As mentioned before, there are three phases in the stage of Right Effort. The first phase is to cultivate the right methods. The second phase is when the Awareness arises. The last phase is the battle between Awareness and thoughts.
For the longest time, everyone has been controlled by their thoughts. Those thoughts are the factors that take ones to heaven or drag them to hell. Thoughts could be useless, harmful, or extremely beneficial depends on how a person uses it. When ones become Buddhists, they will use those thoughts to morally transform their minds, nurture their virtues, and to practice meditation. In meditation, practitioners have to rely on thoughts remind them to discern their breaths, pay attention to their bodies, and contemplate the body’s impermanence
However, thoughts are not something that practitioner could rely on so long. However, at the end of the day, thoughts are still thoughts that every practitioner has to put it aside to go deeper in meditation. When the Awareness is already developed in one’s mind, such useful thoughts can become rivals to the Awareness state and even compete with it to take control of the mind. At this point, practitioners then enter a new phase of the meditation journey which is the fierce fight between Awareness and Thoughts to determine what will have a control over their minds.
Even though Awareness is already there, thoughts are still the powerful components of ones’ minds. Nevertheless, in this phase, thoughts are all about moral and virtuous ideologies and philosophies. They can be extremely interesting, logically sophisticated, and extremely creative. Thus, when practitioners are in this phase, they could easily compose many beautiful poems to express their understanding and achievement.
On the other side, the Awareness state also urges practitioners to find the way to eliminate all of those thoughts so that only Awareness can exist. The battle between these 2 sides is extremely intense. The results will decide the future of the practitioners, whether they will become totally enlightened and deliberated OR return to be trapped in the endless circle of lives and deaths.
Some Zen Masters proudly claimed that just within a split of a second, they had achieved the Buddha’s Insight after their minds became completely tranquil and concentrated. Those boastful claims have given many practitioners the excitement, yet the illusion that it was fairly easy to achieve this phase. As a matter of fact, in order to completely defeat the thoughts and have the Awareness becomes the master of one’s soul, it requires a lot of good karma and length of practices that accumulated from many lives. Most practitioners cannot defeat their thoughts easily and quickly like those Zen Masters, even when they are extremely diligent. Remember, even after the Awareness starts to appear in one’s minds, thoughts are still too powerful. Most people need to spend a lot of time in this battle!
To win this battle, besides diligently practicing the right methods, practitioners need a tremendous amount of good karma that gather from different sources, such as doing a lot of good deeds, helping others in needs, teaching others morality and Buddha’s teachings, and paying absolute homage to Buddha by kowtowing to Him every day. Only from these practices that ones can gather enough good karma to win this battle and move to the next stage of Right Mindfulness, in which the Awareness becomes the master of the mind.
The practitioner then moves to the next stage of, they become the totally different kind of people. The way they look and understand the world will be dramatically shifted. They have stepped one step further into the whole new world where they could raise the hope to attain absolute enlightenment in the future. However, achieving fruition of Meditation does not mean that they have also achieved anything in Sainthood. Thus, practitioners still have to be humble and aware of their complacency.