BUDDHISM, THE MIDDLE WAY and THE THIRD TRUTH

Please read the Short Summary Version first

 

Panoramic sensing is a way of using the senses,
without any sensory indulgence or sensory withdrawal.

This following essay is a Personal Anecdote. It is not comparable with the reasoning in Buddhism, Wheels and Repetitions, which please, must be read first.

Dukkha and Sukkha
There is another important word in basic Buddhism: Sukkha. Sukkha means when a wheel is running smoothly. A good wheelwright would not only be able to cure Dukkha, he would know how to make a wheel Sukkha.

Buddhas's message was about far more than just how to stop "suffering". Buddha found the answer to fulfillment in life, he found the way to make things Sukkha, not only the answer to Dukkha.

Buddha's Early Life and The Middle Way

Buddha started his life as a Prince and enjoyed all the pleasures of this world. When he was around thirty years old, he left his home to search for truth. He followed the Hindu way, renouncing all attachments and abstaining from all sensory pleasure, and he became an ascetic (hermit) for many years.

So, he had experienced both sides of life – the two extremes of unrestrained sensual pleasure and sensual withdrawal. Then he realised there was a third way to look for and find happiness and fulfilment in life. He called this 'The Middle Way'.

It is clearly written and unquestioned by all Buddhists that The Middle Way is a way between the two extremes of sensual indulgence (as a prince) and sensory withdrawal (as an ascetic). It is usually understood as a mental and emotional approach to life to do with moderation.

The Middle Way and The Third Noble Truth

The following explanation is not intended as rational reasoning, it is purely a personal anecdote. This is the chain of thoughts which led me to the idea that panoramic sensing is part of the practical teaching behind The Middle Way.

The Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna's Third Truth : The Cessation of Dukkha, tells us that Dukkha will cease when craving ceases, and craving may be eradicated wherever in the world there is delight and pleasure, (ref). (Because as the Second Truth told us : If something is pleasurable, we want to repeat it. Craving is an extreme form of repetitous wanting.)

The want for worldly delight and pleasure can be stopped by most forms of meditation, prayer, selflessness, renunciation, devotion, worship, sacrifice, or love ... The Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna's version of The Third Truth includes all of these possibilities. This most trustworthy and detailed text, offers no clear, specific interpretation.

I am interested in contact with experts on other texts of the Four Noble Truths. Even though the Pali texts are generally recognised as the primary authority, it is more than possible that other texts hold valuable truths.

My Reasoning
The subject matter in the full text of the Third Truth (and the Second) of the Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna, is incredibly long-winded. It connects the Aggregates (now expanded to a list of Ten Aggregates), to each of the six senses; it lists sixty steps in the sensory process. It describes something which happens not only with the mind, but also with the eye, the ear, the nose, the mouth and the tactile sense.

The Middle Way and the Third Truth are both essentially about, or should indicate, a way to get life to run smoothly, to make it Sukkha.

So i wanted to know if or how the Middle Way could be applied to the Third Truth.

When applied to the mind, i could only understand the Middle Way as a vague attitude to life, maybe moderation, or non-attachment, and there are many other possible applications, but there was nothing decisive, nothing definite, just a broad area in between the two extremes.

When applied to the body, it seemed to indicate taking care of it, not ignoring it or being finicky and over-sanitised. Again, this left a vague, broad area of moderation.

But then i asked myself, could the two extremes of sensual indulgence and sensory withdrawal be applied to the physical senses? ... What else could i do with my eyes apart from focusing with them or closing them? ... And immediately i thought of how some birds and horses see their entire visual field without focusing on anything special, with their so-called peripheral vision. This was a clear and specific third way.

My first experiments with this are described in the opening paragraphs of Going on the Lookout, and the results developed into this e.book on panoramic sensing.

The Middle Way is a way between sensory indulgence and sensual withdrawal. Panoramic sensing fulfills these criteria perfectly. This is a practical expression of The Middle Way – Panoramic sensing is a way of using the senses, without any sensory indulgence or sensory withdrawal.

Panoramic sensing also belongs to the list of conditions which fulfil the Third Truth, it is a way of relating to the world without wanting anything from it. The only thing panoramic sensing leads to, if it is pleasurable, is more panoramic sensing.

Please continue with The Two Modes of Sensing

Supplementary Notes
The Middle Way is usually understood as either renunciation, moderation, or the eightfold path.

Panoramic sensing is an ideal example of mindfulness and absorption, the last two steps of the eightfold path.

I doubt Buddha would have suggested either moderation or renunciation as both ideas already existed in Hinduism, and i believe his message was something new. Renunciation is also an integral part of the ascetic way, and thus one of the two extremes which the Middle Way avoids.

However, the panoramic way of receptive sensing without wanting is a practical basis for any renunciation. And, it's impossible to be anything but moderate, when action is balanced with panoramic sensing.

Reference: The Third Truth - from English Translations, Ref 1: Pali Tipitaka

"And what, monks, is the Noble Truth of the Cessation of Suffering?"

"It is the complete fading away and cessation of this very craving, forsaking it and giving it up; the liberation from it, leaving no place for it. But where may this craving, monks, be eradicated; where may it be extinguished? Wherever in the world [of mind and matter] there is something enticing and pleasurable: there this craving may be eradicated and extinguished."(Back)

Please continue with The Two Modes of Sensing
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