Be Here Now [ I ]

  by Bhikkhu Dhammadharo   
  (Sept. 1976) 
  Edited and revised by Nina van Gorkom

This is a conversation in Adelaide between Bhikkhu Dhammadharo (Alan
Driver) and others on account of a letter about Dhamma.  The writer of
that letter thought that mindfulness is to be with what you are doing, for
instance, when cycling be with your cycling and enjoy nature, the birds.
When you lie down on the floor feel your whole body on the floor.

Bhikkhu Dhammadharo: -- If you try to concentrate on your feet going
around no awareness of anything. It is just a self who is trying to direct
awareness, an idea of what you think awareness is, to some place or
other of the body, because we want to know this, we want to know that.
It is not natural. It is not getting rid of attachment, it is increasing it.
Questioner: Attachment to what?
Bhikkhu:      To the object, whatever it is. If we are attached to watching
our feet going around or to the feeling we get when we are lying prostrate
on the floor, then that is attachment to those objects which appear. And
attachment to the idea of a self who can take something and direct it to
this point and be “aware”. It is not really awareness, it is not detachment.
It is increasing the idea of a controller who can direct and induce
awareness. There is so much concentration involved; itis not natural at all.
When one is cycling normally what happens? There is attachment, there is
aversion, there is ignorance. Because that is what there is now and that is
what there is time and again. Day in, day out. It does not stop when you
get on your bicycle. It keeps going, attachment, aversion and ignorance. 
Sometimes there can be a moment of awareness which is aware of
whatever appears through any doorway, no choosing. Not concentrating
on the bodysense in order to be aware of movement. Not concentrating
the eyes in order to be aware of visible object. Not concentrating
on any particular doorway, looking for something or trying to direct
awareness but just letting awareness arise naturally. We should realize
that awareness only arises by conditions and that you can't make it
happen here or there for a long time. You can't keep it somewhere. The
whole point of developing awareness is to see that nothing can be kept
anywhere. So, how can you keep awareness? It is just as much
anatta ,not self, as anything else. If you try to keep awareness,
concentrating on a particular spot of the body you are certainly not being
aware, but there is a self who is trying hard to make something the way
he wants it to be.
Can you be aware now ? Yes, if you want to develop insight you have to
be aware now. We have no other opportunity. And what will you be aware
of ? Sitting  is not a reality. But there is seeing now. Why go past the eye.
So we see. Seeing is not sitting, seeing sees. And there is visible object,
which makes it possible for seeing to arise. So there is visible object to be
aware of too. And how do you know you are sitting? Because you do not
see what you call your body, in the position that you conventionally label
“sitting posture” You also have experiences of hardness here and there,
there are tangible objects being experienced in different places where
there is bodysense. Then, when you think about all that information, you
have the idea of a person or someone as a “whole”. That is what you call
“sitting”. But the whole purpose of the Buddha's teachings is to destroy
that wrong idea of a “whole” through seeing the truth of the different
realities. They are not a “whole”. Seeing is not sitting. The experience of
hardness at this point does not sit. The experience of coolness at that
point does not sit. The coolness itself does not sit. “Sitting” is a
conventional idea which enables us to communicate. It is not a reality.
Wisdom, panna, gets beyond words, beyond thinking about states,
positions, ideas about a self or a whole, and it sees reality without
thinking. Because the function of panna is not thinking, its function is to
see clearly, to penetrate that which we mistake for “sitting”. We
mistakenly think that a person is sitting. We have the wrong idea of “I am
sitting”. Anatta is the core of the Buddha's teaching, not atta, self.
We read in the “Satipatthana Sutta” that, when sitting, one should know
“I am sitting”. We cannot take just one sentence out of the context. This is
only one sentence out of the 84.000 sentences which compose the
teachings of the Buddha. There can be right understanding when we have
studied and learnt many other areas of the teachings. Then we will see
how these all point in the same direction: to be aware of the different
characteristics appearing one at a time through different doorways, right
at this moment, whatever you may be doing. If you are sitting, be aware.
Don't try to change things. Because if you want to try and change
something you are not being aware at this moment. Here we are, we are
sitting, why would we want to change? Do we think we will have more
awareness if we do so? We have attachment to the idea of a self
who is
going to get more awareness if he does so. But there is no awareness of
the realities now, there is no awareness which will destroy the illusion of a
self sitting or lying or doing anything else. It is attachment.

Topic 47