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Buddhadharma : Summer 2011
buddhadharma| 61 |winter 2005 we expand it a little, we can say there are just five aggregates. We come to realize this through the practice of vipassana meditation, through constant observation of objects presented to us through the sense doors. When you reach this stage – seeing mind and matter clearly, and seeing that there is only mind and matter and nothing else – you have passed through the threshold of vipassana. At that point, the practice of vipassana is very rewarding. Whereas before you did not clearly see the objects, now you pay close attention to the objects. By constant observation, through concen- tration, you discover that what you thought to be a discrete individual is actually just the combina- tion of mind and matter. If mind is taken away from matter, and matter taken away from mind, one cannot function as a being. Mind and mat- ter are like two persons: a cripple and a blind man. A blind man cannot go to his destination because he cannot see ahead, and the cripple can- not go because he cannot move. If a cripple gets on the back of a blind man and gives directions like “make right turn,” “make left turn,” or “go straight,” they can both reach their destination. In the same way, mind and matter by themselves are without action. Mind cannot move and can- not speak, because it has no body. And the body without mind cannot do anything; it is like a log. But when mind and matter come together, when mind and body come together, they are called a “person,” and they can function. You come to realize this through your own experience, not from another person, not because your teachers taught you this. Vipassana knowledge is real knowledge that comes from within. It is the only real under- standing or real wisdom. Mind is that which notes the objects. The Pali word for mind, nama, means something that bends, something that inclines toward another thing. When you take an object in your mind, your mind goes to the object or bends to the object. That is what mind means. That which is noted, the rising and falling, has no cognitive power. They do not know anything; they are just matter. You come to know this through observation; you come to see objects as they are. After seeing what they are, you will also see that they come and go. They do not last. Through this practice, you can discover many things about yourself and many things about the objects that are presented to you. Without the discovery of what mind is and what matter is and how they are related, we cannot reach our destina- tion; we cannot attain enlightenment. We have to go through the stages of vipas- sana one by one. Some people may be able to go through these stages very fast, but no one can skip any of the stages. We have three things: the known, the knower, and the knower of the knower. You have the mate- rial thing, which is the known. You have aware- ness of the material thing, which is the knower. And then you know the knower that is aware of the material object. You make all these discover- ies through the practice of vipassana meditation. Without vipassana meditation, you cannot hope to see these realities of mind and matter. If we do not see the realities of mind and matter, we cannot hope to progress along this path. If we cannot make progress, we cannot gain the true understanding of the four noble truths. The ultimate aim of vipas- sana is to gain enlightenment, total purification of mind. Seeing mind and matter clearly is just the beginning of vipassana, but once we see them fully, the practice will carry itself toward that goal. adapted from teachingS pUBliShed in the dhammananda newSletter.