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Day 9
Wisdom’s nature is clarity and certainty

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

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

Let the objects be as they are.

What's important is for the mind that is observing to have right view, to have awareness, and to do both continuously.

The objects consist of both the conceptual reality and the ultimate realities.

When the mind is having defilements, it means that a lot of concepts are being observed, are being taken into consideration. Whereas, when you feel there is wisdom in the mind, it means that wisdom is understanding the realities in what is being experienced. The ultimate realities, more of them than the conceptual realities.

When a defilements is operating, check to see what that defilement is doing, what does the mind do when the defilement is operating, what are the thoughts like? These are the realities of that defilement. Very often when we have defilements, we blame the conceptual trigger, the external object, person or situation for the defilement. While in fact whenever this mind is suffering, whenever this mind is in turmoil or chaos, the indication is actually that there is a weakness in this mind, there is a lack of understanding.

When there is not enough wisdom the mind is more involved with conceptual realities and defilements will arise. So it is because of the delusion of this mind that this mind suffers. So we practice in order to increase the opportunities for wisdom to arise, in order that this mind has less and less delusion as a consequence. So long as the mind understands the ultimate reality of what is happening, the principles and laws of what is at work, then defilements will not arise.

Nobody outside of this mind can upset it, irritate it, make it angry, averse, afraid, happy, joyful or grateful. Nobody outside of the mind triggers it. The mind is responsible for its own feelings, gladness and suffering. So whenever this mind is suffering, and whenever the mind is happy, investigate: What is it in the mind that has brought about the current condition?

Thoughts cannot just be believed. Don't trust everything thoughts present to you. You need to check the motivation behind thoughts, it can be wholesome and wise, and equally it could be something unwholesome. But only you can know for yourself by checking. But the mind works very fast and sometimes you'll find the motivations are mixed, both wholesome and unwholesome, threaded together.

When wisdom is present, wisdom knows what it needs to do. When there is not enough wisdom, greed tries to do what it thinks it should do in order to reach its objective.

Wisdom's nature is not to believe blindly but to be clear and sure. Clarity, clarity is the quality that wisdom has.

Certainty that there is awareness when there is awareness, that you are clearly conscious and aware of the awarenesses whenever they are there. And when they are not there, you know clearly, they are not there.

Knowing clearly, knowing detail, knowing differentiation, understanding clearly—these are the qualities of wisdom. Discernment. If you are wondering about it, that is delusion, not enough clarity.

When you know moments of awareness, actual awareness in the present moment with clarity, then when the awareness is stronger you feel it, you know it. When it is not as strong you know that too. When it is not there, you know it's not there—or was not there.

If you don't have that sort of clarity, never mind, just keep practicing. When there is not much clarity, just acknowledging there is not much clarity, that’s Right View. There is no need to want to have more clarity, there is no need to get somewhere. Just being with and knowing the present moment as it is, is the practice. You build moments of this, and that is cultivation, continuing to recognize the experience as it is, not judging it for better or for worse, but just like that. No clarity now, next moment, next moment, next moment and so on.

When wisdom is present, wisdom knows what it needs to do. When there is not enough wisdom, greed tries to do what it thinks it should do in order to reach its objective. So greed's focus is on the goal while wisdom's focus is on the steps to be taken.

Wisdom has patience, greed has none.

Please make more right effort in increasing the continuity of awareness in your daily activities, particularly in the dining hall and whenever you are eating or drinking.

Also remember to notice seeing and looking, the awareness of it. Many defilements arise because of what we perceive through the eye sense door.