The Middle Length Discourses: MN 9 Right View (Sammaditthi Sutta)
Pages 132 – 144
To be read out loud: Sections 3 – 8
This month we look at the central teachings on right view. Sariputta begins by saying that right view arises when one understands what is wholesome and unwholesome, and when one understands the roots of wholesome and unwholesome.
The Buddha’s teachings are often grounded in the principle of karma, that experience unfolds lawfully or conditionally, and that connecting one’s experience to the intentions that support it (feed it) is essential in understanding and going beyond dukkha. Although we see wholesome and unwholesome experiences all the time, have we been interested enough to discover the supporting roots in the conditioned mind?
Venerable Sariputta says, “When a noble disciple has thus understood the unwholesome and the root of the unwholesome, the wholesome and the root of the wholesome, she entirely abandons the underlying tendency to lust, she abolishes the underlying tendency to aversion, she extirpates the underlying tendency to the view and conceit ‘I am’ and by abandoning ignorance and arousing true knowledge she here and now makes an end of suffering.” p. 133
In the following sections, Sariputta systematically goes through various elements that we use to construct our world of experience and describes how they conditionally arise dependent on craving. With the abandoning of craving arises the cessation of suffering. Developing the eightfold path leads to the abandoning of craving.
This month we can observe directly how the conditioned, reactive mind led by both wholesome and unwholesome roots, sustained by the nutriments constructs worlds of experience. These constructed worlds or internal stories or narratives are often experienced as heavy and stressful. Seeking a way out we are asked to discern the underlying causes of these constructions and let them cease in the mind through a process of deepening understanding and non-attachment. Cessation of dukkha does not arise because we want it to, letting go naturally follows from full understanding.