Sutta Study Theme 8-1-15

From Craving to Liberation, From Grasping to Emptiness: Excursions into the Thought­World of the Pali Discourses by Bhikkhu Analayo

Chapter 2, Grasping/Upadana, pages 26 ­-38

Read Out Loud? (Feel free to skip pronounciation of the pali when we read passages together)
p. 28, last two paragraphs ending at the top of p.29
p. 29, last paragraph ending at top of p. 30.
p. 34, first three paragraphs
p. 37 & 38 all

Discussion Theme:

Let’s reflect, have our efforts to experience sensual pleasures been gratifying in a long­term sense? The Buddha uses powerful images (see page 27) regarding the stress and frustration of seeking real gratification (unshakeable release of the heart) from sensual experiences. Of course, when the mind is superficial or focused on short term results, seeking and grasping at pleasant experiences appear to be rational. Venerable Analayo suggests that we ask, “Is drinking poison OK just because it is delicious?” The Buddha also points out that it is our tendency to grasp after rules & observances, and self views. In the most general sense, we relate to the activity of the body and mind as fuel for grasping.

Bhikkhu Analayo suggests that we use the ‘five aggregates ?affected?by clinging’ as the more useful definition of dukkha. This definition suggests that the five aggregates of bodily form, feeling, perception, mental formations and consciousness are the fuel for suffering. The fire of suffering itself, although dependent on the these five aggregates, is its own activity. In other words, it is possible to experience body and mind without craving and grasping. The Buddha suggest we focus on the question, “What are the conditions for suffering, craving and grasping, to arise?”

As long as the mind turns to the things of the world for safety and gratification, there will be dependence and stress. If the mind is able to train itself to turn toward renunciation and peace of non grasping as its refuge, then, naturally, freedom from grasping arises.

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