The Characteristic of Dukkha - Develop understanding naturally



Questioner: If a way of life does not conform to a person’s nature, should he force himself to act against his nature?

Sujin: People should consider cause and effect in the right way. A great number of monks did not live in a forest. The Buddha did not force people to develop satipatthana in a forest, in a specific room, or in any other place where they did not have to go for the performing of their tasks. It is true that the Buddha praised the forest life, that he praised a secluded life or whatever else was a condition for the nonarising of lobha, dosa and moha. However, he did not force anybody, he did not establish rules for the development of panna. The Buddha clearly knew the different accumulations of people and thus he preached the Dhamma in such a way that his followers would listen and develop right understanding naturally. Thus, they would be able to eliminate defilements. He taught people the development of satipatthana in their daily lives, in conformity with their status, were they monk or lay follower.

When awareness arises and one begins to consider and study the characteristics of nama and rupa so that panna becomes more accomplished, one’s inclinations can gradually be changed. People will be less overcome by lobha, dosa and moha on account of the objects experienced through the sense-doors and through the mind-door. However, accumulated inclinations cannot be changed on the spur of the moment. Some people think that a meditation centre should not be repainted, because that would be a condition for lobha. However, when they return to their homes after they have stayed in the centre, they have their houses repainted, they plant trees and look after their flowers, thus, they follow their accumulated inclinations.

The Buddha taught true Dhamma (sacca Dhamma), so that people could have right understanding of cause and effect with regard to all realities. He taught the development of satipatthana so that panna could become accomplished to the degree of eradicating latent tendencies. Latent tendencies have been accumulated from past lives on to the present life in the cittas that arise and fall away in an uninterrupted succession. Ignorance (avijja), not knowing the characteristics of nama and rupa, and wrong view, ditthi, which takes nama and rupa for self, are latent tendencies. One takes all kinds of realities for self, no matter whether one sees, hears, tastes, smells, experiences tangible object, thinks, feels happy or unhappy. The only way leading to the eradication of latent tendencies is the development of satipatthana. This is awareness and investigation of the realities that appear so that they can be understood more clearly. Understanding is developed stage by stage. When panna is developed to the degree of the first stage of insight, “the defining of nama and rupa” (nama-rupa-paricchedanana), panna can clearly comprehend the difference between the characteristic of nama and of rupa appearing at that moment. Panna cannot be developed in trying to make dukkha arise by sitting, lying down, standing or walking for a long time, so that one has painful feeling. Panna can only be developed by considering and studying with awareness nama and rupa as they naturally appear through the senses and through the mind- door. They arise because of their own conditions, no matter where one is.


Topic 199



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