Thursday, September 9, 2021

Why Should We Rein in Our Six Sense Faculties?


     Buddhism gives us the wisdom to transcend birth and death and offers a different perspective of the contemporary secular lifestyle. The Buddha preaches that we need to rein in our six sense faculties or sense bases: our eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mental faculties. There is an important reason for this.

    As sentient beings, we often center our lives on our “self” living in the mundane world and lead a lifestyle associated with only the necessities of our everyday affairs. This lifestyle naturally has a close connection with the six sense objects (sight, sound, scent/smell, taste, tangibles/touch, and mental phenomena), which can constantly fascinate us. We will then endlessly pursue all possibilities of desires derived from our "self." We will be caught up in various states of the six sense objects to satisfy our worldly desires. For example, we will often take great pride and joy in succeeding in worldly matters, such as winning a competition or maintaining our youthfulness forever at all costs. These quests will make us feel privileged or will strengthen our "selfhood" in our minds. This orientation often becomes locked into our minds and is extremely hard to get rid of.

    We will inevitably be reborn after death and go through unceasing transmigration (samsara) in the six destinations (i.e., divinities, asuras, humans, animals, ghosts, and hell-beings) in order to maintain a “selfhood.” To disconnect us from doing this, the Buddha taught us how to “rein in our six sense faculties,” which runs counter to our everyday secular lifestyles.

   How can we balance the hustle and bustle of a secular lifestyle with the practice of “reining in the six sense faculties”? First and foremost, we need to become aware of our shortcomings and attachments. Next, we should contemplate the causes of all phenomena. We need to understand that these phenomena are mere delusional, impermanent dharma and are empty in nature, and that the sensations and perceptions of the sense organs are short lived and what conditions them will also not last forever. We do not want to wait until after our death to realize that what we have been desperately striving to achieve in our life has been prompted by mere speculation.

 Humans innately possess the Buddha nature, which is essentially the same as the nature of Buddha Sakyamuni. After sequential and persistent cultivations to initially attain prajna wisdom (aka awakening), we can eventually have the perfect wisdom the same as that of the Buddha and help all beings rather than be caught up with the “self.” Hence, the Buddha taught Buddhist practitioners how to “rein in the six sense faculties” first so they will be able to get enlightened and advance further on the Buddhahood Path.

#Buddha #Buddhism #sixdestinations #Buddhanature #awakening #consciousness #selfhood #transmigration #samsara 

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