Joy (pamojja) is the next link in the chain of Transcendent Dependent Arising. It follows from Faith (saddha) because once we have acted on our initial, intuitive sense (faith) that this is the path that could lead to the end of Suffering (dukkha)…and found that, if fact, it really DOES bring release….then of course we are joyous!
So we practice with more confidence (faith).
Which leads to an even greater release of suffering.
Which leads to still more faith.
And lots more joy!!!
(image from: A Whole World, by Couprie and Louchard)
The second link — after Dukkha – in the chain of Transcendent Dependent Arising, is Saddha. This is often translated at “faith,” but not the blind, check-your-brain-at-the-door kind of faith that seems to be required in certain religious traditions. Saddha is not belief. It’s confidence. Trust. A sense that there is something that can be relied on….and that one can, in fact, find this something.
Saddha (faith) follows Dukkha (suffering) because the pain and distress of suffering is often what drives people to search for this something.
And in the searching, to actually find it.
(image from: Tarot of the Witches)
One of my favorite topics at the final DPP retreat was the Twelve Links of Transcendent Dependent Arising. Basically, these take off from the Twelve Links of Dependent Origination…which start with Ignorance and lead repeatedly to Suffering. But these lead AWAY from that endless cycle….all the way to liberation!
It starts with suffering (dukkha). Which is great…because that’s what we’ve got! Things are not the way we want them to be; we don’t get what we want; we have to deal with all kinds of stuff we don’t want; etc. etc. etc.
So we start there. But then we move AWAY from it. By gaining confidence and trust….faith….in what we can see for ourselves through the practices of meditation.
More on that tomorrow.
And then on to the next link, then to the next, one each day until we get to the last — which is total freedom.
Here’s the whole list:
Knowledge and Vision of Things As They Are (yathabhutananadassana)
Knowledge of Destruction of the Taints (asavakkhaye nana)
(image: Phantasmagoric Theater Tarot)
After almost 3 weeks of retreat, I’m still at a bit of a loss for words….so I’ll just post some more pictures.
I’m back from the final DDP Retreat and Jack Kornfield’s Annual Spring Retreat, both at Joshua Tree Retreat Center. I have lots to tell…but it’ll have to wait till I get my email taken care of! So I’ll just post a couple of sneak peeks. More to come.
I’m leaving tomorrow morning for the final DPP retreat in Yucca Valley, then staying on to attend Jack Kornfield’s annual Spring Retreat, so I won’t be posting again after until I get back on May 13.
At the first DPP retreat in 2011 (which was also held in Yucca Valley) Phillip Moffitt asked each of us to go out into the desert and find a stone — one that appealed to us for some reason or other — and to bring it back into the meditation hall. We did a little ceremony with them then, which involved placing them, one by one, on a larger stone that was passed around the room, and each of us calling to mind our deepest intention for the 2-year program we’d just to embarked upon.
(I’m not really sure why I chose the stone I did…but I think it was because it had a lot of colors in it — which made it seem complex and worthy of investigation — but mostly, I think, because it sparkled in the sunlight.)
Now the program is ending. And we’ve been asked to bring these same stones back, to be used as part of our closing ceremony. I don’t know what the ceremony will be like. But this stone has been sitting on my home alter all this time, along with a lot of other stones and various things I’ve collected on other retreats and significant occasions.
I wonder if the ceremony will include bringing the stones back home, or if we’ll leave them out there in the dessert.
Either way, the intention I made that first night will stay with me.
Again from The Island: An Anthology of the Buddha’s Teachings on Nibbana, by Ajahn Pasanno and Ajahn Amaro:
“The fourth and final factor for stream-entry is dhammanudhammapatipatti. This is usually translated as ‘practice in accordance with the Dhamma,’ but it can have some other subtle nuances, such as practicing Dhamma appropriately according to the truth. There are many ways of practice but some of them may, in actuality, not accord with the teachings or the true Way. They may be popular or comfortable, but yet not be Dhamma…..
“Another meaning of the phrase is making sure one follows the Dhamma as one has studied it, rather than studying one thing and then practicing in a completely different manner.”
So then I guess it’s not enough to just read about all this. Or think about it. One actually has to practice it. Right?
(image: Steampunk Tarot by Curly Cue Design)
More from The Island: An Anthology of the Buddha’s Teachings on Nibbana, by Ajahn Pasanno and Ajahn Amaro:
The second factor for stream-entry is hearing the true Dhamma (saddhammassavana) and the third is careful attention (yoniso-manisakara). ”This term can be translated in many ways — wise consideration, skillful reflection, clear thinking, appropriate attention, keen application of mind. The importance of this element in the development of qualities useful for understanding and penetrating truth cannot be underestimated.”
And what should we be paying careful attention to?
“He attends wisely: ‘This is suffering;’ he attends wisely: ‘This is the origin of suffering;’ he attends wisely: ‘This is the cessation of suffering;’ he attends wisely: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’ “– from Majjhima Nikaya 9-11, translated by Bhikkhu Nanamoli and Bhikkhu Bodhi
Oh yeah. That.
(image: Phantasmagoric Theater Tarot)
According to the Samyutta Nikaya, the first of the factors of stream-entry is “association with superior persons.”
A man who wraps rotting fish
in a blade of kusa grass
makes the grass smelly:
so it is
if you seek out fools.
But a man who wraps powdered incense in the leaf of a tree
makes the leaf fragrant:
so it is
if you seek out
– from the Itivuttaka, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
(image: “A Whole World,” by Couprie and Louchard)
“The Ten Fetters“ (samyojana) is one of the topics of this month’s DPP homework…which is preparing us for the up-coming retreat on Nibanna. “Fetters” is not a word I use in every-day conversation. But I understand what it means — something that keeps us from moving forward, that holds us back, that keeps us bound.
This is part of our readings for this month. It’s from The Isalnd: An Anthology of the Buddha’s Teachings on Nibbana, by Ajanh Pasanno and Ajahn Amaro:
“Although some people may be quicker than others in reaching the goal, the structure of the unfolding insight is common to all. The most familiar description of the stages of realization contains four levels: the stream-enterer (sotapanna), the once-returner (sakadagami), the non-returner (anagram) and one fully enlightened (arahant). These levels are differentiated according to the ‘fetters’ (samyojana) that a liberated person relinquishes at each stage:
Bhikkhus, there are these five lower fetters. What five? Identity view, doubt, the distorted grasp of rules and vows, sensual desire, ill will. These are the five lower fetters. – Samyutta Nikaya 45.179, translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi
Bhikkhus, there are these five higher fetters. What five? Lust for form, lust for the formless, conceit, restlessness, ignorance. These are the five higher fetters. — Samyutta Nikaya 45.180, translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi”
Later on in the text: What now, Sariputta, is a factor for stream-entry? Association with superior persons, venerable sir, is a factor for stream-entry. Hearing the true Dhamma is a factor for stream-entry. Careful attention is a factor for stream-entry. Practice in accordance with the Dhamma is a factor for stream-entry…. One who possesses this Noble Eightfold Path is a stream-enterer. – Samyutta Nikaya 55.5, translation by Bhikkhu Bodhi.
When he attends wisely in this way, three fetters are abandoned in him: personality view, doubt and adherence to rules and observances. These are called the taints that should be abandoned by seeing. — Majjhima Nikaya 2.3 & .9-11 translation by Bhikkhu Nanamoli & Bhikkhy Bodhi
And: “The Eightfold Path which is equated with the stream is often characterized as being composed of three trainings — virtue, concentration (or the higher mind) and wisdom…..If the factors of the path are fulfilled partially, one is able to realize stream-entry. If you fulfill them more completely, you’ll reach the higher attainments. For stream-entry, full accomplishment in virtue is necessary, but only partial accomplishment in concentration and wisdom.”
(image: “Creative Whack Pack,” by Roger von Oech)