The third awakening is to enjoy serenity. This is to be away from the crowds and stay alone in a quiet place. Thus it is called “to enjoy serenity in seclusion.”
The Buddha said, “Monks, if you want to have the joy of serene nondoing, you should be away from the crowds and stay alone in a quiet place. A still place is what Indra and other devas revere. By leaving behind your relations as well as others, and by living in a quiet place, you may remove the conditions of suffering. If you are attached to crowds, you will receive suffering, just like a tree that attracts a great many birds and gets killed by them. If you are bound by worldly matters, you will drown in troubles, just like an old elephant who is stuck in a swamp and cannot get out of it. This is called ‘to enjoy serenity in seclusion.’”
The fourth awakening is diligent effort. It is to engage ceaselessly in wholesome practices. That is why it is called “diligent effort.” It is refinement without mixing in other activities. You keep going forward without turning back.
The Buddha said, “Monks, if you make diligent effort, nothing is too difficult. That’s why you should do so. It is like a thread of water piercing through a rock by constantly dripping. If your mind continues to slacken, it is like taking a break from hitting stones before they spark; you can’t get fire that way. What I am speaking of is ‘diligent effort.’”
The fifth awakening is “not to neglect mindfulness.” It is also called “to maintain right thought.” This helps you to guard the dharma so you won’t lose it. It is called “to maintain right thought” or “not to neglect mindfulness.”
The Buddha said, “Monks, for seeking a good teacher and good help, there is nothing like not neglecting mindfulness. If you practice this, robbers of desire cannot enter you. Therefore, you should always maintain mindfulness in yourself. If you lose it, you will lose all merits. When your mindfulness is solid, you will not be harmed even if you go into the midst of the robbers of the five sense desires. It is like wearing armor and going into a battlefield, so there is nothing to be afraid of. It is called ‘not to neglect mindfulness.’”
The sixth awakening is to practice meditation. To abide in dharma without being confused is called “stability in meditation.”
The Buddha said, “Monks, if you gather your mind, it will abide in stability. Then you will understand the birth and death of all things in the world. You will continue to endeavor in practicing various aspects of meditation. When you have stability, your mind will not be scattered. It is like a well-roofed house or a well-built embankment, which will help you maintain the water of understanding and keep you from being drowned. This is called ‘stability in meditation.’”