For a sociable person there are allurements; on the heels of allurement, pain. Seeing allurement’s drawback, wander alone like a rhinoceros.verse 2, Khaggavisana Sutta
Before we continue to verse 2, let’s recap the 1st post. In the 1st post, I propose looking at this sutta from a laity’s point of view and how we may benefit from this sutta. In gist, the positioning of our mind to be alone means that we do not let our mind be influenced by external agents to form aversion or attachment.
For most of us, our mind is greatly influenced by external stimuli, in the form of sight, sound, touch, smell, taste and thought. It is constantly being influenced.
However, we are not helpless. We can train our mind, so that it is not easily influenced. In Buddhist terminology, we say “Not to be deluded”
To examine this verse, let us take an example of a party. However, craving for social functions are is not limited to party. With wrong motivation, a sermon in the monastery can also become nothing more than jist a social function.
Thanksgiving is around the corner. Likewise is Christmas and New Year’s eve. Around the world, people organise party and celebration. Friends and family gather together for merriment and joy.
For those who host party, we know how stressful that can be. What decoration to put up, how to sit the guest, type of food for the party, programs to keep them entertained, who to invite and who not? What presents to buy? The list can be very long and perplexing…..
For those who enjoy partying and social gathering, the allurement arises from fun and merriment that is derived from associating with people. However such happiness are short lived and not consistent. Which is why we seek to ‘improve’ the party or look for better party. People change and situation change over time. What is fun this year may become boring next year.
As long as we rely on external factors to bring us ‘happiness’, it will bring pain instead. This is because those euphoric moments are not true happiness. The allurement of transient happiness make us crave for more. We want a bigger party, better food, funnier friends etc..
When a happy party ends, we are faced with the chores of cleaning up. The laughter that filled the house moments ago are now met with silence. Our mind raced to recall those happy moments during the party. In the same split second we remember somebody said something that is disagreeable. We recall how someone is less enthusiastic about a game we took weeks to plan. Oh! leftover food, is it not tasty? Why should I be hosting every year? So on and so forth.
If we were to sit back and analyse the situation, it is not difficult to see how our pursuit of mundane happiness causes stress and worries. Thus, the pain mentioned in the verse.
To see the drawback of allurements, we need wisdom. If we do not practice mind training and study Buddha’s teaching, it is hard to develop right wisdom.
We continue to do what most people do. We pursue external happiness by trying to be ‘better’. That leads to further stress and disappointment.
At this point in time, it is easy to conclude. Ok, Lets stop the party. Lets not socialise.
I think such hasty decision is unwise too. Our mind is just swinging into polarised view.
I think adopting such a position is too extreme. What makes sense to me is the ‘seeing’ part, that is contained in the verse. We develop wisdom to see the drawback of allurements of social gathering.
We develop wisdom and understand how to develop true happiness and rely less on transient happiness.
When we can do that, we will be organizing party with a different mentality. We will be attending a party with a different perspective.
More importantly, we are not enslaved by our craving for social functions.
I think we should not force ourselves to be a hermit or become adverse to social functions.
We can condition our mind to be free from allurements. When we succeed, our mind will roam freely like the rhinoceros.
Have fun analysing your mind at the next party. May all be well and happy.