2022-12-20-Gil-Right Effort (2 of 5) Abandoning the Unwholesome
8:43AM Dec 24, 2022
So, this week we're doing the Buddhist teachings on right effort. The sixth factor of the Eightfold Path. And in the classic description of each of the factors of the path, a thought factors, this has the longest description, and has a lot of repetition in it. So there's four right efforts. And a lot of the way it's worded each one is the same, just some variation for it. And there's a lot of repetition of some words. And so the repetition has an impact as we read it, or listen to it. And it kind of emphasis and each each of this right effort, each of them has a series of words, that, that describe the kind of effort that to be made. But with all these and, and so we'll talk about these different kinds of efforts that the text says, but each of these four right efforts, is supposed to be done with desire. The Pāli Word is chunda, ch, a n d, a, a rather innocent word for desire, that sometimes is used for appropriate desires, sometimes for inappropriate desires or painful ones. It's kind of a broad word, desires, without any ethical or other kind of a valence implied except in the context in which it's used. But it's used for wholesome things. And one of the wholesome engagements is this right effort to get to do how to practice and, and so learning how to have chunda to have desire, which is itself right effort, which is itself without any afflictive tendencies, the unwholesome and which has wholesomeness as part of it, which is skillful, which is nourishing, which is supportive for us. And so there are two of discovering of investigating habit how we have desires. So they come from a place within that's not afraid, which is not greedy, which is not angry or hostile, aversive, that's not related to conceit, you know, I have to be, I have to make the effort here. So I can be the, you know, the most, you know, perfect effortful person and all my Buddha's community or something. So, but if it's a really kind of begin taking, taking desire seriously enough, that it deserves attention, it deserves, let's look at this desire, what does it mean to have desire, and rather than maybe a kind of a simplistic understanding of Buddhism, just supposed to let go, I'm just supposed to let go of everything that God desires, let go of everything. There is a time and place for that kind of approach. But to have that be the the broad swath, what we do with our life. It's not really what the Buddha was teaching. But to go along with his emphasis, he talked about having desire for the practice, for the path of liberation. And so to discover, how do you hold the desire in a way that is inspiring for you that it comes from a place of goodness and rightness, and doesn't add stress to your life, but if it may be anything, reduces the stress. And you're just happy to have this desire, rather than having a one more desire one more thing to do. And, you know, I have this long to do list and now I'm supposed to do this too. But not not like that. But something like Oh, I'm so lucky. I'm so fortunate to have this. This is a great thing. And, in a sense, one of the great aspects of these four right efforts, it, it's taking its application, it's a way of being, way of being with everything we can possibly do. No matter what we're doing. We're looking at it from the point of view, is how I'm doing it and what's motivating it. Is it wholesome or unwholesome, is it helpful or unhelpful? And, and then too, does desire to not be involved with the unhealthy ways of doing things and to desire the healthy ones. And then how is that desire on my mind in a hurry with desire, I have so many to do things to do I'm in a hurry, if you are in a hurry and trying to feel your life or can you tap into the healthy form of desire is healthy form a desire come from some other place. One of the paradoxes of, of really strong desire of you know, neediness or craving or thirsting of wanting to do things, even if we do it out of fear, you know, fear of missing out or something, is that it diminishes the wholesome. And sometimes it gets the wholesome within us gets eclipsed entirely by all the desires we have. But if we find how to have a wholesome desires in a place where there's time and space, then the wholesome can well up the ways in which we do things can be fulfilling in and of itself. And we don't need to find fulfilment, from accomplishing a lot of things, we find our fulfillment in the moment of doing something much more. So, so each of these four right efforts talks about taking up taking hold of the mind. And with desire, so the way that this right for the right effort is often written, translated, it's a little bit you know, I think, I often felt it was just I was tired by the time I read it. So here's a common translation of the it's also part of the each of the four right efforts that's similar for each one about it says, One makes effort, arouses energy exerts the mind and strives.
So that seems like a lot of work. But I want to read you a different translation, that when that I've made that, some of that some of the what didn't original Pāli is left out in the English Trent, this English translation. So when takes up, and takes hold of the mind. So here, one begins by being present for one's own mind, one's own inner life, when takes hold, and takes up. So So you know, our inner life, let's say inner life, there was inner life, the mind, this is important to engage and be attentive to. So when takes up and takes hold of the mind, and generates desire, so when arouses when gives birth to desire, so there's a conscious intention here, to look for that desire, that is appropriate, that's healthy. That's, you know, so beautifully done, like an odd piece of art, that you'd like to look on this desire. When takes up that takes hold of the mind and generates desire. initiates, initiates courageous effort. So the word initiates is there and the original and the word for courageous effort is viriya, which is a very powerful word, sometimes it means power, or strength. And it's sometimes it's great to translate I think, maybe into Tibetan Buddhism, Miss courageous effort. Someone who's a, a warrior, is sometimes called a word that's related to viriya. So courageous, but I like the word courageous effort, that sometimes we have to have some courage to be present and for ourselves and here, so it's a little bit has it's bringing some strength to it. So when takes up and takes hold of the mind, and generates desire, initiates courageous effort, for the non arising of unwholesome states of mind. So that's the first right effort. For today I want to introduce now the second one, and and this one goes, takes up when takes up and takes hold of the mind and generates desire. It initiates courageous effort for abandoning unwholesome states of mind. And this word Paavana. Abandoned is a powerful word, it's different than just letting go. Letting Go has more more a sense of letting go of it for the moment. Abandoning, is letting go done with wisdom and commitment and clarity and a fullness, this, I'm going to put down this, I'm not going to be involved in anymore. Of course, mostly they come back. But there's this kind of definitiveness or fullness or seriousness, this, I will abandon this, I won't do anymore. And here again, we have this kind of idea of living in a conscious mindful way that comes where you take hold of the mind, if take hold up, take hold of your attention, take hold, you know, being here in the present moment. Take it up, be here. So that when you're doing something, you do it wholeheartedly. And here, this right effort is generate the desire to wholeheartedly abandon whatever you're doing, that's afflictive that's harmed, you maybe harms others as well. It's not necessarily it's not at all easy to abandon and let it go. So just say it so simply is, you know, can be confusing, or even, you know, even stressful. But this, we're talking about having the desire for this, the healthy desire, taking the time to find that the definitive this a clearness, that, you know, I think I want to be finished with this. I've been critical of others in an aversive annoying way. And I'm done with it. I've done this for so long. It's not good for them, it's not good for me, I want to abandon this adverse of nature that I have this critical illness, this cynicism, the resentment I have, I've been caught in addiction, which is very difficult, though, to undermine or under understate the difficulty of it. But still, I've had enough. And I want to now to, you know, I would, I want to add to this desire is here to abandon it. And once that clear desire is there to abandon it, then we can engage, engage in the process of doing so. So it might not just be snap our fingers, and then we just do it. It's, it's you know, and we practice the rest of the eightfold path. So that we can find a way to do that. So the second have the right efforts is to arouse, give birth to generate the desire. Find the desire, find a way to desire that you enjoy. It does require you to take some time to get to know what that kind of desire might be. Maybe it's a desire you arouse. When you're relaxed at ease, having a cup of tea looking out the window, for something or or maybe you can be in touch with that kind of healthy desire at the end of a sitting meditation. So this is not an obligation to let go of unwholesome desires, or a statement having an unwholesome mind states. It's not a statement, you're a terrible person. If you have unwholesome states of mind. It's rather discovering something wonderful inside a wonderful desire that cares for yourself that wants to engage in a process of bringing these to an end. So they can be abandoned put down once and for all. And maybe it's done in small pieces, small steps. Maybe it's done gradually over time. Maybe for today, if you know you have some afflictive, unhealthy mind states and desires that you don't want to kind of live by but you're caught and often. Maybe the goal for today is not to abandon them entirely, but to discover the desire to abandon them. So whenever they arise, take the time to find a healthy desire, one that you like, that you enjoy having in relationship to the things that you'd like to abandon. And then rather than abandoning them entirely, maybe you can less less Send the frequency or their intensity today by 10%. And then what would that look like just kind of turn down the volume little bit. As opposed to being caught up in the day it should be all or nothing. So I hope you enjoy your desires. take time today to look at them and explore them. And maybe enjoy the desire to be done with some of the unhealthy unsupportive states of mind that you might live with. And maybe you'll enjoy doing them 10% less less. So thank you very much. And tomorrow we'll start the discussion about the third right effort which is the related to wholesome mind states. Thank you