E-notes from Saigon # 7:
The Vietnamese bhikkhus started the session in our hotel lobby after lunch by saying that they had never heard such a Teaching before (as explained by A.Sujin) and would have continued to 'try' in the circle of ignorance otherwise. Even when coming to see Ajahn, there was still some idea of getting something for themselves. (They were so sincere).
A.Sujin: It has to be like this until right understanding completely eradicates silabbataparamasa - the wrong path, the wrong practice, even for those who understand the Teachings.
As long as there is the idea of self it must be like this. Even right now there can be an intention to be aware and right understanding can see that it's not right. Right intention is not the 8fold Path. By understanding, there will be the letting go of the intention to do, wanting to have..... So the sotapanna's panna eradicates silabbataparamasa completely. Right understanding will keep one on the right track, so begin again and again so that understanding is firmly conditioned. It takes quite a long time before it is as firm as sacca nana. So don't expect quick results to get rid of the idea of self because it is the function of panna, not self.
It needs 10 paramis to develop understanding of any degree.
We learn about seeing and visible object. Sometimes there may be thinking about them unexpectedly. This is because of vitakka. Sometimes there is the attending to seeing or visible object even before the moment of thinking. All are in darkness when panna is not there. In truth, all dhammas arise and fall away in darkness. Only one reality can be seen. So there is 'double darkness'! When there is no understanding, there is darkness, ignorance - doesn't know what is there. There is seeing, but no understanding what seeing really is. It arises by conditions, just that and then there are other cittas in darkness, thinking about what appears as visible object, like in a dream.
Citta arises and falls away all the time and seems to be light, but when it appears as it is, it's not light. Just seeing, thinking and hearing and other cittas arising and falling away in darkness. Even in darkness, right understanding can understand. So can one say one understands citta? There can be the beginning to understand what is meant by the world - nothing, something, nothing.
That which does not arise is nibbana. Before studying, one might think of a place, a beautiful, peaceful place, but it's not a worldly dhamma, it's lokuttara. If the Buddha didn't teach us, no one could know about this.
Excerpts from Sarah's trip to Vietnam
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