Thursday, October 21, 2010

Two Kinds of Thoughts

In this sutta Buddha talks about 2 kinds of thoughts:

#1. Thoughts of Sensuality, Thoughts of ill will, Thoughts of harm

#2. Thoughts of Non-sensuality, Thoughts of non-ill will (loving-kindness), Thoughts of Non-harm (compassion)

Type #1. Leads to your own affliction or to the affliction of others or to the affliction of both. It obstructs discernment, promotes vexation, & does not lead to Unbinding.

Type #2. Leads neither to your own affliction, nor to the affliction of others, nor to the affliction of both. It fosters discernment, promotes lack of vexation, & leads to Unbinding.

When the thoughts of type #1 arises, he advised us to reflect on the danger of this thoughts (method 2 of the Vitakkasanthana Sutta, please see the post above) and get rid of them.

In his own words: "As I noticed that it leads to my own affliction, it subsided. As I noticed that it leads to the affliction of others... to the affliction of both... it obstructs discernment, promotes vexation, & does not lead to Unbinding, it subsided. Whenever thinking imbued with ill will had arisen, I simply abandoned it, destroyed it, dispelled it, wiped it out of existence."

He also said: "Whatever a one keeps pursuing with his thinking & pondering, that becomes the inclination of his awareness."

Dvedhavitakka Sutta: Two Sorts of Thinking translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Also please see this beautiful simile from the sutta (click on the title) :There lived a large herd of deer...

So it is possible to change our mind with practice and ultimately change our own behavior pattern, either good or bad. It is a matter of shift in the thinking pattern in the mind and with practice speech and bodily action will follow. To begin with it may be nice if we can implement thoughts of loving kindness, non-ham in our society too. It will be more effective if we start this at an early age, like an early childhood education program in schools. If this happens in the future we should see less of these horrible school shootings, murders and other violence we in our society today. The key is the practice of loving-kindness (see labels). It is not difficult and it will benefit you and people around you too.

Also Note: This sutta is basically an expansion (both Wrong Intention and the Right Intention) of the second step in the Noble Eightfold Path (The Right Intention*). Please see the link below.


2. Right Intention

While right view refers to the cognitive aspect of wisdom, right intention refers to the volitional aspect, i.e. the kind of mental energy that controls our actions. Right intention can be described best as commitment to ethical and mental self-improvement. Buddha distinguishes three types of right intentions: 1. the intention of renunciation, which means resistance to the pull of desire, 2. the intention of good will, meaning resistance to feelings of anger and aversion, and 3. the intention of harmlessness, meaning not to think or act cruelly, violently, or aggressively, and to develop compassion.

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