Also related topic: Early Buddhism's Model of Awakening
25 (5) The Destruction of the Taints
“Bhikkhus, I say that the destruction of the taints is for one who knows and sees, not for one who does not know and does not see. For one who knows what, for one who sees what, does the destruction of the taints come about? The destruction of the taints comes about for one who knows and sees: ‘This is suffering’; for one who knows and sees: ‘This is the origin of suffering’; for one who knows and sees: ‘This is the cessation of suffering’; for one who knows and sees: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’ It is for one who knows thus, for one who sees thus, that the destruction of the taints comes about.
“Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is suffering.’… An exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”
"The Noble Truth of Suffering (dukkha), monks, is this: Birth is suffering, aging is suffering, sickness is suffering, death is suffering, association with the unpleasant is suffering, dissociation from the pleasant is suffering, not to receive what one desires is suffering — in brief the five aggregates subject to grasping are suffering.
"The Noble Truth of the Origin (cause) of Suffering is this: It is this craving (thirst) which produces re-becoming (rebirth) accompanied by passionate greed, and finding fresh delight now here, and now there, namely craving for sense pleasure, craving for existence and craving for non-existence (self-annihilation).
"The Noble Truth of the Cessation of Suffering is this: It is the complete cessation of that very craving, giving it up, relinquishing it, liberating oneself from it, and detaching oneself from it.
"The Noble Truth of the Path Leading to the Cessation of Suffering is this: It is the Noble Eightfold Path, and nothing else, namely: right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration.
- Partial excerpt from http://www.accesstoinsight.org/.../sn56/sn56.011.piya.html
What interests me nowadays is not free will/no free will, effort/effortless, sudden/gradual, atman, The Absolute, etc. I am not interested in them anymore. What interests me nowadays is the complete and total termination of the taints, clinging, karmic propensities, the complete and total termination of suffering. And talking about the illusoriness of burning fire on an intellectual level when you are on fire isn't going to work. Neither is denying it. The point is to put out the fire. (I'd be very surprised if someone whose clothes catches fire would continue ranting on and on about how the fire is not real or how there is actually no clothes and no fire and just sit around.. haha)
Fire burn, ouch, pours water on it. That is direct path and actualization. Noble eightfold path. That is true spontaneous activity of awakening. Not denying and being deluded about one's condition (the truth and cause of suffering)... or ranting on about spontaneity or how fires are naturally happening. That only goes on due to our complete ignorance of our afflictions. And it is precisely because we are literally aflame, that we should practice with utter urgency to put an end to suffering, like our heads are on fire. If we even truly have an inkling, or even a glimpse, into our true predicament, into the four noble truths, our entire approach to our path will become totally different.
In fact, given this urgency and predicament, all the side-issues are naturally cast aside (just like when your clothes are on fire you have no time to think about whether there is free will to put out the fire etc, or whether putting out the flame is a sudden or gradual thing, or whether we should put out the flame when its illusory, or whether putting out fire should be an effortless happening or effortful - as these are quite irrelevant, or about residing as a background unaffected Absolute which is ultimately an illusion), instead, there is just total exertion and engagement in actualization of right view and right practice, that's all. Otherwise we are like what the Buddha gave in an analogy - someone struck with a poisoned arrow trying to inquire all sorts of things about the shooter, arrow, etc, while slowly dying due to not seeking treatment.
This might put off many readers but I'm going to say it anyway: screw all neo-Advaitish 'no-practice' talk, screw all FB debates that have nothing to do with putting out fire. No wonder Buddha preferred to maintain noble silence many times. Lets just practice like our heads are on fire. Longchenpa says, "To reject practice by saying 'it is conceptual!' is the path of fools. A tendency of the inexperienced & something to be avoided."
PTS: S iv 19
CDB ii 1143
Adittapariyaya Sutta: The Fire Sermon
translated from the Pali by
Alternate translation: Ñanamoli
Alternate format: [SuttaReadings.net icon]
I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying in Gaya, at Gaya Head, with 1,000 monks. There he addressed the monks:
"Monks, the All is aflame. What All is aflame? The eye is aflame. Forms are aflame. Consciousness at the eye is aflame. Contact at the eye is aflame. And whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the eye — experienced as pleasure, pain or neither-pleasure-nor-pain — that too is aflame. Aflame with what? Aflame with the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion. Aflame, I tell you, with birth, aging & death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs.
"The ear is aflame. Sounds are aflame...
"The nose is aflame. Aromas are aflame...
"The tongue is aflame. Flavors are aflame...
"The body is aflame. Tactile sensations are aflame...
"The intellect is aflame. Ideas are aflame. Consciousness at the intellect is aflame. Contact at the intellect is aflame. And whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the intellect — experienced as pleasure, pain or neither-pleasure-nor-pain — that too is aflame. Aflame with what? Aflame with the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion. Aflame, I say, with birth, aging & death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs.
"Seeing thus, the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones grows disenchanted with the eye, disenchanted with forms, disenchanted with consciousness at the eye, disenchanted with contact at the eye. And whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the eye, experienced as pleasure, pain or neither-pleasure-nor-pain: With that, too, he grows disenchanted.
"He grows disenchanted with the ear...
"He grows disenchanted with the nose...
"He grows disenchanted with the tongue...
"He grows disenchanted with the body...
"He grows disenchanted with the intellect, disenchanted with ideas, disenchanted with consciousness at the intellect, disenchanted with contact at the intellect. And whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the intellect, experienced as pleasure, pain or neither-pleasure-nor-pain: He grows disenchanted with that too. Disenchanted, he becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion, he is fully released. With full release, there is the knowledge, 'Fully released.' He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'"
That is what the Blessed One said. Gratified, the monks delighted at his words. And while this explanation was being given, the hearts of the 1,000 monks, through no clinging (not being sustained), were fully released from fermentation/effluents.