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The Removal of Distracting Thoughts, no 11

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  • nina van gorkom
    The Removal of Distracting Thoughts, no 11 Sutta:
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 10, 2004
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      The Removal of Distracting Thoughts, no 11

      Sutta:
      <If evil, unskillful thoughts continue to arise in a bhikkhu in spite of his
      reflection on the removal of a source of unskillful thoughts, he should with
      clenched teeth and the tongue pressing on the palate, restrain, subdue and
      beat
      down the (evil) mind by the (good) mind. Then the evil, unskillful thoughts
      connected with desire, hate and delusion are eliminated; they disappear. By
      their elimination, the mind stands firm, settles down, becomes unified and
      concentrated, just within (his subject of meditation).

      Like a strong man holding a weaker man by the head or shoulders and
      restraining, subduing and beating him down, should the bhikkhu in whom evil,
      unskillful thoughts continue to arise in spite of his reflection on the
      source of
      unskillful thoughts, restrain, subdue and beat down the (evil) mind by the
      (good) mind, with clenched teeth and the tongue pressing on the palate. Then
      unskillful thoughts connected with desire, hate and delusion are eliminated;
      they disappear. By their elimination, the mind stands firm, settles down,
      becomes unified and concentrated, just within (his subject of meditation).>

      *****
      The Commentary elaborates on the simile of the strong man who takes a weaker
      man by his shoulders and head and presses his throat tightly so that he
      becomes frightened and eventually dies. Evenso is the bhikkhu like a
      wrestler who opposes his unwholesome thoughts. He can abandon them by
      applying great effort.
      The Commentary then refers to a text about the Bodhisatta¹s supreme effort
      before he attained Buddhahood. When he sat down under the Bodhi-tree he
      said: <Verily, let the skin, veins and bones dry up.> He would not leave his
      seat until he had reached Buddhahood.
      N: We read in the Middle Length Sayings, no 36, the Greater Discourse to
      Saccaka, that the Buddha spoke about his ascetical practices before he
      became the Sammasambuddha. He said to Aggivessana: <Suppose now that I, with
      my teeth clenched, with my tongue pressed agains the palate, by mind should
      subdue, restrain and dominate my mind?> He said that while he was doing so
      sweat poured from his armpits. The Commentary to the Greater Discourse to
      Saccaka, (partly rendered by Ven. Bodhi) gives the reasons for the
      Bodhisatta¹s austerities before his enlightenment: to show his own exertion
      to the world, because the quality of invincible energy gave him joy. And
      also out of compassion for later generations, by inspiring them to strive
      with the same determination that he applied to attain Buddhahood.
      N: The clenching of the teeth shows the Bodhisatta¹s supreme effort, but
      this was accompanied by paññaa of a high degree. The bhikkhu referred to in
      the <Sutta on the Removal of Distracting Thoughts> who has to abandon his
      unwholesome thoughts is on the way to arahatship. This cannot be attained
      without right effort which has to be accompanied by paññaa. As we read in
      this sutta, quoted above, he should restrain, subdue and beat down the
      (evil) mind by the (good) mind. If someone just clenches his teeth with
      dispair or fear because he does not want to have unwholesome thoughts, it is
      not the right effort that must be accompanied by paññaa.

      *****
      Nina.
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