Why one has to learn to understand seeing and hearing?

Question: You spoke about seeing and hearing. It seems rather dull to have

more understanding about them.

Answer: If you just read about different realities it seems dull, but you

should remember that they are the phenomena of your daily life. When there is knowledge and understanding of phenomena appearing in daily life it is not boring but interesting. 

Question: I think that it is more interesting and beneficial to know about

one’s attachment, aversion and pleasant and unpleasant experiences in life.

We should come to know our defilements, but why should we know seeing,

hearing, hardness or softness? Is that really necessary?

Answer: It is only by understanding all these different realities that there can

be detachment from the idea of a self which conditions many defilements. We

should come to understand that there is nobody who sees, nobody who

hears, that there are only different conditioned realities. Thus, there will be

the elimination of the idea of self.

Question: When I am seeing I am absorbed in what I see, but I don’t think

of a self that sees. When I am hearing I am absorbed in what I hear, in words

which are spoken. But I do not have an idea that a self is hearing. I don’t

understand why an idea of self must be eradicated while one is seeing or


Answer: We cannot say that there is an idea of self every time there is seeing

or hearing. However, the idea of self is deeply accumulated. When it does not

appear there is still the latent tendency of wrong view. This is like a virus

which is latent in the body, but which can become active at any time. Wrong

view can condition many other defilements. It can only be eradicated when

enlightenment has been attained. Wrong view must be eradicated first before

attachment to sense objects can be eradicated. It is important to develop understanding of realities such as seeing or hearing, because all realities in our daily lives should be known as impermanent and not self. We will learn that what we take for our minds are only different moments of consciousness and mental factors, mental realities, and what we take for our bodies are only physical realities. As understanding develops we will learn that after seeing or hearing falls away there are defilements most of the time. We like to see and we like visible object. We like to hear and we like sound. We are attached to all these

 objects. Such moments often pass unnoticed, but through the development of

right understanding we acquire a more refined knowledge of our different

moments of consciousness.

Topic 168