the future.