Don’t fool yourself that you are beyond that

“When one comes to learn more about realities of this moment, one does not discover something new and different, but there comes to be some understanding of what one has been familiar with: of what one has always taken for “self”, for people, places and things. The development of understanding must be very gradual and very natural, just at this moment. We cannot force right understanding to arise and perform its function. When the conditions are there, there can be a moment of right understanding. But there is no signal, no warning, nothing to tell you: “Now right understanding is going to arise and know something about the present moment.” Still, it arises and something is learnt about the reality at this moment. Right understanding brings detachment and this can lead, one day, to complete and final eradication of all this ignorance which causes us to see the present moment other than it is. It causes us to see things as attractive, lasting, worth while, important.

All these ways of seeing the present moment are false, treacherous, dangerous and useless. There is not enough understanding of the true nature of the present moment; in the beginning understanding is very weak. There can just be some moments of understanding from time to time. In between such moments anything can happen. Don’t fool yourself that, because you heard Dhamma and you are in good company, defilements, perhaps quite strong, can’t arise and surprise you, that you are beyond that. Anything can happen according to conditions, according to your accumulations, and it is a test of one’s understanding whether there can be some mindfulness even of those as it were surprising moments. When defilements arise there are conditions for them. It is of no use being disappointed or surprised about them. There is only one way to cope with them: have more understanding of whatever has arisen. There should not be forgetfulness of lobha. It is with us nearly all the time in some form or other. It is like an enemy with the appearance of a friend, very hard to detect. It is like a friend who speaks nicely, waits upon us, smiles at the right time. Who would know that that very pleasant, confortable and secure feeling we have is really an enemy, the cause of all suffering, the cause of the arising of realities from moment to moment, one after the other. We may even cling to kusala. Although it brings pleasant results, it is still impermanent, it is still dukkha. It is anatta, nothing abiding, nothing lasting, nothing substantial.

Remind yourself again and again of what the goal is. Don’t be negligent. When it is time for dana, give! Even when it is not time for dana, perhaps it can be made into time for dana. Don’t be negligent as to sila. If one neglects sila, who knows what could happen. All sorts of bad deeds of the past might have an opportunity to give bad results, they might cause one to be in a situation where one cannot hear Dhamma anymore. Don’t be negligent as to calm, the moments one is free from lobha, dosa and moha. We should have metta towards other people, instead of seeing them as objects of competition, objects to be jealous of, objects to run down. Above all, most important, don’t be negligent to study the present reality. Don’t forget to be aware of rupa, of the different types of rupa that arise and appear through the senses. Be aware of visible object that appears from morning to night, arising and passing away unnoticed. The present reality should be studied in order to get rid of ignorance which caused us to be born and which will cause us to go on being born again and again if there is no development of right understanding.

May you all be well and happy with right understanding!” A sermon by Phra Dhammadharo Bhikku in Sri Lanka

Topic 232