Vipassana Meditation

Lectures on Insight Meditation

by Chanmyay Sayadaw | 22,042 words

Vipassana Meditation: English lectures on Insight Meditation By venerable Chanmyay Sayadaw U Janakabhivamsa....

Part 1 - The Cause Of Suffering

The Lord Buddha found out the cause of suffering (dukkha). According to his teachings, everything arises dependent on conditions. Everything in the world has its cause; nothing arises without a cause. When the Buddha wanted to get rid of suffering (dukkha), he had to find out the cause. When the cause had been eradicated, there will not be any effect. When the omniscient Buddha became enlightened, he discovered that the cause of suffering is attachment (tanha). The word tanha means greed, lust, desire, craving and the like. Buddhist scholars have translated tanha into attachment so that it covers all forms of desire. So in English, we use the word attachment for tanha.

Tanha or attachment is the cause of suffering. When there is tanha there is dukkha (suffering). When a man can eliminate tanha, he is sure to get rid of dukkha. This tanha also arises dependent on a cause. Without a cause, tanha will not arise. Tanha is a mental state and a process of mentality which is conditioned. The Omniscient Buddha discovered that the cause of attachment (tanha) is wrong view, i.e. the false view of a soul, a self, an I or a you a personality or an individuality known as sakkaya ditthi or atta ditthi. So thissakkaya ditthi or atta ditthi is the cause of tanha which causes dukkha. Then what is the cause of this false view (sakkaya ditthi or atta ditthi) ?

The Omniscient Buddha pointed out that ignorance (moha or avijja in Pali) of the natural processes of mentality and physicality is the cause of the false view of a soul or a self. Thus by realization or right understanding of this dual process in its true nature, we can exterminate ignorance. Then we come to know the law of Cause and Effect. We can summarize the chain of cause and effect like this: Ignorance is the cause, false view (sakkaya ditthi or atta ditthi) is the effect. False view is the cause, attachment is the effect. Attachment is the cause, suffering is the effect.

Then what we come to know is : if mental and physical processes are rightly understood, that right understanding will do away with ignorance. When ignorance has been eradicated, then there will not be any false view of a soul, a self, a person or a being. When this false view has been destroyed, there will not arise any suffering. Then we reach a stage in which all kinds of suffering cease to exit - the cessation of suffering (Nirodha sacca) is attained.

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