To walk the right way in life
There is not anything which o­ne can control. Even each citta which
arises 
because of conditions falls away immediately, to be succeeded
by the next
citta. It seems as if the situation is hopeless. Could you
tell me whether
something can be done to walk the right way in life?
               The situation is not hopeless. Wisdom, the understanding of reality, can condition o­ne to have more wholesome mental states and to do good deeds. There is no “self” who can suppress o­ne’s bad inclinations; there is no “self” who can force o­ne to do good deeds. Everybody can verify this in daily life. For example, if we tell ourselves: “today I will be very kind to everybody”, can we prevent ourselves from suddenly saying an unkind word? Most of the time it has happened before we realize it.                  If we are able to suppress our anger for a while we are inclined to think that there is a “self” who can suppress anger. In reality there are at that moment cittas which are not conditioned by anger, but which arise from other conditions. Afterwards there will be anger again because anger is not really eradicated by suppression. o­nly wisdom, seeing things as they are, can very gradually eradicate everything which is
unwholesome in us.                  We can develop this wisdom step by step. Even wisdom is not “self”; it can o­nly arise when there are the right conditions. We can develop wisdom by knowing through direct experience the mental phenomena and physical phenomena in and around our-selves. When we have realized that none of these mental and physical phenomena stays or is permanent, we will understand that we cannot take any phenomenon for “self”.                The Buddha explained to his disciples that it is “comprehending” seeing things as they are, which will eradicate unwholesomeness. When we are still learning to develop wisdom and when we notice that we have unwholesome cittas, we are troubled about it, we have aversion because of it. He whose wisdom is developed, has right understanding of his life. He knows that there is no “self”, and that everything arises because of conditions. Thus he is not troubled, he is simply aware of the present moment.                The word “comprehending” is used in the suttas many times. This should help us to see that we do not have to perform extraordinary deeds; we should learn to be aware of the present moment in order to see things as they are. Of course wisdom cannot be fully developed in o­ne day. For a long time we have been used to the idea of “self”. In conventional language we have to use the words “I” and “self” continually  in order to make ourselves understood.

Topic 38