I want to discuss addiction, I discussed addiction in Ch22 of the Treatise. We live in a completely addicted society. Our worst addicted people, the super rich, are worshipped for their wealth yet they destroy the very planet we live on in their addiction. We are all consumer addicts who give them their wealth. To me this heinous addiction of the super-rich pales what I went through with alcohol into insignificance – even though with the pains of detox it didn’t seem so at the time. This addiction, one way or another, is addiction to the conditioned mind, the spiritual path leads us beyond the conditioned mind – transcending, and so it is perfectly natural for good meditation to lead us to transcending and stopping such addictions.

When Venerable Buddhadasa talks of anapanasati-bhavana he talks of 4 dhamma comrades that meditation develops throughout. These 4 comrades are:-

Sati – mindfulness
Panna – wisdom
Sampajanna – wisdom-in-action
Samadhi – concentration

Our meditation method of four tetrads – kaya, vedana, citta and Dhamma – is the approach. Firstly we begin with feeling. The feeling arises leading to a mental desire, we cling to that desire and that produces a physical need. This is the first three of the 4 Noble Truths, the suffering caused being the physical result. Feeling -> desire -> clinging ->physical need -> suffering. But with meditation training you now have the tools to cope with this addiction – the breath and the 4 dhamma comrades.

Now your developing inner guide has characteristics of the 4 dhamma comrades but because you are dealing with addiction, this inner guide now needs to be 24/7. The wisdom is simple – you know substance addiction is not good for you. Mindfulness must be used 24/7 to recognise the addiction, and sampajanna must be developed to use your wisdom and act on it. Concentration is needed to focus on the need for removing this addiction.

Starting with the physical need you will know of ways of coping with the physical detox – the physical craving. Recognise that there will be a physical need and taste need, and deal with it.

But addiction is not just physical and this is where our meditation method and dhamma comrades come in. Throughout the day you will be mindful that feeling->desire->clinging will arise. Once this process arises you and your inner guide bring in sampajanna – wise action. Physically you use your substitute but mentally you will see that you are clinging to the desire and you let go of the clinging. Of course this is easier said than done but sampajanna says you are not going to indulge and you let go of the clinging. Initially letting go of clinging is hard, but it is an attached ego – addiction is a habit you have attached to. You let go of clinging to the habit, the attachment, the ego. As the ego begins to recognise that you mean business it will know it will lose. Initially the ego’s survival instinct kicks in, and the detox hurts. But then the clinging will get less and less, then you will see the desire and it will not impact you. Then the feelings that arise that caused the desire will stop.

Throughout this process you can use the healing breath. Feeling -> desire -> clinging ->physical need. When the physical need arises turn to your breath. Breathe long, breathe long, breathe long. This will allow your inner guide in, and you can begin the detachment process I have just described – using the 4 dhamma comrades and physical substitute. It is far easier to describe but this is how you can use the teachings with your meditation training and determination to overcome this addiction.

And then we can work on the real addiction – the conditioned mind

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