- Sensual desire is an overgrowth of the mind/heart that stultifies insight.
- Sloth and torpor...
- Restlessness and remorse...
- Skeptical doubt...
"Without having overcome these five, it is impossible for a meditator whose insight therefore lacks strength and power, to know his or her own true good, the good of others, and the good of both. Neither will one be capable of realizing that superhuman state of distinction, knowledge, and vision enabling the realization of enlightenment/awakening.
"But if one has overcome these five obstacles and hindrances, these overgrowths of the mind which stultify insight, then it is possible that with strong insight one can know one's own true good, the good of others, and the good of both. And one will be capable of realizing that superhuman state of distinction, knowledge, and vision enabling the realization of enlightenment" (AN 5:51).
"One whose heart is overwhelmed by unrestrained craving will do what ought not be done [by anyone who wishes for the good] and neglect what ought be done. And through that, one's good name and happiness will come to ruin.
"One whose heart is overwhelmed by ill-will... by sloth and torpor... by restlessness and remorse... by skeptical doubt will do what ought not be done and neglect what ought be done. And through that, one's good name and happiness will come to ruin.
"But if a noble disciple has seen these five as defilements of the mind/heart, one will give them up. And doing so, a person is regarded as one of great wisdom, of abundant wisdom, clear-visioned, well endowed with wisdom. This is called "endowment with wisdom" (AN 4:61).
Give personality a chance! You may look like this girl to others when being unkind.
Similarly, there are five impurities of the mind/heart impaired by which the mind is not pliant and wieldy, lacks radiant lucidity and firmness, and cannot concentrate well upon the eradication of the taints (asava). What are these five impurities? They are:
- sensual desire
- sloth and torpor
- restlessness and remorse
- skeptical doubt.
But if the mind/heart is freed of these five impurities, it will be pliant and wieldy, will have radiant lucidity and firmness, and will concentrate well upon the eradication of the taints. Whatever state realizable by the higher mental faculties one may direct the mind to, one will in each case acquire the capacity of realization, if the (other) conditions are fulfilled" (AN 5:23).
There are beautiful objects and frequently giving unwise attention to them -- this is the nourishment for the arising of sensual desire that has not arisen and for the nourishment, increase, and strengthening of sensual desire that has already arisen (SN 46:51).
"There are impure/repulsive objects (used for meditation) and frequently giving wise attention to them -- this is the denourishing of the arising of sensual desire that has not yet arisen, the denourishing of their increase, and the weakening of sensual desire that has already arisen" (SN 46:51).
Six things are conducive to the abandonment of sensual desire:
- Learning how to meditate on impure objects
- devoting oneself to the meditation on the impure,
- guarding the sense doors,
- moderation in eating,
- noble friendship (good companionship),
- suitable conversation (Commentary to the discourse on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness).
"Impure objects" refers, in particular, to the cemetery meditations as given in the Foundations of Mindfulness sutra and explained in The Path of Purification, but it also refers to any of the repulsive aspects of sense objects in general.
This Beautiful Body is also Loathsome
Here [within this Dharma and Discipline], meditators, one reflects on just this body, confined within the skin and full of manifold impurities, up from the soles and down from the head hair:
"There are in this body [these impure/repulsive aspects]: hair of the head, hair of the body, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, sinews, bones, marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, pleura, spleen, lungs, intestines, bowels, stomach, excrement, bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, lymph, saliva, mucus, fluid of the joints, urine, (and the brain in the skull)" (MN 10).
With flesh and tissue smeared,
And hidden by the skin, the body
Does not appear as it really is...
The fool thinks it beautiful,
One's ignorance misguiding one...
(SNip, v.194, 199)
"Sense objects give little enjoyment but much pain and much despair; the hidden danger in them prevails" (MN 14).
The unpleasant overwhelms a thoughtless person in the guise of the pleasant, the disagreeable overwhelms one in the guise of the agreeable, the painful in the guise of the pleasurable" (Ud 2:8).
Guarding the Sense Doors
"How does one guard the sense doors? Herein a meditator, having seen a form, does not seize upon its (delusive) appearance as a whole nor on its details. If one's sense of sight were left uncontrolled [unprotected, unguarded], craving, grief, and other harmful, unwholesome states might flow in.
"Therefore one practices for the sake of its control, one watches over the sense of sight, one enters upon its control. Having heard a sound... smelled an odor... savored a taste... felt a touch... cognized a mental object, one does not seize upon its (delusive) appearance as a whole... one enters upon its control" (SN 35:120).
"There are forms perceptible by the eye that are desirable, attractive, pleasing, agreeable, connected with desire, arousing lust. If one does not delight in them, is not attached to them, does not welcome them, then not delighting in them, not being attached to them, and not welcoming them, delight (in these forms) ceases.
"If delight is absent, there is no bondage. There are sounds perceptible by the ear... odors perceptible by the mind... if delight is absent, there is no bondage" (SN 35:63).