XI SORROWLESS, STAINLESS AND SECURE Sorrowless, stainless and secure are three attributes
SORROWLESS, STAINLESS AND SECURE
Sorrowless, stainless and secure are three attributes of an
Enlightened One (//Arahant//). Sorrowless: no //dukkha//; Stainless: no
defilements; and Secure: no fear. Obviously these three are extremely
desirable, as they make for happiness. When we think that they are
characteristics of an //Arahant//, we might wonder: "This is so far
removed from me, how can I even aspire to that?" The conviction might
arise that it's too immense to consider for one's own achievement.
We all know what it means to have sorrow (//dukkha//). We are familiar
with our defilements, when we get upset, worried, anxious, envious or
jealous. We have all experienced fear. It can be fear of death of
oneself or of loved ones, or fear of not being liked, praised, accepted,
or fear of not reaching one's goals, or of making a fool of oneself.
We can also experience the opposites of those three states. The seeds
are within us, otherwise Enlightenment would be a myth. It is possible
to have moments of being sorrowless, stainless and secure. If one has a
really concentrated meditation, momentarily //dukkha// doesn't arise.
Only one-pointedness. No defilements can enter because the mind is
otherwise occupied. It can either have defilements or be concentrated,
which is wonderful, though may last only one single moment. There can be
no fear because all is well at such a time. The more often one
regenerates these moments of being sorrowless, stainless and secure, the
more they become part of oneself and we can revert to them again.
Even just remembering that it is possible and trying to bring up a
little of these feelings, enters into a person as part of his or her
makeup. Just as a person with fear of not being accepted, or worried
about achievements, experiencing a lack of self-confidence, will always
act accordingly. He or she doesn't even have to make an effort, but
remembers his or her fears and re-enacts them. The same goes for the
Every moment of concentration during meditation is a moment of no
defilements, no sorrow and no fear. That sort of experience must be
duplicated over and over again. Thereby we reinforce our liberated
mind-states and as we remember them we can retain them and act in
accordance with them even under ordinary or trying circumstances.
Defilements need not arise constantly, there are pauses when there is no
ill-will, only loving-kindness (//metta//), no sensual desire, only
generosity and renunciation.
Sensual desire means wanting, renunciation means giving up. When one
gives, one isn't desiring, unless one is wishing for applause or
gratitude. If one gives for giving's sake, then there is a moment of no
defilement. The same holds true for loving-kindness, compassion and
helpfulness, which are all opposed to greed.
When we have no doubt, being absolutely sure of what we're doing --
and these moments do arise -- that too is an instant of being stainless.
No worries, no restlessness also add to our freedom. Not wanting to go
anywhere or do anything; not worrying about what was done or left undone
in the past, which is absurd anyway, when one realizes that nobody cares
a year or even a month from now, least of all oneself.
We all know moments without all this //dukkha//. When those moments
arise, we are "stainless," without any blemishes, sorrowless and
fearless. We feel at ease and secure at such a time, which is difficult
to find in the world. There are so many dangers threatening our desire
for survival, and they are constantly with us. But when heart and mind
are fully occupied with purified states, fear does not have a chance to
On our way to the "deathless," we need to regenerate these liberated
moments and bring them up over and over again. We can relish these mind
states, enjoying the knowledge that they are possible. It is a natural
tendency to resurrect our moments of freedom again and again, so that we
stay on the path to liberation.
Concentration in meditation brings a quiet and joy with it which prove
with absolute certainty that they have nothing to do with outer
conditions. They are strictly factors of the mind, which are our doorway
to freedom. We cannot cultivate them successfully if we neglect them
during those hours when we're not meditating. We need to guard and
protect the mind from evil thoughts at all times.
When we do experience liberated mind-moments, we must not think they
have come to us from outside. Just as we cannot blame the external
trigger for what goes wrong in the mind, so we cannot praise it for the
opposite. Outside occurrences are quite unreliable and beyond our
control. To depend on anything so unreliable is foolishness. Our
practice is to generate the undefiled states in our mind, which opens
the way to successful meditation and is the pathway to liberation. When
the mind is without defilements, clear and at ease, without the
convolutions of discursive thinking, simply aware, happiness and peace
arise. These moments, though short-lived, are like a light at the end of
a tunnel, which appears dark and suffocating. It seems never ending,
because for the lack of light, one cannot see its length. If we
cultivate and make much of these single moments, then there is an
illumination and we can see that the tunnel does have an end. Because of
that, joy is generated in one's heart, which is an important adjunct to
The Buddha taught a balanced path, namely to see reality for what it
is, to know that //dukkha// is inescapable, but to have the
counterbalance of joy from knowing that there is a way out. If we are
too imbued with sorrow and are feeling weighed down under that,
believing only that to be the path, then our actions and reactions will
have to be based on our suffering. Being oppressed with //dukkha//
doesn't make for successful meditation, nor for harmonious living. If we
try to negate //dukkha//, and suppress it, then we are not facing
reality. But if we see //dukkha// as an universal characteristic,
knowing we can do something about its abandonment then we are keeping in
balance. We need equipoise in order to practice successfully.
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E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank