16 Sep
Posted in: Practice, Teachers
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It Feels So Good to Feel Right

maxresdefaultThere is a truly wonderful article in the e-newsletter sent out today by the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies (BCBS). The title is a bit off-putting: “Part 2 of a Two-Part Interview on Vedana with Bhikkhu Analayo” but it’s a fabulous read.

Here’s a sample:

BCBS: “It’s not so uncommon for meditators to say things like, ‘Oh, that’s a view. That’s an opinion. I shouldn’t have those. I shouldn’t cling.’ Things can shift when we understand that there really is a payoff — we’re getting that pleasant feeling. Then maybe we can also understand, ‘Okay. There’s a reason why I’m doing this. There’s a reason why I’m clinging.’ Then it’s no longer a matter of being crazy or delusional or bad. Once we see what we’re getting out of something, we can decide whether or not it’s really worth what we’re giving up to get it.”

Ven. Analayo: “Yes. That’s exactly the point. And it’s a gradual path. It’s not that suddenly you have no more attachment to views. The point is just to be aware of it. That’s all. Every moment I’m aware of the hedonic part of my clinging is a moment when I’m learning to live with cognitive dissonance — learning to live with not being the way I would like to be. And this is precisely what I want. I want to be able to be with myself when I’m not the way I want to be. Because this is the reality of the present moment. And from there, step by step, the gradual improvement happens.”

BCBS: “So beautiful, Bhante. It’s easy to miss that part and think, ‘I’m not allowed to have strong views anymore. I shouldn’t form strong opinions.’ But looked at in this way, you can have strong views and opinions. It’s just a matter of not clinging to them.

Ven. Atalayo: “The Buddha had very strong views. When a monk would misrepresent his teaching, he’d call him and say, ‘You are a fool. What did you say? Did I ever teach that?’ Scolding him in front of everyone. And the monk sits there, shoulders drooping, head down, sad, unable to talk. The Buddha really lets him know it, but there’s no aversion there, no clinging. Now, we’re not in the position of the Buddha, and we don’t have to be so strong. But it’s not a matter of becoming blurry and not knowing what is right and wrong — that is not the point. The point is simply allowing the basic capacity of mindfulness to see the whole situation……

“And this is all based on feeling. It’s all based on this awareness of the hedonic side. Maybe we don’t catch it at the moment it happens in discussion, but we can see it afterwards. ‘Yes. At that point I got really excited. And I had all those strong feeling, and then I went really overboard with the way I was discussing it.’ Just acknowledge it. Not saying, ‘Oh, I shouldn’t have done it.’ No. Just being aware that this is how it happened. And the next time closer to it, closer to it, and eventually we’ll notice it right at the time it happens. And maybe at that time we can just let it go.”


To read the full interview, click here.

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