Four-fold path to defeat lust | Daily News


Four-fold path to defeat lust

In Vitakkasanthana Sutta, the Buddha offers a step-by-step guide as a remedy to a mind heightened on lust. There is the case when lust or desire remains quite strong. The very first step at such a moment is to bring your mind to attend to a different wholesome theme.

Evil and unskilful thoughts grow only when you cultivate them in the mind. For instance, aversion may increase when you think of an enemy in enemy terms. As such, lustful thoughts increase as you get imbued in unskilful and evil thoughts. The unborn lust arises and the arisen lust breeds.

The Buddha’s first advice is to attend to a theme connected with what is skilful, without further developing your unwholesome thought stream. Engage in an activity to forget such unskillful thoughts. This is the very first step, which is the easiest to follow if you want to take lustful thoughts off your mind. For this, you need to keep on attending to what is skilful.

However, lustful thoughts may arise strongly. It could grow to an extent when you cannot concentrate on anything else. You may experience lust growing up in your mind. This is where the Buddha offers the second advice.

Examine the drawbacks. Reflect how many times you have been born in the lower realms. Count the times you have been born as an animal because of lust. How you suffered as a hungry ghost because of lustful thoughts. How many times you have been jailed, murdered and assaulted. The examination of drawbacks of lustful thoughts makes it possible to suppress the unwholesome thought stream. That’s the second step. But the Buddha emphasises that even the examination of drawbacks would not work for some when the lust maintains a strong presence in the mind. The might of lust is such that people often don’t mind rebirth in a lower realm. They would only care for a momentary pleasure. Haven’t we found such people often? Some people would not even mind going to jail. That’s the danger of the unwholesome thoughts. That’s why people get killed. That explains why some get imprisoned. They are well aware of the drawbacks, but they simply cannot control their thoughts. As a result, they are not scared of the drawbacks.

If the mind has stooped down to such a level, the Buddha’s third advice is necessary to follow. He instructs the monks to attend to the relaxing of thought-fabrication about those thoughts. As he is attending to the relaxing of thought-fabrication about those thoughts, those evil, unskillful thoughts are abandoned and subside. What is the thought stream against lustful thoughts? It is the reflection on the repulsiveness of the body. It refers to the meditation whereby thirty-one parts of the body are contemplated in a variety of ways. This form of meditation is considered conducive to overcoming desire and lust. If the loving-kindness reflection is the remedy to aversion, reflection on body repulsiveness is the medicine to desire and lust.

Engage in this meditation quite often. Always reflect how this body is subject to decay. How it gradually becomes earth. As you progress in this meditation, what will happen to the lustful mental state over time?

The Buddha tells the monks that such lustful state becomes like a cuckoo feather caught in the fire as you develop more and more repulsiveness meditation. Now, what happens when a cuckoo feather is caught in the fire? It gets shrunken. That’s how lust is suppressed.

If this is impossible too, the Buddha introduces the fourth step: with your teeth clenched and your tongue pressed against the roof of your mouth, you should beat down, constrain, and crush your mind with your awareness. With teeth clenched and tongue pressed against the roof of the mouth, beating down, constraining, and crushing mind with awareness, those evil and unskilful thoughts will get abandoned and subside.

Visit Sri Lanka's Largest online shop. Over 125,000 unique categories such as Fresh Flowers, Cakes, Food, Jewllery, Childrens Toys and other Sri Lankan e-commerce categories. Low delivery cost to most cities here and free delivery in Colombo.

Add new comment