robertK wrote: Or if i have desire arising, as we all do very often - can it be known as
desire, as an element, right there and then? Yes, it can if there are enough
conditions. But if one thought that 'Oh, here is desire I must remove it', then
one is no longer following the path toward vipassana. One is either having
aversion, or another more subtle desire (to get rid of the big desire) or at best the way of samatha.
Hello robertK. Compare with Ven. Sariputta's advice on how to teach Dhamma to intelligent people:
Ven. Sariputta said: "Friends, in foreign lands there are wise nobles & brahmans, householders & contemplatives - for the people there are wise & discriminating - who will question a monk: 'What is your teacher's doctrine? What does he teach?' Thus asked, you should answer, 'Our teacher teaches the subduing of passion & desire.'" SN 22:2
Note: Not the "knowing" of desire "as an element", but the "subduing". If it does not involve subduing desire, it is not the teaching of the Buddha. If it actively denies
the role of subduing desire, it is, to quote the Buddha, "no path at all." (Iti 4.11)
ihrjordan wrote:Is all of this to imply that dhamma book study should be a practitioner's number one priority?
To reconsider the answer to this question, in light of the above, perhaps the practitioner's number one priority should be the subduing of passion and desire for the five aggregates. That is, if one is to take the Buddha as one's teacher, rather than those householders and contemplatives who apparently teach otherwise. And, too, if one doesn't want to suffer as those aggregates decay and change.
Ven. Sariputta, in this discourse, is teaching to a group of monks who are about to go and take residence in "the outlying districts". Before they leave, Ven. Sariputta gives them this talk to ensure that they will "speak in line with what the Blessed One has said, will not misrepresent the Blessed One with what is unfactual". When the teaching had been given, the monks didn't add a sub-commentary to it or cling to directly opposing viewpoints, but instead "delighted in Ven. Sariputta's words." Can we do the same?