The Beautiful

[One trains:]

 ‘Let me live, unattached [15] to what is favorable.

One then lives, unattached to that.

 

[One trains:]

‘Let me live, accepting what is unfavorable.

One then lives, accepting that.

 

[One trains:]

‘Let me live, unattached to both favorable and unfavorable.’

One then lives, unattached to that.

 

[One trains:]

‘Let me live, accepting both favorable and unfavorable.’

One then lives, accepting to that.

 

[One trains:]

‘Having discarded both the favorable and unfavorable,

Let me live, calm, present and fully conscious.

Calm, one then meditates, present and fully conscious.

 

One meditates, having arrived at the liberation of the beautiful.

 

Monks, I say that the liberation of the heart by Love

has the beautiful as its limit.

 

Here for a wise monk who has not discerned a higher liberation.”

Balance of Mind Sequence

Here we have this sequence

where the Buddha takes this practice

even further.

(Brahmavihāras & Supports of Awakening)

Now we take this determination to train with this Love,

and whatever happens in our experience,

whether it is pleasant,

and this is that apaṭikkula,

Unrepulsed by the repulsive,

and repulsed by the unrepulsive.

 

This is how it is usually translated,

but here it is simply about developing this balance of mind.

In all situations.

And the thing that can happen also,

the thing with the Boundless Love and the Brahmavihāras is that

when we practice them,

one of the wrong ways of practicing it for example,

would be that someone could start attaching,

a person,

a situation,

or anything.

 

That’s how clinging works…

Attaching…

Something.

And whatever that particular thing is,

then, the Buddha says, there is this possibility,

when we practice this Love for example,

we could start creating some attachments for a certain situation,

and now he is saying

We have to go beyond this.

 

Cultivate this Love,

Boundless Love,

But completely devoid of any condition.

Devoid of any kind of attachment or clinging.

or opinions.

And whether what is happening to us at that time is pleasant,

we are not clinging to it,

we learn to detach the mind from it.

 

And see it as it actually is:

‘This is a pleasant situation, great.’

Allowing it to be also.

 

But when an unpleasant situation arises,

then, carrying that Love, we remain…

steady… in the Love.

"This is not personal"

We practice, not pushing it away,

and understanding it with wisdom,

with discernment:

 

‘This is simply an unpleasant,

unfavorable situation that arose,

through causes and conditions,

this moment was ripe for it to come up,

the causes and conditions lined up and…

it grew and now this is happening’

 

This is not personal,

this is not something that we choose,

therefore… why creating a fuss about it

or taking it personally,

or becoming agitated?

 

Because in the end,

we didn’t choose for it to happen.

 

And so, in all situations,

whether it is pleasant or unpleasant

to remain unattached,

and to also not push away these things.

Jhāna

So it is simply another interesting approach.

And here we can also see that

the Buddha is explaining a little bit about the jhānas,

simply, in a different manner.

 

He begins with this,

not being attached to what is favorable or attractive,

and this is very much related to the senses,

sensory longing, sensory stimulation.

Which we tend to lean towards as favorable..

 

And to be detached from it.

And this is another angle of viveka.

This is another angle of letting go.

 

And then, not to be repulsed

by whatever unpliant situation arises.

Well this is also letting go of these unwholesome states.

When we are repulsed,

that means,

that is the anger, (or sadness…)

that is the not liking,

that is the pushing away.

 

And therefore, these,

by definition, come into the category of

the second aspect of the first jhāna which is:

vivicca akusalehi dhammehi

Unwholesome mental states,

letting go of that.

 

So here, see how the Buddha is explaining completely different words,

but explaining the same kind of principles.

And he moves along into

developing that steadiness of mind.

That calm.

 

Where one is present and fully conscious.

Not fully conscious as focusing on one thing.

But fully conscious of this whole experience.

of this Love, this Boundless Love,

flourishing,

blossoming.

 

He then, after explaining this,

which is an interesting way of describing the jhānas,

simply in another way, he says:

One meditates, having arrived at the liberation of the beautiful.

This is Subha

And this is another way that he had

of explaining the fourth jhāna.

The fourth level of meditation.

He often called it the Beautiful.

 

This is mostly seen in the vimokkhas.

The unbindings or the liberations of the mind.

The eight liberations

And this beautiful is… translated as The Beautiful,

which is quite nice,

but it also means pleasant, agreeable.

Most translators, I believe,

probably lean towards that word,

and I did also, The Beautiful,

because it’s quite attractive to call the fourth jhāna like this.

 

But it doesn’t strictly means The Beautiful,

it also means what is pleasant,

what is aggregable,

what is desirable.

 

And that is quite an accurate description of the fourth jhāna.

Where there is this really wonderful bliss of a steady, steady mind.

In the third jhāna, there is this description where the Buddha says:

‘A state which the Ariyas, (the Awakened people) describe as:

‘Steady presence of mind, this is a pleasant abiding.’

Well this is the description of that Subha,

That Beautiful.

Because this is the culmination,

this is even better than the first two jhānas,

the first three jhānas.

Because that equanimity that we’ve developed

through joy,

through letting go,

and it is  very blissful,

not coarse,

very subtle and very steady.

 

And this is why, at this point,

he says this is the pleasant abiding of the Ariyas

because we need to experience this to understand how good it is.

 

And it’s not at all impossible,

it is very possible,

but this is what the Buddha means here as this

Beautiful State.