Third Night: How The Self Is Formed, Deformed And Reformed

by Peter Carlson on February 26, 2013

During this rather extensive Dhamma talk, Peter reviewed the concept of paticca sammupada, usually translated as dependent origination.  He explained why he prefers to name the process “contingent provisional emergence”.  This concept is key to the Buddhist understanding of karma, the law of cause and effect.  The formation of a momentary self-state, it’s fulfillment as a moment of “selfing” in awareness, then the dissolution of that composite of conditioning factors was described in depth.  Emphasis was placed on how important mindfulness of sense inputs is for the practice, and the critical emphasis placed on understanding the emerging self-state as provisional and the value of dispensing with unwholesome states as soon as possible.  This furthers the process of personality integration,  which is followed by nurturing wholesome states to fruition.  The concepts of craving and clinging were described, with tanha, unquenchable thirst for craving and upadana, fuel or nutriment, for clinging.  Peter described the “glue” of craving and clinging as raga, passion, heat or fire.  The antidote for raga is viraga, dispassion, or the absence of fueling the fire.  This was followed by a lively discussion of this process and it’s implications for alleviating distress.

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