Earlier we spoke to you briefly about three meditations, asubha saññā, āhāre paṭikule saññā and marana sati. We spoke in simple language about the manner in which they had to be practiced. Also we indicated the merit, comfort and benefits of practicing those meditations.
We thought of speaking about two other meditations. One is sabbe loke anabhirata saññā. The other is sabba sankharesu anicca saññā. Practicing these two meditations is somewhat complicated. It is difficult to establish the mind on these saññā (meditative perceptions). Therefore we will explain two methods of meditation which facilitate establishment of the mind on these two saññā meditations. By practicing these two meditation techniques it is possible to establish the mind on the two saññā.
The first one is sabbe loke anabhirata saññā (perception about generating the state of not taking delight in all worlds). “All worlds” here refers to the eye, the objects seen by the eye, the ear, the sounds heard by the ear, the nose, the odors smelt by the nose, the tongue, the tastes felt by the tongue, the body, the contact felt by the body, the mind, the thought objects felt by the mind (cf. Sabba Sutta/ Loka Sutta – in the Samyutta Nikāya)
Buddha himself has taught what “entire world” really implies. Therefore what we have to do is to generate a state of not taking delight in the eye and the visual objects seen with the eye, the ear and the sound………. etc. Develop a state of not taking delight for the eye as well as the objects visible to the eye. Develop kind of an aversion. Develop a certain repugnance. Develop a disgust. All these words indicate anger, but what we have to develop is an emotionless “letting go” and dis-interest in the six sense bases. That is what is meant by “anabhirata“. Is this easy or difficult?
We have a great liking for the eye as well as the objects visible to the eye. We have a great liking, desire and attachment in respect of the other sense organs ear, nose, tongue, body and mind also. It is due to this attachment that we travel on in samsāra. We travelled in samsāra for a long time because of this attachment to the sense organs. If we go to samsāra again it will be due to this attachment. In order to get liberated from samsāra, this attachment should be gotten rid of. One way of getting rid of this attachment is developing a dislike (nibbidā or “disenchantment” in Pāli). In order to develop this disenchantment the Buddha has instructed us to get used to the meditation of sabbe loke anabhirata saññā. It is difficult for us. It is really complex. But if we take pains we can practice it.
Two methods can be adopted in this regard. While you are at leisure develop a state of not taking delight for the eye and the objects visible to the eye. That means do not consider the eye as a friend. Do not consider the ear as a friend or a good thing. Do not accept the other sense organs as friends.
We must willfully develop feelings of dislike. You can think of the eye as an enemy or a torturer. Similarly with respect to the other sense organs. Is it difficult or easy? It is difficult. Suppose rāga or desire arises in someone. Generally when rāga arises many people get excited. They either get scared or get overcome by it. At such times you can think in this manner. “rāga is an agony for us. It is a torment, a nuisance. The mind burns due to that. How did this arise? It is due to an object seen with the eye. A sound heard with the ear……….. desire, rāga, was caused by them”. You must be able to think in this manner when rāga arises. It cannot be done at once. It can be done by a person who practices little by little. We can think “This eye is not a friend for us. It has done no good for us. It has done unwholesome, unworthy things to us”.
To do this one has to remain in immense mindfulness. Can one think in this manner with respect to eye, ear, nose…..? One cannot think in that manner. Why can’t one think like that? One yields to rāga or any other phenomenon which torment our mind. Through that one is easily lead to ayoniso manasikara, i.e. not thinking in accordance with reality as explained by the Englightened One. Such a person does not think of coming to yoniso manasikara through that. When there is a torment in the mind caused by rāga, dosa or moha (desire, anger or delusion) it is possible to take the mind to yoniso manasikara based on that torment. One method of generating yoniso manasikara is the generation of a mind of animosity/dispassion towards those very sense organs.
When rāga arises do not yield to it. Think: “This large fire in the mind arose due to an object seen with the eye. A sound heard ……… The eye has not shown any loyalty to us. It has acted like an enemy. This eye treats me in the way a tormentor does. Similarly the other sense organs”. If one think in that manner it is possible to develop a mind that dislikes the sense organs.
Practice it like a meditation. You can get used to this through the meditation on sense organs. Is there anyone doing it? Are there people not doing it? There may be people who are not doing this meditation. But do it at least from today on. Through that one can get accustomed to this sabbe loke anabhirata saññā meditation. This is not easy. It may be impossible for an individual to do it because it seems complex. We have told you of a way of overcoming that complexity and getting used to developing a mind averse to eye, ear, nose, tongue……. At the same time continue to practice the meditation on the impermanence of the sense organs. Based on both those facts you will be able to establish the sabbe loke anabhirata saññā in your mind.
A time will come when you will be able to understand that you will be able to develop the samādhi or “deep concentration” based on this meditative perception, saññā. It may not be possible to do it at once. Therefore follow both methods. First method is (as mentioned earlier) develop the dislike for eye, ear, nose, tongue and body while you are seated, standing, walking or lying down. Think of them as enemies, tormentors or entities that cause harm. At the same time continue to practice the impermanence meditation of the six sense spheres (āyatanā bhāvanā).
A time will come when you will be able to establish sabbe loke anabhirata saññā based on both these practices and develop deep samādhi. It will take some time. It does not happen in a hurry.
Therefore practice the āyatanā bhāvanā well. Some may not be able to practice the āyatanā bhāvanā in full. It may be difficult. Therefore practice it in brief. It may not be possible to do it in one stretch. Therefore practice it even briefly at first. After that practice little by little. As the mind gets used try to practice it in full. One who does it with commitment without getting into a hurry will be able to practice the meditation in full after some time. At the same time think of developing the mind with the dislike for eye ear, nose, tongue, body and mind. (to be continued…)
(With instructions by Ven Nawalapitiye Ariyawansa Thera)
This article has been taken from DailyNews online edition.