Panna grows stage by stage

Nama has to be realized as nama, and rupa as rupa, their different characteristics have to be directly known when they appear one at a time. This is the beginning stage of insight knowledge which has to be realized before the following stages of insight. Panna grows stage by stage. Hearing is different from sound. When sound appears it is evident that there must also be hearing. Sound and hearing have each different characteristics and these can, one at a time, be objects of mindfulness. Sound does not experience anything, it has no intention to be object of hearing. Hearing is an experience, it is a kind of knowing, and its characteristic can be realized if there is mindfulness of it when it appears. While we are thinking about hearing, the characteristic of hearing cannot be known, since the reality at that moment is thinking. We need patience to develop understanding of the different characteristics of realities.

In order to discern the different characteristics of realities we need right thinking, vitakka, a factor of the eightfold Path accompanying right mindfulness and right understanding. Vitakka is different from what we in conventional language denote by “thinking”. The function of vitakka of the eightfold Path, samma-sankappa or right thinking, is “touching” the nama or rupa which appears so that right understanding can know it as it is. When nama is the object of mindfulness, vitakka “touches” that object, so that there can be right understanding of it as only a nama, not self. When rupa is the object of mindfulness, vitakka “touches” that object, so that right understanding can know it as it is.

Objects are impinging on the six doors time and again but most of the time there is forgetfulness of realities. Sometimes there is mindfulness of the reality which appears and then we may notice that such moments are different from our usual forgetfulness. Although there is not yet clear understanding of realities, there can be a beginning of noticing or “studying” with awareness different namas and rupas which appear.

Are we patient enough to study with awareness all the details of our daily life? We may not like it to be aware of unpleasant feeling, or we may not find it interesting enough to know seeing which appears now or hearing which appears now. If patience arises there can be careful consideration of the Dhamma and there can be a beginning of understanding of the present reality. The only way to have less ignorance is mindfulness of the reality which appears now, even if that is ignorance or unawareness. Courage, perseverance and patience are indispensable for the development of right understanding.

Tag  courage perseverance and patience
Topic 266