Yesterday, when I once more tried to see pañcakkhandhā guided by your notes, I suddenly came across the thorn that had been sticking me uninterruptedly since '49. And I discovered—dukkha. The conceit on which I had built my Ariyasāvakahood was this thorn, which, somehow, I had received along with the 'Dhamma'. But I know now that the puthujjana can take upon himself any dukkha—even for the 'Dhamma'—because he does not know anything else. My conceit, however, did not stand out decisively (I hardly ever thought about it, except during certain periods, where circumstances were very trying) until now; and the moment I realized what it really means to be puthujjana, I ceased to be one.
...I won a victory over myself; and when I awoke this morning I had found refuge in the Dhamma, and I realized everything (or a great many things) that we had been discussing. At least, Bhante, I did not conceal myself; I was proud, conceited, and, most of all, deluded, but I was straight. My strongest weapon was humility—though I can see now also how you look upon it; anatimānī is somewhat different; only an Ariyasāvaka possesses it, I think. I fought a fight knowing not for what—and you have helped me most wonderfully.
I begin now to discover the Dhamma. I can just stay in one place and see everything passing before my eyes that I knew without knowing. It is an entirely new landscape. I had concerned myself much with the most essential problems—and yet the meaning was hidden from me. ...I do not know, but perhaps you do, why your notes on viññāna etc. are opening out what I could not find in the texts. I mistook it all. What your notes essentially reveal to me is to allow things to be (present), whilst the Suttas seemed to say that I must deny them. Once I had found justification of cetanā = sankhārā (as already indicated), I laid hold of your notes in the way that I do things—either/or. I wrestled with them to the utmost, always in turns with emotional states. ...I find that my position was most curious (but, of course, there is nothing particular in it, as I now understand)—I had no time to investigate into the nature of the pañcakkhandhā, because, radically, I negated everything as soon as I became aware of it. My blindness really was total. I brought myself into immense tension, and, in fact, it is strain that I also now experience to an extreme degree, especially while writing this (but I feel that I should do so). I can also understand something about akālika now. I had no idea that things can stand in relation to each other other than temporally (do I use the word now correctly? I think so). I meant it was a most sublime idea that rūpa should be saññā; it is crude indeed. I discovered the real meaning of anicca in connection with viññāna, and many other things.
It is hard for me to imagine that you do not know everything already, but, remembering that you are not a visionary (unnecessary to say that I know you are indefinitely much more), I must give you at least some evidence now itself, for I do really not know what will happen the next moment (I may not be able to keep full control over myself—as I appear to others)....
In deepest veneration,
Footnotes to editorial notes:
[15.1] In the margin of the letter the Ven. Ñānavīra had written: 'This claim can be accepted.' [Back]
[15.2] Non-arrogance: Sister Vajirā may have had in mind the first verse of the well-known Mettā Sutta (Discourse on Friendliness), Sn. 143: 'One skilled as to the goal, having entered upon the way of peace, should do this: he should be capable, straight, upright, of good speech, gentle, non-arrogant.' The phrase 'I fought a fight knowing not for what' was underlined by the Ven. Ñānavīra, as were, in the next paragraph, the eleven words beginning 'that I knew without'. [Back]
[15.3] The parenthetical phrase was underlined by the Ven. Ñānavīra. [Back]
[15.4] The parenthetical phrase was underlined by the Ven. Ñānavīra. In the margin he wrote: 'Advance notice.' At the end of the letter he wrote: 'Sammattaniyāmam okkanti?' (= 'entry into surety of correctness': see A. VI,86 & 98: iii,435 & 441). [Back]