Wenda20180427 01:17:10 (An Excerpt) (Master Jun Hong Lu’s call-in radio program)
UNDERSTANDING IGNORANCE IN THE 12 LINK OF DEPENDENT ORIGINATION
Caller: Master, in Buddhism in Plain Terms, it was mentioned that ignorance is the cause for a lot of our wrongdoings in life. Please enlighten us.
Master Jun Hong Lu: One’s ignorance is due to the existence of such state one’s past life. For e.g. your spiritual foundation in your past life was unstable, you committed a lot of wrongdoings – all these would cause you a lot of deep rooted bad habits (无明习气) in this life. In fact, ignorance is the consciousness that result in rebirth. Let me quote you an example: for a blind person, ignorance to him is his inability to see light. However, when someone tells him about it, for e.g describing to him the nature of the sun, out of a sudden he could see it through his mind-eyes. That is what it means by breaking away from ignorance.
In fact, ignorance is when you shut the door to your mind. Ignorance can cause you to become depraved, your days will be gloomy, you lose your wisdom and the light in your life. You can see the manifestation of ignorance in our everyday life. For e.g. our attachments (执著), our refusal to acknowledge the superiority of others, the thought that we are always right. That is why Buddha says all sufferings stem from ignorance (一切痛苦都产生于无明).
Caller: That’s right. Ignorance is the first link in the law of Dependent Origination.
Master Jun Hong Lu: Due to a person’s ignorance, he develops a lot of prejudice, and opinion about others. Often times, if you understand someone, you will not think that he always had preconceived notions or stubborn? That’s the origin of our sufferings.
In fact, ignorance spans over our rebirths in three lives (三世轮回). The fact that we fail to comprehend this, that’s why we are trapped we continue to transmigrate through three lives. This is indeed pitiable. The objective of Buddhism teachings is to eradicate ignorance to reveal our Buddha nature (真正的佛性)
Disclaimer: Source from Internet (Not from Master Jun Hong Lu)
Perhaps the most profound part of the Buddha’s teaching is the description of how this wheel of life, death and rebirth continues rolling on. The insight into all the links of the chain of existence is expressed in what is called the Law of Dependent Origination.
According to the Buddha: It is by their not being able to comprehend the Dependent Origination, that people are entangled like a ball of cotton, and not being able to see the Truth, They are born into conditions that are dismal and dreary, where confusion and prolonged suffering prevail. And, they do not know how to disentangle themselves to get out.
There are twelve links in this Law of Dependent Origination.
The first two have to do with causes in the past life which condition birth in this one (Ignorance and Mental Formation).
The first of these links is 1.Ignorance. Ignorance means not knowing the truth, not understanding the Dharma, ignorance of the Four Noble Truths.
2. Mental Formation is conditioned by ignorance; because we do not understand the truth, we are involved in all kinds of actions. The force of ignorance conditions the next link in the chain: volitional actions of body, speech, and mind motivated by wholesome or unwholesome mental factors.
3. Rebirth consciousness; that is, the first moment of consciousness in this life. Because ignorance conditioned the energy of karmic activity in our past life, rebirth consciousness arises at the moment of conception.
Because of the first moment of consciousness in this life arise the whole 4.mind-body phenomena.
Finally, because of the mind-body phenomena arising, the 5.sense spheres develop. This is during development of the embryo, before birth.
The five physical senses and the mind, which in turn conditions the 6.arising of contact, contact between the sense organ and its appropriate object: the eye and color, the ear and sound, nose and smell, tongue and taste, body and sensation, mind and thoughts or ideas.
Conditioned by the senses, contact comes into being. Because of the contact between the eye and color, the ear and sound, and the other senses and their objects, 7. There arises feeling. Feeling means the quality of pleasantness, unpleasantness, or neither pleasantness nor unpleasantness involved in every mind moment, in every moment of contact. Whether it is contact through the five physical sense doors or through the mind, feeling is always present.
Because of feeling arises 8.Craving. Craving means desiring, hankering after objects. What is it that we desire? We desire pleasant sights and sounds, pleasant tastes and smells, pleasant touch sensations and thoughts, or we desire to get rid of unpleasant objects. Desire arises because of feelings. We start hankering after, or wishing to avoid, these six different objects in the world. Feeling conditions desire. Desire conditions clinging. Because we have a desire for the objects of the six senses, mind included, we cling, we latch on to, we become attached.
9.Clinging is conditioned by desire. Because of clinging, again we get involved in karmic formations.
Repeating the kinds of volitions, which, in our past life, produced the rebirth consciousness of this life. So, feeling conditions desire, desire conditions clinging, and clinging conditions the continual actions of…
10. Becoming, creating the energy that is the seed for rebirth consciousness in the next life. Because of these karmic actions resulting from grasping, again there is birth.
Because there is birth, there is 11.decay, pain, suffering, and 12.death. Therefore, the wheel goes on and on.
The Buddha’s objective is to help us discover the way out of this cycle of conditioning.
However, there is nothing we can do now about “being” or this mental-body phenomenon. That is conditioned by past ignorance and having taken birth. Therefore, there is no way to avoid contact. There is no possible way of closing off all the sense organs even if that were desirable. If there is contact, there is no way of preventing feeling from arising. Because of contact, feeling will be there. It is a common factor of mind!!! But, it is right at this point that the chain can be broken.
When pleasant things arise, we do not cling. When unpleasant things arise, we do not condemn. We are free to break this chain, to free ourselves from conditioned reactions. It takes a powerful mindfulness in every moment!!! NOT to allow feelings to generate desire.
When there’s ignorance in the mind, “feeling conditions desire”.
If there is something pleasant, we want it; something unpleasant, we desire to get rid of it. However, if instead of ignorance if there is wisdom and awareness, then we experience feeling but do not compulsively or habitually cling or push away.
If the feelings are pleasant, we experience them mindfully without clinging. If unpleasant, we experience them mindfully without condemning. No longer do feelings condition desire!!! Instead, there is mindfulness, detachment, letting go.
So you want to know how this chain is undone??
When there is no desire, there is no clinging; without clinging, there is no mental formation of becoming. If we are not generating that energy, there is no rebirth, no disease, no old age, and no death. We become free. No longer driven on by ignorance and desire, the whole mass of suffering is brought to an end.
Every moment of awareness is a hammer stroke on this chain of conditioning. Striking it with the force of wisdom and awareness, the chain gets weaker and weaker until it breaks. What we are doing here is penetrating into the truth of the Law of Dependent Origination, and freeing our minds from it.
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