- Craving - desirous attachment, greed
- Aversion - hatred, fear, boredom
- Sloth and Torpor - laziness
Craving for sense pleasures, pleasant sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touch and mind states, leads to 'if only syndrome': "If only I can get enough pleasurable experiences and keep them going indefinitely, then I'll be happy."
NB: The problem is not with the object of desire but the degree of attachment. The objects and the yearning for them can be endless. Therefore contentment/satisfaction will not be possible by trying to get more and better things and experiences. We are reaching, grasping for something just out of our reach, instead of being content in the here and now.
What we want distorts and colours our perception of what is. Note: artists see colours, textures, shapes etc. A thief sees....
2. Aversion (hatred, anger, ill will)
This one is more obvious because of its unpleasant energy. Maybe some temporary enjoyment derived from it and then pain, because it closes the heart and thus constricts our natural joy. We can learn a lot from anger because it shows us exactly where we are stuck, where our limits are. It is also a warning signal--'attachment'. The amount of our attachment is proportional to the strength of our anger.
Anger colours our experience of everything. We can even become angry over something that hasn't happened or appears to have happened. For example, a rowboat in the fog bumps into another boat. The owner of the first boat is furious and yells at the owner of the boat he bumped into. He then discovers that there is no one in the 'offending' boat. With no one there his anger disappears although a boat had bumped into his. Another traditional example is the fear of rope mistaken for snake.
Fear, judgment and boredom are forms of aversion.
3. Sloth and Torpor
- resistance to an unpleasant state of mind
- energy imbalance-re: concentration (tranquility)
This category includes laziness, dullness, lack of vitality, fogginess and sleepiness. These all weaken the clarity of mind - the true nature of the mind. The antidotes are increased effort and determination.
This is the opposite of torpor. Its nature is agitation, nervousness, anxiety, worry, and jumpiness. The antidote is Shamatha and Vipassana.
Doubt stops our practice. It is associated with subtle fear and resistance. The antidote is to make it the object of mindfulness and also develop faith.
Suppression of the Hindrances does not work. Mindfulness meditation transforms them into the object for observation = skillful means = manure that nourishes. Eventually we can see through them the laws of karma, impermanence and impersonality at work.
If we get entangled in the hindrances and start acting them out, we reinforce them.
- Transform Mara the tempter into an ally.
- When the Hindrances are very strong cultivate the opposite. Once they are weaker we can better observe them mindfully.
- For advance students, let go as soon as it arises without aversion.
From: Spring Rain Sangha Teachings