Q: Do you not find it difficult to think in terms of “mental states”? Thinking of one’s own mental state might seem an ego- centric attitude.
A: Thinking of one’s own mental states is very realistic, because it is the different mental states which make us act in this way or that. Only if we study our mental states and the many factors which cause them to be like this or that, will we be able to understand the deepest motives of our behaviour. We have to start by being aware of our own mental states. This is not egocentric, because we have to understand ourselves first, before we can understand other people. Through the study of theAbhidhamma one can begin to have more understanding of one’s own mental states. The Abhidhamma is that part of the Buddhist teachings which analyses the different states of mind and which explains in detail about everything which is real. The study of the Abhidhamma helps us to understand which causes bring which effects in our life and in the lives of other people.
[Exerpted from the Book: Buddhism in Daily Life written by Nina van Gorko]