The Perfection of Wisdom - Panna develops through dhamma listening



Listening to the Dhamma is most beneficial if we let ourselves be guided by the Dhamma and investigate our own citta. When we hear about a person’s death, it can remind us of the truth and to reflect upon ourselves. The person who died may have been full of attachment, he may have liked paintings, music, or other beautiful objects that were enticing. We should reflect upon our own cittas, and consider whether we are like the person who died. We can be reminded of momentary death, of the shortness of each moment of citta that arises and falls away immediately. If we have a great deal of attachment, if we cling to  possessions, we should remember that when visible object appears through the eyes, attachment arises just on account of what we see at a given moment; when a beautiful sound appears through the ears, attachment arises just on account of what we hear. When a delicious odour appears only for an extremely short moment, it conditions attachment to that odour. It is the same with flavour and tangible object. We can see in our daily life that even though rupa arises and falls away very rapidly, there is still attachment to that rupa which lasts for such a short moment. Attachment to sense objects is bound to arise so long as panna has not been further developed.

When we notice a person who is full of dosa, we should reflect upon our own citta, we should consider whether we are often angry, or whether we are irritated and disturbed time and again, or whether we are vengeful towards someone else. We should know that, in truth, that person is not to be found. We have met the person we are angry with only during one life, and after this life is terminated he is no longer there. Should we be angry with him after he has passed away? So long as we see that person we may have angry thoughts about him or be irritated about him, but we should remember that he will not be for a long time in this world and that he will depart for ever; from then that person will no longer be there. When we meet someone, we never know whether this is the last time that we see him and if we do not consider this we may treat him badly. Whereas, if we realize that this may be the last opportunity that we see him, it may condition the citta to be humble and gentle, we can have kindness and compassion.

Before we studied the Dhamma we had no understanding of the realities appearing through the eyes, the ears, the nose, the tongue, the bodysense and the mind-door. We had a great deal of ignorance. By listening to the Dhamma we can come to know that realities appear each with their own characteristic and that we should study these realities. We should not merely study them in theory, or merely listen to the explanation about them without carefully considering their true nature. We should remember that at this very moment realities are appearing and that the true characteristics of those dhammas which arise and fall away should be penetrated. Hence we can be reminded that we should listen and thoroughly consider the Dhamma, so that understanding is accumulated. Understanding is a condition for being aware diligently of the characteristics of the dhammas appearing at this moment. If we know that we still have a great deal of ignorance, moha, and that this should be eradicated, we will not be neglectful, but continue to listen to the Dhamma and develop each kind of kusala.


Topic 280