This week Stephen led our Sangha’s discussion, examining the depth of the concept of “Avija”.

Early Buddhism sees Avijja (Ignorance/Misunderstanding)/Confusion/Delusion/’Not Getting It’) as the root cause leading to suffering. Avijja is seen as including misconceptions regarding the nature of reality, especially regarding Impermanence, Suffering, and Non-Self/Emptiness. Such misunderstandings lead onwards to the pursuit of grasping and clinging as (ultimately ineffectual) strategies for obtaining happiness.

Although the normal, mundane, everyday mind can intellectually grasp the doctrines of Impermanence, Suffering, and Non-Self/Emptiness, and can understand the validity of the Noble Four Fold Truths as the path leading to the end of suffering, it is not freed from such suffering. Only when the mind is cultivated to manifest the Awakening Factors can it truly grasp the truths that can free it.

Therefore, practitioners must train in ways of living that lead to non-regret and ease, and then utilize that ease to support and further develop mindfulness, stillness, concentration and clarity. Only when developed thusly can the mind ‘see things as they really are’ and be freed

The talk Stephen played was by Akincano Marc Weber, titled ‘Flavors Of Not-Knowing’. It is available here: