STRAIGHTEN YOUR FICKLE MIND
Phandanam capalam cittam durakkham dunnivarayam
Ujum karoti medhavi usukaro' va tejanam.
Varijo'va thale khitto okamokata ubbhato
Pariphandati idam cittam Mara dheyyam pahatave.
The flickering, fickle mind, difficult to guard, difficult to control — the wise person straightens it as a fletcher straightens an arrow.
Like a fish that is drawn from its watery abode and thrown upon land, even so does this mind flutter. Hence should the realm of the passions be shunned.
On one occasion, on his return from his almsround, the Venerable Meghiya noticed a pleasant and beautiful mango grove, which he thought was an ideal spot for meditation. He asked the Buddha's permission to let him go there. At first the Buddha asked him to wait for some time knowing that simply liking another place would not help him in his meditation. Meghiya was in a hurry to go and so he repeated his request again and again, until finally the Buddha allowed him to go.
Thus, Meghiya set out for the mango grove, sat at the foot of a tree and practised meditation. He stayed there the whole day, but his mind kept wandering and he made no progress. He returned in the evening and reported to the Buddha how all the time he was assailed by thoughts associated with all sorts of mental defilements and disturbances.
The Buddha admonished him that as the mind is easily excitable and fickle, one should control one's mind in a proper manner wherever one is.
Reflecting mindfully on the admonition given by the Buddha, Meghiya attained the first stage of Sainthood.
Cittais derived from the root cit, to think. The traditional interpretation of the term is 'that which is aware of an object'(cinteti = vijanati). Actually it is not that which thinks of an object as the term implies. If it could be said 'it thinks' as one says in English 'it rains', it would be more in consonance with the Buddha's teaching. From an ultimate standpointcittamay be defined as the awareness of an object, since Buddhism denies; subjective agent like a soul. According to Buddhism no distinction is made between mind and consciousness, terms which are used as equivalents forcitta.