Truth occupies a very important position in the Buddha's teaching. The
Four Noble Truths are the hub of the wheel of the Dhamma. Truth
(//sacca//) is one of the ten perfections to be cultivated in order to
Truth can have different aspects. If we want to find an end to
suffering, we have to find truth at its deepest level. The moral
precepts which include "not lying" are a basic training without which
one can't lead a spiritual life.
To get to the bottom of truth, one has to get to the bottom of
oneself, and that is not an easy thing to do, aggravated by the problem
of not loving oneself. It naturally follows that if one wants to learn
to love oneself, there must be hate present, and we are caught in the
world of duality.
While we are floating around in the world of duality, we can't get to
the bottom of truth, because we are suspended in a wave motion going
back and forth. There is an interesting admonition in the //Sutta
Nipata//, mentioning that one should not have associates, which prevents
attachments. This would result in neither love nor hate, so that only
equanimity remains, even-mindedness towards all that exists. With
equanimity one is no longer suspended between good and bad, love and
hate, friend and enemy, but has been able to let go, to get to the
bottom where truth can be found.
If we want to find the basic, underlying truth of all existence, we
must practice "letting go." This includes our weakest and our strongest
attachments, many of which aren't even recognized as clinging.
To return to the simile of the truth to be found at the bottom, we can
see that if we are clinging to anything, we can't get down to it. We're
attached to the things, people, ideas and views, which we consider ours
and believe to be right and useful. These attachments will keep us from
getting in touch with absolute truth.
Our reactions, the likes and dislikes, hold us in suspense. While it
is more pleasant to like something or someone, yet both are due to
attachments. This difficulty is closely associated with distraction in
meditation. Just as we are attached to the food that we get for the
body, we are equally attached to food for the mind, so the thoughts go
here and there, picking up tidbits. As we do that, we are again held in
suspense, moving from thought to breath and back again, being in the
world of duality. When our mind acts in this way, it cannot get to rock
Depth of understanding enables release from suffering. When one goes
deeper and deeper into oneself, one finds no core, and learns to let go
of attachments. Whether we find anything within us which is pure,
desirable, commendable or whether it's impure and unpleasant, makes no
difference. All mental states owned and cherished keep us in duality,
where we are hanging in mid-air, feeling very insecure. They cannot
bring an end to suffering. One moment all might be well in our world and
we love everyone, but five minutes later we might react with hate and
We might be able to agree with the Buddha's words or regard them as a
plausible explanation, but without the certainty of personal experience,
this is of limited assistance to us. In order to have direct knowledge,
it's as if we were a weight and must not be tied to anything, so that we
can sink down to the bottom of all the obstructions, to see the truth
shining through. The tool for that is a powerful mind, a weighty mind.
As long as the mind is interested in petty concerns, it doesn't have the
weightiness that can bring it to the depth of understanding.
For most of us, our mind is not in the heavy-weight class, but more
akin to bantam weight. The punch of a heavy-weight really accomplishes
something, that of a bantam weight is not too meaningful. The
light-weight mind is attached here and there to people and their
opinions, to one's own opinions, to the whole duality of pure and
impure, right and wrong.
Why do we take it so personal, when it's truly universal? That seems
to be the biggest difference between living at ease and being able to
let the mind delve into the deepest layer of truth, or living at
loggerheads with oneself and others. Neither hate nor greed are a
personal manifestation, nobody has a singular claim on them, they belong
to humanity. We can learn to let go of that personalized idea about our
mind states, which would rid us of a serious impediment. Greed, hate and
impurities exist, by the same token non-greed and non-hate also exist.
Can we own the whole lot? Or do we own them in succession or five
minutes at a time for each? Why own any of them, they just exist and
seeing that, it becomes possible to let oneself sink into the depth of
the Buddha's vision.
The deepest truth that the Buddha taught was that there is no
individual person. This has to be accepted and experienced at a feeling
level. As long as one hasn't let go of owning body and mind, one cannot
accept that one isn't really this person. This is a gradual process. In
meditation one learns to let go of ideas and stories and attend to the
meditation subject. If we don't let go, we cannot sink into the
meditation. The mind has to be a heavy- weight for that too.
We can compare the ordinary mind to bobbing around on the waves of
thoughts and feelings. The same happens in meditation, therefore we need
to prepare ourselves for becoming concentrated. We can look at all mind
states arising during the day and learn to let go of them. The ease and
buoyancy which arises from this process is due to being unattached. If
we don't practice throughout the day, our meditation suffers because we
have not come to the meditation cushion in a suitable frame of mind. If
one has been letting go all day, the mind is ready and can now let go in
meditation too. Then it can experience its own happiness and purity.
Sometimes people think of the teaching as a sort of therapy, which it
undoubtedly is, but that's not its ultimate aim, only one of its
secondary aspects. The Buddha's teaching takes us to the end of
suffering, once and for all, not just momentarily when things go wrong.
Having had an experience of letting go, even just once, proves beyond
a shadow of a doubt that it means getting rid of a great burden.
Carrying one's hate and greed around is a heavy load, which, when
abandoned, gets us out of the duality of judgement. It's pleasant to be
without thinking; mental formations are troublesome.
If we succeed even once or twice during a day to let go of our
reactions, we have taken a great step and can more easily do it again.
We have realized that a feeling which has arisen can be stopped, it need
not be carried around all day. The relief from this will be the proof
that a great inner discovery has been made and that the simplicity of
non-duality shows us the way towards truth.
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