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Re: [dsg] Cycle of birth and death

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  • sarah
    Reply from Ann Marshall (who is having problems posting directly to the list): ******** Hello Lukas Hearing the true dhamma in this life is a blessing as is
    Message 1 of 9 , Apr 9, 2013
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      Reply from Ann Marshall (who is having problems posting directly to the list):
      ********

      Hello Lukas

      Hearing the true dhamma in this life is a blessing as is having friends who can appreciate and discuss dhamma with you. We are fortunate in having heard it and in having the opportunity to consider and discuss. The development of understanding is indeed gradual, just like the wearing away of the ads blade. This is the only way it can be. We so often wish for short-cuts and quick solutions to our problems, being deluded that there is something "we" can do can results in a quick fix. Not so, as you have said yourself.

      Yes, you are so right. Lobha now conditions sadness later on. For all of us, after so many lives of ignorance and delusion much lobha and dosa have been accumulated. The only way to be freed of this is through the development of understanding, the understanding that there is no self, no one controlling, no one to relieve us of the suffering. There are only conditioned realities which can be known by panna. It develops slowly and cannot be rushed. But if it is not developed, then for sure the suffering continues without any accumulation of understanding.

      Remember that each moment is unique, it arises and falls away, never to return. So sadness, discouragement, doubt now are just different moments that arise and fall away almost instantaneously. They are not you and thy are not permanent. They can be understood through the development of understanding.

      In Warsaw last September, Achan reminded me how we think so often of ourselves. She said "and why not think of the others". Consideration of others is kusala and acts of kusala are supportive of the development of understanding. I have watched as you have developed much consideration for others during our time in Poland and then in Thailand. The sharing of Dhamma reminders, thoughts about Dhamma and questions about Dhamma is very helpful for others. I look forward to your posts and thoughtful discussion and reflection.

      Lukas, this life is very precious, an opportunity to hear the Dhamma and develop understanding. If you have thoughts of doing anything to end it, I urge you to let someone know and seek help.

      With metta
      Ann


      --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, Lukas <szmicio@...> wrote:

      > And it seems more lobha now, conditions more sadness later on.
      > I really need some encouragement, why to develop right understanding, cause I really lost a sense to live in my life.
    • sarah
      Dear Lukas, ... ... S: I d like to add to all of Ann s helpful comments. [To others: Yesterday evening (our time in Hong Kong), Lukas sent me an off-list
      Message 2 of 9 , Apr 9, 2013
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        Dear Lukas,

        --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, Lukas <szmicio@...> wrote:

        > And it seems more lobha now, conditions more sadness later on.
        > I really need some encouragement, why to develop right understanding, cause I really lost a sense to live in my life.
        ...

        S: I'd like to add to all of Ann's helpful comments.

        [To others: Yesterday evening (our time in Hong Kong), Lukas sent me an off-list message which sounded rather desperate, so Jon & I called him (using skype to his home ph no) and had a long chat. As we're often travelling and always in a different time zone, I'd encourage others to write to him (as Ann has done) or even consider calling.]

        Points we discussed in brief:

        - You mentioned feeling all alone, with no friends to discuss the Dhamma with and not really talking to anyone, not even your mother who you're staying with.

        We're all alone at each moment regardless of the circumstances. Always living alone with seeing now, hearing, thinking, pleasant feeling, unpleasant feeling. We're born alone and die alone....just one moment at a time.

        When we feel so lonely and alone, it's more clinging to oneself, more dosa (aversion) conditioned in this way. We forget about understanding now of present realities, we forget about metta and kindness to those around us. In other words, the Dhamma remains 'in the book' - kusala, akusala, avyakata dhammas now, but if it's just book knowledge, it's useless.

        - You mentioned wishing to get away from your present circumstances, finding a more conducive environment, a better situation, such as with monks or surrounded by Dhamma friends, like when we were in Thailand.

        Simply, we can never get away from our kilesa (defilements) and the latent tendencies for lobha, dosa and moha. Temporarily life may seem easier in another place or there may seem to be more understanding, but there's only ever this moment, the realities now. So now is only ever the time and place for developing understanding. Seeing now is conditioned and just like seeing in Thailand or elsewhere.

        Ajahn Sujin always stresses that instead of looking for good friends, more important is to be a good friend to others without any expectations. This is the meaning of friendship.

        - Jon reminded you that we'd had discussions in Thailand and Poland about 'taking responsibility' and what this meant.

        We all have to learn to look after ourselves so as not to be a burden on others. Even a monk has a right livelihood and needs to observe good sila, teach the Dhamma, provide services in the community and so on. Sometimes it seems you have an idea that hard work and fulfilling other duties means less time for Dhamma study, but this is a very wrong understanding of what is meant by "Dhamma study". The one who 'studies' Dhamma is the one who understands present realities, not the one who spends a lot of time in a quiet place reading texts. It can become an excuse not to meet one's responsibilities and duties in life.

        - You mentioned the unpleasant feeling and depression you feel.

        We all have great difficulties to face during just this life. I mentioned how brave Nina has been in spite of all the sorrow she's felt in recent months and Shakti's loss of her son. Resorting to alcohol, drugs or other supposedly 'quick fixes' just causes more trouble, more depression.

        As Ajahn said in Poland, what we face now is nothing to what we may face in terms of difficulty later - in this or other lives. So these are the tests of understanding, of what we have heard and read in the Teachings. If there isn't the courage to develop understanding now, it'll be so much harder in future. There has to be a beginning now.

        - You mentioned difficulties with social skills, a lack of empathy with others and so on.

        All these different mental states, such as the various feelings and so on are so very impermanent and as Ann mentioned, so often all taken for 'Self' - "my lack of social skills", "my depression" and so on. Of course no one minds all the lobha and pleasant feeling. The cries for help are just when there is the depression resulting from all this strong attachment to self. No one can help or change the accumulated tendencies now, but they can be known as passing dhammas, passing elements that don't last at all. We forget all about seeing, visible object and the other realities appearing now, don't we?

        Like Ann, I also stressed the friendly, helpful qualities we all observed in Thailand. When we think of the needs of others and try to help, there is no unpleasant feeling at all. There are so many opportunities in a day to help your mother and others in even small ways. Transcribing from tapes and sharing Dhamma with friends here is also a really great dana. You have so much to offer others.

        - Finally on the question of substance abuse and addictions.

        I urge you again to get the professional help you need. We may well think that because we've heard a lot of Dhamma, that this should be enough to solve all such problems and resist any medical or rehabilitation assistance available. However, we all have so little understanding and the hindrances are so great that we need to wisely take the medicine (in whatever form) is necessary for our sickness. When you came to Thailand, you were given a special leave of absence from a program. I urge you to complete the job and stress again that we all have to work really hard in life in order to take responsibility and develop more understanding of the Teachings.

        We have this very precious opportunity during this life - let's not fritter it away.

        Your good friend!

        Metta

        Sarah
        =====
      • Nina van Gorkom
        Dear Lukas, ... N: This morning while listening to the audio I thought of you. I quote:
        Message 3 of 9 , Apr 10, 2013
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          Dear Lukas,
          Op 9-apr-2013, om 18:30 heeft Lukas het volgende geschreven:

          > And it seems more lobha now, conditions more sadness later on.
          > I really need some encouragement, why to develop right
          > understanding, cause I really lost a sense to live in my life.
          ------
          N: This morning while listening to the audio I thought of you. I quote:

          <Just live to understand. Otherwise it is always as a dream.
          Yesterday is like a dream and today's dream is different from
          yesterday's dream. But there can be a little bit of understanding
          even in a deam to condition a moment of being awakened. This is at
          the moment of understanding a reality as just a reality, very
          naturally. Even when lobha always comes in it is natural, and later
          on at the moment of understanding a reality, it is gone.>
          (end quote).
          Thus, a sense in your life is developing understanding.
          ----
          Nina.



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        • Nina van Gorkom
          Dear Tep, ... N: Nothing is permanent. A moment of understanding falls away together with the kusala citta, but understanding is accumulated. Since our life is
          Message 4 of 9 , Apr 10, 2013
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            Dear Tep,
            Op 9-apr-2013, om 16:40 heeft Tep Sastri het volgende geschreven:

            > So the development of understanding in a non-Ariyan is 100%
            > deterministic; that it always increases, never decreases or ceases.
            > Such development of understanding is, therefore, permanent --
            > despite the fact that is a conditioned dhamma.
            -------
            N: Nothing is permanent. A moment of understanding falls away
            together with the kusala citta, but understanding is accumulated.
            Since our life is an unbroken series of cittas, each citta that falls
            away conditions the next one by way of anantara paccaya (contiguity-
            condition).
            Understanding is never lost, but for a whole life time there may not
            be any opportunity for it to arise. That also happened in some lives
            of the Bodhisatta. This is compared to the absence of fire, it was
            just black coal.
            Quote from Acharn Sujin's Perfections, Ch 2:
            < Also the Bodhisatta had at times to associate with fools. For
            example, during one of his lives the Bodhisatta belonged to a clan of
            people with wrong view. In his life as the brahmin youth Jotip�la he
            was born into a family of people who had wrong view and no confidence
            in the Buddha. Jotip�la followed his parents in their disdain of the
            Buddha. The brahmins who had wrong view had no confidence in the
            Buddha Kassapa, who was the last Buddha before the Buddha Gotama.
            The Commentary to the �Discourse on Gha�ik�ra�, Middle Length
            Sayings, the �Papa�cas�dan��, deals with the accumulation of the
            perfections by the Bodhisatta until the life he was Jotip�la, when he
            came into contact with people of wrong view. The Commentary compared
            the accumulated perfections to a brightly shining fire which during
            that life came into contact with water and was therefore extinguished
            by it so that the rays of light disappeared and only black charcoal
            was left.

            We do not know our past lives but we can learn from the story of the
            Bodhisatta as Jotip�la: although he had accumulated the perfections
            to a high degree, he still associated with fools.
            -----
            Nina.




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