7. The World is your 6 Sense Base

7. The World is your 6 Sense Base

By Venerable Amatha Gavesi

Dated: Year 1994

Venerable Bikkhus, brothers and sisters, Buddha said “I will not speak about Nibbana to a person who has not seen the end of the world.”  That is the subject of the discourse today. I repeat that statement again, “I will not speak to a person about Nibbana unless he has seen the end of the world.”

In previous discourses, I have at length dwelt on this aspect of the world which each one of us are living in.  When we refer to a world, it is what we have created though we do not realize that it is so, we see a world around us.  One moment we do not give thought as to how this world around us has been created.  You are gifted with six sense bases.  This sense bases provide you with vision about objects outside, also you hear sounds outside, you also smell outside, you also experience taste with your tongue and you also experience contact with your body, and also you speak, you think about matter that arise in your mind.  These are 6 sense bases that perform their functions in creating things for you.  If you analyse the world  you live in, that world consist only of these experiences which you have gained through the 6 sense bases.  That is it, all the sankharas that you can commit and it is this sankhara that create the world.  That is why Buddha clearly stated that each one of us lives in the world of our own, or that each one of us is a world. My world, which I have created through the 6 sense bases, is quite different to a world, which you have created with your 6 sense bases.  There may be common factors, but it all depends upon how you have live the world, what interpretations you have given to those experiences you have gained through the 6 sense bases.  And what values you have attached to them.  Any way that which is around us is the world we live in.  This world as I told you is a creation by the 6 sense bases. Why  did Buddha say that unless one sees the end of the world, he would not speak about Nibbana to him?  Let us admit the fact that we’ve created this world with our 6 sense bases.  Now, can you say that the world you have created is a true world? A world which is existing as experience by you?  A world that is substantial, wholesome?  Your interpretations, in regard to all experiences you have gone through with your 6 sense bases,  as a worldling is upon the value of permanence, satisfactory nature, and the continuity of all experiences you have gone through.  You have considered all these experience as permanent experiences.  All these experiences has something that is substantial, value attached to it.  All these experiences are continued to exist.  That is the aspect that one has to consider, to get a proper assessment of the world around you.  Buddha clearly indicated that all component things are impermanent, unsatisfactory and soulless.  What are the component things that you have experience through your 6 sense bases?  All visions that you have seen, experienced are component things.  All the other experience you have gained through the other 6 sense bases are all component things.  They have been causally created, that is why we call them component things.  But is that the way you have accepted these things that they are causally created.  You have not accepted that they have been causally created.  You have accepted them as seen by you.  A worldling who is existing, who can experience these things with the sense bases provided to him and that they are true, acceptable and convincing.  That is the value you have given to these things.  On the face of what have you given these values?  You have given these values on the face of the false notion you have created in your mind, that there is a being in you and it is this being who has seen these things, experience these sense activity.  That is the thing that has been telling you now.  We have clearly indicated to you in these discourses that the consciousness who created a thought for you to experience sense base activities is also a conjuror who is capable of misleading you with delusions created by  in the mind.   The greatest delusion that the mind has created is to create a being in you as a person as the author of all your sense base activity. I have given you a  detail account about how this so-call being has been created in you.  The very same thought that enables you to perform the sense base activities, in the way of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, contacting and thinking.  The very thought create in that thought for you to experience the sense base activities also created on the other hand the delusions in you about a being, been present in you who experience these things. The mental factors that created the thought to experience that sense activities, you also created in that very thought the delusion that there is a being in you.  You have lived in this delusion, you have accepted this and there had been no occasion for you to doubt that this being is not in you.  The worldly mind lives on this notion that there is a being in him.  And all experiences he goes through in the world is an experience gone through by this being, that is a notion, that is a conclusion he has arrived at.  And he lives in that. He has lived in this notion for the last so many many births.  Not being able to realize the true nature of himself.  He has believed his eyes, he has believed these experiences gathered through his ears, experiences gathered through his nose, experiences gathered through his tongue, through his body and through his mind.  For a worldling there is nothing to doubt about these experiences. Even the so-called educated intelligent people, they too have shared the same notion about these experiences because there are so intricately woven to mislead you completely, leaving no room for him to challenge them.  Therefore you have lived in them.  This truth was revealed by Buddha 2600 years ago, that incidents occurred as a result of cause and effect.  And that all incidents are causally created.  There is no person as such in any one of us who commit these acts but the consciousness who create the thought for you to experience these activities has created this false notion in you in the way of the 5 grasping groups being created to erect this individual personality in you.  And you have seen and experience all the activities around you through this individual. Therefore you have the reasons to believe that all the worldlings in the world has individuals like that who perform their activities and they have common visions, common things to hear, common things to taste, common things to experience as man and also other sense activities are all commonly shared by them.  Because after all, there is an individual within this so-called worldling that experience these things.  If a person experience something as a direct result of what he has seen or what he has heard and what he has smelt or other experience he has gone through the 6 sense bases is quite different from an incident that has occurred as a result of cause-and-effect.  There is a difference. Here is an individual seeing a thing and here is something causally created.  The individual, who has experienced the sense base activity, has experience these activities through bases created in the human body.  Making use of the mind as his possession and individual he has experience these object.  Whereas the actual incident is concern there is the body and the mind.  When a certain incident occurred that does say seeing something, there are many components that contribute to the vision you have experienced.  Therefore the normal impression everyone of us have as worldling is that which I see, others also seeing the same way, and there is some common feature prevail in this world that you have created where everyone of us share similar views.  But bear in mind, the realistic aspect of thing is not there.  It is your mind that has created this thought, the circumstances that have contributed to the creation of the thought are varied.  Therefore, there may be a common impression but when come to a question of individual assessment, values and the impressions created, there is my individual world which I have created which is quite different from the individual world that another has created.  The circumstances that produced the experiences I went through, are not common or same as it could have been to another person who has gathered that impression about this vision or whatever experience he went through. Therefore we live in different worlds.  Abilities are concerned, skills are concerned, then the factors that have contributed to the creation of the impression through the 6 sense base, those factors are not common in every aspect of individuals. That is why Buddha said that each of us are living in a world of our own.  Though it is not felt that way.  Why is it not felt that way?  Because we have the wrong belief that there is an individual within us who is performing the act of these 6 sense bases.  Whereas it is not so, there is the mind and body performing certain activities and such activities contribute to create this thought which gives us the experience we have gone through the sense bases.  Therefore, there is a variation, we all have created different world and may live in different world.  To there is a similarity observed from outside, mainly because you have that impression that it is a person within you like that of  another individual or worldling who sees and who functions this sense bases and creates that and gives the impression. But as they are causally created, you see there is no similarity in the impressions created about the world.  There is no one common feature in all these things. If that be the case, then we can say each one of us has created the world and all the worlds are similar to each other, whereas it is not. When you think of yourself, your nature and your character, your behavior pattern, your values, you may see that there is much difference between yourself and another person.  There are common features, but majority of the contributions to create this world are of a different type and not common to each other, that is why Buddha said that all of us are living in different worlds.  And the other thing is, you have to bear in mind that you have built this world on wrong values.  You have considered that this world which you have created is permanent.  You have also considered that this world which you have created is something of substance, value.  You also created this world as something permanently existing.  In regards to these 3 matters of permanence, satisfaction and permanently existing.  When in reality, it is just the opposite of these 3 things that realistically exist in this world which you have created, that is a world of impermanence, unsatisfactory nature and that is soulless. You can well imagine, whether the world you have created is a true world or a complete fabrication depending on false values which you have gathered.

Buddha said that unless you see the end of this world, you cannot discuss about Nibbana.  Why did he say that?  He said that for many reasons. First and the foremost thing is, if you are the creator of this world, who are you?  You’re only mind and matter.  There is no individual person  in you realistically.  Then who created this world for you?  This world was created by circumstances, which you experience through your sense bases.  And, by the thought you created in yourself. If characters of all of us are not similar to each other; if our values are not similar to each other; if our pattern of behaviour is not similar to each other; there are thousands and thousands of variations in us, when compared one with the other.  You can imagine the world each one of us has created.  And based on three important false values. What are they?  That your creation is permanent, satisfactory and existing without a change.  Whereas the realistic aspect shown by Buddha is that everything in this world is impermanent, unsatisfactory and soul-less.  Now you can imagine, what a world you have created around you.  Does it appear to be so realistic?  So impressive that there is no doubt at all in your mind that this world is not existing around you?  Because the impression it has created is so firm and so fixed and so misleading.  That you do not see the realistic aspect of the circumstances that has created the world, therefore you have believed in it, live in it.  And you have ample faith that it is a world existing around you.  Now the challenge is that the world around you is a fabrication, that the world you live in is not a true world.  It is something which your imagination has created.  What is the, so to say the, measure or standard upon which we have to value the creation of ours, in order to find out whether it is a fabrication, a false creation around you or whether is it a true world?  Who is there is one accepted truthful measurement, or so to say, which we can easily make use of, and that is the 3 realities Buddha has revealed to the world.  And those 3 realities are impermanence, unsatisfactory nature and soullessness.  These are unchallengeable truths; truths that are accepted and established even by science as true and existing.  Now if you challenge the world that you have created on the base of these realistic values, you have to admit the fact that what you’ve created is a complete fabrication.  Ask yourself a question whether the world that you have created is a permanent or impermanent world?  Then with your normal mind even you can see changes going on around you, and to a development mind it is much more conspicuous than to an ordinary mind.  Yours is the mind that has been nurtured to go along a path for your leading to your salvation. Therefore it has created better values, better understanding, better realization of the true nature of things, and with that developed mind of one, one could assess the world he has lived in in the past. Before such development occurred in him you will see that he has lived completely in pure imagination, of fabrication by the mind, a delusion created by the consciousness.  Buddha says, so long as you believe in the world you live in, Nibbana is not with you, or he would not discuss Nibbana with you.  He would not direct you to Nibbana because now you know that you have completely, been misled by the world that has been created around you.  Wrong values have been created in you, the eyes, the ears, the nose, the tongue, the body, mind, they have misled you completely.  And so long as you live in this fabrication created by these sense bases, accepting the world you live in, on the surface as permanent, satisfactory and with a soul.  You have yourself admit the fact that your entire existence so to say in this universe, completely a fabrication.  You have yourself misled you; you have created a world around you in your imagination.  And that there is no truth in that creation.  If we take one example, if something is impermanent and there is a realistic aspect of the object, and if you say that you’re his and your sense bases directly shows you something permanent in that. Which is the truth?  The reality that have been revealed by Buddha, cannot be challenged, it has to be accepted.  And well proved by science.  Therefore, that object both which you have expressed an opinion, is impermanent.  There’s constant change going on in that object, but you refer to an object which is permanent.  And who has led you to that belief, your eyes, your ears, your nose, your tongue, your body and your mind.  In the other aspect too, in the other qualities to like, satisfactory, substantiate all that you observed through your six sense bases.  You believe, but it is not so.  When something is constantly changing from one condition to another what is substantial in there. There is nothing of value in that, it’s a change that you see.

You also see around you, experience around you, objects and clearly you see that there is no changing taking place in there.  The objects that was there 6 months ago still remains to be the same object in your eyes.  There too you’ve been misled that all these are subject to change constantly from one condition to another.  Though the sense base equipment provided to you by nature is, hasn’t the capacity to catch that change.  You have completely believed it, it’s something wrong, something false.  Something misleading, that these are ever present in you without a change.  So with regards to these three characteristics, when you’ve accepted permanent nature in impermanence, when you’ve accepted something substantial where there is no substantial nature in, everything is constantly changing and nothing is of value there, it’s empty.  But you’ve accepted something substantial in that.  When what was there a few minutes ago, fraction of a second ago, is not in the same condition as it is now.  When that change has gone through so many many many times, every fraction of a second, it’s one series of changes going on, and you’ve accepted that it has not gone through any change.  Therefore, you can well imagine, and assess for yourself, if there is any value in all that you’ve experienced with your six sense bases, clearly understand.  Because we’ve a very very powerful challenge to sense bases, so much so that Mara, if you want.  On one occasion, when Buddha was addressing a crowd of Bhikkhu, an assembly of Bhikku about Nibbana, he appeared before Buddha and then said, how he could speak about Nibbana to the assembly of Bhikkhu, while making use of his equipments.  He said these eyes are mine, the ears are, he will part possessions, equipment, and so are other sense bases.  I have provided, he said, these things for their enjoyment, for their continuity in this cycle of birth. And when they are making use of them, how could one direct these Bhikkhus along the path to the attainment of Nibbana.  Buddha accepted this, Buddha said, yes Mara, what you said is true.  The eyes are yours, the nose is yours, the ears are yours, all the other sense base, equipment are your equipment.  There are not for discontinuity,  they are for continuity, they show something completely false,  fabrication. A delusion is created by these equipment in the person who possesses them, and in the midst of such an delusion when you are living in those, having accepted those delusion as true.  How could there be Nibbana before you?  Buddha explained to Mara that the Nibbana which he speaks about is not in a level which experiences  gain through the six sense bases.  It is something which the individual has to develop his mind to a high degree and realized.  Mara of course could not speak anything beyond that, he left the place.  Even Buddha accepted the fact that the equipment we are possessing, it’s not our equipment but equipment provided by Mara for us to lead a life in this world.  And what is this  life that we live in the world, a completely fabricated force, life a mere illusion, because none of these equipment, and science proves that, is showing you the exact nature of anything they experience. That is why Buddha said, your person is living in a world created by him, and he believes in that world, I will not speak about Nibbana to him.  Why did he say that?  Now you understand. Because if he believes in what the sense bases have provided to him in a way of experiences through them.  And he trustingly  accept them, then he will be accepting something which is not realistically present. He is completely misled by the fabrication created by the sense bases.  Completely misled by the delusion he has experience through them, when he reality, all that they have shown us, your eyes, your ears, your nose, your tongue, your body, your mind, completely false and created false conceptions in us. A person who is living in a world like that, created by the sense bases, a person who accept such a world as true, could there be a final peace like Nibbana to a person like that?  Our battle, brothers and sisters, is from the time you are born, we are misled completely.  All the equipment that had been provided to us are misleading equipment.  And Buddha in his attainment of Buddhahood realized that there is one thing in us, that can be helpful to realistically understand the true nature of things, and that is your consciousness.  In one way, reality is performing a task in the way of creation of thoughts, in a worldly way, it is misleading..  May I ask you a question?  Whether the consciousness refer to what it has done so far to you is misleading, what it has so far created to you something wrong, something fabricated.  One would then ask a question if it is so, how could you make use of these consciousness?  To find something true that is something intricate, something which you must realistically understand.  Composition in its occur, consciousness in it’s original condition is nothing but mental energy.  It is pure, it is clean, it has no shape and form, its only energy.  When the mental energy that is present in you is disturbed as a result of an object catching in your sense bases, in this mental energy, perform the act of consciousness attach to that sense base.  That term consciousness normally, is the term given to the mental energy, when the mental energy is in contact with the sense base, before that it is pure energy.  And it is clearly stated by Buddha, that this energy is completely tainted, discolored, or maybe in a improper manner as a result of the object that is introduced into the energy, by the creation of a thought.  Thought is the outcome, when the object contacts the energy, energy by itself is not discolored, it’s pure.  But the real sense, when the object is something impure, something incorrect, something false, something fabricated, something in the nature of illusion, when it’s contact with this energy, the thought is created.  Depending on the object, which has contacted the energy, depends on the validity of this thought that you’ve created.  That is why Buddha has made use of this energy in a developed way, and also made those people who make use this energy to realize the true nature of things as impermanence, unsatisfactory and soullessness.  These are gospel truth, these are wisdom.  And, if one could make use of those 3 qualities which are permanent, which are really wisdom, unchallengeable wisdom, acceptable and ample proved in every sense as unshakable realities, when this energy make use of these wisdom, then you really can have a test about your true self.  Asking the thought which you’ve created about impermanence, whether your body and mind is anything permanent?  The face of that impermanence, which is the gospel truth, this delusion that is created in us, that this is permanent, the thought is permanent, it has no place at all to challenge the truth.  Now what we are doing as Buddhist is, we are developing our mind, in wisdom.  What is the wisdom we’re developing that everything in this world is impermanent, unsatisfactory and soullessness?  That cannot be challenged by any of authority.  That is reality, and when that reality, in connection with the mental energy creates the thought.  That thought is a true thought.  And what we are doing as persons following this religion, is preparing our mind by making use of this energy to realistically see through things, with the wisdom Buddha has given to us.  That wisdom is nothing but impermanence, unsatisfactory nature of things, and soullessness.  Isn’t that the truth that you apply to any situations? To test whether what your eyes show you is true, you make use of that wisdom, impermanence, unsatisfactory nature of things and the soullessness, corrected with the mental energy, and you test this experience I’ve gone through whether it is true or not. The eyes may have shown you something permanent, but the realistic aspect is impermanent, that is the thought created by the mental energy with the wisdom. In the face of that thought if you challenge, but the mind has created you find that  is the false creation.  So in every aspect in regard to experiences you’ve gone through in the creation of this world around you through your eyes, through your nose, through your tongue, through your ears, through your body and through your mind.  Now you begin to realize that all are fabrication, delusions, because they have made use of this energy in an undeveloped way, to accept the worldly way of looking at things and the worldly way is completely a misguiding force, delusion.  And you’ve lived in that worldly way.  Now Buddha shows you a path, where you have to develop your mind to a high degree in order to realize the wisdom revealed by him, and then make use of that wisdom, make the mental energy in the creation of thoughts and analyze everything that is around you with that standard measure.  And when you analyze with that standard measure, everything that you’ve experience in the world, with your eyes, ears, nose, tongue, mind and body, you realized that this equipment that have been provided by Mara for you to exist in this world and continue to exist in this world, have misled you completely.  And you’ve been living in this world, birth after birth, birth after birth, thousands thousands of time, because you had the opportunity, to come back for this truth revealed by Buddha, the 3 realities of life, which is the standard measure out of which you can find out exactly what you are, and whether your living is actually true or not.  And everything that is of value to you now, is are of value realistically, all that can be challenged by these 3 truths.  Isn’t that what we are?  Trying to cultivate in the Buddha way, you’re making use of these 3 things and nothing else.  Impermanence, unsatisfactory nature of things and the soullessness.  These are the 3 truths, this is the wisdom that we are cultivating, in your attainment to stream-entry, you’ve cultivated these 3 realities in your mind up to a degree, not fully.  In your attainment to the second stage of once-returner, you’ve got rid of so much attachment, therefore the mind is purer, and in that pure stage, you’ve introduced these 3 realities, and you’ve now seen these 3 realities in a better way, and with a higher standard then you experience it at the time of the stream-entry, once-returner stage. And when you develop your mind further and further, getting rid of the defilement that has discolored your mind and when you practised these 3 realities, you will see that you realized the true nature of the 3 realities, much better than you did when you entered the stream, when you experience the once-returner stage.  The third stage, non-returner stage, that truth is very clear to you.  Still there are beliefs; still there are views, false views in you, which you have to get rid of, because they are discoloring your mind.  And when these 3 truths are further developed within you, with the concentration and other equipment that you have gathered along the path, you realized, brothers and sisters, that you realistically see the world in a realistic sense.  What is the realistic sense to which you see the world, that everything you see is impermanence, unsatisfactory and soulless, everything you hear is impermanent, unsatisfactory and soulless. Everything you smell is unsatisfactory, soulless and impermanent. Everything you experience as taste is impermanent, unsatisfactory and soulless, everything you have experience in the nature of contact are all unsatisfactory, soulless, and impermanent.  And all your thoughts are also impermanent, unsatisfactory and soulless.  Then I am asking you the question, is there anything that you have seen substantial?  The next question, have you experience anything through your ears, anything substantial?  Ask the question in regards to all other experience gained through your 6 sense bases are they, have you gained anything substantial?  Anything of value?  Anything existing in this world?  You have gathered nothing, and you ultimately realize through your developed mind, that this body is also mental fabrication, this body also impure, feel no body at all in your mind. Mind has transcendedly serve to a higher stage when it can realistically understand the truth 3 realities, and in that condition of mind, this body does not exist in you. Then which in regards to the thinking aspect, that is the last thing with which you have to make a struggle, find a struggle. To challenge the thinking process, this consciousness, challenging it and see whether it is something substantial.  You develop your mind to a high degree, to a state of complete equanimity, not attached to anything, not averse to anything, state of pure equanimity.  And in that pure state of the mind, you start challenging the mind, you start analyzing the mind whether it is permanent, whether it is substantial, whether it is not changing, you find that the opposite is happening in there, that the very mind, that very consciousness that is there now in a state of equanimity, is also impermanent, unsatisfactory and soulless.  Is there anything in you then, brothers and sisters, which  is substantial, is there anything in you that you can say this is there, that is there and this is there.  You begin to realize that what the 6 sense bases this bring you are completely a  fabrication. That nothing in you, you have believe in them, planting in you a person who is the author of all your belief. All your activities through the 6 sense bases, all these are misleading fabrications, ultimately leading you along the path, to have repeated births and deaths.  And now have gone along the right track, you have got rid of this consciousness, the body, and that I can tell you in your third absorption, you see and you experience yourself. You don’t feel anything about the body in your third absorption. The forth absorption certainly the body is not felt by you. Now the mind has reached the higher level of realization, and in that state of mind, you begin to see the mind itself, and then you considered the mind as something impermanent, something unsatisfactory, something soulless.  As you go on meditating on the mind, reflecting on the mind carefully, this mind which is in the state of equanimity.  You see the mind also quietly, little by little, little by little, vanishes from your view, and you reach the state, when there is nothing, nothing, and that is the void.  Awareness that you are in the void is there, but there is nothing that substantial in you now, body is not felt, mind that appears to be the dominant factor which, give you all this impression that also has reached a very high degree, and then disappears from your view. What is there in you? Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  Is that what you realize ultimately?  That is your final realization.  And Buddha said that he would speak about such a realization to you because you have seen the end of the world which you have created.  And what is the world that you have created?  The world of experiences gained through the 6 sense bases.  You have gone through that world and that world has vanished from you now.  You have seen the end of the world.  And then now Buddha speaks of Nibbana to you.  And the Nibbana which he refers to at that stage, is that there is nothing in the world that is permanent, everything is impermanent, cause nothing in this world existing as substantial, everything is not substantial, empty, and there is nothing in the world, that continue to exist without a change, everything is soulless.  These are the 3 realities, ultimately you realized, brothers and sisters.  Where do you realize them?  Within you!  Where is this Nibbana which you search for? Is here, not there.  You created there, something imaginary, now you realized that there is imaginary.  And ultimate you create, you realize, that this so-called peace that you hunted for, that what you gave value to are all absolutely useless, all creation by the mind, and the final, final achievement of yours is you are at peace, nothing there is to hang on.  Nothing to cling to, nothing to call my own, nothing that can be created by the 6 sense bases, acceptable as truth, realistically understand that all that is delusion and nothing else.  That is why Buddha said, that is the world you have created, it has completely crumbled now to the earth, no more world exist for you, therefore you have seen the end of the world, brothers and sisters, and when you have seen the end of the world, Buddha refers to you that is Nibbana.  The first to Nibbana at that stage to you, because that is the only stage which you can realize the true state of Nibbana, it is nothing but what you have realized within you.  It is not something that is existing outside, all that has been created by you outside this completely delusion created by the 6 sense bases.  You have realized that delusion, and now you live in complete peace. 

As a worldling, brothers and sisters, you have to make use of your eyes, your other sense bases, as an Arahat, who has seen the great height?, but he knows what he sees.  He knows what he hears, he would not be misled by any of those but in a worldly way when he exists, he has to accept up to a point what is happening around him because his entire construction is a worldly construction.  His consciousness is a worldly consciousness, not a consciousness that can live in Nibbana. His body is a worldly construction, he is making use of this worldly equipment for his existence in this span of life is over.  That is why Buddha says that you finally give up everything at the time of your death.  And that is the last stage when any human being gives up everything, live in nothing, and that is the stage of Nibbana, which you will achieve.  May you all attain Nibbana.  Thank you.

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