My misunderstanding of the practice of repugnance

I believe the Buddha didn’t prescribe this practice for everyone, but only those who have too much desire for certain things.

So, say, if your desire for food is such that it disables you from practising satipatthana every time food comes to mind, then it makes sense to use some special means, such as cultivating the perception of repulsiveness for food, to calm down the mind. Then when the mind is sufficiently calm, you can drop the practice.

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Thank you very much Bhante

Everything you said is very interesting thank you very much!!! Feel free to keep writing, I find you so interesting.

I’ve heard a few Zen teachers say that the Buddha’s teaching doesn’t aim to tell the Truth directly by words (because Truth is beyond the concepts and limitations of language anyway), but that the Buddha was simply saying things the practice of which was a skillful way to end suffering, and also made it possible to unveil non-dual Truth.

I find this idea very interesting. But personally, when I read the suttas, I find that the Buddha really seems to believe that what he’s saying is true, and is not simply a “skilful means not claiming to tell the truth”. I don’t have the exact references any more, but I do remember suttas where the Buddha explains that the Dhamma is the truth, contrary to the opinions of other religions, etc.
But it could be a translation problem. For example, I’ve heard Buddhist teachers say that we shouldn’t translate “the four noble truths”, but that more literally, the translation is “the four realities of the noble [beings]”. The latter translation might give the impression that we’re talking less about a “truth” than a kind of experience (and besides, the “truths/realities” wouldn’t be noble in themselves, but would be acquired and understood by noble beings).

But I don’t know anything about Pali. Maybe Ven. @Kumara can teach us something about it?

The Buddha doesn’t say what he believes. He says says what he knows.

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There are sutta’s that describe the Buddha knows or sees all sides or aspects of the khandha’s or something (MN13 for example makes a start). All sides or aspect means: he knows and sees the gratification of rupa, vedana, etc. But he also knows the danger. Furthermore he knows the escape, and he knows the arising and the cessation and the path to cessation.

So he has, as it were, a complete understanding of it. In these sutta’s, he does not denie there is gratification in the khandha’s, in this life. Ofcourse, otherwise there would be no desire for it.

In MN13 it is said:

“That those recluses and brahmins who do not understand as it actually is the gratification as gratification, the danger as danger, and the escape as escape in the case of feelings (and other khnadha’s, Green), can either themselves fully understand feelings or instruct another so that he can fully understand feelings - that is impossible. That those recluses and brahmins who understand as it actually is the gratification as gratification, the danger as danger, and the escape as escape in the case of feelings, can either themselves fully understand feelings or instruct another so that he can fully understand feelings - that is possible.”

So here you see that someone who does not admit that there is gratification in khandha’s, he has no right understanding and cannot instruct others.

I think this is very true. The Buddha does not teach there is no gratification in the khandha’s, but this gratification is at the same time the danger, like the bait for a fish. The fish gets hooked. It meets misery while it thinks it will meet happiness.

A Buddha has this overview, i believe, that the same drive that leads us to pursue gratification does not lead to the end of suffering, not in this life, but also not because it becomes a cause for rebirth, and if longing are very strong one might even commit evil deed to find some gratification.

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Whatever one wishes to call or label them, the 4NTs describe and declare the truth of the presence of dukkha, how it is perpetuated through craving leading to endless rebirths, and how it can permanently end.

These truths are both “realistically” true for beings (who by definition are conditional entities) who experience dukkha, and are true in a practical sense because they actually work, as validated by the Buddha and arahants.

The problem of dukkha inherent in rebirth is directly declared by the Buddha in the 2nd NT, as SN56.11:

"Now this is the noble truth of the origin of suffering. It’s the craving that leads to future lives, mixed up with relishing and greed, taking pleasure wherever it lands. That is, craving for sensual pleasures, craving to continue existence, and craving to end existence.

"yāyaṁ taṇhā ponobbhavikā …" “ponobbhavikā” here means future lives. It’s explicit in this NT.

So it’s not just about easing dukkha in this life – which is fine, of course – but to ending its perpetuation via endless rebirth.
And confirmation of its ending is the truth they directly know.

Santi

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