Theoretical understanding and penetrating the truth

 
Question : What is the difference between the panna which is theoretical
 
understanding and the panna which directly penetrates the truth of the
 
Dhamma?
 
Answer : At this moment people listen to the Dhamma and they understand
 
what they hear, but this is not yet direct understanding which, when there is,
 
for example, seeing, penetrates the true nature of this reality. Hearing
 
appears at this moment and people know that it is a kind of nama, hearing-
 
consciousness (sotavinnana), which arises and then falls away. They have
 
theoretical understanding of this reality but they may not yet realize the true
 
characteristic of the reality which hears sound, which is arising and falling
 
away. Then there is only panna of the level of thinking, theoretical
 
understanding of realities. Hearing which arises at this moment is real, it is a
 
dhamma which arises and falls away. So long as one does not directly
 
understand the truth of the reality appearing at this moment, there is only
 
panna which is theoretical understanding, conditioned by listening. Whereas
 
when someone directly understands and penetrates the true characteristics of
 
realities, he knows that this kind of panna is different from theoretical
 
understanding.
 
 
First of all, people should know the characteristic of sati. Sati of the eightfold
 
Path is not a "self" who is aware. Samma-sati, right mindfulness, of the
 
eightfold Path is aware of the reality which is appearing. When it arises there
 
is not merely theoretical understanding. Sati is directly aware of the
 
characteristic of the reality which is appearing, so that its true nature can be
 
understood at that moment. Thus, we can see the difference between
 
theoretical understanding and panna which directly understands the
 
characteristic of the reality which is appearing
 
 
It is panna which can understand the characteristics of realities and we do not
 
have to do anything special. If at this moment panna penetrates the
 
characteristics of realities it is not because of self who has to make a special
 
effort. There is no being, no person who is developing satipathhana. When
 
sati arises and it is aware of realities, one can know the characteristic of sati
 
and panna and in this way the wrong view which takes realities for self can
 
gradually be eliminated. Finally, there can be clear understanding of the truth
 
that everything which is appearing at this moment is dhamma. Dhammas are
 
appearing every day through the doorways of the eyes, the ears, the nose,
 
the tongue, the bodysense and the mind. When sati arises it is aware of
 
realities, and if it does not arise there is ignorance which does not understand
 
realities. Sati can be aware of the characteristics of realities which are
 
appearing naturally, one does not have to do anything special. Wanting to
 
know something else but what appears now is useless. Realities are already
 
appearing at this moment and thus whatever appears now can be understood
 
as it is.  





Topic 100