Knowledge, understanding and absorption

Pariyatti, Patipatti, Pativedha. Three Pali words that could be translated as Theory, Practice and Insight.
I find that these three words can be essential in examining our practice and understanding what we are doing with out lives. And it would seem, for me personally, that the intellectual part of the teachings was the first thing that attracted my to the dhamma (teachings of Buddha). Logical, fact based, self-examined and tested. This was what “hooked” me into studying more about Buddhism. And in doing so, created a sort of thirst to learn and understand more. I found that meditation was an extremely important and beneficial part of this, and the more I continued this, the more that I came to understand.
But I see that understanding all of this is not the same as living it. I see that is actually a function of Patipatti.

Patipatti is living the dhamma, the teachings. A deeper change within oneself that turns this practice into the embodiment of loving-kindness, acceptance and compassion teamed with wisdom and gratitude. None of which means that we become monastics, but instead evolve into living and breathing our previously inert Buddha nature. Kind of becoming all that we can be.
And while I do not think that this happens in one singular moment of awakening, it does happen gradually and naturally with determination and practice. And of course, always with patience for yourself as well.

This leaves us with the final progression of Pativedha. Insight, absorption, penetration, whatever you call it. This signifies the realization of the truth of the Dhamma, as distinguished from the mere acquisition of its wording (pariyatti), or the practice (patipatti) of it, in other words, realization as distinguished from theory and practice.
And as my dear friend William would say, “that’s some heavy cake!”.
Certainly, this is not something that I have attained myself and am not qualified to share with any of you. But I do find it to be powerfully motivating and exciting. Whether this is what it means to become enlightened, or just a more Noble state of being, I cannot say. And I fully accept that I may not attain this during this lifetime. And that is really OK by me. I am enjoying the path, the practice and the dhamma. My life is happier, enriched, and more peaceful. My Family and friends have benefited from this practice and the cultivation of loving thoughts, words and actions. And this could not take place without gaining the inner peace and happiness that the dhamma has shown me.

I encourage each of you to examine your own practice and development to better understand where you are at individually. This is not a race at all, and a completely individual process. And there is no way to know where we are going unless we know where we are right now.

May you be well, happy and peaceful.

  • Vimala Bhikkhuni

    I really enjoyed this article and especially your interview with Remy! It was delightful and insightful.

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    Thank you so much Vimala Bhikkhuni

  • TonBil

    I’m fully resonating with this post on the theory, practice and insight of the buddha’s teachings. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.