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Concentration, knowledge & vision and disenchantment

73 Samsara, Nirvana, and Buddha Nature

Part of an ongoing series of teachings (retreat and Friday) based on the book Samsara, Nirvana, and Buddha Nature, the third volume in The Library of Wisdom and Compassion series by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Venerable Thubten Chodron.

  • Review of the factors leading to the development of concentration
  • How concentration aids in developing wisdom and insight
  • Process of seeing the five aggregates as they are
  • Nature, arising and passing away of five aggregates
  • Impermanence, unsatisfactory and no self
  • Seeing each factor and each aggregate as conditioned phenomenon
  • Development of disenchantment and dispassion
  • Examining the nature of mine, I and the self
  • Overcoming craving and clinging to conditioned things

Samsara, Nirvana, and Buddha Nature 73: Concentration, Knowledge & Vision and Disenchantment (download)

Contemplation points

  1. Review how birth gives rise to dukkha, which gives rise to faith, which gives rise to delight, which gives rise to joy, which gives rise to pliancy, which gives rise to bliss, and then concentration. Spend some time thinking about the characteristics of each that allows the subsequent step to arise.
  2. Why is suppressing the afflictions through concentration not considered liberation? What must still be abandoned? How does concentration contribute to seeing things as they are?
  3. Who do you think you really are? What is the self? What does it mean to break our experience down into the five aggregates? Spend some time doing this in your meditation. Does this start to change the way you view yourself, your body, and your feelings? What are the benefits of dismantling the view of a permanent, substantial self?
  4. Although we seek happiness, safety, and security in our lives, we are met with constant dissatisfaction. When we gain a deeper understanding of impermanence, that things change so quickly, we begin to get an idea of why that is. Spend some time with this. Do you feel like you exist because the causes and conditions for you exist? Although it makes sense intellectually, how would a deep understanding that “each event arises when its causes and conditions exist and cease when its causes and conditions cease” change the way you interact with others and your experience?
  5. How does seeing things as they really are give rise to disenchantment? Describe this process in your own words, using examples of disenchantment from your own life. What is it that we become disenchanted with in this link?
  6. Every experience we have is filtered through a lens of my, mine, and self. What does it mean that these notions of my, mine, and self are fabricated imputations? How do these fabrications cause us so much suffering? Make some examples from your own experience.
  7. Describe the process from disenchantment to dispassion. How is it similar to “spring cleaning?”
Venerable Thubten Chodron

Venerable Chodron emphasizes the practical application of Buddha’s teachings in our daily lives and is especially skilled at explaining them in ways easily understood and practiced by Westerners. She is well known for her warm, humorous, and lucid teachings. She was ordained as a Buddhist nun in 1977 by Kyabje Ling Rinpoche in Dharamsala, India, and in 1986 she received bhikshuni (full) ordination in Taiwan. Read her full bio.