Methods of expelling evil thoughts

 If, whilst regarding a certain object, there arise in you, on account of it, evil and demeritorious thoughts connected with greed, anger and delusion, then you should, by means of this object, gain another and wholesome object. Or, you should reflect on the misery of these thoughts: "Unwholesome, truly, are these thoughts! Blameable are these thoughts! Of painful result are these thoughts!" Or, you should pay no attention to these thoughts. Or, you should consider the compound nature of these thoughts. Or, with teeth clenched and tongue pressed against the gums, you should, with your mind, restrain, suppress and root out these thoughts; and in doing so, these evil and demeritorious thoughts of greed, anger and delusion will dissolve and disappear; and the mind will inwardly become settled and calm, composed and concentrated.   This is called the effort to overcome.

 What, now, is the effort to Develop? There you will have to arouse meritorious conditions that have not yet arisen; and you strive, put forth your energy, strain your mind and struggle.   Thus you develop the "Elements of Enlightenment," bent on solitude, on detachment, on extinction, and ending in deliverance, namely: Attentiveness, Investigation of the Law, Energy, Rapture, Tranquility, Concentration, and Equanimity. This is called the effort to develop.

 What, now, is the effort to Maintain? There will have to maintain the meritorious conditions that have already arisen, and not to let them disappear, but to bring them to growth, to maturity and to the full perfection of development; and you strive, put forth your energy, strain your mind and struggle.   Thus, for example, you keep firmly in your mind a favorable object of concentration that has arisen, as the mental image of a skeleton, of a corpse infested by worms, of a corpse blue-black in color, of a festering corpse, of a corpse riddled with holes, of a corpse swollen up.   This is called the effort to maintain.

 Truly, if you are  possessed of faith and has penetrated the Teaching of the Master, you are filled with the thought: "May rather skin, sinews and bones wither away, may the flesh and blood of my body dry up: I shall not give up my efforts so long as I have not attained whatever is attainable by manly perseverance, energy and endeavor!"
This is called right effort.

          The effort of Avoiding, Overcoming,
          Of Developing and Maintaining:
          These four great efforts have been shown
          By him, the scion of the sun.
          And he who firmly clings to them,
          May put an end to all the pain.


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