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


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. (accessed on August 28, 2019)

Radost, a ne bič, vrline

Kad pomislimo na vrlinu, pa još ako je nazovemo moral, verovatno se stresemo, jer se osetimo kao da nam neko navlači tesan oklop. Odmah nam na pamet padaju stroga pravila, čije kršenje donosi naravno – kaznu. A ko voli kaznu?

I Buda nas je savetovao da živimo etično i tu lekciju vrlo dobro znamo. Ali ono što nam u njegovoj poruci, čini mi se, promiče a vrlo je važno jeste da je takođe savetovao kako uz tu etičnost mora ići i zadovoljstvo. Jer mi možemo siliti sebe da se ponašamo etično i u isto vreme se osećati deprimiranim, frustriranim, jer smatramo da smo uskraćeni, prisiljeni, ucenjeni. Pritisak u nama biva sve veći i mi ili pucamo i dižemo ruke od svega ili se malo pomalo deformišemo u karikaturu onog divnog bića koje smo imali na umu u početku i želeli da u njega izrastemo.

Dakle, vrlina da bi opstala i rasla, da bi zaista cvetala, mora se hraniti zadovoljstvom, radošću. I to ne bilo kojom vrstom zadovoljstva, već onim koje možemo nazvati lekovitim. Zadovoljstvom koje ne podstiče vezivanje i potrebu da doza bude sve veća, a to kao što svi iz iskustva znamo sigurno nisu zadovoljstva čula: prijatne slike, zvukovi, mirisi, ukusi, dodiri. Umesto toga, reč je vrlini i našem zadovoljstvu, užitku u samim delima te vrline. Reč je o davanju i radosti davanja, o odustajanju od loših postupaka i onda radosti, blaženstvu čiste savesti. I tada te dve dragocene stvari podstiču, hrane i uvećavaju jedna drugu. Delo i osećaj da smo uradili pravu stvar. Pravu zato što je bez interesa i kalkulacije, već lepa i čista sama po sebi.

Zato deo našeg duhovnog treninga mora biti vežbanje uma i srca da uoče to dobro u onome što radimo. Tada će se radost u nama spontano javiti. Meditacija i radost mira koji stičemo. Nije važno što će biti kratkotrajan. Ako je minut, to je minut užitka. I to je neuporedivo više nego minut, deset ili pola sata siljenja samoga sebe da sedimo “zato što je to dobro za mene”. Nažalost, sa mnogima je upravo tako. Spanać meditacija. Sećate se kad smo bili mali. Ko je voleo spanać? Ali su nas uporno ubeđivali da je jako koristan. Čak su i Popaja izmislili u tu svrhu ubeđivanja. A šta je tvoj Popaj kad je u pitanju meditacija?

Dakle, Buda je jako lepo razumeo da su lekovita zadovoljstva neizostavna za stabilizovanje našeg uma i srca. I zato put prakse koji on predlaže ide ne nasumičnim, već vrlo svesnim redom: dana, sīla, samādhi, pañña = davanje, vrlina, koncentracija, mudrost. U svaki od tih koraka mora biti utkano zadovoljstvo, radost, mnogo radosti. Jer samo tako možemo načiniti i onaj poslednji – oslobođenje od patnje. Zašto? Pa šta drugo može zameniti patnju u nama do čista radost?

Beleške o Abhidhammi (4)

Dobro, ovo je bio uvod i generalni pregled abhidhamma učenja. Sada bi trebalo da uđemo u čitavu ovu konstrukciju dublje i razmotrimo stvari podrobnije. To neće biti jednostavno, jer što bi rekli mudri ljudi, “đavo je u detaljima”. Hoću da kažem da je ovo učenje toliko razuđeno i široko, da podseća na ogroman lavirint. Zato, naoružajmo se strpljenjem svi zajedno i da krenemo. Pa dokle stignemo. Ako ništa, biće makar malo dalje nego što smo sada, što znači znaćemo ipak malo više.

Dakle, već smo ranije naveli da postoje četiri krajnja realiteta. Krećemo od prvog.

SVEST (ćitta)

Četiri klase svesti

“Ćitta” se definiše kao “svest”, što znači biti svestan nekog objekta čula. Sva stanja svesti mogu se grupisati u četiri klase, u skladu sa četiri nivoa egzistencije u kojima obitavaju bića, odnosno četiri područja (bhūmi) ili sfere (avaćara).

1. Svest koja se najčešće doživljava u čulnoj sferi (kāma-loka) i to su kāmāvaćara ćitte.
2. Svest koja se najčešće doživljava u sferi suptilne materije (rūpa-loka) i to su rūpāvaćara ćitte.
3. Svest koja se najčešće doživljava u nematerijalnoj sferi (arūpa-loka) i tu arūpavaćara ćitte.
4. Svest koja se doživljava na transcendentnom nivou i to su lokuttara ćitte.

Gornje četiri klase ćitta se skraćeno mogu nazvati kāma ćitte, rūpa ćitte, ārūpa ćitte i lokuttara ćitte.

Kāmāvaćara ćitte se doživljavaju ne samo u čulnoj sferi, već i u drugim. Isto važi i za ćitte iz druge i treće kategorije. Inače, čulna sfera prema budističkoj kosmologiji obuhvata četiri sveta patnje, svet ljudi i šest svetova deva ili božanstava. U svakom od tih svetova je dominantna čulna želja i ona je najjači mamac u kojem bića traže zadovoljenje.

Sfera suptilne materije odnosi se na šesnaest svetova koje nastanjuju rūpa-brahme, tj. bića koja imaju formu, odnosno telo. Reč je o jednoj vrsti božanstava ili bića po nekim svojim sposobnostima superiornih ljudima koja nazivamo brahme i ona se razlikuju od deva po tome što su moćniji od njih i duže žive.

Nematerijalna sfera obuhvata četiri sveta koja nastanjuju arūpa-brahme, tj. brahme bez oblike ili tela.

1. Svest u čulnoj sferi (kāmāvaćara ćitte)

Postoje 54 kāmāvaćara ćitte, koje možemo podeliti u tri klase:

1. nemoralna svest (akusala ćitte) i ima ih 12
2. svest bez korena (ahetuka ćitte) i ima ih 18
3. lepa svest čulne sfere (kāma-sobhaṇa-ćitte) i ima ih 24.

Tako izlazi da je ukupan broj kāmāvaćara ćitta 12 + 18 + 24 = 54. Njih ćemo podrobnije opisati i objasniti kasnije.

Možda vas malo smaraju ovi pali nazivi koje uporno stavljam, ali su oni vrlo važni radi jasnog razumevanja onoga o čemu je reč. Kao što su u medicini važni latinski nazivi bolesti, pa se lekari međusobno odmah razumeju. Problem sa prevođenjem je što isti termin različiti ljudi mogu prevesti različito i onda nastaje zbrka. Zato bi bilo dobro da vremenom usvojite ove pali nazive i tako postanete doktor za abhidhammu! Doduše, bez postavljanja dijagnoze, za sada, ali možda i to dođe na red 🙂

1.1 Nemoralna svest (akusala ćitta)

Akusala” znači “nemoralno”, “štetno”, “loše”. Ljudi obično čine rđava dela, tj. nedela sa akusala ćittama. I naravno akusala ćitte donose loš rezultat. A jedan postupak je nemoralan ako povredi bilo koje živo biće i ima negativan efekat za nas i za druge.

Ovih 12 akusala ćitta mogu se dalje klasifikovati u tri klase:

1. svest ukorenjena u pohlepi (lobha-mūla ćitte) i ima ih 8
2. svest ukorenjena u besu (dosa-mūla ćitte) i ima ih 2
3. svest ukorenjena u neznanju (moha-mūla ćitte) i ima ih 2.

1.1.1 Svest ukorenjena u pohlepi (lobha-mūla ćitte)

Osam svesti ukorenjenih u pohlepi možemo predstaviti shematski na sledeći način, kako bismo lakše zapamtili njihova imena

Znak + označava somanassa-sahagataṁ.
Znak – označava upekkha-sahagataṁ.

1. Somanassa-sahagataṁ diṭṭhigata-sampayuttaṁ asaṅkhārikam ekaṁ
2. Somanassa-sahagataṁ diṭṭhigata-sampayuttaṁ sasaṅkhārikam ekaṁ
3. Somanassa-sahagataṁ diṭṭhigata-vippayuttaṁ asaṅkhārikam ekaṁ
4. Somanassa-sahagataṁ diṭṭhigata-vippayuttaṁ sasaṅkhārikam ekaṁ
5. Upekkhā-sahagataṁ diṭṭhigata-sampayuttaṁ asaṅkhārikam ekaṁ
6. Upekkhā-sahagataṁ diṭṭhigata-sampayuttaṁ sasaṅkhārikam ekaṁ
7. Upekkhā-sahagataṁ diṭṭhigata-vippayuttaṁ asaṅkhārikam ekaṁ
8. Upekkhā-sahagataṁ diṭṭhigata-vippayuttaṁ sasaṅkhārikam ekaṁ.

Značenje pali temina u ovim nazivima je sledeće:

somanassa = prijatan mentalni osećaj, radost
sahagataṁ = zajedno sa, praćeno (nečim)
diṭṭhi = pogrešno gledište da kamma i njezin efekat ne postoje
sampayuttaṁ = povezano sa (nečim)
vippayuttaṁ = razdruženo od
asaṅkhārikam = spontano, nepodstaknuto, voljno aktivno
sasaṅkhārikam = podstaknuto sobom ili nečim drugim, voljno neaktivno
upekkhā = neutralan osećaj
ekaṁ = jedna svest

Sada smo spremni da osam lobha-mūla ćitta prevedemo na sledeći način:

1. jedna svest, nepodstaknuta, praćena prijatnim mentalnim osećajem i povezana sa pogrešnim gledištem.
2. jedna svest, podstaknuta, praćena prijatnim mentalnim osećajem i povezana sa pogrešnim gledištem.
3. jedna svest, nepodstaknuta, praćena prijatnim mentalnim osećajem i razdružena od pogrešnog gledišta.
4. jedna svest, podstaknuta, praćena prijatnim mentalnim osećajem i razdružena od pogrešnog gledišta.
5. jedna svest, nepodstaknuta, praćena neutralnim osećajem i povezana sa pogrešnim gledištem.
6. jedna svest, podstaknuta, praćena neutralnim osećajem i povezana sa pogrešnim gledištem.
7. jedna svest, nepodstaknuta, praćena neutralnim osećajem i razdružena od pogrešnog gledišta.
8. jedna svest, podstaknuta, praćena neutralnim osećajem i razdružena od pogrešnog gledišta.

Eto. vrlo jednostavno 🙂

Da vidimo šta to praktično znači, kroz primer za svako od ovih stanja svesti. Od trenutka kad se probudimo, pa dok ne zaspimo, mi smo neprekidno u kontaktu sa svojih pet čula i njihovim objektima (vidljivi predmet, zvuk, miris, ukus, dodir), kao i sa našim mislim. Ako je objekat ili misao dobra, mi je želimo, osećamo se vezanim za nju i želimo da još više u njoj uživamo. U tom se trenutku lobha (pohlepa, vezanost ili žudnja) rađa u našem umu i za njom slede lobha-mūla ćitte.

Ako se u isto vreme osećamo radosni i drago nam je, tada će lobha-mūla ćitte biti somanassa-sahagataṁ. Ako se pri tome osećamo indiferentno, ćitte će biti upekkha-sahagataṁ. Ako nismo svesni činjenice da se nemoralne misli javljaju i da će doneti loš rezultat, tada će naše lobha-mūla ćitte biti diṭṭhigata-sampayuttaṁ. Sa druge strane, ako smo svesni da se rađaju nemoralne misli i da će doneti loš rezultat, tada su naše lobha-mūla ćitte biti diṭṭhigata-vippayuttaṁ.

Isto tako, ako žudimo za nekim objektom čula bez toga da smo sami sebe ili nas je neko drugi na to podstakao, tada će naše lobha-mūla ćitte biti asaṅkhārikam. Ako žudimo tek pošto nas je neko na to podstakao, tada naše lobha-mūla ćitte jesu sasaṅkhārikam. Asaṅkhārikam ćitta je snažnija nego sasaṅkhārikam i ona nastaje spontano.

Kontrolno pitanje 1: Kako se naziva ćitta koja nastaje u osobi koja sluša muziku sa radošću, bez ikakve misli o kammi i njezinom efektu?

Odgovor: Somanassa-sahagataṁ diṭṭhigata-sampayuttaṁ asaṅkhārikam lobha-mūla ćitta.

Kontrolno pitanje 2: Čovek krade nečiju tašno pošto je dugo sebe ubeđivao da to uradi, zato što je svestan nemoralne kamme i njezinog lošeg efekta. Kakva je njegova ćitta?

Odgovor: Upekkhā-sahagataṁ diṭṭhigata-vippayuttaṁ sasaṅkhārikam lobha-mūla ćitta.

A evo sada i primera za svako nabrojano stanje svesti:

1. Osoba uživa u hrani koju jede i piću, ne obraćajući pažnju na kammu.
2. Osoba, pošto ju je ubedio prijatelj, gleda film sa radošću, ne obraćajući pažnju na kammu.
3. Dama sa ushićenjem oblači novu haljinu, ali je svesna da vezivanje za nju podstiče nastanak nemoralnih stanja svesti.
4. Devojka je svesna kamme i njezinog ploda, ali pod uticajem prijateljice gleda film sa radošću.
5. Dečak jede jelo sa izvesnim vezivanjem, ali bez radosti i znanja o kammi.
6. Devojka je zahvalna za novu haljinu, pošto joj je majka objasnila koliko je ta haljina lepa. Ali ima neutralan osećaj i nema znanja o kammi.
7. Razmišljajući o kammi, piješ kafu sa neutralnim osećajem, ali i nemaš ništa protiv njezinog ukusa.
8. Dama zna za zakon kamme. Ali posle mnogo ubeđivanja prodavačice, s oklevanjem kupuje novu haljinu.

Toliko za ovaj put, pa sledeći nastavljamo sa svesti koja je ukorenjena u besu.

Dodir ljubavi

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

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.

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?

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.

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.