‘No one’ reaches the state of joy

Ven. Gendun

How to stay when we reach a state of joy?

Blue Monastery, Tbilisi

The paradoxical answer is you can’t, and that for two reasons. 

The first reason is that piti (non-sensual joy) is not something that you can generate. It is a side-effect of the mind responding to its own wholesome state. It is important to recognise the presence of piti and even massage it into the mind when it is present, but trying to grasp it makes it go away immediately.

The second reason is that what we mean by this ‘we’ implies a puppet player. In technical terms a permanent, unitary and independent self, and such a thing doesn’t exist. It’s the object of abandonment of the Path of Seeing. You might have noticed that even in the rest of your lives the moment we try to own something it spoils. The moment we identify with something it induces anxiety. The idea that somehow we created this joy, is a form of afflicted pride, an unskilful mental factor. Piti merely arises due to the absence of unskilful emotions. In other words, the moment pride arises piti stops. The same is true for identification with it, for joy is not ‘you’ either, for it comes and goes. Piti is a conditioned phenomenon. Although you can’t control it, you can discover under which circumstances it arises and flourishes. Longing for freedom from the five hindrances and the peace it brings is a good starting point for its arisal. Gratitude blocks both ignorance and pride, and therefore sustains it, just like everything else in life.