Regrets

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  • This topic has 8 replies, 5 voices, and was last updated 3 years ago by Lal.
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    • #24023
      Aniduan
      Participant

      1) I am making tiny incremental progress towards grasping anicca, dukkha, anatta and gradually getting rid of lobha, dvesha and moha. It’s a constant battle as I take 2 steps forward and 1 step back and it’s still a long way to go as the hidden defilements keep resurfacing. One thing that bothers me is past regrets, things like “I shouldn’t have done that, I shouldn’t have said that…” etc. My question is in which category of lobha, dvesha, moha does regret fall under?

      2) I have read lots of material on this website and I seem to understand when I read but forget the concepts after a while and sometimes I get confused. I am a below average IQ person. My question is does a person have to be intelligent to learn dhamma?

    • #24024
      Akvan
      Participant

      Hi Aniduan,

      1) I think regret would fall under the dvesha category because it is more of a negative feeling. But of course there is moha involved as well. It is always a mix.

      2) One needs to have pragna or panna. I think this translated to wisdom. There is a difference between intelligence and wisdom.

    • #24025
      firewns
      Participant

      Hi Aniduan,

      1) Regret about things done or said before should be the kukkucca cetasika, which is a dvesha (Pali: dosa)-related cetasika. I think, like Akvan, that there is also some measure of moha or delusion involved. Therefore it is not wise to let regret predominate in your thoughts. Instead resolve to do better and be a better version of yourself next time.

      By replacing akusala cetasikas with sobhana cetasikas such as samma vaca (right speech), samma kammanta (right action), adosa (non-hatred), karuna (compassion) and mudita (sympathetic joy), you will, by using the conditions of repetition and association, gradually change your gathi for the better.

      Cetasikas set forth the conditions to bring about other cetasikas to come about and appear. For example, whenever we focus on cultivating a sobhana cetasika such as samma vaca or samma kammanta, we are invariably also cultivating the 19 universal sobhana cetasikas such as alobha (non-greed), adosa, saddha (faith) and sati (mindfulness) among others. The 19 universal sobhana cetasikas always arise in association with other sobhana cetasikas. This comes about while also suppressing the akusala cetasikas in that instant.

      Through the condition of repetition, each javana citta will strengthen the next javana citta in a citta vitthi. Therefore you will be reinforcing good gathi the more you practise and cultivate sobhana cetasikas.

      2) I think one does have to be intelligent enough to understand the concepts that one has read. However, intelligence by itself is neither sufficient nor absolutely necessary to understand Buddhadhamma. I agree with Akvan that panna (or pragna) is needed in order to attain the Arahant stage.

      Although you may forget the concepts after a while and get confused, please continue to study Buddhadhamma. It is highly useful, maybe even critical, for you to develop the four bases of mental power (satara iddhipada).

      Through continued vimansa (investigation/reasoning) of Buddhadhamma, you will gradually get closer to the goal. In the event that you do not attain Nibbana in this very life, you may become a highly intelligent person in future lives to aid you in your cultivation, due to the law of kamma (for you had spent your current life investigating Dhamma).

      Hope this helps! :)

    • #24031
      Lal
      Keymaster

      Yes. I agree with Akvan and firewns. One should try to get the mind off “having regrets”.

      As I explained in another topic:
      “Fear, confidence, sadness, elation are all associated with the “mindest” at the given moment. The mindset here is not a kilesa or upakilesa, but arise DUE TO kilesa and upakilesa. Elation is not joy (piti), but a “state of mind” like sadness.

      Those can become one’s gati (bhavanga) for the next life if the mindset at the cuti-patisandhi moment is one of those.
      – Fear and sadness are associated with births in the lower realms.
      – Confidence and joy associated with births in higher realms.
      – A neutral state of mind (upekkha) can be associated with brahma realms and optimized for an Arahant.”

      Having regrets can lead to fear/sadness as a state of mind. That is an obstacle for learning and making progress on the Path.

      What one can do is to engage in activities that will bring joy and confidence to one’s mind. These include giving and helping those in need and keeping the five precepts. Breaking the five precepts often leads to an “unsettled state of mind”.

      Furthermore, there is no point in having regrets about past actions. One needs to focus on what one can do from now on. Angulimala killed almost a thousand people, but he was able to put that behind and attain the Arahanthood; “Account of Angulimāla – Many Insights to Buddha Dhamma“.

    • #24041
      cubibobi
      Participant

      “Fear, confidence, sadness, elation are all associated with the “mindset” at the given moment….”

      Here, is “mindset” viññāna?

    • #24043
      Lal
      Keymaster

      No. Mindest is not viññāna.

      Viññāna is an expectation generated based on thinking about something. If the expectation is bad, then it is a “bad viññāna” and it generates kammic energy (a kamma seed) that can bring vipaka in the future.
      – For example, if someone comes and hits you, you may form a viññāna to “get back at him”. You may even hit back right there. Either way, you generated a “bad viññāna” and that can bring “bad vipaka” in the future.

      Mindset is really what is called bhavanga, which means “part of existence” or “state of mind”: “bhava” + “anga”, where “anga” means a “part”.
      – Bhavanga usually means a “state of mind” for the whole “human bhava” for a human.
      – But that can be temporarily changed for a time period if a significant event can change the “state of mind”. For example, in the above example, when someone comes and hits you, you get into an “angry state of mind”. Even after that person leaves, you may be in that “angry state” for a while. So, if another person comes and says something to aggravate you, you may generate another “bad viññāna” and hit him too.

      So, viññāna and bhavanga (state of mind) are not the same, but related.
      – See, “Viññāna – Consciousness Together With Future Expectations” and “State of Mind in the Absence of Citta Vithi – Bhavanga“, and posts referred therein.

    • #24063
      firewns
      Participant

      Hi Aniduan,

      I would like to add the following comments.

      1) If, you find that your past regrets still surface from time to time despite trying not to dwell on them, then perhaps you may do something to feel better.

      Sometimes we inadvertently say or do hurtful things to others, and putting in efforts to make amends is appropriate. If possible, you may try to apologize to those whom you may have hurt. Tell them that you regret hurting them and wish that they would be well and put the past behind them. Then, after making proper amends, resolve that it would be your turn to put the past behind you. I hope, in this way, those past regrets would not return to haunt you. It would be psychologically helpful too, not to relive those past regrets.

      2) If there is anything you do not understand about Buddhadhamma, feel free to post your queries here or to ask other knowledgeable and helpful Buddhists for their help in understanding. All of this should eventually help you very much.

      Hope this helps! :)

    • #24089
      Aniduan
      Participant

      Thank you everyone for your guidance. Much appreciated.

      Lal wrote: “Fear and sadness are associated with births in the lower realms.”
      The lower realms are only apayas or does it include human realm? When a person reaches sotapanna does the sadness go away, meaning can a sotapanna be depressed?

    • #24090
      Lal
      Keymaster

      1. Fear and sadness have different levels.
      – For example, fear experienced in the apayas (4 realms below the human realm), is at a higher intensity than experienced in the human realm.
      – It is probably correct to say that fear is very minimal in the realms above the human realm, except when getting close to the end of a lifetime there.

      2. Fear and sadness can be there in the human realm, even at higher levels if one is regularly engaged in highly-immoral activities that would lead to births in the apayas. We sometimes say, “this person is like an animal” when we see that one has committed crimes like killing or rape of children.
      – Obviously, when one attains the Sotapanna stage, one would not be able to do such actions, and thus one’s mind would not get to that level of fear and sadness.

      3. Fear and sadness will completely go away only when one attains the Arahanthood. That is when one attains total equanimity. One’s mind will not be perturbed by anything (akuppā in Pali, as in akuppā cetovimutti).

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