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Salayatana-vibhanga Sutta: An Analysis of the Six Sense-media Print E-mail

Introduction

Despite the abstract format of this discourse, it deals with an emotional topic: the source of emotions, the use of the emotions in the course of the practice, and the ideal emotional state of a person who has completed the path and is fit to teach others. In particular, this discourse counters a common misperception: that the distress that comes from having an unachieved goal is an obstacle in the practice, and that the antidote for that distress is to renounce any sense of goals. In actuality, that distress — termed "renunciation distress" — has an important role in the practice: to overcome the distress that comes with a sense of loss over sensual pleasures that have not been attained, or those that have been attained in the past but now no longer exist. Renunciation distress serves as a reminder that the loss of sensual pleasures is not a serious matter. As for renunciation distress, it is overcome, not by abandoning any sense of goal, but by following the path and realizing the joy that comes when the goal is reached.

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