Is Ehipassiko a necessity to become real Buddhists

While I’ve been learning Buddhism and practising Vipassana on my own, I sometimes read scientific research works by some neurologists/psychologists most of whom are experienced meditators.

Science has now accepted Mind can change Brain and vice versa. They still focus on the brain as mind location and I also accept that brain involvement in mental formations is very high, deep and complex.

For a mental state, different neurons in brain’s different areas connect with each other to form a network. And when they fire together as a network, actions (mental, verbal, physical) happen.

With such basic information, I regularly compare science to Buddha’s teachings and observe my brain sensations during my meditation. Depending on good or bad thoughts, brain areas seem to differ though I cannot definitely pinpoint the location.

In short, based on scientific knowledge, religious knowledge and Vipassana experience, I started to correlate and figure out that "ehipassiko (come and see for yourselves)” , repeatedly advised by the Buddha, can be a necessity rather a suggestion.

Only with “ehipassiko”, good neurons can be chosen to cultivate to become stronger; then they will be able to start making a network - very premature in early stage; when new good neuron network is mature enough and they fire together, other old and bad neurons which have been responsible for formulating akusala cetasikas get weaker and weaker and finally back off to low profile in the brain. So, one’s mind has changed from bad to good- reaching a new mental formation/new world.

Insight /enlightenment seems to be very strong new neuron networks involving all good things in the mind. And with magga wisdom, they become permanent in the brain superseding conventional leader Moha.

Sharing and seeking your opinions on this.

Thanks and regards,

1 Like

I don’t think this is the case. There are accounts in the Suttas of people reaching Nibbāna (all four stages instantly) from hearing the Buddha teach only once.

The Pāḷi term ehipassiko was used by the Buddha, which means “come and see for yourself.” It’s simply an encouragement by the Buddha to put into practice the teachings. Rather, the Pāḷi word you are looking for would be paṭivedha. Is that required to be ariya, or more advanced on the Path? Yes. To be a real Buddhist. No—the only thing needed to be a “real Buddhist” is to follow the Five Precepts, as well as to continually develop the Eightfold Path.

It’s for certain that there are things that happen in the brain while meditating, or for someone further on the Path. However, I wouldn’t think too much of it. Most research on the brain is still at a very early stage. Thinking about this, even with detailed brain scans and so on, would probably be time wasted, that could instead be used to meditate, and getting the benefits from that. :slight_smile:

1 Like

The advanced western lay practitioner (learner) should definitely be aiming to experience “as it actually is” the removal of stress and arising of a new level of mind. This is the substance of the practice and observed and evaluated day to day.

"And what is the manner of reckoning whereby a monk who is a learner, standing at the level of a learner, can discern that ‘I am a learner’? There is the case where a monk is a learner. He discerns, as it actually is, that ‘This is stress… This is the origination of stress… This is the cessation of stress… This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.’ This is a manner of reckoning whereby a monk who is a learner, standing at the level of a learner, can discern that 'I am a learner.’ (SN 48.53)

It’s a matter of obligation to observe the development of mind, “this is the cessation of stress”. “Liberated” means any advance in overcoming hindrances or fetters, and the practice should be strategically aimed at this achievement:

“he knows a liberated mind to be
“liberated”, and an unliberated mind to be “unliberated”—-MN 10

It’s necessary to direct all available energy to overcoming, as the task will not be successful without full attention and employment of resources as life had previously been based on ignorance to some degree. This means avoiding excess baggage such as DO, anatta in the absence of anicca, anicca in the absence of the body, and other excessively mental topics popular with the millennial approach, and focussing on experience of the second and third noble truths by investigation.

1 Like