Posted by: Upāsaka | 04/05/2013

Inner Harm

Working with the metta phrase abyapajjo homi has brought some unexpected results. In particular the way I’ve come to interpret this phrase has been evovling daily and I am honestly surprised that it has kind of taken on a life of its own. Anyway, before I ramble on too much, let me get to the point: it appears to me that being free from inner harm really refers to being free from defilements. I mean, when you think about it, what else could it mean? What, if not the kilesas, can harm the mind?

So, at this point, I could throw my hands up in despair for the reason that I’m unable to pin down the exact definition of abypajjo homi but I think to do so would be a bit unwise. These type of things have a way of bleeding into one another and it is the nature of language to shift semantically over time and through cultures. Frankly, anicca is a characteristic of all things so perhaps my search for the true (read: unchanging) is nothing more than a symptom of delusion. I’m not suggesting that we throw the baby out with the bath water because understanding the current meaning of words is integral to our functioning in society and, perhaps, as humans at all but it is easy to forget that the entire Baroque edifice that is a living language rests on a few basic assumptions, tacit agreements and conventions. Once those are removed or transcended the whole thing falls apart. Hence the ineffability of Nibbana. But, as you can see, I have gone very far afield now so please accept my apologies.

I thank anyone who happens to stumble across this post for their patience but this rambling really has allowed me to work out a problem that could have otherwise been a deal-breaker. Funny how easily we can forget. Anicca vata sankhara.


  1. “But, as you can see, I have gone very far afield now so please accept my apologies.”

    You think you have gone off topic, but maybe you’ve only begun to get to the point… The Buddha had to teach with language that which is unknowable except by direct knowledge. All of our texts and talks can only go so far toward understanding the uncreated, and while language can help bridge the gap between the teacher and the pupil, it will never accurately describe Nibbana.

    Be well!

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