How can we begin to develop panna?

“How can we begin to develop panna?”, this was a question that people
often asked. Acharn Sujin invariably answered: “Develop it now!” There is
no other way because right understanding can only begin at the
present moment and all the material to be studied is there already;
thus, we have to develop it now. Do we believe that we have to do
something else first, such as thinking of nama and rupa, before there can
be mindfulness? Thinking and considering are very useful, but we should
not believe that we have to think first in order to induce the arising of sati.
When we think of nama and rupa, it is conditioned, we could not think of
them if we had not studied the Dhamma. There is no self who thinks. At that
very moment there can be mindfulness and understanding of thinking as
only a reality, and that is the beginning of panna. Some people may believe
that thinking is not suitable as object of awareness. When thinking arises,
that is the reality of the present moment, we should not wait. When people
were worried about there being more often thinking than mindfulness,
Acharn Sujin said: “What about this moment?” She remarked: "We should
not forget to develop right understanding of seeing as only an experience,
different from visible object which appears. Develop it now. How can panna
be clear immediately, just at the moment of awareness? Develop
understanding, don’t worry about it when it is not clear yet. When
understanding arises more often it will be clearer.”
Don’t we expect too much in the beginning? When realities do not appear
clearly we become impatient already and we wonder how panna can ever
develop. We should not be afraid to develop understanding of a nama or
rupa which appears now, even if panna does not know it clearly. Isn’t there
time and again an object impinging on one of the six doors?

Topic 229