Ajahn Brahm · Buddhism · How to Practice · Theravada Buddhism · Uncategorized

The Five Hindrances – Ajahn Brahm

The Buddha explained that it is the Five Hindrances that distort perception and corrupt our thinking. He called the Five Hindrances the nutriment that feeds delusion (AN 10.61). The first hindrance, Sensual Desire, selects what we want to see, hear, sense and cognize. It often embellishes the truth. It presents to our consciousness the product of wishful thinking. The second hindrance, Ill Will, is that negative impulse that blocks us seeing, hearing, sensing or cognizing, what we don’t want to know. It blinds us to what is unpleasant, and to what is contrary to our view. Psychology knows the second hindrance as the process of denial. The third hindrance is Sloth and Torpor. This does not distort what we see, hear, sense or cognize. It buries it in a fog so that we are unable to discern clearly. The fourth hindrance is Restlessness and Remorse, which keeps our senses on the run, so fast that we do not have sufficient time to see, hear, sense or cognize fully. Sights do not have time to fully form on our retina, before the back of the eye has another sight to deal with. Sounds are hardly registered, when we are asked to listen to something else. The fourth hindrance of Restlessness, and its special case of Remorse (inner restlessness due to bad conduct), is like the over-demanding boss in your office who never gives you enough time to finish a project properly. The fifth hindrance is Doubt, which interrupts the gathering of data with premature questions. Before we have fully experienced the seen, heard, sensed or cognized, doubt interferes with the process, like a cocky student interrupting the teacher with a question in the midst of the lecture. You should now be able to appreciate that it is these Five Hindrances that distort perception, corrupt the thinking and maintain a deluded view…

As the Buddha repeatedly said (e.g. AN 6.50), only as a result of Jhāna (sammā samādhi) does one see things as they are (yathā-bhūta-Яānadassanam) and not as they seem…

Also, in Jhāna, real Jhāna not fake ones, the seen and the heard and the sensed all disappear. The external five senses cease. This data is also so clear. When one reflects on the complete absence of these five senses within the Jhāna experience, in the hindrance-free state of post-Jhāna upacāra samādhi, one will see with certainty that there is no self, soul or me observing the sight, hearing the sounds or sensing the smells, tastes and touches. There is no self, soul or me, knowing the known. Consciousness, too, all forms, is seen as an impersonal process that can come to a complete cessation. In short, you are not identical with your mind. The mind is just a natural process. It can completely stop. It does stop, once and for all, at Parinibbāna! Once again you, my reader, will be incapable of agreeing with me. The Five Hindrances active within you now, under the surface of cognition, prevent you from seeing the truth. It challenges your most basic view, the view that ‘You Are’! Just don’t worry about such disagreements for now. Instead, meditate until you have experienced Jhāna and suppressed those Five Hindrances. Then see if I’m right!

Source: BÃHIYA´S TEACHING – in the Seen is just Seen

Teaching on Jhana – https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/gunaratana/wheel351.html

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