DIGHA NIKAYA 9
“LETTING GO OF DOUBTS & VIEWS” by Sumith Siriwardana
“Potthapada—having other views, other practices, other satisfactions, other aims, other teachers—it’s hard for you to know whether perception is a person’s self or if perception is one thing and self another.”
“ Well then , lord, if—having other views, other practices, other satisfactions, other aims, other teachers—it’s hard for me to know whether perception is a person’s self or if perception is one thing and self another, then is it the case that the cosmos is eternal, that only this is true and anything otherwise is worthless?”… (continued)
“Potthapada, I haven’t expounded that the cosmos is eternal, that only this is true and anything otherwise is worthless.”
“Then is it the case that the cosmos is not eternal, that only this is true and anything otherwise is worthless?”
“Potthapada, I haven’t expounded that the cosmos is not eternal, that only this is true and anything otherwise is worthless.”
“Then is it the case that the cosmos is finite … the cosmos is infinite … the soul & the body are the same … the soul is one thing and the body another … after death a Tathagata exists … after death a Tathagata does not exist … after death a Tathagata both exists & does not exist … after death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist, that only this is true and anything otherwise is worthless?”
“Potthapada, I haven’t expounded that after death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist, that only this is true and anything otherwise is worthless.”
“But why hasn’t the Blessed One expounded these things?”
“Because they are not conducive to the goal, are not conducive to the Dhamma, are not basic to the holy life.”
“They don’t lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding. That’s why I haven’t expounded them.”
“abhikkantaṃ, bhante, abhikkantaṃ, bhante. Seyyathāpi, bhante, nikkujjitaṃ vā ukkujjeyya, paṭicchannaṃ vā vivareyya, mūḷhassa vā maggaṃ ācikkheyya, andhakāre vā telapajjotaṃ dhāreyya: ‘cakkhumanto rūpāni dakkhantī’ti; evamevaṃ bhagavatā anekapariyāyena dhammo pakāsito.”
> In this pharse, Potthapada exclaimed happiness in reverence to the Lord Buddha for clearing his doubts and revealing the truth. After this exclamation, Potthapada went forth for refuge of Buddha, Dhamma and Sanga as a lay follower.
> Clearing doubts of a person is not an easy task. It takes time, energy and it can be inconvenient too because of the fixed views. All these fixed views are just a generation of concepts of Me, I and Myself. Having a fixed view, one can not realize what other teachers preach because other teachings might not match with his or her concepts. If the other teachings contradict, they debate and fight.
> Potthapada was different though he was another acetic leader. He was flaxible and having “good eyes”. It reminded him that the Lord Buddha could provide answers to his questions which were discussed and debated by other religious leaders in the dabating Hall. The Lord Buddha answered in difference to other religious teachers based on Sila (Morality), Samadi (Concentration) and Panna (Descernment) and showed the path and fruition here and now and it cleared Potthapada’s doubts.
> Doubt is a hindrance in our meditative practice too. Doubts can be doubts about the teaching, practice, results, right or wrong etc. They put a barriar to proceed us further. This requires “good eyes” and one with good eyes can see. Good eyes are the initial desernment for developing confidence that this religious path could solve my problems questions and sufferings. This should come with questioning and answering.
> How do we clear our doubts and find the path that has been lost and light a lamp in the darkeness? It is the practice of The Noble Eight Fold Path based on Sila Samadi and Panna. Then, you could be able to find what has been hidden and right what has been overturned.
atthasaṃhita: (Pali)connected with the goal; useful, profitable; having meaning (see attha)
“It’s not easy!!! It requires letting go of views about self and past understanding about self.It’s leaving the safety of a self view… even if that view is destructive.So often we would rather cling to a destructive view that brings suffering than let go of that view to be free.” – Steve Linder
> Find good Dhamma friends who know the correct Dhamma.
> Listen and read Dhamma to clear your doubts and gain a knowledge.
> Reflect the Dhamma by applying to your life.
> Practice accordingly to see results here and now.
> MEDITATION PLACE
Find a secluded place. If you are at home, your room is fine but better at a time of less noisy and busy.
RELAXAfter sitting comfortably on a cushion or a pillow or floor, try to sit in a way that your knees are touching on the floor, for suggestions like the lotus position, half-lotus position, or Burmese way. However, if you have an ailment or a body pain, better sit in a comfortable position like a small chair, and just be relaxed.
TRIPLE GEMS (1-2 MIN)
Take refuge in the Triple Gems.
I take refuge in The Lord Buddha
I take refuge in The Dhamma
I take refuge in The Sanga
After taking refuge, place your hands on your lap and keep your right palm on top of your left palm. While looking at three feet in front, close your eyes. Relax and be aware that you are sitting now.
Observe your breath mindfully. Better if you can identify the touching point of your breath near your nostrils. Some might feel at the tip of the nose and some might feel inside of the nose and some might feel on top of the nose. Wherever you feel keep your attention (Sathi Nimittha), and allow your breath in and breath out.
In the beginning, you might not feel the types of breath like long or short. But it is fine as long as you are aware of the breath in and breath out. Advanced practitioners can observe the types of breath.
Observe your different types of feelings such as pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral feelings and discern that they just arise, come into being and cease and there is nothing to attach.
Observe your different types of minds such as lustful minds, angry minds, deluded, concentrated minds, uplifted minds, shattered minds, etc. and discern that they just arise, come into being and cease and there is nothing to attach.
Observe five hindrances and aggregates and defilements arose by senses and discern that they just arise, come into being and cease and there is nothing to attach.
SELF GUIDED MEDITATION
> Clearing your doubts is a way for awakening.
> Fixed views are barriers to your practice.
> Good eyes are a way for awakening.
“Most of us know so much that there are no bounds to our knowledge. When our knowledge has no bounds, it’s like a forest fire that burns everything in sight. In other words, we’re so smart that we outsmart ourselves. We know what’s right and wrong but can’t keep ourselves from doing what’s wrong. This kind of knowledge serves no purpose and can only cause us harm. That’s why it’s like a forest fire that goes out of control and destroys everyone’s orchards and fields. People like this end up a total loss. They know everything in the world except for themselves. Knowledge with no bounds can cause two sorts of harm: We ourselves are harmed by it, and other people get harmed as well.”
“If you study the Dhamma without practicing it, it’s as if you’re missing parts of your body. If you study and practice, it’s like having two eyes, two hands, and two legs. You can do things a lot more easily than a person with only one eye, one hand, or one leg.”
“So, regardless of your background, whether you’ve studied a lot, or studied a little, it doesn’t matter. It’s not a question of simply adopting the Buddha’s views and getting to a point where you agree: “Yes — I now agree with the Buddha.” It’s more that he gives you a task to do, and as you do the task, you’re going to learn some important things about what actually is possible in the mind. And *that* possibility is there for everybody — which is why the Dhamma-eye is always the same for everybody.”~ Thanissaro Bhikkhu “The Dhamma Eye”