We cannot change what appears now


An insincere inclination inhibits the development of satiptthana. Right
 
understanding can know whether we are sincere or not, whether there is
 
development in the right way or not. Do we take our intellectual
 
understanding for direct knowledge of realities and do we believe that there
 
is nothing more to be developed? This will hinder the right practice of the
 
eightfold Path. There are many misconceptions which can hinder its
 
development. Do we have certain fixed ideas about sati, ideas of what it
 
should be like? Do we, without noticing it, confuse sati with an idea of calm
 
and peace? Some people find sati “a very special experience”, but then
 
there is clinging. Sati is only a reality, not something special, and we should
 
not hold on to it. Are we sure about the characteristic of sati or are we
 
merely thinking of a concept of sati? In the beginning there cannot be clear
 
understanding of any reality, and thus, when we think that we know sati as it
 
is we may mislead ourselves. When we are too preoccupied with what sati is
 
like, we forget to be aware of all realities that are appearing already, such
 
as seeing, sound or hearing.
 
 
We may have prejudices against particular objects and we may not like to
 
be aware of them. Someone thought that when she was practising
 
satipatthana she should not recognize her parents or friends, or look at her
 
watch, since she was then thinking of concepts. Are we doing the same, do
 
we want to avoid thinking of concepts? We were walking around the great
 
Stupa of Anuradhapura, the “Ruvanvelisaya”, and then there was thunder.
 
The rainy season had begun. I was paying attention to the sound of thunder
 
and thinking of a concept. I tried to experience just sound, but the concept
 
of thunder seemed to come up immediately. What was really happening? I
 
was thinking of a concept and trying to avoid thinking of it, because I wanted
 
to know just sound. We should not resist being aware of the reality
 
that appears. When we think of thunder it does not matter; the thinking can
 
be studied in order to know it as only a reality that is conditioned. At another
 
time, when we do not try to focus on sound, sound may appear and then it
 
can be known as only a reality that arises because of the appropriate
 
conditions. There is no self who can cause the arising of any reality and we
 
can verify this in daily life. We should not try to live only in the world of
 
ultimate truth because then there is clinging again. We cannot change
 
what appears now.


Topic 234