Dhamma Letter No. 65
5 Levels of Eradication Defilements
Defilements are not my thoughts or my own, but enemies that should not stay in the mind. If there is one ant, it must be removed immediately. Otherwise, it will come in a pile, and it will be difficult to manage.
To prevent the onset of the underlying defilements, the Buddha offered five methods when evil and unwholesome thoughts arise in you; related to greed(lobha), anger(dosa), foolishness(moha): See Dhamma Letter No. 64.
The methods below belong to the first level, when coarse defilements stay with no wisdom. -Majjhima Nikaya 20-
How to overcome defilements:
The mind always goes to a certain object. Therefore, we need to deal with the object with the mind, when the defilements arrive.
1. Change the subject/object. Replace the object that causes unwholesome thoughts into the object that causes healthy thoughts.
Buddha’s Metaphor: A coarse nail is pulled out with a fine nail.
2. Thinking that evil and unwholesome thoughts harm me and others. Realize that it is a lose-lose situation.
Buddha’s Metaphor: Thinking that having these evil and unwholesome thoughts is like a man wearing dirt or animal skins all over his body, or someone trying to cover up their ugliness with makeup.
3. Do not engage in mental activity on unwholesome thoughts.
Buddha’s Metaphor: Don't look with your eyes or close your eyes.
4. Let go of the original idea, and try to change. When an unintended mental activity occurs, a mental activity that stops the thought activity must be induced in response to the thought.
Buddha’s Metaphor: It's like you here is going in a hurry, 'Why am I going in a hurry? Rather, let's go slowly.' And go slowly, and if you stand still, you may think, 'Why am I standing? Rather, let’s sit down.’
5. Clenching your teeth, restraining defilements, and conquering them with your heart.
Buddha’s Metaphor: The stronger one oppresses and subdues.
We need to cultivate the wisdom that can transform the right thoughts into thoughts toward Nirvana by restraining the defilements.
The ideas (cognitive processes) itself are not bad. Without thinking, there is absolutely no wisdom.
The purpose of vipassana is ‘not to suppress and eliminate the mind toward the object’, but ‘to remove the defilements that have arisen through the object’.
- Sayadaw U Tejaniya (www.ashintejaniya.org)
May you develop your concentration and insight through meditation!
May you be peaceful and happy!
May all practice well for Magga (道, the path of enlightenment) and Phala(果, the fruit of enlightenment)!
Ayyā Kosallā & Mahāpajāpatī Bhikkhunī Sangha
Edited by Euna Bonovich
If you have any questions related to dhamma & meditation, please feel free to ask. You can reach Ayya Kosalla directly at Bhikkhuni.Kosalla@gmail.com .
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Buddha Sāsanaṁ Ciraṁ Tiṭṭhatu!
May the Buddha’s teachings last a long time!
Bhavatu Sabba Sotiṁ ca Maṅgalaṁ ca!!
May everyone be led on the path of peace and blessing!!
Sādhu Sādhu Sādhu !