The Island: An Anthology of the Buddha’s Teachings on Nibbana
By Ajahn Pasanno and Ajahn Amaro
Chapter Three, This and That, and Other Things; pages 55 – 65
Sections to be read out loud:
S 12.20 page 59
Ud 1.10 pages 62 – 63
The Sutta’s that are discussed in Chapter Three are inviting us to explore the conditional nature of experience in two related ways, and to notice the effect of this exploration on the mind – the experience of dukkha and its release.
First, we are encouraged to contemplate what happens to the mind when we reflect with some continuity on the conditional relationship of the objects in our unfolding experience? We can notice, time and time again, that nothing in experience stands apart from everything else Events and objects of experience are continually dependently arising and ceasing. For example, when experiencing anger, we can contemplate the natural and lawful (conditional) unfolding of this painful emotion. Upon wise reflection, the mind understands that this moment’s arising cannot be other than what it is now. Seeing that everything arises due to causes and conditions is liberating because it undermines attachment to self drama.
Another aspect of conditionality is the relationship between the apparent subject and objects of experience. Ajahns Pasanno and Amaro state, “One of the most profound and liberating insights of the Buddha was that the feeling of I-ness (ahamkara) was just as much of a causally created construct as any other perceptual object… This insight leads us into a contemplation of the relationship of the apparent subject and object – how the tension between the two generates the world of things and its experiencer, and more importantly how, when that duality is seen through, the heart’s liberation is the result,” pages 61-62. When the mind, out of habit, constructs a strong sense of self dependent on the presence of an painful experience, (for example: craving, fear or aversion); suffering arises. Let’s explore what happens when the mind is mindful of this conditioned process instead of identified with it?
This month we cultivate and sustain an interest in the conditional nature of experience and be grateful for these two methods offered to us. Can we we recreate the insights that the Buddha and others have realized, deeply contemplating the conditional nature of all things is the cause and condition for wrong view (ignorance) to fall away, resulting in the release of the heart.