Viveka as Letting Go

Here it is quite explicit,

where the Buddha is going.

Because… this is not ant kind of awareness,

this is not any kind of development

that is properly developed in the same way that  the Buddha taught.


Now we need to understand the importance of viveka;

letting go,


Detaching the mind.


So this is not about attaching Love to something.

In fact, it is freeing it.

It is detaching it,

so it is completely liberated.

And at the same time… so is the mind.


This is the differentiation between wrong mindfulness and right mindfulness.

Or unwise awareness and wise awareness.


This viveka is also, here,

in this particular sutta there is no mention of jhāna per se,

but it is taking a different form here.

Now viveka is the first jhāna,

it is that detachment,

letting go,

so it is not by…


See when we speak of joy,

sometimes it can be tricky when we explain the first jhāna with its joy,

that there is ‘joy arising’

and then might think:

‘oh, it’s any kind of joy now.’

But no, not any kind of joy is the first level of meditation,

this is vivekajaṃ pītisukhaṃ, (Joy and happiness of letting go)

vivicc’eva kāmehi,

viviccehi akusalehi dhammehi.


That means ‘letting go of sensory stimulation’. (kāmehi)

This is the joy that arises, in the mind,

mental joy,

from letting go of all these distractions outwardly (akusalehi dhammehi).

and calming down, virāga.


First, viveka is most often translated as ‘seclusion’.

Which is also good, and true.

But it is not only and strictly limited to this.


This is seclusion of the mind… yes.

But how does seclusion (of the mind) happens?

It is by letting go.



Now viveka, where do we find this?

"Vivekajaṃ pītisukhaṃ"

What a great answer 😊

Sounds like you heard it before.


Good, that’s exactly what I wanted to hear.

Vivekajaṃ pītisukhaṃ.

Yes, and this is first jhāna.

It comes three times in there as:

Vivicc’eva kāmehi;

Lettng go of sense desires, sensory engagements, and:

Viviccehi akusalehi dhammehi

So akusala dhamma,

akusala is unwholesome,

the hindrances,

dhamma is states.

So, letting go of all the hindrances.

In other suttas of course, we see this in the fruits of the Truth-seeking life (DN2),

where he explains this whole sequence (Letting go of the hindrances)

before we get there (first jhāna).


And he explains how each hindrance is…


like as if somebody was in jail,

on a desert journey, through a really harsh place,

in prison,

in debt, someone that’s in debt.

And he gives these quite vivid similes

for us to understand what these are.

And he explains how each hindrance is…

like as if somebody was in jail,

on a desert journey, through a really harsh place,

in prison,

in debt, someone that’s in debt.

And he gives these quite vivid similes

for us to understand what these are.


And someone who is free from that is like

somebody that is free from debt,

‘oh great’

Free from notaries,

and house selling paperwork,

doesn’t that feel great?

It’s like ahhh, such a load off.

And prison or slavery,

a desert journey, you come upon an oasis.

How does that feel?

It’s like ahh, great.

Like coming to a pond where you’re just swimming in it

and drinking it’s water,

and it feel truly good.


And the Buddha says, that’s how it feels

for someone who practices this, and it’s so true,

the more we practice this,

the more that’s really hoe we feel.

The more that’s really what we feel is that,

when these hindrances lift off…

I keep talking about my airplane simile:

It’s like you go and your under the clouds

and it’s raining,

and the plane is heavy,

the plane is going ten kilometers an hour and it’s clumsy,

and then it just hits the track (Letting go and joy)

and its kind of like the beginning,

and it starts to go and it takes off,

and in no long time, you just through packs of clouds,

but you just keep going,

you know the gas is push up (Joy and letting go)

you know that the clouds are going behind you,

going behind you, going behind,

then at some point,

you just whoop, you just come out of the clouds

and everything is just blue bird sky.


You look below and you see:

“Oh these clouds” 😊

It’s really how it feels.

That’s a really good example of viveka.

That’s what I think.


When you come up.

It takes a little bit of time sometimes.


Because whatever the hindrance,

we always think…

depending on how much we give it importance,

depending how much we feed it,

then it might take us a little bit of time

to deconstruct that kind of engagement.

Because we need to detach ourselves from that…

the verb for viveka is viviceti.

Viviceti means like separating

and that’s the word I choose to translate as letting go,

as an active principle,

because there’s a lot of adverbs in Pāli

and for us, we don’t really speak like that.


It’s too passive.


We don’t always speak in the past tense,

with very passive adverbs.


For us… the thing is that,

what happens when we do that,

is that there is a tendency of not practicing properly.

There is a tendency of flattening the path.

Which is not the right way.


Its actually development (the proper way)

There is an action,

there is an effort required,

it’s not like ‘lifting weights effort’,

it’s wise effort, it’s the right kind of effort.

Effort is retreat,

that’s what effort is.

Every morning when you wake up and you sit,

or every evening,

that’s effort.

It’s not like (making a forcing face).

It has nothing to do with that.

And the Buddha is quite clear about that.

Energy, Viriya,

That’s a problem that happened too at his time,

some monk would hear that and they would walk…

and they would be really intense walking ‘meditationers,’

and their feet would just bleed all over the place,

there’s even a monk that died,

because he thought that’s what that was,

Thinking ‘Energy’ ‘Oh I will bring forth energy!’

Because sometimes the Buddha can be quite convincing ,

when he says ‘you should bring forth energy’,

he can be pretty convincing.


But we also have to balance that out.

We have to be wise.

That’s where the five faculties come into play.

That’s when the energy must be balanced with tranquility,

or collectedness samādhi.

And faith with discernment.

But they are together, so we do this (balancing).

Because the Buddha definitely praises each of these faculties,

they are not one better than the other.

He says you need to cultivate these.

Like we need to cultivate all seven supports of awakening.


Like the awakening factors he says

they need to be balanced out in some suttas,

in some other suttas he explains them in a linear way,

sometimes he will explain it with






In fact, when you look in the suttas,

most often times you will see a break down of the seven supports of awakening

he is going to use these four qualities,

he says ‘how do you develop the seven supports of awakening?’

he says ‘One develops the support of awakening of awareness

supported by letting go,

calming down,


culminating in surrender.

And then, each of them like this.


I am pretty sure that is the most re-occuring sequence that he uses.

So it’s really interesting when you start discovering these things.

When you are looking at the patterns that come back the most often in his teaching.

and these for qualities they are very prominent.

They come back in the eightfold path,

like I said also with the supports of awakening…

And so...

coming back to our Viveka

For me this is a word I have chosen to translate as letting go,

because it’s a bit more active,

and for us, there’s no real Pāli word that has been translated like that,

as ‘letting go’.

And for us in English,

I feel like it is a word that is very important in this practice.

Because it’s really what that practice is,

it’s about letting go.


How do you detach?

How do you separate the mind (from the hindrances) really…

This is very conceptual if you look at it like that.

But if you say ‘ You let go’

Then it becomes tangible,

It becomes something that you can think:

‘Oh yeah, I can do that!’


But if I say ‘mental detachment’

it feels a bit incomplete,

it feels like there is not much of an action in this.

But there is an action, and that’s very important.

The action is to detach the mind from engaging in the senses all the time.

But how you do that is…

you let go.


Then the next one is virāga. (Calming down.)