10. Five Hindrances

10. Five Hindrances

By Venerable Amatha Gavesi

Dated: Year 1994

Venerable Bhikkhu, Brothers & Sisters, the discourse today also will deal with the general subject.  After that I intend giving you instructions in regard to various defilements you will have to overcome by Insight Knowledge in practicing certain aspects of meditation.  For example, to give up the idea that there is a being in you, i.e. Sakkayaditti – a personality feeling that you have.  You have to differentiate between mind and matter.  I shall give you instructions as to how you should do that.  Likewise, to confirm that feeling further, that there is no being in you, you will be practicing cause and effect, how you commit activities and that two descriptions will be given to you for your knowledge.  Then, in practicing “Nama-Rupa”, differentiating between mind and matter, also arising and passing away.  Likewise to every stage of development you will be aspiring to, I will give you instructions how you should practice your Insight Knowledge to overcome defilements.  That will be useful to you.  Will be useful to you in time to come, when you are sufficiently developed for you to perform the task of instructing others.  Because details will be available to you as to how you should instruct the beginner about his manner of finding out what is mind and matter.  Or how uncertain act is committed, causes you, as cause and effect or how he should satisfy himself that everything in this world, all component things are subject to constant change, arising and passing away.  Such details I shall try to give you so that you have a record of them in your cassettes and you can play and then learn them.  Today I will be dealing another important subject, which you should know.  And those are the five hindrances. 

There are five hindrances that hinder your progress along the path.  These hindrances are, they perform two functions.  Unless you have developed your samadhi, one-pointedness is rather difficult for you to pursue your Insight Knowledge for truly understand the nature of Dhamma and realise the truth.  Therefore these hindrances, they not only hinder your progress along the path for developing yourself to reach the goal in the way of attaining Nibbana, they initially hinder you from developing your one-pointedness.  So knowledge of hindrances is useful to any experience, for he will be warned earlier that there will be instances like that obstructing your way when you practise one-pointedness at the same time when you proceed along the path to gain your Insight Knowledge to finally realise the Truth. There are five hindrances.  One is sensual desire.  Two is aversion.  Three is torpor.  Four is restlessness and five is doubt. 

As human being, we have led a worldly life. In all our activities, we have encouraged continuity in this world.  And to that effect, the six sense bases, the experiences you have gained through them, maintained that object clearly.  And that is to search for sensual pleasure, sensual desires, satisfy them. In seeing visions, your eyes helped you to do that.  In hearing various sound of noises, sound, the ear to helped you in that.  In smelling various types of smell brought about pleasant sensation in you, in smell.  The tongue experiencing various types of taste, satisfied your sensual desire of taste.  Contact too,  that too satisfy you immensely and so are the thoughts that you created.  About experiences you have gone through in pursuing sensual desires, either you enjoyed them subsequently in reflecting on them. With that experiences that create an aversion, you dwell on those also and live in aversion.  This is the pattern of behaviour of a normal human being.  In all these experiences, Buddha himself admit the fact that human being feels, enjoy feelings.  That is a natural conduct of a human being.  Only thing is a human being, in pursuing feeling for enjoyment, he pursues feeling through the six sense bases that led to pleasant sensation, enjoyed them and created the thirst for more and more.  That is, the act that is objectionable in the enjoyment of feeling.  Creating the thirst for more and more which you called the desire.  When you like the thing and you pursued it and lived in that liking enjoyed it. Actually you created the taste for that, and look forward to, experiencing more incidents of that nature for your satisfaction.  And that created always a thirst for such sensation.  Your eye provided that.  Your ears provided that.  Your nose provided that.  Your tongue provided that.  Your body provided that.  And also your mind provided that.  In fact these six sense bases are your gifts to enjoy such desires in life.  We have to admit the fact that this body which we possess and the mind also which we possess, are not things which are meant for ones’ liberation.  They are meant for continuity in this life of yours, either as human being.  If you have born as even an animal. That animal too has certain pleasant sensation which it search for.  Deities, they too have.  Even the luminous beings live in pleasant sensation and cheer.  Pita sukha in their enjoyment of the absorption.  Therefore, it is the quality of the “bubble (?)”, i.e. the different worlds the beings lived in, in pursuance of sensual pleasures or where your desire completely controls your existence.  In those existences, the worldling always look forward to the promotion of sensual desire. 

At the second stage of your development, along the path leading to Nibbana, that’s the Once-Returner stage, you get the opportunity of giving up half such desire, so to say.  And the balance you gave up finally at the stage of Non-Returner.  Then you are freed from the birth in this “bubble (?)”, existences.  And you after your death will be born in one of the five worlds where your birth descends.  Spontaneous birth without the normal parents having any part to play.  A spontaneous birth.  There you have no sensual desires or pleasures.  There is one road leading to Nibbana, where you pursue that road and liberate yourself.  One would asks a question – Why are these sense bases provided for us?  They are provided as equipment to you when you lead the worldly life to fulfill your desires.  The worldly life is meant for continuity, is not meant for one to search a path for one’s liberation, finally to get out of this cycle of births.  The body and your mind are both contributing to that.  We cannot deferred to the period when we would have entered this cycle of births and deaths. That is not a thing that one should probe into, because what is important is to deal with the suffering are subject to now.  And not to probe into the past and try to trace how you are born, when you are born that subjected to constant suffering now.  And the pattern of life that have been constructed or built, naturally for the being to constantly to suffer, is through the six sense bases.  That is something which you must give thought to and carefully understand.  These six sense bases provide you with certain pleasant sensations.  At the same time, they very carefully lead you, your life along the path where you are constantly subject to suffering.  When we consider that we can say the sensual pleasures we enjoyed are, they attached bait for you.  Why do they attach a bait for you?  Always encouraging you to look for sensual pleasures.  The Buddha said there is enjoyment in the pleasant sensation.  Therefore you look forward to pleasant sensations through the six sense bases.  Forgetting the fact that not all experience are lead to pleasant sensations.  Some experiences lead to pleasant sensations, others lead to the creation of aversion. And these two things contribute to the creation of desire. 

Now follow this carefully.  There is an encouragement given to you by the six sense bases to look forward to pleasant sensations, to enjoy the pleasant sensations.  When such enjoyment is done, in the event of the fact that everything arises and passes away.  You enjoy the pleasant sensations because you always feel that they are ever there – permanent, satisfactory and continue to exist.  That is a wrong notion you have as a worldling.  You have the right attitude that they are impermanent, unsatisfactory and would not continue then there is no enjoyment in any such sensation.  That is ignorance is playing on you.  And each experience you gained through the six sense bases, your object is to satisfy yourself.   You look forward to that.  To the worldling, accept things as permanent, satisfactory, and existing, continue to exist.  That’s a wrong notion a worldling has. As a human being, you enjoy this pleasant sensation.  Not in all circumstances that you would be given an opportunity to enjoy but there may be instances where you may meet with disappointment.  For the object is not to your satisfaction.  And in such instances, you find the opposite taking place in you.  That is opposite to the enjoyment, is the creation of a certain aversion to the object.  The human being, he lives his life on these two extremes.  He is provided with the six sense bases; he looks forward to objects of enjoyment.  Not all objects are satisfying.  Not all objects bring you enjoyment.  There are many occasions when you fall into the other extreme of creating aversion because you are disappointed or not being able to enjoy that object.  These are the two extremes the worldling lives, created by the thought.  It is your thought that enables you to fall into these two extremes.  That is one thought arising about an object which the sense base has received which gives you some satisfaction at the moment.  The next, maybe an object, which you received from another sense base, gives you dissatisfaction.  So constantly you are in these two extremes,  that is the path followed by the worldling.  Now that he has enjoyed, he builds up all the hopes of enjoyment.  Looking forward to enjoyment.  Though he very often falls into a state when he is disappointed because what he expected did not happen.  But his thirsts for enjoyment is very powerful.  Therefore he overlooks many disappointments he receives.  Because his thirst is very powerful and completely controlling his life.  He goes on like that.  Now if you look into this carefully.  Why were these six sense bases provided to this human being in these manner?  Object is to create the desire.  Object is to create this desire in you.  Which is the cause for your continuity in the life of birth and death, cycle of births and deaths.  Desire is the cause.  You look forward to, always searching pleasant sensation to satisfy desire.  And in way of falling into the other extreme of getting disappointed and creating an aversion.  But the pleasant sensations that give you the experience of comfort, satisfaction, that encourage you to look forward to more and more of that.  Maybe disappointment may take place immediately after that on many occasions but still you will not give up the hope for, looking forward to comfort, and you pursue your line of affection. 

And what are these six sense bases doing to you?  The six sense bases like the carrot that has been held in front of the horse.  The horse in full expectation of the satisfaction he would receive in having the carrot for himself as food, he goes after the carrot.  You may lead the horse anywhere with the carrot held in front of him.  Because he is looking forward to consuming that and having satisfaction for himself.  In the same way the six sense bases are holding before you a carrot.  Come, come, come! It will give you satisfaction. And you, in the way that is that you are, be led astray.  In the way those pleasant sensations are also of a temporary nature, will arise and pass away.  You go after them.  On many occasions you experience disappointment. Once in a way, you may get an opportunity of enjoying something.  But the world you have created all around you is full of such occasions you see where you can search for pleasant sensations.  That is your own creation.  You created the world.  You live in that world.  And that also as a result of desire.  Therefore in this world you have created there a lot of desirable things.  And which you always look forward to enjoying, every minute of your life in this existence.  These six sense bases are performing their functions in that manner.  You are very well know that the six sense bases are performing their functions in according your an opportunity of enjoyment or creating an aversion as a result of a thought that is created in you.  And in that thought, there is the five mental factors which created the thought.  Conscious by itself cannot create the thought, unless it produce the five mental factors, which performed their tasks and create the thought in regard to any object your sense bases are confronted with. To enjoy the object either in the way of having a pleasant sensation about it or unpleasant sensation, which is the outcome of disappointment not being able to satisfy yourself with the result you received in performing the function of sense bases about that object, you fall into the other extreme of creating aversion. 

In all these instances, it is the thought that you create that affords you the opportunity.  In that thought of the five mental factors that helped to create the thought, there is the mental factor feeling.  Mental factor feeling just gives you a notion, whether you like the object or not like the object.  That is all.  And that is part and parcel of the thought that is created to enable you to see or hear or smell or taste or contact or think.  And once you get that idea after you see or hear or smell or performance other sense activity, and experience the object, then you are not leaving it alone.  Because you are a person as a worldling seeking for satisfaction, comfort, enjoyment.   Therefore when you come across a case where there is an object you have experienced as something to your taste, then there is this so-called “being” in you who seeks the satisfaction.  He pursues it and try to enjoy.  In all the six sense bases, this performance takes place.  It is just not merely act of seeing or act of smelling or act of thinking or act of tasting or act of contacting. It is just not an act, sankhara is more not an act.  Sankhara is, you have committed an act and not just the outcome of circumstances.  But having created the being in you, he has committed the act of seeing, act of smelling, act of tasting, act of contacting, act of thinking.  It’s “he”.  Why do I say that it is “he”, this imaginary person in you.  Because the very thought that creates in your mind in order to experience that sense base, that thought, very thought created this being.  Therefore,  this being is there from the time you experienced the sense base activities.  Present in you, effectively performing his act as a being, responsible for that dissatisfaction or satisfaction he experienced through the sense bases.  And it is this person, this so-called imaginary sakkaya-dittiThis person that you have created in the nature of a being present in you, who then pursue this.  If it is to be enjoyed, to enjoy by producing more thoughts.  If it is something in the nature of disappointment because you expected enjoyment but disappointment and you create a certain distaste towards this thing again by production of thoughts.   Pursuing of enjoyment by producing more thoughts will lead you to craving.  Lead you to craving, more and more, more and more.  Look forward to more and more enjoyment.  Production of thoughts of aversion will lead you to create disappointment.  These are the two extremes that feed the desires, that maintain the desires.   Using the eye, you commit this act and using your ears, you commit this act.   Using your nose, you commit this act.  Using your tongue, you commit this act.  Using your body, you commit this act. Using your thinking process, you commit this act. 

One would ask a question, “Why a thought of attachment or such pursuance is not done at the very inception when your sense base confronts an object?”  There is a function that has to be performed first.  What is that function?  To see with your eye.  To hear with your ear.  To smell with your nose.  To taste with your tongue.  To contact with your body and to think.  These six sense bases performed six specific acts.  And the thought that instantaneously created at the time you contacted the sense object through a sense base performed that act.  It has no other opportunity to do anything else other than to commit the act of seeing, commit the act of hearing, commit the act of smelling, commit the act of tasting, commit the act of contacting, commit the act of thinking.  That is the task he has to perform in the first thought and that’s a spontaneous thought. A thought which arose in you immediately, just the spur of the moment without any preparation at all.  In that thought you committed the activity through the six sense bases.  And one would ask the question “When did this so-called pursuing of pleasant sensations and pursuing of unpleasant sensations occurred?”  Brothers and sisters, they occurred after you have committed the act of seeing, committed the act of hearing, committed the act of smelling, committed the act of tasting, committed the act of contacting and committed the act of thinking.  After that, new thoughts are created in pursuance of comfort or the pursuance of disappointment in the way of creating aversion.  That is another activity, completely different from the original activity of creating a thought to experience the sense base activities.  That is why it is clearly stated that the desire which is a very, very powerful defilement in you which lead you from birth to birth, which you have to get rid off.  The aim to get rid off is something which is created, subject only and not immediately in the act of performing the activity of the six sense bases, by creation of additional thoughts. That is why you are in the position to stop that activity.  If in that instantaneous activity of the creation of mind, a thought in you to experience something about the sense base.  If that happened, then there is no opportunity for you to stop that further activity creating or supporting desire.  In the first act of creating a thought to experience the sense object, there is no desire.  A spontaneous thought created and it is the subsequent thought you create and pursue this enjoyment or pursue the disappointment leading to the creation of desire or attachment or aversion that provides the food for the maintenance of desire.  That is completely a different set of actions.  That is why you are in the position to stop that.  By stopping your desire being created, you are not obstructing your activities of the six sense bases.  You can see but need not promote desire.  You can smell, you need not promote desire.  You can hear, you need not promote desire.  You can taste, you need not promote desire.  You can think, you need not promote desire.  Isn’t that how a liberated being exists in this world after his liberation.  He uses his eyes, he uses all the sense bases for his existence till such time he pass away.  And in that existence he doesn’t create any desire.  Why?  Because he stops the activity from seeing, stop further activity after hearing, stop further activity after smelling, after tasting, after contacting, after thinking. How does he do that?  He does that by immediately realizing that that object is something impermanent, something unsatisfactory, something that does not exist, continue to exist.  That realization is very clear in him.  If that realization is very clear in you, will you pursue that object further and try to create enjoyment out of that product which is not existing?  An object which is not existing.  You don’t have that realization in you.  Therefore, you are foolishly led to pursue the experience further and create pleasant sensations or create unpleasant sensations if it is not to your satisfaction.  Now it is very clear before you that desire is something, which you are maintaining as a result of not intelligently understanding the activities of the six sense bases.  The six sense bases are meant for continuity.  And this satisfaction of sensual pleasures is one of the obstruction to you to your development.  After all, your development is completely aimed at one specific act.  What is that specific act?  Give up desire.  Give up desire. Who produces the desire?  Your eye produces a desire.  Your ear produces the desire.  Your nose produces desire.  Your tongue produces desire.  And your body produces  desire, your thinking produces desire.  These six bases, they are the equipment that produce the desire, maintain the desire.  How does that happen?   If you are not careful, if you are not mindful about the subsequent activity by the mind, in creating thoughts of attachment to aversion which promote the desire.  If you are careful, if you are mindful, you will not permit that part of the activity by the consciousness to play in any of your activities.  You see a thing and you stop at seeing.  How do you stop at seeing upon four foundation of mindful to realize that is something impermanent.  You hear something and after you hear you do not pursue that act further because you know that is something impermanent.  In the same main regard, experience you gained through the six sense bases, you have the control either to promote the desire, maintain the desire by furthering the desire in creating thoughts of attachment or creating thoughts of aversion.  In your hand, you have the power and also you have the power to stop any further activity after seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, contacting and thinking by being mindful of the reality of the object.  Fully well knowing that the object that have confronted the six sense bases is something impermanent.  You don’t proceed further.  Can you ever enjoy an impermanent object?  What is the pleasure you get by knowing that an object is impermanent, unsatisfactory, and not continuing.  It is something just for the moment, arising and passing away if you realistically see that object in that manner maybe the most beautiful form that may appear before you.  If you recognize that form as an impermanent form, unsatisfactory thing, that does not exist, but arising and passing away, would you have any satisfaction created in your mind by seeing that?   Therefore what is, you are the creator of all these.   You create these.  Therefore you must destruction of sensual pleasure, desire is a hindrance to your progress. 

I explain this to such an extent so that you realistically understand how these sensual desires are created, and who created them, you created them.  You must be mindful and if you are mindful, you are realistic to the object that appeared before you, appeared before the sense bases, you would not go to that extent of, what you called, creating and helping desire for more desire.  But check the further progress of desire immediately. These are the two extremes we fall into.  Mind you this attitude of the mind in falling into these two extremes existing such time you finally liberate yourself from the cycle of births.  And that is the third stage of your development in insight knowledge Non-Returner stage. Up to that moment, you will be subject to this very, very wisely process of making you to leave this worldly life.  Even the Once-Returner, he still has to return once to this world.  And ends up his desire before he enters the Non-Returner stage.  Stream-Enterer will of course be subject to these two things of attachment and aversion.  And after entering the Stream-Enterer stage, that is once you have realize that stage of development, then you would be taking progressive steps to avoid these situations arising in you, i.e. to stop unnecessary building of a thought of attachment to aversion.  You make use of your eye but you will not think further than that, you only saw.  You make use of your ear, that’s all you only heard.  You will not pursue what you heard.  You then enjoy a smell, that’s all.  No pursuing of that smell further than that, in trying to create more and more liking, attachment or promoting an aversion to the smell you received because it was disgusting.  In the same way with regard to other experiences, you would not be pursuing these activities further if you are mindful.  Mindfulness is the essential quality in the path and I emphasize that in my discourse to you.  Therefore these are the two extremes that the worldling is always lead to.  The two extremes are sensual desires and the creation of aversion.  

Now Buddha said that even sloth and torpor, the tendency for you to slacken your effort so much so to say that your interest is not there and you began to fall asleep.  Because effort is not there.  That may be due to many reasons.  Essential thing is that you do not have the right effort.  Right effort is poor.  Determination is poor.  Perseverance is poor.  These things are poor because you do not have that moment of devotion in you.  Because devotion is also contributing factor to encourage the activity in pursuing your liberation.  If you slacken, you slacken because there is not much devotion, not much energy to pursue the object you are searching for.  First, sometimes it can be the result of your pattern of behaviour.  If you take too much of food, then you become … Your brain becomes very sluggish and not functioning the normal way. Then your other circumstances, also for instance, if you are always disturbed by something like that, these sort of things contribute to these, sluggishness and torpor. It may be that early stages of that, you may pace up and down and avoid it.  You may take other steps like washing your face and exercising yourself for a little by walking up and down.  You may find the real cause you see and then try to get rid of that.  That have been instances where even the Buddha had instructed a certain Bhikkhus who were really victims to circumstances and very sleepy to overcome that by resting for a short period.  You can’t fight against that.  Purposes in fighting against it, giving in that, rest a little, come back, wash your face and come back and make the effort.  Then the opposite to that is restlessness.  You are restless.  Why are you restless?  Thoughts are interfering, obstructing you from achieving your object of fixing the one-pointedness.    Body is also very restless.  You must realise that and try to find out why you are restless.  If there are objects that disturb your mind very often, as you sit for your meditation, think of those objects.  “What are these objects that disturb me always?”  My home, my parents, my job, or something like that.  Think of that.  What can I do?  I have came all the way here, to apply myself, to develop my mind and search for my liberation.  What is the purpose in thinking of my job from here?  What can I do from here?  All those are just imagination of yours.  Realistically, understand what you are doing.  Yours is not for continuity, you are meant for, let say, liberation from this cycle of births.  All these activities that are worrying you now are all supporting the continuity.  Ask yourself this question.  Is that my aim in life?  Is that the purpose for which I came here?  Or is this just away from home, because I have suffered enough and there is a clear path before me shown by Buddha for me to follow.  I have all the faith that that is a very clear path and I should follow it.  These unnecessary thoughts that come and disturb me, made me restless, they are all my imaginations, nothing else. 

Also I will not be here forever and ever.  I will be here for a short period.  Once that period is over, I will be getting back to the job again.  Or to look after the interest time for it’s over.   Likewise you must be able to satisfy your mind.  And I would say that, instead of sitting and thinking over these things, try to convince yourself about all these items that made you restless as things impermanent in this life, unsatisfactory, and soulless.  They are not permanent things, there’re temporary creations in the mind.  Overcome them, by realistically understand the value of those things that made you restless.  There too, I would advise that pace up and down a little after thinking about them, giving thought to them, realistically understanding your position.  And also realistic values of those objects that made you restless.  Then clear your mind of all these things and sit down for meditation. 

Then the fifth one is doubt.  You are doubtful about your path.  Always say, “Am I right?”  Will it lead me to this position?  Would it be that it is something else?  They are also wrong with so many others, maybe in search of the truth and they have spoken to you about many ways of achieving that.  So you begin to give values to those.  Expressions also, so and so said these, that he, we should do this at this stage.  Now I am being told that we should do the other way at this stage, now which is correct? Likewise, creation of doubt about the path you are pursuing.  Doubt will be an obstruction to you.  You are not confident about yourself. Confident about the Dhamma that has been taught to you, showing you the path to follow.  Could be something else, could be something like that. Doubt is also very bad.  Doubt about Buddha’s great wisdom.  Doubt about the Dhamma He has taught.  Doubt about the achievements by the Sangha.  Doubt about the karmic way.  Doubt about other aspects of the philosophy taught by Buddha.  These would create certain obstruction to you in proceeding along the path.   You should have full faith in what you are doing.  I know I am happy that I have came back for practice and I am leading the right path, following the right path now.  Build up such confidence in you.  Then that confidence will clear any doubt in you which would be an obstruction to your development.   Bear in mind, these hindrances are also hindrances to the development of samadhi in you. Sensual desires certainly hinders your development of one-pointedness.  Always mind this, you are trying to fix it but the mind is being carried away by an experience you have gained through a sense base.  I experienced, I saw a beautiful figure there.  I heard a very attractive voice singing a certain song which created a lot of feelings in me.  That sorts of thing you think about experience you have gained through in the past.  And such thoughts create sensual desires in you.  And that becomes an obstruction to one-pointedness.  The same way, aversion too.  So these are two subjects again that obstruct your development in samadhi.   So are sloth and torpor.   They are also you are, you don’t have that natural urge in you to make an effort to fix your mind at one-point and proceed along that.  It’s half-heartedly you do it. An invariably you will find as you gone doing that, falling asleep.  When you experience such weakness in yourself, get up.   Walk about.  Wash your face.  Divert your attention to something else.  And then build up your energy so that you can sit again after sometime.  If you go on pursuing, you get up, little by little, you will again, see that your head is bending the other way.  Again you get up.  Fix your mind at one point again, now head is bending forward in front of you.  Sometimes you knocked your head against the wall also. 

Well, such activities will not help you, brothers and sisters.  If you come across situation like that, what is the purpose in sitting there?  Get up.  Walk briskly.  Promote better circulation of blood in your body.  And back to your kuti and have a good wash.  Wash your face or wash your body. You are quite fresh and have a cup of tea, if you wish to.  Come back and sit down again, you are fresh again to pursue your activity. Because you can’t fight against that sort of weakness in the body.  Because it tends to recur.  You may make up your mind, “No, I must sit.”  And you go on with determination in sitting.  But little later you forget that determination and you fall back again to the old order of things.  So, you have to get that clearly out of your mind, that can only be done by, you see, completely changing your effort to something else.  Keep yourself fresh and keep away this sleepiness in you.  Tendency for the mind to lose its determination and giving in for the bodily need to, give the body a little rest by being, by forgetting the world around you, which is the creation of the mind.  And the mind also goes to rest with the body. Therefore, brothers and sisters, even doubt is also.  If you are doubtful about, for instance the exercise you are doing, trying to bring your mind to one-pointedness. Well, can I do this?  Is this the correct way?  So and so told me something else, but it should be done this way.  Likewise if you have doubt about what you are doing, that would be also an obstruction to your achieving something.  So these are hindrances that hinder you from progress along the path to Insight Knowledge as well as the development of Samadhi in you.  These are called hindrances.  Be aware of them.  And also be knowledgeable about the action you should take in regard to overcoming them.  This knowledge is very essential.  Because sometimes it may be that without your knowledge you are subject to one of the hindrances and you permit that to overcome you completely.  And waste your time.   Instead you can take immediate action when you feel that this, I am subject to this kind of obstruction, hindrance.  To counter that I should take this action and do that.   And make further effort to pursue your development of wisdom or the concentration. 

(这段 法念处)

Buddha in His development of the mind, the foundation of mindfulness of all Dhammas, He commences the exercise.  There are five exercises, five subjects of meditation introduced into that chapter. 


That is once you have in mind a opinion, you can achieve Non-Returner stage if you reach, if you develop your mind on the first subject of meditation having developed your one-pointedness.  First subject of meditation is pertained to the body.  If you complete that, by that stage you will be getting a Stream-Enterer, you achieved that step.


The next two subjects of meditation – to give up desire, attachment, aversion.  In that two subjects that has been mentioned by Buddha, i.e. to meditate on feelings and meditate on development of thoughts.   And both these He has stated clearly that, do not unnecessarily create thoughts and live on feelings and create desire or attachment, attachment to aversion, which promote desire.   I repeat that.  When you are subject to feelings as a result of experiences gained through each of the sense bases, Buddha said don’t give in to these desire. Consider them as impermanent, unsatisfactory and soulless, and drive them away so to say.   If you subject to desire, subject yourself to the desire then you are promoting this.   Attachment, also to say that.  Tanha, Desire, promoting it.  Therefore when you get a feeling of pleasant sensations or unpleasant sensations, in all these instances, mindfully analyze the subject that has given rise to such sensation, as something impermanent, something unsatisfactory, something that is constantly changing.  Thereby attach no value to it, dispel it, that is when you get feelings.

In regard to the subject on thinking, Buddha says when thoughts arising in you on attachment to aversion or such thought arising in you, again be mindful.   A thought arises as a result of an object arising in the mind.  Analyze the object carefully.  It is impermanent.  This is unsatisfactory.  This is not permanent, this is subject to constant change, no continuity in this.  Therefore what is wholesome, is nothing, it’s just nothing.  Therefore you dispel it.  So all thoughts that arise in you, you dispel it.  For bear in mind, there are thoughts that you cannot dispel because instantaneous activity of the consciousness in creating a thought to enable you to perform the six sense activities, you can’t stop.  That automatically occurred without your knowledge.  You may hear the noise like that, that’s heard and let, that is all.  You are not pursuing in them.  But is multiplication of thoughts on objects that you have received through the sense bases in pursuing pleasant sensations or creating unpleasant sensations that lead to the creation of desire.  Therefore, you are prone to seeing something, you are not pursuing that.   Treat that object as something unpleasant, impermanent, and unsatisfactory.  Likewise in regard to other objects that attracts the sense bases, you are not pursuing in these.   All thoughts that arisen in regards to these things, you are not pursuing, you just leaving them aside.  Now what happen then?  In the four foundation of mindfulness, the two subjects that is enjoy pleasant and unpleasant sensations or creating unpleasant sensations is promoting desire.   Creating thoughts and multiplying those thoughts, leading you to creation of desire or creation of attachment also supports desire. 

Therefore in both these instances, in the event of feeling arising, in the event of thought arising, you dispel it without further progress.  This feeling is impermanent, unsatisfactory and of no use, no continuity.   This thought pertains to this subject, impermanent, unsatisfactory, no continuity.  And you go on dispelling thoughts like that, thoughts of feelings, thoughts that arise in your mind pertaining to the sense objects.  Go on dispelling, dispelling, dispelling.  Then you will see, the consciousness begins to be aware.  Unlike in the previous circumstances, previous occasions, when you are ready to receive those thoughts and live on those thoughts.  Now your adoption of this attitude of rejecting those thoughts, discourage the consciousness from producing more thoughts.  It reduces its speed of producing thought little by little, little by little, …   When it comes to a question of 50% of such production is no longer existing in you because you have reduced that to such an extent.  Then you entered the second stage of Once-Returner.  And once you have reduced the other 50% by being mindful, not permitting thoughts to occur, only thoughts that are spontaneously occurring in your mind as a result of sense object being received.  Such thoughts, they occurred and passed away, you don’t pursue them.  Additional thoughts of attachment or aversion you are not producing, then you will find the mind consciousness becomes very quiet and peaceful.  To such an extent, brothers and sisters, even sense objects disturb the mind, the mind will not get disturbed by sense objects.  Your peace and calmness in the mind you maintain, even not entertaining such thoughts.  That is the very developed stage of your mind. 

Earlier you feel that you are not now pursuing unnecessary thoughts, resulting from what you experience through the sense bases, that is the first stage. If there be any thought arising as a result of an experience gained through the sense base, you analyze that thought as something impermanent, something unsatisfactory, something not continuing and discourage it from producing any more thoughts.  That is how you reduce your production of thoughts.   In that aspect, you must bear in mind you are provided with six sense bases to experience things from outside.  And experiencing things from outside as object of the sense bases, you are only producing a thought to see, thought to hear, thought to smell, thought to taste, thought to contact and thought to think.  That’s all.  With that you can stop.  That thought is merely providing you with the means of experiencing that object.  That’s all.  Other activities of pursuing that object further as something to your liking or something to your dislike, is what you have developed in you as a habit.  And it is that part of the development that you must check.  No more,  I am not going to allow this to happen.  I have been doing this but I shall not do it in future.  You see something.  You check yourself.  No, I shall not think about it further, either as something appealing to me or something which I don’t like.  But the question is how strong are you to take that positive step to stop further thinking.  You are not strong enough.  Therefore Buddha said, be mindful at that stage.  Mindful of what?  Mindful of the nature of the object.  That object is impermanent, unsatisfactory, does not continue to exist.  That, makes that the subject of your constant mindfulness.   So that in the event of, you creating a thought about what you see, creating a thought about what you hear, creating a thought about what you smell, creating a thought about what you taste, creating a thought about what you feel-contact, creating a thought about what you think.  In all these instances, mindfully being the realistic aspect of life of impermanence, unsatisfactory nature of thing and non-continuity of the picture, and close the chapter.  Finish. Do not allow that consciousness to create more and more thoughts, promoting desire, or promoting aversion.   You stop at that.  And when you go on doing that, when you go on doing that, desire is not getting food now to exist.  As I told you, desire is something which you have created in your mind as an addition.  It is not the quality of the mind.   It is something which you have created and which you are maintaining as a habit.  And habit is maintained so long as you feed the habit.  Now you are not feeding the habit, you stopping the feeding completely by bringing to notice, to your notice of realization of the truth.  And what happen to habit?  Habit will wear away.  Finished. Likewise, your desire which you maintained as a result of the habit by constantly feeding it will naturally disappear, brothers and sisters, by stages.  And you will only then use your eyes to see only, hear only, nose to smell only, and likewise the performance of the activities of the six sense bases will be confined only to the performance and not to proceed foolishly in trying to create desire or aversion by unnecessary thinking.  That aspect you stop when you gained your liberation.  Buddha said if you can dispel your desire, you gain your liberation.  If you don’t feel the desire then you can stop your desire from further developing.  And thereby you gained your liberation.  Brothers and sisters, this is a very, very practical approach.  If you realistically understand how you create desire, how you promote desire, how you maintain desire, and the manner how you should act to avoid such promotion of desire, then you are well on the path for your liberation.

May you all attain Nibbana.  Thank you!






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