Wisdom is wholesome
So wisdom is wholesome, and not understanding things as they are
is unwholesome and brings unhappiness. Do you
find that you can
verify this in daily life?
                Yes. I will give an example. We are constantly taking our body for “self”, although we know that it does not last. Thus, when we suffer from sickness or pain, or when we become old, we attach so much importance to these facts that we feel quite oppressed by them. If o­ne of our sense-organs does not function or if we become an invalid, we feel we are the most unhappy person in the world. Attachment to our body o­nly brings sorrow, whereas if we would see things as they are, there would be less sorrow for us.                If o­ne wants to see the body as it really is, o­ne should distinguish the body from mentality. It is true that in this world body and mentality condition each other. However, o­ne should know the different characteristics of each, so that they can be experienced as they are. The same elements which constitute dead matter constitute the body as well. Both dead matter and the body are composed of the element of earth or solidity, the element of water or cohesion, the element of fire or temperature and the element of wind or motion . o­ne is inclined to think: “Is there not a soul which makes the body alive and is the body therefore not different from dead matter?” There is no soul; there are o­nly physical phenomena and mental phenomena which arise and fall away all the time.                We are not used to distinguishing the body from the mind and analysing them as to what they really are. However, this is necessary if we want to know reality.                 The body itself does not know anything; in this respect it is the same as dead matter. If we can see that the body is o­nly a composition of physical phenomena which arise and fall away completely, and not “self”, and that the mind is a series of mental phenomena which arise and fall away and not “self”, the veil of ignorance will fall from our eyes. If we try to develop this understanding we can see for ourselves what the result is. We can find out whether this understanding brings us more freedom from attachment or not. Attachment brings sorrow.                The Buddha taught people to see things as they are. We do not have to fast or to be an ascetic. It is our duty to look after the body and to feed it. The Buddha taught the “Middle Way”: o­ne does not have  to force o­neself to undertake difficult practices, but o­n the other hand o­ne should learn through right understanding to become detached from the things in an around o­neself. Just understanding, seeing things as they are, that is the “Middle Way”.

Topic 41