Friday, June 9, 2017

The Worldling and the Disciple

Experience is ever changing, always shifting its shape without regard for our wishes and expectations. Despite our hopes, we cannot avoid old age, illness, and death, the decay of our possessions, the loss of those who are dear. The foolish worldling and the wise disciple both share this fate. They differ in that the worldling does not reflect on the universality of this law, and therefore, when his fate catches up with him, "he sorrows, languishes, laments, weeps beating his chest, and becomes confused." The wise disciple, in contrast, realizes that old age, illness, and death, destruction and loss, are our universal destiny; he thus draws out "the poisonous dart of sorrow" and dwells happily, free of darts. Again, both worldling and disciple are subject to the "eight worldly conditions": gain and loss, disrepute and fame, blame and praise, and pleasure and pain. The worldling, attached to one and repelled by the other, "is not freed from birth, from old age and death, from sorrow, lamentation, pain, dejection, and anguish." But the noble disciple, recognizing that all these unstable conditions are impermanent and subject to change, discards attraction and repulsion and achieves inner freedom.

~Bhikkhu Bodhi

Note: Quotes are from the Anguttara Nikaya 

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