“When this is, that is. When this is not, that is not.”

Ven. Gendun

The Buddha said: “When this is, that is. When this is not, that is not.” This is the principle of dependent origination that Je Tsongkhapa so famous wrote a praise of. 

All phenomena exist in dependence on parts, causes and conditions, and naming. That latter aspect we will study in our third year.

Our mind, as a functional phenomenon therefore exists depending on parts and conditions. The parts consist of 6 types of mind and 51 mental factors, that we will look at later in the course. The conditions of the mind are manifold: objects, previous moments of mind, and karma. 

Karma can be understood here as habitual patterns of experience and action, that are deeply intertwined.

Meditation therefore means to create new habitual patterns that are grounded in the way things are, rather than samsara’s fantasies. This means that every time you apply mindfulness, this aspect of the mind grows in strength. Remember the term ‘familiarity’ in the definition? The same is true for introspection and every other mental factor.At one point your perceptual powers will grow enormously in strength and detail. When this is the case you will be able to see that distractions are preceded by discontent in the mind, which causes the mind out of habit to want to respond with either distraction of torpor, which in turn causes the mind to start to narrow. So, even before you actually lose the object, you will be able to notice this process in the way the mind feels, the declining quality of your perception, and a certain tension that starts to build up  towards distraction. When your mind is this sharp, and beware this takes a lot of time to train this, you can simply correct by making the mind a bit brighter, add a bit of curiosity, relax a little bit deeper, or remember how much more joyful this peacefulness is compared to distracting thoughts, without actually losing the object.