Pilgrimage India, Alone with Dhamma, no 1

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In dhammastudygroup, Yahoo Group, Nina Van Gorkom wrote:

• nina van gorkom

Alone with Dhamma

Pilgrimage in India, October 2005.

Chapter 1

Alone with Dhamma

³We live alone in the world², this was one of the striking points Acharn
Sujin explained to us during our pilgrimage in India with hundred and twenty
Dhamma-friends from Thailand and elsewhere.

We read in the Kindred Sayings (IV, 144, Kindred Sayings on Sense, § 165,
Abandoning Wrong View, translated by Ven. Bodhi) that the Buddha said:

³Bhikkhu, when one knows and sees the eye as impermanent, wrong view is
abandoned. When one knows and sees forms as impermanent… eye-consciousness
as impermanent… eye-contact as impermanent… whatever feeling arises with
mind-contact as condition… as impermanent, wrong view is abandoned. It is
when one knows and sees thus that wrong view is abandoned.²

The Buddha spoke thus with regard to all dhammas appearing through the six
doorways.
When a person dies we may think about the impermanence of life, but this is
not the realization of the truth of impermanence, the truth that each
reality that arises because of its appropriate conditions falls away. The
Buddha teaches us what life really is: it is one moment of experiencing an
object through one of the six doorways, the doorways of the senses and the
mind-door. Visible object, sound, these are dhammas appearing at this
moment, but we are ignorant of the truth.

Acharn Sujin said that we live alone in the world, that we believe that
there are many people around us, but that this is thinking. It is hard to
accept this truth. Citta thinks of relatives and friends who exist. However,
in the ultimate sense, a person is citta, cetasika and rúpa. Citta is
consciousness, cetasikas are the mental factors arising with the citta, and
rúpa are physical phenomena. Seeing is a citta, hearing is another citta and
thinking again another citta. Citta and the accompanying cetasikas arise and
then fall away immediately and also the rúpas of which the body consists
arise and fall away.
Understanding that in the ultimate sense a person is impermanent mental
phenomena and bodily phenomena does not mean that there cannot be kindness
and compassion for others. On the contrary, the Buddha exhorted us to
develop all kinds of kusala and to assist our fellowmen. However, at the
same time we can develop understanding of what life really is: the
experience of one object through one of the six doors. When there is less
clinging to my personality¹ we shall be more concerned for other people¹s
welfare.
Acharn Sujin explained that we are born alone: the rebirth-consciousness is
a citta that arises and falls away and is succeeded by a following citta.
There cannot be more than one citta at a time. We see alone, we think alone,
we sleep alone, we die alone. The citta that falls away never returns; after
passing away from this plane there is no return of the same individual.
Whenever citta arises, it experiences one object and then falls away
immediately. When visible object appears we take it immediately as this
person or my friend, but that is thinking on account of the experience of
visible object. The Buddha taught about all dhammas appearing through the
six doors, and during our pilgrimage this was a topic of discussion time and
again.

******
Nina.

• Jonothan Abbott

Hi Nina

Great to see this series come up. And for those of us who were on the
trip, pleasant memories also.

Jon

dear Nina,

thank you so much for this timely post. Today was one of those
really dreadful days at work, totally too busy, not enuff nurses to
do the job blah, blah, blah. Came home from work feeling really
despondent and read this……

yes, ‘we’ are alone, just citta, cetasika, rupa.
despite the tensions at work, I believe knowing this sooo helps.
To be friendly towards people who are very stressed, certainly
improves the situation.

Of course, its not so easy when I am the stressed one! however,
that’s life, and it does help me to read a post like this.
thank you, thank you Nina

Patience, courage and good cheer,
Azita.

• Phil

> Acharn Sujin said that we live alone in the world, that we believe
that
> there are many people around us, but that this is thinking. It is
hard to
> accept this truth.

Ph: To paraphrase Tom from one of the talks, it seems to me easy
to accept it, or believe it intellectually, and be comforted by it
in a shallow way, but to really understand it, to know directly that
there are only nama and rupa – this seems so very far away. I tend
to think that no matter how much understanding I develop in the
years to come, when it comes down to parting from Naomi, all the
understanding I have accumulated will all vanish and I’ll be left
clinging painfully to a person who seems ever so real to me.

But the understanding will still be accumulated and carried on to
future lives, so if the natural accumulated tendency to cling to
people has its day, so be it. It is just one kind of accumulated
tendency. Panna is also accumulating.

And as A. Sujin said when you talked about the “cold shower” of
hearing that our loved ones are just nama and rupa – “it’s the
truth, it’s the truth….nobody can change the Buddha’s word.” The
truth is the truth.

Phil

• nina van gorkom

Hi Phil,
>> Acharn Sujin said that we live alone in the world, that we believe
> that
>> there are many people around us, but that this is thinking. It is
> hard to
>> accept this truth.
>
> Ph: I tend to think that no matter how much understanding I develop in the
years to come, when it comes down to parting from Naomi, all the
understanding I have accumulated will all vanish and I’ll be left clinging
painfully to a person who seems ever so real to me.
>
> But the understanding will still be accumulated and carried on to
> future lives, so if the natural accumulated tendency to cling to
> people has its day, so be it. It is just one kind of accumulated
> tendency. Panna is also accumulating.
——
N: I feel the same about parting from Lodewijk. But you gave the answer.
Understanding cannot take away the pain. Only when one has become an
anaagaamii, there is no more clinging to persons, to sense objects. This
means also: no more sadness on account of these.
So, we should know that there is sadness for us. At the moment of
understanding dhammas the citta is kusala and there is no sadness.
We should think of the suttas in Nidaanavagga (S.N. II) about the ocean of
tears.

——
Ph: > And as A. Sujin said when you talked about the “cold shower” of
> hearing that our loved ones are just nama and rupa – “it’s the
> truth, it’s the truth….nobody can change the Buddha’s word.” The
> truth is the truth.
—–
N: We can see the value of knowing the truth. Even when the truth is bitter.
It is useless to deceive ourselves and to live with delusion.
Nina.

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