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 [Dhamma Talk]


 

Separating the Wheat from the Chaff

There are those who, declare of a theory of salvation, enlightenment or awakening:

"This Teaching
is the Only Real Truth —
everything else is lies."

Here, in This Teaching, we do not accept such a statement.

Here, what we ask ourselves
is whether those who make such statements in the present,
actually know and see
of their doctrine proclaiming salvation, enlightenment or awakening that:

"This Teaching
is the Only Real Truth —
everything else is lies."

Or whether the teachers of those who make such statements,
or the teachers of their teachers,
or the originator of that teaching
actually knew and saw
of that doctrine proclaiming salvation, enlightenment or awakening that:

"This Teaching
is the Only Real Truth —
everything else is lies."

Here, in This Teaching,
we examine what the originators of that teaching,
actually did and said.

Here, in This Teaching,
we examine what the teachers of that teaching,
and the proclaimers of that teaching
actually do and say.

These five are unreliable bases for making the declaration:

"This Teaching
is the Only Real Truth —
everything else is lies."

Belief, (Saddhā),
it's pleasing appeal, (ruci)
the fact that it follows from what has been heard was the Truth, (anussava),
the fact that has been constructed from the pondered over, (ākāra-pari-vitakko),
the fact that it is a view that accords with accepted knowledge, (diṭṭhi-nijjhānakkha).

Why?

Because a thing believed to be true may be false;
and a thing believed to be false may be true.

Beliefs that please may be false;
and beliefs that displeases may be true.

Things which follow from what has been heard was the Truth may be false;
things which do not follow from what has been heard was the Truth may be true.

Things which are in accord with accepted knowledge may be false;
things which are contrary to accepted knowledge may be true.

Belief in a Truth,
being pleased with it,
passing a doctrine along,
ponderiing it well,
and causing it to be accepted knowledge
serve as ways of preserving a Teaching.

Simply because a Teaching has been preserved
is not sufficient to justify making the declaration:

"This Teaching
is the Only Real Truth —
everything else is lies."

For the statement to be made of a Teaching that:

"Well taught is this Dhamma by an Awakened One
who saw for himself,
teaching it afterwords to men and gods.
A saving, enlightening, awakening Dhamma.
A thing to be known and seen for one's self by the intelligent,
with results visible in this world,
not a matter of Time.
helpful in the beginning,
helpful in the middle,
helpful at the end,
a liberating thing,
leading onwards to dispassion,
letting go, giving up
culminating in the complete destruction of pain
deathlessness, freedom, utter detachment, Nibbāna."

There must also be
awakening to it's truth.

For awakening to the truth of a Teaching
one must examine it's originator or it's teacher
concering three states:

States of greed (lobha)
States of hate, (dosa)
States of confusion (moha)
thus:

Does, or did this teacher exibit
through his speach and bodily actions
such evidence of greed in his mind
that he would say he knew and saw
when he did not know and see?

Or would he be capable
because of greed
of leading others to courses of action
which would be harmful to them?

If upon examination it is found
that that person's speech accords with his actions
and this conduct is not that of a greedy person,
and that that person's teaching is deep, subtle, leads to stilling, calming and tranquilizing the mind and body;
is reasonable, wise, peaceful;
leading on to letting go of harmful, low, common, un-dignified, unaristocratic states
and the attaining of utter freedom of detachment;
not something that could be taught by the greedy,
then he should examine that teacher as to states of hate.

Does, or did this teacher exibit
through his speach and bodily actions
such evidence of hate in his mind
that he would say he knew and saw
when he did not know and see?

Or would he be capable
because of hate
of leading others to courses of action
which would be harmful to them?

If upon examination it is found
that that person's speech accords with his actions
and this conduct is not that of a person full of hate,
and that that person's teaching is deep, subtle, leads to stilling, calming and tranquilizing the mind and body;
is reasonable, wise, peaceful;
leading on to letting go of harmful, low, common, un-dignified, unaristocratic states
and the attaining of utter freedom of detachment;
not something that could be taught by one who hates,
then he should examine that teacher as to states of confusion.

Does, or did this teacher exibit
through his speach and bodily actions
such evidence of confusion in his mind
that he would say he knew and saw
when he did not know and see?

Or would he be capable
because of confusion
of leading others to courses of action
which would be harmful to them?

If upon examination it is found
that that person's speech accords with his actions
and this conduct is not that of a confused person,
and that that person's teaching is deep, subtle, leads to stilling, calming and tranquilizing the mind and body;
is reasonable, wise, peaceful;
leading on to letting go of harmful, low, common, un-dignified, unaristocratic states
and the attaining of utter freedom of detachment;
not something that could be taught by one is confused,
then one may reasonably place faith in that individual.

To this extent
there is the method of separating the wheat from the chaff,
but there is not yet awakening
to knowing and seeing this Dhamma.

Placing faith in This Dhamma and This Teacher;
one should approach this Dhamma;
approaching,
one should pay attention;
paying attention,
one should listen carefully;
listening carefully,
one will hear the details of this Dhamma;
hearing this Dhamma,
one should remember what has been heard;
what one has remembered
should be pondered in mind
and tested by implementation
in one's thoughts, words and deeds;
through testing the Dhamma,
one will see it's veracity;
seeing the truth of this Dhamma,
one will approve of it;
approving, one will be pleased;
pondering the results,
approving of the results,
pleased,
one redoubles one's effort,
exerts one's self whole-heartedly,
becomes resolved on attainment;
become resolved on attainment,
one realizes the Dhamma,
knowing it and seeing it for one's self
by having penetrated it
through the knowledge, wisdom and vision
generated by this method.

To this extent he can say:

"I know, I see."

To this extent what has been accomplished
is awakening to knowing and seeing This Dhamma,
but it cannot yet be said
that there is attainment of the goal of This Dhamma.

For the attainment of the goal of This Dhamma
there must be walking-the-talk,
making it an encompasing reality,
that which follows from This Dhamma must be unbroken in practice.

In a word,
one must become Dhamma.

In the service of walking-the-talk,
making it real,
unbroken practice,
becoming Dhamma,
is starting;

In the service of starting
familiarity.

In the service of familiarity
is pondering and evaluation;

In the service of pondering and evaluation,
is exertion.

In the service of exertion,
is desire to attain.

In the service of desire to attain,
is approval of This Dhamma.

In the service of approval of This Dhamma,
is testing the truth.

In the service of testing the truth,
is remembering This Dhamma.

In the service of remembering This Dhamma,
is knowledge of This Dhamma.

In the service of knowledge of This Dhamma,
is lending a ready ear.

In the service of lending a ready ear
is paying careful attention.

In the service of paying careful attention
is approaching with an open mind.

In the service of approaching with an open mind is faith.

 


 

See:

MN 47 MN 27 MN 95; S. ii 115, iv. 138; A. i 190; ii 191


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