274  Buddhanussati

The compassion of a Buddha cannot be fathomed by ordinary people, it is unequalled. Out of compassion the Buddha taught people the development of right understanding in daily life. The ultimate goal cannot be reached in one life, but even when right understanding just begins to develop we come to know things we did not know before. We discover many defilements and also learn to know the more subtle ones. Instead of being distressed about them we can be grateful to the Buddha who taught us the wisdom which can eradicate them.

When we come to realize our defilements we may remember at once that this is due to the Buddha’s teachings and then there can be recollection of the qualities of the Buddha (Buddhanussati) . Also a moment of gratefulness to the Buddha is a conditioned moment and it can be object of mindfulness so that it can be known as not self.
We read in the “Discourse on the Simile of the Cloth” (Middle Length Sayings I, no. 7) that the Buddha speaks about the defilements of the mind which are: greed, covetousness, malevolence, anger, malice, hypocrisy, spite, envy, stinginess, deceit, treachery, obstinacy, impetuosity, arrogance, pride, conceit and indolence. When the monk knows them as they are he can get rid of them. The text states:

“When, monks, the monk thinks that greed and covetousness is a defilement of the mind ... that indolence is a defilement of the mind, and having known it thus, the defilement of the mind that is indolence is got rid of, he becomes possessed of unwavering confidence in the Awakened One and thinks: ‘Thus indeed is he the Lord, perfected, wholly self-awakened, endowed with knowledge and right conduct, well-farer, knower of the worlds, incomparable charioteer of men to be tamed, teacher of devas and mankind, the Awakened One, the Lord.’ ”

We read that some people attained arahatship by making the Recollection of the Buddha their object of meditation, but they could not attain it without developing satipatthana in daily life. We read in the “Gradual Sayings” (Book of the Sixes, Ch III, §5) that the Buddha spoke to the monks about six recollections, six states of everminding. We read about the first one: “Herein, monks, the ariyan disciple ever minds the Tathagata: ‘He is the Exalted One ... ’ Monks, what time the ariyan disciple minds the Tathagata, his heart is not lust-obsessed, nor hate-obsessed, nor obsessed by infatuation; upright in heart is he at that time, moved free, raised from greed; and this greed, monks, is a name for the fivefold sensuous pleasures. Verily, monks, by making this thought their object, some men thereby are purged.”

Ariyans have an unwavering confidence in the Buddha, because they have discovered the reason why the Buddha had become enlightened: he had developed all the perfections and he had, through right understanding, realized the true nature of all realities appearing at the present moment. The ariyans proved for themselves that by following the Path the Buddha taught they could reach the goal.

Date 31 Mar 2024