Monday, September 21, 2009


Atammayatæ is the utter abandonment of this root delusion: one sees that in ultimate truth there is no time, no self, no here and no there. So rather than “Be here now” as a spiritual exhortation, perhaps instead we should say: “Let go of identity, space and time,” or: “Realize unlocated, timeless selflessness.” Needless to say, the conceptual mind falls flat when trying to conjure up an image for such a reality but that is to be expected. We are consciously leaving the realm of the conceivable, and the purpose of this book is to provide something of a map for those regions where the buses of reason and imagination do not run.

It is also quite possible that, on reading these passages on Atammayatæ, the mind wants to grasp it as “some thing to get so that ‘I’ won’t be so deluded” rather than seeing it as a restraining of the habitual outward movement of the mind that comes as a
result of disenchantment and dispassion. It is always necessary to be aware of the way that ignorance causes even the means of transcendence to become an obstacle, if the mind does not handle it wisely.

This is to say that if, with mindfulness and wisdom, the tendency to ‘go out’ into perceptions, thoughts and emotions is restrained, and one just allows seeing to be seeing, hearing to be hearing etc., the whole papañca-drama does not get launched in the first place. The heart then rests at ease, open and clear; all perceptions conventionally labelled as ‘myself’ or ‘the world’ are seen as transparent, if convenient, fictions. When there is insufficient mindfulness and wisdom, the mind ‘goes out’ and attaches to its perceptions and moods, the result of which is the experience of ‘me being pressured by life.’ Both an apparently solid self and a solid world have been unconsciously created, and the friction between the two is the dukkha that
we find ourselves running from so regularly and ineffectively. Trying to find a ‘me’ without a world that burdens it is like trying to run away from our own shadow; no matter how hard we run, the effort is bound to fail as the one form generates
the other.

The aim of all these teachings on Atammayatæ is to show us that the dualities of subject and object (‘me and the world’), do not have to be brought into being at all. And when the heart is restrained from ‘going out,’ and awakens to its fundamental
nature, a bright and joyful peace is what remains. This is the peace of Nibbæna.

The Island, Ajahn Pasanno & Ajahn Amaro
Abhayagiri Monastery

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