Practice of Vipassana leads to
realisation of human potential
Rohan Lalith Jayetilleke
The greatest obstacle in the harmonious development of
human personality is one’s negative mental conditioning.
This negative mental conditioning is unhealthy and
creates sudden impulses of reaction in one and prevents
good qualities to surface.
This sudden impulsive mindset remains dormant in the
deepest level of the mind and the Buddha describes it as
Anusayakilesa. These Anusayakilesa of the sub-conscious
mind (bhavanga) have to be completely eradicated, if one
is to realise human potential in its true and healthy
manner. The practice Vipassana, as taught by the Buddha,
never taught by any other religious teacher, is to
achieve this objective.
With the gradual eradication, by the meditator, starting
the practice, the meditator observes the changes
occurring in his or her habits. This with the total
uprooting of anusayakilesa, the mind is progressively
reconditioned. Thus the entire potentiality of pure mind
arises, which otherwise would continue to be latent in
deep rooted consciousness to surface whenever emotions
and impulses create attachment (upadana) to sense
pleasures, resulting in restlessness, aversion, enmity
and ignorance to act indiscriminately.
The only methodology to avert these conditions is to
practise Vipassana, which makes one to realise the
latent potential and this potential is kept under check
by one’s own illusions and defilements. The full and
complete human consciousness is realised on the total
elimination of defilements (kilesa). The Buddha
explaining this says: “Pakati pabbhasaram idam cittam:
Agantukehi malehi upasankittham” (In true sense the
nature of this consciousness is pure self-luminous, with
the incoming of the defilements it becomes defiled).
The sub-conscious mind is directly linked with one’s
bodily sensations, namely, pleasant bodily sensations (sukkha-vedana),
unpleasant bodily sensations (dukkha-vedana) and neither
pleasant nor unpleasant bodily sensations, viz. neutral
sensations (adukkhamasukha vedana) or (Upekkha-vedana).
As taught by the Buddha, besides these three there are
pleasant mental feelings (somanassa-vedana) and
unpleasant mental feelings (domanassa-vedana). The
sub-conscious mind, based on these qualities,
accumulates and multiplies more and more impulses and
reactions, without one’s own knowledge and finally one
is in a deep gorge of suffering.
The Dhammapada gives a lucid explanation on this matter.
“Manasa ce padutthena bhasati va karoti va; Tatonam
dukkhamanvet cakkam va vahato padam” (if one speaks or
acts with defiled mind, because of that immediately
suffering follows one, even as the wheel follows the
hood of the draught-ox) (Dhammapada gatha).
In the time of the Buddha there was no writing. In
modern times writing has become the best exponent of
propagating wisdom as well as evil thoughts. If a
Buddhist in addition to speaking, writing highly
critical and abusive of other religions, especially
Christianity, accusing them of ‘unethical conversions’
is creating his own bad kamma, that will deny him or her
hereafter human existence, but in the plane of existence
of serpents, with venom, it is always ready to attack
another for no reason, for it always lives in fear.
A Buddhist need not try to reconstruct society, but
follow the Noble Eightfold Path, for Buddha Dhamma, is a
way of life for an individual and not something one
needs to extol, abuse other religious persuasions and
try to eliminate at least to a certain extent the three
main defilements (kilesa), attachment to sense pleasures
(kamatahan), attachment to continued existence (bhavatanha),
and attachment to emancipation (vibhavatanha).
India being a multi-religious, multi-racial and
multi-cultural country from time immemorial, even King
Asoka (269-232 BC) in hid Rock Edict XII, Greek version
at Kandhar, Afghanistan says, “King Devanampriya
Priyadarshi honours all the religious persuasions and
their clergy and the laity. He honours them with various
gifts and honours as much as the increase in essence of
all religious persuasions.
The increase in essence is manifold. But its root is the
restraint of speech in that there should be no enrolment
of one’s religious persuasion and no disparagement of
another’s religious persuasions on improper occasions.
At each proper occasion, it must be moderate.
Nevertheless, the religious persuasions of others should
be respected in every way. So doing, one promotes one’s
own religion and supports other’s religion.
Doing anything else, one injures one’s own religion and
also does disservice to the other’s religion. Whoever
extols one’s religion and disparages another’s religion
entirely through deception to one’s religion thinking,
“We add lustre to our own religion” injures his one
religion very severely again by doing so. Mutual contact
or restraint also is commendable. Let all listen to and
be willing to listen to one another’s “Dharma”.
Vipassana is a gradual process, as rightly explained by
the Buddha as: “Maya anupubba sankhar an am nirodho
akkhato” (I have shown a step by step extinguishing of
mental conditioning) (Samyuttanikaya). Each step,
however, is taken by observing sensation (Vedana).
The Buddha explains: “Tassa kaya ca sukkhaya ca vedanaya
aniccanupassino viharato vayanupassino viharatao,
nirodhanupassino viharato, patinissagganupassino
viharato yo kaya ca sukhaya ca vedanaya raganusayo, so
pahiyati” (As the meditator abides observing the
impermanence of pleasant sensation in the body, their
waning, fading away, ceasing and observing the
relinquishing of them, his underlying conditioning of
craving for pleasant bodily sensations is removed).
In the same way, the Buddha explains, by observing
unpleasant sensations one uproots totally the underlying
conditioning of aversion; and by the observing of
neutral sensations, the underlying conditioning of
ignorance (moha) too is uprooted. Thus sensations are
the implements by which one can free oneself of
conditioning of attachment or craving (tanha) and reach
liberation from suffering, and reach a state of pure
consciousness. With a mind free of negative impulses and
reaction, there arises in the meditator Infinite
Loving-kindness (metta), Compassion (Karuna) Sympathetic
Joy (Muditha) and Equanimity (Upekkha). These are the
Four Sublime States of mind, known as Brahamavihara, in
which Brahma, the higher beings dwell.
Thus it would be seen Vipassana is the best tool to
recondition one’s mind for a harmonious life in this
existence and the qualification to shroten one’s
sojourns in Samsara and extinguish the forces of rebirth
and reach deathlessness or put a stop to sojourns in
Samsara once and for all.
Thus Nibbana is not a blissful state as such but
extinguishing attachment to sensations (upadana) and
putting an end to suffering one encounters in any living
existence be as a human or an animal. Thus Vipassana
leads one to realise one’s own human potential to
overcome unhealthy negative mental conditioning and
resultant reactions, harmful to one’s own life and those
of other’s in the community.