Let go is peace
Bhante Dhammadharo read to us the "Sílavímamsa-Jataka" (no. 330). It is said that a hawk seized a piece of meat and was pecked at by other birds who also wanted it, until he let go of it. Then another bird seized it who was harassed in his turn until he let go of it, and then the same happened to other birds who seized that piece of meat. Whoever let go of it was left in peace. The Bodhisatta said:
“These desires of ours are like pieces of meat.
To those that grasp at them is sorrow,
and to those that let go is peace.”
In the same Jataka we read about another example of the sorrow caused by
clinging. A female slave Piùgala had made an appointment with her lover and
was waiting for him, but he did not turn up. So long as she was waiting and
hoping for his arrival she was restless and could not sleep peacefully. Hope
brings sorrow and the absence of hope brings peace is the lesson taught by this
example. We discussed the application of this Jataka in daily life. We have many
expectations which are all forms of attachment, lobha. We expect life to be
pleasant but it cannot be real happiness. We have expectations from our friends,
we want to be liked by them and we need attention from them. Don’t we often
start a conversation with others just in order to receive attention from them?
Bhante Dhammadharo reminded us that this is a whole area of our life we hardly
ever consider. Such moments of clinging usually pass unnoticed, but when there
is mindfulness of them they can be known as they are: only conditioned realities
which are not self. If we want to renounce akusala there should first be
renunciation from the clinging to self. This will not be achieved by thinking about
renunciation, but only by right understanding of the present moment.