Adhiṭṭhāna : Determination

Today’s post in the Ten Perfections series will focus on Adhiṭṭhāna, or determination. Determination to do (or not do) something seems like a simple matter but, to take it deeper than the intellectual level, it goes far beyond simple desire for the goal. Adhiṭṭhāna, when properly practiced, must be a function of one’s foundation; a matter of principles and devotion to the matter at hand.

This is a particular challenge to those of us who have families, are attached to loved ones, children, etc. who are our true daily focal point, but that isn’t to say our determination to be good parents and spouses is wrong. A layman is expected to properly care for his family’s wants and needs, to manage finances, and to be a noble protector, but we should not kid ourselves into thinking the choice to have a family is a “light” kamma. That said, I imagine many of us have families long before encountering the Buddha’s teachings, and the choice to be happily committed to one’s family undoubtedly helps us refrain from much worse, “heavier” kamma.

So we must have the determination to practice in spite of what we may perceive as difficulties (or even obstructions); we must practice toward final liberation.

“Sensing a feeling of pleasure, one discerns that it is fleeting, not grasped at, not relished. Sensing a feeling of pain… Sensing a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain, one discerns that it is fleeting, not grasped at, not relished. Sensing a feeling of pleasure, one senses it disjoined from it. Sensing a feeling of pain… Sensing a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain, one senses it disjoined from it. When sensing a feeling limited to the body, one discerns that ‘I am sensing a feeling limited to the body.’ When sensing a feeling limited to life, one discerns that ‘I am sensing a feeling limited to life.’ One discerns that ‘With the break-up of the body, after the termination of life, all that is sensed, not being relished, will grow cold right here.’

“Just as an oil lamp burns in dependence on oil & wick; and from the termination of the oil & wick — and from not being provided any other sustenance — it goes out unnourished; even so, when sensing a feeling limited to the body, one discerns that ‘I am sensing a feeling limited to the body.’ When sensing a feeling limited to life, one discerns that ‘I am sensing a feeling limited to life.’ One discerns that ‘With the break-up of the body, after the termination of life, all that is sensed, not being relished, will grow cold right here.’

“Thus a monk so endowed is endowed with the highest determination for discernment, for this — the knowledge of the passing away of all suffering & stress — is the highest noble discernment.

“His release, being founded on truth, does not fluctuate, for whatever is deceptive is false; Unbinding — the undeceptive — is true. Thus a monk so endowed is endowed with the highest determination for truth, for this — Unbinding, the undeceptive — is the highest noble truth.

Dhatu-vibhanga Sutta (Majjima Nikaya 140)

This sort of determination seems linked with the patience with what one might perceive as extremely slow progress. Those of us on the path need to remember the stories of the Jātakas (of which I have read very little so far) which help illustrate for us some of the countless previous lives lived by the Bodhisatta, the one who came to be known as Siddhārtha Gautama, and later the Buddha. One ought to imagine the many lifetimes of conditioning that may have brought his or her mind to where it is now — how can we expect to unbind it from that quickly?

Determination should be that which no other force can totally overwhelm. Sometimes there are setbacks, or failures, but we keep returning to this deeply rooted intention — the will to keep working at it sustains some measure of our momentum and we never totally stop. We only stop when we let ourselves be tricked into believing that we can’t succeed.

Never let your mind fool you into loosing your determination, even if you may experience birth, aging, and death a million times over before you reach the final goal.

Be well, friends.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

BuddhistPoetry

Now..... Free... Peace.....

The Art of Manliness

Contemplative Thoughts

One Man And His Mustang

A Classic '66 Ford Mustang Coupe v8 Full Restoration Guide

The Good Sit

An accessible guide to mindfulness meditation

Applied Buddhism

Applying Buddhism to Everyday Living

Lucas Henriksson

A Joyful Heart

Exploring Life

Be kind, be compassionate

Follow the Wheel: Journey of a Modern Wanderer

Camping, hiking, meditating, and philosophizing across America

Buddhist Global Relief

Worldwide relief funded by a Buddhist organization

Harmony In Motion

The universe in the form of a human girl

%d bloggers like this: