Pouncing on Fire
We should all train our heart, look after our mind. Our mind, when it’s not trained, is like a small, innocent child that doesn’t know anything. Whatever it comes across, it pounces. If it comes across water, it pounces on the water. If it comes across fire, it pounces on the fire. It keeps causing harm to itself.
As soon as there’s anything unskillful in your thoughts, words, and deeds, remove it. Don’t let it hang around for a long time. It’s like a wound appearing in your body, or a thorn sticking into your foot. You want to remove it, but would it be better to remove it today or tomorrow? Or how about taking it out next week?
Or suppose you get a stomachache today. A stomachache is painful, and you want the pain to go away. But do you want it to go away today, or would tomorrow be better? Or would you rather wait for a week for it to go away?
These reflections by Ajahn Chah are from the book, It’s Like This: 108 Dhamma Similes, (pdf) pp. 9-10, 13 respectively, translated into English by Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu.