Series in Living III – A Note on “Who will feed the Mice” – Ajahn Amaro

A Note on “Who will feed the Mice” – Ajahn Amaro

Here is a Buddhist view on life. Ajahn Amaro, The Buddhist monk reminisces his relationship with his mother after her demise in a discourse which is published as a booklet. This is my notes from the booklet “Who will feed the mice”.

“Parents are of great help to their children, they bring them up, feed them and show them the world.”
Anguttara Nikaya

“For a child, the parents are a kind of substitute for the Dhamma, that basis upon which everything rests and around which everything revolves.”

The roles parents play in one’s life are important. They provide stable family situations, reliability and resultant sense of security. They keep one level headed. They also teach us the importance of orderliness, regularity or predictability and its importance in life. If one’s family is not able to provide it, then one has to find it later in life in other ways.

“All sankharas (formations, things put together, ‘volitional formations’) are impermanent, mother is just a formation in nature like any other, and it’s no big deal.” There’s a mysterious twining here of both the realization of ultimate truth and the recognition of the unique quality of that personal connection on the material plane. It’s almost as if the mother is the primordial symbol of the source of reality, as she is the source of life on the physical plane.”

One of the ways that the Buddha spoke about stream entry—the irreversible breakthrough to realization of the Dharma—was as a “change of lineage” which is the idea that “I am a personality; this is me, this is mine, this is what I am.” This belief is called “personality view.” And as long as “I am the body,” then are my parents. But if the body is not-self, and perceptions are not-self, feelings are not-self, the personality is not self. What does that mean? If this body is not-self, then the lineage of the body can’t be the whole story.”

There are relationship which are of karmic flow. But the lineage of our true reality is rooted in the Dharma. That’s the source, the origin, the basis. Rather than thinking of one’s physical parents as the origin, the clear realization that it’s the Uncreated, the Unformed, the Unborn, the Unconditioned that’s the genuine source, the genuine origin, the basis, the ground of reality.

There’s nothing to get heated about, nothing to get carried away by; it’s just life doing its dance. The heart can remain serene, stable, clear, and bright. Which, of course, is what makes it possible for us to be of benefit to others, whether they be our parents, our children, our teachers, our students, . . . or the mice.”

  • Based on a talk by “Ajahn Amaro”