Wednesday, January 1, 2020

What is real "insight"? (Ajahn Chah)

Ajahn Chah ( via Ven. Sujato, Ellie Askew, Dhr. Seven (ed.), Wisdom Quarterly
(Solomon Sloan) Could an artist-in-residence overdo the sublime Buddhist art of portraiture?

What is a spittoon really?
They spat in the 1910s in Chicago courtrooms.
If you don't practice, you won't know. Frankly speaking, you won't know the Dharma by just reading it or just studying it. Even if you were to come to know it, your knowledge would still be defective and deficient.

For example, look at this spittoon here. Everybody knows it's a spittoon -- but they don't fully know the spittoon. Why don't they fully know it?

If I were to call this spittoon a saucepan, what would you say? Suppose that every time I asked for it, I said: "Please bring me that saucepan over there." That would confuse you. Why? Because you don't fully know the spittoon. If you did, there would be no problem. You would simply pick up that object and hand it to me. How could this be?

Name follows function: emptiness
It's because actually there isn't any spittoon. Do you understand? It's a spittoon due to convention [not ultimate reality]. This convention is accepted all over the country, so it's a spittoon. But there isn't any real "spittoon."

If somebody wants to call it a saucepan, it can be a saucepan. It can be whatever one calls it. This is called "concept." If we fully know the spittoon, even if somebody calls it a saucepan, there's no problem.

Whatever others may or may not call it, we are unperturbed -- because we are not blind to its true nature. [We know-and-see its true nature.] This is one who knows Dharma.

What is real insight?
Earliest (human) conception of the Buddha
If you see things with real insight (vipassana) then there is no "stickiness" in relationship to them. They come – pleasant or unpleasant – you see them, and there is no clinging, no attachment.

They come, and they pass. Even if the worst kinds of defilement come up, such as greed or anger, there’s enough wisdom to see their impermanent nature and to allow them to just fade and pass away.

If you react to them [with a preference], however, by liking or disliking [greed or hatred, attraction or aversion], that isn’t wisdom. You’re only creating more suffering/disappointment for yourself.

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