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Meditation: How to Combat Drowsiness and Mind-Scattering

"The cultivator at times drifts into a dark, heavy mental state, akin to sleep; this is the delusive obstruction of drowsiness. At other times, while he recites the Buddha's name, his mind wanders and is filled with sundry thoughts. This is the delusive condition of "mind-scattering". Drowsiness and mind-scattering are two very dangerous obstacles because they hinder cultivation and prevent the practitioner from entering samadhi.

"As the cultivator practices, his delusive thoughts may suddenly be submerged and stilled. He recites the Buddha's name in an even monotone, with calm mind and thought, oblivious to the weather and incest bites. This state usually lasts from 30 one-half to one hour.

Sometimes sweat soaks his clothing without his knowledge, and only when he suddenly awakens does he perceive an uncomfortable sensation of extreme heat.

Experiencing this, he should not hasten to rejoice, thinking that his mind has settled, or that his practice is bearing some results. In reality, this is only the state of drowsiness in its subtle, mild form. The ancients have said:

Gently, gently, if drowsiness is not exposed, the demons will have their fill all day.

In this situation, the cultivator should take steps to practice steadfastly, with increased diligence and vigor. As he recites, he should "turn the light around," to subdue and destroy drowsiness..." — pages 133-134, Buddhism of Wisdom and Faith, Thich Thien Tâm

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