We’ve considered the five hindrances. Let’s think about what’s being hindered by the hindrances. One answer could be our commitment to practice or to investigating the Dharma; we  could call commitment the forward motion and the hindrances the backward motion.

What would it mean to commit to the Dharma? It could be analogous to commitment to a relationship or to an exercise regimen. We start by thinking about it, then we get to know it a bit, making small decisions along the way about how interested we are in the person or the activity, whether there is (or might be) satisfaction or fulfillment. Maybe we try it out for a short period and then take stock. Maybe we make a partial commitment, take a break from the effort and then (perhaps) come back to it. Once we’ve made a commitment, we start to appreciate the results and the commitment grows. At some point, we no longer think about whether we should continue or not, we know that life without this commitment is something we don’t want.

When people addicted to tobacco decide to give it up, they (we) often have to quit several or many times. The intention is there, but it’s harder than we expected, so we relapse, but then decide again that we want to do it. It’s often similar with establishing a regular meditation practice. If we stick with it, eventually we can’t remember why we used to relapse.

One way of committing to the Dharma is by making a determination to restart our mindfulness, to check in with our body sensations, again and again during the day. Attention can be with or without wisdom: we could pay attention to things that increase our ignorance or we could give attention to things that increase our wisdom. We can take hold of wholesome or unwholesome thoughts, words, and deeds, e.g., compassionate vs. angry.

Adhiṭṭhāna is a Pali word that reflects commitment. It was probably a later addition to the canon as one of the ten perfections. What does it mean? From the New Concise Pali Dictionary: support, basis; standpoint; abode; determination, resolution; fixing the mind on; determining, controlling, taking (formal) possession of, or (from the PTS Pali-English Dictionary) decision, resolution, self-determination, will.

We could say that adhiṭṭhāna is a Pali word for commitment.

About lynnjkelly

Australian/American. Practicing Buddhist.
This entry was posted in Causes and results, Dukkha, Hindrances, Mindfulness, Perfections, The 8-fold path, Wisdom and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Commitment

  1. Rosie Fontaine says:

    Love this 🙏

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