Viewing through the lens of Dhamma

The following is a summary of Bro. Tan’s teaching on 3 July 2013, the fourth group meditation session of the Gimhana Retreat.

In Buddha’s teachings, ‘light’ is often used to symbolise wisdom. Viewed through the human eye, light is seen as a beam of bright translucence. In fact, the true nature of light is a combination of spectrums with different lengths of electro-magnetic waves. We are unable to see this without the help of various tools, which help us see things that have always been there, but just not visible to us before.

Bro. Tan shared that this is akin to the difference between the ‘worldly lens’ and the ‘Dhamma lens’. Through the ‘worldly lens’, one only sees things at a superficial level. With limited perception and a narrow view, one is trapped in the delights of worldly and sensual pleasures. Things that are of no value are seen as desirable. Things that are truly valuable are not seen as valuable. In this way, with our senses not guarded, we unknowingly become lazy in cultivating ourselves in the Dhamma. Easily overcome by defilements, we forget to propel ourselves towards liberation.

When we have developed ourselves with the ‘Dhamma lens’, we see things differently from before. It is not that the object has changed, rather it is the mind that is now able to see more clearly and objectively. Having gained ‘Sammādiṭṭhi’ (Right View), we understand the true nature of existence, that is ‘aniccā’ (transitory), ‘dukkhā’ (unsatisfactory), and ‘anattā’ (not self).

Bro. Tan elaborated on the following Dhammapada verses (7 & 8):

Subhānupassim viharantaṃ
indriyesu asaṃvutaṃ
Bhojanamhi amattaññuṃ
kusītam hīnavīriyaṃ
Taṃ ve pasahati māro
vāto rukkham va dubbalaṃ

Whoever lives contemplating things
as desirable, with senses unrestrained;
immoderate in consuming food,
lazy and indolent;
he is easily overcome by ‘Māra’ (i.e. defilements)
just as a weak tree is uprooted by the wind.
Asubhānupassim viharantaṃ
indriyesu susaṃvutaṃ
Bhojanamhi ca mattaññuṃ
saddhaṃ araddhavīriyaṃ
Tam ve nappasahati māro
vāto selam va pabbataṃ

Whoever lives contemplating the impurities (of the body),
with senses well-controlled;
moderate in consuming food,
full of faith and energetic effort;
he is not easily overcome by ‘Māra’ (i.e. defilements)
just as a rocky mountain is not shaken by the wind.

In this way, we become ‘dispassioned’, free from burdensome desires and attachments, happy and energised, leading to relinquishment. Let us all develop this ‘lens of Dhamma’ to see things as they are, with clarity and wisdom.

JOIN US for the group meditation and more inspiring Dhamma teachings by Bro. Tan on Wednesday, 17 July, 8pm – 10pm, at Nalanda Centre. See you then!