Sutta Study Reflection Theme 7-7-2012

The Middle Length Discourses: MN 38

The Greater Discourse on the Destruction of Craving

Mahatanhasankhaya Sutta

Pages 349 – 261

Sections to be read out loud:19,22, 23, 24, 25, 30

Discussion Theme:

Once the Buddha decided to teach, he had to find a way to describe experience that fit with his direct experiential understanding. His insight revealed that there was no permanent, essential self or soul that continued from moment to moment or life to life. Instead, his practice revealed that this life is a natural, conditioned process that is unfolding lawfully dependently according to causes (nutriments).

His strong rebuke to Sati with the ‘pernicious’ view was probably due to the difficulty in getting his students to put aside all notions of the continuity of self and to instead view life as a conditioned process without any core. There is a strong emphasis in this path of having right view pointed out conceptually or intellectually as a support for developing mindfulness and insight – seeing things as they are.

This month, let us take up right view and try it out. Let’s make the effort to learn and even memorize some version of the Buddha’s teaching on right view and then practice applying it to our experience as we meet experience moment by moment. This can be an on-going reflection. Recently while on retreat, when opening to some arising experience, I would ask the question, “Is this self or is this nature?” This helped the mind to stay interested in how one’s view shapes one’s experience. With wrong view there will be dukkha.

It will be important that we all feel empowered to articulate for ourselves the difference between right view (it is all a natural process unfolding) and wrong view (projecting a self at the center of experience). Please consider sharing your reflections with the whole group via our email list.

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