retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Drolma,
Not to dissuade you or anything, it's more of a 'heads up' actually... the Theravadin Abhidhamma is significantly different to the Abhidharma recognised by some of the Maha/Vajra traditions. Don't get confused!
Question: Do you not find it difficult to think in terms of “mental states”? Thinking of one’s own mental state might seem an ego-centric attitude.
Nina: Thinking of one’s own mental states is very realistic, because it is the different mental states which make us act in this way or that. Only if we study our mental states and the many factors which cause them to be like this or that, will we be able to understand the deepest motives of our behaviour. We have to start by being aware of our own mental states. This is not egocentric, because we have to understand ourselves first, before we can understand other people.
Through the study of the Abhidhamma one can begin to have more understanding of one’s own mental states. The Abhidhamma is that part of the Buddhist teachings which analyses the different states of mind and which explains in detail about everything which is real. The study of the Abhidhamma helps us to understand which causes bring which effects in our life and in the lives of other people.
Question: Do you find that you can verify the Abhidhamma in your daily life?
Nina: It was a great discovery for me to find that the Abhidhamma can be verified in daily life, although one can in the beginning experience only part of the realities the Abhidhamma explains. At first one might think that the Abhidhamma is too subtle and one might doubt whether it is useful to study the many different degrees of ignorance and wisdom, but one learns that each of these different degrees brings its corresponding result. In studying the Abhidhamma one learns to understand more about other people as well. One learns that people are different because of different accumulations of experiences in the past. Because of these different accumulations people behave differently. At each moment one accumulates new experiences and this conditions what one will be like and what one will experience in the future.
When we understand more about the different accumulations of different people, we are less inclined to judge other people. When we see people paying respect to the Buddha with apparently very little understanding we know that their accumulations are thus and that they are performing a wholesome act according to their ability.
Chris wrote:Thank you kiss. I have met Nina many times in Bangkok and India. She is a lovely person, well versed in the Suttanta, Vinaya and Abhidhamma.
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