Through the study of the Dhamma we gradually come to have more understanding of the vicissitudes of the world, of gain and loss, honour and dishonour, praise and blame, wellbeing and pain. We shall understand that the pleasant “worldly conditions” of gain, honour, praise and wellbeing only lead to dukkha, suffering, if there is no panna that knows the causes and their appropriate results in life. If someone truly sees the value of panna and intends to develop kusala, he will not wish for pleasant sense objects as result, but he will aim for the growth of panna until it has become keen and accomplished to the degree that it can completely eradicate defilements. Satipatthana, right understanding of the mental phenomena and physical phenomena of our life, cannot be developed without panna. No matter how many other excellent qualities someone may have, his defilements cannot be eradicated if panna does not develop and becomes keener, if panna does not clearly see the true nature of the realities that are naturally appearing. Thus, we should see the incomparable value of panna and we should apply ourselves to its development so that it can become fully accomplished. If we develop satipatthana time and again, panna will be gradually accumulated so that it becomes keener, and reaches the degree of a perfection which realizes the four noble Truths.
We read in the “Khuddhaka Nikaya” in the Commentary to the “Basket of conduct”, the “Conduct of Yudanjaya”, about the beginning of the development of panna during the life the Bodhisatta was young Yudanjaya
“In his life when the Bodhisatta was Yudanjaya,
he was the eldest son of the King and had the rank of the viceroy.
He fulfilled every day maha-dana, the giving of an abundance of gifts.
One day when he visited the royal park
he saw the dewdrops hanging like a string of pearls on the tree-tops,
the grasstips, the end of the branches and on the spiders’ webs.
The prince enjoyed himself in the royal park and when the sun rose higher
all the dewdrops that were hanging there disintegrated and disappeared.
He reflected thus: ‘These dewdrops came into being and then disappeared.
Evenso are conditioned realities, the lives of all beings;
they are like the dewdrops hanging on the grass-tips.’
He felt a sense of urgency and became disenchanted with worldly life,
so that he took leave of his parents and became a recluse.”
From this story we can learn that people have different degrees of understanding.
We may see dew drops hanging on grass-tips, but who has panna to the degree
of causing a sense of urgency and disenchantment when he compares his own
life with the evanescent dew?
“The Bodhisatta realized the impermanence of the dewdrops
and made this predominant in accumulating a sense of urgency and disenchantment;
it arose once and then became a condition leading to its arising very often.”
When right understanding with a sense of urgency arises we should not let it
pass by without paying attention to it. We should reflect on the conditions for this
sense of urgency so that it can arise more often. The thought of death and impermanence can be a condition for further developing the perfections.
- Conduct of Yudanjaya I
- Conduct of Yudanjaya II
- The Questions of Pingiya I
- The Questions of Pingiya II
- Depends on the degree of panna
- Attadanda Sutta
- What does panna penetrate? I
- What does panna penetrate? II
- What does panna penetrate? III
- Perfections are a supporting condition
- Skilful in all dhammas
- How panna is to be developed
- Mindfulness of death
- Dasannaka Jataka I
- Dasannaka Jataka II
- Dispeller of Delusion
- Insight develops through satipatthana
- Panna develops through dhamma listening