Day 6
As we keep practicing we will see
both reality and concepts.

Spirit Rock Meditation Center Retreat, April 25-May 9, 2015

Translation from Burmese by Ma Thet and transcription and editing by Douglas McGill

Examine your own aversions.

Wanting, not wanting, not satisfied. If we are thinking with these attitudes in mind something is going wrong.

When we are meditating, Right View is so important. Something arises in the body, something arises in the mind, know that this is just a process. It is nature, it is natural for these processes to take place.

Acknowledge what is happening as it is, just the fact of what is happening, that's all.

The difference between a yogi and someone who is not a yogi is just the attitude towards experience. Everything we see, hear, experience are objects and objects are supposed to support the development of awareness, samadhi and wisdom.

Any object, all objects, they support sati, samadhi and pañña.

Someone who has Right View sees all experience as a stepping stone, not as hindrances.

Whatever you notice, seeing and hearing, acknowledge it, recognize it. It's strange, seeing is happening. Hearing just happens.

Something happens, you recognize it is happening. It stops happening, you recognize it has stopped. Don't go to the story, this person did that, they did this or the other, they shouldn't be.

It's just something you experience, you heard or saw. Hearing happened, seeing happened, that's all. Ideally, recognition happens, awareness happens, understanding happens.

Ideally we wouldn't be having a reaction, we wouldn't be having aversion or attachment. But aversion and attachment arise and then we should observe that, not get swept into its stream. Aversion and attachment, greed and aversion, they are universal qualities of mind, they are qualities that have their own unique characteristics. Our job is to watch them, this is your responsibility.

As objects arise, awareness knows them. If we recognize this time and time again, experiences happens, we know it, objects arise, we know them. We begin to realize we can't be without the objects because they are the reason we are aware. We can be aware of them. It's only when there is sight that seeing can happen.

It is only when there is sound that hearing can arise. As yogis we need to be interested in the nature of what is happening.

There is a noise, there is sound and hearing. That is the nature of what's happening. Don't think about the story and the context—“It’s in the dhamma hall,” “this person came in,” “in the bedroom, that person did that.” It's a sound, there is hearing, there is knowing, that is the nature. Only the nature.

Which is the dhamma? Hearing is the dhamma. Seeing is the dhamma. Not the people and places.

Knowing the sensations in the body is dhamma. So is seeing and hearing, that is also happening in the body. It's all dhamma. Dhamma is everywhere. What does that mean? Dhamma is everywhere only when the mind that is observing has dhamma in it and sees through the lens of the dhamma.

Wisdom understands the dhamma, the defilements only understand concepts.

Every defilement mind that arises has, as its object, a concept, a conceptual idea. But the object of the understanding mind, the object of the vipassana mind, is nature.

So at every sense door, awareness needs to be present whether we see or hear, taste, touch.

Awareness recognizes that experience of seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, etc. So it is not only observing the sensations in your body that make meditation happen. When you hear something, when you see something, we need to experience that if we are aware of that, that is also part of meditation. We need to practice recognizing that this is the practice also.

If the mind is ready and alert and awareness is always present, then any moment could trigger awareness, understanding or insight. The objects remain simple. It is still hearing, seeing, touching, smelling or whatever. But the understanding can become very deep. When the mind is pure, full of strength, take care of the quality of your mind. Every time defilements arise, be aware.

Watching yourself, what will you see? All you will see are things that you know, and the knowing.

You experience only the knowing and the known. Whether with reference to the object or the awareness, what is it like when it is personalized? And how is the experience different when it is not personalized? Find out.

We have six sense doors and sense objects that impinge on them, and we cannot remove or be free of them. We can’t push aside these experiences, they are just part of your experience. But in experiencing what we do through the six sense doors, then if there was Right View, defilements would not arise. But if there is not Right View then defilements arise.

When we begin practicing we don't know the difference between concept and reality. But as we keep practicing and we hear about them, we will see both concept and reality, we will understand what is reality. And although we know the concepts, we choose to take the reality and know that. Not to the exclusion of the concept.

The concepts in general are like place, space, direction, name, shape, size, color, number—all these are concepts. Reality is just knowing and what is known. That's reality.

Reality is never still, it never stops. Reality is always new. There is never anything you experience in the moment that you have ever experienced before. It is always a new arising.

If we think of what is happening now as something that happened before, we are thinking of the concept of what is happening, we are not in touch with the reality of the fact of what is happening.

What you heard just now, just what you are hearing now, that's concept. If you've been listening since the beginning of this session, that's a concept. When you see every moment is new, every moment is fresh, every moment is changing, every moment is arising. That is reality, it's nature. You'll see that that's just nature.

When you think, “Oh, this is happening again,” that's a concept. It gives rise to defilements. "Oh no, not again." But that's not reality. If we saw each moment was new we'd be really interested because we've never seen this before. This is real.