Underlying Dispositions

Ajahn Thiradhammo

Underlying Dispositions

The Buddha recognized various obstructions to the realization of truth.

One of the most primal ones is referred to as the ‘underlying dispositions’ (anusaya), sometimes translated as ‘underlying tendencies’ or ‘latent tendencies’. Although various qualities are referred to as underlying dispositions, the standard list comprises seven: sensual lust (kāmarāgā), aversion/repugnance (paṭigha), views (diṭṭhi), doubt (vicikicchā), conceit (māna), lust for existence (bhavarāgā) and ignorance (avijjā) (D.III,254).

In one place in the Pali Canon (M.I,433) the Buddha, referring to the five lower fetters: identity view, doubt, clinging to rites, sensual lust and ill-will, said that even a young infant (without a self-consciousness) has these underlying dispositions within it.

Three of the Hindrances are also underlying dispositions.

Thus we are ‘impersonally predisposed’ to these unskilful qualities, and the frightening aspect is that if we do not do something about them they will tend to increase, particularly under the influence of inappropriate attention.

This reflection by Ajahn Thiradhammo is from the book, Working with the Five Hindrances, (pdf) p. 54.

Sleep

Mae Chee Kaew

Sleep

Going without sleep, however, was a different matter. Mae Chee Kaew passed most of the second month of her retreat in three postures: sitting, standing and walking, but never lying down. She started the “sitter’s practice” as another experiment, an attempt to find a practical way of accelerating her meditation that took advantage of her natural strengths. She discovered that refraining from sleep…

Fasting

Mae Chee Kaew

Fasting

Mae Chee Kaew experimented with fasting, going entirely without food for several days at a time. But she discovered that lack of food left her feeling mentally dull and sluggish, and vulnerable to changing moods and wayward thoughts, as if the flow of her spiritual energy was somehow constricted. That subtle hindrance seemed to lessen her motivation to intensify in meditation. She knew that many o…

Be Patient…

Ajahn Sumedho

Be Patient…

I also used to think: ‘My mind is too alert and bright; I’ve got so much restless movement in my mind.’ Because I had always wanted to have an interesting personality, I trained myself in that direction and acquired all sorts of useless information and silly ideas, so I could be a charming, entertaining person. But that doesn’t really count; it’s useless in a monastery in North East Thailand. When…

The Virtue of Patience

Ajahn Sumedho

The Virtue of Patience

Patience is a virtue that is highly praised within Buddhist circles but not considered so terribly important in the materialist world, where efficiency and getting what we want instantly are far more desirable. With all the instant things that are produced now, as soon as we feel a desire, a need for something, we can get it quickly. And if we can’t get it quickly we become very annoyed or upset,…

Putting Aside Greed and Distress

Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu

Putting Aside Greed and Distress

Q: When we talk of putting aside greed and distress with reference to the world, this seems to me at a height inaccessible to human beings—of course, without any real evidence—and it gives me an impression of being an inaccessible star of separation from sadness and discouragement. What are the best ways to think about this? A: The attitude of putting aside greed and distress with reference to the…

Questioning More Subtle Perceptions

Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu

Questioning More Subtle Perceptions

Ultimately, when you reach a perception of the breath that allows the sensations of in-and-out breathing to grow still, you can start questioning more subtle perceptions of the body. It’s like tuning into a radio station. If your receiver isn’t precisely tuned to the frequency of the signal, the static interferes with the subtleties of whatever is being transmitted. But when you’re precisely tuned…

Drunk with the Body

Ajahn Liem

Drunk with the Body

Usually our mind likes to get carried away with having fun. If we find ourselves infatuated with amusement, take it as important and hold on to it, the Buddha recommends to ground ourselves in an attitude of alertness. Hilarity is a tie. It can drag us onto the path of foolishness. When we are infatuated and crazy about something, we can go wrong anywhere. Whether in the hidden or open, it’s all t…

A Firm Bond of Mutual Benefit

Ajahn Amaro

A Firm Bond of Mutual Benefit

The Sangha lives according to the Vinaya, a code of monastic discipline established by the Buddha. In accordance with this discipline, the monastics are alms-mendicants, living lives of celibacy and frugality. Above all, this training is a means of living reflectively and a guide to keeping one’s needs to a minimum: a set of robes, an alms bowl, one meal a day, medicine when ill, and a sheltered p…

Supposition and Release

Ajahn Chah

Supposition and Release

If we know both supposition and release in the proper way, we can get along. Suppositions have their uses, but in reality there isn’t anything there. There isn’t even a person there! There’s just a set of natural conditions, born of their causal factors. They develop in dependence on their causal factors, stay for a while, and before long they fall apart. You can’t stop that from happening. You ca…