Insight, path and all that conditioning

Posted: 16/07/2017 in Buddhadasa, Insight, Struggle
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When you look around there is all kinds of suffering, it’s just awful. It’s so sad to see things the way they are.

And our newborn they have to grow up in this suffering, to do this they are helped by their upbringing – parents community and education. But what are they helped to do? Grow up, get a job and fit in. This is the 1%-system we are in – get a job and fit in to their profit-making. Fit in with the wars and wage-slavery. It is understandable if people growing up don’t want to fit into this system, look at it.

Basically the way we grow up does not look at it. We are conditioned to get a job and fit in, this is normal. We are conditioned not to see the suffering – the wars, wage-slavery and 1%-system. Breaking free of this conditioning produces two things. We see the suffering for what it is, we find there is a way of peace through this suffering.

Now the Buddha talked of this suffering with the 4 Noble Truths (4NT). He saw the suffering as caused by clinging to desire, and if we can be free of this clinging there is peace. And he offered the 8-fold path (Magga) as a way through this suffering – as a way of being free from clinging.

Whilst the Buddha was innovative when he spoke of the 4NT, this notion of path is quite common-place amongst spiritual people. The path has been spoken of before and since the Buddha, but the path spoken of has many versions not specifically Magga.

I knew none of this when I hit bottom and started to follow the Path. Within me there was a sense of what the Path was, it was a reality that I was able to follow. And it worked. From the times of total confusion around hitting bottom, with various bits of help along the way I held onto this path and developed. It wasn’t until I was 50 that I saw a formal definition of path such as Magga, prior to that the path was verbally vague although a deep real conviction.

I think the following is true, whatever method you use meditation is concerned with calming the mind and being silent. I have meditated off and on since hitting bottom but it is only from being a Buddhist at 49 that meditation has been a regular practice – my form is vipassana meditation. Vipassana just means insight, the purpose of the meditation is insight and it comes from the silence. From the insight comes something else – an inner guide. The calm and silence that comes from meditation leads also to a clarity of action – a guide to action. At hitting bottom, in meditation or otherwise the guide instilled the idea of the Path as a way of living; it was a methodology of living and as such it was a mechanism the guide could give for me to hold onto in those times of confusion. At hitting bottom the conditioning had been removed and I had found my inner guide telling me to follow the Path until the need for a path fell away as I found the guide in meditation. The 7th and 8th steps of Magga are variously translated as concentration, meditation, insight etc.

In Buddhism there is a dead monk I consider my teacher, Ajaan Buddhadasa. From what little I know of his personal history he was actively explaining the Buddhist dhamma in his late teens. I do not know enough of how he developed to know of where his awareness came from but hitting bottom did not seem to be part of it. In the East there is the suffering, there is the 1%-system, there are wars, but their conditioning enables a soft transition for some into various forms of Buddhism. In the West it doesn’t seem the same, neither Christianity nor Islam seem to offer that same soft transition, and it is fairly common for moving beyond the conditioning to be difficult; typically Eckhart Tolle struggled before becoming the teacher he is.

Whilst my personal journey did not smoothly transcend conditioning, there is nothing in the 4NT that does not compare with stages of my own development. Only the 4NT can be much more peaceful.

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.

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