7 Jan
Posted in: Talks
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What Feeds the Heart?

Hint — Not this:

Here’s what Ajahn Sucitto’s says:

“Renunciation — nekamma. Kamma is a word that has to do with the senses, the external senses, the sense doors. Nekamma is the movement away from feeding on senses — eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body. This is an inclination that occurs as one begins to feel the richness of food for the heart — such as kindness, goodwill, gratitude, generosity, virtue, etc. — you start to feel satisfied, fed, enriched by that. Therefore, sense contact really isn’t such a big deal. It doesn’t quite ‘hit the mark’ in the same way that these heart qualities do.

“Because the citta cannot feed on the senses. It feeds on the feelings, the metal perceptions, that arise from the senses. The interpretations of it. So we see something that signifies as attractive or delightful, but actually the eye doesn’t do that. The eye just sees something and the mind infers beauty or attractiveness or desirability in it.

The mind creates a kind of ‘glow’ perception. There’s a particular ‘glow’ that occurs. That’s mental. Deriving from the sense contact, there’s a triggering of this kind of ‘glow’ that occurs when we see a cinnamon bun, or something.

“But you know you can’t actually pack a cinnamon bun into your mind. So you put it into your mouth. And it doesn’t last. And it probably doesn’t quite do exactly what the ‘glow’ said it would do.

“If you track the process you begin to get it. It’s actually not the sight, not the object itself, but it’s the particular kindling of a delight quality — that’s what the citta likes. It wants that. But it’s actually quite brief when it comes dependent on sense contact. It’s relatively brief. It’s a sort of ‘flare.’ And actually, after the fifth cinnamon bun, it doesn’t occur at all.

“So then we have something else. It can go on like that. Because the ‘glow’ can move from one place to another. The citta feeds on that ‘glow’ as best it can.

“Now, there’s actually a deeper, warming effect that is richer food, that is generated through the citta itself. This is called: Happiness which is born of withdrawal from unskillful states.

“So whenever there’s a withdrawal from hatred, greed, malice, jealousy, fear, bitterness, worry, doubt, etc., the citta feels: Ooooh, that’s nice! There’s the subtle quality of that.

“Then if that quality is tuned into, is embodied through breathing and fully feeling it, that quality magnifies and amplifies to a very satisfied quality of pleasure. The Buddha says, there’s not one pore of the entire body that’s not drenched in this pleasure. The pleasure which is generated through withdrawal from unskillful states. The entire body radiates with that.

“So when there’s that, you don’t really have a big thing about cinnamon buns. [laughs] Or any of it.

“Renunciation is the recognition of that. The moving toward that. It can sound like it’s all very cold. But actually it’s just the transferring of food, where the citta is fed, from areas which are generally more mottled and temporary, into something more fulfilling and sustainable.”


The above is from that same Q&A session I quoted in my last post. It begins at about the 40 minute mark. Click here to listen to the full talk.

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