Research Study

Thought - Sensations

Lord Buddha said:

''Khudda vitakka, sukhuma vitakka, anuggata manaso uppilava.
Ete avidva manaso vitakke, hurahuram dhavati bhantacitto.
Ete ca vidva manaso vitakke, atapiyo samvarati satima.
Anuggate manaso uppilave, asesmete pajahasi Buddho."

The thoughts arise and the mind pursues them - filled with pleasure. When one is ignorant (insensitive) to these thoughts - then the confused mind keeps running here and there. But when one is properly aware (sensitive) to these thoughts - then there is order. The Enlightened One completely ends the pursuit of the mind after pleasure.

Vitakka is the initial application of mind on an object. These vitakka are the precursors of thoughts (vicara) . These small-minutes vitakka arise and the mind follows them seeking pleasure, finding pleasure in the small-minute sensations (vedana) that arise due to these vitakka. When one is not aware (not sensitive-at the level of sensations or avidva) of these thought- precursors and the sensations associated with them ; then one keeps rolling in them . One starts rolling in thoughts - the mind is filled with craving for pleasant sensations .

This attachment, this mad pursuit of pleasure is misery - is bondage….this goes on and on……and thus the wheel of misery and sorrow (bhavcakka) keeps on turning….

The Enlightened One completely ends all craving, aversion and ignorance with penetrative insight into this process (panna- pativedhan).

The Enlightened One completely ended the craving for pleasant sensations and Escaping from birth and death, From it's tyranny and entangling wheel, Enlightenment attained, He gave to the world, as the flower gives It's scent, The Truth.

We do not see the impermanent as impermanent. The entire field of the senses is impermanent but we keep welcoming the sense objects (stimuli) at the 5 sense doors and go on relishing them - taking them to be permanent. Sometimes we see a pleasant sight-sometimes we smell a pleasant perfume - sometimes we hear a pleasant sound-sometimes we experience a pleasant taste or a pleasant sensation of touch. When we sit quietly, the memories of these pleasant sights / sounds /smell /taste / touch flash in our minds. Even if we have not experienced a particular kind of pleasant sight /sound /taste /smell/touch, but have only read/heard about it, still the imagination of these experiences fills our mind.

Whether it be the memories of these pleasant experiences or the imagination of the pleasant experiences yet to be experienced-thinking about them and pondering over them appears to be as pleasant as actually experiencing them.

When there is no sense object at a particular moment and there are only the memories and imaginations of it - small-small, minute-minute vitakka (thought precursors) start arising in the mind and the vibration-the waves of these thought precursors and thoughts (vitakka and vicara) give rise to the pleasant feeling of small-small, minute-minute sensations on the body. We start relishing and taking pleasure in these sensations at a subtle level.

We madly-blindly seek pleasure and follow these sensations, we do not want these pleasant sensations to end , we want them to be permanent . We become restless at the mere thought of the possibility of any hindrance to our pleasant experiences and we do not like the people /objects /situations that may come in the way of our pleasant experiences. We generate aversion towards all such people, objects, situations that block our pursuit of pleasure. This craving and aversion - craving and aversion - the mad pursuit of pleasure at the level of sensations drives the mind crazy, the mind runs here and there and as a result there is disorder-a disturbance.

Why does this happen? This happens due to the fact that we are not aware-we are not sensitive to these small-minute waves / vibrations that arise on the body-mind. We are not at all aware of these sensations. How the mind starts taking pleasure in these sensations? How the mind gets engrossed with these sensations? We are not aware at all and the mind gets immersed in relishing these sensations - the mind starts rolling in thoughts and there is utter disorder.

Vipassana is the right way to see - the correct way to see, vipassana is the process of observation. Vipassana means seeing all this process with penetrative insight-being choicelessly aware of these minute vibrations in their true nature (vidva, sampajano satima. what is their true nature? Their true nature is uppadavayadhammino / udayattha - arising-passing, arising-passing, arising and passing away. Every wave / every vibration arises only to pass away.

When we see these vibrations in their true characteristic of anicca (impermanence) - when we are choicelessly and effortlessly aware of this whole process- then our illusions start dropping away and there is true understanding . We start coming out of our habit pattern of relishing these impermanent sensations, we start coming out of our ignorance, we start understanding how the mind gets engrossed in these thought vibrations and the pleasant sensations that arise due to them, we start understanding how the mind gets conditioned - how the mind reacts based on the habit pattern of it's conditionings- how the mind craves-clings to pleasant experiences and forms 'psychological memory' (conditioning or sankhara), we start understanding how the mind seeks pleasure and how the process of misery and sorrow goes on and on.

The reality keeps changing from moment to moment and we are aware, just aware - aware of 'what is' and 'what is' is not static- it keeps changing from moment to moment. This is 'Real Meditation' as we are looking deeply within . This is the path and we keep walking on the path-just observing ,choicelessly .It is not a beaten track . The changing reality makes it the 'pathless path' .

This is not suppression - this is not control - this is mastery of the mind in the real sense. Mere observation - Bare observation - effortlessly - choicelessly from moment to moment . Just aware of this whole process , just aware of the characteristic of impermanence of these subtle sensations - just aware of the fact that all sensations come to an end and yet we have craving for pleasant sensations and aversion for unpleasant sensations -mere observation of the whole process - how the mind gets conditioned - how the mind reacts based on the habit pattern of it's conditionings - looking and inquiring very very deeply within…..deeply inquiring how the mind gets attached to these impermanent , suffering and egoless phenomenon….is there anything called 'I', 'me', 'mine'…..? .

Vipassana means seeing the reality 'as it is', staying with 'what is'…..and 'dying to the past'….the ending of all craving and clinging….the ending of all misery and sorrow…. walking on the 'pathless path'…. the journey from sensations to sacred….

-based on an article by SN Goenka , Pg 135-137,
Jaage Antarbodh (Hindi / Pali )-VRI.

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