Sutta Study Theme 10-3-15

From Craving to Liberation, From Grasping to Emptiness: Excursions into the Thought­-World of the Pali Discourses by Bhikkhu Analayo
Chapter 4, Ill­-will, pages 54 -­ 65,

Sections to be read outloud:
Last 2 paragraphs on p. 57
First 2 paragraphs of 4.2, pages 59-­60
Last 2 paragraphs on p. 63 to end

When we pay attention, we can feel the direct effects of ill­-will as they are immediately apparent in the body and mind. Upon reflection, let’s also learn to sense the the long term effects of ill­-will governing the mind. It is the habits of the mind to justify ill­-will when desires are not gratified, “Why can’t I have what others have?” But, the fact remains, actions arising out of ill­-will set in motion suffering. Are we willing to notice this again and again?

What happens when we repeatedly discern the consequences of ill­-will? When caught in the grip of anger, what happens if we experience this grip with openness? Does the clear seeing of it uproot our unquestioned faith in the functionality of aversion? Is it true that Ill­-will is always dysfunctional? The Buddha is not saying that strong action is inherently dysfunctional, just those actions that arise out of a mind that pushes away experience.

This month let’s practice offering the world beautiful gifts ­- the three ‘right’ intentions mentioned in the teachings on the Eightfold Path: renunciation/generosity, goodwill, and compassion/harmlessness. We can learn to see these three wise intentions as the trustworthy causes for non-­stress and peace. The grip of ill­-will can be recognized as the opposite as the boundless state of goodwill. Once we are able to remember the open, relaxed and unfixed space of goodwill, it becomes easier to detect the contracted space of ill will. There is no letting go without an honest and clear recognition, “Ill­-will is like this now, ill­-will is being known, ill-­will feels like this, can this be OK?”

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