A talk I did at Madison Insight Meditation Group in 2013 on the importance of Mudita (sympathetic joy) and how to use it off the cushion.
“Pheṇapiṇḍūpamaṃ rūpaṃ, vedanā bubbuḷūpamā .
Marīcikūpamā saññā, saṅkhārā kadalūpamā.
Māyūpamañca viññāṇaṃ, desitādiccabandhunā.
“Yathā yathā nijjhāyati, yoniso upaparikkhati.
Rittakaṃ tucchakaṃ hoti, yo naṃ passati yoniso.
“Imañca kāyaṃ ārabbha, bhūripaññena desitaṃ.
Pahānaṃ tiṇṇaṃ dhammānaṃ, rūpaṃ passatha var chaḍḍitaṃ.
“Āyu usmā ca viññāṇaṃ, yadā kāyaṃ jahantimaṃ.
Apaviddho var tadā seti, parabhattaṃ acetanaṃ.
“Etādisāyaṃ santāno, māyāyaṃ bālalāpinī.
Vadhako esa akkhāto, sāro ettha na vijjati.
“Evaṃ khandhe avekkheyya, bhikkhu āraddhavīriyo.
Divā vā yadi vā rattiṃ, sampajāno paṭissato.
“Jaheyya sabbasaṃyogaṃ, kareyya saraṇattano.
Careyyādittasīsova, patthayaṃ accutaṃ padan”ti.
Like a pile of froth is Form; Feeling-tone is like a bubble.
Like a mirage is Perception; Mental constructions are like a banana tree.
Like a conjurer’s trick is Awareness: This has been taught by the kinsman of the Sun.
Just so, just so – when one meditates and investigates with wisdom
They are void and empty to one who properly understands.
The one of great wisdom taught this regarding the body.
When the three dhammas leave, one understands and rejects Form.
Life, warmth and animation abandoning the body
As if asleep, it is cast away; senseless, it becomes food for another.
It goes on this way: illusion, childish babble.
It’s called “the executioner;” no essence is found here.
Thus the firmly-established bhikkhu considers the Aggregates
By day and by night, thoughtfully recollecting.
Abandoning all bonds, he makes himself a refuge.
He acts as if his head were blazing, heading for a place of lasting peace.
Pheṇapiṇḍūpama Sutta, SN 22.95
A discussion of some of the meanings of the Pali word “dhamma” (Sanskrit = dharma), and its relevance for Buddhist practice.
In the Satipatthana Sutta, one of the Four Foundations of Mindfulness is “dhammesu dhammānupassī” or “contemplation of dhammas in dhammas.” And one of the ways one does that is through contemplation of the Seven Factors of Awakening, on of which is “dhammavicaya” — the investigation of dhammas! Feeling a little fractal?
“Santaṃ vā ajjhattaṃ dhammavicayasambojjhaṅgaṃ ‘atthi me ajjhattaṃ dhammavicayasambojjhaṅgo’ti pajānāti, asantaṃ vā ajjhattaṃ dhammavicayasambojjhaṅgaṃ ‘natthi me ajjhattaṃ dhammavicayasambojjhaṅgo’ti pajānāti, yathā ca anuppannassa dhammavicayasambojjhaṅgassa uppādo hoti tañca pajānāti, yathā ca uppannassa dhammavicayasambojjhaṅgassa bhāvanāya pāripūrī hoti tañca pajānāti.”
When one inwardly investigates dhammas, one clearly knows, “I am inwardly investigating dhammas,” or when one does not inwardly investigate dhammas, one clearly knows, “I am not inwardly investigating dhammas.” And one clearly knows the arising of unarisen investigation of dhammas, and clearly knows the existence and passing away of dhamma investigation that has arisen.
Mahāsatipaṭṭhānasuttaṃ, Dhammānupassanā Bojjhaṅgapabbaṃ (DN 22.13)
Ananda explains to Sariputta how to hear new Dhamma, and how not to get Dhammas mixed up:
Āyasmā ānando etadavoca —
“Idhāvuso sāriputta, bhikkhu dhammaṃ pariyāpuṇāti — suttaṃ geyyaṃ veyyākaraṇaṃ gāthaṃ udānaṃ itivuttakaṃ jātakaṃ abbhutadhammaṃ vedallaṃ. So yathāsutaṃ yathāpariyattaṃ dhammaṃ vitthārena paresaṃ deseti, yathāsutaṃ yathāpariyattaṃ dhammaṃ vitthārena paresaṃ vāceti, yathāsutaṃ yathāpariyattaṃ dhammaṃ vitthārena sajjhāyaṃ karoti, yathāsutaṃ yathāpariyattaṃ dhammaṃ cetasā anuvitakketi anuvicāreti manasānupekkhati. Yasmiṃ āvāse therā bhikkhū viharanti bahussutā āgatāgamā dhammadharā vinayadharā mātikādharā tasmiṃ āvāse vassaṃ upeti. Te kālena kālaṃ upasaṅkamitvā paripucchati paripañhati — ‘Idaṃ, bhante, kathaṃ; imassa kvattho’ti? Te tassa āyasmato avivaṭañceva vivaranti, anuttānīkatañca uttānīkaronti, anekavihitesu ca kaṅkhāṭhāniyesu dhammesu kaṅkhaṃ paṭivinodenti. Ettāvatā kho, āvuso sāriputta, bhikkhu assutañceva dhammaṃ suṇāti, sutā cassa dhammā na sammosaṃ gacchanti, ye cassa dhammā pubbe cetasā samphuṭṭhapubbā te ca samudācaranti, aviññātañca vijānātī”ti.
This is what Ananda said: “Sariputta, there’s the case in which a bhikkhu masters the Dhamma – suttas, mixed prose and verse, commentaries, verses, exclamations, discourses, birth stories, miracle stories, question-and-answer dialogues. Regarding what is heard and what is known, the bhikkhu explains the Dhamma in great detail; regarding what is heard and what is known, the bhikkhu recites the Dhamma in great detail; regarding what is heard and what is known, the bhikkhu thoroughly studies the Dhamma, regarding what is heard and what is known, the bhikkhus aims to reflect on, and think about the Dhamma, and consider it carefully. He spend the rains retreats wherever senior bhikkhus dwell, learned knowers of the suttas, experts in the Dhamma, the Vinaya and the Patimokkha. When you approach this bhikkhus at an appropriate time and ask: ‘What is the reason for this, Bhante, why is it like that?’ that venerable one makes it clear, reveals the truth, explains deeply; faced with various reasons and causes for doubting the Dhamma, he dispels doubt. In such a case, friend Sariputta, a bhikkhu can hear Dhamma he has not heard before, and not get confused by Dhammas, and remember the Dhamma he has touched in the past, and understand what he has not known before.”
Ananda Sutta, AN 6.51