Keeping awareness in the present

1 April 2533

Keeping awareness in the present

Delight and aversion arise dependent on some particular sensation. For instance, if we see something we like, the mind proliferates around that liking. If aversion or dislike takes over, the mind proliferates in a different way. In other words, the mind doesn’t see things the way they are. When we say the mind doesn’t see things the way they are, we mean that the mind is under the influence of delight and aversion, which make the mind either fall into the past or float off into the future. Saying that the mind falls into delight and aversion or saying that the mind doesn’t see things the way they are, is to say one and the same thing. Either way the mind does not have awareness with each sensation as it arises.

Now if we experience a sensation in the present moment, but do not attach to it with delight or aversion, then the mind will simply follow each sensation with awareness. Delight and aversion do not have a chance to arise, because of sati, which causes the mind to stay with the present moment.

When the mind doesn’t proliferate under the influence of delight and aversion, then we do not see things through the “colored glasses” of our likes and dislikes. We see things as they are. It is said that all things in this world are simply as they are in themselves, nothing more. But the mind defiled by delight and aversion proceeds to paint things into something more than what they are. We don’t see things as they are. Without the staining effect of desire and aversion, we see things as they are.

Thus sati facilitates the arising of wisdom, helping our mind not to fall into the past or float into the future with delight and aversion, but seeing things as they are, which is a function of paññā, wisdom.

The practice of satipaṭṭhāna is said to help eradicate desire and aversion and to see things as they are. Now when we are more adept at seeing things as they arise, we will notice their arising, existence and cessation. When we perceive the various sensations coming and going as they do, we will be seeing the process by which they function, seeing that they are constantly arising and ceasing. They are impermanent. Seeing impermanence (anicca) we will also see dukkha (suffering) and anatta (selflessness), the Three Characteristics. So the practice of satipaṭṭhāna on deeper levels enables us to see the arising, changing and dissolution of all things. This is seeing the Three Characteristics of conditioned existence, which is the arising of wisdom. The mind will then no longer clutch on to or be influenced by external sensations. The mind becomes its own master and breaks free, and that freedom is the fruition of wisdom development.

As I said in the beginning of this talk, if mind knows the truth of life, the disease of avijjā1 will not arise. The disease of the mind is caused by avijjā, ignorance, which causes the mind to proliferate.

Now this is the practice of Buddhism. Notice that it all relates to us. The practice I’ve been talking about here is based on this fathom-long body. The truth can be seen right here. Living in this world we experience the environment as sensations. If we don’t practice appropriately towards those sensations we experience problems.

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เชิงอรรถ

  1. Ignorance of the true nature of existence

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