Vedanānupassanā: The notion and its practical value

As it is described by the Buddha in the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta, there are four areas of our experience to direct our attention and recognize for ourselves the true nature of the world we live in. These areas or foundations are: kāya, vedanā, citta and dhammā. The first and the last ones are very well explained in the Sutta, while the instructions for practicing the two middle ones are considerably shorter. That’s probably the reason why they attract much less attention among researchers as well as practitioners. For example, in a work on satipaṭṭhana by Sayadaw U Sīlānanda, The Four Foundations of Mindfulness, there are only six pages dedicated to the contemplation of vedanā and only two pages for contemplation of citta. On the the other hand, contemplation of kāya is extensively discussed 54 pages and contemplation of dhammas is 44 pages long. This obvious disproportion was intriguing enough for me to chose this topic of this essay, with an intention, first, to explore the exact meaning of the term vedanā and second, to analyze its application in the framework of the specific type of the Buddhist meditation called vedanānupassanā.

In the West, the term vedanā has been, for last 150 years or so, mostly translated as “feeling” or “sensation”. This fact is interesting for three reasons: (1) the meaning of these two terms is not identical; (2) the second one is so vague that, depending on context, it can mean too many things; and (3) neither of them translates properly the real meaning of the term vedanā. While the problem with “feeling” is its vagueness, in the case of “sensation” it seems we are considerably off the mark:

“If a sensation is ‘an impression produced by impulses conveyed by an afferent nerve to the sensorium’ – so a standard medical definition – then such an impulse is rather the precursor of vedanā, rather than vedanā proper, and would, in Buddhist terms, be part of the process called ‘contact’ (phassa) or, more precisely, ‘a tangible’ (phoṭṭhabba). While the contemplation of bodily tangibles and somatic experiences is central to the practice of establishing mindfulness, such practices have their own place in the Satipaṭṭhāna schema under the heading of contemplation of body (kāyanānupassanā), from which the contemplation of feeling-tones (vedanā) are explicitly differentiated.”1

So in the first case vedanā is included into the affective tone of an experience (e.g. ‘feeling’, ‘emotion’) and in the other it is identified it with a felt somatic quality (‘sensation’). It seems that the proper place of vedanā is exactly in between these two events: sense impingement and emotional reaction. Therefore, both translations miss vedanā’s crucial quality – the mind’s evaluative response to experience on an axis of pleasure, indifference and displeasure.

Recently, several authors, including N.R. Reat, P. De Silva and Bhikkhu Analayo, have suggested translating vedanā as “hedonic tone”. However, some other opted for an “affective tone”. All this itself is a good indicator that English vocabulary doesn’t have appropriate word to pinpoint the exact meaning of the Pāli term. Therefore, I choose to stay with vedanā in the rest of this essay, except in citations, of course.

Let us now try to unpack the actual meaning of the term, at least according to the Buddha’s teachings. We can start with the Buddha’s intriguing claim in the Mūlaka Sutta (AN 8:83): “Friends, all things… converge upon feeling.”2 Having in mind such a central position of vedanā in the life of every human being makes it much easier to understand why exactly it got its place among four foundations of mindfulness.

The term vedanā itself is derived from the root √vid and the verb vedeti, which means both “to feel” and “to know”. This indicates that vedanā may have a role in the cognition process. It makes for its affective part, what we sometimes call “intuition”. Therefore, we usually refer to feelings as this type a vague level of knowledge, by saying: “I have a feeling I shouldn’t do that” or “I have an unsettling feeling about that person”. On the other hand, although vedanā strongly influences the arising of emotions, these are not included in its range of meaning. We can say that vedanās are rather rudimentary elements which contribute to the appearance of such a complex phenomenon as an emotion. Thus, emotions are rather the domain of the next satipaṭṭhana, contempation of the dhammas.

Besides, vedanā is used widely in various contexts across the Pāli Canon, in all three Piṭakas. The analysis of that use shows that vedanā coprises both bodily and mental phenomena. It is also one of the key factors of the mind, since it gives flavor, taste or tone to any experienced event. Thus it covers the whole spectrum from pain (dukkha) to pleasure (sukha) and all in between. But at the same time, it is obviously not the objective property of an event or experience, but entirely the subjective quality of our consciousness.

Among the various contexts vedanā figures in the Canon, for our discussion two of these are the most prominent. One is the Buddha’s analysis of the five components (sankharā) constituting an individual being. Following kāya (body), as the only member of the rūpa group, vedanā is the first among arūpa khandhas, accompanied by sañña (perception), sankhāra (mental formation) and viññāna (consciousness). In the Pāli Canon many different types of vedanā are listed. For example, in the Vedanā Saṃyutta (SN 36) it is said that they are of two kinds: bodily and mental. Also of three kinds: pleasant, painful and neither-painful-nor-pleasant. The list continues with five kinds of vedanā: pleasure, pain, joy, displeasure and equanimity. Than come six kinds: the vedanā born from eye-contact, ear-contact, nose-contact, tongue-contact, body-contact and the vedanā born from mind-contact. As this analysis becomes more and more complex, there follow lists of eighteen, thirty six and finally hundred and eight vedanās.

As for the paṭicca-samuppāda schema, vedanā‘s predecessor in the chain of events is contact (phassa), described as a purely sensory event occurring at the moment when a sense organ, its object and the corresponding consciousness meet together: e.g. eye, visible object and eye-consciousness. Contact of these three coming together gives rise to a vedanā. Thus it is obvious that vedanā is not a mere sensory event, but one step further on in the process, which usually continues with the arising of desire (tanhā) and than grasping and identification (upādāna). And exactly at this link between vedanā and tanhā the chain of dependent origination of suffering is the weakest and should be broken.

The fact that vedanā figures in two of the key teachings very well illustrates its great importance in the Buddha’s analysis of the reality. Therefore, as already stated, it doesn’t come as a surprise that vedanā is listed as one of the satipaṭṭhanas, to which we are now directing our attention.

At the outset, let‘s get to the Buddha’s instructions in the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta, on how to practice vedanānupassanā, how to be fully aware of the various types of pleasant, painful and also neutral vedanās we experience throughout the day:

“And how, bhikkhus, does a bhikkhu abide contemplating feelings as feelings? Here, when feeling a pleasant feeling, a bhikkhu understands: ‘I feel a pleasant feeling’; when feeling a painful feeling, he understands: ‘I feel a painful feeling’; when feeling a neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling, he understands: ‘I feel a neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling.’ When feeling a worldly pleasant feeling, he understands: ‘I feel a worldly pleasant feeling’; when feeling an unworldly pleasant feeling, he understands: ‘I feel an unworldly pleasant feeling’; when feeling a worldly painful feeling, he understands: ‘I feel a worldly painful feeling’; when feeling an unworldly painful feeling, he understands: ‘I feel an unworldly painful feeling’; when feeling a worldly neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling, he understands: ‘I feel a worldly neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling’; when feeling an unworldly neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling, he understands: ‘I feel an unworldly neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling.’

In this way he abides contemplating feelings as feelings internally, or he abides contemplating feelings as feelings externally, or he abides contemplating feelings as feelings both internally and externally. Or else he abides contemplating in feelings their arising factors, or he abides contemplating in feelings their vanishing factors, or he abides contemplating in feelings both their arising and vanishing factors. Or else mindfulness that ‘there is feeling’ is simply established in him to the extent necessary for bare knowledge and mindfulness. And he abides independent, not clinging to anything in the world. That is how a bhikkhu abides contemplating feelings as feelings.”3

According to these instructions, the second foundation of mindfulness is actually an act of direct evaluation of every sensory and mental input as they happen. The meditator should be constantly aware of the affective tone of any experience, in terms of it being pleasant (sukha), painful (dukkha) or neutral (adukkhamasukhaṃ). Starting from this basic division, Buddha further segregates vedanā into two groups of three: worldly (sāmisa) and unworldly (nirāmisa) forms. Following explanation given in the Nirāmisa Sutta (SN 36:31), the first type of vedanā (maybe better translated as “sensation”) applies to experiences based on the five physical senses of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching and the pleasure or unpleasant obtained from these. The other (“non-sensory”) type represents experiences connected to meditative absorptions.

Photo: Mladen Ivanović

Introducing the ethical aspect into this contemplation makes a very important step in practice, having in mind a tight relationship between vedanā and the array of mental reactions that follow it, according to the dependent origination schema. Pointing to this relationship, Pahāna sutta (SN 36:3) for example approaches it from the point of latent tendencies (anusaya):

“Bhikkhus, there are these three feelings. What three? Pleasant feeling, painful feeling, neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling. The underlying tendency to lust should be abandoned in regard to pleasant feeling. The underlying tendency to aversion should be abandoned in regard to painful feeling. The underlying tendency to ignorance should be abandoned in regard to neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling.”4

Thus, unwholesome thoughts and emotions are detected at their point of origination in vedanā. Using such developed mindfulness, one can work towards detachment from the conditioning mechanisms that nature has bestowed upon us. And this is beneficial, since as we all know, in many cases our conditioning brings us a lot of suffering. While the opposite also applies, making these mechanisms looser brings freedom.

The antidote to each of these tendencies recommended by the Satipaṭṭhana Sutta is mindful observation of each of the feeling arisen, accompanied with the clear knowing what is happening: “vedanaṃ vedayāmī’ti pajānāti”. The way different kind of feelings should be considered is given in the Dutiyavedanā Sutta (Itivuttaka, 53):

“The sensation that is pleasant, monks, is to be regarded as dukkha; the sensation that is dukkha is to be regarded as a dart; the sensation that is neither dukkha nor pleasant is to be regarded as impermanent. When the sensation that is pleasant, monks, comes to be seen, on the part of some monk, as dukkha, the sensation that is dukkha comes to be seen as a dart, the sensation that is neither dukkha nor pleasant comes to be seen as impermanent, that monk, monks, is spoken of as an ariyan, as one of right sight, as one who has severed craving, as one who has flung off the fetter, as one who, through the proper penetration of conceit, has made an end of dukkha.”5

In line with the model applied to all other objects of satipaṭṭhana, contemplation of vedanā is further done in reference to both internal (ajjhatta) and external (bahiddhā) ones. The focus of contemplation is on the clear discernment of each feeling’s arising and passing away, while retaining a position of an independent observer and not clinging to any of them. By following these quite concise instructions, the meditator should clearly stay at the level of bare awareness of the experience and the hedonic quality of the vedanā it initiated. This will ensure that he was not carried away by that experience, through volitional reactions or mental proliferation.

Finally, following instructions of the Satipaṭṭhana Sutta, once mindfulness is used to clearly distinguish between three kinds of feelings, be they worldly or unwordly, internal of external, a meditator should contemplate “in feelings both their arising and vanishing factors”. This perspective allows for the most important insight into the changing nature of each feeling and this is clear awareness of their impermanence. Only this insight can assure the meditator that no feeling is worth of grabbing and following, which initiates a process of letting go and relinquishing all attachment to feelings. Only in this way he is able to “abide independent, not clinging to anything in the world”.

Among the contemporary contemplative methods, as far as I know, vedanaupassana plays prominent role only in the framework of S. N. Goenka’s meditation method. Although here the meaning of the term vedanā is narrowed down to the notion of ‘bodily sensations’ (kāya vedanā). Just one vivid example of that importance is contained in the following quotation:

“Whatever arises in the mind, the Buddha discovered, will be accompanied by a physical sensation. Hence, whether the meditator is exploring the mental or the physical aspect of the phenomenon of “I”, awareness of sensation is essential.

This discovery is the unique contribution of the Buddha, of central importance in his teaching. Before him in India among his contemporaries, there were many who taught and practised sīla (morality) and samādhi (concentration). Paññā (wisdom) also existed, at least devotional or intellectual wisdom: it was commonly accepted that mental defilements are the source of suffering, that craving and aversion must be eliminated in order to purify the mind and to attain liberation. The Buddha simply found the way to do it.

What had been lacking was an understanding of the importance of sensation. Then as now, it was generally thought that our reactions are to the external objects of sense–vision, sound, odour, taste, touch, thoughts. However, observation of the truth within reveals that between the object and the reaction is a missing link: sensation. The contact of an object with the corresponding sense door gives rise to sensations; the saññā assigns a positive or negative valuation, in accordance with which the sensation becomes pleasant or unpleasant, and one reacts with craving or aversion. The process occurs so rapidly that conscious awareness of it develops only after a reaction has been repeated many times and has gathered dangerous strength sufficient to overpower the mind. To deal with the reactions, one must become aware of them at the point where they start; they start with sensation, and so one must be aware of sensations. The discovery of this fact, unknown before him, enabled Siddhattha Gotama to attain enlightenment, and this is why he always stressed the importance of sensation.”6

The goal here is to not allow vedanā to transform into tanha, a small spark not to become a big fire. There is no a new fuel for saṃsāra, and the whole cycle is stopped.

Finally, it can be said that relatively less prominent role of vedanānupassanā both in the more traditional approaches to meditation practice in the East as well as in its Western offshoots appears to be somewhat strange, given the fact that we are actually talking about “a power by which we do as we do”. Simply stated, we should be fully aware that vedanā has consequences, and that these consequences are observable in many areas of modern life, from personal to social, from local to global. No doubt that this powerful force of vedanā will continue to produce many unwanted and undesirable consequences as long as it, undisclosed and unacknowledged, drives behavior, both individually and collectively.

The Buddha has fully recognized the powerful and ever-present nature of vedanā. He rightly understood vedanā as something inescapable, that has no end. Because vedanā is deeply woven into the fabric of our experience, shaping, coloring and directing it. To be human means to be experiencing vedanā with all its pleasantness and unpleasantness. As the Buddha explained with one of his famous similes in the Agāra Sutta (SN 36:11), we are simply a guest house for the comings and goings of vedanā:

“Bhikkhus, suppose there is a guest house. People come from the east, west, north, and south and lodge there. So too, bhikkhus, various feelings arise in this body: pleasant feeling arises; painful feeling arises, neither-painful-nor pleasant feeling arises; worldly pleasant feeling arises; worldly painful feeling arises; worldly neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling arises; unworldly pleasant feeling arises; unworldly painful feeling arises; unworldly neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling arises.”7

Being a guest house is not as much of a problem as those automatic, habitual reactions to various comings and goings of vedanā. These reactions, when left unnoticed and under the radar of mindfulness very frequently manifest as displays of greed and aversion, covetousness and hatred. And that has grave consequences for our well-being, but also for well-being of the people we share our life with. Multiplying this kind of reactions by constant repeating and by majority of members of a society lifts those consequences to an even higher level, creating social tensions and deep lines of division between social, age, gender, and ethnic groups and finally between whole nations. Knowing this, we can even more appreciate Buddha’s timeless message:

Na hi verena verāni, sammantīdha kudācanaṃ.
averena ca sammanti, esa dhammo sanantano.

For not by hatred do hatreds cease at any time in this place,
they only cease with non-hatred, this truth is surely eternal.”8

Notes

1 Akincano M. Weber, “Hedonic Hotspots, Hedonic Potholes: Vedanā Revisited”. Contemporary Buddhism, 2018.
2 Bhikkhu Bodhi (2012), The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha. Boston: Wisdom Publications, p. 1231-32.
3 Bhikkhu Ñāṇamoli & Bhikkhu Bodhi, The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha: A New Translation of the Majjhima Nikaya. Boston: Wisdom Publication, 1995, p. 149-150.
4 Bhikkhu Bodhi (2012), p. 1261.
5 The Itivuttaka, transl. Peter Masefield. Oxford, PTS 2001, p. 48.
6 S.N. Goenka, The Discourse Summaries, Talks from a Ten-day Course in Vipassana Meditation, Igatpuri, India, Vipassana Research Institute, 2010, p.56.
7 Bhikkhu Bodhi (2012), p. 1273.
8 Dhammapada, Transl. Anandajoti Bhikkhu, 2016, p. 19. https://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/Buddhist-Texts/K2-Dhammapada-New/index.htm (accessed on August 28, 2019)

Meditation instructions to Māluṅkyāputta

Name of Māluṅkyāputta is well known in the Pāli Canon, admittedly not first and foremost for meditative reasons. Namely, he was Buddha’s interlocutor in the famous Cuḷa-Māluṅkyāputta Sutta (MN 63), where he requested answers from the Teacher related to some of the burning metaphysical questions of his time in ancient India: is the world eternal or not, is it limited or not, whether the soul is the same as the body or not, and finally what happens with the Tathāgatha after death. Considering these questions as wrongly defined and irrelevant for the spiritual practice of the samaṇa, the Buddha refused to answer them. It doesn’t come as a surprise that Māluṅkyāputta is the one who poses these highly metaphysical questions, knowing that he comes from a brahminical, highly learned family on his mother’s side.

Māluṅkyāputta also appears in several other suttas, like Mahā-Māluṅkyāputta Sutta (MN 64), Māluṅkyāputta sutta (AN 4:257), his verses are in Theragatha and he is even mentioned in the Milindapañha. But for this occasion we are interested in the Māluṅkyaputta Sutta (SN 35:95), where he is already “old, aged, burdened with years, advanced in life, come to the last stage”. Probably feeling kind of saṃvega that comes with knowing that the end is coming closer and closer and not being sure how to practice for the highest attainment, he approaches the Buddha for the advice. In response, he receives probably one of the most remarkable and the most enigmatic meditation instruction in the whole Canon1:

“Here, Māluṅkyāputta, regarding things seen, heard, sensed and cognized by you: in the seen there will be merely the seen; in the heard there will be merely the heard; in the sensed there will be merely the sensed; in the cognized there will be merely the cognized.

When, Māluṅkyāputta, regarding things seen, heard, sensed, and cognized by you, in the seen there will be merely the seen, in the heard there will be merely the heard, in the sensed there will be merely the sensed, in the cognized there will be merely the cognized, then, Māluṅkyāputta, you will not be ‘by that.’ When, Māluṅkyāputta, you are not ‘by that,’ then you will not be ‘therein.’ When, Māluṅkyāputta, you are not ‘therein,’ then you will be neither here nor beyond nor in between the two. This itself is the end of suffering.”2

Inspired by Master’s advice, Māluṅkyāputta expressed his understanding in verse, which the Buddha at the end of the sutta confirms as correct, by simply repeating what Māluṅkyāputta already said. Later, by practicing according to these instructions, Māluṅkyāputta became one of the arahants.

As we see, the advice received by Māluṅkyāputta can lead meditator to the final goal. Therefore it is worth investigating what is the detailed meaning of it and how it can be transformed into a sustained practice. In unpacking that meaning we may start from the Saṃyutta Nikāya commentary, which says that Māluṅkyāputta in his young age was very negligent, attached to possessions and sense pleasures. Now, in his old age, probably disillusioned with what gave him the most pleasure in life, he is looking for some more secure ways to permanent peace and happiness. Knowing his previous history, obsession with the sense pleasures, it can be expected that the Buddha directed him exactly towards six sense realms as a field for the practice and purification of the mind.

As we know, in Buddhism we talk about five physical sense faculties and the mind as a mental. Therefore, all in all, we operate with six sense-doors. Here it should be noted that in the sutta senses of smell, taste and touch are, for the sake of brevity, grouped under one category – thought or cognition (mutta).

Now, it would be helpful first to briefly explain what is, in Buddhist theory, considered as “seeing” (the same applies to other senses). This process is interaction between three components: eye itself, visible object and the consciousness about what is seen (cakkhuviññāṇa). Meeting of these three is called “contact” (phassa). The task of every meditator is to observe each of these three factors of the process and to understand their real nature. Classical example of this kind of practice is given in the Mahā-satipatthāna sutta (MN 22), in the section on the contemplation of dhammas, more specifically the six sense bases:

“And how does a bhikkhu abide contemplating mind-objects as mind-objects in terms of the six internal and external bases? Here a bhikkhu understands the eye, he understands forms, and he understands the fetter that arises dependent on both; and he also understands how there comes to be the arising of the unarisen fetter, and how there comes to be the abandoning of the arisen fetter, and how there comes to be the future non-arising of the abandoned fetter.”

Here, besides eye and visible object, the Buddha speaks about the fetters arising dependent on these two. And that’s the goal of our practice. To see how in this process, through distorted cognitions, we misapprehend the reality and thus fundamentally change our whole experience of the world we live in. In what is impermanent, not satisfactory and not substantial we see the opposite. Secondly, to understand how this process unavoidably leads to suffering.

“The presence of such unrealistic elements within cognition is due to the habitual projection of one’s own mistaken notions onto cognized sense data, a process of which one is usually unaware. These habitual projections underlying the perceptual process are responsible for unrealistic expectations and thereby for frustration and conflict.”3

Knowing that cognition are outcome of the mental habits, we can conclude that they are possible to train. Cognitive training establishes new patterns and gradually changes our previous, habits-based cognition. One of the key tools in this training is vipassana instruction of guarding one’s own senses, which makes also for the first part of the Buddha’s instruction to Māluṅkyāputta. This part of the advice is deceptively simple and can be summarized as: “Do not daydream, but really see what you are looking at”. This means catching the moment between sensing the bare image and recognition, staying with that moment and its reality, instead of following the well trodden path described in the paṭicca-samuppāda formula: contact → feeling → thirst → attachment… and we are already hooked! So, catching that moment of “bare seeing” and staying with it makes are safe. The only catch, but the huge one, is that our mindfulness must be quick enough to sport that fleeting, elusive split second. For untrained person that looks absolutely impossible. But the testimonies of the experienced meditators show the opposite. This is what Venerable Nananada calls “stopping short, at the level of sense data”.

That’s also the point where we can skillfully apply the teachings of two truths: ultimate and conventional. By staying with the bare seeing we are actually looking directly into the ultimate truth, which doesn’t know about labels and concepts we so diligently attach to everything we sense, trying to rationalize and create new meaning to our experience.

With bare seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching constantly and repeatedly, first of all, we abstain of habitual liking and disliking, evaluation and proliferation based on raw sensory data. Also, we gradually begin to understand the real nature of the phenomena we register, their impermanence and unsatisfactoriness. And finally, we recognize the hard fact that these processes are not ours, but impersonal events happening due to causes and conditions, on which we do not exert much influence. Instead of “my” seeing, in that box called “I” we found only aggregate of constituent parts, which themselves are just collection of new aggregates of unsubstantial constituents and so on ad infinitum. But for each of these phenomena we created a separate name, label, idea. We also diligently weaved the whole net of mutual inter-relations. And this connection between object of seeing and its corresponding label is so tight and seems somehow so natural in the world of conventional truth. But I still remember how one day I was keeping book in my hand and suddenly the word “book” and the object in my hand started to part away. Connection between two broke and I was surprised how strange and arbitrary was this sequence of sounds b-o-o-k. What does it really have with the object I’m keeping in my hand? B-o-o-k, b-o-o-k… How meaningless, absurd group of sounds! Why not k-o-o-b, k-o-o-b or anything else? Later I tried the same with other words and it was enough to repeat any of them slowly, mindfully just several times to see it dissolving right in front of my eyes, to see its total arbitrarity and superficiality, which hide what is always available to be seen. A performance of innumerable impersonal phenomena endlessly arising and ceasing.

And what about the second part of the Buddha’s instruction? This cryptic and confusing pointing to somewhere outside of the three lines that encompass out whole world as we usually know it: here, there and in between. If we understand the Buddha is here talking about nibbāna, than the choice of words and metaphors is little bit more understandable, since this is similar strategy the Buddha uses when talking about this topic. And with the reason, since everyday language is not capable of expressing what is not part of everyday experience. So, “When, Māluṅkyāputta, you are not ‘by that,’ then you will not be ‘therein’”, seems to mean, firstly, that if Māluṅkyāputta is not poisoned by lust, hatred or delusion, if he is not deceived by “I”, “me” and “mine”, he will see clearly that there is not any “doer” or “knower” behind any sensory experience. And if clearly seeing in this way, he will not see any permanent essence, but mere experiences. This is the stepping stone to leaving behind any attachment, to final liberation. Since being “therein” means staying in the endless round of saṃsāra. Coming to this point of non-attachment means not being reborn anywhere: “neither here nor beyond nor in between the two”. And only there is a place where all suffering stops. This is place of all arahants:

“…who are no longer influenced by subjective biases and who cognize phenomena without self-reference. Free from craving and proliferation, they are not identified with either ‘here’ (senses), or ‘there’ (objects), or ‘in between’ (consciousness), resulting in freedom from any type of becoming [existence], whether it be ‘here’, or ‘there’, or ‘in between’.4

Beleške

1 The same teaching the Buddha gave also to Bāhiya Dārućīriya (“bark-clothed ascetic”) in Bāhiya sutta (Udāna 1:10).

2 The Connected Discourses of the Buddha, Transl. Bhikkhu Bodhi. Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2000, p. 1175-1176.

3 Analayo Bhikkhu, Satipatthana, The Direct Path to Realization. Cambridge: Windhorse Publications, 2003, p. 227.

4 Analayo Bhikkhu, Ibid, p. 232.

Dodir ljubavi

Vežba: Koristi dodir ispunjen ljubavlju, čak i kad dodiruješ predmete.

PODSETI SEBE
Na jedan prst ruke koju obično koristiš stavi nešto neuobičajeno. Možda prsten, flaster, jednu tačku laka za nokte na jedan od noktiju ili krstić flomasterom u boji. Svaki put kada uočiš taj znak, podseti se da dodiruješ s ljubavlju.

OTKRIĆA
Kada radimo ovu vežbu, vrlo brzo postanemo svesni kada mi ili neko drugi ne koristi dodir ljubavi. Uočavamo kako se u samoposluzi stvari bace u korpu, kako se prtljag na aerodromu tresne na pokretnu traku ili plastični pribor za jelo baca u kantu za otpatke. Čujemo kako lonci lupaju u kuhinji kad se nabacaju jedan na drugi ili kako vrata lupaju kada žurimo.

Posebna dilema nastaje u našem manastiru za ljude kada pleve vrt. Kako da koristimo dodir ljubavi kada živu biljku čupamo iz zemlje i to iz korena? Možemo li svoje srce i dalje držati otvorenim, dok je stavljamo u kompost uz molitvu zahvalnosti što će njen (i naš) život biti na korist drugim bićima?

Kao student medicine, radila sam sa više hirurga poznatih zbog svog “hirurškog temperamenta”. Ako se neki problem javi tokom operacije, reagovali bi poput dvogodišnjaka, bacali skupe instrumente i istresali se na medicinsko osoblje. Pri svemu tome, uočila sam da je jedan hirurg drugačiji od ostalih. I pod stresom ostajao je miran, ali što je još važnije, baratao je tkivom svakog od pacijenata pod narkozom kao sa najvećom dragocenošću. Odlučila sam da ako bi meni trebala operacija, insistirala bih da je on obavi.

Dok vežbamo na ovakav način, pažnja na dodir s ljubavlju širi se tako da u sebe uključi svesnost ne samo toga kako dodirujemo stvari, već i svesnost kako mi bivamo dodirnuti. To uključuje ne samo kako nas dodiruju ljudske ruke, već i naša odeća, vetar, hrana i piće u ustima, pod kojim stopala gaze i mnoge druge stvari. Učimo kako da koristimo ruke ljubavi i dodir ljubavi. Dodirujemo bebe, verne pse, decu koja plaču i svog partnera s nežnošću i brižnošću. Zašto takav dodir ljubavi ne koristimo sve vreme? To je ključno pitanje u vezi sa svesnošću. Zašto ne možemo tako da živimo sve vreme? Kada jednom otkrijemo koliko je bogatiji naš život kada smo prisutniji, zašto ponovo upadnemo u rutinu starih navika i postanemo neosetljivi?

DUBLJE LEKCIJE
Bivamo dodirnuti sve vreme, ali smo najčešće nesvesni toga. Dodir uđe u polje naše svesti obično samo kad je neprijatan (kamenčić u cipeli) ili povezan sa intenzivnom željom (kada me on ili ona poljubi po prvi put). Kada počnemo da se otvaramo za svaku senzaciju dodira, spolja i iznutra, možda se uplašimo. Jer sve to može biti previše za nas.

Obično smo svesni korišćenja dodira ljubavi sa ljudima, nego sa predmetima. Međutim, kada smo u žurbi ili nas neko iznervira, pretvorimo ga u objekat. Izjurimo iz kuće bez pozdrava nekome koga volimo, ignorišemo pozdrav kolege na poslu samo zato što smo juče imali sa njim neku prepirku. To su sve načini na koje druge ljude pretvaramo u objekte, smetnju, prepreku i, na kraju, u neprijatelja.

U Japanu predmeti su često personifikovani. Sa mnogima od njih se postupa sa poštovanjem i brižnošću; stvari koje bismo mi smatrali neživima i otuda nečim što ne zaslužuje poštovanje, a pogotovo ne ljubav. Novac je kasirki daje sa dve ruke, mešalica za čaj ima svoje ime, polomljene igle za šivenje se sahranjuju tako što se polože da počivaju u mekom komadu tofua, prefiks poštovanja kao što je “o-” daje se običnim stvarima, kao što je novac (o-kane), voda (o-mizu), čaj (o-cha), čak i štapići za jelo (o-hashi). Ovo možda potiče iz šinto tradicije poštovanja kamija ili duhova koji obitavaju u vodopadima, velikim stablima i planinama. Ako se voda, drvo ili kamen smatraju svetim, tada su i sve stvari koje od njih nastanu takođe svete.

Moj zen učitelj me je naučio, ličnim primerom, kako da svim stvarima rukujem kao da su žive. Zen majstor Maezumi roši bi otvarao koverte, čak i one sa reklamama, koristeći poseban nož, kako bi načinio pravilan rez i vadio sadržaj pisma sa velikom pažnjom. Rastužilo bi ga ako vidi da neko nogama gura po Sali jastučiće za meditaciju ili uz tresak spusti tanjir na sto. “Osetim to u svom telu”, rekao je jednom. Dok većina današnjih sveštenika koristi vešalice za odeću, zen majstor Harada roši posvetio bi vreme da svako uveče uredno savije svoju odeću i “ispegla” je stavljajući je po dušek ili kofer. Tako je njegova odeća uvek bio kao ispeglana. Neki od delova njegove odeće stari su stotinu godina. I prema svakom komadu odeće odnosi se kao da pripada Budi.

Možemo li zamisliti kako je svesno dodira neko probuđeno biće? Koliko senzitivno i široko njihovo polje pažnje mora biti? Isus je postao svestan istog trenutka kada je bolesna žena dodirnula kraj njegovog ogrtača i bila isceljena.

Zaključak: “Kad barataš pirinčem, vodom ili bilo čime drugim, razvijaj u sebi brižnost ispunjenu ljubavlju i pažnjom, slično roditelju koji u naručju drži svoje dete.” – zen učitelj Dogen.

Suan Mokkh – Vrt oslobođenja

Prenosim iskustva jednog našeg duhovnog putnika sa meditacijskog povlačenja u Tajlandu.  :andjali

Deset dana novog iskustva

Odlazeći iz Srbije, jedno od retkih mesta za koje sam ostao vezan je naš manastir u Čortanovcima. Mnogo lepih iskustava i druženje sa pozitivnim ljudima ostavilo je trajan utisak na mene. Sa velikom radošću sam otkrio da je na samo 200km od mog trenutnog boravišta jedan od najpoznatijih centara za meditaciju na Tajlandu. Naravno, odlučio sam da moram pokušati…

Program kursa se odvija u centru za meditaciju manastira Suan Mokkh (Vrt oslobođenja), udaljenom oko dva kilometra od samog manastira. U centru ne postoji nijedna slika ili statua Bude, centar je zamišljen kao mesto otvoreno za sve religije i za podsticanje multireligijske tolerancije.

Ipak, sva predavanja i razgovori blisko su vezani za budizam, tačnije za izučavanje Anapanasati sutte, onako kako ju je razumeo Ađan Buddhadasa (osnivač manastira Suan Mokkh i gotovo božanstvo za Tajlanđane). Sve to vodi ka dubljem upoznavanju sa četiri plemenite istine i plemenitim osmostrukim putem. Posebna pažnja obraća se na razumevanje pojmova dukkha, nibbāna, khandha, nepostojanje trajnog sopstva, prolaznost i pattica-samuppada, to jest uslovljenost nastanka svih pojava.

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Ovo je kurs za koji se nije moguće prijaviti unapred. Na sreću, kapacitet centra za meditaciju je oko 200 ljudi, tako da uglavnom svi koji dođu, budu i primljeni na kurs, nakon obaveznog razgovora i procene monaha da li ste prihvatljivi za boravak na kursu.

Mnogi, kao i ja, odluče da dođu dan ranije i prespavaju u samom manastiru. Suan Mokkh spada u grupu “šumskih” manastira i sam boravak je veoma prijatan, jer gusta i visoka šuma održava temperaturu i vlažnost vazduha prilično prijatnim, a štiti i od kiše, koja u ovo doba godine često pada na Tajlandu. Noćenje u manastiru je besplatno, a tajlandsku hranu je moguće kupiti odmah ispred manastira. Iako na Tajlandu budisti u principu nisu vegetarijanci, u samom manastiru se ne jede meso. Ipak svi obroci su izuzetno ukusni, pomalo ljuti, užitak za ljubitelje Thai kuhinje. Cena celog kursa je oko 50 EUR…

Sledeći dan je dan za registraciju i upoznavanje sa uslovima i pravilima u centru. Centar obuhvata veliku površinu, šume, livade, tri mala jezera, pet velikih sala za meditaciju i nekoliko manjih prostora za izolaciju ili individualne razgovore sa monasima. Svaki objekat ili deo pejzaža izrađen je tako da nosi i posebnu simboliku koja se prenosi iz budističkog učenja. Na imanju postoji i bodhi drvo, pod kojim sam sedeo… Starešina manastira je Ađan Po, veoma poznat i cenjen u Tajlandu.

Manastir Suan Mokkh se nalazi u blizini mesta Chai Ya (oblast Surrat Thani), oko 200 km udaljen od mesta gde trenutno živim. Putovao sam do tamo motorom i to je takođe doživljaj za sebe… Putevi su na sreću u ovo doba godine skoro pusti i u dobrom stanju, tako da je i putovanje predstavljalo zadovoljstvo.

Smeštaj je u individualnim sobama, rekao bih ćelijama… Nikada ne bih pomislio da spavanje na betonskom krevetu, sa drvenim jastukom može da bude udobno, ali jeste. Kada mentalno prihvatite da se na tako tvrdoj podlozi može spavati, sve se menja, a vi spavate sasvim normalno. Dobijete doduše tanku slamnu prostirku (kao za plažu) i tanko ćebe. Toaleti su u zapadnom stilu, zajednički, ali ih ima više nego dovoljno. Ipak, tuševa ima malo, a pranje tela i veša obavlja se pored bazena sa svežom vodom, polivajući se… Naravno voda je temperature oko 30 stepeni, što je sasvim prijatno za tuširanje.

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Muškarci i žene su smešteni u odvojenim spavaonicama, rade jogu odvojeno, ali se hrane i meditiraju zajedno (iako na odvojenim stranama sale). Takođe postoji višednevna mogućnost za grupne intervjue, gde je dozvoljeno i da diskutujete i postavljate pitanja o meditaciji i budizmu. Ove konsultacije se odvijaju takođe odvojeno za muškarce i žene.

Učesnici kursa su oko 40% muškarci, 60% žene. Uglavnom su mladi od 20-30 godina, ali ima ih i ostalih starosnih grupa (nisam bio najstariji). Posetioci su iz celog sveta, mada je najviše bilo Amerikanaca. Motivi većine muškaraca bili su zapravo avantura i pokušaj da dožive nešto novo. Žene su bile podeljene u dve grupe, instruktorke joge i žene koje su želele da se oslobode patnje (loših raskida, svađe sa roditeljima ili nevolja na poslu).

Ustaje se u 4:00 i prve meditacije i govor o Dhammi se obavljaju u potpunom mraku (samo uz slabe sveće)  u sali za meditaciju sa peščanom podlogom. Joga se radi u svitanje (uz obavezan pozdrav suncu). Muškarci su imali i uvodne časove thai-chia, ali je ceo program vežbanja (oko sat i po) bio veoma umerenog tempa.

Doručak je u 8:00, a program se nastavlja u 10:00. U odnosu na programe kurseva u Srbiji, iako dan traje duže, zapravo ima nešto manje meditacije, a više slušanja predavanja. Takođe meditacije su po pravilu od 20 do 35 minuta, kako sedeće tako i hodajuće. Pravila kod sedeće meditacije su veoma slobodna i možete menjati položaj, ustajati, piti vode itd.. (naravno ne ometajući druge učesnike i uz punu svesnost).
Jedna od retkih prilika za udovoljavanje potrebama za luksuzom su topli izvori (temperatura oko 38 stepeni), bazeni sa toplom vodom iz prirodnih izvora, koje možete koristiti u slobodno vreme, a ima ga sasvim dovoljno (oko tri sata svaki dan). Odvojeni su naravno muški i ženski bazeni.

Mala zaduženja koja dobijete, kao što su brisanje stolova posle jela, čišćenje lišća ili stepenica na toplim izvorima, paljenje sveća i slično okupiraju vas ne duže od pola sata na dan.

Ručak je u 12:30, malo iza podneva, kao ustupak strancima, verovatno, jer monasi modaju da završe ručak do podneva. Ukusan, obilan i sa puno ljute thai hrane i različitog voća. Hrana je bila toliko ukusna da sam zaboravio da nisam vegetarijanac i zaista nisam poželeo meso dok sam boravio na kursu.

Zatim ponovo od 14:30 ciklus predavanja i meditacija. U 18:00 je pauza za čaj ili kakao (ali sa sojinim mlekom).

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Večernje meditacije i predavanje su ponovo u mraku (na Tajlandu sunce zalazi oko pola sedam). U okviru poslednje meditacije, posebno iznenađenje i predivan utisak je noćna hodajuća meditacija u grupi, jedan iza drugog, u mraku, uz slabu svetlost sveća, oko jezera. Bez svetla i bosi… Prvih pet minuta bio sam veoma zabrinut na šta sve mogu da nagazim. Kada sam shvatio da smo u grupi sigurni, primetio sam neverovatan prizor i nebo puno zvezda, tišinu i mir. Neverovatan doživljaj…

Spavanje je u 21:30. I spava se veoma dobro…

Kako je osnova celog kursa Anapanasati sutta, naravno govori se o meditaciji na dah, svesnosti i kako da se postigne nivo koji će omogućiti uvid u stvari kakve one zaista jesu (vipassana).

Različiti pojmovi i tehnike izučavaju se uglavnom po knjizi Ađan Buddhadase “Mindfulness with Breathing, Unvailing the Secrets of Life, Manual for Serious Beginners”, koja predstavlja program namenjen stranim turistima na Tajlandu. To je deset dana učenja o osnovnim principima budizma i tehnikama meditacije na dah.

Kako kažu, nibbāna ili probuđenje je moguće ovde i sada, nije potrebno umreti da bi se dostiglo. Nibbānu prevode kao hlađenje od svakodnevnih problema i patnje (dukkha). Čak tvrde da pridržavanje pet ili osam pravila vrline može da “resetuje” staru lošu karmu iz prošlih života i da ona ne mora biti prepreka za probuđenje. Pet sastojaka bića predstavljaju osnovu za vezanost. To su telo, osećaji, opažaji, mentalni obrasci i svest. Ovo je ponavljano svaki dan, zajedno sa podsećanjem na tehniku i važnost pravilno gdisanja i svesnosti svakog udaha i izdaha. Život je tek niz udaha i izdaha, život je pokret. Osnovna misao koja se provlačila kroz svako predavanje bila je nepostojanost, prolaznost stvari, što objašnjava značaj nevezivanja i celog stava prema nepostojanju trajnog „ja“, sopstva. Jedan dan bio je posvećen objašnjavanju uslovljenom nastanku svih pojava, lancu uzročnosti.

Samo jedan dan (deveti) potpuno je individualan i tada ceo dan meditirate, prema svom rasporedu, kombinujući sedeću i hodajuću meditaciju, zajedno sa šetnjama oko jezera i “odmaranjem” kao pripremom za sledeću seansu meditacije. Za mnoge, ovo je bio najteži dan, jer vam baš ništa ne zaokuplja um, čak ni predavanja. Ostalih dana smo u slobodno vreme mogli da čitamo knjige o onome što smo učili, ali devetog dana ni to nije bilo moguće.

Uz nas su bila dva monaha, starešina manastira Ađan Po i još jedan monah, i obraćali su nam se svakodnevno, a mogli smo imati i individualne razgovore sa njima.

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Ipak, najviše vremena su sa nama provodili takozvani volonteri, dvoje nezaređenih, veoma obrazovanih i elokventnih profesora Tajlanđana, koji su živeli na Zapadu i govore odličan engleski. Imali su veoma nadahnuta predavanja, ali i grupne intervjue i pokazali se veoma veštim da odgovaraju na naša različita pitanja. Lepo je i to što su imali dosta različit pristup. Žena je imala značajno naglašeniji religijski stav, dok je muškarac imao veoma svetovan i praktičan pogled na svet i ciljeve meditativne prakse, pa i budizma kao religije, naročito u uslovima koji vladaju u Tajlandu.

Poslednji dan išli smo u obilazak ostalih delova manastira, zapravo izolovanih šumskih boravišta kako monaha, tako i nezaređenih stranaca koji tamo borave. Zapravo svako ko je završio ovaj kurs, može se bilo kad u životu prijaviti i živeti na jednom takvom mestu, neograničeno vreme, bez zaređenja, besplatno, ali pridržavajući se pravila monaškog života. Izuzetak je dozvola da imaju svoj računar i internet. Neki od privremenih stanovnika, stranaca, recimo koriste ovo vreme da pišu knjige ili jednostavno imaju potrebu za tim da se izoluju. Struja je doduše dostupna onima koji žive u “zgradi” (10-tak “stanova”, tj soba sa zajedničkim toaletima). Oni koji se opredele da žive u zasebnim kućicama su malo dalje u šumi i nemaju struju. Ipak, svima su na raspolaganju topli izvori…

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Ovakvih prostora ima nekoliko u okolini glavnog manastira, potpuno su izolovani i svaki ima svoju salu za meditaciju, malo jezero i mnogo prostora za šetnju. Nezaređeni ne idu u selo po hranu, jer je monasi dobiju toliko mnogo da hrane ima za sve: monahe i nezaređene goste. pse i mačke…

Na kraju kursa obišli smo organizovano i glavni manastir koji se nalazi na ogromnoj površinu, u šumi, ali veoma blizu naselju i uvek je pun posetilaca. Otvoren je za sve koji žele da ga posete na jedan ili na više dana, ali nemaju nikoga ko bi se vama bavio, prepušteni ste sopstvenoj praksi. U okviru manastira postoji impresivna “sala” za meditaciju pod otvorenim nebom, hram i mesto za sahrane, tj kremaciju, jezero, muzej istorije budizma, prostorije za ishranu, biblioteka i sve ostalo što bi vam moglo trebati, a odmah ispred manastira i različite prodavnice i restorani. Dublje u šumi smeštene su kućice za monahe koji trajno žive u manastiru, a posetioci koji žele da prespavaju imaju na raspolaganju kolektivne (muškarci) ili individualne (žene) spavaonice, potpuno besplatno.

Ovo je mesto na koje ću se vraćati. Ne možda da živim mesecima monaškim životom, ali na deset dana meditacije svakako. Iako je program aktivnosti ovde uvek isti, iz istih reči uvek možete izvući nova značenja, jer se vi menjate, razvijate, sazrevate. Nezaboravno iskustvo koje vredi ponavljati uvek iznova.

Nezadovoljstvo i mentalno zdravlje

Za Budu, glavni cilj prakse je da u životu eliminišemo nezadovoljstvo. Nezadovoljstvo, zaključio je, nastaje kada nam ne uspe da dobijemo ono što želimo, ali isto tako i onda kada smo suočeni sa nečim što ne želimo. Idući korak dalje, jasno nam je da zadatku smanjenja i eleminisanja nezadovoljstva možemo prići na dva načina. Prvi bi bio da svu svoju energiju posvetimo obezbeđivanju svega onoga što bismo želeli da imamo i izbegavanju svega što nam je neprijatno ili nas plaši. Ova strategija, jasno je, znači da čitav svet potčinimo svojim željama. No, kao što nam je suviše dobro poznato, svet je veliko mesto i ako ga išta karakteriše, onda je to upornost u odbijanju da usliši naše zahteve. Imajući ovo u vidu, mnogo je verovatnije da ćemo, držeći se ove strategije, pre uvećati nego smanjiti svoje frustracije. Buda je otuda zagovarao jednu drugu, daleko uspešniju strategiju, a to je da svoja očekivanja prilagodimo stvarnosti, a ne obratno. Umesto da se upinjemo da nekako zgrabimo sve što poželimo, govorio je, trebalo bi da zapravo smanjujemo svoje želje. Slično ovome, umesto da radimo na tome da iz sveta uklonimo sve ono nad čime se gnušamo, bolje je nastojanje da se oslobodimo samo jedne stvari, a to je naša sklonost ka gnušanju, odnosno opsesivno vezivanje za ono što nam s ene dopada. Možda da probamo da ga registrujemo, razumemo njegovu prolaznu prirodu i nastavimo dalje? Šta misliš?

Ukoliko uspemo da napravimo neophodne promene, rezultat je um koji je dovoljno fleksibilan da se prilagodi stvarnosti koja se neprekidno menja u skladu sa stanjima i uzrocima, a ne našim žudnjama i očekivanjima. Takav um postaje otvoren za čitav spektar mogućnosti, a ne samo za jednu jedinu. Isto tako, postaje sposoban da isceljuje sebe i pomaže drugima. Takav um je, kako bi to Buda rekao, kusala, što je pali termin koji znači: zdrav, sposoban, blagorodan. Kakav je tvoj um sada? Kusala ili akusala? Da li to što si radio prekjuče, juče, danas uvećava prvi ili drugi kvalitet, da li uvećava zadovoljstvo ili ga smanjuje? Obrati pažnju na to važno pitanje pre, za vreme i kada si završio to što nameravaš da uradiš. Korist će se vrlo brzo pokazati.

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Ko je tvoj učitelj?

Već dugo tragaš za svojim učiteljem. Za nekim ko bi ti bio oslonac i vodič kroz lavirint života. Išla si na različite strane, slušala bezbroj mudrih govora, pročitala brdo mudrih knjiga. Još uvek nisi sigurna kome da pokloniš svoje poverenje. A ni ne slutiš da ti već imaš učitelja, tačnije njih čak šest! I svi oni idu za tobom gde god da kreneš, ne odvajaju se ni za sekundu. Njihova imena su: prizor, zvuk, miris, ukus, dodir i misao. Zaustavi se i saslušaj šta imaju da ti kažu. I poverenje u to što jeste će se prirodno roditi u tebi.

Kojoj se meditaciji posvetiti?

Reč “meditacija” danas je svuda oko nas i njeno značenje postaje sve neodređenije. Sa druge strane, bombaruju nas pozivima na različite kurseve meditacije, uz obećanja koja u najmanju ruku zvuče suviše dobro da bi bila istinita. Zato nije loše imati određene kriterijume za odabir sigurnog i efikasnog metoda meditacije:

1. Učitelj ili instruktor je sam mirna i prijateljski nastrojena osoba. On sam je živi primer toga što govori, odnosno efekata meditacije koju podučava.

2. Učitelj ne tvrdi da poseduje nekakve specijalne, natprirodne moći, niti da će vam on promeniti život. Vaš sopstveni rad jedino može da vas promeni, nadajmo se nabolje.

3. Učitelj na vaša pitanja vezana za meditaciju odgovara strpljivo i na jasan način, kroz primere i objašnjenja releveantne za postavljeno pitanje. Ne odgovara raznim “zen paradoksima”, tj. doskočicama ili “dubokoumnim” frazama u kojima su reči “mistika” i “energija” nezaobilazne u svakoj drugoj rečenici. Takođe, ne ismeva vas ili potcenjuje zbog toga što ste pitali.

4. Osećate se bolje nego ranije, zahvaljujući meditaciji koju radite, što znači da se češće osmehujete nego što se mrštite, da razmišljate jasnije i jasnije vidite situacije u kojima se nalazite, kao i odluke koje u njima treba da donesete.

Meditacija nema veze sa harizmatičnim učiteljima ili moćnim guruima. Ona ima veze sa tim da provedete određeno vreme u tišini, sami sa sobom, izgrađujući tako mir sa samim sobom. Kako se taj mir razvija, sve više ostavljate za sobom neveselu prošlost i sve više ste u sadašnjem trenutku, radosni zbog stvari i ljudi koje susrećete i zbog onoga što činite.

Pre svega, jedna od najvažnijih koristi od meditacije je što vas čini emocionalno nezavisnim. Vaša sreća ne zavisi od bilo kakve posebne osobe, stvari ili situacije. Srećni ste jednostavno zato što ste odlučili da budete srećni i tako se ponašate. Na taj način ste u pravoj poziciji da živite punoću života, da podarite radost sebi, ali isto tako i drugima.

 

Hodajuća meditacija

„Monasi, postoji pet koristi od hodajuće meditacije. Kojih pet? Onaj ko je praktikuje sposoban je da putuje, sposoban je da ulaže napor, postaje zdrav, ono što je pojeo, popio, sažvakao i okusio biva na pravi način svareno, koncentracija razvijena kroz hodajuću meditaciju dugo traje.“ (Ćaṅkama sutta, AN 5:29)

Ćaṅkama (ili ćaṅkamana) može značiti: 1. hodajuća meditacija ili 2. posebno mesto gde se ona praktikuje, često uzdignuta platforma.

Walking-with-Awareness

Hodanje je jedan od četiri osnovna položaja u kojem se može naći čovekovo telo. Ostala tri su: stajanje, sedenje i ležanje. Zato nas Satipatthana sutta podseća da održavamo svesnost u sva četiri položaja:

„I opet, monasi, kada hoda monah zna: ‘Hodam’; kada stoji zna: ‘Stojim’, kada sedi zna: ‘Sedim’; kad leži zna: ‘Ležim’; svestan je i svakog drugog položaja tela.“ (MN 10.6)

Znanje o položajima tela koji se pominju u ovoj vežbi nije uobičajeno prirodno znanje naše telesne aktivnosti, već bliža, neprekidna i pomnija svesnost tela u kojem god da se položaju nađe, udružena sa analitičkim ispitivanjem koje ima za cilj da razveje obmanu sopstva kao onoga ko upravlja ovim kretanjem tela.

Mahā-suññata sutta daje malo širu verziju ove vežbe:

„Kada monah tako boravi, ako njegov um naginje hodanju, on hoda razmišljajući: ’Dok ovako hodam, štetna mentalna stanja gramzivosti i žalosti neće me opsedati’. Tako je on potpuno svestan svega toga.“ (MN 122.11)

Hodanje kao lek za pospanost

Paćalā sutta (AN 7.58) sadrži čuvenu Budinu poduku Moggallāni kako se boriti protiv pospanosti tokom meditacije. Prvi savet je da promeni objekat meditacije. Ako to ne pomogne, slede ostali metodi: 2. promišljanje o Učenju koje smo čuli, 3. recitovanje Učenja, 4. masiranje ušiju i udova, 5. umivanje hladnom vodom, gledanje u različitim pravcima (kolutanje očima) i posmatranje zvezda, 6. posmatranje svetlosti (recimo sveće), da bi sedmi savet, ako ništa od prethodnog nije pomoglo, bio da monah praktikuje hodajuću meditaciju.

„Ali ako ni na taj način ne možeš da savladaš pospanost, treba da započneš [vežbu] hodanja tamo-amo, opažajući ono što je pozadi i ono što je ispred, dobro motreći nad čulima i sabranog uma. Na taj način, moguće je da će pospanost biti savladana.“

Ako ni to ne pomogne, Buda savetuje da odspavamo, prikupimo energiju i potom odmorni nastavimo meditaciju.

Buda je i sam praktikovao meditaciju u hodu kao dobrodošlu zamenu za sedeću meditaciju i kao fizičku vežbu dopuštenu monasima. Tako na početku Agañña sutte imamo sledeći pasus:

„Ovako sam čuo. Jednom je Blaženi živeo kraj Sāvatthīja, u palati Migārine majke, u Istočnom parku. U to vreme su Vāseṭṭha i Bhāradvāđa živeli među monasima, nadajući se da će i sami postati monasi. A predveče Blaženi izađe iz palate, te započe meditaciju u hodu u njezinoj senci.“ (DN 27.1)

Epikur i meditacija

Epikur nas je posavetovao: “Neka ti je neprekidno u mislima jedan od onih ljudi iz starine koji je živeo životom vrline.” On je naš model, uzor, vodič, inspiracija, utešitelj i zaštitnik. Kada imamo takvu osobu X,  dobro je što češće se zapitati: Šta bi X uradio u ovoj situaciji?

Epikur je na svoj način zapravo preporučio jednu od budističkih meditacija, koja se zove Buddhānussati = Buddha + anu + sati (Buda + uvek iznova + svesnost) = meditacija o Budi. Sastoji se upravo u tome da se podsetimo Bude, njegovih kvaliteta i činjenice da je bio ljudsko biće, istog takvo kao što smo mi. Izuzetnom istrajnošću uspeo je da razvije svoje potencijale do krajnjih granica. I ta izuzetnost nije nešto što nas demorališe, već naprotiv inspiriše! Jer jasno vidimo da jeste moguće biti bolje ljudsko biće od onoga što nam je dato samim rođenjem i okruženjem u kojem živimo. Možemo li i mi, držeći Budu (ili neku drugu nama inspirativnu ličnost) u mislima, napraviti makar nekoliko koraka na putu vrline, podići lestvicu makar za jedan stepen? Vredi probati. Uvek iznova.

Za one koje zanima detaljan opis ove tehnike meditacije, mogu ga pronaći u knjizi poštovanog Dhammasamija: Meditacija sabranosti u praksi, str. 45-58.

Inače, tu i druge knjige koje smo objavili možete dobiti ako nam svoju adresu i broj mobilnog pošaljete na mejl budizam@yahoo.com.

Meditacija i atomska bomba

Supruga američkog ambasadora u Južnoj Koreji jednom je posetila čuvenog tamošnjeg učitelja meditacije. Ovu sam priču čuo još sedamdesetih. Navodno je žena zamolila učitelja da joj objasni suštinu učenja, a on je odgovorio da je ključ budističke meditacije da postanemo jedno sa svime. To je baš nije mnogo impresioniralo i pitala ga je kakva korist ljudima od takvog učenja ako bi, recimo, bila bačena atomska bomba. Učitelj odgovori da, ako bi bomba bila bačena, ona bi svakako postala jedno sa svime, tako da u međuvremenu može početi da se priprema za to.

Ovo nije trebalo da bude grub odgovor. Meditacija i jeste pripremanje. Kada meditiramo sedeći ili u hodu, mi vežbamo svoje duhovne kvalitete. Izoštravamo alate poverenja, energije, svesnosti, koncentracije i uvida, tako da smo u stanju da budemo fokusirani kada pravo učenje stigne do nas. I naravno, to pravo učenje dolazi sa razbuktavanjem naših najsnažnijih emocija. Tokom formalne meditacije sebe pripremamo za sopstveni život. To je kao što jedemo da bismo mogli da živimo – ne živimo da bismo mogli da jedemo. Slično tome, meditiramo da bismo mogli da živimo; ne živimo da bismo mogli da meditiramo.

Ađahn Munindo: Unexpected Freedom