right tool for the job

October 29, 2010

Concentration should be regarded as a tool. Like any tool, it can be used for good or for ill. A sharp knife can be used to create a beautiful carving or to harm someone. It is all up to the one who uses the knife.

Concentration is similar. Properly used, it can assist you toward liberation. But it can also be used in the service of the ego. It can operate in the framework of achievement and competition. You can use concentration to dominate others. You can use it to be selfish.

The real problem is that concentration alone will not give you a perspective on yourself. It won’t throw light on the basic problems of selfishness and the nature of suffering.

– Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, Mindfulness and Concentration

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