2021-07-06 Vedanā (2 of 5) Freedom with Pleasure and Pain
4:56PM Jul 8, 2021
So, welcome to this second talk on Verdana a feeling a feeling tone. And this topic is central, I think to being a human being. In the Buddhist cosmology, ancient Buddhist cosmology, they have all these different realms of existence. And the human realm, the realm that we live in, is called cut maloca, which means, the world of sensual pleasure. And, and so to address the topic of the feeling tones, the pleasant and unpleasant is the pleasure and pain that exists in this world is to touch, touch something which is really at the center or is central to what it means to be a human being and live in this human life. That, you know, we pursue pleasure, the pleasure principle is became famous either with years ago. And, and that pursuit of pleasure, the avoidance of pain drives much more of human behavior than most people recognize as they go through their daily life. And so to begin looking at how we relate to pleasure and pain, of play what's pleasant and unpleasant. And see how we respond to it is to be really hard looking have access to some of the deep operating principles of what drives us and what we believe and all kinds of things. And, and I think it's fair to say that the human world is the human world, not the external world, but the world that we experience, how we experience the world, probably has more pleasure and pleasantness in it, than many people avail themselves of just the simple existence of the simple operation of our senses in everyday life. Because many times, and we don't recognize or take time to feel those simple pleasures, because we are preoccupied with other concerns. And some of these preoccupations and thoughts we have have to do with our, our, the social world, the existential world that we live in the thoughts, ideas that we have, the expectations we live in, that takes us out of the present moment, into the bigger picture of what's going on. And, and as though some of those thoughts and ideas are certainly reasonable. But we can spend, you know, hours and hours, days, years decades, in the abstract world of our ideas of things. And some of the things are happening events of our life are difficult. But if we spend a lot of time thinking about them, reviewing them planning around them, we start can easily live in an unpleasant world, and the human world and to seem so unpleasant because of these of what we constantly thinking about. And I don't want it to be literal, the challenges people have and try to dismiss them at all. But there is a way in which we get preoccupied in that world. And we don't avail ourselves of the simple pleasures, ordinary pleasantness of everyday life. And then there's the pursuit of pleasure which is huge and human beings. Human beings will. And we have in the modern world and moderns affluent world that some of us live in. There are so much opportunities for pleasure. I mean, just going to the shop is to the supermarket buying food you know it isn't that we're out hunting, I just eating whatever happens to come back from the hunt, or gathering plants or growing food and only able to eat what we grow. And if it's long since the growing season and you know the we're eating barley all winter long, you know, it might start feeling a little bit tiring. But we go to a supermarket some of us and it's, you know, we have more abundance of options for food to buy. And then royalty did maybe even 100 years ago or 150 years ago or you know, just that the cornucopia that it's embarrassing. It's kind of painful in some ways that some of us can live in this kind of cornucopia of opportunities that other people in the world do not live in.
And so we have this all go to supermarket, and we have this vast array of food to buy, and what drives the purchase of it. And I would probably guess that a high percentage of it is the pursuit of pleasure eating the things that are pleasant and enjoyable. And we have in United States at least, a, an epidemic of obesity. And some of that, I suspect is the pursuit of pleasure, that day, the consumption of sugar which is so high, as I think is it partly used to craving for, for sweetness and, and other things associated with it. And so many of the purchases people make, for clothes for simple activities. Oftentimes, as a pursuit of pleasure, we enjoy them. There's nothing wrong with that. But it can be overdone. And sometimes the pursuit of pleasure leads to problems, you know. So the pursuit of eating sugar all the time has its own problems. And also a pursuit of alcohol for alcoholics. There's a kind of pleasure there. But at the cost of it is that is that it disconnects us it alienates us from this immediacy of life. And maybe for good reason, when the immediacy of our inner cyclists, ecology of our life is painful and difficult, the pursuit of pleasure is a way to get away from it, then get a break and get relief. But in meditation, we sit to really stop the cycles, the pursuit of pleasure, and the suffering that can come from the pursuit of pleasure, or the, the incessant nature of that pursuit of pleasure, or the incessant nature of the avoidance of pain and discomfort. And the path in meditation sometimes goes through, as to go through some of the difficulty of our inner ecology, the way in which we're driven the way in which we are troubled by things and challenged by things and their swirling mind, the anxiety, the fears, the angers, the resentments, the cravings that we live in. And it can be very difficult to sit and be present for that. But the benefit of it is to settle those things to see see them through the other side, to a kind of simplicity of being, to return to kind of maybe return to kind of simplicity, where actually there's a lot of pleasure in life, that doesn't involve the pursuit of pleasure, doesn't involve an alienation and leaving ourselves in the pursuit and making a habit of going and going and going to get more and more things. But a very simple pleasure of, of beingness, that pleasure of, of breathing, the pleasure of the lighting, someone pointed out the light that was in the wall earlier, the pleasantness of the Sun and the warm than the night sky. And the there can be a lot of pleasure and in this little world and, and there can be a lot of pain. And to begin understanding and appreciating that it isn't the pursuit of pleasure that we're looking for. It isn't the pursuit of avoiding pain we're looking for, for we're looking for in meditation practice is a mind a heart that is able to be wide enough, broad enough, free enough to be present for it all. And, and to be wise about it to be free in the middle of it. And this idea of freedom, I in the world of pleasure and pain, both in relationship pleasure and pain is one of the goals of Buddhist practice.
And so the way it works with this, VEDA not pleasant and unpleasantness that's built in and neither that's built into all experiences is it as we begin becoming mindful of the pleasant and unpleasant and neither pleasant or unpleasant of our experience, we can begin to see how we react to it, how we respond to it, how we live at avoiding pain or discomfort or unpleasantness, and how there's a holding on to clinging to pleasure, comfort, and, and how that can be so automatic. It's a construct a strong habit, and the this the automatic nature of it is, is seen in that the, this this word veteran, meaning that that which is known or that we just felt is not Pure sensual pleasure or pain. In fact, a nick in the Buddhist analysis of things, there is no such thing as pure pleasure pure pain, all of it is mediated to some degree, by the mind the perceptions, we have the interpretations, we have the meaning we add two things can be very, very subtle. But in the Buddhist psychology, feeling tone veterano is an aspect of the mind, not the body. So, even a very nice pleasant feeling of the body, like getting a massage or something, or the warmth of the sun and the body is not completely 100%, free of the mental evaluation of it, the recognition of what it is, and because of that, it's this Vinaya is very intimate, to the mind to the inner life. And that intimacy to it gives it a certain kind of authority or our tendency to want to, kind of much more to react to or to or to cling or push away. And so it's okay to It's wonderful to experience the simple pleasures of life is wonderful to just allow them to come. And it's, you know, it's a unique view, because inner life benefits so much in the freedom that just allows pleasantness to come the freedom that allows pain to be there without evaluation or judgment or pre, you know, reactivity. There's something wonderful about in that freedom. That's kind of a pleasure beyond pleasure. That so we what we wanted, what we're trying to do in mindfulness practice, is to stay close to the place, simple place, where we start feeling pleasant and unpleasant pleasure and pain, and become wise about that reaction. Their response to it, the pursuit of it, the avoidance of it, the degree to which there's craving, compulsion operating, and the possibility of freedom in relationship to it. And as we begin being simpler in this mental, inner mental life, and able to just kind of go through the day, in his simplicity of the day of just being present for the experience of our life, without looking and trying to make things pleasant or pursue it. One of the rewards of that is that, I would suggest that more often than not, and sometimes it's very much not, but more often than not, there's a lot more pleasure in this world of this Kama loka, this world of sensual pleasure. And, and to, not not to indulge in it. But to allow ourselves to feel that pleasantness to take the time for it in a way that supports us to be present, to be mindful. And to learn how not to get seduced by the thoughts, the ideas, the desires, the agendas we have, that takes us away from the simplicity of being where freedom is found, where there's room to breathe, and we breathe easily. And we have the pleasure of an easy, relaxed breath as we go through our lives. So So that's, I think this talk today is partly encouragement to be mindful of pleasant and unpleasant and how, What's your relationship to it? Or how do you respond to it? And what's your relationship to anticipated pleasure, anticipated pain, discomfort, What is your reaction to its presence, the anticipation of it, and also, when it's no longer there.
This is a rich world to discover, to understand if you want to discover how to be more free in the midst of it. So thank you very much.