Determination



The Bodhisatta developed the perfection of determination (adithana parami). He was unshakable in his resolution to develop all the perfections until he would attain Buddhahood. We too have to be determined to develop the perfections life after life. Today we listen to the Dhamma and we discuss satipatthana. This interest in the Dhamma is conditioned by our accumulations in the past. We may have listened to the Dhamma also in former lives and we will have to listen to the Dhamma, consider it and be aware of realities again and again, in many lives to come, because right understanding develops very gradually. Are we determined to continue to develop right understanding until we have reached the goal? In the "Thera-therigatha" (Psalms of the Brothers and Sisters) we read about men and women in the Buddha’s time who had developed the perfections together with satipatthana, not merely during one life but during countless lives, until their wisdom reached maturity in their last life. We read that they had made the resolution to develop the conditions for enlightenment time and again. We read for example about the former lives of the Theri Capa (Canto 68) in the commentary to this Canto:

“She too, having made her resolve under former Buddhas,

and heaping up good of age-enduring efficacy in this and that rebirth,

till she had accumulated the sources of good,

and matured the conditions for emancipation,

was, in this Buddha age, reborn in the Vankahara country,

at a certain village of trappers,

as the daughter of the chief trapper, and named Capa.”

 

We then read that after she had met the Buddha she attained arahatship.

We may find that the development of right understanding hardly seems to make any progress but we should remember that the Buddha and his enlightened disciples had for innumerable lives maintained an unshakable resolution to reach the goal. We may give expression to our resolution to develop right understanding when we pay homage at the holy places with flowers, candles and incense, and we may express our resolution in words, but that is not enough. The Bodhisatta did not merely think, "I resolve to attain Buddhahood”, he developed all the conditions to reach the goal, he developed understanding of the realities  appearing at the present moment. He was resolute with regard to the present moment. We need determination for the development of all the perfections; determination serves as their foundation. The perfections have to be developed together with right understanding of nama and rupa, so that there will be conditions to eventually attain enlightenment. When there is mindfulness of the nama or rupa which appears now we actually accumulate the perfection of determination (adithana) without there being the need to think, "I have to develop determination".

Acharn Sujin reminded us of the meaning of determination: “Adithana parami is the resolution to develop right understanding of the reality which appears. Being resolute means that one is firm on the Path of developing right understanding of the realities which appear, because one realizes that it takes time, that it takes so many, many lives before there can be the highly developed understanding of the reality which appears now. It has to be now, so it is bound to be difficult. The moment of being aware of the present object, any object which appears, without wanting it to be something else, indicates the resolution.”


Topic 269