Ajahn Sumedho
The Way It Is
Amaravati Publications 1991


Sumedho 8
Dependent Origination: paticcasamuppada

Sumedho 15
Investigating the mind
The root of suffering is what we call avijja – not-knowing, or ignorance of the way things really are. This basic ignorance is one of not understanding our true nature. We suffer because of views and opinions, and because of habits and conditions which we do not understand. We live our lives in a state of ignorance.

Comment Boe: the root of dukkha – not-knowing ourselves. Taking our thinking I to be our control-center. Our true nature – Trinity: body-I, our unconscious; social- I, our conventional wisdom; the mind- I, our habits and memories, our experiences that force us to repeat. Buddhas teaching is a psychology of human being! About desire, about wanting, about control-morality (should).
17
In order to understand existence, we contemplate ordinary feelings, memories and thoughts rather than grasp hold of fantastic ideas and thoughts to understand the extremes of existence.
So we are not getting involved with speculation about the ultimate purpose of life, God, the devil, heaven and hell, hat happens when we die or reincarnation. In Buddhist meditation you just observe the here and now.

Sumedho 22
Everything that arises passes away
The Buddha said that the origin of all suffering is ignorance – so it is important to consider what he really meant by ignorance - avijja
A condition is something that arises and passes away; it is not the uncreated, unborn, unoriginated ultimate reality....the supramundane wisdom, lokuttara panna;
Nirvana (Nibbana) is the experience of that transcendent reality. This is when we suddenly know the truth, not by studying the Pali scriptures or a Zen book, but through direct experience. Buddhist meditation is really being aware, rather than becoming Buddha
We generally conceive the truth as being some thing and Nirvana as being some peaceful state of mind or exstatic experience. But the Buddha was very careful never to describe the Ultimate Reality or Nirvana – he never said very much about it. People want to know what it is, write books on it and speculate about the nature of Nirvana – but this is exactly what the Buddha did not do. Instead,
he pointed to direct knowing of conditions that change, that which we can know through our own experience at this moment. This is not a matter of believing anyone else. It is a matter of knowing at this moment that whatever arises passes away.
24
Buddhist meditation is a way of looking at the conditions of the mind, investigating and seeing what they are, rather than believing in them.
So – if you reflect…that is condition of mind that arises and passes away. That condition is dependent upon another condition, memory is what we have experienced, and the future is unknown. But who is it that knows the conditions of the moment? I cant find it: there is only the knowing, and knowing can know anything that is present now – pleasant of unpleasant – speculations about the future or reminicences of the past – creations of yourself as this or that. You create yourself or the world you live in – so you cant really blame anyone else. If you do do, it is because you are still ignorant. The One Who Knows we call Buddha – but that does not mean that Buddha is a condition. Buddha is the knowing.
I am shocked and amazed at many religious people – Christian or Buddhist – who seem to be ignorant regarding the practice of their religion. Few people seem to have any perspective on religious doctrine and belief and disbelief. They do not bother to find out.
They are still trying to describe the indescribable, limit the unlimited, know the unknowable. They believe what somebody else has told them. Nowadays Theravada Buddhist monks will tell you that you cannot get enlightend, there is no way you can even attain stream-entry, the first stage of sainthood – that those days are past. They believe that enlightenment is such a remote possibility that they do not even put forth much effort to see that all that arises passes away

Sumedho 28
Sankhitena pancupadanak-khandha dukkha
Seyyathidam
In brief, the five focuses of the grasping mind are dukkha:
they are as follows:
Rupapadanak-khando
Vedanupadanak-khando
Sannupadanak-khando
Sankharupadanak-khando
Vinnanupadanak-khando
Yesam parinnaya
Dharmano so bhagava
Evam bahulam savake vineti
Evam bhaga ca panassa bhagavato savakesu anusani bahula pavattati
For the complete understanding of this,
The Blessed One in his lifetime
Frequently instructed his disciples in just this way.
In addition he further instructed:
Rupam aniccam
Vedana anicca
Sanna anicca
Sankhara anicca
Vinnanam aniccam
Rupam anatta
Vedana anatta
Sanna anatta
Sankhara anatta
Vinanam anatta
Sabbe sankhara anicca
Sabbe dhamma anattati
All conditions are transient
There is no self in the Created or the Uncreated

Te mayam
Otinnamha jatija jaramarena
Sokhehi paridevehi dukkhehi domanassehi upayasehi
Dukkhotina dukkhapareta
Appevanamimassa kevalassa dukkhak-khandhassa antakiriya
Panayethati
All of us
Are bound by birth, ageing and death
By sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair
Bound by Dukkha and obstructed by Dukkha.
Let us all aspire to complete freedom from suffering.


Sumedho 31
Buddha wisdom is an understanding of the way things are through observing oneself
rather than observing how the stars and planets operate. We don’t go out looking at the trees and contemplating Nature as if it were an object of our vision: we observe Nature as it operates through this personal formation.

Comment Boe: subjectivity vs. objectivity
Insight (wisdom) vs. knowledge
Letting go vs. control


As you begin to understand and experience letting go in your practice, you realize what Buddhas know: sabbe sankhara anicca, sabbe dhamma anatta.
It is not the words, insight is different from conceptual knowledge. But you are now penetrating, going deep, breaking through the illusion of the self as being anything at all or nothing.
The Buddha pointed to the way between these two extremes: of believing you have a self and believing you do not have a self. There is nothing to be found in the five khandhas which has a permanent self or soul: things arise out of the Unconditioned and return to the Unconditioned.

Comment Boe: the Middle Way
Dern sai glang
เดิน สาย กลสง

Sumedho 52
The Buddha pointed to the way of seeing things as they are; this is what we mean by enlightenment. Seeing the way it actually is, we are not doomed to living in a realm which there is no way out of. There is a clear way out of the realm of misery.
The Buddha said: I teach only two things –
suffering and the end of suffering.
Understanding dukkha: Suffering is something we create. Observe suffering to know the dukkha.


The Buddha refered to his teaching as a raft which you can make out of the things around you. The raft is to carry us across the sea of ignorance – avijja.
When we get to the other shore, we can let it go. This other shore can also be a delusion, because the other shore and this shore are really the same. The way of mindfulness is alwaysa appropriate to the time and place.
Suffering is not dependent on the world being good or bad, but on how willing we are to use wisdom in this present moment. The way out of suffering is now.

Sumedho 120
Dependent Origination I
Ignorance is the Self-View

The uniqueness of the Buddhist approach is anatta – the realization of not-self.
The particular style of reflection in structures like the Four Noble Truths and the paticcasamutpada changes the way of thinking, from the self-view – of the soul and me as an absolute – to anatta – the not-self.
The Buddha was very careful to avoid extreme positions, his teaching is a very skillfully and carefully constructed psychology. Its aim is to
help us see through and let go of all habitual attachments – attitudes born out of ignorance, fear and desire – that create this illusory sense of a self. If you just see through that self-view, let go of that, then you will understand the rest. See that, and know and understand the way of letting go, of non-attachment. Then the Truth reveals itself wherever you are, all the time.

Sumedho 127
Dependent Origination II
Momentary Arising

Ajahan Buddhadasa : Depentant Origination:…his approach has been on the paticcasamutpada as working in the moment rather than in terms of past, present and future lives. The whole sequence of depentant origination arises and ceases in a moment. The arising and the cessation from avijja is momentary, it is not a kind of permanent avijja.
When we get to the cessation of ignorance, then at that moment, all the rest of the sequence ceases. When there is vijja, then the suffering ceases. In any moment when there is true mindfulness and wisdom, there is no suffering. When you contemplate the cessation of desire, cessation of grasping, there is the cessation of becoming, cessation of rebirth and suffering. When things cease, there is
knowing, serenity, emptiness, not-self. Because of heedlessness and lack of attention, we get caught in habitual (karmic) mind stuff. But when we realize we have been heedless, we can let it cease, we can let go. There is the letting go, the abiding in emptiness. No longer is there anything to grasp. One can still experience and see the way things are without grasping it.

Sumedho 132
Dependant Origination III
The formations of the self

Avijjapaccaya sankhara – ignorance conditions the kammic formation, i.e. bodyand mind are defined by the five khandhas. That is when we operate from a position of ignorance, not understanding the truth, and everything that we experience and do and say and feel is conditioned from that ignorance.
This is where the self-view is such a blind spot. When we think of the kammic formation as a self rather than as not-self then everything that happens, everything that is experienced, is refered to that sense of a person – me as a perception. This is avijjapaccaya sankhara. If you have the insight that all conditions are impermanent, all dhamma is non-self, then there is knowing of vijja, knowing the Dhamma, the truth of the way it is.
The suffering is the greed, hatred and delusion we produce through the self-view, through taking it all personally. The creations and attachments to wrong views and prejudices and biases can all be traced back to avijjapaccaya sankhara.
When we see clearly with vijja, then there is nobody to become anything or to achieve or to attain.

Comment Boe: I want – I get caught in my habits – wu wei – ziran – not doing – let become, let grow – Antonio Machado Caminante, no hay camino, se hace camino al andar – There is no control center, no Ego – there is an uncontrollable trinity of I s:
Body-I, Mind-I, Social-I. Moeller,
brain research (Ramachandran, Damasio, Edelman),
philosophy (Dennet, Singer, Roth, Hofstaedter)

Sumedho 139
Dependent Origination IV
Feeling conditions desire
In the beginning of practice of paticcasamutpada is avijjapaccayasankhara
Ignorance conditions the kammic formations. Avijja is the ignorance of not knowing the Four Noble Truths. There is ignorance in any being who does not understand that there is suffering, the arising of suffering, the cessation of suffering, and the path leading to its cessation.The word for knowing in this sense is vijja – the knowing of the Four Noble Truths: the insight into suffering, origin, cessation and path. When we have not have insight into truth, avijja – not knowing, conditions the sankhara. We create an I am. You notice,
the first Noble Truth does not say I suffer, it says: There is suffering! There is Dukkha, It is not saying that anybody suffers. However, we think, we suffer. The suffering we create out of ignorance.
When there is knowledge, insight, vijja, then we realize there is nobody to suffer
.

Sumedho 148
Dependent Origination V
Letting go of desire

The arising of dukkha is due to the grasping of desires. The insight is that there is this origin of arising and that desire should be let go of. This is the Second Noble Truth: it is the insight knowledge of letting go.
Letting go is not a getting rid of or putting down with any aversion. Letting go means to be able to be with what is displeasing without dwelling in aversion – because aversion is an attachment. Fear, aversion – all this is grasping and clinging. Dispassion is acceptance and awareness of things as they are, letting go of the aversion to what is ugly or unpleasant.
154
Our practice is one of realizing cessation. That is when we talk about emptiness: we realize the empty mind, where there is no self. There is no sense of the mind being anybody. When there is no self, there is peace. Where there is me and mine, then there is no peace.
I observe that when there is no self, no attachment, then the way of relating to others is through metta (kindness), karuna (compassion), mudita (sympathetic joy), upekkha (serenity) – the brahma-viharas.


Sumedho 157
brahma-viharas
Metta kindness
Karuna compassion
Mudita sympathetic joy
Upekkha serenity of mind

158
Metta, karuna, mudita, upekkha provide a reflection: they form a sequence of how to relate to the world.
Metta is very much how we should relate to ourselves too. It is how to relate to ourselves with kindness and acceptance rather than with aversion and judgement. Metta is having a perspective and not creating even about the unfairness, injustice, inadequacies of ourselves, or others or of society.
Karuna is compassion. When we see the suffering of others and the injustice and unfairness that exist, we respond with karuna. It is from understanding the nature of suffering, how it arises and ceases, that you can haver true karuna for other beings.
Mudita – When you look at flowers, you experience a joyful feeling and that is mudita, a rejoicing in beauty and goodness and truth. And we rejoice in the goodness of others. Mudita is and our ability to be joyful with the beauty and loveliness of lifes experiences.
Upekkha - To be able to abide in serenity of the mind, we are not going around looking for beautiful things to find delight in, because there is no self. The ordinariness of life is upekkha, serenity. Its about having peacefulness with the pains and aches of the aging process and the separation of the loved.
Brahma-viharas are considered as lokiya dhamma, mundane dhamma, not the transcendent or lokuttara dhamma. Because of the way that the mind tends to think, the view arises that lokiya dhammas are not worth bothering with. Lokuttara dhamma is the important one. You don’t pay much attention to lokiya dhammas. But with mindfulness, you are with the relationship of the lokiya to the lokuttara dhamma. When there is no self, when there is no ignorance conditioning the mental formations, then there is the way of things – the lokiya dhammas. When there is no more ignorance, there is spontaneity. That is what spontaneity is, there is no self in it. It is a more natural way to respond to beauty, truth and virtue.

Comment Boe: emergent social phenomenon - the evolved capacity to coordinate behavior of all metazoa – planning: interaction with the future, stable foreseeable patterns of interaction – communication - language: – metta, compassion, sympathetic joy, serenity. nothing "devine"!!!


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