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Thread: Turning Points

  1. #1
    Global Moderator Esho's Avatar
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    Turning Points

    This beautiful Sutta at the Samyutta Nikaya - Upanisa Sutta (SN 12.23)- explains how from Ignorance liberation can be reached.

    The chain of events goes as this:

    ‘Ignorance, fabrications, consciousness, name and form, six-sense-bases, contact, feeling, craving, clinging, becoming, birth, suffering, FAITH, gladness, rapture, tranquillity, happiness, concentration, knowledge-and-vision-of-things-as-they-really-are, REVULSION, dispassion, liberation, knowledge-of-destruction’ [of taints].

    Here I have highlighted FAITH and REVULSION as the two turning points in the path. FAITH is the fruition of realizing suffering. From Ignorance up to Suffering we can see that most of the worldly people are stuck; never really seeing how unbearable can be life and living under the command of mental torment and how stupid can be it under such condition. At this point Buddhism –whatever it means- appears in our life in some way or another but immediately we get skeptical where CONFIDENCE/FAITH does not happen; in this way, the path can never be travelled.

    Once we get confidence by the intuition that what Buddha taught is true and ultimate liberation, the path commences. But there is a second turning point for those that have made of the path their life and it is REVULSION; the real symptom of having tasted things as they really are. It is a very tangible feeling that changes completely our life style far from all the worldly affairs that taint the mind.

    IMO, if we have not experience REVULSION dispassion can’t take place and, on the other hand, the taste of 'things-as-they-really-are' has not happened; thus we have not understood what Buddha taught.

    At the end, the Sutta closes with an evocative metaphor:

    ‘Just as, bhikkhus, when rain pours down in thick droplets on a mountain top, the water flows down along the slope and fills the cleft, gullies, and creeks; these being full fill up the pools; these being full fill up the lakes; these being full fill up the streams; these being full fill up the rivers; these being full fill up the great ocean; so too, with Ignorance as a proximate cause, fabrications come to be… with liberation as proximate cause, the knowledge of destruction [of taints].’

    What do you think?



    PS: This is from a Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation for the Samyutta Nikaya's 2000 edition of Wisdom Publication. There, instead of 'disenchantment' and 'emancipation' (Access to Insight edition Sutta) he uses 'revulsion' and 'liberation'.

  2. #2
    Forums Member John Marder's Avatar
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    Thank you for sharing. This is very interesting for me. One thing I'm wondering is how do you prevent the 'worldly affairs from tainting the mind'. To what extent is the solution in the mind and to what extent is it in the lifestyle choice to avoid worldly affairs.
    My very best wishes

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Esho
    PS: This is from a Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation for the Samyutta Nikaya's 2000 edition of Wisdom Publication. There, instead of 'disenchantment' and 'emancipation' (Access to Insight edition Sutta) he uses 'revulsion' and 'liberation'
    Hi Esho,

    I don't know if I agree with Bhikkhu Bodhi's choice of the word "revulsion". I prefer the idea of increasingly feeling "disenchantment," which then leads onwards to dispassion.

    In my Oxford English dictionary, one of the definitions for revulsion is a "sudden violent change of feeing"....which seems to me to be similar to aversion.

    With metta,

    Aloka

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    Global Moderator Esho's Avatar
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    Hello John

    Quote Originally Posted by John Marder View Post
    One thing I'm wondering is how do you prevent the 'worldly affairs from tainting the mind'.
    One formula is the understanding of 'this is not mine; this is not my self; this is I am not' which prevent us from possessiveness which is the source of worldly affairs:

    "'It's with possessiveness, friend Ananda, that there is "I am," not without possessiveness. And through possessiveness of what is there "I am," not without possessiveness? Through possessiveness of form [tangible things] there is "I am," not without possessiveness.

    Through possessiveness of feeling... perception... fabrications... Through possessiveness of consciousness there is "I am," not without possessiveness.
    ...

    "'Just as if a young woman — or a man — youthful, fond of adornment, contemplating the image of her face in a mirror, pure & bright, or in a bowl of clear water, would look with possessiveness, not without possessiveness. In the same way, through possessiveness of form there is "I am," not without possessiveness.

    Through possessiveness of feeling... perception... fabrications... Through possessiveness of consciousness there is "I am," not without possessiveness.
    ...

    "'What do you think, friend Ananda — Is form constant or inconstant?'

    "'Inconstant, friend.'

    "'And is that which is inconstant easeful or stressful?'

    "'Stressful, friend.'

    "'And is it fitting to regard what is inconstant, stressful, subject to change as: "This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am"?'

    "'No, friend.'
    ...

    "'Thus, friend Ananda, any form, [feeling, perception, fabrication & consciousness] [...] is to be seen as it actually is with right discernment as: "This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am."

    Ananda Sutta
    To what extent is the solution in the mind and to what extent is it in the lifestyle choice to avoid worldly affairs.
    For the mind, the above example and for the lifestyle, IMO, the more simple the best for the practice of what Buddha taught but even the simplest lifestyle, if not followed with mental and wisdom cultivation can become a real hell.

    Last edited by Esho; 19 Dec 13 at 03:44.

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    Global Moderator Esho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aloka View Post
    Hi Esho,

    I don't know if I agree with Bhikkhu Bodhi's choice of the word "revulsion". I prefer the idea of increasingly feeling "disenchantment," which then leads onwards to dispassion.

    In my Oxford English dictionary, one of the definitions for revulsion is a "sudden violent change of feeing"....which seems to me to be similar to aversion.

    With metta,

    Aloka
    I have felt revulsion toward a few things and it is a sort of sudden disgust that later on leads to dispassion. It's a kind of 'having enough' of that thing in your life and you throw it away for ever. Something like that. But being honest that has just happen for a few things. Others, most of them, have gone through the less intense disenchantment experience which, on the other hand, is felt as not completely resolved like with revulsion; the thing for what it was felt has a definitive turning away and in that way it is much more fulfilling and leading to a more serene mood.

    I found this descriptors in the internet:

    revulsion[links]
    /rɪˈvʌlʃən/

    Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::


    revulsion /rɪˈvʌlʃən/
    n
    1. a sudden and unpleasant violent reaction in feeling, esp one of extreme loathing

    2. the act or an instance of drawing back or recoiling from something

    3. OBSOLETE: the diversion of disease or congestion from one part of the body to another by cupping, counterirritants, etc
    Etymology: 16th Century: from Latin revulsiō a pulling away, from revellere, from re- + vellere to pull, tear

    Here
    My take on this is that there is nothing wrong with 'revulsion' because it depends on the intensity of the feeling; the intensity of the turning away.

    Ajahn Chah explains about the quality of the experience:

    Seeing the way the body truly is, clearly and beyond doubt from within the calm of samādhi, leads to the mind experiencing a strong sense of weariness and turning away (nibbidā). This turning away comes from the sense of disenchantment and dispassion that arises as the natural result of seeing the way things are. It's not a turning away that comes from ordinary worldly moods such as fear, revulsion or other unwholesome qualities like envy or aversion. It's not coming from the same root of attachment as those defiled mental states. This is turning away that has a spiritual quality to it and has a different effect on the mind than the normal moods of boredom and weariness experienced by ordinary unenlightened human beings (puthujjana). Usually when ordinary unenlightened human beings are weary and fed up, they get caught into moods of aversion, rejection and seeking to avoid. The experience of insight is not the same.

    Clarity of Insight
    I know Revulsion is a strong word that can astonish some people and I don't know if it's use in the Suttas is convenient.

    I thought that 'revulsion' would have lead to a vivid discussion between forum members.

    I am curious to see what can be said by other members.

    Last edited by Esho; 19 Dec 13 at 02:29.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Esho
    I know Revulsion is a strong word that can astonish some people and I don't know if it's use in the Suttas is convenient
    Yes, in the Ajahn Chah quote I noticed that he said:

    Seeing the way the body truly is, clearly and beyond doubt from within the calm of samādhi, leads to the mind experiencing a strong sense of weariness and turning away (nibbidā). This turning away comes from the sense of disenchantment and dispassion that arises as the natural result of seeing the way things are. It's not a turning away that comes from ordinary worldly moods such as fear, revulsion or other unwholesome qualities like envy or aversion.

  7. #7
    Global Moderator Esho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aloka View Post
    Yes, in the Ajahn Chah quote I noticed that he said:
    Is there a 'revulsion' rooted in wholesome qualities like right discernment?

    As I have said above its experience has had good results in terms of a definitive turning away.

    Last edited by Esho; 19 Dec 13 at 03:01.

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