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{返回 阿罗汉向•阿罗汉果 The Path to Arahantship 文集}

THE LORD BUDDHA TAUGHT US to investigate with the aim of seeing all pain as simply a phenomenon that arises, remains briefly and then vanishes. Don’t become entangled in it. Don’t view the pain in personal terms, as an inseparable part of who you are, for that runs counter to pain’s true nature. It also undermines the techniques used to investigate pain, preventing wisdom from knowing the reality of feelings. Don’t create a problem for yourself where none exists. See the truth as it arises in each moment of pain, observing as it remains briefly and vanishes. That’s all there is to pain.


When you have used mindfulness and wisdom to isolate the painful feeling, turn your attention to the citta and compare the feeling with the awareness that knows it to see if they really are inseparable. Turn and compare the citta and the physical body in the same manner: are they in any way identical? Focus clearly on each one and don’t allow your concentration to wander from the specific point you are investigating. Keep it firmly fixed on the one aspect. For instance, focus your full attention on the pain and analyze it until you understand its distinguishing characteristics; then turn to look at the citta and strive to see its knowing nature distinctly. Are the two identical? Compare them. Are the feeling and the awareness that knows it one and the same thing? Is there any way to make them so? And the body, does it share similar characteristics with the citta? Is it like the feeling? Are any of these three similar enough to be lumped together?


The body is physical matter—how can it be likened to the citta? The citta is a mental phenomenon, an awareness that knows. The physical elements that make up the body have no intrinsic awareness, they have no capacity to know. The earth, water, wind and fire elements know nothing; only the mental element—the manodhatu—knows. This being the case, how can the citta’s essential knowing nature and the body’s physical elements possibly be equated. They are obviously separate realities.


The same principle applies to pain. It has no intrinsic awareness, no capacity to know. Pain is a natural phenomenon that arises in conjunction with the body, but it is unaware of the existence of the body or of itself. Painful feelings depend on the body as their physical basis. Without the body they could not occur. But they have no physical reality of their own. Sensations that arise in conjunction with the body are interpreted in such a way that they become indistinguishable from the area of the body that is affected. Instinctively, body and pain are equated, so the body itself seems to hurt. We must remedy this instinctive reaction by investigating both the characteristics of pain as a sense phenomenon and the purely physical characteristics of that part of the body where that pain is felt acutely. The objective is to determine clearly whether or not the physical location—say a knee joint—exhibits the distinctive characteristics associated with pain. What kind of shape and posture do they have? Feelings have no shape or posture. They occur simply as an amorphous sensation. The body does have a definite shape, color and complexion, and these are not changed by the occurrence of physical feelings. It remains just the same as it was before pain arose. The physical substance is in no way altered by pain because pain, being a separate reality, has no direct effect on it.


For instance, when a knee hurts or a muscle hurts: knee and muscle are merely bone, ligament and flesh. They themselves are not pain. Although the two dwell together, they retain their own separate characteristics. The citta knows both of these things but, because its awareness is clouded by delusion, it automatically assumes that the pain is mixed in with the bones, ligaments and muscles that compose a knee joint. By reason of that same fundamental ignorance, the citta assumes that the body in all of its aspects is an integral part of one’s very being. So the pain too becomes bound up with one’s sense of being. “My knee hurts. I am in pain. But I don’t want to suffer pain. I want the pain to go away.” This desire to get rid of pain is a kilesa that increases the level of discomfort by turning physical feeling into emotional suffering. The stronger the pain is, the stronger the desire to rid oneself of it becomes, which leads to greater emotional distress. These factors keep feeding each other. Thus, due to our own ignorance, we load ourselves down with dukkha.


In order to see pain, body and citta as separate realities we must view each from the proper perspective, a perspective that allows them to float freely instead of coalescing into one. While they are bound together as part of our self-image there is no independent viewpoint, and therefore no effective means to separate them apart. As long as we insist on regarding pain in personal terms, it will be impossible to breach this impasse. When the khandhas and the citta are merged into one, we have no room to maneuver. But when we investigate them with mindfulness and wisdom, moving back and forth between them, analyzing each and comparing their specific features, we notice definite distinctions among them and so see their true natures clearly. Each exists on its own as a separate reality. This is a universal principle.


As the profound nature of this realization sinks deep into the heart, the pain begins to abate and gradually fades away. At the same time we realize the fundamental connection between the experience of pain and the “self” that grasps it. That connection is established from inside the citta and extends outwardly to include the pain and the body. The actual experience of pain emanates from the citta and its deep-seated attachment to self, which causes emotional pain to arise in response to physical pain. Fully aware the whole time, we follow the feeling of pain inward to its source. As we focus on it, the pain we are investigating begins to retract, gradually drawing back into the heart. Once we realize unequivocally that it is actually the attachment created by the heart that causes us to experience pain as a personal problem, the pain disappears. It may disappear completely, leaving only the essential knowing nature of the citta alone on its own. Or, the external phenomenon of pain may remain present but, because the emotional attachment has been neutralized, it is no longer experienced as painful. It is a different order of reality from the citta, and the two do not interact. Since at that moment the citta has ceased to grasp at pain, all connection has been severed. What’s left is the essence of the citta—its knowing nature—serene and unperturbed amidst the pain of the khandhas.


No matter how severe the pain may be at that time, it will be unable to affect the citta in any way. Once wisdom realizes clearly that the citta and the pain are each real, but real in their own separate ways, the two will not impact one another at all. The body is merely a lump of physical matter. The same body that was there when the pain appeared is still there when the pain ceases. Pain does not alter the nature of the body; the body does not affect the nature of pain. The citta is the nature that knows that the pain appears, remains briefly, and ceases. But the citta, the true knowing essence, does not arise and pass away like the body and the feelings do. The citta’s knowing presence is the one stable constant.


This being the case, pain—no matter how great—has no impact on the citta. You can even smile while severe pain is arising—you can smile!—because the citta is separate. It constantly knows but it does not become involved with feelings so it does not suffer.


This level is attained through an intensive application of mindfulness and wisdom. It’s a stage where wisdom develops samadhi. And because the citta has fully investigated all aspects until they are understood thoroughly, the citta reaches the full extent of samadhi at that time. It converges with a boldness and subtlety so profound as to defy description. This amazing awareness comes from analyzing things completely and exhaustively and then withdrawing from them. Ordinarily, when the citta relies on the power of samadhi meditation to converge into a calm, concentrated state, it becomes still and quiet. But that samadhi state is not nearly so subtle and profound as the one attained through the power of wisdom. Once mindfuln, ess and wisdom have engaged the kilesas in hand-to-hand combat and triumphed, the nature of the calm that’s attained will be spectacular each time.


This is the path for those who are practicing meditation so as to penetrate to the truth of the five khandhas, using painful feeling as the primary focus. This practice formed the initial basis for my fearlessness in meditation. I saw with unequivocal clarity that the essential knowing nature of the citta could never possibly be annihilated. Even if everything else were completely destroyed, the citta would remain wholly unaffected. I realized this truth with absolute clarity the moment when the citta’s knowing essence stood alone on its own, completely uninvolved with anything whatsoever. There was only that knowing presence standing out prominently, awesome in its splendor. The citta lets go of the body, feeling, memory, thought and consciousness and enters a pure stillness of its very own, with absolutely no connection to the khandhas. In that moment, the five khandhas do not function in any way at all in relation to the citta. In other words, the citta and the khandhas exist independently because they have been completely cut off from one another due to the persistent efforts of meditation.


That attainment brings a sense of wonder and amazement that no experience we’ve ever had could possibly equal. The citta stays suspended in a serene stillness for a long time before withdrawing to normal consciousness. Having withdrawn, it reconnects with the khandhas as before, but it remains absolutely convinced that the citta has just attained a state of extraordinary calm totally cut off from the five khandhas. It knows that it has experienced an extremely amazing spiritual state of being. That certainty will never be erased.


Due to that unshakable conviction, which became fixed in my heart as a result of that experience and therefore could not be brought into doubt by unfounded or unreasonable assertions, I resumed my earlier samadhi meditation in earnest—this time with an added determination and a sense of absorption stemming from the magnetic pull that this certainty has in the heart. The citta was quick to converge into the calm and concentration of samadhi as before. Although I could not yet release the citta completely from the infiltration of the five khandhas, I was greatly inspired to make a persistent effort to reach the higher levels of Dhamma.


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