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Vippayutta Paccaya – Condition of Repulsion

All forces have their counterparts. The reverse of the previous condition, this condition describes how and why mental and material phenomena repel other mental and material phenomena.

Antagonisms, conflicts, wars, hatred and fear, and even diseases are examples of this condition of repulsion.

But why are there conflicts? Why are there wars? How can our understanding of mind, matter, and consciousness help us to solve the mystery of antagonism?Let us start as before, with a consideration of the four elements first. There, we find, that there is a certain inherent tendency to repulsion even in the interaction of the elements of nature.

In an abstract sense, precisely because each element contains no similarity with the other elements, all the elements may be said to be repellent towards all the other elements. Earth in the sense of solidity repels precisely because of this its essential quality. Air in the sense of movement repels all the other elements precisely because of this its essential quality. Fire, in the sense of burning, repels all the other elements precisely because of this its essential quality. And water in the sense of liquidity repels all the other elements precisely because of this its essential quality (in the case of solidity, it lets a solid things sink until it reached other kinds of solidity; in the sense of air, it both moves away from air, but also repels some of its strength, etc.).

This then might give us some clue, that repulsion and perhaps following that, also its more elaborate forms such as antagonism, hatred and so on, has to do with differentiation, that is, with being different.

And that will be thus one guiding principle for exploring the reason and meaning of repulsion, antagonism, hatred, and so on.
In the plant kingdom, to take the first complex form of life as the next thing to explore, we find plants with spikes, plants with stinging smells, and those with poisons. In them, these armouries with few exceptions, exist only for protection.

With animals, things become more complex. Here, we find armories that are much more varied, from shells to claws, from sharp teeth, to spitting of poison. But in animals, these armories exist not just for protection, but equally for preying upon other animals. And there we may begin to see already, that with each level of complexity of the phenomena considered, there is added another cause, reason, or form of repulsion. With the elements we had repulsion, in the guise of just being different, possessing identity, this exists also in plants and in animals, but in the plant kingdom we have found a second form of repulsion, and that is “deliberate” protection from what is threatening to life. In the animal kingdom there is added repulsion or antagonism in the form of aggression towards another life for the purpose of food, as well as for the purpose of mating (that is, towards competitors to a potential mating partner). Seeing this condition thus unfold, we might expect some still more elaborate form of repulsion in human beings.

Of course, amidst the human species, the devices invented to repel other human beings, or to prevent other human beings from entering one’s own sphere, are innumerous, as are the means for active aggression. But humans do not just defend themselves from threats and attack for the purpose of sustenance, but quite otherwise, human beings destroy other lives for sport (fishing, hunting, shooting birds, etc.), for religious purposes (sacrifice), for science, and even for gaining a certain sense of sensual, or perhaps even sexual pleasure therefrom. Not only that, often they kill not just in an instance and to accomplish the death of the other, but they might even kill with great ceremony and with a definite purpose of prolonging the torture of their victim.

On a small scale, we may sometimes feel inspired to observe some of this within our own body and mind. In our own body, whenever we are in an unhealthy condition, which means that, not the life-element is the predominant element, but that the experience of the four elements has become the predominant condition, we will notice that, whatever element is added to our body (viz. usually eaten) is more likely to threaten the already imbalanced elements. Thus causing inner conflicts.

In a healthy condition, the life-element being higher in order, usually is able to solve the conflict. But even in an healthy condition, there will be manifold conflicts and repulsions within the body. Very often harmful bacteria and viruses provoke some battle within, and in more severe cases there might grow some life inside which, small as it might be, may yet threaten the whole of the body’s life. This will especially be the condition of the tumor or of cancer.

But herein also, just as the element of life can balance out conflicts of the four primary elements, so here too can the element next higher in order do something to arbitrate the discord. In that, a right mind that attends to the life with care may help that life to overcome the disease.

But even if it succeeds with that, the battle usually will not end. Because the mind too often enough is a battle field.

Many an enquiring man has been astounded by the horrors he is capable of committing in his own mind, especially so at times or in situations any person is usually least inclined to look within himself.

A great many wicked things a mind that is uncontrolled is capable of committing in thought. And only he who has some good “will”, will have something to put against all these. Therein, the stronger the good will, the least easily it will give up the battle. Hence we can see, that even in the mind there is some purpose for violence and conflict, in that, it is the battleground which gives a chance to train and make strong a good will.

But on the other hand side, it should not be forgotten, it actually gives an equal chance also for an evil will to grow strong and more crafty. Thus, he who wants to grow his good will strong, should proceed carefully to send it well prepared into the battle and call it back onto safe ground when the chances for winning have diminished beyond hope.

If the good will looses the battle, consciousness gradually becomes of the nature of the Asuras (Demons), thereby entering a higher battlefield still. Demons (A-suras, lit. “anti-shining ones”) are the counterforce to goodness (Suras, lit. “the shining ones”) in the world. They are to the world, what cancer cells are to the body. Feeding on and destroying the very world they are part of.

But they too play their part in the scheme. Their very presence gives chances to the life of their opponents. It is through friction with these, that those who have the light, but whose inner nature is yet still too attached to matter, can learn to burn off their weaknesses and grow new strengths. Just as the evil tendencies within give the man whose inner nature is of both kinds, a possibility of learning to choose the right thing and to then fight for his chosen course, thereby strengthening his will.

If thus in the inner battle the ‘good will’ wins, consciousness becomes of the nature of the Devas (Suras, the “Shining ones”). Which are generally marked by their unity and lack of inner conflict.

Then, at last we also have ideas. There are ideas that stimulate conflict, fear, and aggression, and there are ideas that promote unity, peace, and friendliness.
Principally, all ideas that are arrived at solely by processing sense-sphere data are productive of conflict. This is so, because they see everything only from the one position of “the self”, and can not take into account another one’s position. Hence, it is said in the scriptures, that initially Dhamma always comes from without, except in the case of a Buddha. Dhamma is something that has to be heard or learned at first. It is not something that can easily be arrived at merely by observing the things of the senses.
It is through acquiring ideas of Dhamma and religion, which are always said to originate above, that some people, instead of pushing away the things without, begin to push away within themselves evil thoughts and ideas. Thereby seeking to make an end to this chain of conflicts.

Which is thus also proving again the working of the same  dynamic as before, of the above giving the balance to the below. Conflicts of the four elements are balanced out by the life-element, conflicts in the life-element (i.e., diseases) are balanced out by the right type of mind, and conflicts in the mind are balanced out by consolidating ideas. Consolidating ideas in turn arise from insight into the Dhamma, that is, insights into Divine laws. And he who has insight into Divine Laws (Dhamma), ultimately will come to an end of all conflicts.

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