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Buddhadharma : Fall 2018
GESHE LHUNDUB SOPA 49 of the desire realm, which are the roughest and most powerful. Then they try to remove the intermediate mental afflictions of the form realm. The subtler mental afflictions of the formless realm are the most difficult to remove, so they are left until last. The mundane insight meditation to remove the mental afflictions of the desire realm involves comparing the desire realm with the first level of the form realm. We reflect on the nature of the desire realm, the ugliness and dirtiness of the body, the shortness of life, and the pain endured by all the various beings, from the lowest hell being to the highest desire-realm god. In every part of the desire realm there is the physical suffering of birth, aging, sickness, and death. Life in the desire realm is more gross and more painful than life in the first concentration, or dhyana, which is the lowest level of the form realm. Life in the form realm is characterized by peacefulness, a long life span, and being unburdened by a physical body made of flesh and bones. Form-realm beings have subtle mental bodies that are free of physical suffering; just as a ray of light cannot be cut with a knife, their bodies of light cannot be hurt. Those who engage in shamatha combined with analytical medita- tion that compares the characteristics of the desire realm and the first level of the form realm are on the path of the first dhyana. This is the way to remove attachment to the desire realm and attain the first level of the form realm. The antidote that removes the obstruc- tions is the union of shamatha and insight. While the practitioner engages in this particular meditation practice, the desire-realm afflic- tions do not manifest in the mind. They are completely subdued. When these mental afflictions are removed we obtain the fruit of our efforts, a deep mental absorption. In the next life we rise above the desire realm and are reborn in the first dhyana. A practitioner Analytical investigation and single-pointed concentration may seem contradictory, but when they are fully developed they are not.