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13. Consistency in one's work
發表於 : 2019-10-14, 19:18
13. Consistency in one's work
At doing one's task, we should not waste time and do it later. We should be active, energetic, and persistent in whatever we are doing. Doing only the kinds of task or job which should be done. This is not harming to oneself and others; benefit to oneself and others. There are some ignorant and deluded people doing silly and foolish things just for money and fame, even give up their lives for it. We should do things which only have values; not trivial, meaningless, frivolous, silly, and inferior.
Nowadays, human beings are doing all these meaningless things than before. Do human beings become wiser than before? Do they progress or regression? If we observe the societies and environments, all kinds of internal and external pollutions going on. Why is that? Anthropologists say: Human beings are developing from a type of ape. If it is true, then human beings should become wiser and intelligent. This is Evolution. But if we observe and contemplate about human beings, they are closer to ape than human.
The human mind is becoming more and more like a monkey. Is it human becoming in de-evolution? Evolution and de-evolution are in our mind. If someone behaves like an animal, then he is in de-evolution. You cannot measure progress or Evolution with power, money, fame, and the amount of sensual pleasure. These are the ways to downfall. It is nothing to do with the external matters but the internal ones. Therefore each human creates hell, animal, ghost, heaven, etc. for himself on Earth. This also his future destiny after he dies.
Man on the highest level of evolution can become a Buddha, and to the lowest level of de-evolution becomes a hell being. All the levels are in each one of us. One early morning in June, there was a pink lotus flower opened its beautiful and fragrant petals in a small pond. It decorated the Earth with its beauty and purity. After sometimes the sun was rising higher, and then the weather became very hot. The lotus closed its petals and protected itself from the strong heat. But nowadays human beings know all the dangers come out from pollutions, continue to do all the foolish things are quite stupid and foolish.
Could human beings have a future? Yes, they have. Only they behave like a human; not like an animal, ghost, and hell is. They should only do things which have values and for the welfare of the human race and nature. If we practice samatha and vipassanā regularly with consistency is a great blessing and protection. Consistency in one's work is very important whatever task we are doing, whether it is worldly or spiritual matters. We should not spoil it by laziness, carelessness with wasting, and postponing of time.
During the time of the Buddha, there was a good story on these points. Three friends became monks. Two of them learned meditation and instruction from the Buddha. After that, they went to a secluded place, practiced diligently, and realized the Dhamma. They came back and went to see the Buddha. The Buddha was praising of them. The third one who was lazy and wasting time in the monastery heard about it. He also wanted to be praised by the Buddha in front of the others. Therefore he was practicing hard in the monastery. Because of his restlessness and carelessness in the practice and fell seriously and broke his hip. So his two friends had to take care of him and could not leave the place. The Buddha knew about this and told them about their past lives.
In one of their past lives; these monks were the students of the Bodhisatta- who was a teacher. One day the teacher asked the students to collect fire woods in the forest for the next morning meal. Because they had to go to a distant place in the early morning for an invitation. All the students went to the forest and did their duties properly. But the lazy student (the 3rd injured monk) not did his job properly. Instead, he chose a big tree, lied down and slept, thinking that near the time of leaving he could go up and break the branches for fire woods. At the time of going back; he quickly got up, climbed the tree, and broke some of the branches.
He had done it in a rush and carelessness that the tip of a branch hit one of his eyes. He was suffered in pain and came down quickly, took the wet branches of the fire woods, and followed behind the others. His wet fire woods were mixed with the dry ones. The servant did not know it and picked up the wet ones to cook for the gruel.
At last the students missed the chance to the invitation.
This story taught us a good lesson. We should not do things with disinterest, wasting time, in a rush, improperly, disarray and confused. What about today, human beings are doing things? Are they better than this monk or student? By studying, observing, and contemplating today, human and society will know that it is not better. Some politicians, businesspeople (including economists), scientists, technologist, artists, etc. are viewing and doing things with greed, hatred, and delusion for power, wealth and fame. They are not only harming themselves( they have to pay for their kammic consequences) but also to the human race.
The reasons are not difficult to see; severe climate changes and all sorts of pollutions, both internal and external ones and leaving a dangerous Earth for the future generation. Human beings, however crazy and craving for power, wealth and fame, at near death they cannot take anything with them. Even the clothes they wear on, and when a very severe drought comes their power, wealth and fame cannot do anything.
As a Buddhist, the best protection and blessing is consistency in one's work to end dukkha. This is the most important task for all: i.e., the Noble Eightfold Path-sīla, samādhi, and paññā. Therefore we should not waste time by doing many meaningless and useless things. If we miss this chance and at near death will be in a miserable situation (miserable deaths and rebirths).
發表於 : 2019-11-18, 13:57
This is on dāna practice. In all world, great religions have dāna practice. Mostly dāna is a blessing for the giver, but not all of them. For example, if someone offered liquor and drugs to drunkards and drug addicts.
Dāna practice is the way of progress in this life and for the future to come. There were many stories in the time of the Buddha and modern-day stories. There are many ways of giving. The best way of giving is with understanding and knowledge. There was a sutta in the Aṅguttara Nikāya, On Giving. The discourse discusses the possible motivations for generosity, and rates in ascending order the results they can lead to. It is interesting to mention here.
Once time Ven. Sariputta, with a large number of lay followers, went to see the Buddha for a Dhamma talk. Ven. Sariputta said to the Buddha; “Might there be the case where a person gives the gift of a certain sort, and it doesn't bear great fruit or a great benefit, whereas another person gives a gift of the same sort and it bears great fruit and great benefits.” The Buddha answered as it was right. Then Ven. Sariputta asked the Buddha the cause and reason for this. He answered him the seven kinds of motivations and their results.
(1) Having given the gift seeking his profit, with a mind attached to the reward, seeking to store up for himself, with the thought of enjoying it after death. After death, born in the company of the four Great Kings (Catummahārājika Heaven), from here after death, return to this world.
(2) Someone gives a gift with the thought giving is good” on the break-up of the body, after death born in the company of the devas of the 33 (Tavatimsa Heaven), from here after death return to this world.
(3) Someone gives a gift with the thought “This was given in the past, done in the past, by my father and grandfather. It would not be right for me to let this old family custom be discontinued”. After death born in the company of the devas of the Hours (Yāma Heaven), from here after death return to this world.
(4) Someone gives a gift with the thought “I am well off. These are not well off. It would not be right for me, being well-off, not give a gift to those who are not well off.” After death born in the company of the contented devas (Tusita Heaven) from here after death return to this world.
(5) Someone gives a gift with the thought “Just as there were the great sacrifices of the sages of the past-Athaka, Vamaka, Vamadeva,....etc. In the same way, will this be my distribution of gifts,” after death born in the company of the devas who delight in creation (Nimmanarati Heaven), from here after death coming back to this world?
(6) Someone gives a gift with the thought “When this gift of mine is given; it makes the mind serene. gratification and joy arise.” After death born in the company of devas who has power over the creations of others (Paranimmitavasavatti Heaven). From here after death come back to this world.
(7) Someone gives a gift with the thought “This is an ornament for the mind, a support for the mind.” After death born in the company of Brahma’s Retinue( the lowest of the first jhāna plane). Then, having exhausted his kamma, he is a non-returner. He doesn't come back to this world.
The commentary explained the 7 th giver as giving with the enrichment of samatha-vipassanā practices. There are also some givings not become dāna practices; such as giving to someone for fear(e.g., mafia gang), giving by expecting something(e.g., bribery), giving with raga( sexual desire), etc. Giving is not an easy thing to do; you have to make an effort. Why is that? Because every living being more or less has lobha(greed) and self-view. Greed of covetousness, confiscation, clinging with craving, etc.
all these make dāna difficult to perform. Therefore we have to make an effort to do it. But if we know and understand the benefit and value of dāna or knowing about them, and will be sure to perform it. Even we can give up things too valuable for us, as an example, the dāna parami of a Bodhisatta.
There was a very touching story to the heart at the time of the Buddha. It represented an unselfish nature and right motivation of a dāna. Also, it gave immediate results in the present life. It was about Ven. Mahākaccāna and a poor lady. He was the foremost disciple in the detailed exposition of brief sayings, and a native of Avanti, to the far south-west of the Ganges basin. King of Avanti, Chandapajjota heard about the Buddha and sent Mahākaccāna and others to invite the Buddha.
After they listened to his talk and became monks. Later they became arahants and went back to Avanti to see the king. On the way back they went for alms-round in a village and did not get anything. There was a young lady, now became very poor and knew about it. Before she was a rich man’s daughter and had strong saddhā(faith), she had a beautiful, long, and shining black hair. There was another rich man's daughter who wanted to buy her hair and paid 1000 coins for it. This was happening sometimes ago, but this poor lady did not sell it. This time she
urgently needed the money to prepare the meal for the monks.
Therefore she cut her beautiful long hair and sent the maid to sell it to the rich lady. This time instead of giving the 1000 coins, she only gave eight coins for it. The maid became very sad and cried. The poor lady prepared the meal for the monks, and each monk received one coin value of food (the monk's number were eight). When the monks were receiving the meal, the poor lady did not dare to come out to meet the monks. In the past, the beauty of a woman was long, soft, shining black hair.
But Ven. Mahākaccāna knew all these things and invited the lady to come out. She came out, and as soon as bowing to the monks, her hairs were growing back to normal. Scientists will take it as supernatural. No, this is super normal, and it is by the mind or mental laws, cause and effect. Insects, birds, jets, airplanes, etc. can fly, but scientists cannot fly in the air. Above before already has mentioned an episode connecting with Ven. Mahākaccāna.
A lay-man, Soreyya had an evil thought and changed into a woman. There were two main causes, including in these two episodes, internal and external ones. More important is the internal ones. The mind of the lady and Soreyya; and the purified hearts of the arahants. If we can accept the atomic power, this is not difficult to understand. The mind is more powerful than matter. Therefore all human beings especially someone has power (political leaders, governments), wealth (tycoons, business people, business corporations), scientists, etc. should know how to use their mind properly and wisely for the benefit of the human race, not to harm them and destroy the Earth.
Ven. Mahākaccāna went to see the king, and he told him the episode. Therefore the king took the poor lady as his consort. With strong saddhā (faith) and volition (cetana), then the result is greater. On one occasion the Buddha was staying near Vesali, in the Great Forest, at the Gabled Pavilion. General Siha went to the Buddha and asked him as it was possible to point out the fruit of giving visible in the here and now. The Buddha answered in positive and gave five results of it. These are:—
(1) One who gives, who is a master of giving, is dear and charming to people at large. We can see this kind of giver in the past and present.
(2) Furthermore, good people, people of integrity, admire one, who gives who is a master of giving: this too is the fruit of giving visible in here and now. The people mentioned here are moral and virtuous people; sages and noble beings (ariyas). Therefore the giver has the chances to close and near them. On learning their teachings gain knowledge. He will live the wholesome and progressive life, towards the noble direction, and even he can end dukkha. We can see this kind of giver in Buddha’s time and present Theravadin countries.
(3) Furthermore, the fine reputation of one who gives, a master of giving is spread far and wide: this too is a fruit of giving visible in here and now.
(4) Furthermore, when one who gives, a master of giving, approaching by the assembly of people—noble warriors, brahmans, householders, or contemplatives—he/ she does so confidently and without embarrassment: this too is a fruit of giving visible in here and now. These results of (1) to (4) are visible in here and now.
(5) Furthermore, at the break up of the body, after death, one who gives, the master of giving, reappears in a good destination, the heavenly world: that is a fruit of giving in the next life.
When these five results of giving were mentioned to General siha : he replied the Buddha that the four fruits of giving (from (1) to (4)) visible in here and now were not by faith (saddhā) in him. He knew it with experiences because he was a master of giving. But the last fruit, after death, reappeared in a good destination, the heavenly world, he did not know, that was he believed in the Buddha by conviction (saddhā). Some people are not giving to others, but they spend it themselves. Even worse than these are people not only not give to others but also not spend by themselves.
Even the worst of all are encouraging people not to give. There was once a very wealthy man named Ānanda in Sāvatthi. He was a miserly man and encouraged his son Mūlasiri not to give. This rich man had five pots of gold buried in his house and died without revealing its location to anyone. He was reborn in a village of beggars not far from Sāvutthi. From the time his mother was pregnant beggars in the village had difficulties in beggings. They thought there must be a wicked and misfortunate person among them.
By dividing themselves up in groups with the process of elimination. They found out the pregnant woman, and she was driven out of the village. A son was born to her, and he was very ugly and repulsive. If she went out alone by begging and got something. And with the boy got nothing. So, when the boy could go out by himself for begging, and she left her son. He wandered alone in Sāvutthi for begging and remembered his past life and old home. After arriving there, he went straight into the house. When the children of Mūlasiri saw him, they were frightened and crying. The servants beat him and threw him out of the house.
The Buddha was on his alms-round and saw the incident. Then the Buddha told Mūlasiri that the ugly young beggar was his father of previous life. He did not believe it. Therefore the Buddha asked the beggar to show them the buried gold. And Mūlasiri became a lay disciple. Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follow: Verse 62: “I have sons and wealth; with this, the fool is afflicted. Indeed he is not his own, how can sons and wealth be his.”( From the Dhammapada: The Fool)
The above story warning us a very important lesson; wrong view, unwholesome mental states, thoughts, and actions gave miserable sufferings to beings. Even the negative energies effect on others. Why nowadays humans have a lot of problems and sufferings than before? We need to contemplate and find out the causes to correct it. There was also another interesting story on giving in the time of the Buddha.
The story of a childless rich man:
On one occasion, King Pasenadi went to see the Buddha. He told the Buddha about a rich man who had died in Sāvatthi without leaving heirs. Therefore he had to confiscate all the man’s properties. This man was very rich and stingy. While he was alive and did not give anything in charity. And even was reluctant to spend his money on himself. So he ate very sparingly and wore cheap and coarse clothes. Then the Buddha told the king and audience about this rich man and one of his past lives. At that time also he was a rich man.
One day, when a Solitary-buddha came and stood for alms at his house. He was on his way out that asked his wife to offer foods to the Solitary-buddha and left. It was very rare that her husband gave his permission to give things to someone. So she filled up the alms bowl with choice foods. The rich man again met the Solitary-buddha on his way back home and looked into his alms-bowl. And found out that his wife had offered a lot of good foods.
So, he thought that this monk would only have a good sleep after a good meal. It would have been better if the servants were given such good foods because they would give him better service. He has regretted to ask his wife to offer foods to the Pacceka-buddha. There was also another incident connecting with him. He had a brother and who was also rich. The brother had an only son. Coveting his brother's wealth and killed his young nephew and wrongfully inherited his brother’s wealth. Because the man had offered alms foods to the Pacceka-buddha that he became a very rich man in his present life. He regretted having offered foods to the Solitary-buddha that no wishes to spend anything even on himself.
Because he had killed his nephew for the sake of wealth that he had suffered in hells for seven existences. This evil kamma having come to an end and he was born in this life as a rich man. But here also he had not gained any wholesome actions. After hearing the story, the king remarked; “Ven. Sir! Even though he had lived here in the lifetime of the Buddha himself, he had not made any offering of anything to the Buddha or his sangha. Indeed, he had missed a very good opportunity and had been very foolish.”
Then the Buddha spoke the following verse: Verse 355: “Wealth destroys the foolish, but it can’t destroy those who seek the other shore (Nibbāna). By his craving for wealth, the fool destroys himself and would destroy others.”
(From the Dhammapada: Craving). What do we learn from this story and teaching? It taught us the importance of the mind. Even we cannot think about foolish and stupid things which most people are thinking all the times.
Also, it reminds us of the first and second verses of the Dhammapada; The Pairs. Even we are doing good things should not let unwholesome mental states come in between them. We have already discussed the possible motivations for generosity (dāna). It should be like the sixth number giver, giving with joy and happiness before, during, and after the charity.
The-pye-kan Sayadaw commented on these two stories. These rich men were like the alchemist’s billows, which breathing in and out, but without life. Therefore they were dead people. How many dead politicians and wealthy men in the world today? Most of them are fighting for power and wealth. Not for the welfare of the human race and the mother Earth. We can see them clearly in today situations of the world. Temperature is rising every year and getting hotter and hotter. We are killing animals in a very cruel way. One way of eating them is roasting meat.
Now the sun is roasting human skin if human beings are continuing doing foolish, silly, and stupid things, the sun will roast our flesh. Talking about dāna will never end. So, here will do a general contemplation on its subject. The Buddha’s teachings are wisdom teachings or wisdom education. Wisdom has the qualities of deep, profound wide, and immeasurable. If you can only see it superficially, then it is superficial. Like the Buddha’s wisdom, then it is immeasurable.
We study, research, and practice the Buddha’s teaching is inheriting his wisdom. As a human being, this task is precious and priceless. And not like all the others worldly knowledge and educations which if we human begins cannot use it wisely and properly, can create great sufferings and disasters. Dāna subject is one of the very basic teachings of the Buddha. So, we can find them a lot in the Pali suttas. Most people will think, including many Buddhists, the Buddha’s teachings are not concerning with worldly matters and human societies
if we research the Pali Suttas and can find out that this Great man (the greatest of all) was a human being, born on this Earth by a woman, and living on this earth, after his great enlightenment, and teaching living beings (mostly humans) for 45 years without rest. He was not living in heavens and talking to super beings liked bodhisattas, deities, devines, etc. As a human being and living on this Earth and if not talking to humans whom he had to communicate? He was talking to all walks of life, from lower to higher caste, and from beggars to the kings. Therefore he had to talk about men, societies, and human problems and how to deal with them. If he did not has the deep, profound, and immeasurable wisdom and how could he help them.
In the ten perfections (paramis), dāna parami is the first one to come. It has three levels in each parami. The lower, middle, and higher levels, respectively; in Pali- parami, upa-parami, and paramatthā-parami. Except for one’s bodily part, giving outside properties, such as wife, children, wealth, etc. are an ordinary one. Giving up one’s bodily parts, such as eye, kidney, etc. is upa-parami. It can be counted only when one is still alive. Maybe not after death; such as donate one’s body.
Even after death, donate one’s body is not many people can do it. We can see how strong wrong view and craving (ditthi-tanhā) is — this is me, and this is mine. After death, donate one’s body is quite a noble thing to do. Because it can save some one’s life or vision (i.e., for an eye), etc. Therefore dāna-giving practice is not very easy for everyone, especially someone has strong ditthi-tanhā. It needs to put a lot of effort. So, we need to know the benefits of dāna very clear and more easy to let go of our attachments to outside things.
For a true bodhisatta follows the ways of becoming a future Buddha, even to give up his own life is not difficult-paramattha dāna parami. Can we recognize, or know a true/real bodhisatta among humans. Nowadays we have a lot of self-declared bodhisattas. In the Majjima Nikāya, we found about two bodhisattas in 2 suttas, Ghatikāra and Dakkhinā-vibhaṅga Suttas. In the Ghatikāra Sutta, it mentioned about Gautama bodhisatta as Jotipāla young brahman in the time of Kassapa Buddha. Jotipāla—the Gautama bodhisatta even did not know himself as a true bodhisatta.
In the beginning, he did not want to meet the Kassapa Buddha. In the second sutta, it mentioned about the Metteya bodhisatta of the future Buddha. Bhikkhu Ajita was the Metteya bodhisatta and had supernatural powers. He got the robes offered by the Buddha’s foster mother Mahāpajāpati bhikkhuni. Many monks there did not know he was the Metteya bodhisatta. (Metteya bodhisatta was not in the original sutta. I had heard about it from a talk by a monk).
For a real bodhisatta, even if he knows it himself will not declare about it. People have very deep-rooted-ditthi/tanhā that is even doing wholesome things always calculate loss and profit. Therefore the results of merits are mostly mixed ones. Not always good in the beginning, in the middle and the end. We had seen the extreme self-views of nationalism, fascism and racism, which had
done a lot of atrocities during the second world war. They were not only harming others but also leading to their sufferings in the end. Even some were not wanting to say sorry or asking forgiveness out of conceit. They would never heal their wounds. In the Noble Eightfold Path; The Buddha arranged Right View-Sammā- dhitthi in the beginning. Why is that? Because it is the wisdom factor and the most important one inhuman knowledge. Even, the intention is
good without the right view, the results usually follow unsatisfactorily. With the right view and right thinking will be followed. With the right thinking or thought, then the right speech and right action would be followed respectively. These are causes and effects relationship. The right view has two kinds; worldly and spiritual. Without Worldly right views cannot develop spiritual right view. The most fundamental worldly right view is the belief in the law of kamma.
Every human happiness, peace, and prosperity based on this very important fundamental law. It is not making by humans. It is the law of nature; a truth. The sun is rising in the east and set in the west. We can express the laws of kamma in a simple slogan “Action begets reaction”—Wholesome actions beget wholesome results; nwholesome actions beget unwholesome results. The law of karma is deep, profound, and complex. One of the four inconceivable phenomena that are not to be conjectured about—the mechanism and precise working out of the results of kamma.
To become a Buddhist, at least has faith in the law of kamma. Therefore whatever kind of action we made, it will bear fruit and never wasted and will give the result sooner or later. Another one very important point needs to contemplate is why are we coming to this human world? We were not sent here by God, or without reasons. One of your past good kammas sent you to here— cause and effect relationship. After born as a human being, what do you want to do? Most people will think indulgence in sensual pleasures or seeking sensual pleasures—including politicians, economists, scientists, and highly educated people.
Very few people are thinking about the welfare of oneself and others. Just looking at nowadays the world situations, the internal and external ones. The Buddha taught us very clearly. By protecting ourselves, and we protect others, and vice versa. To achieve this inspiration, the human has to do goods. For wanting to do goods, a human should has right view, right thinking and has ethical standards and values for actions. The human world is the great field of merits which other realms of existence do not have.
Therefore a Buddha always will arise in the human world. A true bodhisatta only has the chances to develop his ten perfections (paramis) in this world. So, every human should take these chances to do goods for developing the perfections. Not comes here as a human to harm oneself & others. We should not do stupid and foolish things by wasting our times as a precious human. After that, we will go back to our frequent homes—the four woeful planes (apāyabhūmi)
Developing the ten perfections is a noble sacrifice. So, if we give up a little happier; and more - happier. Therefore dāna practice is a very wholesome action creates happiness here and after (see the answers the Buddha gave to General Siha, the faith of giving). We can protect our wealth from fire, flood, kings(governments), thieves, or hateful heirs by giving. If we die cannot take any wealth and properties with us—come naked, go naked.
So do not become a naked ascetic. Therefore using our wealth, intelligence, skills, etc. by doing all kinds of goodness and we should take all the wholesome kammas with us. This is called wholesome kammic bank account. This kind of bank account following you like a shadow as mentioned by the Buddha in the second verse of Dhammapada:
“All mental phenomena have mind as their forerunner; they have mind as their chief; they are mind-made. If one speaks or acts with a pure mind, happiness follows him like a shadow that never leaves him.”
A human bank account cannot be safe; it still has outside dangers and only last for this life. The wholesome kammic bank account has more increments, and you will have it until your last life in Saṁsāra (the round of rebirths), and every deposit has the seven mind moments of increments. Only this kind of person is the richest man in the world and a true super- billionaire. Humans do not have these kammic bank deposits and accounts, and then all are naked ascetics—came naked and will go naked. Then their most possible existences are in the woeful and miserable planes.
The most pitiful man will be the naked billionaire (Because he has the best chance for doing good). In Buddha’s time & our time, there were some stories about people who were very rich and became richer and richer. Not because they were stingy and only making money. Because they had done a lot of merits in their past lives and continued to do more and more in this life. I have already mentioned some of them in the 5th blessing—Having made merits in the past. So, wealth and fortunes come from the results of giving, and not by stingy, envy and avarice. It is also one way of practice to conquer tanhā-
craving, greed, or reducing it. Wealth is like burning charcoal if you are clinging to it and become more suffering. By letting go of it have peace and happiness. The Buddha mentioned the five wholesome dhammas in many suttas. These are saddhā, sīla, suta, cāga and paññā-conviction, virtue, learning, generosity, and discernment.
These are also called noble growth. These dhammas have the power of fulfilling one’s wishes. Instead of relying on outside power, Buddhists should develop them. Dāna or cāġa is one of them. Dāna is; the act of giving and gift. Cāga is; giving up and generosity. Carana is good to conduct. These 3 Pali words have a close relationship. Dāna-giving and gifts are many ways. Giving one’s time and energy for any wholesome matters to others also include in it.
Sabbadānaṁ dhammadānaṁ jinati—The gift of Dhama is greater than all other gifts. Because it related to intelligence, knowledge, discernment, or wisdom. Without merits and discernment /wisdom—all beings wandering in the round of existence is very painful. They are also supporting each other. The most important for giving is right and wise motivations.
Give a gift with the thought “This is an ornament for the mind, a support for the mind.” This is giving with the enrichment of samatha-vipassanā practice or wise ncontemplations. All the merits and wholesome dhammas as the support of ending saṁsaric dukkha or Nibbāna Element. All living beings and non- living beings are parts of the whole nature. We all are related to each other. One affects others, especially human beings.
15. Living in rectitude:
發表於 : 2019-11-18, 14:21
15. Living in rectitude
Rectitude is quality or attitude that makes people behave honestly and virtuously. Here is living by the wholesome dhammas, the ten wholesome courses of action. Then kusala dhammas have already mentioned in the 9th blessing—well mastered disciplines. In the world, the best protection is one’s own wholesome dhammas. In the world, why all living beings are quite different from each other.
Please do not say about other types of living beings, even in humans themselves. Because of their views, thinkings, and actions are quite different. Not all of them have the same qualities and attitudes. Therefore living beings are different because of the results of their different kammas. It is interesting to read and contemplate the Cūlā- Kammavibhaṅga Sutta (No.135), in the Majjima Nikāya.
In the CūlaKammavibhaṅga Sutta—The Shorter Analysis of Action; Subha, Todeyya’s son went to see the Buddha. He said to the Blessed One: “Master Gotama, what is the reason, what is the cause, why baseness and excellence are seen along human beings, among the human race? For short-lived and long-lived people are to be seen, sickly and healthy, ugly and beautiful, uninfluential and influential, poor and rich, low-born and high-born, stupid and discerning people to be seen.”
The Buddha answered him: “Subha, beings are owners of their actions, born of their actions, related through their actions, and have their actions as their arbitrator. Action is what differentiate beings in terms of baseness and excellence.”
Subha did not understand the detailed meanings of them and requested the Buddha to explain in details. There is another discourse on kamma, the Mahākamma-vibhȧnga Sutta(No.136). Kamma and its results are difficult to foresee. The workings of kamma are strange and surprising.
Therefore the law of action (kamma) is very important for living beings, especially for a human. Law of cause and effect covers all types and kinds of living beings. The man understands it and living accordingly with the wholesome dhammas will become a good person with the wholesome life. This is the way of protecting oneself and others. Then, human existence is beneficial and fruitful. Even, we can say education on law of action is the basic education for man. In the Dīgha Nikāya—Long Discourses of the Buddha, There is a discourse called Lakkhana Sutta (Sutta No. 30)—Physical Marks of a Great man.
There, the Buddha mentioned the 32 bodily marks of a great man. Only two persons could have it; a Buddha and a Universal Monarch. But these marks on a Buddha were more clear and distinct than the other. These marks on the Buddha came from the results of meritorious deeds previously cultivated by the bodhisatta for many lives. These acts were the ten paramis—perfections. Here, I will mention the first and second marks only, which were connecting the actions (causes) and the results (effects).
The first mark—the lowest part of the feet were full and leveled without any depression. Therefore the Buddha’s footprint was appearing full and completed on the ground. This mark appeared on the body because the bodhisatta cultivated wholesome meritorious deeds with firmness and confidence. Kept his words (never broke the promises), never gave up and in low spirit. Completed with this mark no internal and external enemies (kilesa and beings) and dangers could make him trembled. It gave him the stable results and respected by beings. He had stable sīla, samādhi, and paññā.
The second mark: the Buddha had the wheel symbols on both of the lowest part of the feet. In his many past lives, the bodhisatta was giving himself for the happiness of others. And helping to dispel others’ fear and dangers. While he was performing dāna and enriching with other things. As an example, when he was offering a building together with other things such as bed, chairs, table, etc. He was doing every dāna always in this way. Because of this meritorious deed acquired these marks. With this mark and the result was, the Buddha had human followers of 4 types—bhikkhus, bhikkhunis, laymen and laywomen and other beings—deities, divines (brahma gods), asuras, etc.
Here my emphasis is not for the physical characteristics. The emphasis is on the importance of human’s thinking, verbal and physical actions which affect the physical world internally and externally. These things were already mentioned by the Buddha over 2500 years ago. Nowadays scientists also confirm it by experiments and research. E.g., they played different kinds of music to the flower plants and observed its changes. The most well-known research for many years was by a Japanese scientist. He is also using different kinds of music, sounds, visual images, letters and words which have good meanings and bad meanings, etc. with water. Later he observed the changes of water crystals under the powerful microscope.
The water crystals were changing accordingly with different sounds and visual images. Wholesome sounds and images created beautiful water crystals. The unwholesome ones created ugly, broken, distorted water crystals which were difficult to see. There was a remarkable documentary film about a Chinese man in the N.E of China. A middle-aged man from a village in Liao Ning province was craving for snake meat. He killed them and ate them for some years, maybe also in a very cruel way. One day his body was starting to show illness. His body skin was very itchy and painful. He had to scratch it unbearably all the times. And later he became well known with a nick-name as a snake man.
The news spread to the city, and a group of Buddhists came to see him. They arranged a special ceremony for him to ask forgiveness to the snakes he had harmed and killed. And then they were surrounding and chanting sutras and mantras for him, especially “The Sutra of Earth Store Bodhisattava”. They performed it for many hours. The Buddhist group did the same ceremony 3 times separately for a few months. Surprisingly his miserable illness was cured, and the skin color went back to normal, bright, and yellow skin. Before it was dark grey, dry, and ugly.
There was also another amazing documentary film experiment with insects. This was done in Yun-nan Province in Southern China. A farm grower of fruits and vegetables made an experiment liked this. He did not use pesticides and fertilizers in his orchards and vegetable plots. Because he knew the outcomes of these chemicals which harmed humans, animals, insects, and nature. He used only organic farming, but how he protected them from the insects. He was a Buddhist and had strong confidence in the wholesomeness of the mind, good-will, compassion, appreciative joy, and a good heart.
So, he arranged a small piece of land with some fruit trees for the insects to eat. Close by not far from it there was a larger plot of land with fruit trees for sale. The vegetable plots were also arranged in this way. He hung letter cards on fruit trees and vegetable plots to invite the insects to eat and requested them not to disturb the others. Surprisingly it worked; the insects could feel it and not disturb the other fruit trees and vegetable plots, for human consumption.
They left it for the human consumption untouched. It seems to me nowadays with the development of science & technology; some scientists made researches and experiments on the mind and its power. They had some knowledge of it and wrote some books about them. Therefore human views, thinkings, verbal and physical actions affect the physical world and nature internally and externally, which I had already mentioned above. As a human being physical appearance is also important. Who will marry an elephant man or woman? (Referred to the Elephant Man, the movie. This was a true story & there was a book on it. The elephant man’s mother was a beautiful woman.
So nothing to do with genetic, the kammic result of his past life). Who will use them in the five stars hotel and restaurant? These are individual matters. For the larger scale effect, it is more important. Connection with societies, the human race, nature, and the mother Earth; it becomes very important. It becomes about human survival. The Earth is becoming more and more polluted, rising temperature (e.g. 50°C in the middle east), ice melting in the north pole, strong hurricanes (e.g. Katrina, Harvey, etc. in U.S.), many typhoons in Asia (e.g. mostly in the Philippines), heavy rains, floods, landslides, forest fires, etc. Even animals and insects are sensitive to nature and aware of the dangers. But
human beings are not, even they do not know about themselves. Scientists make a lot of researches and experiments on the external world, but they do not know their minds. Their minds are closer to them than any other things, more than their wives and children. They were born with it, living with it and die with it. Nearly all human problems come from it, but they do not know themselves.
This is ignorance (avijjā). The natural sufferings of birth, aging, and death we cannot escape. The others are humans made, and we can prevent and escape from it. We need to follow the Buddha’s wisdom and his teachings. By following the Buddha’s wisdom, we can prevent and solve a lot of human-made problems and sufferings. We cannot find anyone on the Earth who will know about
Human beings are better than Buddha. After his enlightenment, he talked about them for 45 years all the times. If we know and understand the Buddha’s teachings, then we can live our life by the wholesome dhamma. This way of life is living in rectitude and righteousness. This way of life is benefitting oneself and others, also it protecting oneself and others. And after death, no-one will become a naked person (empty person).
This is a real blessing. The Buddha declared it very clear that anyone who practiced the Dhamma; and it would protect him. The Dhamma here was wholesome dhamma-the positive ones and not the unwholesome dhamma, which is the negative one. Still, it comes back to the law of action—cause and effect. Therefore, someone is practicing Dhamma at least has three results.
(1) You look after and protect yourself from dangers.
(2) It can bring you happiness.
(3) After death will not fall into painful existences.
There is a good jataka story for contemplation on these points. This was Dhammapala Jataka. In ancient time, Kasi Country had a village named Dhammapala. The bodhisatta was also called Dhammapala and the son of the village headman. He went to Taxila for education. His teacher’s son suddenly died at a very young age. Therefore the family members and the students there were suffered from sorrow, pain, and grief. Dhammapala saw this event and became very surprised about it. Because it was not the time for death at this very young age, in his village. He had never been seen and heard them before.
So, he and the other students were in arguing about this matter. This case arrived at his teacher, and he questioned him. Dhammapala said that in his village nobody died at a young age. All lived up to the full life span. The teacher was very curious about it and decided to make an inquiry in this village. So, he took some animal bones with him to the Dhammapala village, and met Dhammapala’s father, informed to him that his son died unexpectedly. By hearing it, the people were laughing. Then, the teacher took the animal bones out and showed them for evidence. They instantly responded that it would be the bones of an animal and it not belonged to Dhammapala. The teacher asked them why they did not believe it and the reasons for long life and long living.
The reasons or causes were:—-
(1) They approached the wise, holy men and teachers
(2) They listened to their teachings.
Any ascetic and teacher came to their village and taught them; they would only take what was good and following it. If something were not good, they did not take it and not criticize them. From these 2 points, we know that these people were mature. These two factors are similar to the first and second factors of practice leading to stream entry. These are:—
(1) Association with people of integrity
(2) Listening to the true Dhamma.
Let us observe nowadays, mans, and societies. Do they have the standards and intelligence like Dhammapala villagers or what the Buddha wanted them to be? Most people approach unwise, ignoble men, and polluted matters or media. What did they learn from these men and stuff? They learnt the wrong views, sex, violence, greed, selfishness, hate, ingratitude, exploitation, meanness, etc. So most human beings become more and more deluded, and many problems and disasters arise internally and externally.
(3) The Dhammapala villagers were observing the five precepts very well and practiced accordingly.
(4) They performed generosity as much as they could. They took joy and interest in these performances before, during, and after. This was the proper way of doing merits and also taught by the Buddha.
(5) The villagers were living together in harmony, friendliness, and helping each other.
Therefore it was a peaceful and happy society. These qualities are now very rare in societies, even in family life. In the past, around a small area, people were known to each other very well. Our neighbors were like family members and helping each other. Nowadays, these things are changing dramatically. Living next door and do not know each other. Regarding others with suspicion and no feelings of security. If we observe and ontemplate these five factors and will found that these were had a connection to each other, they are leading to peace, harmony, long life, and happiness.
In the Sakka-pañhā Sutta-Sakka’s Questions (No. 21, Majjima Nikāya), Sakka the deva-king asked the Buddha as follow: All living beings (here men) wanted to be free from hostility, violence, rivalry, ill-will, free from those who were hostile. These were also meant; long life, healthiness, and happiness. But the beings were not fulfilling these wishes. What were the reasons behind that?
The Buddha answered to this was; beings were fettered with envy, stinginess, and avarice (selfishness), which was why they lived in hostility, violence, rivalry, ill-will and with those who were hostile. These two unwholesome mental states are interesting. It represents lobha and dosa—greed and hate. If we observe and contemplate today world situations, these unwholesome things and matters are happening up to the international levels.
In some countries political parties are fighting each other for power and using many dirty tricks, even some superpowers are in this group. They were exploiting the citizens just for their power and greed. If they concern for the country and people no need to fight for power, whoever wins is the same, even have to support the winning party for the welfare of the people. The Buddha also taught people on the important role of political leaders (in ancient time were emperors and kings) and governments.
Bad leaders and governments (i.e., immoral people), their behaviors and acts affect the citizens and nature and leading to dangers, such as drought, famine, wars, and diseases, etc. Regarding these disasters, even the Buddha said that people would not believe him what he had said. This point was not difficult to understand. Even most human beings do not understand themselves. To understand and see these things which are not within their knowledge. Human knowledge is very limited.
If we observe and contemplate the provinces of economics and sciences/technologies, there are also problems created by some economists and scientists. The main problems are unsustainable economic policies and scientific inventions. The main culprit is craving, greed, over-indulgence (tanhā) with ignorance or deluded mind, which cannot discern things. These are our greatest enemies, the inner ones. More destructive than any external one, even than natural disasters which are also caused by these enemies.
Greed, hatred, and delusion (wrong views) are the weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and not Sadan Hussein or Kadatfi or Osamabin Ladin or other people. They are already inside us or in each one of us. If writing about the current situation on nature, politics, economics and science and technology, and there are a lot of problems in these provinces. If we study, observe and contemplate and can see them very clear.
The Buddha said that the source of suffering was greed __ craving (It including hatred for sure, both as the two sides of a coin). Combine with wrong views, and it becomes WMD. But humans take them as their best friends. They are nourishing and developing them in their whole lives. Many years ago, there was a Hollywood movie called “The Man with the X-rayed eyes.” The actor was Ray Milland, who was a scientist in it. He was researching a chemical liquid which could be used as the X-ray. After he had found it and used it on himself. He was using it as an eye-drop. What he found out was made him happy and a lot of joy.
He could see men and women naked bodies after using some drops. At the beginning, with desire and craving, he was happy with it. In the long run, it caused a problem and distraction like a drug addict. After sometimes, by using the x-ray eye drops, his eyes were starting showing the signs of degeneration. He could not see naked women anymore and instead of their skeletons. And then later he only saw the bright light. This made him unbearable and ended up destroying his own eyes. There are some important and valuable lessons we can gain from it. The scientist’s motivation was not good.
In the same way some economic policies and scientific researches and inventions were not good. It brought up more problems than solved the problems because these were based on greed and selfishness. There is a lot of envy and avarice going an in politics, economics, and knowledge on science and technology. There is also protectionism on economics and sharing of knowledges. These are the signs of greed & selfishness, which lead to distrust & disharmony among countries, and problems.
Greed never brings satisfaction and happiness. If greed is greater and greater, it brings more problems and sufferings. It is like a balloon if put in more and more air and it bigger and bigger. With over limit and then it
explodes. We can see the effects of human greed and craving on earth, in societies and nature. Climate changes and the temperature rising is now close to the limits. Therefore we saw a lot of natural disasters. Hurricane Harvey was a very good example (i.e., happened in America in 2018). And then, we heard and knew some human health problems connecting with food chains which were polluted by chemicals and other pollutions (i.e., air, water, etc.).
Now even we heard some news about young girls as young as ten years old had childbirths. Even these kinds of things mentioned by the Buddha a long time ago and difficult to believe it. Now it comes true. It is important to know roughly about our inner enemies of greed, hatred, and delusion (ignorance). If we like something, then it becomes greed and do not like it and becomes hatred (aversion).
So hatred can be grouped into greed. We do things blindly because we do not know the outcomes of it. This is ignorance or delusion. Greed and hatred go with delusion(ignorance). In the beginning, ignorance is leading to greed or hatred. If we used to it and it becomes a habit, and even knowing the outcome, we cannot stop it. Then we are led by greed or hatred; even we know the outcomes, as an example, someone addicted to drugs.
The Buddha gave a simile (there are many) for greed, craving, and clinging as a drop of honey on the edge of a very sharp razor blade. Sensual pleasures are like this. If we are with a very strong desire to enjoy the pleasant feeling and licking the honey, then we will encounter great suffering. Therefore restraint of the senses brings peace and happiness to the human race. Overusing it or indulgence with it will burn us like fire. The story of the man with the x-rayed eyes reminded politicians, economists, and scientists how to use their powers and knowledge for the human race.
16. Assistance to one’s relatives
發表於 : 2019-11-19, 20:09
16. Assistance to one’s relatives
In the Khuddaka Nikāya, the 15th text is Cariyā Pitaka. This text included some of the jataka stories connection with the practices of the bodhisatta on the ten perfections (paramis). How he developed his paramis for the welfare of the world, relatives, and himself. Therefore, assistance to one’s relatives is one of the cariyās. This protection with blessing is relating to love and compassion (metta and karuna).
Nowadays, men are quite weak in these noble qualities. It seems to be human becomes more cruel and violent to fellow human beings and animals. Even we have seen and heard more and more stories of children’s ingratitude to their parents, even in Asian Culture.
Therefore assistance to one’s relatives can be a difficult thing to do, because of lacking metta-karuna. Support for one’s parents, assistance to one’s wife and children, assistance to one’s relatives and others (friends and strangers) are in the three cariyās.
So these practices are a true blessing for oneself and others. Here assistance to one’s relatives is not only included with blood relationship, but also one own people and country. There were many jataka stories for these points. We only contemplate 2 of them.
1. The Story of the Bodhisatta Crow:
One time the bodhisatta was born as the leader of crows. One day a crow in the city chat on the head of the brahman who was the king’s teacher. He was quite angry and had a grudge on the crow population. Unfortunately for the crows, the king’s elephants got the disease. So the king discussed this matter with the brahmȧn teacher. He had strong ill-will to the crows and wanted to revenge them. And then he told the king that there was a medicine which could cure the disease of the elephants. This was the body oil of the crows. Therefore the king ordered to kill the crows for oil.
So, many crows were killed and reduced the numbers of crows. At last, the bodhisatta crow could not neglect this matter anymore. The bodhisatta met the king and explained to him that crows never had oil in their bodies. The reason was that crows were always alert and living their lives with fear and dangers. When we were young as boys, had been eaten crow meat before. But never thinking about this point as crows do not have oil in their body.
Even their bodies do not have much meat and liquid inside them, skinny and dry. At that period there were a lot of crows everywhere. In cities, they were making a lot of noises. Chasing and fighting each other for foods and quite noisy. We could see them in the backyard of houses, around kitchens, searching, and stealing for foods.
Nowadays, we cannot see them anymore (i.e., in Burma). It seems they were extinct from the cities. One of the reasons may be poisoned by men. Now we are in the same fate as men poison men by pesticides, other chemicals, and other pollutants. These are the results of greed and selfishness. In the Sutta Nipāta, there was a discourse called Kāma Sutta—Sensual Pleasure.
The Buddha gave some similes for sensual pleasure/sensuality. One of them was a bird (crow, vulture, hawk-etc.) had a piece of meat (here represented sensuality), and other birds following behind him and tried to get this meat. So they attacked him with their beaks. If he did not drop it, then it would never end. If he dropped it, then another bird got it. Therefore the other birds followed this bird again to attack him for the meat.
But the first crow was free from suffering after he let go of the meat. We need to ask the following questions. What about human beings? Do they want to let go off their over-indulgence in sensual pleasure with over craving for making money which will lead to the destruction of the Earth? For human survival, we should contemplate these points very seriously. If not it will be too late, because of the severe climate changes on the Earth. The price of these is too much for a momentary, fleeting pleasure.
2. A Noble Leader:
This was the story of a monkey king called Mahākappina from a Jataka story and a past life of the bodhisatta. It was a very touching story. At that time the bodhisatta was born as a monkey leader called Mahākappina. There was a forest upstream of the Ganges River. A big mango tree was at near the bank of the river. It had very delicious mangoes. Therefore the bodhisatta asked all the monkeys not let any mangoes fell into the water which grew out on any branch stretched out to the river. Because if any mango which was ripe and dropped into the river and carried downstream could eat by men.
Then, men would follow their trace upstream and found them. It would be a danger for them. Unlucky, once there was a ripe mango covered by red ants and all the monkeys not aware of it. After sometimes it dropped into the river and arrived at the human place. Someone found it and presented it to the king. The taste was very delicious that the king craved for it. He and a group of people followed the river upstream to find the mango tree.
At last, they found it and ate as much as they could. And then they slept under the tree for a rest. After they were in sleep, the monkeys came and ate the fruits. But some monkeys made that noises woke them up. And then they saw the monkeys and tried to catch them.
There was only one way the monkeys could escape. That was crossing to the other bank of the river which side also had some big trees. So the bodhisatta came in. He selected a strongest and long enough creeper on the mango tree; with his strong force jumped over the river to the other side. From the other side of a tree, he took nearly the same length of creeper jumped back to the mango tree. Here the bodhisatta made a mistake. He forgot to calculate for the length to bind the mango tree. There was not enough time to do it again. So he bound the end of the creeper on his two legs and with both hands holding to a very strong branch and using his whole body as a bridge.
All the monkeys trod on his body, with the help of the creeper and arrived on the other side. But there was an evil monkey who was the past life of Devadatta—the Buddha’s cousin. He had a strong grudge and hatred on the bodhisatta in a very long distant past which he carried along with him until the bodhisatta’s last life. With the evil intention and by force, he jumped on the bodhisatta’s back and crossed to the other shore. The bodhisatta heart was broken, and he bore the intense pain with patience.
The king and the others saw the incident with awe and in surprise. They tenderly took the bodhisatta down from the tree. And then, the bodhisatta taught the king to has discernment, love, compassion, to protect one’s people and passed away. The king took the bodhisatta’s head to his country, and it was plated with gold, kept it as a souvenir to remind him of this memorable event.
Even we heard some animals stories (some were pets) who saved human lives in modern days. What about human beings? It is true that human qualities are changing a lot. Men are becoming more and more self-centered, greedy, and selfish. Do not talk about common people. Some political leaders and governments, they have the duties to govern their people with love, sympathy, concern, and for their welfare. But we saw quite a lot of them (here means more than before) exploited the citizen for their powers, misusing their powers and corrupted.
The worst thing was even some power mongers created wars and instability within one country and also to other countries (These were not difficult to understand. One reason is connecting with the lucrative arms businesses). Some superpowers they used many reasons and excuses to interfere with other countries and behaving like mafia bosses. Therefore now we have seen many problems, the refugee crisis, wars, and instability in many parts of the world. In this remarkable story, we see the bodhisatta gave up his life to save his species. And an evil monkey who destroyed him.
All the big problems were coming from the small ones. Because of man’s ignorance or delusion and it became a great problem (e.g., the Syrian War). Hatred is the most harmful and dangerous unwholesome mental state, which creates hells on the Earth and after death. In the middle east, there are a lot of wars going on, and some are only a few years old. The hatred between Israel and Palestinian is more than a half-century old. That means hatred cannot overcome by hatred, only by love, compassion, forgiveness, and understanding. Tit-for-tat view and policy never bring happiness, peace, and harmony, only more and more misery and suffering, which will never end. These are human hells on Earth.
17. Deeds that are blameless
發表於 : 2019-11-19, 20:22
17. Deeds that are blameless
There are quite a lot of blameless deeds, from smaller one to a great one. Therefore it is a very wide subject to talk about. In general, any wholesome deed for the benefit and welfare of others can be counted here. Everyone can do it. It has to be started from the family life and then spreading to societies, country, and international levels respectively.
Every goodness has to be started from the family life when we are young. Therefore family education is the foundation for all other goodness to develop and arise. All goodness is based on ethical and moral values and standards. Only wholesome causes have wholesome results. Human beings should never forget this natural law and always keep it in mind for our whole life. To have confidence/conviction in the laws of cause and effect is the basic principle to all human beings.
As a human being has to know what should be done and what should not be done. It seems very simple, but even still, many people do not believe in it or not take it very seriously. Blameless deeds can be included in carana-good conduct. One of the nine attributes of the Blessed one (the Buddha) is—Vijjā-carana-sampanna-Consummate in knowledge and conduct.
This 3rd attribute of the Buddha includes three types of dhamma: sīla, samādhi, and paññā. Sīla and samādhi are including in carana-conduct and paññā in knowledge. To do things for the benefits and welfare of others include oneself. The Buddha as a bodhisatta for many lives was the best example of it. Someone believes in the law of kamma will keep the precepts-sīla and not harming others and oneself.
Without sīla cannot develop samādhi. Without sīla, beings are wandering or falling into painful existences. Conduct is two kinds; ordinary one and related to perfection (parami). Knowledge is also the same. Conducts include in parami are dāna, sīla and samādhi bhavana. Knowledges include in parami are: listening, studying, spreading suññāta Dharma-such as, khandha, āyatana, dhātu, etc. Contemplating them with insight and teaching to others. In the past, people who met/encountered the Buddha’s Teachings had fulfilled these two perfections.
Therefore when later they encountered the Buddha’s teachings again and realized the Path and Fruit. For examples; Ven. Sariputta, Ven. Mahā-maggallāna; Khema Theri, Upallavana Theri; laymen Anathapindika and Citta; lay women Visākhā and Uttara, etc. Someone only had the perfection of conduct and without knowledge, when later he encountered the Buddha’s teachings, even listened to his teachings very often did not realize the Path and Fruit (For examples; King Pasenadi of Kosālā and his Queen Mallikā, etc.).
Someone only had the perfection of knowledge and not conduct-such as caga, sīla, bhavana, etc., as, e.g., the well-known scholar monk Kapila of the Buddha Kassapa’s time. After death, he fell into painful existence – the hell. In the Buddha Gautama’s time, he was born as an animal – the big golden fish with the stinky mouth. I have met this kind of lay Buddhists, they are not interesting in conducts and only in meditation. In the beginning, they are serious, but with time going on their saddhā (faith) are going down. Like a straw fire burning very quickly and die out very quickly.
Nowadays very difficult to find someone who has both qualities, conduct, and knowledge. It seems to me more and more people lack both. People are more and more greedy and selfish; their six sense doors are occupying with polluted media. Saddhā is a very important factor for developing good conducts/deeds, which leads to fortunate rebirths and having good lives and fortunes. Carana parami and saddhā give the results of high-class people, such as —kings, leaders, rich people, etc. Paññā is a very important factor for developing knowledge—vijjā, which leads to understanding and has profound knowledge. It gives the results of becoming teachers, sages, and noble beings. Therefore every Buddhists should develop both qualities.
What about ordinary good conduct? These are also very important for a human being. For the human race to have happiness, peace, and harmony, every man has to follow, practice, and develop good conduct. This is to be started from the family level, societies to international levels. To be fulfilled this inspiration and purpose, humans have to lay down the basic causes for it. These basic causes are moral value, standard, and education. If we observe and study present societies and international situations around the world, only we understand and see these basic causes as very important and unavoidable.
I had seen a documentary film on human problems in societies, environmental pollutions, and some natural disasters caused by human deeds and actions. I will mention them in general only. There was a scene a father and son were like playing a funny game (i.e., in the father’s view). They slapped each other face in turn. The son might be 4 or 5 years old. This small boy was using force and sometimes seeing the father rubbing his face, but he was still laughing. Was this the way a father teaching his son becoming a good person? Now he was slapping you only with hands, but in the future will stab you with a knife.
People are nowadays instead of teaching children respect and gratitude to their parent, teaching them in opposite ways. Around the world, some are shouting for democracy, equality, and human right. Are human beings using it rightly, properly, and wisely? All their good qualities have to be used in the right place in wholesome matters. If using them, wrongly & improperly democracy becomes demo-crazy; equality and human right become licentious matters (current situations around the world become like these).
If not societies and the world will be in chaos. There was another scene in China. A father was filming with a video camera to his two children; a five years old boy and ten years old girl. What was he filming about? He was urging, encouraging, and cheering them to fight each other. Both children were quite different in body size and strength. Every time he was beaten and fallen on to the ground, and then she kicked and stamped on his body by force.
After sometimes the man’s aunt came out to the compound to see what happened. This elderly woman did not say anything and went back inside the house. The father asked the boy to get up and fight. Every time the boy was beaten and cried, the father was laughing. By looking into the girl’s eyes and face, and we can know that she had cruel nature (without the wholesome education, her future will be hopeless).
Where this video came from? It was sure that the father put it on the internet. It was also broadcasted in the TV news in China. Did he want to train his children to become criminals and terrorists? Why there are many violence, terrorist activities, and wars around the world? Even men are very cruel and violent to men. So it is no need to mention how humans treat animals, can be even worse. Some video clips were showing how humans treated animals.
Some human cruelty on animals is shocking and unbelievable, similar to hell scenes. Mans kill animals for meat, skins, and furs to satisfy their sensual pleasure. Sometimes the killings are like torturing animals in hell scenes, as example-stripping off the skin furs of animals alive, etc. Even it is unpleasant to talk about these things. Some of the human activities to animals can be seen in shark fins, dolphin and whale meats industries, etc. The sea water is covered with red blood.
These business people and their workers are creating hell on Earth for their future births in hells. Some humans, for money they can do any evil thing you cannot imagine. For a momentary, fleeting pleasure they are harming others and themselves, really stupid and foolish. Also, men cannot escape the dangers made by men, such as air, water, earth and foods poisonings and many other kinds of pollution. All these things create health problems, life-threatening, and surviving problems.
There are also sex problems in societies. We heard about as young as ten years old pregnant girls in the news. Homosexuality among young boys and girls, even no need to mention about youth and grown-up people. Why these kinds of sexual abnormality becoming more and more in humans? Because we do not see it as abnormal and immoral. Therefore we encourage, promote, and protect these things to happen. Sexual misconducts create these results of abnormality. That is, people are born in these ways because of their past sexual misconducts (i.e., kammic results).
There are also some causes of this present life. These are unwholesome educations and polluted media. If sexual abnormality becomes out of control & become the more serious one – unlawful sex (adhamma-raga), sexual practices between family members. For money or ill-will, make their things happen. The only solution is not by punishments, but with educations—on virtue, morality, and ethics; the results of its values, standards, and benefits. All worldly and spiritual developments always based on these qualities. Without these qualities even cannot be called a human being.
Another human problem is ignorance and delusion. Why are human beings becoming more and more ignorant and deluded? In short, their views and knowledge are wrong. Because of misguided opinions and attitudes come from media are wrong. Some of these media are promoting and spreading polluted things—can be called unwholesome educations to the public.
Therefore we can see more and more smokers, alcoholics, drug addicts and their ages are younger and younger. Even some governments make illegal drugs become legal drugs. That is encouraging their citizens becoming drug addicts and ignoramuses, deluded citizens. What a pity? The ways of solving problems are wrong.
It was the same as solving sexual misconducts and sexual abnormality, not by encouraging and promoting, but with wholesome education. Dealing with violence, terrorism, and wars are also in the wrong ways. It should be with love, compassion, forgiveness, and wholesome education. With tit-for-tat, it will never end, and become more serious. It was like the polluted Earth, with more and more pollutions (internal and external) more and more natural dangers and disasters will arise.
Human beings should check and contemplate/reflect their thinkings/views and behaviors to find the solution for living beings and the Earth. Within a half-century (estimation only) human beings with the development of sciences and technology and unsustainable economic views and policies were making the Earth became situations today. We are nourishing the three unwholesome roots of sufferings-greed, hatred, and delusion for overindulgence of sensual pleasure. And we are never thinking about the outcomes it brings to the human race and the Earth.
We are nourishing and making friends with our real enemies—so the outcomes are dangers, disasters, and sufferings. We cannot become sages and noble beings instantly but at least can become virtuous, moral, and ethical persons. To achieve this inspiration, we must reduce the forces of greed, hatred, and delusion which influence us. This is the way of wholesome education—starting from family life to societies and international level. At least our deeds will become blameless and will have the blessing of happiness, peace, and harmony among us and in nature.
There was an interesting story about Magha—The past life of Sakka—The king of devas. This story represented blameless deeds. Magha was a young man of Macala village. He had a good heart and was repairing damaged roads and planting trees. In the beginning, he was doing alone and then later increasing to 33 men and their wives. Therefore their projects of social works and social welfare increased in many ways. The head-man of these groups of villages was becoming displeasure with their activities of social welfare. Because he was making great fortunes with his promoting of wrong livelihoods, such as gambling, liquors, etc.
More and more people became good and ethical persons, and he made less and less money. So, he planned to get rid of them. He informed the king that Magha and his group were planning to revolt him. At last, the king believed in him and arrested Magha and his men and condemned them to death. The executioners buried their bodies in the ground with the heads above and stamped them with elephants.
They had already prepared for it. Magha asked his men not to have ill-will and hatred to the king, the executioners, and the elephants. Instead, they were spreading love and good-will to all of them. Because of the power of metta and many of their wholesome merits for the welfare of others, the elephants could not stamp on their heads. The executioners tried with the elephants three times, and all were failed.
At last, the king asked Magha did they have any mantra-sacred syllables to stop the elephants from harming them. Magha answered to the king that they had it, and these were goodwill (metta) and social welfare services to others. The king got rid of the evil head-man of the villages and replaced him with Magha. Magha was not an ordinary man. Because of his many past deeds after death and born as the king of 33 devas of Tavatimsa Heaven. Later he met the Buddha, listened to one of his talks and became a stream-winner (sotāpanna).
His life taught us a very valuable lesson what to do as a human being. The Buddha taught that human birth was difficult to attain. It is not the direct meaning of difficult to born as a human being. The birth of a brahma-god was more difficult than human birth. Because one has to practice jhānas. But as a human who has many chances to do wholesome deeds and merits. Other higher births do not have these chances. They only enjoy their merits and jhānic pleasure.The human world is like a treasure island.
There are seven kinds of treasure hidden on the earth. These treasures are:
(1) The treasure of conviction (saddhā)
(2) The treasure of virtue (sīla)
(3) The treasure of conscience (hiri)
(4) The treasure of concern (ottappa)
(5) The treasure of listening (Dhammasavanaṁ)
(6) The treasure of generosity (cāga)
(7) The treasure of discernment (paññā)
What happens to nowadays human being? Do they know about the hidden treasures and find it? Even most human beings do not know that these things exist. They do not have the treasure’s map. Therefore most of them behave like rats, cockroaches, and flies. They do not behave like bees, which are selfless creatures and doing their duties for the welfare of others. If someone behaves like rat, cockroach and fly and becomes a nuisance to society, their future births will be very painful.
Now someone is power-monger (politicians, leaders), war-monger, money-monger, etc…, because of their misdeeds and next time will be a servant cleaning toilets. And a rich person will be a beggar and begging for foods. These seven kinds of treasures are called noble treasures can be found only in the Buddha’s Teachings. Everyone can attain it by noble deeds or deeds that are blameless. Therefore every Buddhist should cultivate these blameless deeds and attaining the highest blessing in the life—i.e., Nibbāna.
18. Avoiding, abstaining from evil
發表於 : 2019-11-19, 20:41
18. Avoiding, abstaining from evil
Avoiding and abstaining are in Pali āratī and viratī, respectively. Avoiding is the matter of the mind, and abstaining is the matter of speech and bodily action. Avoiding evil means even not thinking about evil or unwholesome things with the mind. Speech and bodily action come from the thinking mind that mind is more important of the 3. In one sutta of the Buddha (discourse), a monk wanted to go back to lay life. The reason was there were many rules for a monk to look after that difficulty for following it.
The Buddha knew about it and asked him to look after one only. That was the mind. What is evil? Pāpā is a Pali word for evil. What are evil dhammas? The ten unwholesome dhammas are evils. See the ten unwholesome courses of action in the 9th blessing-well mastered disciplines. In the ten unwholesome courses of action, three connect with the bodily actions, 4 with speech and 3 with the mind actions respectively. In this 18th protection with blessing, avoiding means not thinking about all the ten unwholesome dhammas.
There was a Dhamma talk by Sayadaw Dr. Nandamalarbhivamsa—The kammic results of misconducts, based on Ducaritavipāka Sutta. Here I will give the gist of this talk on the results of misconduct and the nature of kamma-actions. So that people will know how much importance the protection with the blessing of avoiding, abstaining from evils. Actions, after done, can give the results for many world aeons. The resultant energy of the action and its quality will not disappear.
The volition-cetana or mental factor has disappeared, and the energy is leaving behind and following with the mind process. It cannot be seen. The power of energy able to perform things. As an example, some of the lessons we learned at a young age did not disappear. Good conduct-sucaritta or wholesome dhamma is like medicine. Misconduct-ducaritta or unwholesome dhamma is like a disease. Wholesome dhamma removes unwholesome dhamma, e.g. see Ven. Angulimāla’s story.
It is good to know these things so that people can avoid and abstain from evils. If not people will make mistakes again and again and becoming worse. This discourse of the Buddha was from the Aṅguttara Nikāya. It was mentioned eight factors—the eight misconducts.
(1) The taking of life-when indulged in, developed, and pursued leads to hell, leads to rebirth as a common animal, leads to the realm of hungry shades.
The slightest of all the results coming from the talking of life is, when one becomes a human being, it leads to a short life span.
(2) Stealing—leads to hell, rebirth as a common animal, to the realm of hungry shades (ghosts). When one becomes a human being, the slightest result of stealing is leading to the loss of one’s wealth.
(3) Illicit sexual behavior-leads to hell, rebirth as a common animal, to the realm of hungry ghosts. When one becomes a human being, the slightest result of illicit sexual behavior is leading to rivalry and revenge.
(4) Telling falsehoods—to hell, rebirth as animal and ghost. When it becomes a human being, it leads to being falsely accused.
(5) Divisive tale-bearing-to hell, rebirth as animal and ghost. When it becomes a human being, it leads to the breaking of one’s friendships.
(6) Harsh speech—to hell rebirth as animal and ghost. When it becomes a human being, it leads to unappealing sounds.
(7) Frivolous chattering—to hell, rebirth as animal and ghost. When it becomes a human being, it leads to words that are not worth taking to heart
(8) The drinking of fermented and distilled liquors—to hell, rebirth……, it leads to mental derangement.
In the ten unwholesome courses of action, not included the drinking of fermented and distilled liquors. Therefore some think that it is wholesome. But in this sutta, the Buddha included in the misconduct-ducaritta and also in the five precepts. Although it does not include in the ten unwholesome actions directly, count it with the misconduct of illicit sexual behavior.
Because in the five sensual pleasures, alcoholic drinks are connecting with taste. Therefore count it with illicit sexual behavior. Ducaritta-misconduct means all the bad/not good behaviors. To fulfill misconduct, there are five factors included. As an example for talking life:—
(1) Must be a living being
(2) Knowing that it is a living being
(3) Has the intention(volition) to kill
(4) Commit the action of killing
(5) Has been killed.
Doing an action, there are many stages; beginning, many times, a lot or again and again. And then become a habit, and later a character. In the beginning, you take drugs. Sometimes later, the drugs take you. And then put you in the jail, becomes a criminal. Sometimes we are doing things without intention. This intentional/volitional killing can fall into hell. After freeing from hell and born as an animal.
After death as an animal and born as a hungry ghost (peta). The slightest of its result is when it becomes a human being has a short life span. For stealing: The slightest result is the loss of one’s wealth. For illicit sexual behaviors: the slightest result is hating by others and has many enemies. For telling falsehoods: the slightest result is being falsely accused and arrested.
For decisive tale-bearing: The slightest result is breaking of one’s friendships and family break up. These things happen very often. For harsh speech: the slightest result is not hearing about pleasant and happy things and matters. For frivolous chattering/useless and meaningless: the slightest result is no one talking his words to heart or accepting what has said. For drinking of fermented and distilled liquors: the slightest result is leading to mental derangement or becomes a dull and stupid person.
As a human being, it is very important to understand the analysis of action. Because the human world is a place where a living being has more chances than any other existences to cultivate goodness. There was a sutta in the Majjima Nikāya on the analysis of action; Cūla-Kammavibhaṅga Sutta(Sutta no.135). It is worthwhile to study it for avoiding and abstaining from evils and performing goodness.
Therefore human existence is a precious birth and should use it properly and skillfully. If not with this precious existence can do a lot of evil deeds will suffer here and after. Also, the nature of mind is difficult to control, and it takes an interest in unwholesome matters and sensual pleasure.
There are three ways of abstaining from evils(virati).
(1) Sampatta-virati: abstaining from evils by controlling one’s mind when an encounter with a situation.
(2) Sammadana-virati: undertaking the precepts and looking after it.
(3) Samucheda-virati: perfect or noble abstaining of the noble beings (ariyas) from stream enterer to arahant.
Because they had already eradicated defilement (kilesa) related to evil deeds, with Path and Fruit Knowledge.
There was a story in Sri Lanka related to sampatta-virati.
There were two brothers, and one day, their mother was sick. So they invited a doctor to treat her. He told them a prescription which could cure her illness. That was to eat fresh rabbit meat. The younger brother went to the field to look for rabbits. After sometimes he saw a rabbit was eating the young rice crops. The rabbit, after seeing him and in fright, ran for its life. He was chasing the rabbit and at last its legs entangled in creepers.
When he caught the poor lovely animal, and it was trembling with fear. He had a strong sympathetic feeling to the rabbit and could not take its life. Therefore he released the poor creature and decided to go back home. His elder bother learned what had happened and scolded him for not concerning their mother’s illness.
To please his brother, he decided to use the Dhamma of truth to cure his mother. He made the following asseveration of truth. “In my whole life, I have never been killed an animal intentionally.” Here there were two factors; his sīla was pure, and the asseveration which he made was also true. After repeating the asseveration of
Truth for three times and the mother was cured. In the world, nearly everyone encounters unavoidable difficulty and problem, e.g., doing unwholesome matter for livelihood. When encounter problems, it is very important to use the right way or method. If not, it becomes more confusing or worse. (e.g., the 2011 year of the Syrian Civil war was a great tragedy).
Therefore world leaders and governments should contemplate this point very carefully. In the beginning, by solving the problem in an unwholesome way, it seems to be solved the problem for a while. Later it becomes worse and chaotic. Because the purpose was overcoming it instantly. But it is also like collecting the unwholesome kammic results. These points are very important to consider and contemplate. There was a very good Dhamma talk by Sayadaw Dr. Nandamalarbhivamsa on the unwholesome and wholesome dhammas.
In there has many valuable points to contemplate and follow accordingly by everyone. This section also about-avoiding and abstaining from evil deeds. Therefore Sayadaw’s talk will help us to achieve this very important protection with a blessing. Here I will give a gist of it only. Whatever thing we are doing, this must be a wholesome matter. This was taught by the Buddha. By doing wholesome action, someone gains a valuable thing. Wholesome dhamma is not easy to arise. It needs the causes for it to arise. With its arising and one will get the good result of natural energy (kammic wholesome energy).
This is the view of Buddha and noble beings (ariyas). But worldlings do not see in this way. They only want to gain wealth and fortunes. For them, wealth and fortunes are greater than wholesome merits. But the Buddha saw it oppositely because it gave a longtime result. To attain wealth and fortunes also good, but it has a short life span, and we get it only for one life. Wholesome merits give the results of for this life and next life until the end of saṁsāra.
The Buddha was always thinking about for this life and next life, i.e., seeing both sides. For permanence and short term; we should choose the permanent results. If we got both, then it is better. If not, then just choose the permanent one. The Buddha always encouraged us to have mindfulness with contemplation. With this, we will find out the answers and can solve the problems. If seeing things superficially, we cannot see it clearly or penetrate it.
This is the case with most world leaders and governments, economists, and scientists. Therefore they create a lot of human problems and environmental pollutions in today world. Whatever matter must contemplate and reflect carefully and wisely. We-human beings should have the kinds of education with discernment and wisdom, which can discern cause and effect, good or bad, wholesome or unwholesome, long term and short term. Most human beings nowadays are lacking in these qualities.
These are the results of wrong educations which clouded the mind. The shining nature of the mind buried underneath of greed, hatred, and delusion, which make the mind darker and darker. Wholesome kinds of education are valuable and priceless treasures. Buddhists should not waste their precious lives and times. With wise contemplation and reflection do what should be done to pass our lives is the best way. In one sutta, the Buddha reminded his followers and disciples as follow.
“The days and nights are relentlessly passing, how well am I spending my time? This should be reflected upon again and again.”
Do we ever reflect how we spend our times every day, every month and every year? Without contemplation, no answer will come out. With it will find out the answer and doing thing accordingly. It is like a business matter, has to reflect very often on loss and profit, but very few reflect with life. Therefore most people do not know about loss and profit in life. Without any answer could not change the way of life. With contemplation in economics can change the way, system, and method.
Everyone wants to be:
(1) long life
(3) happiness and
(4) fulfilled one’s wishes.
A life with these four factors can be called successful enough. But the Buddha mentioned more than that. Is long life good for everyone? Someone in life has a lot of misconducts and demerits with longer life means more misconducts and demerits. Like a war going on longer and more sufferings and deaths (see, the Syrian Civil War). It is more harmful to this person in his long life. Someone (e.g., a miner) like digging a pit; with more digging, it becomes deeper and more dangerous. What the Buddha taught was always true. It is about natural law-cause and effect, without time limits. Only we do not know it yet. There was a verse in the Dhammapada worth for contemplation.
The Buddha was comparing two long-lived persons. One is no sīla and going his life with unwholesome matters. The other is the opposite nature. A life without sīla and with misconducts like a pit with the continuous digging becomes deeper. With sīla and merits is like building a high wall, with continuous construction, it becomes higher and higher. Therefore for the second person, his long life is better.
So, the verse said: “A life with merits one day is better than a life with demerits for 100 years.” Their values are quite different. For a fool, his life also affects others (surroundings). According to the law of action, everything that one has done is responsible for oneself. But it also affects the surroundings. A bad son creates sufferings for the whole family. A good son brings happiness to the whole family. But his path of life is nothing to do with the family. Therefore as long as a fool life with demerits effects the whole family. If he dies will bring peace to the family. A gigantic useful tree is a refuge for 10,000 birds. (A Burmese Saying)
It is amazing to know the wise social views of Chinese sages. There were many similarities between them and the teachings of the Buddha (i.e., on the worldly matters). They knew a long time ago that moral and ethical education was fundamentally important for goodness and wholesome developments in societies. Even they emphasized it to start with the family. Because parents are the first teachers of a child and their mind is pure and innocent in the beginning.
Therefore the parents are easy to teach and train them whatever directions they want them to be. Parents can teach and train a child to become a sage or a criminal. In life, there are only two kinds of persons; someone with moral, ethical standard and value and someone without them. Their lives are far away to each other, as sky and earth. Attaining a human existence has two duties; performing the duty of one’s welfare and others. In Pali language: These are called attahita and parahita. Based on these two duties,
Buddha divided human beings into four groups. These were:
(1) Only for oneself and not for others
(2) Only for others and not for oneself.
(3) not for oneself and others.
(4) for oneself and others (both).
The 3rd person is the worst of all. A person with attahita and parahita is the best. Without attahita, and cannot has parahita. A bad person cannot make people good. (By protecting oneself, one protects others – Sedaka Sutta, Saṁyutta Nikāya). By benefitting oneself and harming others is also not good. Nowadays, in societies, this kind of businesses and making money is more than before, e.g., using pesticides in crops, fruits, vegetables, etc.
Tobacco and alcoholic businesses are making a lot of money and harming a lot of people with health problems, social problems, etc. There is no end to mention these things. But these people never think about their actions which they cannot escape for a short term sensual pleasures. With more consumers and make more money, but the kammic results they have to pay are greater and heavier (They are like licking the honey on the razor blade).
First, we should benefit oneself and later to help others. Buddha and bodhisattas were noble beings who arose in the world for their welfare and others. Philanthropists are also in this group. Therefore they are becoming richer and richer. The Pali word-hita means good conditions for good results to arise. Sukha-means happiness, the result of hita.
Therefore people should create good conditions (hita) for the happy results of oneself and others. The education systems of Chinese sages were for this purpose. Chinese civilization and culture survive for over 3000 years of history are one of the main factors from these systems. Some government projects and plannings are also a good example of hita. Parents are also must create good conditions (hita) for their children to develop in morality, ethics, and virtues. To become a good and virtuous person is more important than a highly educated and rich person. Most worldly problems come from the fools and not from the wise and virtuous people.
Some parents, instead of teaching or training them to become good and virtuous people they left inheritances for their children. Without moral foundations, some of these outcomes are not good. Some parents create good conditions such as good educations (here mean for livelihoods), (fortune) money and good jobs only but not for the mind. So some of these children also do not have good endings. Good conditions are like good weathers.
Therefore in the old days some highly venerable monks at the end of their treatises with wishes and prayers for good weather and rain. So that having good weather and rain no drought and other dangers. Then human beings and other animals can be survived. Every politician (leaders), economists and scientists should take these points very seriously. Our physical worlds (physical body and nature-earth) are depending on the four hitas-good conditions; action (deed and behavior), mind (mental states), weather (climates), and foods.
If human beings continue to act and behave foolishly and stupidly like nowadays, there will be more disasters, dangers, and sufferings to arise. Do human beings want to be suffered and distressed? I hope not. Therefore all parents and governments must create good conditions for their children and citizens. The Buddha arose in this world for this reason and purpose. Not like the God and the gods of other faiths. They worship him with fear and rely on his power. If they do something wrong with confession is forgivable. God has the power of protecting and blessing.
There is nothing to do with one’s power and rely on outside power. Therefore one’s intelligence, knowledge, and ability to do things become blunt and stagnant. In human, the qualities of desire-wholesome desire (chanda), persistence(viriya) and intelligence/discrimination, discernment(paññā) are very important. The Buddha gave us the guidelines and showing ways only. He taught people to increase and develop their goodness and knowledge, stopped and prevented them not to do unwholesome matters. Everyone has the inner powers and has to rely on them. These powers are good conditions(hita).
We should never forget these powers and always increasing and developing them. These inner powers are : conviction(saddhā), virtue(sīla), learning(suta), generosity(caga) and discernment(paññā). These are the inner powers and as good conditions for everyone. Someone has these best conditions or qualities he/she will have worldly good fortunes and welfare in this life and afterlife. These inner powers or good conditions are also called noble growth or spiritual growth. Even the Buddha mentioned that someone had these qualities and performing the duties, and then whatever wishes and inspirations he made could be fulfilled.
These inner powers are good conditions(hita). Everyone should develop these qualities. Only then we will get happiness and peace. By knowing these things (especially the teaching of the Buddha), the wholesome paths we walk are becoming clear and straight. In the human world whatever we are doing, the main points or right standards are: what should be done and what should not be done, what is suitable and what is not suitable, what is a benefit and what is harmful, etc.
All combine these opposites, then there are only two kinds of phenomena (dhamma)— wholesome and unwholesome (kusālā and akusālā). Others are only human’s views. We should be afraid of and fear of unwholesome things and matters, and not others. E.g., most people are afraid of and fear of hells, but not the unwholesome deeds and unwholesome dhamma. Anger, hatred, and ill-will are dangerous and very harmful to both. The result of evil deeds that come from them is leading to hell existences.
The contemplation and reflection of benefits and faults of wholesome and unwholesome dhammas and their actions are the cause of progress and development for the human race, in Pali—adinava, and anisamsa (fault and benefits). In the four satipatthāna sutta: The first one is body contemplation. There is a section called mindfulness and clear knowing-sati and sampajañña. The commentary commented on four aspects of clear knowledge or knowing. The first and second are purpose and suitability. These are connecting with what has mentioned above.
Sammadana-viratti: undertaking the precepts and looking after it
In human life, sometimes we can be encountered with difficulties and do not know how to deal with it. Most people in these kinds of situation and follow what the majority has done. Knowing that it is not suitable, but most people still doing it. Therefore they are just making the same mistake. Nowadays, this kind of thinking is quite common. Not able to use one’s knowledge and decision and follow with the common people. But they do not know that in the world there one more fool than wise. There was an incident told by a bhiksuni.
One time she was traveling by train and met a Christian on it. The Christian said to her that he also believed in the law of kamma. But nowadays most people were doing things in unethical ways that we all had to follow suit. And he could not do anything about it. What he said was very wrong, and two mistakes in his words. The law of kamma and the Creator are two different views. Someone believes in the Creator will not accept the law of kamma, and vice versa. If one of them is right, then the other is wrong. If he believed in the law of kamma would not follow the ways of harming oneself and others. We have to deal with our livelihoods and family matters, but also try to avoid and abstain from evils at the same time.
The following story abstained from unwholesome action. In Sri Lanka, a man had undertaken the five precepts from a monk and went to the forest for fire woods with his ox. Later he lost the ox and was looking for it. Unexpectedly he encountered a boa constrictor, and it constricted his body. He was thinking of to cut off its head with the knife in his hand. And remembering of he had been undertaken the five precepts before and reflected on it for three times.
After the last time, he resolved not taking the life of the boa and threw his knife away. Because of his pure sīla and mind power, the boa freed him and went away. Hiri-sense of shame and ottappa-fear of wrongdoing are the important factors for preventing someone from doing evil actions. These dhammas are also called the guardians of the world. These are not ordinary kinds of shame and fear, and with the knowledge in it. These are also including in the seven noble treasures. Someone has these two qualities will complete with this blessing of avoiding and abstaining from evils.
19. Refraining from intoxicants
發表於 : 2019-11-20, 13:29
19. Refraining from intoxicants
It is a very important matter need to contemplate and reflect by every human being. Alcoholism has the longest human history to harm the human race. In some societies, even it becomes a culture. Drug addiction is worse than alcoholism, but it is not becoming a human culture yet. Nowadays, some countries legalized some drugs that will also become a human culture sooner or later in the future. Alcoholism is less harmful than drug addictions, but its effects on societies are much wider and complicated.
Here refraining from intoxicants means all kinds of intoxicants which clouded the mind and cannot think clearly and behave foolishly. It is one of the very ill problems in societies. But the majority of people not taking it seriously like smoking problems. Why is that? Because they are in ignorance of the five precepts and no discernment in the harmfulness of alcoholism. It is including in the five precepts and may be the most dangerous one. If someone breaks this precept, there are more chances to break the others too. Because the mind cannot think good or bad, right or wrong, proper or improper, etc.
Alcoholics are the nuisances to their families and societies they lived in. They usually create a lot of problems and unhappiness in their families. Therefore a very ill and serious problem in societies, especially for families. Everyone in a family should tackle alcoholism successfully, and then will have a prosperous and happy family life. There is a lot to talk about life sufferings and unhappiness which come from alcoholism. There was a documentary film on alcoholism and the sufferings and dangers it brings to societies.
This was the collections of photographs around the world of drunkards and alcoholics. From all these photos we can see very clear of the sufferings and dangers alcoholism brings to societies. These pictures were very disgusting and representing the shameless behavior of drunkards. When someone is drunk, the mind is becoming abnormal and out of control. And then he can do any evil thing which brings harmfulness to oneself and others.
Even their standards as a human being are lower than animals. Hiri-sense of shame and ottappa-fear of wrongdoing are the two important factors for preventing someone from doing evil actions. Therefore these are called the guardians of the world. A drunkard or an alcoholic cannot have these two qualities. Then becomes shameless and not fear of wrongdoing—ahiri and anottappa.
These will destroy himself/herself and their family life. I had seen a lot of these people in my life. Some men and women because of their past lives of good kammas; in this life, they had the good chances to meet good people as their spouses. But their present lives’ of kammas (misconducts) were not good that they ended up with miseries. They became alcoholics, drug addicts, gamblers, etc., because of bad companions that did not have any moral, education. They did affect not only their own lives but also their family members.
If both partners are immoral, the family lives are even worse. Even the husband is very bad, with a good wife or a mother, the family can be protected. But with a bad wife or mother, the family life is ruined. I had met both types of family in societies. In 2008, there was a tragic case in England. A man had a son with a woman. Not very long, they were separated. The man left his son and the mother. I did not know the reason behind their separation. Anyhow she was a drug addict and lived with another man who was also a drug addict.
The little boy was known as Baby P. In the news media not mentioned the real boy name. The Baby P was tortured by the drug addict for sometimes that not very long died with many injuries. The cruel mother and her boyfriend were arrested. This sad news was shocked by the people. There were many stories in the world about alcoholism (included drug addiction and drug addicts), its problems and sad stories. A lot of social problems are made by foolish, stupid, and deluded people. Man-made sufferings are unnecessary to arise.
If people have good moral standards and education which started from family life and many of these problems can be prevented. If everyone has good knowledge/education on the law of kamma and following his/her life accordingly to natural law, life is quite enjoyable and better. But the majority are ignorant about it and rely on the outside power that they did a lot of unwholesome things and matters. And then dishonestly
blame it on others and the outside power. They cannot solve their problems and overcome them. Every story, good or bad, suffering or happiness, pleasant or unpleasant, etc., has lessons to teach us. Even things in nature can teach us many valuable lessons, such as water, lotus flower, sunrise, sunset, etc. Here I want to present two true stories; a man and a woman, both of them were alcoholics.
It showed how alcoholism destroyed both lives and their good kammic results of past lives. With contemplation, we can learn valuable lessons from these incidents. The man was over 60 years of age when he passed away with cancer. He was born at the beginning of the 20th century in a Buddhist country, but the family was not Buddhists. His education was only at the middle school level. But he was a well-known carpenter as a profession and had good incomes. As a young man married a young woman with an arranged marriage.
Marriage is the most important matter between a man and a woman. He was very lucky in this matter because he encountered a dutiful wife. His wife was not only dutiful as a housewife, but also a good mother to the children. From where a good wife and a good mother come from? Without a doubt that both were the outcome of a good daughter. Even though she was low educated like most women of her generation, she had high qualities as a good daughter, wife, and mother.
A perfect woman, in accordance with the old Chinese standards. She was a considerate person and had extreme patience and endurance with pains and difficulties in family life. We may think this couple had a happy family life. There was a real and cruel enemy between them; alcoholism. It destroyed the man life. In reality, he was a good person, intelligent, and had a creative mind. If he was not drunk and a very nice man.
After he had drunk and like a crazy person. He was living among Buddhists but never became a Buddhist. His children were also very good because under the protection of a good mother. Some of them became Buddhist practices. He was successful in his livelihood and making money, but most of them were wasted by drinks and gamblings (in his early life). His drunken behavior, especially speech, was creating a lot of bad deeds day in day out.
At the age of over 60, he was afflicted with terminal cancer and died in an unconscious mind state in the hospital, the sign of not a good rebirth. His wife because of her moral qualities and good deeds still alive, healthy, and nearly becomes a centenarian.
Here we can contemplate this man’s life what we have learned with the 4th, 5th & 6th blessings: living in a civilized land, having made merits in the past; directing oneself rightly. His present life was completed with the 4th & 5th blessings, but his great mistake was not directing oneself rightly.
At last ended his life with downfall. Even we had many good kammas in past lives & using them wrongly in this present life will end up with misery like this man. Also, our future lives in saṁsāra will be not good.
The second story was about a middle-aged woman. A tribal woman of a small tribe in Taiwan. Most of them have a history of alcoholism. It seems to me this came from their cultural background. Because I have seen many of them drink regularly from old to young ages, from grandparents to grandchildren. From this kind of cultural background, she was a low educated woman in this developed island. She also did not has a moral standard and education from her young age.
This could be clearly justified from her behavior and deeds, but she had the good kamma from her past life. Because she married a Chinese old man who was good and had a secure life. If she had the moral standards and gave up her alcoholism, it was no doubt that she would have a happy family life. After she was born a child to this old man and they ended up with separation. Now she is living a miserable life and doing a lot of evil deeds.
In these two true stories, the man’s life was worth contemplation. He had a very good kamma from his past lives. There was nothing lacking for his progress as a human, but he had two weak points. He did not have moral education like his wife. Another important cause for his downfall was an association with bad companions. But he also had the skill to make many friends; some were educated and high-class people. He met these good people very rare and learned nothing from them. His usual companions were the alcoholics and always gave them free drinks.
In the Maṅgala Sutta: The first blessing and protection are: not consorting with fools. What the Buddha taught was quite true. If someone lacks this first blessing, and then he/she will lack the others. He had never been consorting with religious people, even though he had many chances. All human problems and sufferings were caused by fools and not by the wise. Therefore he had wasted his precious human birth and good chances. We could see this type of people in the world; some were government leaders and rich men.
Instead of using their political powers and riches for the benefits of others, they created evil deeds which would send them to the lower worlds and a lot of sufferings and miseries in the future to come. Drunkenness is like a culture in some tribal and hill tribe people. They never take it as harmful and unwholesome. Around the world, many people take alcohols as nothing wrong with them.
Therefore alcohols and cigarettes are successful businesses and making a lot of money. I had been met a lot of people with drunkenness and alcoholism before but never seen anyone made progress in their life. Even originally if they had possessed good qualities which were spoiled with alcoholism. Therefore the Buddha mentioned that there
were four matters made a monk never shine. These were money, women, wrong livelihoods and alcoholism (all sorts of intoxicants) There are 6 faults connecting with intoxicants;
(1) lost one’s wealth and fortune,
(2) leading to quarrels and fights,
(3) get diseases, illnesses,
(4) has bad reputation,
(5) without shame and fear to evil deeds,
(6) weaken in perception, memory, and knowledge.
(1) Lost one’s wealth and fortune
Because of intoxications, people become heedless (pamāda), or negligence. Therefore easy to commit unwholesome deeds/ acts. If an immortal person with intoxications, there will be more and more misconducts. Apamāda means non-negligence and represents mindfulness (sati). Apamāda is not ordinary mindfulness, not forget in wholesome dhamma and actions. Always looking for doing good deeds.
Therefore it is not easy to arise and has to be cultivated. So the Buddha taught the four foundations of mindfulness for us. Without mindfulness, knowledge cannot arise. There was a jataka story reminding us of the first fault of intoxicants—lost one’s wealth and fortune. In one of his lives as a human being, the bodhisatta had a son. After he died and born as Sakka – the king of heaven. He had been left some wealth for his son.
But he did not do any work and just spent the money left behind. The bodhisatta had a strong attachment to his human son, who became an alcoholic without him. So he came down to the human world and gave his human son a wish-fulfilling magic pot. If he wished something just put his hand inside the pot and he would get it. He warned his son to look after the magic pot carefully, and not let it broken.
One day he was quite drunk and playing with the magic pot by throwing it up in the air and catching it when it came down. At one point, he could not catch it and fell to the ground and broken into pieces. Later he was very poor and died with misery. In the world, some had powers, wealth, and highly educated. With alcoholism or drug addiction, later their lives were spoiled like the foolish son of the bodhisatta.
(2) Leading to quarrels and fights
This fault is very common with drunken people. Someone drunk has noisy, clumsy, and foolish behavior. When some are drunk, they like crazy people and talkative, without any sense. They are talking and doing things blindly that it like insulting people. Therefore it leads to quarrel and fights with others. Some drunkards are very good nature when they are at normal times.
After drunk, they are insulting people and beating their wives. People can be patience with a crazy person but not to drunkards. So they can create enemies and dangerous for themselves. These quarrels and fights sometimes lead to crimes and murders. And then it spoiled their whole life.
(2) Get disease and illness
The common illness caused by intoxicants is cancer. There are also some of them I do not know about it. It can also lead to mental derangement or mental problems. I had known a family who had two children with mental derangement. The father was an alcoholic and married two times. From their first wife, he had two children, a daughter, and a son. The son after graduated and had a proper job.
And later had mental derangement and became a crazy man on the street. From the second wife, the man had some children. The oldest daughter in her teens had mental derangement and became crazy. Sometimes the working of kamma is very strange and inconceivable. I am allergic to alcohols and have an aversion to alcoholics and drunkards.
But in my life, I can never run away or stay away from these people. Always encountered them and living near them. Did I have some kammas connected with intoxicants from my past lives? E.g., I was selling intoxicants as a livelihood, etc.
(4) Has a bad reputation
Someone has a reputation as an alcoholic or a history of alcoholism nobody trust him. He will have difficulty to find a job, and nobody wants to hire him. Their bad reputations also affect their families. Not only they are looking down by others also to their family members. I am sure a good family will not marry their children into an alcoholic family. They will shun them and stay away from them.
A good reputation is very important in society to someone for progress and developing in the right direction. The Buddha himself encourage to associate with the wise and not the fools. Because human problems, sufferings, and dangers come from the fools, not the wise. Therefore someone with a bad reputation will never approach by good or wise people.
So, they will not have the chances to correct himself/herself. Because of that in their lives, they cannot progress and develop in the right direction. Only bad people will contact him/her for their evil deeds. So his life will become more and darker. When I was young heard Buddhists doing morning and evening pujas (worshipping in a shrine room). One of the wishes they made in their prayers was wandering in existences (i.e., saṁsāra) never encountered and made companionship with the fools.
At that time, I did not understand the meanings very well and cleared. Later after studied the Buddha’s Teachings in the Suttanta Pitaka I was amazed and admired the wisdom of the Buddha. There were many stories in the pitaka mentioned some people life stories. Mostly good people encountered or made companionship with bad people, then their lives never became good, always in dangerous problems, and even sometimes spoiled their lives.
If we research, human history, golden ages were the period when human beings had good moral standards. (e.g., see the Chou Dynasty in China). It is also important to read and contemplate on the discourse of the Buddha, The Lion’s Roar on the Turning of the Wheel – Cakkavati – Sīhanāda Sutta (Sutta No. 26 – Dīgha Nikāya), on these matters. We will understand today human problems in the world and the future to come.
(5) Without shame and fear of evil deeds
Even people are in normal mind states, sometimes can do evil deeds without shame and fear. Therefore for a drunken person, it becomes easier to be in misconducts. Because in the drunken state, he cannot think clearly and become an ignorant person. So he is doing things foolishly and impulsively. Sometimes people in the drunken state commit heavy or serious crimes that which spoiled their whole lives.
Therefore no one should take intoxicants as lightly as cigarettes. Because many people take smoking lightly that it is the great killer to human as cancer. But still many are worshipping their killer-intoxicants and cigarettes. How much stupid these people are? Money is not easy to come by. Everyone has to work hard for it. And then wasting it or paid their killers to murder them. Many more foolish than these people are businessmen who make money with these harmful things.
Their kamma debts will never end; they have to pay for it in the miserable states. There are many foolish people in the world wasting their times and money for useless things and matters. Even these types of people do not have common sense. As an, e.g., there are three things; foods, intoxicant (including drugs) and cigarettes give to a young boy and a dog. Which one the boy and dog will choose? Another, e.g., during famine time, if you ask people to choose only one of the 3. All will choose foods for survivals.
I do not think at that time alcoholics, and drug addicts (including smokers) will choose the others for their survivals. There are many things and matters with these kinds of stupidity going on around the world. Some foolish people give up their health and life for these kinds of useless and meaningless things and matters. We should always remember and remind us that shame and fear of wrongdoing (hiri and ottappa) are the two guardians of the world.
Without shame and fear of evil things (ahiri and anottappa) are the destroyers of the world. With ahiri and anottappa human beings do not have moral and moral standards. Therefore all sorts of evil deed and action arise. This effect and change the weather and natural environments. And many social problems and natural disasters appear and human life span decreases. It is sure that with these kinds of unwholesome conditions, there will be no happiness, peace, and harmony among human beings.
Therefore anyone desires for happiness, peace, harmony, health, long life should develop moral values and standards. There was a well-known story of a monk who had psychic power and after drunk behaved shamelessly in front of the Buddha. There was a powerful dragon (nāga) made trouble in a village. Ven. Nagata who had psychic power went there and with his supernormal power, defeated the dragon.
Out of gratitude and respect villagers, there wanted to offer him the best thing they could think about. Some foolish men suggested the best alcohol in their village. At that time the Buddha not yet laid down the training rule of forbidding intoxicants for monks. In his alms-round, the villagers offered him alcohols. With a lot of consuming and he flattened out on the ground at the entrance of the village.
Some monks found him and carried him to the Buddha. After arriving there, they laid him down in front of the Buddha with his head towards the Blessed One. But he changed his position by turning his feet towards the Buddha. (a sign of disrespectful) Then the Buddha said to the monks that before Nagata had psychic power and people respected him. Now, he had none and even could not conquer a water snake.
The Buddha laid down the training rule of forbidding the monks to consume alcohols. From this incident, a sensible person became insensible and disrespectful and lost all his good qualities under the influence of intoxicants. Even a person with dignity becomes without any of them.
(6) Weaken in perception, memory, and knowledge
Knowledge is a connection between mindfulness and perception (sati and saññā). It is the power of perception. Therefore these people (alcoholics and drunkards) become without discernment and wisdom. Even with intelligent people, their minds slowly become dull and blunt. They do not have the power to distinguish good or bad, proper and not proper, etc.
There was a tragic story that happened in a very long distant past life of Ven. Sariputta. In one of his past lives, he was a king and addicted to intoxicants and meat. Every day he must take his meal with meat. One observant day (religious holiday) the meat in the kitchen was eaten by the dog. It was the day there is no shops were killing and selling meat. The cook had to inform the king about the incident. At the time he informed him, the king was very drunk with the baby prince on his laps and the queen also sat near him.
Suddenly like a crazy man, he killed the baby on his lap by twisting the neck then he asked the cook to use the dead baby as meat. The cook was so frightened that just took the baby away and cooked the human meat for him. After his meal, the king was fallen into sleep. After awakening from the sleep, and his drunkenness was gone. At that time, he remembered his baby son and asked the queen to bring the baby to him.
After knowing what was happening to the child, he had great remorse with pain, grief, and sorrow. With the strong hatred and aversion to intoxicants, he made the following strong resolution (adhitthāna) on giving up this harmful stuff forever. This was from this life onwards until his last life in saṁsāra.
Intoxicants and drugs affect one’s mind states is very great indeed. I have mentioned two stories above; baby P and baby prince, both of them were killed by the drug addict and alcoholic. These seem a little better than killing one’s parents. There were also stories of alcoholics, and drug addicts killed their parents. These were very worse cases. All these crimes cannot be corrected. After death, the destination of rebirths will be sure to hells.
There is a lot to say about the problems, dangers, and result of intoxicants and drugs. Some evil conducts even become human cultures when unwholesome dhammas, things, and matters become human cultures. All these represent the degeneration of human status and dignity. Evil things, matters, and deeds becoming a culture, then many people will follow and go after them, e.g., alcohols, drug, smoking, guns culture in the U.S, homosexuality, etc.
From my own experiences of encountering alcoholics and the documentary on alcoholics and alcoholism, the problems and dangers it brings to family and society are very great. By seeing all these miserable things and matters give you the sense of gloom and disgusting, like seeing rats and cockroaches and their surroundings. It was also very clear why the Buddha included the abstaining of intoxicants in the five precepts. All human beings, whatever their backgrounds, views, and beliefs should never take the five precepts as insignificance and these were taught by the Buddha.
It is the law of nature, not a philosophy, not come from thinking, invention, and imposed by someone. It will always true, anywhere at any place, anytime in the whole universe. Truth is universal. Heavenly beings are depending on the results of their wholesome kammas, as their livelihoods. Therefore they understand the benefits of wholesome dhammas and actions more than human beings. Human beings have to rely on their efforts more than merits that they do not much appreciate it. When heavenly beings are near death, they want to take rebirths in the human world.
Because in the human world, they have more chances of making merits. Not because they like the human world. With merits after death and they return to heavenly existences. In a sutta, Sakka-the deva king came down to the earth offered foods to Ven. Mahā-kassapa was for this reason. Because he did not has the chance to make merit in Heaven. Let us refraining on intoxicants and protecting oneself and others. Let us bring peace and happiness to the family and society. This is the highest blessing.
20. Being heedful of the qualities of the mind
發表於 : 2019-11-20, 13:37
20. Being heedful of the qualities of the mind
Appamāda is heedfulness. Here is being heedful in wholesome dhammas, mainly referred to worldly good deeds or merits. Appamāda is also mindfulness, and it can be covered the whole pitakas. This is not an ordinary heedfulness, being heedful in wholesomeness. It means always doing and performing in goodness.
We should have steadfastness in doing good. This is not ordinary mindfulness and difficult to arise. Therefore it has to be developed. Without mindfulness and knowledge cannot be arisen. Therefore there is no discernment or wisdom without mindfulness.
This kind of discernment or wisdom is not ordinary knowledge. It is thoroughly penetrating of natural phenomena. For the goodness to arise and realization of the Nibbāna element, we cannot be without mindfulness. In daily life must cultivate mindfulness and clear knowing (sati and sampajañña). Near death also we cannot be without it. Heedfulness (appamāda) has different levels; these are giving, precept, mind development (dāna; sīla, bhavana).
In bhavana-mind development also has different levels; from sotapānna to arahant. Only by becoming an arahant that heedfulness is perfected. It is very important for everyone to ask the question of why are we here and what are we doing here(i.e., in human existence)? People will give different answers. Even some do not know the answers. Common worldly people will have different views and opinions, depending on their desires.
People with different faiths also in the same ways. With the Buddha’s Teachings, Buddhists can give two general answers for this very important question. For the worldly people, they are for enjoying sensual pleasures and doing things to enjoy them. Different religious people are also for sensual pleasures and doing things to union with their God in heaven after death.
True Buddhists have different views, and they have clear guidelines and clear paths for what to do. According to Buddha, human births are rare, and the best place for doing good is also the human world. Human beings have more chances and opportunities than any other births. The most important thing to do now is studying and following the Buddha’s Teachings to end dukkha. This is the highest thing to be done here. At least as a Buddhist one should or must does good deeds and abstain and refrain from misdeeds.
To complete and fulfill the Buddhist task, we have to develop being mindful of the qualities of the mind. We must live a life with heedfulness (appamāda). Appamāda is so important in the Buddha’s Teachings that every day he was reminding the monks to be mindful or being in heedfulness. Before he passed away, the last words of the Buddha were also in heedfulness: Vayadhammā saṅkhārā-appamādena sampādetha: All conditioned phenomena are subject to decay. Bring about completion by being heedful.
Therefore being heedful of the qualities of the mind is very important in worldly progress and spiritual development. In the Dhammapada: on the section of heedfulness, the Buddha compared a person with heedfulness/non-negligence and the person with heedlessness/negligence as a person awake and a person in sleep; a racehorse and a common weak horse.
Heedfulness is the way to Deathless, and heedlessness is the way to Death. Those who are heedful do not die and who are heedless as if already dead. A person with diligence, heedfulness, pure in thoughts and words or deeds will do everything with care and consideration. With restraining of the senses, he earns his likelihood by the wholesomeness that the fame and fortune of this heedful person will increase.
The foolish and the ignorant give themselves to over heedlessness, whereas the wise treasures heedfulness as a precious jewel. Someone delights in heedfulness and seeing the danger in heedlessness advances as a like fire burning up all the fetters (samyojana). Someone delights in heedfulness and seeing the danger in heedlessness cannot fall away from the Path. In practice to transcend dukkha; it is important for the five spiritual faculties to develop and mature. These are:
(1) The faculty of conviction—saddhindriya
(2) The faculty of persistence—viriyindriya
(3) The faculty of mindfulness—satindriya
(4) The faculty of concentration-samādhindriya
(5) The faculty of discernment-paññindriya.
Of the five faculties, conviction(saddhā) and discernment have to be in balance. Persistence (viriya) and concentration (samādhi) also have to be in balance. Only mindfulness (sati) is no need to be in balance but stronger and better. Sati is also like salt crystals in every food. Sati is necessary for everything we do. Therefore the Buddha was always reminding and encouragement to develop it.
On Dhamma level, the very important knowledge is not forgotten or not negligent the true nature of the khandha. Its true nature is changing (viparinama), inconstant(anicca), suffering (dukkha), not-self (anatta), and loathsomeness (asubha). These are aging, sickness, and death dhammas that we should not forget them. After some time, everything will fall apart. With regular contemplation, we are not wasting times and living a meaningless life.
Especially we should not forget about death with the contemplation of death (marananusati). Without negligence on death also leads to non-negligence of wholesome dhammas, merits, etc. It protects us from doing evil deeds and matters. And then we do only what is proper, useful, beneficial to oneself and others. Regular mindfulness on death can lead to the ending of dukkha—i.e., Nibbāna.
Death can be compared to a big river flows into the sea, but they also have differences. The water flows down slowly, and it is becoming closer to the sea. In the same way, everyone with times goes on is closer to death. The differences are; we can measure the journey of the river to the sea and period it arrives there. But we cannot measure on death. Now how much time still left for us to continue for this life.
Even everyone has a different life span, and not everybody the same way. It depends on different factors and causes. Some of these related to past kammas and some to present factors and causes, such as action, mind state, climate, and foods. It is nothing to do with God or the outside power. The most important factor is the internal cause—the mind. Therefore every human being can change his or her destiny. It can be better or worse.
Therefore the Buddha’s Teachings came in to give us the guidelines and show the way. Without the Buddha arose in the human world even we do not know very clear about the wholesome and unwholesome dhamma, do not say about to transcend them. Therefore the Buddha was called the Teacher of gods and human beings. In the Buddhist text, there are four factors of not knowing about death.
These are the time of death, the illness or death, the destination of rebirth, and the place of death. Among the four factors, the most important one is after death, the destination of rebirth, or new existence. Combine the 31 realms of the existence, and we only get the five existences. These are hells, animals, ghosts, humans, and deities. Only two groups, human and deity existences, are good rebirths.
The other 3, hells, animals, and ghosts existences are very painful and miserable. To has a good rebirth and existence, everyone should be heedful of the qualities of the mind by doing good and developing the mind with the practice of bhavana in this life. In the Theravada Buddhist tradition, monks and teachers always encourage us to practice the four protective dhamma regularly in our daily life.
These are Buddhanusati(Recollection of the Buddha), Metta Bhavana(meditation on goodwill/loving kindness/ loving friendliness). Asubha Bhavana (meditation on the repulsiveness of the body) and Marananusati (mindfulness on death). These contemplations are called catura-rakkha dhamma, the four protective dhammas. With the regular practices can protect someone from fear, dangers, unwholesome mental states, and living a heedful life.
In the Sutta Nipāta, there are three suttas for metta bhavana, contemplation on the repulsiveness of the body and mindfulness on death respectively. In the Snake Chapter; Metta Sutta—Discourse on Good Will and Vijaya Sutta Discourse on Victory (victory over delusion or overcome attachment on the physical body).
In the Great Chapter; Salla Sutta—Discourse on the Arrow(Mindfulness on death), all these are very good for contemplation. Already has mentioned, being heedful of the qualities of the mind has many different levels-from the worldly results to spiritual attainments. We have to cultivate and develop both and should not stop only at the worldly level. Any worldly level and progress are unstable and can be changed.
Only the spiritual level is safe and leading to the ending of dukkha. Here I want to present a story in the Dhammapada about mindfulness on death—marananusati—the great result it brought to a weaver girl. Not forgetting on death reminds someone not to follow one’s life in ordinary and useless ways. It sharpens one’s knowledge and develops the right thoughts or thinkings. Therefore marananusati is a very useful meditation object for mundane and supramundane achievements.
It is also very close to the Noble Truth. With the regular contemplation, it reduces greed, hatred, and delusion. Also, it helps someone comes to the sense of wise urgency (saṁvega) regarding the fleeting nature of the world, suffering, and unsatisfactoriness of the world. With the saṁvega knowledge; he will not waste the human life span, and it encourages him for the practice to end dukkha. All the Buddha’s Teaching is not for intellectual knowledge, but we have to put into real practice, whether it is worldly or spiritual.
The story of the weaver girl supported this view. This mind development (bhavana) develops the wholesome roots of non-greed, non-hatred, and non-delusion. It supports these three wholesome roots. It also relates to heedfulness (appamāda.) It develops the perception of inconstant (anicca), suffering (dukkha), and not-self (anatta). It is helping to discern anicca, dukkha, and anatta of the three universal characteristics of the mind and body and their true nature.
The story of a weaver girl
At that time the Buddha was residing in the country of Ālavi. At the end of an alms-giving ceremony, he delivered a discourse on the inconstancy of the khandhas. He taught the people to be always mindful and put effort to perceive the true nature of the khandhas. With the practice, it was like armed with a weapon to meet a poisonous snake—i.e., Death. One who was ever mindful of death would face death mindfully.
And after death would have a good rebirth. In the audience was a 16 years old girl who understood the message and took it seriously, and practiced the teaching regularly. After three years had passed by. One day the Buddha was as usual surveyed the world to help living beings. He saw the young weaver woman (now 19) in his vision and knew that the time was ripe for her spiritual attainment. Three years ago, she had received the meditation on death from the Buddha.
She had done the practice regularly for three years now. Her perfection for the realization of the Dhamma was becoming mature. It was like a lotus bud waiting for the sunlight to open it up. Her mind was free from mental hindrances. Therefore the Buddha went back to the country of Ālavi for the second time to help her. She heard the news of the Buddha arrived and went to listen to his teaching.
On the same day, her father had also asked her to wind some thread spools which he needed urgently. So she also took them together with her. She listened to the Buddha’s talk among the crowd. He also knew that the woman would die when she arrived in the weaving shed. So the Buddha invited her came closer to him. And then he was asking her the following four questions.
Q. “Where have you come from?”
A: “I don’t know Ven. Sir.”
Q. “Where are you going?”
A: “I don’t know Ven.”
Q. “Don’t you know?”
A: “Yes, I do Ven. Sir.”
Q. “Do you know?”
A: “I don’t know Ven.”
These were not ordinary questions and answers as most people thought. Only the Buddha and the young woman knew them. So the Buddha asked her to explain to them. The direct questions and answers of them were as follow.
Q. “From what past existence you have come here?”
A: “I don’t know.”
Q. “To what future existence you would be going from here?”
A: “I don’t know.”
Q. “Whether you don’t know that you would die one day?”
A: “Yes, I do.”
Q. “Whether you know when you would die?”
A: “I don’t.”
The Buddha was satisfied with her explanations. And then spoke the following verse: Verse 174: “Blind is the people of the world, and only a few see them. Just like only a few birds escape from the net. So only a few get to the world of deities and realize Nibbāna.” At the end of the talk, the young weaver entered the Stream(became a stream-winner). Then she continued the way to her father weaving shed.
When she got there, her father was asleep and suddenly woke up by her arrival. And then accidentally pulled the shuttle and the point of it struck his daughter’s chest, she died on the spot, and he was in broken-heart. With great sorrow and pain, he went to see the Buddha. The Buddha with Dhamma talk lightened his sorrow and pain. He had strong saṁvega(sense of wise urgency) and entered the monastic order.
With diligent practice and he became an arahant. Once, King Pasenadi of Kosālā asked the Buddha a question: “Is there anyone dhamma in the world could complete and fulfill one’s goal in the present and future.” the Buddha short answer was— Appamāda Dhamma—Being heedful of the qualities of the mind. This is the highest protection with a blessing.
發表於 : 2019-11-20, 13:43
We must show respect to respectable people, and it is a noble state of mind. It is a praiseworthy action in this life. And in the next life will have the result of a good and noble life. Therefore it has good results in this life and after. The objects of respect are; the Three Noble Treasures of the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha (Ti-ratana), one’s parents, one’s teachers, people who one older than us (especially old aged people), people have noble qualities and someone has gratitude on you.
The action of showing respect to respectable people supports the development of Brahmavihara Dhamma – love (metta), compassion (karuna), appreciative joy (mudita) and equanimity (upekkha) for both sides. So both sides have benefits. The action of showing respect has four benefits; longevity, beauty, happiness, and strength (mind and body strength). These results were mentioned by the Buddha in a discourse. This story was in the Dhammapada: The Thousand (Sahassavagga).
The story of Āyuvaddhanakumāra
A couple had a son and took him to see the Buddha. They paid obeisance to the Buddha, and he said to the parents only by “May you live long.” Then the Buddha predicted the impending death of their son. To prevent his early death, he advised them to build a pavilion at the entrance of their home. Put the child on a couch in the pavilion. Invited the monks to recite the Parittas—Protective Charms for seven days there.
On the 7th, the Buddha himself came and followed by deities from all over the universe. At that time an ogre named Avaruddhaka came there and waiting for the chance to take the child away. With many deities were arriving at the scene, the ogre had to retreat backward to give way, and he was very far away from the child. For the whole night, the recitation of parittas was going on, and then protected the child’s life.
The next day the parents took their son to see the Buddha. After the child paid respect to the Buddha, he said to him, “May you live long.” The Buddha also said that he would live up to 120 years and named him Āyuvaddhana. The child grew up, and one day with his companions went to see the Buddha and the sangha.
The monks recognized him and asked the Buddha; “For being is there any means of gaining longevity?” The Buddha’s answer was by respecting and honoring the elders, wise and virtuous people would gain longevity, beauty, happiness, and strength.
Then the Buddha spoke the following verse: Verse 109: “Someone always respects and honors those who are older and virtuous, the four benefits of longevity, beauty, happiness, and strength will increase.”
At the end of the talk, Āyuvaddhana and his companions entered the Stream. The actions of respect and honor are always practicing by the wise and noble people. We must know and understand what is valuable as valuable and must respect those who are respectable. We should have the right attitudes if not, will lose protection and blessing.
Ven. Sariputta was ideal in this respect, and the most lovely human being on earth. (See—The biography of Ven. Sariputta by Nyanaponika Thera) Every night Ven. Sariputta paid respect to the direction of his first true teacher, Ven. Assaji (Ven. Assaji was the youngest of the pañcavaggi who listened to the Discourse of the Turing the Wheel of Dhamma.
Sanjaya was his first teacher but belonged to an outside sect) and laid down his head towards Ven. Assaji is the direction. Some monks misunderstood his behavior. The first time, when he met Ven. Assaji, who was on his alms-round, admired his noble demeanor. He knew that Ven. Assaji was something special from others whom he had met before. Therefore Sariputta requested him for his teaching.
Ven. Assaji gave him a short verse on the teaching of cause and effect. After this short instruction and Sariputta entered the Stream (became a sotāpanna). For Dhamma teaching, long or short is not important. The importance is its effectiveness. Mostly with long teaching and we do not get much benefit from it. In this respect with wise contemplation, we know that worldly matters and knowledge are wasting our times and life span.
Everything has their causes, and by stopping the causes and the result will stop. Craving (tanhā) is the cause of suffering (dukkha). By destroying craving and dukkha will be ceased. By entering the stream, Sariputta had strong gratitude and respect on his first true teacher Ven. Assaji. For wise and noble people, we have to focus on their noble qualities by respecting and honoring them. If we know and understand more and more Dhamma, our respect to the Three Noble Treasures— the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha are becoming greater.
Among monks, paying respect is according to seniority in rain years (vassas). Among common people, paying respect is according to older age or old people (e.g., younger siblings to older siblings.) Sometimes we pay respect to people for their knowledge and moral integrity. There was a jakata story about three animals; a small bird, an elephant, and a monkey, on the matter of respect.
Three of them relied on a great banyan tree. One day they met together and discussed the matter of paying respect to others by their ages. The elephant mentioned that when he was young, he passed through this small banyan three underneath his stomach. The monkey said that when he was young, he used to eat the buds of the banyan tree.
The small bird told them that when he was young, there was no banyan tree at the same spot. Only after he ate the fruits of banyan from another place & excreted it at the same spot & this banyan tree grew out from the seeds of the excreta. Therefore, the small bird was the oldest of them. So, the day onwards the elephant & the monkey had to pay respect to the bird. (These three animals were the past lives of Ven. Sariputta, Mahā-moggallana & the bodhisatta).
The most important matter on the subject of respect is our attitudes to one’s parents & teachers. More important of the two is showing respect & honoring to one’s parent. If someone harmed one’s parents, the result of misdeed is heavier then to a teacher. E.g., someone kills his parents & his teacher, the killing of one’s parents and after death for sure to fall into the hell existence in next life.
We should not doubt about it, because the Buddha himself mentioned it. From today media, we know some incidents very unpleasant to see, as to how some people treat their parents. There was more news about killing parents, beating, cursing & treating them very badly. When I was young, I never heard or seen these evil & ingratitude actions & behaviors in families.
These are the signs of decadence & bad omens for human societies. If these kinds of evil deeds & behaviors going on like this will become a bad culture & leading to the destruction of human beings. Respect, gratitude & honor to one’s parents & teachers are the foundation of goodness to arise. The Buddha himself had high regards about it & praised its qualities. Maybe this was one of the foundation & important cause for Chinese culture & civilization survived up to this day for over 3,000 years.
But other great cultures and civilizations were disappeared. With the foundation of goodness on respect, gratitude, honoring & duties to one’s parents & teachers develop love, kindness, appreciate joy, considerations for others truly bring happiness, peace & progress for human beings. This was one of the reasons why Chinese sages & noble beings paid attention & emphasis on it as a very important training & education.
Another has to be showed respect & gratitude is our teachers. This point is also very weak in nowadays societies. The young & the youth treat their teachers as equal & treat them as friends. Sometimes even worse than to a friend & it becomes very rude. They tease their teacher physically or verbally in the classrooms. A student no respect & gratitude to his teacher will never progress in the study & goodness.
Nowadays many teachers complain that students are difficult to teach & train, in the east or the west. The main reason is we use some modern views, such as – equality, human right, democracy, etc.
In the wrong & unwholesome ways. Therefore, all these create problems & difficulties in family life & school. With wrong views and ideas in mind creates difficulty to teach & train the children & the students in the right & wholesome directions. It is like catching a poisonous snake – cobra or viper in the wrong way. Instead of grasping its head, we grasp on the tail.
If we use these sweet views and ideas, wrongly & improper ways increase the self-centeredness, greed, hatred & delusion. And it will create negative results. We can see all these problems in politics, economics, societies, etc. It also likes a knife – it can become a tool for work or kill people. Therefore, the matter of respect or the results of respect is not small wholesome dhamma.
This quality has to be developed when people are still very young and should start from family life. Even we do not have respect & concern for our parents & teachers; there will be no hope on others. So, the Buddha emphasized it as protection with a blessing.
發表於 : 2019-11-20, 13:48
The opposite nature of humility is conceit or pride (māna). Everyone has conceit (māna). It is one of the latent dispositions (ānusayā) & one of the defilements (kilesā). Only on the highest stage of arahatship māna is eradicated. It uses to happen in people who have a fortune, beauty, highly educated, high status, etc. Without any of them, also people can have pride.
Some take pride in their youthfulness, healthiness, and life faculty (jivitamāna, i.e., live a longer life), etc. The qualities of respect & humility are connected. Someone has conceit (no humility) cannot show respect to others. And without respect means someone has conceit. Therefore, they are supporting each other. Conceit has the nature of rigidity. A rigid person cannot or will not change his attitudes, opinions, or behavior.
So, they are difficult to teach or admonish. It is also a cause for downfall & dislike by others. A person has the quality of humility loved by others. It also increases or develops the wholesome dhamma to a holy life (brahmacariya dhamma). The quality of humility is the nature of noble & wise people. In textbooks, it taught us to behave like a rag for wiping feet or a poisonous snake which fangs are broken or a bull with broken horns.
Ven. Sariputta was a very good example as a humble person. In the Dhammapada, there was a story described his great quality of humility. It was the end of a rain retreat (vassa), Ven. Sariputta was about to set out a journey. He was saying goodbye to some monks & passing a young bhikkhu without saying anything to him.
But his outer robe brushed against this monk body when he was passing through him. This young monk had conceit and also wanted Ven. Sariputta to pay attention to him. Therefore, bore some grudge against him & approached the Buddha. He complained to the Buddha that Ven. Sariputta had abused him.
The Buddha, therefore, sent for Sariputta & questioned him about the complaint. He answered that how could a monk who steadfastly kept his mind on the body, not apologized to a fellow monk after had done something wrong. He was like the earth with no feeling of like or dislike when flowers & rubbish piled on it. He was also like the rag cloth, the beggar, a bull with broken horns, etc. (There were nine examples).
The-pye-kan Sayadaw gave a natural example. Rice plants when they are young & immature, the stalks are at upright positions. After they are grown up & laden with rice grain, the stalks are bending down. These are the differences between a fool & a wise, or someone has conceit & someone has humility.
There was another story about Ven. Sariputta of showing his humility to a 7-year-old young novice. One time the robe of Ven. Sariputta was not very neat & a 7-year-old young novice saw it. And he informed it to Sariputta. On the spot, Sariputta corrected his robe by readjusting it instantly. He humbly asked the novice as was it good enough. Ven. Sariputta & Ven. Rahula (The only son of the Buddha) were high-class persons with great wisdom & very humble nature if a person has conceit & difficulty to possess good qualities.
If a person becomes wiser & he will become humbler. By knowing more about the faults of the khandha (body) one’s conceit will be decreased, and then he will look for the refuge. We cannot find it externally. Most people are looking for outside that they would never find it. Most religions came from external searches & speculations.
At last most people will die without the true refuge. When still alive, they encounter a lot of difficulty & problems which they cannot solve or overcome by outside powers. The perfect or true refuge is wisdom (paññā), which is the internal quality of the mind. Everybody has it, and only we need to develop it.
Therefore, the Buddha, the Dhamma & the Sangha (ariya sangha) are the perfect or true refuge. They represent only one thing - which is perfect wisdom. In general, true everyone refuge is the wholesome dhammas such as dāna, sīla, samādhi & paññā. These are not the outside powers & sensual pleasures which most people rely on it.
Generally speaking, the outside powers and external things/matters are untrue and belong to the fleeting nature. These things can be deluded our mind & created a lot of problems & sufferings in the world & societies. These unfortunate things are happening around us, which we can see in today world. Violence, terrorism, wars in the name of religion and power & all kinds of pollutions (mind, body & nature) in the name of economics for sensual pleasures & overindulgence.
All these miserable things are created by fools & not the wise. The quality of humility or without conceit is one of the characteristics of great wisdom. Therefore, everyone should develop this noble quality. So, the Buddha said; humility was the highest protection with a blessing.