Sutta Study Theme 7-4-15

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

Chapter 1, pages 1­ – 25

Read Out Loud (Skip pronounciation of the pali when we read passages together)
First three paragraphs on page 5,
Third paragraph on p. 10 through the first full paragraph on p. 11, last paragraph on p. 16,
Last paragraph on p. 17 through the end of the third paragraph on p. 18

Discussion Theme:
Our hearts are most often under the influence of craving ­- thirsting after something regardless of whether there is a real need. Craving is desire that demands satisfaction because the mind mistakenly interprets the force of desire as personal. The mind takes it to be something more than what it actually is ­- mental and physical conditions being known. The mind habitually constructs the idea of a someone who is lacking, and this feeling of lack is seen to be unacceptable.

We read in this chapter that these activities of mind are described in the suttas as a trap that the mind becomes entangled in. The Buddha describes this as a “great net of craving” and uses examples of animals being caught in a trap. In other words, once under the influence of craving, the stress of craving itself makes the activity of craving seem more and more appropriate and necessary ­- just this is the root cause of all of our repeating patterns of suffering. The Buddha also uses the image of a seamstress that stitches together events into a story that deludes and imprisons the mind.

Even the desire to be done with all the messiness of life can be just as much of a trap and cause for suffering as the desire to contro or get rid of all the messiness and create the perfect world. The Buddha is pointing toward a radically new way of relating to the conditions of this world and each moment of experience -­ neither for nor against, intimate & engaged and at the same time radically non attached.

This month, let’s reslove to remember to recognize, “Craving is like this now.” Let’s honestly acknowledge, “This is dukkha, this hurts like this now.” We can ask, “How might it be skillful to clearly acknowledge and feel into the entangling weight and oppressiveness of this activity of mind?” Let’s contrast the clarity and lightness that are present during moments of (relative) non­craving with the dukkha of moments of craving. Is seeing craving clearly enough? Or, do we need to personally fix it?”

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