2022-04-27 Satipatthana (64) Third Noble Truth
5:41PM Apr 27, 2022
second noble truth
So today I want to offer an alternative interpretation of the second noble truth. The one that is how this truth is taught in the ancient teachings of the Buddha. The more modern one is that craving is the cause of suffering. That's the second noble truth. The more common one in the ancient texts is that that the second noble truth involves seeing the arising of suffering, seeing the appearance of it, without any explanation for why it's there. The search for reasons for causes is little bit challenging at times, and sometimes we'll leave lead lead us astray. And it takes us away from the simplicity of our experience in the moment, there's certainly a time and place to look for causes for why things happen. It's a wise life that understands conditionality and causes. But it's also one that lends itself to thinking a lot and reflecting and analyzing the satipatthāna practice moves us towards more and more really abiding indirect experience, an indirect experience, the idea of cause becomes less important, can you still see it? Sometimes in the moment, see, oh, Derek, I was grasping at something in the moment. And I saw there was suffering in that grasping. So you can see there there causality. But there's another way of seeing, and that is simply to see, that suffering arises. And that suffering ceases, that appears and disappears. And, and then the suit does emphasize this, this insight into arising and passing of many, many things, and not just suffering, suffering is like the umbrella term perhaps, for all the things we become aware of, we see the arising and passing of the aggregates, arising and passing over the faculties rising, a passing of perceptions, the rising a passing of thoughts, and feelings. So the emphasizes the rising, the rising and passing of things rising and ceasing of it. And the simplicity of that experience, is particularly valuable. In Conte deep concentrated practice of sati Putana. In ordinary states of consciousness, the world of cause cause and effect, thinking about things is an all very common phenomena. As the mind gets quieter, and quieter and quieter, when we're focused clearer and clearer. It's not inclined to look at experience, through the lens of analyzing it and reasons and cause and why and what's going to happen, but become just a simple simple experience of the moment of the river of change flowing by. So I want to say again, what I said before that, coming as a last exercise of the Satipatthana suta, I think we can assume that this exercise on the Four Noble Truths is represents a deep level of practice, and mature level of practice. It's not easy to come into this as a beginner, this level of seeing this kind of insight. And we get a sense of that from the refrain that we've looked at. The refrain for each exercise, talks about very this very thing. Seeing each of the things we're looking at the phenomena of the body phenomena, feelings, phenomena associated with the mind, and see it arise and pass and, and the aggregates the the hindrances, the fetters, the seven factors of awakening, all those are at some point, what we're seeing is the arising and passing, that's what's emphasized in the refrain.
And, and sometimes you start seeing it so quickly, that the text talks about verses says, Seeing a rising, seeing, ceasing, and then it talks about seeing a rising and ceasing all with it rising and ceasing happens very fast. In deep, subtle practice, they're moment to moment experience of direct experience comes and goes. And so when we when suffering arises in that kind of context, It's not overwhelming. It's not so difficult because it doesn't persist. It's it comes in it goes, it might be reappear quickly. There might be disorientation that happens when we live in a world where we expect things to be constant. We want to hold on to certain things for be oriented and know ourselves and know the world around us know, we're safe by knowing like certain ideas are settled. And so there might be a period of disorientation that some people feel, as the mind gets quieter, and quieter, and meditation, and the usual ideas, usual ideas of self, the things we're holding on to or depending on, are no longer available, because they had to be constant, some level of constancy in order to hold on to them. But when things come and go, there's a whole different way that we're asked to relate to it. So to see the arising of suffering, is to see its contingent nature, see, it's not permanent, it's not solid, we can see that it, it arose from a time and place situation where it wasn't didn't exist before it arose. And when you see it sees, we know that it comes a time where it's no longer to be there. And that begins to loosen up the grip of the mind, or the resistance of the mind, the fear of the mind that we have about, we just started appreciating that there is the emptiness of it all the freedom of it all the lack of that this is not something to be worried about, or, or upset about or cling to. And this deeper, deeper seeing of things arise and ceasing at the constant inconstancy begins to loosen up the grip of our attachments, some of the deepest attachments we have, we had to let go of a lot of attachments, to get to this level of meditation, a lot of preoccupations are fall away, as we're getting concentrated and subtle. And what's left is some of the deepest attachments, attachment to self. Events, attachment to life itself. And those are all ways of interfering with the flow of change is becoming the flow of change. And so as things begin to loosen up, massage, to relax, let go of, then then there is more, then then at some point, there can be more something in the mind gives away. So it's maybe a little bit like say you're standing in the river, and a real river and the river is just flowing. And you're walking deeper deeper in the river, and you can It's not dangerous, there's the current, you know how to swim. And, and you can just feel more and more the river flowing against your body as you go deep walk out into the river, deeper and deeper and deeper. And then and, and just feel like more like you're very light, you're floating, it's feels very comfortable. But it gets deeper and deeper until you get to a place where it's deep enough that you're not touching the bottom. And suddenly, the current, the gentle current picks you up and starts carrying you down the river. As we let go into more and more the flow of change, there comes a time where the bottom is not there. And we can start becoming carried in the current carried in the stream. And that's the meaning of the the the Buddhist idea of, of stream entry, the word for streams. sutta means current, it's entering the current. And it can be seen the current of change that's always here. I like to think of it the current of non clinging, non grasping that holding on to anything, but then began to flow in a dharma current, the dharma flow that starts flowing through us because it's the it's the dharma current that we're in is the current of non clinging, non grasping, and this begins to carry us in on a dharmic path dharmic life.
And so, this, the third noble truth is a truth of this ceasing of suffering. And it means both the the seeing together the arising and ceasing the in constant change and coming and going. But it also represents at some point when the mind the bottom of the river is out of reach falls away. It there's a more dramatic ceasing that goes on. And and now it's a ceasing that changes things. So for example, In the analogy of going in the river, when you're no longer touching the bottom and no longer keeps you kind of stationary, then the current has a chance to carry you. And so it marks a very important change in going across the river. And so going into the river. And so the third noble truth involves not just seeing the arising of ceasing of things that constant coming and going, but it's when we really become the coming and going relax into it, that there is a a more complete, ceasing, that is more than just the particulars of the moment, but as seizing that feels just much more holistic, more inclusive. And, and this, you know, is, is changes kind of the whole flow, the whole current a whole understanding of what satipatthāna Practice is. And I'll talk more about that tomorrow. So, so the second noble truth has two meanings, and both of them are good. They're in. They have their value in different contexts, often much more ordinary states of mind. Seeing cause for suffering is very helpful. In deep meditative states of mind, looking for a cause it just keeps the mind busy. And there we want to deep meditative. We want to just kind of rest in the current, the arising and passing of direct experience. That's only possible. If we have some level of stability and concentration that we can, we can, we're not distracted, we don't wander off and thought, we're really here. And then we see the we're living in a rising and ceasing. And now the second noble truth is the rising, seeing the rising. And the third, Noble Truth is really appreciating the ceasing the passing. First initially kind of just as it comes and goes, the ceasing comes and goes, until finally the seizing becomes much more comprehensive. And then that opens the door understanding for the fourth Noble Truth, the Eightfold Path, and that will be the topic for tomorrow. So thank you very much