Sutta Study Reflection Theme 12-7-13

The Island: An Anthology of the Buddha’s Teachings on Nibbana

By Ajahn Pasanno and Ajahn Amaro

Chapter Seven, Attending to the Deathless pages 123 – 130

Sections to be read out loud:

7.1, 7.3, 7.5, 7.10, 7.11

Discussion Theme:

Venerable Sariputta offers simple poignant advice to his brother monk Venerable Annuruddha to not identify with thoughts (no matter how seemingly important they appear to be) that are associated with conceit, restlessness and anxiety, but instead to attend to the deathless. This month let us reflect on skillful ways to intuite and turn the mind toward the deathless.

A few years ago Ajahn Punnadhammo shared a meditation on emptiness with us in which one carefully removes from perception all aspects of form, space and consciousness leaving behind what is unformed, unconditioned or void. You can find a version of that guided meditation that he did at IMS at this link: http://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/8/talk/19346/

Later in the chapter Ajahn Pasanno and Amaro caution us not to equate thoughts and experience of union or merging with the “All”, as being the same as the Buddha’s pointing to the cessation of passion, craving and all ideas of becoming and non-becoming in the heart. The authors advise that we use the metaphor of waking from a dream – the cessation of illusion/delusion rather than an image of a river merging with the ocean, “I awaken to my true home!”

Phrases used in the chapter related to the deathless:

“Gains a footing in the deathless”

Unconditioned

Voidness or emptiness

“Ending of mental outflows”

“Timelessness…The immobile hub… The still point” p.125

“The sorrowless state that is free from stain.” Iti 51, 7.4, p. 127

“This is peaceful, this is exquisite – the stilling of all mental processes, the relinquishment of all the paraphernalia of becoming, the ending of craving, dispassion, cessation, nibbana.” 7.3, p. 126

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