The Roots of happiness. Public Talk. Hamburg, 2008

James Low
Evening Public Talk
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Hamburg, Germany, 29th February to 2nd March 2008
Transcribed by Sarah Allen


… We are like children who spend the morning building a sandcastle on the edge of the sea and then when they come back from lunch are very unhappy because the sea has washed their castle away.  Everything we do is only sand castles.  It is an absolute fantasy to imagine it is more than that.  That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t build sandcastles but we can understand everything in the manner of a dream, in the manner of an illusion.  It is like the reflection of the moon on water…
… The energy of the mind is ceaseless and we can’t grasp any moment of our experience.  We are like a little mouse in a cage, on one of those wheels going round and round and round. The more the mouse tries to get somewhere, the more it stays in the same place.  There is nowhere to get to. “ But if I am not making something of my life what will happen to me?  It will all fall apart and then where will I be?  It is all up to me, if I don’t take care of me who is going to do it?”
…the function of meditation is to enter into this ceaseless flow of alive experience.  It is not about controlling or improving or getting rid of things but of finding ones balance, like a surfer and staying with the waves of experience as they ride out again and again…  In all situations just stay present in the centre of them not losing our balance, allowing whatever arises to arise, confident that it will pass.  In that way, one is working with the basic teachings of the Buddha…
… What is asleep is not the nature of the mind but the content of the mind. When a thought arises in the mind and we believe the thought, who is the one who believes the thought?  If you observe yourself, you start to see how a thought believes a thought – a thought follows a thought, follows a thought.  That is what samsara is: you are caught up in thoughts…

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