S. N. Goenka: Notes – Day 3 Discourse

So much attachment towards this I.

What is this I?

At the apparent level, yes, there is this solid body, but at the actual level, just subatomic particles, constantly changing. Arising and passing at such rapidity, like a light bulb.  You take a dip in the river.  Is it the same river?  What same river?  River is gone.  And you, you think you are the same person.  Same Goenka 1 year old… 67 years later. Same Goenka?  Was it that every 10 years you would wake up and suddenly change? No. Every moment change is taking place. Every moment, arising and passing away, at the actual level. So different from what seems real.

Change is there. Law of nature is there. Dhamma is there.  Let it play its own role.

Just be aware of what is happening at the mind and body interaction within the framework of the body.  Direct experience.  So easy to understand intellectually.  To see in nature, always changing.  Someone you know dies.  You go to the funeral.

“Ah yes, sooner or later, everything arises and passes away.  Everything born will die.  Everything that is built will collapse.  Changing.  This is nature.”

As soon as you leave the funeral… Miserable. “Where are my shoes? Somebody took my new shoes?!”

The attachment to this I.  Attachment is bound to be misery, because whatever you are attached to is changing.

You need the faculty to experience.  Without the eye faculty, you cannot see.  Similarly, you need the faculty of awareness of the body to develop the wisdom.  Only direct wisdom helps.  Intellectual game does not help.  Understanding the law within the framework of the body, at the depth level, the root level of sensation.

A man goes to a restaurant, sits down, reads the menu.  Ah, food sounds wonderful. Orders.  Sees others eating, enjoying.  Ah, certainly the food must be very good.  He doesn’t know til he tastes it.  Then, you can enjoy.

Similarly, you are sick. Go to a doctor.  Doctor gives you a prescription. Take pills, one in the morning, one in the evening.  Instead of taking them, you recite off the paper… Take 1 pill… or you put up an image of the doctor, and do your rounds.  Doesn’t help.  Madness. So much of this madness, craving and aversion.

The old habit pattern of your mind… you feel something pleasant on the body, you want more of it, craving, clinging.  You feel something unpleasant.  Aversion, hatred.  But it is changing.  Always arising and passing away.  You get attached to the pleasant sensation, and you become miserable, not realizing it was also impermanent. So pleasant is also misery.

Blind faith, blind belief – dogma, you accept out of fear from hell or out of a blind belief in a pleasant after life.

Doesn’t help.

Sila helps Samadhi helps Panna, but it is Panna which brings you to the final goal. Actual experience.

What is beauty?

This hair?  Beautiful?  It falls in your food.  Disgusting!  It was beautiful as long as it was integrated – the moment it falls out, it is dirty.  Dirty hair!  What dirty hair?  Beautiful hair!  Beautiful food!  Double-ly beautiful!  Eat it!

At the apparent level, there is this I. What is with all this conflict and fighting when we are all going to die?

The blind boy. No faculty. Thinks that white is crooked because he feels a duck’s neck.

“Ah, so white is like this.”

For those without the faculty, the truth will always be crooked.

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This entry was posted in Helping Others, Observations, Personal Experiences by Ryan Shelton. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ryan Shelton

While I'm currently married to a beautiful woman while teaching physics at Padua Academy, these descriptors fail to capture the totality of my adventurous life. I have hiked over 1700 miles, traveled to 5 continents, managed a bakery, started a meditation center, counseled troubled teens, attended Duke, UNC, and Harvard, protected forests as a wildland firefighter, volunteered thousands of hours with Americorps, rafted the Grand Canyon, SCUBA dived on the Great Barrier Reef, and continues to find new adventures. I hope my writing encourages you to pursue your dreams and be the best version of yourself while supporting your communities to work together to solve the current challenges in our world.

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