Maṅgala Sutta--Protection with Blessing(吉祥經)

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Nalorakk
文章: 402
註冊時間: 2017-03-03, 08:00

23. Contentment

文章 Nalorakk » 2019-11-20, 13:53

23. Contentment

This quality of contentment is a very important one for today world. Both for layman & ordained monk. It has a profound meaning & message within it. We can only discover them by using the Buddha’s Teachings with contemplation. It can also be a great wide subject to think about in today human societies. In the English dictionary; contentment is a feeling of quiet happiness & satisfaction.

So, it has a connection with non-greed (alobha). The opposite of discontentment is a connection with greed (lobha). Therefore contentment leads to true happiness & peace. Discontentment leads to unhappiness & suffering. The quality of contentment is easy to understand & accept by the noble beings, the sages & the wise. But not by common people or mostly not by power & money mongers, business men & greedy people (i.e., some politicians & some economists).

Even we can say today, many world problems have a connection with discontentment or lacking contentment. We are craving for more than we need. Therefore, we are wasting the natural resources, in extravagance, & overindulgence in sensual pleasures. The United States of America is a very good example. They are in great debts to other countries. Not because they are very poor like some African countries, Latin Americans & Asians. But still, many people want to imitate them.

Most worldly people overlook the importance of contentment & discontentment, which affect the families, societies & international levels. Contentment leads to happiness, peace & harmony. Discontentment leads to unhappiness, disharmony & suffering. For examples, in a documentary film, a Chinese bank made a lawsuit to a young man who could not repay his credit card debts & ended up in jail.

This happened for the 2nd time. The first time his father paid for his debts & this time not taking the responsibility. He blamed the bank for knowing his son situation & still loaned him money. In this case, we can see the connection between discontentment & greed. Worse than this case was a university student in China used his credit cards to borrow money from many different banks.

Now, this is a very big problem in the Banking System of China which came from B.B.C. News. These were very similar to the US Government & its citizens consumed things which more than they needed & created a lot of debts. There was also a very sad story about 15 years or 16 years old youth wanted to possess a smartphone killed his grandma, who had deposited some money in the post office.

Then he took her deposited account book, & took the money out to buy the phone. Some young women, including university students, are selling their bodies to some rich people for money to satisfy their discontentment. There is a lot to talk about family & society problems & suffering which connection with discontentment.

Its connection with international levels is more on a grand scale, which harmfulness brings to the human race. In some countries, the political leaders were still clinging to their powers when the time came for them to let go of it. If they let it go & went back to normal life still could enjoy their high living standards.

But most of them did not & just followed behind their master Discontentment like slaves And then what happened? Some countries had civil wars & the whole country in chaotic situations, harming, torturing, killing, famine, diseases, war refugees crises around the world, etc.

If these people had contentment all the small problems in their countries would be solved. Big problems always start with small problems. A forest fire starts from a spark, e.g., a burning cigarette butt. Some superpowers came in & interfered between the conflicts that even became more harmful to the people (e.g., the Syrian Civil War).

For clinging to lowly sensual pleasures & created evil deeds are not worthy of it. The kammic debts have to be repaid very seriously. In economic levels discontentment creates mind & body pollutions, & natural pollutions. What are the mind & body pollutions? Human beings become more selfish, greedy, cruel, violent, extravagant, indulgence in sensual pleasures, etc. and the mind become defiled.

To fulfill our greed & make more money with the help of science & technology, we polluted our foods with all sorts of chemicals. What are natural pollutions? There are the pollutions of earth, water & air - and all sorts of waste materials, such as industrial waste, consumers’ rubbish, etc. With more worldly knowledge and contemplation, the matters and problems from the outcomes of discontentment will never end.

But whatever it is; discontentment never brings true happiness & peace to anyone & society. For a human being to be survived, he only needs the basic four requisites: clothes, foods, dwelling & medicine. So, all the other things are extras for him. Even the Buddha taught the monks to have contentment in these four requisites. To have a simple lifestyle, unburdened to the mind & body, just as a bird whenever it goes, flies its wings as its only burden. So too is a monk has contentment with a set of robes (3 sets of robes), an alms bowl & foods to provide for hunger (one meal a day).

Wherever he goes takes only his barest necessities along (the only barest necessities are - a water strainer, a razor for shaving, & a string girdle to fasten the lower robe at the waist as a belt). A great disciple of the Buddha, Ven. Mahākassapa was an example for contentment; he had mastered left-over scrape for
food, smelly urine for medicine, the foot of a tree for dwelling, cast-off rags for robes.

Why the Buddha always praised contentment with little & encouraged monks to have this quality? Because it leads to happiness & peace, easy to develop the practice & realization. People have contentment easier to have patience & endurance in difficult times & situations. Intelligent & wise people will appreciate the quality of contentment. Spiritual people, sages & noble beings know it very well by direct experience on contentment. It develops joy, happiness & peace.

The forest monks live a simple lifestyle in a forest (pristine forests) also experience it very well. (I have mentioned about this in the Introduction of Dtow Dum forest at the border area between Thailand & Burma). Lay people also if they live a simple life with contentment sure to have joy, happiness & peace compare to discontent people, who have more problems & suffering in life.

Why is that? Strong desire or greed (lobha) is the opposite of contentment. The Buddha mentioned in the 4 Noble Truths, the main cause of suffering was strong desire (tanhā). One of the meanings of dukkha is unsatisfactoriness, which equals to discontentment. The Buddha also said that someone had contentment would be happy. It is a noble quality which all noble beings have it. You cannot see it with the eyes. Contentment is a kind of fulfillment, an inner one. It is nothing to do with outside things, such as wealth, money, or sensual objects.

Happiness comes from wealth & sensual pleasures are not true happiness. There are some very wealthy people without happiness. If someone cannot use the wealth properly will harmful to oneself. Even the Buddha said that for a fool without any wealth was better than he had it. It was like an evil person who lived a shorter life was better than a longer life.

It is also very important not to misinterpret contentment wrongly. It is nothing to do with laziness or non-action. Only the fool, greedy & selfish people interpret in this way. Contentment relates to wholesome dhamma. Discontentment relates to unwholesome dhamma. For searching, knowledge & wisdom should not have contentment.

Have contentment in knowledge & wisdom is not contentment, only laziness & dullness, or a lazy guy & a dullard. So, we should not misinterpret or misunderstand the Buddha Teaching wrongly. Interpret & contemplate according to its context. There was a very good jataka story for contemplation on discontentment, which leads to negative nature & result. If we observe & study today world situations will see all these points.


The Hanza Jataka

One time the bodhisatta was born as a human being & had a family with two daughters. After he passed away & born as a hanza bird – a type of water bird which had beautiful color feathers & could fly. It remembered its past life & had compassion on the family of his past. He had golden feathers & every one or Two months went there & gave them a golden feather. So, their lives were improved.

After sometimes what happened was his former wife became discontent & very greedy to get more instantly. The last time when the bird came & she arrested him & plucked all the feathers out. It was cruel & without any consent from the bird that all the golden feathers changed into ordinary ones. Therefore, the evil wife kept the naked bird in a trap & waiting for its golden feathers for growing back.

As soon as the feathers were growing back, the golden hanza bird flew away & never came back again. Discontentment or greedy leads to the ending of everything good, & becomes zero. Someone becomes very greedy could do all sorts of evil deeds. His bodily action, speech & mind become unwholesome. These people could do heavy kammas such as patricide, matricide, tried to kill the Buddha, split the monastic sangha, etc.

We can see these things happened even in the Buddha’s time. For e.gs, the Buddha’s cousin Devadatta tried to kill him for power. King Ajātasattu killed his father King Bimbisara was also for power. Nowadays, these things are even worse, in family matters, societies, politics, economics, etc. For power & money, people can do all sorts of harmful things. Worshipping money is the most popular religion in the world.

Human beings (mostly politicians, economists, businesspeople) measure human development with how much money we make, how much sensual pleasures we can enjoy, etc. People and all the media never emphasis or talk about moral issue, virtue & ethic. Therefore Human thinking & actions are mostly connection with greed, hatred & delusion. The media are also educating people in this direction.

There is a country that measures its progress & development with happiness – this is Bhutan. This is a country in the Himalayas in Southern Asia with beautiful nature of mountains & forest. Their lifestyle is very simple & close to nature & follow the teachings of the Buddha. By seeing the beautiful nature is make your mind becomes joyful & peaceful. Bhutanese are right, the real progress & development is happiness & peace – this comes from a simple lifestyle, close to nature & contentment with life.

Spiritual people, ancient sages & noble beings – mostly forest monks knew the happiness & peace of contentment with direct experiences. With discontentment and greed, human beings create human problems, suffering & natural disasters which all of it we can see in today world. Therefore, the Buddha with great compassion taught us that: Contentment was the highest protection with a blessing.

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Nalorakk
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24. Gratitude

文章 Nalorakk » 2019-11-20, 14:03

24. Gratitude

Kataññutā – gratitude is a very important noble quality which most people neglect or overlook it. Even the Buddha emphasized its noble quality in some suttas. The quality of gratitude connects with the quality of integrity. In the English dictionary, integrity has two meanings: the quality of being honest & firm in your moral principles; quality of being one united thing – harmony & peace.

It also connects with the qualities of Respect & Humility & Contentment, etc. These qualities are in this 7th group of Maṅgala Sutta with gratitude. Here & other places the Buddha arranged his Dhamma teaching in a very systematic & profound way. It is no doubt that the Buddha penetrated the whole universe – mind & physical worlds very profoundly.

Even the great genius of science – Albert Einstein profoundly penetrated the physical world. But still, he had family problems (see his biography) because he was a worldling & only seen one side of the coin. The Buddha & noble beings had seen both sides. There will be many future dangers, small & great are waiting for human beings, if we neglect the importance of the mind & its nature.

Because wholesome dhammas are connecting and relating to each other. Unwholesome dhammas are also in this way. We can arrange all the Buddha’s teachings into three groups (made by the Buddha himself): Sīla Precepts (morality, virtue, ethics), Samādhi – Concentration (calmness, tranquillity, peacefulness) & Paññā (discernment, knowledge, wisdom). It is called three pieces of training or educations.

But in real practice – the Noble Eightfold Path are arranged in Paññā, Sīla & Samādhi – Right view, Right thought; Right action, Right speech, Right livelihood; Right mindfulness, Right effort & Right concentration.

These arrangements were made by the Buddha himself, very systematically, profound, by the real progress & development. First, we need intellectual knowledge or paññā to follow the teachings & practice, as like any worthy knowledge & learning. Therefore, it is more like education than religion.

Buddhists do not accept God idea & its Creation; only interest in human beings, nature & natural laws. It is more like a science. The great differences are scientists only knew the physical world, even they do not know about themselves. Their mind is closer to them than the external world.

Only we have the intellectual knowledge on the Teachings can have right view, and will follow with right thoughts & thinking. Human thinks accordingly with their believed systems, ideas & doctrines. After thinking, we follow with actions & speech. And then we do all these actions (wholesome or unwholesome) in our daily life with people & in livelihoods. We have to do or create all these actions with mindfulness (attention), effort & focusing on it.

Therefore, start with right view & whatever follows will become right or wholesome. And start with wrong view & wrong thinking whatever follow will be wrong or unwholesome. The results are positive & negative, happiness & suffering, harmony & disharmony, peace & problems, etc.

We have to acknowledge the gratitude & then repay it kindness with action & speech. In a sutta of Aṅguttana Nikāya, the Buddha mentioned about two persons hard to find. He said;

“Monks, these two people are hard to find in the world. The one who is first to do a kindness. And the one who is grateful for a kindness done & feels obligated to repay it.”

The first person is someone without any reason; good on others & kind to others. The second person is someone who is acknowledging & grateful for kindness done to him. And then feels the obligation to repay it. At least he responded kindly with thank you. Even we cannot be like the first person & must have the quality of the 2nd one.

If we are naturally not good on others, at least be good on others who have benefited us. Even we should see gratitude as a debt. Some not respond gratitude with kindness & good action, instead insult & injure their benefactors. These are evil, nasty & ignoble people, & it will harm themselves greatly.


Mahākappina Jataka Story

This was a good lesson for these people. It also taught us what the noble & ignoble beings are. Mahākappina was the name of the monkey, & it was the bodhisatta’s past life. A brahman was lost in a deep forest & later fell into a deep valley, injured & could not climb up to the top. Mahākappina – the monkey saw him & had the compassion to save his life. So, he carried the man on his back & brought him to the top.

The monkey was so tired that he placed his head on the lap of the brahman & took a short rest. During the rest, the man wanted to bring the monkey meat to his wife at home. So, he took a large stone & smacked the monkey head with one blow. The monkey’s head was severely injured & blood spurted out & flowed on the whole face & body.

The money jumped up instantly & uttered these words surprisingly; “Oh! my God, in this world, still has this kind of man exists.” And then he climbed up instantly to a tree nearby & looking at the brahman amazingly. The man then remembered he was still in the deep forest & knew it dangers there with wild beasts, began to cry pitifully. With sympathy he told the brahman; “Now, I can’t close to you anymore. But I still keep my promise to let you out from the forest. Follow my blood drops.”

The bodhisatta bore his severed pain patiently & jumped from one tree to another & showed the way out. After they came out to the edge of the forest, the monkey watched him from behind until to a short distance & left.

As soon as the brahman was out of the bodhisatta’s sight, boils & sores appeared from his whole body. It was very painful & unbearable. He did not dare to go back home & ended up at the city gate & became a street beggar. He lived a very painful & miserable life for a few years. One day the king of the country came out to observe the city, & saw him.

He was looked like a strange beast (may be similar to the elephant man) & the king asked what happened to him. After he told his story to him & died. After died & he was reborn in a hell. This was a miserable outcome of ingratitude & severely injured one’s benefactor, who was a noble being. This story was interesting & touching. Ledi Sayadawgyi, in his “Uttamapurisa Dipani”, a short treatise on perfection, analyzed the ten perfections in this remarkable story.

Another very important gratitude we have to repay as debt is to our parents. In a sutta on Gratitude in the Aṅguttara Nikāya, the Buddha taught as follow: “These are the levels of a person of no integrity & a person with integrity. A person of no integrity is ungrateful, doesn’t acknowledge the help given to him. This ingratitude, this lack of acknowledgment is second nature among rude people. A person of integrity is grateful & acknowledges the help given to him.

This gratitude, this acknowledgment is second nature among fine people. Two people are no easy to repay, your father & mother. Even if you were to carry your mother on one shoulder & your father on the other shoulder for 100 years. And were to look after them be anointing, massaging, bathing & rubbing their limbs, & they were to defecate & urinate on your shoulders, you would not in that way repay your parents.

Even we were to establish them in absolute sovereignty over this great earth, abounding in the seven treasures still would not in that way repay them (i.e., the status of a universal monarch). Why is that? Father & mother do much for their children. They care for them, nourish them & introduce them to this world.

But anyone who rouses his unbelieving parents establishes them in conviction (saddhā); rouses his unvirtuous parents establish them in virtue; rouses his stingy parents establishes in generosity & rouses his foolish parents establishes them in discernment (paññā). To this extent, one repays one’s parents.”

Above, what the Buddha emphasized the important quality of gratitude as not a small matter. Because he was the greatest of all beings in wisdom & mind power, penetrated everything profoundly & clearly. Now, let us contemplate ancient sages & today people how they see the matter of gratitude. First, study, observe & contemplate ancient culture & sages on gratitude.

Here I can do it with the eastern culture & sages which more or less I know. In all the Buddhist countries with the Buddhist culture & teachings will follow what the Buddha taught. Nowadays the view & practice with gratitude will be Changed a lot with the influence of western culture & thinking. This also strongly influences on the modern Chinese, old or young.

Chinese people were from ancient time had teachings & education in moral & ethical standards, disciplines, duties & obligations from the family level, society level & government level. It seemed to be these wholesome views & education systems were already existing even before Confucius’s time. At a family level, it includes the relationship between parent & children concern with disciplines, rules, duties, obligations, etc.

One of the most important matters is children should have gratitude, respect, proper duties & obligations to the parents. This Shao Tao (it seems to translate into English as filial piety) is the foundation in family education. These moral or ethical codes are very important for human development. Without mental or mind development, material development is dangerous & harmful as seen in today world.

Why is that? If someone does not have any gratitude, respect, duty & obligation to his/her parents will never good to other people. These moral education & codes of conducts are not only concern with family life; it also related to society & country levels. Family life is like the source of a tree, its root. A healthy & strong root will grow a strong trunk, branches, leaves, flowers & fruits.

Therefore, in the ancient time wise emperors, teachers & sages trained & educated crowned princes, government officials & students with these moral & ethical educations & codes of conduct. Some Chinese dynasties were last longer than others because of moral or ethical standards. These were not surprising if someone understands the laws of nature. From wholesome dhamma,, people will get wholesome results.

Nowadays, some Chinese politicians & Chinese people influence by outside or foreign views, cultures & educations & they look down on their culture, moral & ethical values & standards as superstitions & nonsense. These misunderstandings & interpretations come from ignorance & delusion. They are deluded & quite ignorant that these moral & ethical standards, values & codes are by the natural laws & ways.

In Chinese can be said as tien tao & tien fa or roughly in Chinese the heavenly way & codes of conducts. These are universal & by the law of cause & effect, law of dependent co-arising & law of conditional relation. Whatever your faiths, views, nationality & culture backgrounds, it is always true. These are not inventions by ancient sages & noble beings like the Buddha. They have only discovered the natural laws which govern nature & beings & not by gods or God.

So, some people crazy for power & money is so strong that they do not have any moral standards, values & behaviors. These people take unwholesome things & matters as wholesome, & wholesome as rubbish & non-sense. They misconceive poison as medicine; medicine as poison. The sun will never rise from the west & only from the east. Especially influential people (leaders, politicians, economists, businessmen, etc.) have to be very careful with their outlooks & conducts.

If they are thinking foolishly & conducting stupidly, the harm they cause themselves & others are very serious. We can see all the harms caused by foolishness & stupidity in world history. Great dynasties, kingdoms & great cultures were wiped out on the earth. To become a decent human being need moral educations & conducts. We are born into the human realm must think & behave like a man, & not like animals, ghosts & hell beings. If we have to change, have to change our mind & conduct.

We cannot change the natural law & it will never be. If we were born & will die for sure, & not by God’s wishes, but by the natural laws. A very well known English historian Arnold Toynbee who had studied many world languages praised Chinese culture very highly & its philosophical & wisdom language. People who study Chinese letters will understand what he had said. Some people are asking questions like; “Is man has any future?” Some scholars refer to Chinese civilization & culture as a good example.

From the Buddha’s teachings, this point is also true. The ups & downs of human civilization greatly depend on human moral principles. These are foundations not only as a human but also for survival & progress. All these points were mentioned in 2 of the long discourses in the Dīgha Nikāya; Cakkavatti Sutta & Aggaññā Sutta.

It seemed to be the Chinese knew these things even before the Buddha. This might be one of the main reasons when Buddhism came to China & Chinese people were easily accepted as part of their lives & developed it. Now, these three teachings: Taoism, Confucianism & Buddhism are inseparable, & not like the other faiths & religions.

Talk about gratitude, Ven. Sariputta was also a good example of integrity. He was grateful & acknowledged the help given to him by someone. It was second nature to him, & among the fine people, the Buddha also supported it. Therefore, I have said many times before Ven. Sariputta was the loveliest man on the earth. He had many fine qualities we need to learn from him. Sariputta entered the stream (became a sotāpanna) was not with the direct teachings of the Buddha. He heard a short verse from Ven. Assajit (Assaji) which run thus:

“Ye dhammā hetuppa bhava, tesaṁ tathāgato āha, tesañca yo nirodho, evaṁ vādī mahā samaṇo.” “The Tathāgata (i.e., Buddha) has declared the cause & also the cessation of all phenomena which arise from the cause. This is the teaching held by the great monk.” Therefore Ven. Sariputta always paid respect in the direction where Ven. Assaji was & went to sleep with his head lying in the same direction. This was out of gratitude & respect for his teacher. The Buddha also encouraged the monks to follow his example.

Another story about him was related to Ven. Rādha. Rādha was a poor old brahman who stayed in the monastery & helping the sangha with small matters. So, the sangha provided him with foods, clothing & dwelling. He wanted to become a monk & asked permission from them. Because of his old age, no one wanted to help him. But the Buddha, with his supernormal power, knew that he was due for arahatship. So, he called all the monks & asked them as was there anyone received Rādha’s offering before.

Ven. Sariputta told the Buddha that Rādha had offered him a spoonful of rice before. Therefore, he asked Ven. Sariputta received him as his disciple & trained him. Ven. Sariputta ordained him & trained him. Old monk Rādha was easy to admonish & followed his instructions strictly that within a few days became an arahant. Here was Ven. Sariputta even remembered very clear Rādha as a layman offered him a spoonful of rice very long time ago.

This wholesome quality compared to the character of Devadatta, was quite far apart. In the above story Mahākappina, the brahman who smacked the monkey’s head was Devadatta’s past life. Ven Rādha was not an ordinary monk. He was easy to admonish & train also had the desire to know & learn Dhamma. Because of him, there were some Dhamma recorded in the Saṁyutta Nikāya as Rādha Saṁyutta.

He put a lot of questions to the Buddha on Dhamma (over 20 of them) which the Buddha answered & inspired others. Therefore, he was foremost in this. He also had a darker side about him before ordained. He was a family man before & had some children of his own. But after getting old nobody wanted to look after & care for him. Therefore, I ended up living at the monastery.

Nowadays, most societies are a similar situation; more & more people neglect their parents. Some end up on the street life & others in nursing homes. This kind of ingratitude & disrespect creates without love, compassion & unconcern for others. Even we cannot have gratitude, respect, love, compassion & concern for our parents & it is impossible for thinking to others.

Survival for the fittest is animal philosophy & not for human. Even by reading or hearing about noble beings such as ancient sages, great men, bodhisatta, chief & great disciples of the Buddha & lay people are inspiring & joy arises. If we put them into practice, the results will be greater.

Another important matter to contemplate on gratitude & respect is the natural world surrounds the mother Earth or us. One of the most important things always needs to remind us is we are part of nature. We can never be separated from it if we are selfishly exploiting or misusing it & just for suicide. Therefore, all our thinking & behaviors affect our great mother Earth, just as to our mothers.

The Buddha & ancient sages already knew this a long time ago. Today sciences also confirm it with study, observation, experiment & research. (The same as laws of kamma & rebirth. These discoveries by science solve the problem of God). Our Earth is quite a beautiful planet in our solar system. All these we can see in many color photos around the world if any place was protected.

Even it is quite beautiful from the outer space. Any place without destroyed or polluted by human – forest, mountain, stream, river, waterfall, flowers, trees, etc. have amazing beauty. These things can be felt by people who love & closes to nature. The four great element water, earth, fire & air are nourishing our physical bodies day in day out, & all the year round. Our health & survival depend on them.

Does anyone say thank you & I love you to our benefactors? E.g., water is the source of life. It has many interesting qualities with it. We are never thinking & concerning them. Without all these natural resources, our human civilization cannot survive & develop or progress. Nowadays if we look at nature, we do a lot of harm to them out of greed & delusion. All the pollutions we created were poisoning the earth. Therefore there are many natural disasters that appear by destroying the harmony of nature.

Even human beings are in disharmony; there will be violence & suffering arise in societies. In nature, everything is interconnecting & relating, whether these are animate or inanimate things. Therefore, with gratitude & respect, we should protect the Earth, treat it properly & wisely. With gratitude & respect come to love, compassion, concern, harmony, happiness & peace.

So, let us develop the noble quality of gratitude for the highest protection with a blessing to oneself & others. (2017 was the hottest year in records. And also, many disasters appeared such as heavy rains, hurricanes, forest fire, very high temperature (50°C), earthquakes, etc.

And then in the United States of America, there were many shootings with guns & killed a lot of innocent people, As an, e.g. in Arizona State, a man from the window of a hotel room was shooting people with the automatic rifle. These people were gathering at the open air concert. Most of these things were happening on the continent of America. Now, the most important and urgent problem to solve is temperature rising. Human mind & behaviors (i.e., unwholesome mental states & actions) are the main causes of all these unfortunate results.

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Nalorakk
文章: 402
註冊時間: 2017-03-03, 08:00

25. Hearing the Dhamma on timely occasions

文章 Nalorakk » 2019-11-21, 13:44

25. Hearing the Dhamma on timely occasions

Some Buddhists may be not taken this matter seriously & very important. There are many reasons for listening to Dhamma as very important. Nowadays, we can include also study & reading the Buddha’s Teachings from Pali texts translations or written by scholars (most importantly by Buddhist scholars, such as monks).

One of the factors for realization is listening Dhamma talks. The Buddha also said to the monks, after he passed away, the Buddha Dhamma was their teacher. Only by knowing the teachings we can have right views, what are wholesome & not wholesome, what is right or wrong, what is proper or not proper & then we can walk on the right path.

In the Buddha’s time even, some monks & lay people were having the realizations while listening to the Dhamma of the Buddha or one of his disciples. Among the Theravadin Buddhist countries, Burmese Buddhists are very fortunate in this matter. Because Burmese monks had the strong tradition of study & practice of the Pali texts. It produced many fine scholar monks & meditation teachers. From the middle of the 20th century up to this day, some monks could recite the whole Tipitaka by heart.

Burmese monks usually give their talks based on the suttas. So, by listening these talks were like it came from the Buddha directly. Even today, there are more lay people studying the suttas & Abhidhamma directly with teachers.

What time should people listen to Dhamma? It had been said differently in the texts. In the Mahāgovinda Sutta, it was mentioned every five days, & in one sutta it also said that if someone had time & teacher for giving a talk should listen to it. The best time may be someone has stress, unhappiness, sorrow, lamentation pain, grief & despair, a very good, e.g. was the story of Theri Patācārā (a Buddhist nun).

Before ordained, she had lost her whole family, husband, two sons, parents & 3 brothers. With over sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief & despair, she became nearly mad. And then she encountered the Buddha & by listening to his powerful Dhamma, she overcame her sorrow & entered the stream. Another interesting story was about the heavenly being (devata) Subrahmā.

One time he was enjoying the heavenly pleasures with his 1,000 celestial nymphs outdoor under a flowering tree. Human beings enjoy the lowly & ignoble pleasures by making money to destroy the earth, without unaware of the outcome of it. So heavenly beings are more easily under the power of delusion.

The five hundred nymphs on the tree plucked the flowers & threw it down for the other 500 underneath the tree. They made the wreaths of flower for Subrahmā. After sometimes the 500 nymphs on the tree died suddenly & disappeared on the spot. They took rebirths in hell. Without the flowers coming down and singing, the others looked up the tree and found out the situation.

Not seeing anyone of them, Subrahmā devata with his divine eyes searched for them & found them in the hell. The working of the law of kamma is inconceivable. Everyone (all living beings) has good & bad kammas carrying with them (kammic energy) in the round of existence. All these are waiting for chances to give the results.

Now, the time was ripe for these beings. So, Subrahmā checked his future with his supernormal power, and also found out that after seven days they would die & fall into the hell. Hence, in utter fear, he came to the Buddha for seeking consolation. The Buddha gave them talk & at the end, all of them entered the stream. The door to hell waiting for them was closed forever. So, Buddhists should listen to Dhamma talks (including reading & studying) at any time if they have chances & times.

This will increase our knowledge & become intelligent & wise people. Spiritual people knew this point very well. E.g., the Chinese sages invented a system of training their students, which was called reading texts for 100 times or 1,000 times. Some modern teachers experimented with these systems & found out that children had bad habits & characters changed to good persons. They also had a strong power of attention & intelligence.

Time limit is not the main point here in hearing the Dhamma. The time someone needs it urgently is more important, as shown above with the nun Patācārā & Subrahmā devata. But with more listening is better, because it will decrease our mental pollutions. By watching some of the media such as movies, TV programs, video games, etc. are quite harmful to people. If they include a lot of violence, sex, etc.

which are pollutants for our minds. It is like a bulb light in a kitchen at the cooking place, everyday contacts with the dirty air with oil & smoke. After sometimes it becomes dirtier, clouded & not bright anymore. Why is that? Because we use our six senses in an unwholesome way. It also likes eating unhealthy foods for every day; such as junk foods, foods connecting with pesticides, foods with chemicals inside, etc. Then our health degenerate & end up with sickness, pains & deaths.

Our mind is like clear water or bright mirror. With it, we can see things clearly & penetrate them. With the dirty one, we cannot do it. There are some higher beings the rupa-brahma gods (beings with the material jhānic power) seemed to be used only three senses; eye, ear & mind doors. These are very useful & important for them.

They can meet the Buddha & arahants to listen to their talk & easily get attainments. The other sensitivities of smell, taste & touch, which they do not need them. But human beings are not like this. They prefer to see & listen to a lot of media with pollutants such as

Sex, violence, useless chattering, etc. Even some children are not escaping from these pollutants. Because some comic books, cartoons, video games, books included these things in it. Media have the great power of educations.
Regarding media education, there was a tragic story connected with a woman named Miss Song. It is worth to mention here. She was from the Liao Ning Province of N.E China.

When she was young as a teenage girl liked to watch Tv, videos, and movies and brainwashed by the polluted media. And then she started to beautify herself & had a lot of affairs with men. According to her confession, she had over 40 lovers in her life. At the age of 50, she found out that she had the cancer of the uterus. It was in a serious & severe situation, blood & pus came out often.

The doctor told her that she could survive only three months. Luckily at that period, she encountered with good-hearted people who studied & practiced Confucianism & Buddhism. Within the short period of her life, she gave a lot of public talks & educated people not to get lost in media.

At last with the Buddhist practice, she passed away peacefully. Here we can see the results of unwholesome & wholesome educations very clear. Therefore, we should not use it for foolishly & stupidly. And should not take media education as lightly. Today a lot of social problems have a lot of connection with them.
The benefits of listening Dhamma are:

(1) Hearing things never heard before
(2) Having a clear knowledge
(3) Overcoming doubts
(4) Having right views
(5) One’s mind grows serene.


These are the five rewards in listening to the Dhamma.

(1) One hears what one has not heard before

Most people knowledge is very limited. But Buddhas were an exception. In a sutta, the Buddha said that his knowledge was like many leaves in a forest, but he taught only like a handful of leaves on his hand. Even these handful of teachings we know very little, not completely & only superficially. Many of them were we never heard before. If make out the lists there are many.

The most important one was the Four Noble Truths with its details in many suttas. Some of the worldly knowledge even we know very little about it, e.g. rebirth, other faiths take it as reincarnation. Some even not accept this view. The Buddha described it as the rounds of existence, & with it 31 realms of existence.


(2) One clarifies what one has heard before

These are also can give many examples of them. Most people think God creates us & believe in the Creation. The Buddha taught the rounds of the existence of all living beings with the law of Dependent Co-arising (Paticcasamupada). Most people believe there is a permanent self, a soul, or God exists.

They also heard from many faiths teach about them. When they read Buddhism or listen to Dhamma on the doctrine of not-self (anatta) which they never heard before, even not in this life, but for many lives of existence. Because only the Buddha & Pacceka-buddhas could discover it & only the Buddha could teach them. Therefore, it is not surprising that nobody can teach about it.


(3) One gets rid of doubt

Overcoming of doubt is very important for whatever we are studying or doing. Because this is one of the hindrances. The meaning of doubt is: have a feeling of uncertainty, isn’t true or possible? Probably not true or possible, might not be true or might not be existed. So, it has the power of obstruction to our progress in doing something & knowledge.

If someone doubts wrong views & practices is better than without it. But if someone doubts right views & practices will incline towards wrong views & practices; then it is dangerous. In Buddhist spiritual practice overcoming doubt is very important. This is one of the foundations of knowledge in insight practice (vipassanā).

The other is the foundation knowledge of the mind & material phenomena or right view. With the analytical knowledge of mind & body, the view of a being, a person, a soul or self is disappeared. Then, it reduces the affection & hate (like or dislike) on someone. Overcoming doubt is the discernment of the conditions of mind & body. In the world, the different faiths or religions arise is not knowing the causes of phenomena, e.g., the doctrine of the creator & the creation.

The causes of phenomena are so deep & profound that people are following the ways of easy thinking. The Buddha did not accept the first cause or root cause. The easiest way of thinking is the doctrine of causes-ahetuka-vada. Both of them are extreme views. Here I want to present a story of a person who had got rid of doubt. This man was born into a Muslim family. At a young age, his father forced him to study & learn the Koran text with a teacher. He had the nature of curiosity, inquiry mind & intelligent. He never accepted anything without clear understanding & direct experience.

Later he fell in love with a Christian & studied the Old & New Bibles. Later he became a teacher in Philosophy Department & studied all the eastern & western philosophy & doctrines. After sometimes, he had the duty to write a book on Buddhist Ethics to teach the philosophy students. He did not have good knowledge of Buddhism, except mentioned in the Philosophy books. So, he made thorough research & study on Buddhism for the Buddhist Ethics textbook.

Even later he wrote a book on Religions, included 11 faiths. From his knowledge about religions, he preferred Buddhism to others. The reason behind it was more logical & profound than others. The most important point was Buddhism cleared away of his doubt on the Creator & the Creation as it was not the truth. But still at that time not become a Buddhist yet. He still doubted the doctrine on rebirth.

The reason was he could not prove it or had direct experience. Luckily, later, he could prove it as a truth. And then became a Buddhist at the age of 50. Later he went to 10 days vipassanā retreat & had a direct understanding of the 4 Noble Truths & became a Buddhist monk. This was the ending of all of his search for the truth. Doubt on his father’s faith led to the search for the truth, & with the Buddha’s teaching led to the ending of all doubts.


(4) One’s views are made straight

If one has wrong views & by listening Dhamma, clearing doubt & wrong views. So, one’s views are made straight or right. There are eight causes for wrong views to arise. The two main causes are:

[1] Listening wrong teachings
[2] Unwise attention (ayonisomanasikara).

The opposites are also true if someone has to listen the right teachings will have right views & wise or right or proper attention. With wise attention & wrong views are overcome. There was an interesting discourse in the Aṅguttara Nikāya. It was Aramadhanta Sutta & the name of a brahman. He asked the Buddha about the reasons for disputes & arguments. He asked in general & the Buddha also answered in general. Only the Buddha & arahants overcome them.

The causes are still existing that people have disputes & arguments. With different views that people are disputing & arguing. Therefore, we must find out the causes for them to arise. The Buddha’s Teachings were searching for the main causes. There are two causes: original & nearest causes. The 4 Noble Truths are also in this way. These are internal & external causes, without finding out the internal causes we cannot solve the disputes.

There are two groups of disputed people; the householders & religious group. Their fundamental internal causes are different. In one of Mahā Kaccāyana’s discourses, the internal cause for householders for dispute is kamaragakilesa - the defilement of sensual lust. These are the desirous objects of the five sense objects - form, sound, smell, taste & touch.

Sensuality is the main cause & there are also other causes. Sensual lust sinks someone. People are controlled & governed by lust & sensuality that in disputes & arguments. Out of craving or desire that many disputes are arising. If we study the present situations around the world, this is very clear.

Religious people are disputing & arguing for different views, doctrines, ideas & outlooks. Overcome or transcend sensual lust & views are the Buddha & arahants only.

Buddhists who listen to Dhamma talks with mindfulness or Pali Chanting know this experience directly. Wholesome dhamma has the wholesome result, & unwholesome dhamma has an unwholesome result. Therefore, we should not overlook the effect of sound on one’s mind. Even nature is sensitive about it.

So, we have to be very careful about the media. Seeing & watching all this rubbish will pollute our mind. Now, scientists with many types of research & experiments also have found its effects on the mind and the physical world.

Recently, a very funny thing had happened. In America, at a music concert, surely it was nothing to do with classical music. This was violent music with the youths & they were singing & shouting violently. Suddenly a 16-year-old girl fell & sent her to a hospital & saved her life. Her lung could not work properly because of the over shouting. Luckily, the doctors saved her life back.

The Mahayana Buddhists even use sound & spiritual music to calm their mind. In the Pali Suttas there were many stories & incidents of monks & lay people by listening to the Dhamma gave by the Buddha & they had realizations. Why could these people achieve the results? We know that Buddhist training is sīla, samādhi & paññā. (precepts, concentration & discernment or wisdom).

During the talks, their precepts were pure. Concentrating on the Dhamma & their mind became calm & peaceful. Their mind was not concentrating on the sensual objects like today, man. With the calm & peaceful mind & contemplation led to a realization. The nun Patācārā was overcome by sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief & despair, which made her nearly mad. After hearing the Buddha’s teaching, her mind became calm & serene. And then continued to give her special teaching that she was established in the fruit of stream-entry.

Ālavaka was the most violent & fearsome ogre (yakkha). He was so angry with the Buddha that even threatened to split the Buddha’s heart & grabbed him by the feet & hurled him across the Ganges River. Even this very violent & fearsome being after listened to the Dhamma & his mind became calm & serene & also established in the fruit of stream-entry.

So hearing & listening Dhamma is a very important matter for Buddhists. It is as an important practice in cultivation of the mind, by listening very often with contemplation. This is not only accumulated Dhamma knowledge with contemplation but also increase our intelligence & discernment. With a lot of Dhamma knowledge & practice, we can solve many problems in daily life when it needs.

In a sutta in the Aṅguttara Nikāya, two brahmins Kāranapālī and Piṅgiyāni were talking about the Dhamma of the Buddha. Piṅgiyāni brahman explained to the other brahmin on the qualities of the Buddha Dhamma with five similes. Brahmin Piṅgiyāni was a non-returner (anāgāmin) and visiting the Buddha every day to offer incense & garlands.

[1] Someone after listening to the Dhamma of the samana Gautama (i.e., Buddha) & he could not listen to the other dhammas anymore (i.e., the teachings of other teachers). As an example, someone after eating the best delicious food in full stomach & he could no longer desire tastes of an inferior kind.

[2] Whichever part of the Dhamma one had listened, it would give the satisfaction and placidity of mind. (i.e., it was good in the beginning, in the middle & the end). As an example, someone in hunger & received a honey ball whichever part he had bitten & it gave the delicious flavor.

[3] Whichever part of the Dhamma one had listened, one would derive elation and joy. It was like someone who came upon sandalwood & any part of it would give the sweet smell.

[4] Buddha Gautama was like a medical doctor & his Dhamma could cure the mental diseases (kilesa roga - defilements of the mind). It was like a skillful physician might instantly cure someone who was afflicted & gravely ill. Mahayana medicine Buddha could come from this idea.

[5] Someone was traveling under a very hot sun, with the burning heat, tiredness & hunger. After he encountered a lotus pond, it released him from burning heat, tiredness & hunger.

In the same way by hearing the Buddha Dhamma, it freed someone from the heat of defilements (from the Kāranapālī Sutta). So the power of Dhamma is unlimited & the best medicine for all ills of the world. Whether it is about the body or the mind, in family problems or social problems, political or economic problems, most Buddhists maybe never thought that they are the most fortunate & luckiest beings in the world, because of the past great merits they encounter the Buddha Dhamma in this life.

The Buddha had mentioned very clear that to get a human birth, encounter the Dhamma, to have an interest, to understand and practice accordingly was the most difficult matter in the world. But most of us are taking it as easy & never thinking it as a priceless treasure. We are foolishly & stupidly wasting our chances, time & energy in trivial matters & things. There was an interesting sutta about the four best things in the world.

The devas or gods were looking for the answer to the highest blessing for 12 years. There was also a monk who had supernormal power wanted to know the ending of the four great elements. So he went to heaven to look for the answer. From the lower realms of deity to higher realms of the Brahma god and no-one could answer him. Therefore he had to come down again & ask the Buddha for the answer.

All these profound questions were except the Buddha no one could answer them. Here also the Four Great Kings of the heaven (Cātummahārajika deva) asked Sakka, the King of the 33 Gods on these four best things. Sakka could not give them the answers, so they all came to the Buddha for the answers.


All these four things are connecting with Dhamma.

(1) What is the best gift in the world?

If we are talking about gifts, there are many kinds & for many reasons. As Buddhists, we give or offer four requisites to the monks. Dāna is giving & has two meanings; the gifts & the mental state of giving volition, or things & action. There is a very special kind of gifts which most people overlook or neglect. This is paññā dāna - the gift of knowledge. Gift of things & the gift of knowledge (especially here is the Buddha Dhamma) which one is the best? Dhamma gift is the best one.

The Buddha’s answer to the devas was: “Sabbadānaṁ dhammadānaṁ jinati - The gift of Dhamma is greater than all other gifts.” The devas are satisfied with the answer. The commentary explained it as followed. Why the Buddhists make dāna as the best gift? There are many reasons for this wholesome action. For some, this is the second nature for them and carried with them from their past lives.

For most Buddhists, they develop this wholesome dhamma from the teaching of the law of kamma. The basic reason for Dhamma gift is greater than others is it can lead to the realization of Nibbāna. One of the factors for realization of Nibbāna is listening Dhamma talks. (exception of the Buddha & Paccekabuddhas).

Therefore the gift of Dhamma is the best gift. In this discourse, we are talking about from the point of gift receiver & not the giver. The giver also has its benefits. Material gifts are for this life only & most of them are short life span, e.g., giving foods. Gift of Dhamma leads to the ending of dukkha. Therefore the gift of Dhamma is incomparable from other gifts.

Salvatore Cioffi (1897-1966) – U Lokanatha:

A long time ago in the first half of 20th century, an Italian American chemist received a gift of Dhamma from a friend for Christmas. This book was the English translation of “Dhammapada”. After reading it & he became a Buddhist. Giving up his job & wealth, he went to Burma & ordained there. His ordained name was Ven. Lokanatha or well known in Burma as Italian monk U Lokanatha.

After some years in monkhood, he walked on foot along the silk road from Asia to pass the middle east and to the USA. He determined to follow the Bodhisatta Path (to become a future Buddha). One time he went to pay homage to the famous Ven. Webu Sayadaw & asked him directly; “Ven. Sayadaw, are you an arahant?” Instead of answering his question directly, Sayadaw’s respond was; “I have no courage to become a bodhisatta.” Sayadaw U Lokanatha passed away in Burma in 1966 (He was in Burma for 40 years).


(2) What is the best enjoyment or taste?

There are nine kinds of enjoyment. These are the enjoyments of the common people.

[1] Enjoyment comes from funny things, or people are amusing & make you smile or laugh.
[2] Enjoyment comes from affection
[3] Enjoyment comes from sympathy (garunarasa)
[4] Enjoyment comes from violence; people like to watch violent movies, & people commit terrors can come from this taste, such as terrorism.
[5] Enjoyment comes from courageous acts
[6] Enjoyment comes from loathsomeness
[7] Enjoyment comes from amazement
[8] Enjoyment comes from fright (ghost story)
[9] All other feelings

According to the Buddha; “The taste of Dhamma is greater than all other tastes – Sabharasaṁ dhammarasaṁ jinati.” Why is that? There are no real peace & happiness behind all the other enjoyments. In the end, these are not good. It cannot last long & at last, make people become in confusion.


(3) What is the best delight of the mind?

There are many things which people are looking for delight. Some are with family members, with wealth, with sense objects, etc. People are always looking for pleasure & no contentment. This is human nature. After they get what they want & become happy & joy with it for some periods. Later they become bored with them. So they are changing object to object, matter to matter & never have satisfaction with it. From discontentment & dissatisfaction come human problems & suffering.

Heavenly beings also have this kind of situation. The Buddha’s answer was; “Sabbaratim dhammaratim jinati” – The delight of Dhamma is better than all other delights” Worldly pleasures are not peaceful & calm, even lead to problems & suffering. Dhamma delight or enjoyment is peaceful & calm & true happiness. Therefore yogis & noble beings who have jhānas & fruits use to stay in these peaceful states.

Even the pleasure comes from study & contemplate, the Buddha Dhamma leads to joy & happiness, which excel the sensual pleasure.


(4) What is the best destruction?

The destruction of craving/greed (tanhā) or dukkha is the best. Therefore the Buddha’s answer was; “Tanhākkhayo sabbadukkhaṁ jinati – The destruction of craving or all dukkha is the best.” The destruction of craving or all dukkha is the highest stage of realization, which is arahatta magga & phala – the path & fruit of arahantship.

Therefore the arahatta magga & phala is the destruction of craving/tanhā – tanhākkhayo with the destruction of craving & free from all kind of dukkha. Because craving is the source of all dukkha, we cannot destroy dukkha directly.


So craving is the cause & dukkha is the result. With practice, we can cut off the connection between them. With the destruction of tanhā & dukkha is ended. But human beings are afraid of the destruction of tanhā. So they are searching & fighting for wealth, power & pleasure with each other. With human conflicts, all social problems & sufferings arise. Nowadays, these problems & sufferings are worse than before. With the power of science & technology, the destruction is becoming greater.

Now we are at a critical point. The Buddha taught & urged us for the destruction of craving. Human beings, instead of listening to the Buddha, & become the followers of Mara – The Evil One/Tanhā & develop & increase its qualities. All these four questions were searching & discussing the answers for 12 years. At last, they found the answers from the Blessed One.

The power of Dhamma was so great that even the Buddha took the Dhamma as his teacher. Without a teacher is dangerous & many problems & sufferings are waiting for each one of us from now on to the future. Therefore hearing the Dhamma on timely occasions is the highest protection with a blessing. Listening very quite often is the best way. We should use our leisure time on it.

If we are listening to Tanhā very often it will become our teacher; it will sink us to the bottom of the ocean floor & we can never come up to the surface again. This is the power of tanhā. If we take the Dhamma as our teacher, we can rise higher & higher, at last, will transcend the world & free forever. Listening Dhamma is truly the highest protection & blessing.

Here I want to make some suggestions for Buddhists. It is also very important to other faiths by their teachings. Because terrorists & terrorism arise has some connections with the misunderstanding & misinterpretation problems. Some years ago, the Ven. Nyanaponika Thera mentioned the following point in one of his essays. He said that in the past some Sri Lanka families were teaching their children after they came back from works & schools in the evening before the meal.

Another important thing was some mothers or fathers near bedtime telling their young children with Buddhist stories, such as jataka stories about the bodhisatta – The Great Being. There are nearly 550 stories which described the Buddha’s past lives developed the ten perfections as a bodhisatta. Each perfection has three levels; basic, middle & higher or highest levels. At least every human being should have the basic level of perfection, & can be called as a true human.

Some might think cultivated the paramis was for oneself. It is for both, to oneself & others. These are giving services & making sacrifices for all living beings. Selfishness & self-centeredness bring problems & sufferings to oneself & others. Nearly all the Buddha’s teachings were about human beings & societies. Therefore teaching the children with Buddhist stories is an important education for them. So listening Dhamma is not only for grown-up Buddhists but to all groups.

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Nalorakk
文章: 402
註冊時間: 2017-03-03, 08:00

26. Patience

文章 Nalorakk » 2019-11-21, 13:53

26. Patience

Patience is in Pali called khanti. In English, if you have patience, you can stay calm & not get annoyed. But this English meaning is not completed. The Buddha’s teaching on patience was not only with unpleasant things & matters but also with pleasant things & matters. So it has a connection with equanimity (upekkha). The Buddha praised this quality highly. With the following of all the explanations & we know why it is so important?

There are ten perfections (paramis) for the candidate of a Buddha to be (i.e., bodhisatta). One of them is patience (khanti). Each of the perfections has three levels; these are basic, middle & highest levels. The hermit Sumedha (the past life of Buddha Gautama) after he received the prediction from the Buddha Dipinkara, he went to a quiet place & contemplated on the ten perfections one by one.

Khanti parami was the number 6th one. It was like the earth whatever good or bad things discarded on it & it did not have any reaction of love & hate. So it is the mental factor of non-hatred (adosa). Sīla, samādhi & paññā can be possible only with patience. All the wholesome dhammas can progress with patience. In the Aṅguttara Nikāya, there was a sutta mentioned some of its power. The power of wise, sages & noble beings was patience.

Ledi Sayadaw mentioned about Khanti Parami in the following way, in his “Uttamapurisa Dipani”. Patience has two kinds; patience with living beings; & patience with unpleasant phenomena, such as heat & cold, etc. So the Buddha taught patience with many things. The main point is in the world if we encounter internal & external phenomena not let these things soil our mind, without complaining & facial expression. And we are just doing our tasks of merit & welfare without affecting them, with a clear & determined mind.

Ledi Sayadaw continued to explain the perfection of equanimity (upekkha parami). Upekkha means; not taking pleasure & affection to someone who praises, respect & offers things to oneself. Or not displeasure & hate to someone who blames, doing wrong, harm & defame to oneself. Does not has these double minds on these two persons mean upekkha. With the stableness of khanti & upekkha paramis, the other paramis can progress smoothly. It was like children born from the mother’s womb looked after or protected by the parents would grow up.

If not looked after or protected by them & would die there. Therefore patience is like the mother & upekkha is like the father. Some Buddhists formulated six perfections, which not included upekkha. Maybe they were confused with the equanimity of the 4 Divine Abidings (Brahmavihara Dhamma). With the two qualities of patience & equanimity will develop wholesome actions smoothly.

The wholesome actions which looked after and protected by the perfection of renunciation (nekkhamma parami) can become perfected actions or perfected wholesome actions. Without the protection of nekkhamma parami & taking pleasure in the wholesome results & it will not become the perfected merit. These kinds of merit are bound with becoming. It was like the children who were looking after by parents but without protecting by doctor & medicines.

They were getting sick with foods & drinks. Trees can be grown up & developed by soil & water. So patience is like the soil & equanimity is water. The equanimity comes from the Brahmavihara Dhammas is a little different from the perfection of equanimity. Brahmavihara upekkha not concern for the welfare of beings. Upekkha parami concerns for the welfare of all without any distinction good or bad to oneself.

Ledi Sayadaw continued the ten perfections with the example of Mahākappina Jataka story. Explained one by one of them in this story. For patience & equanimity as follow: The monkey (i.e., bodhisatta) head was smacked by the evil brahman with a big stone. Blood streamed out with the severe pain. But the monkey bore the pain without concern for the pain & suffering.

Without soiled his mind with complaining & anger. His mind was in a normal & clear state. This was khanti parami. If the monkey did not have patience, with the severe pain & everything was spoiled. Even the monkey was helping to save his life with a lot of difficulties & effort & did not has any disappointment & anger was upekkha parami. At that time if he had anger & disappointment in the brahman, it would spoil his goodness.

Tipitakadhara Yaw Sayadaw gave a talk on human strength & mentioned about patience (Sayadaw was the 5th one who could recite the three pitakas by heart). Patience is the foundation dhamma of sīla, samādhi & paññā. Only with khanti & has progressed. Winning or not winning, good or bad has to be patient with them. With patience is a noble quality.

Even dāna-giving is connecting with patience. It is giving up & sacrificing. Patience is strength & make someone noble & outstanding. There are five benefits of patience;

(1) Love by people
(2) Calm & without dangers
(3) Free from the faults of anger
(4) Die with a clear mind
(5) Good rebirth (sugati).

Patience & right exertion (sammā-viriya) can destroy the mental heat (i.e., kilesa heat). It can burn out kilesa defilements & called tapa-austerity. The source of metta (loving friendliness) is patience. Anger (dosa) has three stages; killing, disturbing & happening in mind. And its results are; short life span, have illnesses & look ugly. Non-anger (adosa) also has three kinds; doing merits always with non-anger, non-hatred comes from patience, & non-hatred comes from metta bhavana (meditation on loving kindness).

With mindfulness is the way of living alone, and with metta is the way of living with others. Bodhisatta wanted to develop the perfection of patience had to take rebirths mostly in the human world. If he had the chances to take rebirths in heavenly & brahma god worlds with merits & jhanas, would never stay there very long. With resolution (adhithana) & came down to the human world for rebirth.

The human world was the best place for fulfilling the ten perfections. The human world is the best place for doing all kinds of wholesomeness. We must sacrifice the human body with Dhamma. The calmness of mind relates to patience. It means complete with sīla & samādhi. With patience & sīla & samādhi develop.

In the Buddhavagga of Dhammapada, Ven. Ānanda raised the question to the Buddha on the Fundamental Instructions to the monks by the past Buddhas. The Buddha answered with three verses & one of them was including patience.

Verse 184: Khanti paramaṁ tapo titikkha,
nibbānaṁ paramaṁ vadanti buddhā;
na hi pabbajito parūpaghāti,
na samaṇo hoti paraṁ viheṭhayanto.

“The best training in austerity is patience,
“Nibbāna is the Supreme,” said the Buddhas;
A monk does not harm others,
One who harms others is not a monk.”


Therefore patience is the cause of progress & nobility in worldly & supramundane matters. Patience is not reacting to any bad thing someone has done to oneself. So it is a quality difficult to practice. This is a Dhamma leads to peace & happiness to oneself & others. Therefore the Buddha said that patience & forbearance was the noblest practice. In the Aṅguttara Nikāya, the Buddha mentioned the five results of patience, which I have already mentioned before.

But also there are 5 faults without any patience. These are; hate by others; has dangers; with many faults arise in this present & future lives; a bad dying; & after death, not has a good destination, i.e., the woeful planes of existence. In the world, people encounter problems are the same. The differences are in the ways to deal with problems, & to solve them. Because of ignorance & foolishness, small problems become bigger & worse.

We can see all these things in each country & international levels, as examples: Syria Civil War, Israel & Palestine Problem, terrorists & terrorism, etc.. We cannot achieve peace, harmony & happiness with the ways of tit for tat, aggression, violence, hatred, ill-will, etc. The many ways to solve problems are wholesome dhammas.

The most basic one is wholesome education, patience & forbearance, tolerance, love, sympathy, compassion, kindness, concern for others, etc. Interference by some superpowers also made things worse & destroyed the involved countries & citizens. They exploited the situations for political or economic purposes.

In the Saṁyutta Nikāya, there is a sutta called “Vipacitti or Patience.” There the Buddha mentioned the teaching of Sakka (king of the 33 gods) to Mātali (the charioteer). It was about the qualities of patience which all people should follow it. This discourse is especially important for politicians & political leaders to deal with conflict.

Sakka was not an ordinary deva king. He was an intelligent, wise & noble being & asked some important questions to the Buddha. His teaching on patience was as follow. Once in the past the devas & asuras were in battle. In that battle, the devas won & the asuras were defeated. The Tāvatimsa devas bound Vepacitti by his four limbs & neck brought him to Sakka in the Sudhamma assembly hall. When Sakka was entering & leaving the hall, Vepacitti, abused & reviled him with rude & harsh words. Mātali, the charioteer, saw this & said to Sakka.

Did Sakka from fear & weakness, endured Vepacitti patiently by listening to his harsh words? Sakka replied that he was neither through fear nor weakness & patience with the asura. He was a wise person & should not engage in combat with a fool. Mātali continued that if no one would keep the fools in check & they would express their anger even more.

So the wise should restrain the fool with extreme punishment urgently. Then Sakka responded wisely. In his view, the only way to check the fool was when one’s enemy was angry & not responded to him. Instead, one maintained one’s peace mindfully. Mātali said to Sakka that this way of dealing with the enemy was faulty.

Because by practicing patient endurance at that time, the enemy would think; “He endures me out of fear.” Then the fool would harm you more. At last Sakka taught Mātali the qualities of patience & the outcomes of anger.

Whether or not someone thinks; “He endures me out of fear.” For one’s own good nothing is better than patience. When someone has strength & should patiently endure a weakling, this is the supreme patience. The weak person also must be patient. The strength most people think is not the real strength, but the strength of the fools. Guarded by Dhamma that a person is strong, and no one can reproach him.

Respond to anger with anger makes things worse for oneself. Not respond anger with anger & one wins a battle hard to win. Someone should practice for the welfare of both, for himself & others. If the enemy is in anger & one should maintain his peace with mindfulness. In these ways, someone solves the problem for both his own & others. If people take him as a fool, then they are unskilled in Dhamma.

The quality of patience & forbearance is not only difficult to practice & develop but also difficult to appreciate them. Most people want to react instantly without tolerance. This is not surprising, because in the world there are more fools than wise. Not understanding the Dhamma, we do not know how to deal with problems properly & rightly. There are two kinds of enemy or foe; i.e., internal & external.

The internal enemies are more dangerous & harmful than the external ones. Even the external ones come from the internal ones. This is not difficult to see. External pollutions are the outcome of internal pollutions of the mind, i.e., greed, hatred, delusion, etc.

External enemies only can harm us in this life. But the internal ones not only this life, but many lives to come. Therefore patience, forbearance, tolerance are stopping the inner enemies from creating dangers & problems for us.

The Buddha also said in the Dhammapada verse 103: “A man may conquer a million enemies in battles, but one who conquers himself is the greatest of all conquerors.” Even one defeats one’s enemy with reaction; the outcome does not benefit for both. The loser suffers in this life & the winner has enemies. (See the Palestinian & Israelis conflicts – the process is never ended, because of impatience and intolerance, tit for tat policies).

The loser suffers in this life & the winner has to bear his unwholesome kammic results in the future. There is also the loser has a strong grudge towards the winner, which will follow to saṁsāra for a long time to come. This was evident in the strong grudge (hatred & ill-will) Devadatta had towards the Buddha started from a long distant past.

The strength of the fools is not real strength. The power of patience, forbearance & tolerance is the real strength. Only with non-hatred & non-violence can overcome hatred & violence, & solve the problems & make peace. There was a saying that the quality of patience could realize Nibbāna. This is on the spiritual matter. This is true because patience is the foundation of sīla, samādhi & paññā.

In the Aṅguttara Nikāya, the Buddha instructed the monks on the 10 Dhammas as protectors, & one of them was patience. The Buddha usually taught the monks to have patience with the following things; heat, cold, weather, hunger & thirst, bitten by insects, criticism by others, unpleasant feelings of the physical body, etc. Therefore patience is a protector & the power of strength to overcome mundane matters & to overcome difficulties in spiritual endeavor.

We can see this in the lives of political leaders such as Mahatma Gandhiji, Martin Luther King & Nelson Mandela. The bodhisatta cultivate the perfection of patience to the highest level, and we can read them in the jataka stories, such as – Khantivadi Hermit & Prince Temiya Jatakas. These stories make the Buddhist readers awe-inspiring & hair raising phenomena & will never forget them.

In the Khantivadi Hermit story, the bodhisatta was a hermit & taught the Doctrine of Patience. The evil king was the past life of Devadatta who had a strong grudge towards the bodhisatta from one of his past lives. Now, he had the chance to torture the bodhisatta to test his patience. He cut off his limbs one by one to test his patience, from nose, ears, arms & legs. The bodhisatta bore all these physical sufferings with patience, forbearance, endurance & tolerance & still declared his Doctrine of Patience.

At last, because of the nobility & greatness of the bodhisatta & the evilness of the king, the earth opened up & Swallowed him to the hell realm. Prince Temiya Story was very remarkable. In this bodhisatta story, we can read the perfections of resolution (adhitthana), patience (khanti) & renunciation (nekkhamma). His patience & endurance to all the difficult tests were awe-inspiring. It seems to me except a highly developed bodhisatta would bear & succeed them.

Even though most Buddhists cannot imitate the bodhisatta to the higher levels, at least should cultivate the basic levels. If we imitate & learn from popular worldlings such as tycoons, politicians, actors, actresses, pop singers, etc. & increase our defilements or polluted our minds. Therefore let us cultivate patience for peace to oneself & others in daily life. Here we have to remember that we have to be patient with not only unpleasant things & matters but also with pleasant things & matters.

The best known Mahaghandhayone Sayadawgyi U Janakabhivamsa had this saying: “Someone has patience with good & bad worldly conditions is an outstanding one.” The worldly conditions are the eight loka dhammas; gain and loss, status and disgrace, censure and praise, pleasure, and pain. Indeed, the quality of patience is the highest protection with a blessing.

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Nalorakk
文章: 402
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27. Compliance/Obedience

文章 Nalorakk » 2019-11-21, 13:59

27. Compliance/Obedience

The Pali word sovacassatā is compliance or obedience. There was another Pali word in the Metta Sutta is suvaco cassa – easy to instruct. They are a very close relationship. Only obedient people are easy to instruct & easy to talk with them. This quality is also very important for one’s progress in the right direction of mundane & supramundane welfare.

Therefore obedience & easy to instruct are connecting with wholesome things & matters. With unwholesome things & matters are ignorant & stupid, & not these qualities. All these we can see in the cases of Devadatta (The Buddha’s cousin) & Prince Ajātasattu. Devadatta was not compliant & heeding to the Buddha’s admonitions that at last came to destruction & ruin.

Prince Ajātasattu was following Devadatta’s evil advice & killed his father King Bimbisara & missed the chance of realization of Dhamma. A humble person is not proud or conceited & easy to teach. We can see these in the cases of novice Rahula (the Buddha’s son) & the old monk Radha.

Ven. Webu Sayadawgyi was the most venerable monk in Burma. In many of his Dhamma talks mentioned sovacassatā – compliance very often as a quality in practice. That is paying heed to teachers, sages, wise & noble ones to follow their advice & instructions. That is very true. We do not have this quality that most of us still roaming in the saṁsāra of sufferings.

Compliance or obedience is very important in societies. This quality has to be started from family life & schools. Obedient & easy to teach children & students are loved by their parents & teachers. Therefore these children are progressing in life because they follow in the right directions. Nowadays, the situations are different. We allow too much freedom to children & students.

Now children are difficult to teach & admonish. Instead, parents & teachers comply with their desire & views. Now we heard a lot of complaints from parents & teachers about these things. Why these things happen nowadays & not before? Because children & youths have a lot of freedom of rein as they can do what they think & like. Parents & teachers are not their parents & teachers. And they become parents & teachers, & not as children & students.

They are influenced by many kinds of media. Media are their parents & teachers & their educational departments. More than half a century ago, Mogok Sayadawgyi mentioned a very important point of Dhamma to U Tun Tin. (At that time a young man & one of the frequent listener of his talks). These words were also a prediction on science & technology to mankind.

Sayadawgyi started teaching on meditation practice after the 2nd World War, i.e., 1945. His talks were not recorded until 1954. Only in 1955 onwards had proper recordings & it was invaluable Dhamma treasures for Buddhists.

Once he mentioned to U Tun Tin as follow; “Maung Tun Tin! With the progress of science & can record the voices/sound. If we can use it properly/rightly lead to Nibbāna. If we use it wrongly & go into the Woks (i.e., hell cauldron or hell wok).” Sayadaw’s prediction becomes evident nowadays. The problems are not lying with science & technology but with the human mind or saying rightly with the defiled mind. And all the fake progress are leading by greed & delusion, which are the causes of sufferings.

Now we see all the social problems & natural problems as the outcomes. Most people do not see the whole picture of anything & matter. And also they see things & matters superficially & very short-sighted views. They are carrying away by defilements. But the Buddha & noble beings were quite different. They saw the whole picture & penetrated it in depth, which extended to the future.

If we study & research of the suttas, these were not only teaching us for the present life but also for the future to come, even extended to the saṁsāra. Scientists, politicians & economists, can be intelligent & stupid but not wise. Therefore intelligence & wisdom are different things. A wise person is also intelligent but not stupid.

An intelligent person is not necessarily wise. Even sometimes, they are dangerous. This conclusion is not wrong. Internal & external pollutions of man & nature testified this point.

As already mentioned before wholesome dhamma has a connection with other wholesome dhammas; nwholesome & unwholesome are also in the same way. A disobedient person is not easy to teach & admonish. It is likely that he also disrespect to others (parents, elders & teachers). He is stubborn & follows his ways. We can see some children & students retort to their parents & teachers, even sometimes insult them with actions.

If they grew up in this way, their lives would be in downfall for sure. So parents & teachers should instill these qualities in children. Then they will have blessings & protections in their lives, & also to the societies. The following story in the Saṁyutta Nikāya was good for reflection on this subject.


A Thief of Scent

A certain monk was dwelling in a certain woodland thicket. When he had returned from his alms round & after the meal, he had a habit. He used to descent into a pond & sniff the scent of lotus flowers there. The female devatā inhabited the woodland thicket concerned his practice, desired his good & to stir up a sense of urgency (saṁvega) in him, & approached him. She reproached him as follow.

The monk sniffed the scent of lotus flowers which had not been given. So this was a factor of theft, & became a thief of scent. The monk responded that he did not take it or damaged it. And only sniffed the scent from a distance. So what was the reason to accuse him as a thief of scent? But there were also others who dug up the lotus stalks & damaged the flowers.

They had rough behaviors & why did not she reproach them. The devatā replied that these people were already rough & fierce, & like a soiled & dirty cloth. So she had nothing to concern for them. But the monk was different. Because he was a person without blemish, & always in quest of purity. Even a small bit of unwholesomeness appeared as big as the cloud.

Then the monk accepted her admonition & thanked her for the advice. And requested her to admonish him again in the future whenever she saw such a deed. The deity reflected that this monk might become negligent & would think a deity was looking after his welfare. Therefore, she rejected his request & proposal. And told him that she was not his hired servant. He should know himself what was good for his welfare & the way to a good destination.

The monk in this story was seemed to be a good monk who loved nature & easy to be admonished & compliant. But he still lacked restraint with fragrant flowers. Even it seemed he was attached to it as a habit. For most people take small matters & things as insignificance. But for the wise, sages & noble beings even they take the minor things as important for mental development.

If someone can take care of the small things & for the serious ones not become problematic for them. Therefore the Buddha warned the monks even to see the slightest thing as a fault. Even small problems are more important than the bigger ones. Most of the bigger problems come from, the smaller ones. From nothing and it becomes something. So most of the human problems or social problems are created by human cravings & ignorance.

In this story, even an unseen being wanted to help good people. This was not the only story in the Nikāyas. Ven. Channa, who was proud & stubborn & not easy to admonish & teach by other monks. He was born with the bodhisatta on the same day & very close to him. So he was very conceited & not changed his bad behaviors even after admonished by the Buddha.

The Buddha, on the night of his parinibbāna, imposed the brahma punishment on him: he was to be left to his ways without anyone to teach or correct him. This punishment made his life difficult. So he corrected his conceit & stubbornness & went to see Ven. Ānanda for help. Ven. Ānanda had learned by heart all the discourses of the Buddha that he gave him a suitable discourse, & then Ven. Channa became an arahant.

So we can see how much important the quality of compliance. In the Dhammapada, one has to show gratitude to someone who points out our faults. We should take it as someone shows us the buried treasures in the earth. That is true because most people cannot easily to recognize one’s own mistakes. But easy to see others’ faults.

Only by knowing one’s own mistakes that one can have the chance to correct it. The best way is to check your own mistakes & faults very often. So it needs mindfulness. To rely on oneself is better than on others.

In helping or teaching others, we also need to be careful. Sometimes it can get into troubles. Importance to know the time, the place, the person involves & how to use words. The following jataka story described these points. Once the bodhisatta was a hermit. One day he crossed the river by boat with other passengers.

The boatman was a bad-tempered man. And he never mentioned the boat fee to passengers beforehand. Only after passengers arrived at the other shore & he charged the boat fee. This behavior of his often caused the quarrels with the passengers.

This time also happened the same thing, at first with the passengers. At last, he turned towards the hermit for the fee. The bodhisatta told him that he did not have any money. So gave teaching to him as a fee. The bodhisatta hermit advised the boatman to declare the fee beforehand. And continued to exhort him that should not be angry, the outcome of anger was not good to him, etc. His anger was already arising with the passengers & after what he heard from the hermit made him angrier.

So he beat the bodhisatta on the spot. At that time his wife sent foods for him arrived there. She tried to pull apart her husband from the hermit. This foolish man was so angry that he turned to his wife & kicked her away. Unfortunately, at that time she was pregnant & terminated the pregnancy. He was also arrested & put in jail because the hermit was the king’s teacher. The hermit gave the same teaching to the king & rewarded with a village of 100,000 income tax money. But the bodhisatta rejected the reward.

This time the hermit received the blows from the boatman. The qualities of compliance & easy to teach & instruct are very important for worldly & spiritual progress. People want to be peaceful & happy in life should develop it. Parents should take this point seriously. And have to train their children to be obedient & respectful.

These qualities are ingrained in sages & noble beings. To become a good person it needs this quality. Therefore the parents want their children to progress in life & not to be worried about them should put effort to train them. So the Buddha taught; compliance was the highest protection and blessing.

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Nalorakk
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28. Seeing contemplative

文章 Nalorakk » 2019-11-21, 14:14

28. Seeing contemplative

The Pali word for contemplatives is samana & include the ariyas – noble beings & yogis practice for overcoming defilements. Here include all monks, but also can count sages & wise people. The best samanas to see are arahants & sekhas (one already has the realization of the lower stages, i.e., still in training for full realization).

Seeing contemplatives include asking Dhamma, listening & practicing Dhamma. Seeing noble beings has a great effect on someone. Not only at the time of the Buddha, even today, someone has a strong inclination to Dhamma knows the effects. It makes one’s mind peaceful & changes one’s life. Most people not sensitive & aware of the energies around us either living beings or nature, such as a tree, etc.

I have some of these experiences before. Once in New Zealand, some monks were invited to a house for paritta chanting. A man over 60 died in a hospital with cancer. Before he died said to his wife that he would come back & stay with her. It seemed he was attached to her & the properties left behind. Therefore become a ghost there. Three monks & the car driver went there. As soon as I entered the house & felt a very strong unpleasant & gloomy feeling of the place.

And then a very strong putrid smell arose in the whole room. It smelled to the end of the chanting. After that, it disappeared. After getting out of the house, I asked the other three did they had any smell in the house. Only the senior monk answered as yes. The other two did not aware or feel it at all. This was strange, indeed. It was quite a strong repulsive smell & they did not smell it.

In New Zealand, there is some preserved forest with very big & old trees. By walking in there also one can feel the energies of the big trees & forests. There was an old practicing monk in Taiwan & he was an adept in samādhi. He could be in samādhi state for many days. He passed away at the age of 95 in the samādhi state.

After over 20 years of his passing away and I went to his place where he used to sit in samādhi. This was a small room & now became a shrine room with his cane chair which he used to sit samādhi. This room pervades with peaceful energy & one can feel it as soon as there.

Seeing contemplatives very often pervade wholesome energies to one’s mind is a blessing. It is also related to the blessing of the association with the wise. Seeing contemplatives (samana) is a higher blessing than associate with good & moral people. By associate with good & moral people, we can also become one of them. Without becoming a good & moral person, we will never interest to see & associate with contemplatives.

By seeing samana, we can learn the higher Dhamma from them & follow the path of transcending dukkha. There were many stories in the suttas on this point. Some lay people by seeing the Buddha or one of his disciples their lives were changed. Some of them before had wrong views with the wrong teachers after seeing the Buddha & his disciples had the right views & even some had the realization of Dhamma.

In the Majjima Nikāya, there was a discourse called Upali Sutta. Upali was a very well known & wealthy lay disciple of Nigantha Nātaputta (The Jain Teacher Mahāvira). He sent Upali to see the Buddha for the argument on certain aspects of the law of kamma. He thought Upali was so bright that & could defeat the Buddha.

Nigantha stressed on the physical & verbal actions being more productive resultant effects. But the Buddha viewed the mental actions (volitions) as the most important factor. The Buddha explained to Upali with examples & converted him. Nātaputta was overwhelmed by intense wrath over the loss of his most prominent lay supporter & then later passed away.

Also, there are two suttas in the Majjima Nikāya, about the wandering ascetic Saccaka; Cūlasaccaka Sutta & Mahāsaccaka Sutta. In the first discourse, he was conceited with his skill in debate & went to see the Buddha for debate. The debate was on the topic of atta (self).

Saccaka took the five khandhas (aggregates); body, feeling, perception, mental formation & consciousness as atta (self). It was the self who enjoyed the fruits of good action & suffered the results of bad action. The Buddha refuted his wrong view as the five khandhas were not self (anatta). Because they were subjected to the laws of inconstant, suffering & not self (anicca, dukkha & anatta). Therefore these were not under the control of anyone.

At last he was admitted his defeat. He did not become a follower but invited the Buddha & the monks for next day meals. In the second discourse, after his debate, he met the Buddha again sometimes. He asked the Buddha on the cultivation of mind & body. He knew only the wrong practices by other teachers. Then the Buddha explained to him the various practices he had followed before with mistakes.

At last he found the middle way – The Noble Eightfold Path without a teacher & it led to the realization & became a Buddha. Also, in the end, he did not become a disciple. But with these two meetings or seeing the Buddha & he carried the potential seed of enlightenment with him. According to the commentary, after the Buddha Dhamma flourished in Sri Lanka, he was born there. Later became a monk with the practice
& he had the realization as an arahant.

Another interesting discourse in the Majjima Nikāya is the Dog-Duty Asectic Discourse (Kukkuravatika Sutta). Two naked ascetics, Punna & Seniya the cow-duty and the dog-duty practisers went to see the Buddha. They asked the Buddha about the results of their practices. They held the wrong views of with these practices could transcend dukkha or after died had good rebirths.

The Buddha told them if they practiced like cow & dog after death became cow & dog. If holding these wrong views would fall into hells. (What about human-dog culture in today world?) They regretted their behaviors, which came from meeting with the wrong teachers. Then the Buddha taught them the four types of action; black, white, mixed (black with white) & neither of them (i.e., The Noble Eightfold Path). At the end of the discourse, Punna became a Buddhist. Seniya became a monk & after with practice, he became an arahant. This discourse is warning us of the consequences of wrong teachings & teachers.

Here I want to present a present-day story of an Italian yogi. This came from a Dhamma talk by Ven. U Adiccaransi. Eduardo an Italian who held a Ph.D. degree was practicing mindfulness of breathing every day for two years. According to him, he never missed it & sat for 2 hours. Later he went to Burma & looking for a teacher. And then met with the venerable who was living in a forest & developed his practice. The venerable was a lecturer in Philosophy before & had a wide knowledge of Dhamma. After sometimes under his guidance, Eduardo penetrated anatta doctrine with vipassanā contemplation.

At night time interview, he presented his experience to the teacher. At the end the teacher said; “I think you come to an end. But don’t believe what I say this. You can try it out by yourself.” And then he taught him how to enter into the fruition state. He was succeeded in the test & continued to develop it in Italy. Then he could do it for many hours. Later he wrote a letter to the venerable & said that now he was teaching vipassanā in St. Petersburg in Russia.

There are many things to say about seeing contemplatives, not only on spiritual practices. Monks who are wise & have a lot of knowledge in Dhamma can give a lot of help. There were many teachings by the Buddha on worldly matters. If we carefully study & research will admire & amaze the great wisdom of the Buddha. No human or any living being (i.e., any heavenly being – deva or brahma god) can surpass him. Many worldly matters & problems which are on family, society, or international levels can be solved with the Buddha’s teachings. This is not an exaggeration.

Only that most people do not know his teachings & not using it that all the human problems arise in the world. Most human sufferings are unnecessary, except the natural ones – such as aging, sickness & death. Most human problems & sufferings are mind made. Therefore understanding & penetrating our mind can stop all these unfortunate things to happen. Seeing contemplatives, wise, sages & noble beings is not an ordinary or insignificant matter. It is the highest blessing & protection – to oneself & others.

Most human beings are worry & fear about aging, sickness & death. These unpleasant things are part of nature & can teach us a lot about how to live a meaningful life. With proper & wise attention & contemplation can develop our mind & life. From aging, sickness & death can develop love, compassion, kindness, forgiveness & concern for others because we are in the same situations.

When someone is in a situation of terminally ill or dying & good to see the monks or invite them to see the patient or dying person, it can help to alleviate mental suffering & has a good death. In the suttas, the Buddha & some of his great disciples were helping the sick & dying persons, whether monks or lay disciples. There is a sutta in the Aṅgūttara Nikāya called The Unsurpassed Things – Anuttariya Sutta.

The meaning of anuttariya is noble because nothing is better than that. The Buddha taught six kinds of them. E.g., people are looking & choosing the best things. Sometimes the Buddha’s views & worldlings are opposite. The Buddha’s views were always noble & seeing matters in complete & far-reaching. Worldlings not seeing things in the longer terms. Therefore they have short-sighted views, & concern only with the present.

This is one of the most important causes for nowadays human beings (politicians, economists, businessmen, scientists and nearly all walks of life) out of greed and delusion create a lot of problems & sufferings in today world. Wise, sages & noble beings are seeing things & matters in depth with right views.

Worldlings see things & matters superficially with wrong views that take wrong things as right. With different views and have different results. This sutta is interesting & we can learn many things from it. It is also a connection with seeing contemplatives. The Buddha mentioned six kinds of them. Each kind can divide into two kinds. The Buddha’s views & the views of the worldlings. The six unsurpassed things are:

(1) The unsurpassed sight,
(2) The unsurpassed hearing,
(3) The unsurpassed gain,
(4) The unsurpassed training,
(5) The unsurpassed service,
(6) The unsurpassed recollection.


(1) The unsurpassed sight: dasanānuttariyam

With the eyes, we can see many things. But there are also things that cannot see with the normal eyes. Now, with the help of science & technology, we create gadgets, televisions, computers, cell phones, etc. can see more things at any time. What are the things people use to see & watch? These are depending on interest & necessities. There are useful & proper things to see & watch. There are also harmful & improper things to see & watch by wasting precious times. But usually, people want to see harmful & improper things for entertainments at leisure times.

Even there are many accidents when people using cell phones by crossing roads and driving cars. People are too addicted to these things that it becomes a habit & they will use it at any time & any place. It is good to ask a question to oneself. If we are seeing & watching these many things (here not only cell phones & all the other things) what do we get, from it? And what are the benefits? It becomes wholesome or unwholesome?

Seeing the Buddha, arahants, noble beings & monks is the unsurpassed sight. From these people, we can gain seven benefits from it. These are for the purification of beings, for the surmounting of sorrow & lamentation, for the disappearance of dukkha & discontent, for acquiring the true method & for the realization of Nibbāna. All of these are true values.

If we go & see a white elephant or a lovely panda bear in China, these are just seeing only, and it brings no other benefits to us. There are many worldly phenomena & matters are like this. We waste a lot of money & time for them. In the Buddha Kassapa’s time, our bodhisatta (i.e., the past life of Buddha Gautama) was a young brahman named Jotipala. Even though he was born at the time of a Buddha & quite mature in developing his perfections to become a Buddha (It was already more than four incalculable aeons- asankheyyakappa) but he still did not want to see the Buddha Kassapa & the monks.

Because he was a brahman with his view of Brahmanism, anyhow, his best friend Ghatikāra, the potter forced him to see the Buddha after he was seeing the Buddha & listening Dhamma talk & became a monk. Before Sariputta met the Buddha & he had a wrong teacher named Sanjaya. One day he met Ven. Assaji who was on his alms round. Ven. Assaji’s serenity & graceful deportment attracted Sariputta. So he approached him & asked about his teacher & the teaching.

At last Ven. Assaji gave him a short instruction on Dhamma & Sariputta became a stream-winner on the spot. There was another story about Angulimāla, the notorious robber & murderer who killed people for their fingers. The day he met his mother, he needed only a finger to complete his mission for one thousand fingers. The Buddha knew all these & came in between them. Without seeing the Buddha, he was sure to kill his mother for the finger he needed.

The Buddha saved him for killing his mother. This was a very heavy unwholesome action & would fall into Hell after death. By seeing the Buddha & listening to his teaching, he gave up his evil deeds. Later ordained as a monk & practiced became an arahant. Therefore seeing the samana is the best seeing (dasanānuttariyam) & the highest blessing (Maṅgalam-uttamam).

For people who do not have the chances of seeing samanas they need to be very careful how to use the many media. Because there are many unwholesome things & matters are going on. Out of greed & hatred, some foolish people using the media exploit & harm others. Even politicians or some world leaders using them to harm the opposition. With the help of science to harm people are more easier & have great consequences than before.


(2) The unsurpassed hearing: savanānuttariyam

We have ears & hear many types of sound & voices. Most people are not using their ears properly or wisely. Therefore there are a lot of noise pollutions going on. Mostly these are artificial sound & voices by men and barking dogs. Even pollution of the ear can be divided into 2; material sound & human voices or speech. In modern-day noise, pollutions are big problems. Human life is not quiet anymore. There are noises or sound from machines, animals (especially dogs barking) & music, etc.

I have no doubt all these noisy & unpleasant sounds harm the physical body if subject too much to them. There were already research or experiment with water to sound noises & voices. Noisy sounds (include violent music), ugly & unwholesome speeches made the water crystals very ugly & disgusting. Gentle, sweet, polite & peaceful sound & speech made the water crystals beautiful & majestic. Worse than these pollutions are speech pollutions from the media; televisions, movies, music, etc.

If we use them in an unwholesome way, one creates unwholesome kammas & also polluted the listener’s mind. It is harmful to both; the entertainers & the viewers. (with hearing & seeing). There are many kinds of harm going on by media which are using by evil people. It is quicker & easier to harm people than before. Now you can kill hundreds of people in a second.

Most people like to listen to music & singing. These only give temporary pleasure (i.e., classical music and pleasant music, not include violent music & songs). People want to hear strange things & gossips. Therefore, there are a lot of meaningless entertainments in the media. What benefits we get

From them. Here I want to emphasize, The Burning Discourse in the Salāyatanasamyutta by the Buddha. It was quite suitable for today human beings. Most of our six sense-doors (eye, ear, nose, tongue, body & mind), sight, sound, smell, touch, taste, mental object, six consciousness, six contacts, and the feelings come from these are burning with the fire of lust, hatred & delusion.

The eye & ear are burning with polluted media sound & noises. The nose is burning with polluted air. The tongue is burning with pesticides, many kinds of chemicals & polluted water. The body is burning with the severe climate changes by temperature rising. Our minds are burning with lust, hatred; delusion come from the polluted media & matters. Can these things free us from dukkha? Do these things & matters can reduce our defilements?

There are a lot of things, not helping our many problems & difficulties in life. If we get lost in them, even become harmful. The wholesome things & matters are medicines of the mind & it become educations & the unwholesome ones will become poisons and harm everyone. For living beings, especially humans, seeing & listening are very important parts of our lives. How to use them properly & wisely is very important? The rūpabrahma gods, they use only the eyes & ears. Nose, tongue & body sensations are not useful for them.

Why is that? Because their minds are pure & they only need the eyes to see the Buddha & noble beings, & with ears listen to their Dhamma. These two factors of seeing contemplatives & listening Dhamma are prerequisites for practicing Dhamma, & enlightenment. There were a lot of stories in the suttas mentioned about monks & lay people who met contemplatives & listened to Dhamma & their lives were changed dramatically. For the Buddha, the unsurpassed hearing or noble listening was on Dhamma – Dhamma savanānuttariyam.


(3) The unsurpassed gain – lābhānuttariyam

This is a very wide subject to talk about. The Buddha mentioned some of them by common people, such as someone gains a son, a wife, wealth and various goods, etc. There are many kinds human beings want to get or attain. These things are depending on their desire & interest. Some of them are necessary to have & some are not. Some of the things are for pleasure & some are for knowledge.

People use money, time & effort to get them. Some of them after attaining, it leads to stress, problems & sufferings; e.g., money, power. Because people cannot use them properly or wisely. And then by loosing or lost them lead to sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief & despair. Nowadays, humans are crazy to get more money. It becomes the mad, mad world. What for? For indulging in sensual pleasure which is low, common, worldly, ignoble and unbeneficial. These made people become more & more discontent.

So they do all sorts of things & matters to satisfy their desire & craving. This harm themselves & others, even to nature and environments. For the Buddha to have or gain faith (saddhā) in the Buddha, Dhamma & Sangha was the unsurpassed thing to have or gain – lābhānuttariyam. Faith in the Buddha’s teaching had levels. It can be blind faith, ordinary faith & confident or conviction (the highest level). The Buddha never encouraged the lowest level of blind faith which could be false or true, & it could be dangerous & harmful, e.g., some modern cults (Faith in religions is a serious matter & we should not take it lightly).

Buddhists should only have ordinary faith & confidence or conviction and not the blind faith. Start the Buddha’s teachings with ordinary faith; it comes from study, research & wise reflection. With this faith can have interest & follow the teachings with the practice. By practice & we have the direct experiences which confirm the truth of the Buddha-Dhamma.

And then will come confident or unshakable true faith. Whatever his religious background, if someone only has blind faith in wrong faith, and then declares has true faith, it will harm himself & others. This point is very important for spiritual people, especially for religious leaders. Only someone who has intelligent faith will have an interest in the Dhamma. Although faith (saddhā) is not included in the Noble Eightfold Path, it has closed relationship with wisdom or discernment or right view. As spiritual faculties, they have to be in balance (i.e., faith & wisdom).

In one of Mogok Sayadaw’s talks, he said about faith. [The Buddha answered to some questions put by the fierce spirit Ālavaka were: Through conviction (saddhā) one crosses over the flood (i.e., the flood of the wrong view – ditthoga). Through heedfulness (appamāda – mindful diligence in wholesomeness), one crosses over the rugged sea. Through persistence, one overcomes dukkha. Through discernment, a person is purified.], So the Buddha taught to Ālavaka that with conviction closed the doors to woeful planes.

This is the faith of a stream-winner (sotāpanna), or unshakable faith. By faith, one crosses over the flood of the wrong view. You must believe that it leads to stream entry (sotāpatti magga). Why you do the practice? You do it because believing in the Buddha’s words & the teacher’s words if the Buddha & teacher said that you must see impermanence & with the practice, you will discern it. You discern it because you have practiced with faith. For doing the practice, let faith leads you.

Another point what the Buddha taught was with heedfulness (mindfulness) could cross over the four floods. (i.e., become sotāpanna to arahant). In the round of existences (saṁsāra) the most miserable places are the four woeful planes. The sufferings there are unthinkable. If we get with whatever means for wealth & power will never safe for falling into it. Therefore the Buddha said that faith (saddhā) was the unsurpassed gain – lābhānuttariya.


(4) The unsurpassed training - sikkhānuttariyam

This is a very interesting & wide subject need to contemplate thoroughly. There is a lot to say on these matters. Here the Buddha mentioned some of them – train in elephantry, horsemanship, chariotry, archery, swordsmanship and in various fields. Human being quite different from other beings is on knowledge. It starts from birth to death. Humans are a thirst for knowledge. But does everyone get the right knowledge? So learning, training & knowledge are education.

Generally can separate into two groups; unwholesome & wholesome knowledge or educations. Even some worldly wholesome knowledge can become unwholesome by misusing it, e.g., pesticide & other chemicals. Only with the training of the Buddha-Dhamma is becoming perfectly wholesome knowledge. At least a human being knows livelihood. For this purpose, we have to start school education from young. But most human beings neglect the importance of basic education or training, i.e., moral education.

Without this fundamental training, whatever worldly knowledge maybe can lead to problems & sufferings. The world arms industries in many superpowers; U.S, Russia, China, France, etc. based on sciences & technologies. Science, technology & economics should be used for the welfare of the human race to bring, peace, happiness & harmony. Many developed countries use a lot of money, human resources, times & earth resources produce weapons of mass destruction to create problems & conflicts around the world. If humans not using it, what is the point of producing them?

So they have to create problems & conflicts for using it. These leaders & governments create evil kamma for themselves to harm others, but they take it as great fortunes. This money can help poor & underdeveloped countries to have a better life. If we cannot solve the poverty in many countries, & civil wars, refugees & economic migrants problems will never stop. These problems have already happened in across Europe. Competition in nuclear arsenals is also a very stupid & crazy thing a human can do. It cannot bring anything good to the human race, but only dangers & destruction.

Therefore fundamental knowledge or moral education is extremely important. Without this foundation, even wholesome knowledges can create problems & sufferings to family life & society. So human knowledges are solving poverty & problems & not using it for selfishness, exploitation & harming. Therefore human worldly knowledge has two kinds; wholesome & unwholesome. There is also a special knowledge or transcendental knowledge, or super knowledge only came from a Buddha.

Even wholesome worldly knowledges by using it wrongly, foolishly and stupidly bring a lot of harms, because it is based on craving, greed, ill-will, hatred, delusion, and ignorance. Therefore the Buddha said that all worldly pleasure came from worldly knowledge are low & ignoble. These cannot free one from a round of existence (saṁsāra), not free from dukkha, not make the mind calm & peaceful, cannot develop penetrative knowledge, not lead to right knowing, not leading to the goal of Nibbāna which known by the ariyas. Sometimes people are too ignorant & stupid that they study, learn & imitate everything. There was an interesting ghost (peta) story on this point.


Miserable Strange Ghost:

One day Ven. Mahāmoggallāna came down from the Gijjhakūta hill in Rajagaha. On the way, he met a very strange miserable ghost (peta). This peta head was pounding with many iron hammers & he fell on to the ground. And then he became normal again & the ghost got up again. As soon as he got up, all the iron hammers fell on his head again. It went on like this for non-stop. So, the Venerable asked him; “Oh! Man, why are you like a crazy one. Like a deer, the whole body is trembling with fear & running to here & there. Indeed you had done the evil deed in the past & because of that crying loudly with miserable voice. Who are you?”


Before the hammers appeared again & struck his head, he answered to the Ven. As follow; “I am a peta & because of my evil deed, I had been fallen into hell before. The result of my evil deed is not finished yet. So I have to continue for it as a peta. Every day my suffering is 60,000 iron hammers are falling on my head & breaking it into pieces.” The Ven. asked him; “Of the 3 actions, physical, verbal & mental which action did you commit?” Then the peta described his evil deed. “Ven. Sir, in one of my past lives as a man,

I saw the Paccekabuddha Sunitta. He was in meditation under a tree near the bank of the Ganges River. At that time, I have just learned my skill of throwing pebbles. For testing my skill, I threw a pebble on his head & it broke his head & died on the spot. ( The stone pebble went into the right ear & came out from the left ear. People saw this became very angry & beat him to death.)

Because of this evil deed, now the iron hammers are pounding on my head.” The Paccekabuddha Sunitta was mentioned in the Peta Vutthu two times. Another time was he met a young prince who was conceited & with anger broke his alms bowl. The prince after died & born in hell. After released from hell & born as a peta, and then at last born into a fishing village as a man. From this last life as a human being, he became the arahant Ven. Sanavasi. All these peta stories taught us to see the burdened khandha & its dukkha.

This miserable story was warning human beings how to use their many worldly knowledge properly & wisely. Not all worldly knowledges are good to learn. Especially the knowledge of politics, science & economics are very important & should use them properly & wisely. It can bring peace, happiness & progress to the human race. Also, it can lead to the destruction of the human race. We can see this in today world. Even temperature is rising to the destructive level, the leader of super power, out of selfishness & greedy he neglected of the agreement his country had already signed with others to tackle the climate problem.

Whatever someone’s motives are if he did evil deeds himself or asks others to do it, all of them have to bear the results of actions. E.g., a world leader orders to drop a hydrogen bomb on a city. The results of the evil deed not only the pilot who drops the bomb but also the leader & the scientists who create this matter to happens have to bear the evil results.

For the Buddha, the unsurpassed training – sikkhānuttariya was in morality, concentration & discernment – sīla, samādhi & paññā. It is called supreme training – adisikkha. Why is that? Because it gives rise to vision, to knowledge, leads to peace, to direct knowledge (i.e., insight), to enlightenment, to Nibbāna. But all worldly knowledges & trainings for craving and indulgence in sensual pleasures lead to sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief & the whole mass of sufferings. So the Buddha said that the best & supreme knowledge & training were sīla, samādhi & paññā.


(5) The unsurpassed service - pāricariyānuttariyam

There are many ways of supporting with materials to people. Some are doing as a duty & some as a profession. The types of people we need to support or helping are the Buddha & the sangha, parents, family members, relatives, elderly people, sick people (patients), etc. As a profession, we can make money as a livelihood, e.g., doctors, nurses. For the Buddha, the best supporting was to the Buddha & the sangha. Why is that? Buddha, Dhamma & Sangha are the best treasures, refuges & blessings & very rare indeed.

Only a Buddha arises living beings can see the Buddha & Sangha & have the chance to know the Dhamma. How difficult to has the chance for a Buddha to arise it can be imagined? Our bodhisatta (i.e., Buddha Gautama) started his perfections (paramis) during the Buddha Dīpaṅkara’s time. After the Buddha Dīpaṅkara & Buddha Kondaññā arose.

The period between them was one incalculable aeon (asaṅkheyyakappa). After Buddha Kondaññā & Buddha Maṅgala arose. Between them was one incalculable aeon & no other Buddhas. From Buddha Maṅgala to Buddha Anomadassi was one incalculable aeon, between them with three Buddhas. Buddha Gautama developed his perfections for four incalculable & 100,000 aeons.

During three incalculable aeons only 6 Buddhas arose. Today Buddhists of the world should contemplate this point seriously and not wasting our times & chances for the momentary, fleeting pleasure. Supporting for others are wholesome actions & merits. But their qualities are different. So their results are also. By supporting the Buddha & Sangha people could close to them, and learn the Dhamma, by following it, they lived a fruitful life & even could transcend dukkha. It was not only good at the beginning (present life) but also good for the next life & saṁsāra. With the help of the Buddha, Sangha & the Dhamma people developed wisdom.

All the worldly problems & mental sufferings came from not supporting the Buddha & Sangha that we did not have the chances to meet them & learn the Dhamma. So we had wrong teachings & wrong views & based on them by doing a lot of unwholesome actions with mind, speech & body. In the world, what is more, important than quenching of dukkha? This can be possible only with the help of Buddha, Dhamma & Sangha & your inner power & not by God and supernatural beings.


(6) The unsurpassed recollection - anusatānuttariyam

There are many things & matters human beings recollect & remember them. Here the Buddha mentioned some of them; someone recollects the gain of a son, a wife or wealth, or various kinds of gain. Because many objects are connecting with the six sense-doors, some living beings, material objects & mental objects. Most of them can be ignoble, lowly & not lead to peace & happiness. These things do not bring benefits to humans if they are recollecting or remembering them with craving, greed, hatred, ill-will, etc.

There are many examples to give, as, e.g. on sensual pleasures & objects; on someone whom one hates; someone has died whom one attached to, etc. We should not use our memory & recollection blindly & without control. If very often, it will become a habit & character. Surely unwholesome dhammas never bring happiness & peace. Near death is very important in one life. Dying moment determines one’s future rebirth.

With a bad memory leads to painful rebirth. With bad recollections defile our mind & increase our defilements. The untrained mind is out of control & running to the past & future things & matters. And then we do not know what the mind is thinking. So we are carrying away by them. We need sati – mindfulness & proper attention. With sati & proper attention, we can develop wisdom.

The things & matters themselves are neither bad nor good. It depends on the mind reaction. But still, we need to practice sense restraints. Because most human beings latent with a thickness of defilements. Kilesa is like a tiger hidden in a bush & waiting for the preys. Without restraint, it will kill us at any time.
The Buddha taught us the best recollections were the following ten recollections – anudasānuttariya. These are:

[1] Recollection of the Buddha:
This is one thing that – when developed & pursued – leads solely to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to stilling, to direct knowledge to self-awakening, to Nibbāna.

[2] Recollection of the Dhamma:
This is one thing that – when developed & pursued – leads solely to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to stilling, to direct knowledge to self-awakening, to Nibbāna.

[3] Recollection of the Sangha:
This is one thing that – when developed & pursued – leads solely to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to stilling, to direct knowledge to self-awakening, to Nibbāna.

[4] Recollection of the virtue:
This is one thing that – when developed & pursued – leads solely to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to stilling, to direct knowledge to self-awakening, to Nibbāna.

[5] Recollection of generosity:
This is one thing that – when developed & pursued – leads solely to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to stilling, to direct knowledge to self-awakening, to Nibbāna.

[6] Recollection of the devas:
This is one thing that – when developed & pursued – leads solely to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to stilling, to direct knowledge to self-awakening, to Nibbāna.

[7] Mindfulness of in & out breathing:
This is one thing that – when developed & pursued – leads solely to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to stilling, to direct knowledge to self-awakening, to Nibbāna.

[8] Mindfulness of death:
This is one thing that – when developed & pursued – leads solely to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to stilling, to direct knowledge to self-awakening, to Nibbāna.

[9] Mindfulness immersed in the body:
This is one thing that – when developed & pursued – leads solely to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to stilling, to direct knowledge to self-awakening, to Nibbāna.

[10] Recollection of stilling:
This is one thing that – when developed & pursued – leads solely to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to stilling, to direct knowledge to self-awakening, to Nibbāna.


The ten recollections a set of meditation themes that highlight the positive role, memory & thought play in training the mind. Only 7 of them are recollections (anussati). These are; no. [1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6] & [10]. The other 3 are mindfulness practices (sati). The Pali words for mindfulness & recollection are intimately related. (For details on these ten recollections refer to Ajahn Thanissaro Bhikkhu – “A Meditators’ Tools”). All these ten recollections; when developed & pursued, lead solely to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to stilling, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening & Nibbāna that the best recollections or noble recollections.


Therefore Buddhists should know the best or noble things & matters to choose & follow them. These are the lessons in our life. The Buddha laid down the standards to distinguish ignoble or noble, low or high, bad or good, not benefit or benefit, etc. These were mentioned in the First Discourse of the Buddha – Setting in Motion the Wheel of the Dhamma.

The negative things & matters; which are low, vulgar, the ways of worldlings, ignoble, unbeneficial & painful. The positive things & matters; which give rise to vision, to knowledge, lead to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment & Nibbāna. For us, the most important standards are things & matters bring benefits, peace & happiness.

Nowadays, because of material developments or progress, there are many things & matters; some are good & some are bad. With self & money centeredness – that there are more bad than good. Therefore we should know the Buddha-Dhamma & doing things rightly & wisely. So seeing contemplatives is an important part of Buddhist life.

Therefore the Buddha taught that this was the highest protection & blessing in life. At least the benefit of contact with samanas are we can distinguish unwholesome & wholesome dhammas. Nowadays, even most leaders & politicians do not have this quality. Therefore there is a lot of turmoil going on in some countries.

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Nalorakk
文章: 402
註冊時間: 2017-03-03, 08:00

29. Discussing the Dhamma on timely occasions

文章 Nalorakk » 2019-11-21, 14:27

29. Discussing the Dhamma on timely occasions

Practicing of meditation can be started from the 25th blessing of hearing the Dhamma on timely occasions. One of the factors for the realization of Dhamma is listening to Dhamma. Here the blessing is discussing the Dhamma, which has some differences from hearing Dhamma.

But they are closely related. Without hearing Dhamma, we do not know practice & discuss Dhamma with others. Here both sides discuss what they know & do not know yet. In this way, we can part or share knowledge.

It can increase one’s knowledge & progress in practice. Why practicing meditation can be said, start from listening Dhamma on timely occasions? According to the Buddha, Dhammasavana – listening of Dhamma had five factors:

(1) Listening with attention
(2) Taking notes or remembering them
(3) Reflecting on them
(4) Understanding of them
(5) After understanding of them & put it into practice, i.e., sīla, samādhi & paññā.

Discussing of Dhamma also has the five benefits. These are:

(1) Hearing things never heard before
(2) Have clear knowledge
(3) Overcoming doubts
(4) Have right views
(5) One’s mind grows serene.

There is no doubt that discussion or dialogue on Dhamma has great benefits. There were many evidences & stories in the suttas. Even non-Buddhists, i.e., outsiders had great benefits & their lives were changed. Before they had wrong views & after dialogue had the right views & knew how to live their lives. Some even became monks & realized the Dhamma.

Dialogue between faiths is also very important. Especially nowadays this is more urgently need. The main goal of all faiths is peace, harmony & happiness. The basic foundation is nearly the same, i.e., morality; to become a good human being. Because of misunderstanding & misinterpretation, one’s own & other faiths create problems & mistrust. There is also conceit – the superior syndrome. Because of this defilement, some people worship the same God, killing & harming other faiths.

Today human morality is going down very quickly like a thermometer. Dialogue between faiths can help to solve the problem of moral degeneration. We can learn from each other & helping each other to solve social problems. In this respect, Buddha-Dhamma can offer a lot. Dialogue between world leaders, politicians, are also very important for their countries stability & the world.

Out of greed & selfishness, some leaders & politicians only make their countries great & not a concern for others. They have ill-will & capitalist syndrome of growth, profits & competition. Greedy, ill-will, envy, avarice, exploitation, etc. will never bring harmony, peace & happiness to one’s own country & the world. Look at today world situations & we know the outcomes & conditions of unwholesome dhamma. A human cannot solve the worldly problems with confrontation & competition. Because greed, ill-will, delusion are the root of all suffering.

Why should politicians & economists destroy themselves & the world just for sensual pleasures? The price for sensual pleasure is far greater than a momentary, fleeting pleasure. They all have to pay for their evil deeds in hell, as animals & ghosts. These are inexpressible sufferings just for sensual pleasures.

Dhamma discussion & dialogue are mostly practicing by elderly Buddhists. It has a long tradition by Burmese Buddhists who have some Abhidhamma knowledge. They are arguing on some Abhidhamma Doctrines. Tha-pye-kan Sayadaw said that youth & young people also should practice it. He said we should arrange Dhamma discussion for them. We can say this is a kind of Dhamma education. It was like the Chinese culture & moral standards. Some Chinese Dynasties followed them were creating prosperity & lasting longer. All the worldly problems & sufferings can be related to not knowing of the Buddha-Dhamma & not practicing it.

There was no-one understanding & penetrating the human mind & its nature better than or more complete than the Buddha. The suttas were testified this point. For 45 years he was wandering & staying on the earth to teach every kind & type of human beings.

Sometimes heavenly beings came down to ask him questions to clear about their doubts. Arrange Dhamma discussing among the youth can have great benefits for them. With the knowledge of Dhamma, which represents intelligence & wisdom, they will know what is right & wrong, beneficial & not beneficial, proper & not proper, etc.

They can also have the power of how to deal & solve the problems & difficulties in their life. Dhamma discussing is one of the causes of progress in wisdom. We can see this important point in some suttas. In Dhamma, dialogue & discussing should not make arguments & criticisms. Instead, it should be exchanged with knowledge & learned from each other.

Regarding listen to Dhamma talks, there are some differences. In listening to Dhamma, some of them are we already know. It is also we cannot know more than in the talks if we have doubts and cannot solve the problems. Therefore it is very important to have questions & answers sections after the talks. This practice is quite common in the west, but in Burma does not has this kind of tradition. So Burmese teachers should allow Dhamma listeners, to enrich their knowledge & solve their doubts. Here I want to present the benefit of Dhamma discussion or dialogue from a sutta.


Discourse on Khemaka: Khemaka Sutta.

Several older monks were dwelling at Kosambi in Ghosita’s Park. Now on that occasion, Ven. Khemaka was living at Jujube Tree Park, sick & gravely ill. He was at that time an anāgāmi (had the 3rd stage of enlightenment). In an evening these monks emerged from their practice & asked Ven. Dāsaka (may be the youngest monk) to visit Ven. Khemaka & asked him about his illness. Ven. Khemaka told Ven. Dāsaka that his illness was not better & strong painful feeling (vedana) increased. And then, Ven. Dāsaka returned & reported the news to the older monks.

The older monks for the 2nd time sent back Ven. Dāsaka to asked Ven. Khenaka again. There were the five aggregates (khandhas), i.e., form, feeling, perception, volitional formation & consciousness. These were subjected to clinging. They wanted to ask Ven. Khemaka was, did he regard anything as self or as belonging to self among these five aggregates subject to clinging.

Ven. Khemaka’s answer was, he did not regard anything as self or as belonging to self among these five aggregates. And then, Ven. Dāsaka returned & reported the answer.

The older monks for the 3rd time sent back Ven. Dāsaka to ask Ven. Khemaka again. If he was not clinging to any of the five aggregates as self or belonging to self, then he was an arahant, one who taints (āsavas) were destroyed.

Ven. Khemaka answered that even though he did not take any of the five aggregates as self or belonging to self, he was not an arahant yet, one who taints were destroyed. But the notion of “I am” had not yet vanished in him about the five aggregates. And he did not regard anything among them as “This I am.” (According to Mogok Sayadawgyi, Ven. Khemaka was only an anāgāmi; he did not take each of the aggregates as self or belonging to self. But he had not yet eradicated ignorance – avijjā which sustained a residual conceit & desire “I am” about the five aggregates.) And then, Ven. Dāsaka returned & reported the answer.

The older monks, after they heard the answer, still not clear what Ven. Khemaka had said before. So they sent back Ven. Dāsaka to asked for the 4th time; did he speak of form – rūpakkhandha as “I am” or apart from form, as “I am”. The other aggregates also in the same manner. Therefore Ven. Dāsaka returned & asked the question. Then, Ven. Khemaka was leaning on his staff & with Ven. Dāsaka went to see the elders.

He explained to the elders that he did not take form as “I am” or apart from the form as “I am”. The other aggregates also in the same way. But he still held the whole five aggregates as “I am”, instead of each of them as “I am”. He gave a simile for this point. There were the scents of blue, red & white lotus. Did the scents belong to petals, or the stalks or the pistils? The right answer was the scent belonged to the flower. In the same way, he did not take any of the five khandhas as “I am”, but to the whole five aggregates as “I am”.

He continued to explain to them. Even though a noble disciple had abandoned the five lower fetters (i.e., anāgāmin, fetters are called samyojana. There are ten fetters:

(1) identity view,
(2) doubt,
(3) the distorted grasp of rules & vows,
(4) sensual desire,
(5) ill-will,
(6) lust for form,
(7) lust for formless,
(8) conceit,
(9) restlessness,
(10) ignorance.

Anāgāmi had eradicated the first five fetters. he was still about the five aggregates subjected to clinging, there lingered in him a residual conceit “I am”, a desire “I am”, an underlying tendency “I am” that had not yet been uprooted. So the yogi had dwelt to contemplate the rise & fall in the five aggregates subjected to clinging & the residual conceit & the underlying tendency “I am”, came to be uprooted.

Ven. Khemaka explained it with a simile. A cloth had become soiled & stained. And gave it to a laundryman. He would scour it evenly with cleaning salt, lye, or cow dung. And then rinsed it in clean water. Even though the cloth became pure & clean, still had the residual smell of cleaning salt, lye, or cow dung.

So had to put it in a sweet-scented casket & all the residual smell of salt, lye or cow dung had vanished. In the end, Ven. Khemaka & all the 60 monks became arahants. Because at the same time of Discussing Dhamma, they contemplated their khandhas.

Some points were interesting to contemplate. According to Mogok Sayadawgyi; the first time Ven. Dāsaka went to see Ven. Khemaka, all of the elders were worldlings. After the 2nd time, they were once-returners (sakadāgāmins), because each time they got the answers from Ven. Khemaka & practiced accordingly.

After the 3rd time, they did not make very clear about Ven. Khemaka’s answer. Therefore in the 4th time, he went to them & explained Dhamma. In the end, all of them finished the practice.

In his commentary on the Maṅgala Sutta, Tha-pye-gan Sayadaw gave the Mahāgosinga Sutta – The Great Gosinga Wood Discourse for the Dhamma Discussing. (from Majjima Nikāya).


Mahāgosinga Sutta

At one time, the Buddha & some of his chief & great disciples stayed in the Gosinga Sal Wood. Then in an evening, Ven Mahāmoggallāna, Mahākassapa, Anuruddha, Revata & Ānanda went together to Ven. Sāriputta for his talk. After they arrived there instead of giving his Dhamma talk, first he asked Ven. Ānanda the following question.

The Gosinga forest was beautiful & peaceful at night. The sal trees were in full blooms. The fragrant scent of the flowers diffused in the night. The question was what kind of monk could grace the Gosinga forest. Each of the monks following gave or offered their views accordingly to their outstanding or foremost qualities.


Ven. Ānanda’s Answer:
In this matter, a monk who had heard a great them fluently reflected on them & penetratingly comprehended them with wisdom. That monk taught people (monks, nuns, laymen & laywomen) for the uprooting of latent defilements (kilesa). Such a monk could grace the Gosinga Sal Wood.

Ven. Revata’s Answer (Sariputta’s youngest brother):
In this matter, a monk who delighted in solitary seclusion enjoyed seclusion, constantly strived for tranquillity, endowed with insight & devoted to practice in secluded places. Such a monk could grace the Gosinga Sal forest.

Ven. Anuruddha’s Answer:
In this matter, a monk who could survey a thousand world systems celestial or divine eye which was extremely clear, far more surpassed than the telescopes of the scientists. Such a monk could grace the Gosinga Sal forest.

Ven. Mahākassapa’s Answer:
He was older than the Buddha in age. Because of his background before ordained & austere practices in the holy life, the Buddha took him very highly & praised him a lot. He was the only monk who the Buddha exchanged robes with him. After the Buddha passed away, he preserved his Dhamma for original & pure from the contaminations.

Today Buddhists owed him a lot for his effort. In this matter, a monk who practiced the austerity of forest-dwelling & praised the virtues of it. Taking only food received on the alms round & praised the virtues of it. Wearing discarded pieces of cloth & praised the virtues of it. Keeping only three robes for wear & praised the virtues of it. Who was of few desire & praised the virtues of having only few desire.

Who was contented & praised the virtues of contentment? Who sought seclusion, stayed aloof from people, strived energetically in practice, completely endowed with morality, concentration & wisdom, attained liberation & endowed with the reflective knowledge of that liberation. Such a monk could grace the Gosinga Sal wood.

Ven. Mahāmoggallana’s Answer:
In this matter, two monks were discussing the higher Dhamma. Each asked the other question & each answered questions put by the other without difficulty, as an, e.g. Dhamma Discussions between Ven. Sariputta & Ven. Mahākotthita. Such a monk could grace the Gosinga Sal forest. After he had given his answer and Ven. Mahāmoggallana asked Ven. Sariputta of his view on this matter.

Ven. Sariputta’s Answer:
In this case, a monk who had mastery over his mind that whatever attainment (there are two attainments; i.e., absorptions – jhānas & fruition states – phalas) he wished to enter for at any time & he could do it quite easily. Such a monk could grace the Gosinga Sal wood. All of them had different answers, but the Taste of Dhamma was only one.

They answered them from their characters & preferences. They wanted to know how the Buddha responded to them. So they went to see The Blessed One. The Buddha said that all of them answered properly & praised them. All answers were well spoken & justified. And then, the Buddha gave his view on this matter.

The Buddha’s Answer:
In this case, the monk returned from the round of alms-food & had finished his alms-meal. And then, sat down with crossed legs to practice mindfulness in meditation, satipatthāna bhavana with the determination that he would not get up from sitting until his mind was freed from the clinging of defilements – kilesa. This monk could grace the Gosinga Sal forest.


All these kinds of monks mentioned in this sutta still exist into this day. Thanks to the monks who preserved the Dhamma & practices & supported by the laity in Buddhist countries such as Burma & Thailand. Burma continues to produce monks like Ven. Ānanda who can recite the Tipitaka by heart. Thai forest tradition still produce monks like Ven. Mahākassapa.

Burma continues to produce excellent scholars, monks & meditation teachers. So, monks & laity alike can learn the Dhamma & practices, and with many meditations, centers continue to arise. These meditation centers give the chances for anyone who wants to practice to end dukkha in this life, which the Buddha emphasized in his answer.

Even we can say all the human problems & sufferings come from not knowing the Dhamma & not practicing it. So, for every human being nothing is more important than study & practice the Dhamma. Listening & discussing of Dhamma on timely occasions are pre-requisites for it. So, the Buddha said that discussing the Dhamma on timely occasions was the highest protection with a blessing.

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30. Austerity / 31. celibacy

文章 Nalorakk » 2019-11-21, 14:33

30. Austerity / 31. celibacy

The Pali word tapo or tapa means to extinguish defilements by striving hard. Here translated as austerity. Brahmacariya is celibacy or life of celibacy or holy life. The meanings of tapa & brahmacariya are not much different. According to Tha-pye-gan Sayadaw, here austerity had to take sīla & celibacy as samatha-vipassanā (concentration-insight) practices.

In Pali text, tapa was commenting in many ways; a name for restraint, the ascetic practices (dhutaṅga), energy, patience (khanti), brahmacariya, etc. So here to take both austerity & celibacy as sīla, samādhi & paññā practices or the Noble Eightfold Path. In this Maṅgala Sutta, patience (khanti) is also tapa. The holy life (brahmacariya) is the practices of a monk with celibacy & other holy practices.

In life when an encounter with dangers & sufferings tapa & brahmacariya or sīla, samādhi & paññā are true refuges. Other things & matters are not true refugees, for examples during sickness & dying. In the Sagāthāvagga, Devaputtasamyutta, Subrahmā Discourse; the Buddha said to the young deva (deity) Subrahmā as follow.

Not apart from enlightenment (bojjhangas), austerity (tapa), restraint of the sense faculties (indriya saṁvara) & relinquishing all (sabbanissagga), the Buddha could not see any security for all living beings. Why did the Buddha say these Dhamma to him? There were interesting dhammas we can learn from this discourse.


The stress of the young deity

Once the young deity Subrahmā & his thousand celestial nymphs went to a flower garden for amusements. Five hundred nymphs went up to the tree; they plucked the flowers & threw it down for the other nymphs under the tree. They made wreaths of flower and others. Even they may be in singing & dancing with the music. After sometimes passed by the voices on the trees became silent.

Because the nymphs on the tree suddenly expired & they were immediately reborn in the Avici hell. As soon as Subrahmā realized it, he checked with his divine eyes & saw all of them suffering in hell. Therefore, he examined his lifespan & knew that he & the other nymphs would die after seven days. They would encounter the same fate in hell.

The young deva was in utter fear & came to the Buddha for help. So the Buddha taught him the Dhamma. Perhaps he had acquired a compelling sense of urgency (saṁvega) during the discourse & established in the fruit of stream-entry.

The Buddha taught five natural laws or fixed orders (niyāma). These were;

(1) utu niyāma – fixed order of temperature
(2) bija niyāma – fixed order of genetics
(3) kamma niyāma – fixed order of actions
(4) citta niyāma – fixed order of the mind
(5) dhamma niyāma – fixed order of phenomena.

Exception on kamma niyāma, scientists and psychologists know more or less of the others. Kamma starts the beginning of being life. It decides the inferior & superior, low & high status of a being. It leads or decides a being to degenerate & progress. It creates suffering & happiness of a being, etc. We can find all these important & valuable teachings only in the Buddha Dhamma. The Buddha divided the kamma in 4 ways with their functions.

(1) Reproductive kamma
(2) Supportive kamma
(3) Habitual kamma
(4) Destructive kamma.

Here we have to understand destructive kamma (upaghataga kamma) in 2 ways; positive & negative. For example, a powerful wholesome kamma destroys the unwholesome kamma. Aṅgulimāla – the garland of fingers bandit had killed a lot of people; when he became an arahant, this heavy wholesome kamma destroyed all the results of unwholesome kamma he had done before. For the destructive negative kamma, we can give the example of Devadatta – the Buddha’s cousin.

He had jhāna & psychic power. Later he had ill-will & persuaded the young prince to kill his father King Bimbisara, and then he tried to murder the Buddha & split the sangha. So he lost all his spiritual power & at last fell into Mahāavici hell.

Here the 500 nymphs fell into hell was could be had a connection with their past destructive kamma. The law & working of kamma was one of the four inconceivable phenomena. One of the great disadvantages of heavenly realms are the beings there do not have the chances to cultivate goodness or wholesome merits. They only enjoy the wholesome results of their past kammas.

Therefore the deities or heavenly beings understand the results or benefits of wholesome kamma more than human beings. Because human beings cannot see the results directly like deities, other important factors are human beings not only rely on their past kammas but also the present life of their abilities such as right effort & intelligence or wisdom.

Right effort & intelligence are more evident than their past kammas for most human beings. Only people who understand the Buddha Dhamma very well no doubt about the importance of the results of past kamma. I had heard a dhamma talk by a Burmese monk on the three creators or Gods. He referred them to kamma, effort & knowledge which represented the three creators.

But most human beings rely on or take refuge in outside powers who or which they have never seen before. Just believe in the words of the prophets or by other mediums. In the Dīgha Nikāya, the first discourse mentioned there was; The Nets of Views Discourse. In there, the Buddha mentioned 62 kinds of wrong views of his time & most of the wrong views were a connection with samatha practices.

On the five khandhas, the Buddha said that consciousness (viññānam) was like a magician. Except for the Buddha & arahants, all living beings have all the inversions (vipallāsa) or some of them. The power is not come from outside but within ourselves. Everyone has the potentiality to transcend things.

The 500 nymphs fell into hell by using up all their good past kamma with sensual pleasure in heaven all the time. They did not have the chances to cultivate goodness. So their destructive kamma had the chances to come in so easily. Here another important point to contemplate about was the utter fear of the young deva went to see the Buddha for help.

Why was he so frightened & distressed? Because he had seen the sufferings of hell & after seven days, he would be there. Some human beings seem very good now, but in their past lives, maybe not. Therefore all living beings must pay back their kammic debts in some ways when times are ripe. In saṁsāra living beings are the slaves of kilesa – defilements. They are doing everything with body, speech & mind for the masters. So we all have these kammic debts to pay for.

There are two ways we can pay back our kammic debts; with the khandhas (i.e., body & mind) & the Noble Eightfold Path Factors (i.e., magga or Path Knowledge). By paying back the debts with the khandhas & it will never end. Because we all will continue to create kammas in the rounds of existence. Therefore we all are still in saṁsāra. The best & secure ways to pay the kammic debts is the Path Knowledge or the path factors, which now Subrahmā deva was looking for it.

Dukkha is our great teacher. Because of dukkha sacca the young deva had acquired a compelling sense of great urgency (strong saṁvega) that he met the Buddha for help. It is quite natural for living beings when they are suffered looking for true refuge & help. But how many people have the right search, or know the right ways. Because of their very deep and thick ignorance that beings in saṁsāra were never found the true refuge.

Even nowadays, the Buddha Dhamma is still existing and how many of the world population have it. Only the Buddha appeared in the world beings had the chances for it. Even though still, not many beings had the opportunity to know the Dhamma. The Buddha told him was very clear that he could not help him directly, not falling into hell. Buddha only showed the way to transcend distress.

Every being has the inner power to transcend it if he follows by the Dhamma. Therefore the Buddha taught him; not apart from enlightenment (bojjhangas), austerity (tapa), restraint of the sense faculties (Indriya saṁvara) & relinquishing all (sabbanissagga) that could prevent him falling into hell.

This teaching represented the three training; sīla, samādhi, & paññā. Except that the Buddha could not see any security for all living beings. Therefore the Buddha said that austerity & celibacy were the highest blessing & protection.

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32. Seeing the noble truths

文章 Nalorakk » 2019-11-22, 15:35

32. Seeing the noble truths

Seeing & knowing or understanding the 4 Noble Truths is the highest blessing & protection as the Buddha taught. It can be said the greatest blessing & protection of all the others because it transcends dukkha forever. The others are not transcending dukkha, but create good causes for wandering in the round of existence & supporting beings to have better lives.

Before to understand the 4 Noble Truths, have to understand the other truths. These are; samuti sacca (conventional truth) & paramattha sacca (ultimate truth).

For this purpose, I will quote from the talk given by Sayadaw Dr. Nandamalarbhivamsa. There are 2 concepts; atthapaññatti – concepts-as-meanings, & nāmapaññatti – concepts-as-names. Concepts-as-meanings are related to the body & form. Concepts-as-names are related to human voices/languages in symbols or letters.

There are also concepts which are non-existence, e.g., turtle hairs, rabbit horns, etc. Except for the concept of non-existence, other concepts are conventional truth. Ultimate truth has four; matter (rūpa), mind or consciousness (citta), mental factors (cetasika) & Nibbāna.

The nature of concepts is when the body or form changes & its name also changes, e.g. cotton becomes a thread, and the thread becomes cloth, etc. Analyze them with knowledge & the names disappear; then these are concepts. As an example, if we took off each part of a car body, then it is not a car anymore.

Objects of ultimate reality are not like this. Even their objects are changed their nature or qualities are not changed. E.g., the earth element in the cotton & the thread are the same; it does not change. The meaning of ultimate reality is unchanging essence. Concepts are true with the general consensus. Ultimate things are true with their nature.

Ledi Sayadawgyi divided the ultimate reality into two types;
(1) sabhava paramattha – intrinsic reality or ultimate truth (paramattha sacca)
(2) ariya paramattha – noble reality or noble truth (ariya sacca).

Even paramattha sacca – natural truth, from the point of noble truth, is still wrong. From the viewpoint of ultimate reality; analyze with knowledge and concepts become wrong. Why the Buddha urged people viewed things & matters with ultimate reality. Because viewing with concepts, they cannot abandon craving & clinging, the three types of feeling (vedana); pleasant, painful & neutral feelings (sukha, dukkha & upekkha vedana) are natural truth.

But all of them are the truth of unsatisfactoriness (dukkha sacca). The most pleasant jhānic feelings are also dukkha sacca. Because all of them are within the nature of 3 universal characteristics of inconstant, suffering & not-self, these are noble truth. Therefore from the viewpoint of noble truth, natural truth is still wrong for the ariyas.

In the Abhidhamma, teaching consciousness has 89 types. Combine with the jhānic mind or consciousness & become 121 types of mind. Mental factors are 52 types & it relies on the mind. Matters of forms are 28 types. All the cessation of causes, mind & matter is Nibbāna element. Only all beings arrive at the noble truth & become totally right or perfectly right.

So all living beings within these three levels of knowledge; the lowest, middle & highest. These are common worldlings (puthujjana), learned disciples of noble beings (sutava ariya savakos) & ariyan (noble beings). This point is very important for Buddhists in names. If we cannot become a learned disciple of noble beings and still at the level of common worldling & not a true Buddhist yet, with the practice & penetration of the 4 Noble Truths will become a noble person.

This is the highest blessing. There are two levels of knowledge of the 4 Noble Truths;
(1) Anubodha ñāna – contemplation knowledge.
(1) Pativeda ñāna – penetrative knowledge.

Anu- means contemplate for many times to understand the truth. Pativeda means penetrate thoroughly & there is no more for knowing.


The Four Noble Truths

The Four Noble Truths are true all the times without time limits. These are true at anywhere & for every being. The Four Noble Truths are very profound & only a Buddha has arisen beings have the chances to know & practice them (exclude the Paccekabuddhas – Solitary-buddhas).

The Buddha started his teaching with the 4 Noble Truths in his first discourse. The Dhammacakkapavattana Sutta or Turning the Wheel of Dhamma. The Blessed One was dwelling at Bārānasi in the Deer Park at Isipatana; he delivered this talk to his first five disciples – the pañca-vaggi. Dhamma-cakka-Wheel of Dhamma has two knowledges in it. These are;

(1) The direct penetrative knowledge of the 4 Noble Truths – pativeda ñānam.
(2) The teaching knowledge of the 4 Noble Truths – Sacca desana ñānam.

Without knowing & direct penetrating the 4 Noble Truths that all living beings are wandering in the round of existence or becoming. The Buddha penetrated the Truths directly by himself (without a teacher) & taught to people.

Some people know, but they cannot teach people (e.g., Paccekabuddhas). The Buddha’s pativeda ñānam arose at Buddhagaya under the Bodhi Tree. He delivered his desana ñānam at Isipathana. The Buddha gave talks for four reasons. These were;

(1) With his wishes.
(2) By the spiritual faculties of beings
(3) Answering the questions
(4) Something happened.

Here he delivered the discourse for the 2nd reason. These teachings were never known & never heard before him. We can say it was new teaching at his time. It was not an easy teaching to come by. To become a Buddha at least it needed four incalculable aeons & ten thousand aeons to fulfilled the perfections (10 paramis).

Even in his last life was searching for the truths at a young age with many difficulties (see his autobiography in Mahāsaccaka Sutta & Ariyapariyesana Sutta, both in Majjima Nikāya).

At the beginning of the discourse, the Buddha said that there were two extremes should not be followed by monks. In Pali 2 anuyoga; should not be followed & done. In the 2nd time taught about the path should be followed & done.

The Buddha always taught two things; things should not be done first & things should be done in the 2nd. Because when doing wrong things sometimes difficult to change & the consequences are great. Even not doing right things are better than doing the wrong things & matters. In this Maṅgala Sutta, we see this example; not associate with the fools & associate with the wise. What are the two extremes should not be followed?


(1) The pursuit of sensual happiness in sensual pleasures

By pursuing them, people have joy & pleasure in short terms & cannot get any knowledge. To enjoy them the price is also great. In the west people are saying – a slogan, “Life is too short; let's enjoy yourself.” Maybe consumerism comes to existence from this western philosophy.

Extreme economic views & doctrines made the present day world unsustainable in many different ways, morally, socially & environmentally. For money & sensual pleasures, human beings can do everything. The price for all these short or momentary joy & pleasure create a lot of human problems.

Nowadays we are talking about quantity & not quality, even including humans. Therefore there are more rubbish, pollutions & immoral human beings. So hedonism is one of the extremes which relates to pleasant feeling & leads to craving (tanhā) & the source of dukkha. It is the hindrance for higher or spiritual knowledge. It has 5 faults;

hino – which is low;
gammo – vulgar or behavior of common people;
pothujjaniko – the way of worldlings or popularism, people are like slaves for their mind;
anariyo – ignoble or cannot becomes noble person;
anattha – sañhito – unbeneficial or nothing to do with knowledge or Dhamma knowledge.

Why the Buddha took sensual pleasures as lowly? Because animals are also enjoying & looking for it. Even we can see some human beings not better than animals & even can be worse. E.g., some of the indigenous people get money support from government to become lazy, just eating, drinking (alcoholism), sleeping & only for sensual pleasures. Even animals have to search for foods.


(2) The pursuit of self-mortification

The Buddha gave three faults for it; dukkho – which is painful; ignoble; and unbeneficial. This self-mortification are still practicing in India. Some Christians also have their self-mortification practices. What about some common people of nowadays? Some people are not for spiritual purposes, but the connection with sensual pleasure, such as fame & gain.

For examples; sky diving, scaling tall and high buildings, climbing off a snowy mountain, etc. and the results are death, severe injuries, amputations of the bodily parts, etc. If we make a record of human foolishness will never end. Therefore the Buddha said that worldlings were crazy.

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The middle way

文章 Nalorakk » 2019-11-22, 15:41

(3) The middle way – majjhimā patipadā

What is the Buddha’s middle way? If the way or path is true or right, and it is necessary to be sacrificed. It has to be beneficial. Some Buddhists misinterpret it as should not practice very hard to tire oneself. The middle way is not a lazy path. How can we get rid of our super thick glue or ignorance & craving in an easy going way? These enemies are within us inconceivable round of existence as a latent tendency (anusaya).

Before the Buddha, the man had two doctrines (vada); supreme happiness in this life or direct seeing happiness (dittha dhamma-nibbāna, indulgence in sensual pleasure with all possible ways; & torturing the physical body. The Buddha’s middle way is not sitting in the middle of the fence & doing nothing. If it is necessary for happiness, it should be enjoyed. If necessary, for difficulty & hardship also has to encounter it.

There is some happiness necessary for enjoyment. This higher happiness develops knowledge, as, all the jhānic happiness or jhāna practices or samatha practice. If it is beneficial, we should go into hardship. If knowledge can be developed also has to go through it.

This is not one sided-view. The Buddha gave the results of the middle way. These are; which gives rise to vision & knowledge (cakkhu karani & ñāna karani), which leads to peace, direct knowledge, enlightenment & Nibbāna.

The Buddha continued to talk about the Noble Eightfold Path, which was the middle way. These are; combined with the natural eight phenomena, & noble practice.

[1] Right view – sammā-ditthia: This is insight practice & process. Seeing the nature of the mind & body process & its universal characteristics. It is not seeing them as man, woman, living being, etc.

[2] Right intention or thought – sammā-sankappo: it supports the right view. These two factors are the leading phenomena of the eight path factors. The extreme ways are leading by wrong views (miccha-ditthi). In doing things, the views should be right is very important. Without the right view will make mistakes & go wrong. The arrangement of the eight path factors is very meaningful & systematic. The natural phenomena are doing their tasks collectively. After the right thought comes right speech.

[3] Right speech – sammā-vācā: after right speech comes right action.

[4] Right actions – sammā-kammanto: with thoughts, speech & action we do our jobs in daily life or livelihoods.

[5] Right livelihood – sammā-ājīvo: without the foundation of virtue (sīla) cannot attain knowledge. Two feet can be stood on the ground; the foundation should be stable & solid. In many discourses, the Buddha emphasized the importance of sīla & its results. Right speech, right action & right livelihood are training in virtue (sīla sikkha).

In discourse, the Buddha taught Mahānāma, his cousin, the benefits of keeping the precepts (sīla) pure. One recollects one’s virtues; untorn, unbroken, unspotted, unsplatter, liberating, praised by the wise, untarnished, conducive to concentration (samādhi). At any time when a disciple of the noble ones is recollecting virtue, his mind is not overcoming with passion, aversion & delusion.

His mind heads straight & gains joy connected with the Dhamma. In one who is joyful, rapture arises. In one who is rapturous & the body grows calm. One whose body is calm & he senses pleasure (sukha). In one sensing pleasure & the mind becomes concentrated. One’s mind with these sīla qualities can endeavor on the meditation practice (both samatha & vipassanā). Doing the practice must have the right effort

[6] Right effort – sammā-vāyāmo: has four factors;
<1> For the sake of the non-arising of evil, unskillful qualities, that have not arisen….
<2> For the sake of the non-arising of evil, unskillful qualities, that have arisen….
<3> For the sake of the arising of skillful qualities, that have arisen….
<4> For the maintenance, non-confusion, increase, plenitude, development & culmination of skilful qualities that have arisen.

These four aspects of right effort are also termed
<1> guarding
<2> abandoning
<3> developing &
<4> maintaining.

With the right effort, doing everything must have right mindfulness

[7] Right mindfulness-sammā-sati: It is the most important factor in the practice. There are two mindfulness discourses; Mahāsatipatthāna Sutta in the Digha Nikāya & Satipatthāna Sutta in the Majjima Nikāya. It seems these two are nearly the same except the first one explained the 4 Noble Truths in more detailed. With the right effort & right mindfulness; the mind becomes calm & concentrated, which is,

[8] right concentration – sammā-samādhi. With the middle way or the Noble Eightfold Path, which give rise to vision, knowledge, which lead to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna. In this discourse, the Buddha taught the five monks on samatha & vipassanā in a gist. In other discourses, the Buddha taught in details. Why did the Buddha not teach the monks in details? Because they were spiritually very matured & no need for detailed explanations.


And then the Buddha continued the 4 Noble Truths one by one.

[1] This is the noble truth of dukkha: (suffering, unsatisfactoriness, stress, etc.)

Birth, aging, illness & death are dukkha. Union with what is displeasing & separation from what is pleasing are dukkha. Not to get what one wants is dukkha. The Buddha started with the coarser one to the refined ones. In brief, the five khandas (mind & body) subject to clinging are dukkha. This last dukkha can be known only with insight knowledge or practice. The other dukkha can be appreciated by contemplation & easy to understand.

[2] The noble truth of the origin of dukkha:

The cause of dukkha is craving (tanhā). It leads to renewed existence, accompanied by delight & lust, seeking delight here & there. These cravings are for sensual pleasure (kāma-tanhā), for existence (bhava-tanhā) & for extermination (vibhava-tanhā). In this sutta mentioned only tanhā. Other suttas are the whole process of Dependent Arising.

[3] The noble truth of the cessation of dukkha:

It is the remainderless fading away or cessation of craving (tanhā). The giving up & relinquishing of tanhā & freedom from tanhā. Dukkha is the cause of tanhā. Therefore, without tanhā is without dukkha. Khandhas are dukkha. So, without tanhā, dukkha & khandas are Nibbāna.

[4] The noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of dukkha:

This is the Noble Eightfold Path.


The Buddha continued to talk about the realization of the 4 Noble Truths with the middle way, i.e., the Noble Eightfold Path. Here we need the objects of meditation. Mahāsatipatthāna Sutta comes in here. Samathā & vipassanā practices are mentioned in there. People have interest should study this very important discourse. For vipassanā practice, the objects for contemplation are the five khandas; body, feeling, perception, mental formations & consciousness, in gist mind & body. Satipatthāna discourse mentioned four objects.

(1) Contemplation of the body
(2) Contemplation of the feeling
(3) Contemplation of the mind &
(4) Contemplation of the mind objects.

What do we see & penetrate? The Buddha taught about his realization of the 4 Noble Truths.

(1) Dukkhe ñānam – knowledge of dukkha
(2) Dukkha-samadaye-ñānam – knowledge about the cause of dukkha
(3) Dukkha-nirodhe-ñānam – knowledge of the cessation of dukkha.
(4) Dukkha-nirodhe-patipada- ñānam – knowledge to the way of cessation of dukkha.

All of these are the right views. The first knowledge is seeing the mind & body natural process as dukkha. The meaning of dukkha is; duk – disgusting, dissatisfaction; kha – nothing exists as one thinks, useless, empty. The five khandhas have these nature.

2nd knowledge is knowing why dukkha arises? The 3rd knowledge is knowing the place of ending dukkha. The 4th knowledge is knowing the way to the ending of dukkha. These are the very high levels of right views.

The 4 Noble Truths demonstrate the process of vipassanā practice. With the eight factors working with dukkha & discerning it. The result is abandoning the cause of dukkha & realizing the ending of dukkha. With the path, consciousness arises & at the same time penetrate the 4 Noble Truths. Is it possible? For example, if we lit candle light, with the light appears & at the same time, darkness disappears, the wick & the oil also burn out.

The Buddha continued to talk dukkha. He penetrated dukkha by himself, & not heard from others. The Buddha proclaimed himself as an Awakened. One only when thoroughly penetrated the 4 Noble Truths in its 3 phases & 12 aspects. The 3 phases are;

(1) the knowledge of each truth – (saccañāna). E.g., This is the noble truth of dukkha;
(2) the knowledge of the task to be accomplished with each truth – (kiccañāna). E.g., the noble truth of dukkha is to be fully understood;
(3) the knowledge of accomplishment with each truth – (katañāna). E.g., the noble truth of dukkha has been fully understood.

In simple words, the 3 phases are; study, practice & realization. Three phases apply to the four truths become 12 aspects or modes. The Buddha ended this discourse with the following words; “Unshakable is the liberation of my mind. This is my last birth.

There is no more renewed existence (i.e., has to be taken rebirth again)” Later Buddhists formulated the new idea of the liberated beings as they could come back again & again for others (Worldlings have very strong bhava-tanhā). During the discourse, among the five monks, the oldest monk Kondañña became a sotāpanna – stream-winner.

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