The process of overcoming our defilements goes in conjunction with gaining higher levels of realization. In fact, when we speak of gaining higher levels of realization in Buddhism we are speaking primarily of the processes through which our wisdom and insight deepen. It is actually the wisdom aspect that enables the practitioner to move from one level to the next on the path.
The attainment of the levels of the path is explained in condensed form in the Heart Sutra, where we find the mantra tadyatha om gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha. Tadyatha means It is thus; gate gate means go, go; paragate means go beyond and transcend; parasamgate means go utterly beyond, go thoroughly beyond; and bodhi svaha means firmly rooted in enlightenment. ~ “Lighting the Way,” by His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama, Pages 25-26.
The scriptures say that when the mind indulges in sensual objects, it becomes agitated. This is the usual state of affairs in the world, as we can observe. In their quest for happiness, people mistake excitement of the mind for real happiness. They never have the chance to experience a greater joy that comes with peace and tranquility. ~ Sayadaw U Pandita, “A Perfect Balance.”
We don’t have to deny that pleasant feelings are pleasurable. But we must remember that like every other feeling, pleasure is impermanent. Wishing to keep any person, place, possession, or experience with us forever is hopeless! ~ Bhante Gunaratana, “Desire and Craving”
If we had to make a choice between outer pleasure, comfort and peace, and inner freedom and ultimate happiness, we should choose inner peace. If we could find that within, then the outer would take care of itself. ~ Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, “Invisible Realities”