Re: good reminders

Nina van Gorkom <nilo@...>

op 13-03-2002 07:27 schreef Kom Tukovinit op

Dear Ken O,

k: hmm trying hard my friend:) hmm it still
sounds like a purpose volition
Thanks for this reminder. This reminds me of A. Sujin's
response to the question: so if we shouldn't
force/intend/purpose to have sati, shouldn't we just let
Sati arise? Her answer was, who's doing the letting?
Tanha/Mana/Dithi attaches to any objects. Just like when we
learn, having all these conditioned kandhas (dukkhas) is
having suffering. So, we may think to ourself, it's better
not to have any, not knowing that it is the more subtle (or
maybe not so subtle!) tanha that thinks this thought.


Dear Ken O. and Kom, I appreciate your good reminders, there is always
clinging around the corner. So subtle. Even when we believe we have noble
thoughts, wish for the cessation of dukkha, there can be clinging again. I
like Ken's reminders to be relaxed, not to force sati, to enjoy study, that
it should be fun.
Some people may wonder whether such a relaxed attitude is not conducive to
laziness. Should we just wait for sati, doing nothing? This is an issue
already discussed more than once in this forum. Recently Jon wrote a post to
Howard in which he so clearly explained the Middle Way. I would like to
quote part of this post, because I find it good food for consideration again
and again.

< Howard, I'd like to suggest that the idea that awareness or understanding
must be or is normally preceded by some form of volitional practice does
not give due account to the conditioned nature of realities that is so
central to the Buddha’s teaching. I will try to explain what I mean
(without being confident that I will succeed).

According to the abhidhamma and commentaries, all our tendencies both
wholesome and unwholesome are passed from one moment of consciousness to
the next and are latent in each moment of consciousness if not actually
manifesting. At any given moment, only the kusala or the akusala
accumulations/mental factors (i.e., not both) can manifest, and then only
certain of those kusala or akusala factors. But whether kusala or
akusala, their manifestation requires the right conditions. Obviously,
the stronger the particular trait, the more likely to occur, but this is
only one of a multitude of factors at play.

Now it is implicit in the conditioned nature of things that if the
necessary conditions for accumulated qualities wholesome or unwholesome to
manifest are in place then they will do so at an appropriate time. As our
general experience in life shows, tendencies have a way of choosing their
own time and occasion (think of the unwholesome tendencies that pop up at
the most unexpected and unwelcome of times). Precisely *when* or *what
object* is not something that is within our power to determine, so there
is no point in trying to make anything happen to our own timetable and/or
selected object.

In the case of our all too meagre accumulated store of awareness and
understanding, the underlying and most important of the necessary
conditions is I should think to have heard the teachings in this lifetime
and as a result having some sort of 'sense of urgency' (seeing the danger
in the round of existence). I suppose most of us having these discussions
have at least a budding notion of this sense of urgency (otherwise we
wouldn't spend our time having these discussions), so next come conditions
such as having a proper grasp of the teachings at a
theoretical/intellectual level as appropriate to our present level of
actual understanding.

What I am trying to show is that, if the right kind of nurturing is given,
our accumulated awareness and understanding can and must arise, and will
do so notwithstanding our accumulated kilesa. Even the akusala that is
manifesting at one moment need not be an obstacle for the arising of
awareness in a subsequent moment, and could indeed be the object taken by
that moment of awareness. If that were not so then there would be no
prospect of a way out. And we see that in the Satipatthana Sutta even the
hindrances are among the mental objects to be known 'as they really are'.

One thing is for sure. If we have the idea that awareness can *only*
arise when preceded by 'conscious, deliberate or determined practice', and
not at other times, this would be an almost insurmountable obstacle to the
arising of awareness at moments when no such practice was being
undertaken. It is likewise, but perhaps less obviously so, an obstacle to
have the idea that awareness is *much more likely* to arise when the
circumstance are those we perceive as being more conducive (e.g., our
'practice' time), and not at other ordinary’ times.

It is a sobering thought (to me, anyway) that it is not the defilements
that are so easily noticeable to us (and which we would very much like to
be rid of) that are the real obstacles to the development of insight. It
is our wrong view and ignorance -- aspects of our kilesa about which we
have relatively very little idea -- that are the major hindrances. The
development of the path might be a lot easier if it was a matter of
somehow dealing with more obvious kilesa.> End quote.

I like the reminder that whatever arises has its own time, thus, we cannot
predict anything, be it kusala or akusala.We can verify this for ourselves,
with regard to akusala and kusala, so unexpected. Also, even when relaxed,
there can still be a sense of urgency. We study what we can understand and
what we enjoy. We do not force anything. We develop understanding of
conditions for whatever arises. Even a sense of urgency is conditioned, and
this does not mean anxiety about our defilements, or, an idea that we better
get rid of dukkha soon. It is valuable to develop understanding, that is our
sense of urgency.
As to the defilements that are more obvious: yes, dosa, for instance. Don't
we like to have less aversion, sadness or fear? Ignorance and wrong view are
more hidden, but they are the real danger when unnoticed. <Aspects of our
kilesa about which we have relatively very little idea> as Jon says.
Ignorance arises with each akusala citta, but we usually notice the pleasant
or unpleasant feeling, not the ignorance. Understanding has to become very
keen to see such moments. And then wrong view of self, we know in theory
that it is not yet eradicated, but we know so little about it. Many points
in Jon's post I did not consider enough.


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