The Natural Way of Development - What is atta-sanna, remembrance of self? - II




We read in the Middle Length Sayings (I, no. 27) in the “Lesser Discourse on the Simile of the Elephant’s Footprint”  that the Buddha spoke to the Brahmin Jauussoui about the monk’s life. He spoke about the “restraint of the senses”:

“He, possessed of the ariyan body of moral habit,

subjectively experiences unsullied well-being.

Having seen visible object with the eye,

he is not entranced by the general appearance,

he is not entranced by the detail.

If he dwells with this organ of sight uncontrolled, covetousness and dejection,

evil unskilled states of mind might predominate.

So he fares along controlling it; he guards the organ of sight,

he comes to have control over the organ of sight...”

(The same is said with regard to the other doorways.)

  This kind of restraint can be achieved through the development of panna that understands the realities that appear as they are. One will begin to let go of atta-sanna with regard to what appears through the eyes, the ears, the nose, the tongue, the bodysense and the mind-door, in accordance with the degree of panna that has been reached. 

We should remember that no matter which topic or which detail the teachings deal with, it all concerns the realities of daily life. Sati should be aware of the realities that appear so that panna is able to clearly understand their characteristics. This leads to the complete eradication of defilements.

We should listen carefully to the Dhamma, we should study and investigate the dhammas that are already appearing, which are our ordinary daily life. We cannot yet immediately eradicate lobha, dosa, moha and the other defilements. People desire to eradicate defilements, but they should know that defilements can only be eradicated at the moment of enlightenment, when the magga-citta, pathconsciousness, arises. First “personality view,” sakkaya-diithi, is eradicated, which takes the dhammas appearing through the six doors for self, being or person. Personality view is eradicated at the first stage of enlightenment, the stage of the stream-winner, sotapanna.

After that stage has been attained, panna should be developed further so that the following stages of enlightenment can be attained and defilements can successively be eradicated. These stages are the stages of the once-returner, sakadagami, the non-returner, anagami and the arahat. Thus, panna can be developed only gradually. One should not try to hasten its development, one should not believe that it is sufficient just to practise for a day, a month or a year, without even understanding the right conditions for sati. Actually, sati   which is samma-sati (right mindfulness) of the Eightfold Path can only arise if one first studies and understands the characteristics of realities as they appear through the senses and through the mind-door. Then samma-sati can arise and be aware, and panna can begin to study and investigate realities that naturally appear in daily life, so that they can be seen as they really are.

The development of satipatthana is a threefold training (sikkha): training in higher morality, adhisíla sikkha; training in higher consciousness, adhicitta sikkha;  training in higher wisdom, adhipanna sikkha.  

When sati is aware of the realities that are appearing, there is higher síla, síla that is more refined. Sati is aware of the characteristics of citta, cetasika and rupa. It is aware of kusala dhammas and akusala dhammas before actions through the body or through speech arise.

Satipatthana is training in higher consciousness, which means concentration, samadhi or ekaggata cetasika. When samma-sati arises there is concentration on the nama or rupa that appears, on the dhamma that arises and falls away very rapidly.

Satipatthana is training in higher wisdom, because panna investigates and studies in detail the characteristics of realities as they are appearing in daily life, so that they can be known as they are. 


Topic ID  198
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