Reply To: The Six Sextets


Imagine we are sitting in meditation in a room. Outside is raining heavily. We have a healthy hearing system; there is sound coming from the pouring rain; there is a non-vacuum environment for sound to propagate to our ears; and we are attentive to the sound of the pouring rain;

Whether we like the sound of the pouring rain or not is immaterial. When the above conditions are met, hearing consciousness arises – without us making a wish or praying for it to happen. If we do not like the sound of the pouring rain when we are meditating, and if the conditions are there for it to happen, no matter how we wish or pray for the sound to go away is of no use. We are never in control of the situation. One can say we can mute the sound by closing the doors and drawing thick curtains over the windows. But that is just a follow up action. We are just following up this unsatisfactoriness by devising something to alter the outcome of the situation so as to lessen our suffering. The sound of the pouring rain outside which causes distraction to our meditation remains an indisputable fact. On the other hand, we might like the sound of the pouring rain outside so much so that we cling on to it and hoping that it will continue for as long as our meditation session lasts. But it didn’t. Dissatisfaction sets in. Whether we like the sound of the pouring rain or not, the 5 aggregates that arose when we are mentally engaging in that sound are not going to last forever. When we crave for the sound because we like it so much, we suffer when it ended so quickly. When we dislike the sound so much because it is a distraction to our meditation, we suffer in another way. The key is to see consciousness arising when suitable conditions are fulfilled. When conditions are not there for things to happen, no matter how much a person wish and pray, it ain’t going to happen. And when conditions are fulfilled for things to happen, no amount of wishing and praying are going to make it go away. We are never in control. But we like to think we are in control. That’s a delusion. There is only the arising and perishing of conditions to manifest phenomena. What about our volitions to tweak and alter situations to our liking? They are also conditions in this whole matrix of suffering.