This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
In such an existence as a human being which is very rare to attain, and in the dispensation of Buddha Sasana (Dispensation) which is also a rarity, due to the merits of paying homage to Threefold Jewel, namely the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Samgha; observance of Sila (morality); performing Dana (giving charity), may you all readily attain Magga (the Path), Phala (the Fruition) and Nibbana. Aham bhante tisaranena saha ajivatthamakasilam samadiyami. Venerable Sir, I take refuge in the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Samgha, as long as I am alive, as the real refuge that can dispel the suffering and produce happiness. I observe the ajivatthamakasila which has the samma-ajiva (right livelihood) as the eighth precept. Let’s practice contemplation on loving kindness. All innumerable beings, devas (celestial beings) and brahmas (higher celestial beings) in ten directions living on the infinite universes –Be well and happy! –May they be free from danger and enmity! –May they be free from anger! –May they be free from suffering! –May they be peaceful! –May their wishes be fulfilled! Idam me pubbam asavakkhayam vaham hotu. May this action of my merit be able to convey towards the extinction of passion. Idam me silam nibbanassa paccayo hotu. May my morality be the cause for the attainment of Nibbana! Tisaranena saha ajivatthamakasilam sadhukam katva dhammam appamadena sampadetha. Do observe the ajivatthamakasila which has the samma-ajiva (right livelihood) as the eighth precept together with the Three Refuges with diligence and steadfast mindfulness. Now you can change your position and sit comfortably. Today, let’s study vipassana (insight meditation). Yesterday, I taught you the basic practice of parami (ten perfections), and how it can lead you ultimately to the attainment of Magga and Phala Bana (knowledge of Path and Fruition). Today let’s learn “the emancipation from samsara” which was expounded by the Buddha by His Supreme Wisdom. That’s the vipassana. Firstly, let’s trace back to the basic practice of ten perfections. Let’s see. For every being, when the conception takes place in the mother’s womb, the mind (consciousness) and mental factors are included.. Here, you must note that the mind and all fifty-two mental concomitants are included. Herein, concerning moha and pabba, pabba (wisdom) is light and moha (delusion) is darkness; the proportions only are different (for different beings). For animals, delusion is abundant, (but) pabba is not prominent. For human beings wisdom (light) is abundant, but delusion is slight. It should be known accordingly. He is called a Buddha who has endowed with thirty-two distinguished marks and also extraordinarily enlightened in the mind associated with wisdom. The Buddha who is the owner of this unrivalled light of wisdom has shown the right way to all beings. He shows discriminatingly the way as: “this is the way which will lead you to
2 suffering in human existence, celestial existence or miserable (hell); this is the way which will lead you to happiness in human, celestial existence (devas), higher celestial existence (brahma); this is the way to Nibbana.” I hope you understand. We will learn the right practice which was actually realized through the superb wisdom of the Buddha. It depends on the fundamental practice. It depends on how much perfection (parami) you have fulfilled (in the previous existences). I think (presumably) that, all of you –devotees –have the maturity of perfection to some extent; and that is the way you have this chance to listen to the Dhamma. What you have to note while listening is wisdom in connection with the knowledge. You must associate with virtuous persons and also pay attention properly. Is it so? Right? You must listen to the Dhamma taught by the Buddha so that you hear with our own ears. Also try to see with your own wisdom eye. After bearing in mind properly, if the Dhamma remains in your flesh and blood and if you can reflect on it, then it can be said that you have gained wisdom. I have you understand. Try to listen to the Dhamma with perseverance. Now I will continue with the supreme Dhamma. What I have taught you does not contain anything of my own knowledge. I have taken the Dhamma discourse from the Myanmar translation which recorded the Teachings of the Buddha. I will teach you what I have learned from teachers. Let’s start with Nibbana. The main point we like to know is Nibbana, isn’t it? We have aspired to attain Nibbana. Here we mean Nibbana that we would like to realize as the term or word only –not the real essence. What did the Buddha teach about this word Nibbana? We should know the real essence of this word as expounded by the Buddha. Do you understand? The Most Venerable Shwe Hintha Sayadaw from Sagaing who passed away not very soon explained the word ‘Nibbana’. He said that Nibbana is a combination of two words –Ni and Vana; ‘Ni’ means ‘to become extinguished’ and ‘Vana’ denotes ‘craving’ (tanha); thus Nibbana signifies the extinction of craving. If we know the nature of craving, we can understand what Nibbana is. The Sayadaw also explained in detail how the word Nibbana is coined. For those who learn the Pali grammar, there is the usage ‘parsing’, i.e. showing how a word is formed or derived. Grammatically it must be broken down into va, na and (vowel) a. ‘a’ is used like a in Ma. Va , in ‘vorasa’, va is changed into double word (i.e., va + va). Then double consonant is changed into ‘vva’ or ‘bba’. They are added together after a is attached. When ni, bba, and na are taken together, it becomes ‘nibbana’. This Pali word, when used in English, is also written and read as Nibbana. In Myanmar language, it is used as ‘Nibban’. In Myanmar language ‘n’, superscripted devowelize r arc ( -f), is also called as ‘tagun’ , pennant like ligature. When you, the Buddhists, wish for the attainment of Nibbana, you should understand that ‘Nibbana’ is neither to be seen nor felt by touch. In daily life, people usually say that they see, they know and so on. But Nibbana is not something that can be seen as well as touched; it is just the nature of the absence of craving. What is absent in Nibbana? Craving is absent in it. There are a lot of definitions of craving interpreted by many learned Sayadaws. Mostly it is defined as attachment to the sense-object and binding by the sense-object. It means the attachment to the sense-object. Herein, if you understand the senseobject, you will recognize the nature of craving. You must know that, when craving arises, wrong view
3 (ditthi) and conceit (mana) appears in harmony. I will deal with it later. Let’s look for the places where the sense-objects emerge. There are six places which receive the sense-objects. They are only six and no more in every sentient being. These places, known as sense-bases are eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and mind. Their construction is like a cobweb. Now, shall we observe how six sense-doors are formed or constructed? The Buddha gave the example of the cobweb to illustrate the construction of six sense-doors with His Supreme Wisdom. In the ancient time, to speak exactly –2550 years ago, there was not yet (modern) anatomy. This cobweb example given by the Buddha is very easy to understand for people. As a spider, it always connects the threads or strings; and it lives at the centre. If an insect is caught in the cobweb, the strings will shake; at that moment, the spider will catch the insect and eat it at the centre of the cobweb. Just like the cobweb, the six sense-doors, five sense organs namely –eye, ear, nose, tongue and body, have the mind as the centre. The mind depends on Bhavavga citta. Indeed whenever the consciousness arises, its concomitants also arise altogether. The consciousness does not arise alone. However, when one is sleeping, the consciousness is no connection with its concomitants, and so called Bhavavga citta arises alone. Only when one wakes up, the sense object has contact with the sense-doors and the consciousness arises. Let’s observe the nature of the mind. Let’s start from the beginning. It is said that the mind exists in the heart. In the topmost part of the heart, the mind exists depending on the blood. From the medical point of view, there are four chambers in the heart. The blood, flowing throughout the whole body, enters into the first chamber –atrium. There are also four valves in the heart to control the direction of blood flow. They work by checking the blood not to flow upwards, in squeezing the heart from the downward; and by opening to allow the blood flow downwards, in squeezing the heart from the upward. The blood entered into the first room carries the heat. Because of the constant flow of the blood, the very tiny cells disappear and only the heat remains. To clarify it, in grasping the hand very frequently, the heat will still remain, isn’t it? Then this heat is brought to the second room by the veins. And, from that room, it flows to the lungs which are just like the air bags. The network of capillaries runs over the air sacs –alveoli. There are millions of these alveoli, or air pouches. The blood, after passing through the lungs, flows into the third room. In the passing moment, the heat is left in the cool air. In other words, the heat seeps through the cool air. I hope you understand it. The in-breath is, therefore, hotter than the outbreath. This fact is obvious when we are sick; we can notice the hotter in-breath since small blood cells are destroyed much more. After then the blood goes from the third to the fourth room. When the Buddha’s teaching is compared with the modern medical science, the blood flows out to the whole body from this
4 room. It can be deduced that the mind exists in this room. Yet we do not know the nature of the mind definitely. I told you yesterday the simile of electricity which was given by the Most Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw. In a light bulb, the electric current flows at the rate of 50 Hertz, i.e., at the frequency of fifty times per second. The Venerable Sayadaw said that we must understand the nature of the mind likewise. The frequency is the number of the arising and disappearing of the electric current in one second. The mind is just arising and dissolving many times in a single moment. Therefore, there is no form or substantiality. Hence, this is found to be in accord with the Buddha’ teaching. Duravgamam ekacaram asariram guhasayam; Ye cittam samyamessanti, mokkhanti marabandhana. [The mind wanders far and moves about alone; it is non-material; it lies, in the cave (chamber of the heart). Those who control their mind will be free from the bonds of Mara.] The mind can take and inhabit the sense-objects from afar –like the television machine. The images from many miles appear to be visible on the television. Here is too far from Myanmar. However, when I say ‘the Shwedagon Pagoda or Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda’, the images of these pagodas appear in one’s mind. It is wonderful, isn’t it? Just like this example, it has no form. It is true that, although it is not the material, the mind exists in the heart-cave. Only one consciousness can arise at a time. It seems to be constant or continuous, since it arises and dissolves very rapidly indeed. If we can control the mind, we can attain the deathlessness (i.e. Nibbana). So you must note that it is like the electricity which comes out while dynamo is operating. You should just bear this point in your mind. Additionally, just like capturing or recording the scenes and sounds on the videotapes, the mind catches and inhabits the sense-objects. When a certain thought arises, even after some times, the ability (to remember) still remains in the mind by spreading throughout the blood in the whole body reaching bone marrow, brain etc. It is called our power. Whenever we think, the mental thoughts or images which seem real arise, and as a result, dissatisfaction, frustration, anger, sorrow, ill-will etc., enter into our thoughts. They pervade the whole body. In other words, the potentiality (of the effects of dissatisfaction, etc.) takes root and remains in the body. Then, the situation is not good; it is near to ruin. Just as the iron is destroyed by the rust, it is going to be ruined. As I told you yesterday, when we think of something, having based on loving kindness and sympathy, we should try to help and look after others so that they are happy. This will fulfil the power. Such kind of power or potentiality is brilliant and pleasant; it has good form and it can strengthen the power. That potentiality (energy) is carried to the next existences after death like the seeds of a tree. It
5 supports the beings to be in a good form and appearance, ultimately they can be endowed with thirty-two distinguished marks and so on. In the final existence, it will enable one to attain Path, Fruition and Nibbana. I hope you understand. This point is the most important thing. Whatever sense-object has contact with five sense-doors, namely eye, ear, nose, tongue and body, the mind must always mingle with each of them, with one exception when we are in sound sleep. So there are altogether six sense-doors. Now let me explain about nerves. You know, there are nerves in our body. From the main or central nerve to the respective parts, there are connections like the wires. This fact was exposed by the wisdom of the Buddha. These nerves are connected with the five sense-doors –eye, ear, nose, tongue and body. Some nerves end in the eyes. The ending place is very tiny about the head of a louse. It is illustrated in the Chachakka Sutta. I am very grateful to the Most Venerable Mingun Sayadawgyi since I can show the accurate proof to the world. That is why I can propagate the Dhamma abroad; only when you can point out the proof perfectly, it is better. For instance, the ear has the brown hairs; inside the nose is the place like the hoof of a goat which is connected with the nerves as the organ of the nose-sensitivity. The tongue-sensitivity is formed on the tongue in the place shaped like the lotus petal; each taste bud has a circular shape –larger at the top, narrow in the middle and small at the lower– and they are connected with the nerves. All over the body, the hair follicles under the skin are connected with nerves. So the body sensitivity can be found all over the skin with the exception of head hair, body hair, nails and dry or dead skin. The tips of the nerves (receptors) are the places that have can perceive the touch when they have contact with the tangible objects. The Buddha termed them as ‘ayatana’, sense-bases, which means the base or cause for the consciousness and its concomitants to arise. There are six internal sense-bases or organs (ayatana), including the mind –bhavavga citta. But they cannot arise themselves. When these internal sense bases have contact with the external bases, namely form, sound, odour, taste, tangible object and mental object (thought), the consciousness and its concomitants appears. To illustrate, there is electricity stored in the storage battery; there are also positive and negative terminals in the battery. Yet there will not be the electricity or light without striking or connecting two wires; we do not even know there is the electricity in the battery. So also, only when sense objects and doors have contact, the consciousness and its concomitants appear; the consciousness does not arise without any cause. It is important to understand. Let me tell you an instance, [Mahatanhasavkhaya Sutta]. During the Buddha’s time, there was a monk named as Sati who was the son of a fisherman. He said that he had known the teachings of the Buddha;
6 but his knowledge was wrong. He said continuously that the consciousness runs and wanders through the rounds of rebirth; it entered into one’s body or it was transmigration. He said such wrong view to others. When informed of what Sati said, the Buddha sent for him. In the presence of the disciples, the Buddha called him ‘Tuccha’ (the man who is far from the path and fruition.) and said, “I never preach that the consciousness runs and wanders itself.” Indeed, the consciousness cannot arise itself; so you should not speak the wrong words nor do the wrong deeds. Just as the fire which catches the grass is called the grass-fire, similarly when the (visible) senseobjects and the eye-door strike, the eye-consciousness will appear because of burning of mind and matter. It is the nature of just cognizing or being conscious; the Buddha used the word “consciousness” for it. In the same way, when the sound comes into contact with the ear, the ear- consciousness will appear. But this consciousness dissolves at once after arising. If the odour comes into contact with the nose, the noseconsciousness will appear; and it just arises and dissolves immediately. Also the remaining consciousnesses such as the tongue-consciousness, the body-consciousness and the mind-consciousness are just appearing and dissolving. The notion is totally wrong that they are running. Don’t let the wrong view take on. Now I would like to explain to you in detail how the burning of mind and matter in the sensedoors occur. Let’s go one by one. Shall we see the arising of five aggregates in the eye? If you see what appears in the eye, the eye-sensitivity exists at the end of the optical nerves. While the visible object strikes, the new cells are substituted in that sense-base. The waves of visible object also come into and strike. There is the lens here. The rays of light come through the lens. At this moment mind (nama), having cut from the bhavavga citta, comes in. Only when they combine, the contact (phassa) which occurs because of their meeting makes the nature of knowing visible object to arise. The Buddha called the eye-base and the visible object as uupa (materiality). Then feeling (vedana), perception (sabba), volitional activities (savkhara) and consciousness (vibbana) are nama (mentality). Vibbana is the name of the mind. There are fifty-two mental concomitants (cetasika), namely feeling (vedana) -1, perception (sabba) -1, and volitional activities (savkhara) -50. This explanation is included in the Abhidhamma taught to the monks in the evening. (This kind of teaching the Abhidhamma in the evenings is known as ‘night lessons’). These are arising together and dissolving together; they cannot be separated. Only the Buddha is able to discern them, mental concomitants, discriminatingly. So it is the most difficult thing for the common people. In Milindapabha, Venerable Nagasena asked King Milinda thus: “Venerable Sir! Is there any hard thing else done by the Buddha?” Venerable Nagasena replied, “Yes, Your Majesty!” The king asked again, “What is it, Venerable Sir?” The Venerable Nagasena said, “The Buddha showed
7 distinctively that such is contact, and such is sensation, such is perception, such is volition, and such is consciousness.” The Buddha explained the arising of the combination of mind and mental factors in a knowing sense object and grasping the sense object. He also pointed out the consciousness, its concomitants and the materiality. In fact we cannot know them by using our own knowledge; we have to know them with the wisdom based on faith. Herein, there are two kinds of knowledge –the real knowledge and the knowledge associated with faith; they are not the same. The Buddha sees them by himself as if He has seen with His own eyes. As for us, we could not see distinctly like the Buddha, so we must use the wisdom based on faith. With regard to that knowledge, the Most Venerable Yaw Sayadaw explained very clearly. Sayadaw expounded to his audience thus: “Do you believe the recent world map?” Then the audience said, “Yes, Venerable Sir!” What Sayadaw pointed out is very remarkable. Sayadaw said again, “You have never been to the whole world, have you? Here you know, all people cannot reach to the whole parts of the world, although they might have been to some parts of it. However, they accept by assumption that all parts of the world exist according to the world map. That is the knowledge by faith. Likewise, it is just the discernment of the Buddha with regard to the real nature of five aggregates that when the sense-object strikes the sense-door, they arise and dissolve in a moment. We have no power to discern like the Buddha. However we obtain the knowledge of the true nature of five aggregates by learning the Buddha’s teachings. Let’s go on. Its nature is marvellous. The nerves are connected with the heart. Then it is running to the bhavavga citta –like a television set. Having depended on the bhavavga citta, the image appears as the sense-objects are taken. They appear from these five sense-objects. And the base is the bhavavga citta. Then it comes to be the image. Isn’t it practical? Therefore we must accept that the teaching of the Buddha is reality. It is impossible to differentiate them while they arise. There cannot be the knowledge which discriminates mind and matter in everyone. But it is enough that if we accept or believe, through the knowledge by faith, that it is true. There are different concepts concerning this fact. It may be because of misinterpretations of some treatises. Some think that they will come to see distinctly and automatically because of their concentration gained from their own meditation. This knowledge must be based on faith. The Buddha states that it is difficult to discern. When the King Milinda asked, Venerable Nagasena also answered that it was very difficult to understand. When Venerable Nagasena asked how it was hard, he explained it to the King with a simile like this: “Make a man to go to the beach of a sea. When he arrives there, let him take some water in the palms oh his hand, and taste it with his tongue. In India, there are great rivers such as Gavga, Yamuna, Aciravati, etc., flowing into the sea. Would it be possible to distinguish whether it were the water from Gavga, or from Yamuna?” The King said that it was not possible to do so. The Venerable said that it is
8 more difficult to differentiate which was consciousness, its concomitants and materiality. It is the most difficult thing done by the Buddha. So please speak carefully and practise cautiously not to be wrong. Some think that they will be able to distinguish mind and matter by practising meditation. Indeed, it is adequate that if they understand with faith after listening vigilantly to the instruction of the teacher. You may wonder why the Buddha teaches these things which are difficult to know. Khandha is a group of five things; they are aggregates. A being, a man, is also a group of five aggregates. A collection of five phenomena is khandha. You must understand with wisdom that, in these phenomena, there is no being, man, soul or Self. It is sufficient to realize clearly that there is no entity or living being indeed. Let’s see the ear. In accordance with the Buddha’s teaching, there are the twisted hairs in the ear. There are twisted tubes (snail-shaped cochlea) connected with the auditory nerves. In Abhidhamma, it is described that while the sound waves are striking the ear-base, the consciousness and its concomitant are combined after cutting off from the Bhavavga citta. This cutting off from the Bhavavga citta is named as Bhavavgupaccheda. The meeting of mind and matter is reckoned as the contact (phassa). At this moment, one perceives the nature of knowing the sense of sound. But it does not stop in this stage. Having known it, it appears in the mind, ear-consciousness, by means of Anantara paccaya of Patthana method. You must know thoroughly these two stages. Whenever we are conscious of it, there is a group of five things which cannot be distinguished with our normal wisdom. You are mistaken if you think you can distinguish them. I hope you understand this fact. Hence we must start with great faith. Of these five aggregates, the Buddha gave the palpable similes thus: the nature of the materiality is like a mass of foam; feeling is like a water bubble; perception is like a mirage; volitional activities are like a banana stem; and consciousness is like conjurer’s trick (magic). In short, at each moment of consciousness, there is nothing substantial. We must know that. Let’s see how we hear through the ear. For instance, if one says ‘elephant’, you will hear the sound as the sound wave enters into the ear without form or substance. In the sound waves also, there is no visible form or substance. The particles of matter are dissolving unceasingly. These particles of matter do not contain any substance. The consciousness and its concomitants do not contain any substance, too. Because the Buddha is the Omniscient One without exception, He gives the names such as consciousness, mental concomitants etc. The Buddha illustrated that the five aggregates are like foam, water bubble and so on. It means that the five aggregates are coreless or without essence. It is very clear that it will not be ‘one’ by combining five ‘zeros’. In the same way, even though we combine five things which are void or empty, there cannot be an entity or essence. Mere consciousness cannot be any form. When one grasps the sense object, an image appears instantly. However, it is not the form or the substance. Now, I’ll say ‘cow’. When you hear the sound, the image appears concurrently. How wonderful it is! In reality, it is just a mental image. This image does not contain the sound ‘cow’ and has no substantial
9 form. It is true that, the perception (of a cow) is like a mirage. It is just like a fume; it is neither permanent nor eternal, but impermanent. The subsequent consciousness observes rightly, and this is called the right view. If one has never heard the teachings of the Buddha before, he may think it has a visible form. When he remembers what the Buddha taught and bears in the heart, he can determine accurately as the right thinking that the image is not an entity. Let me say again. You will understand clearly, if I give the example consisting of colour. If I say ‘crow’, you will visualize the colour of the crow; it is amazing. There is a combination of the particles of materiality. When they combine, the colour (element) also includes besides four primary elements. They also consist of dependent materiality –absolutely not the substance. Then they dissolve and disappear. You must know their nature. But when another sound arises, they combine again; then the subsequent consciousness arises, the bhavavga citta trembles, and the cognitive process goes on. The Buddha expounded this important nature. Let's go on to study ‘the nose’. In the case of nose-sensitivity also, even though the odour element strikes the nose-base or organ of hearing –which is substituted with new materiality at every moment, we will not be conscious of the odour we are sleeping. Only when we are awake, consciousness and its concomitants combine together. Burning together, i.e., their meeting is called the contact (phassa). At that moment we perceive the odour. The Buddha said to the disciples thus: “Monks, just like the flash of lightening, the mind is appearing and disappearing very rapidly after combining of the invisible strengths. It arises in the mind and dissolves instantly. There is no entity.” If the consequent consciousness thinks that the image appeared is the substantial form, it is a harmful thought. If we think that it has a form, this thinking will produce a deed or action (kamma). Accordingly either the pleasant or the unpleasant feeling will arise. If so, for that action, its effect will also change definitely. Venerable Sir! What are the fifty kinds of the volitional activities (savkhara)? Jus tell us one or two kinds of them. You can find them in the Abhidhammatthasavgaha treatise. When feeling (vedana) and perception (sabba) are set aside, the fifty kinds of volitional activities will be left. This was discerned and expounded by the Buddha. These volitional activities have the nature of motivation. The volition (cetana) is the leader that assembles other mental factors together. So the contact is included in this group. Shall we talk about six sense-doors using examples? To illustrate the nature of the consciousness, the Buddha uses the simile of the young king who ascends the throne very soon. Only amoha (nondelusion), or pabba (wisdom), will do. You should understand the tongue and the body in the same way. Try to comprehend in elaboration. Let’s go on to deal with amoha or pabba. Whatever sense-door is struck by the sense-object, it will appear in the mind. Whatever appears is usually investigated and determined by the mind. In the
10 literature, they are described as sampaticchana (receiving consciousness), santirana (investigating consciousness) and vutthana (determining consciousness), which have the capacity for accepting, inquiring and determining respectively. It is just like the case in which the king gives a decision after consulting with his ministers. Suppose the king possesses five large villages. Let us say the village named ‘eye’ is robbed by the robbers named ‘visible forms’; the village named ‘ear’ is robbed by the robbers named ‘sounds’; the village named ‘nose’ is robbed by the robbers named ‘odours’; the village named ‘tongue’ is robbed by the robbers named ‘tastes’; and the village named ‘body’ is robbed by the robbers named ‘tangible objects’. At the moment of robbing, the consciousness (vibbana) is like the inexperienced young king, and the ‘volitional activities’ (savkhara) is like the chief minister. The young king is just sixteen years old because the former king, his father, passed away and he became a king. Therefore the chief minister who is the head of fifty ministers has to guard him in everything, although the king has power and authority. The chief minister has to give the advice and urge the king such as to lead to soldiers in order to fight the robbers or enemies and so on. It is called the motivation of the volitional activities or of the volition (cetana) in the Abhidhamma. In response to that motivation, the king has to leave the palace. With regard to this, the Buddha expounded in detail. When one day was over, it is called atita bhavavga (past bhavavga); managing affairs and doing preparations (to fight) in the palace is termed as bhavavgacalana (i.e., vibrational bhavavga); cutting-off from bhavavga citta is denoted as bhavavgupaccheda (arrest bhavavga). Inquiring is avajjana (adverting); after that vbbana (consciousness) appears. The battle begins, and there arise the five aggregates. Then the case is also investigated and decided on the way.. When the king arrives back in the palace, he summons a Royal conference to decide the case by reviewing or reflection on whatever was seen and heard before. In making decision in the conference, it is also according to the advice of the chief minister. There are two groups: merit (kusala) and demerit (akusala); delusion (moha) is the leader of akusala and pabba is the leader of kusala. Moha is termed as ignorance (avijja) in ‘Discourse on Dependent Origination’ (paticcasammuppada). Ignorance is one of the two origins. Moha is usually associated with the consciousness. It is like the darkness, and is the source of suffering for all living beings. Due to the mass of darkness, one cannot distinguish between right and wrong. If one thinks (the group of five aggregates) as a being or an entity, it is wrong. Only when the light wisdom shown by the Buddha dwells in the heart, there will be light element (i.e. wisdom). It is because of the correlation of mind and matter. On the other hand, this light (of wisdom) appears when the capability of wisdom dwells in the heart. Indeed, if the mindfulness which strengthens the wisdom arises many times, he will be ale to determine rightly. However, if he is enveloped by the darkness of ignorance, he will determine wrongly. The light wisdom is also used as ‘amoha’ by the Buddha. There is the Noble Eightfold Path. Only when one sees the right view, one can determine the
11 right thing. At that time, he will see the real nature of things that they are just like the mirage. When there is pain in your hands or head, you will understand that there is neither pleasant nor unpleasant thing. Eye is also the source of the sufferings. Will you see things correctly in the dark room? The people usually think the image as a being or an entity. It is the beginning of the mistake, i.e. the wrong view. The brilliant light will emerge from the mind if the light wisdom highlighted by the Buddha dwells in the mind. I believe you know the story of two parrot-brothers. The mind is arising (and dissolving) incessantly. If the darkness overwhelms the mind, the decision will be mistaken. Don’t be confused, when I use the word ‘avijja’ instead of moha. After the meditative wisdom, the light wisdom comes up that is so called amoha or pabba. Vipassana (insight meditation) associated with mind represents the practice of Noble Eightfold Path. It is the correct determination of the appearing sense-objects. On hearing the abusive words, soon after the hearing, the sound disappears rapidly. The darkness (of ignorance) dissipates just like the illusion of a mirage. So, there is nothing to be angry. While one is covered by the darkness of moha, one does not see the reality and one is burning with the fire of hatred. When there is pain in the hand, the thigh, the head, etc., one cannot bear the pain normally. But when the image is observed by the consecutive mind associated with wisdom, there is neither pleasant nor unpleasant feeling; then it is just like the disintegration of a mirage. At that time, you come to discern that there is not your own hand, thigh, head, etc. This is what we call ‘overcoming the pain’, and you must know that, at this point, you overcome the pain. This point is the connection (or link) between the sensation and the craving –in the Dependent Origination. If you are covered by the darkness, when conceit (mana) arises, it will go on continuously. However, when one sees with the light wisdom, one will realize that it is nothing. Then, it will not go on; this stage is called the ending of the link of craving. As regards the treatises, the meditator should learn from the qualified teacher and develops the wisdom. He must practise according to the treatises. The Most Venerable Mogoke Sayadaw taught that ‘preceded by arising and dissolving, followed by the path’. It means that, if the arising and dissolving of a phenomenon occurs, the meditator should meditate so that the path wisdom arises. For example, common person accepts that hand is a part of his body. In reality, it has the nature of arising and passing away at every moment. If he does not take it as substance, there is no attachment. If he holds that this is his body, desire, worry, unsatisfactoriness and so on will arise immediately. Only when he wipes out the wrong notion as regards to the image or manner with great wisdom, he comes to discern that there is no body. Then the wrong notion will dissipate like a mirage. In order to discern like this, he must practise again and again. Because it is quite difficult to attain that stage since he used to think that this is ‘I’; this is my son; and this is my daughter, etc., for a long time. When enshrouded by darkness, he will think this is a being.
12 It is because the wrong notion or influence of ignorance has already existed firmly in the blood or the heart. However much you have listened to the Dhamma talks, the wrong notion has taken root securely in the blood or the heart, and this notion subsists in the head to the full percentage. Whenever any image or manner arises, it should be decided that there is no being or entity. The manner that arises immediately also dissipates like a mirage. With practice, this right notion subsists in the head to the full percentage. You just have to determine that whatever image or manner arises is not a being or an entity. If you teach others, try to teach clearly. Just teach them so that they can determine that there is no being or entity. In the Buddha’s times, there was a learned Thera by the name of Potthila who was well-versed in Tipitaka. The Buddha called ‘Tucca’ (the worthless man), it was because the Buddha wanted him to practise the meditation effectively. Finally, after pondering over the words of the Buddha, he renounced the world and went to a place about sixty yojana away after bringing his teaching to an end –leaving his disciples. When he arrived at a monastery, he humbly requested the bhikkhus to be his mentor. At last, he came to a seven year old novice who was an arahat. The novice knew that Venerable Potthila still had conceit. Therefore the novice asked him thus: “Will you follow my instructions?” And the Thera replied, “Yes”. Then the novice asked him to go down into the lake, and the Thera did as he was told even though he was wearing a new set of robes. Again, the novice instructed him to get on the bank. Having removed the conceit, the young novice explains to him by giving a simile taught by the Buddha thus: “Suppose, there is a mound which has six holes. If a monitor lizard goes into the mound, how will you catch it?” The Thera understood what was meant by that simile because he was a learned teacher well versed in Tipitaka. So he answered that the monitor lizard would be caught if one waited in front of a hole after closing the remaining five holes. It means to close five holes or sense-doors, namely eye, ear, nose, tongue and body, and to open only one door, that is, the mind. After closing these five sense-doors, he can watch at the mind door. The Thera understood the thought process (vithi) thoroughly. The thought-moments arise consecutively without a gap or an interval. Whatever consciousness arises whether seeing-consciousness, hearing-consciousness, smelling-consciousness, tasting-consciousness or touching-consciousness, it is very difficult to catch. The Thera could catch at the mind-door. With regard to the word ‘without a gap or an interval’, the Buddha gave two examples. The first one is that when a bird comes and rests on a tree for a shade at the summer time, the coming of the bird is first and its shadow is later. The second simile is thus: if the surface of a drum is applied with molasses, a fly will come and rest on that surface for his food; when the drum is beaten, the fly will go away. The beating of the drum and going away of the fly seem to happen simultaneously. In fact, beating the drum is first and going away of the fly is later. In both instances, they seem to occur simultaneously although they happen one after another. They happen according to anantara paccaya.
13 According to the Mogoke Sayadaw, the simile is ‘standing in front of a mirror’. The host mind always arises. The guest mind (consciousnesses), namely eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness, noseconsciousness, tongue-consciousness and body-consciousness do not always exist. The eyeconsciousness arise only when the eyes see the visible object; the ear-consciousness only when the ears hear the sound or audible object; and the nose-consciousness only when the nose smells the odour. These consciousnesses appear only for a while. But we think arising and dissolving of them happen simultaneously because they occur are very rapidly. In reality, after arising, one consciousness vanishes; then, another consciousness arises. For many years, we have been holding the wrong view thinking that this body is permanent or it is oneself or an entity. Craving, conceit and wrong view are associated with this view. So the Sayadaw said that most of people observe in the body by thinking as one’s own body mistakenly. This point is very important. If you do not see the arising and dissolving of the aggregates, although you sit the meditation for many years, you will not attain the Nibbana. If you obtain a good concentration, you may gain the merit for this good concentration, but cannot attain the Nibbana for your miss way. It is because you have practised in the wrong way. When Mogoke Sayadaw asked (lay devotees) U Than Daing, U Tun Tin, etc., they said that this body, aggregates, and sense- organs were born due to our parents. Mogoke Sayadaw said that knowing Fivefold Noble Path is the light. One must investigate with the right view. When investigating wisdom becomes mature, the arising and dissolving will be discerned. Mingun Sayadaw follows according to the Buddha’s practical way. The might of the scripture is quite strong. The Mingun Sayadaw is the well-versed in Tipitaka. It can be known from one instance. Once there was the ceremony honouring the Yaw Sayadaw held at Pito village in the east of Tatkone Township. When Yaw Sayadaw was told that the devotees would have to rely on him after the passing away of Mingun Sayadaw, Yaw Sayadaw replied; “I dare not to be compared with the Mingun Sayadaw’s abilities; we can recite only Pali words, but Sayadaw could analyse that Pali such as its derivation, whether it is corrupted, etc.” So, in giving the instruction as regards the meditation practice, the method expounded by such Sayadaw who knows the Dhamma very well cannot be wrong. If you practise very frequently, the wrong view will be dispelled eventually. Then, the link of craving is cut off. This is the instruction on which Sayadaw put emphasis. Aren’t we usually attached to the sensual pleasures? We also have conceit, don’t we? Even a verse concerning this is devised by Sayadaw thus: “In reality, they are just the aggregate of Dhamma in which we cannot find out anything as ‘I, My, Mine’.” Develop many times since it is the instruction for practical meditation. It is also in line with the Eightfold Noble Path taught by the Buddha.
14 Let’s move on to talk about the Nibbana. The Buddha taught as papabca dhamma (the obstacle to mental progress) as a combination of craving (tanha), conceit (mana) and wrong view (ditthi). The Mingun Sayadaw highly regards the disciplinary rules. When eye is closed, it disappears like fume or air. In fact, everything is subject to dissolution and death. I hope you understand this view which is right. There is no word or no demand in order to change, move, etc. Because of nothingness or nonentity of everything, we must determine according to the reality. How do we contemplate in order to dispel the threefold papabca? We must contemplate as “netam mama (this is not mine); nesohamasmi (this is not ‘I’); na meso atta (this is not my self)”. That is why I teach you this method of meditation. Shwe Hintha Sayadaw also gave the practical instruction according in the same way. Once, a writer needlessly asked Sayadaw whether Sayadaw practised the insight meditation. Sayadaw told him that he always practised developing the Anattalakkhana Sutta. However, the writer was not wise enough to think that Sayadaw was referring to the insight meditation. The Buddha expounded two suttas – Dhammacakkapavattana Sutta and Anattalakkhana Sutta to the group of five monks. Only when they listened to these two Suttas, five bhikkhus attained arahatship. Actually there is no world in this world. There are only five aggregates. Just think deeply. Now I will tell you. Suppose someone says that there really exists the world. Are all the people the world? Or, are the five aggregates the world? The image is designated as the real form or entity in the world. After attaining the enlightenment, the Buddha preached the very first sermon (i.e., Dhammacakkapavattana Sutta) to the five ascetics as. The Buddha expounded, “Yamkibci samudayadhammam sabbam tam nirodha dhammam.” (Whatever has the nature of arising, all that, has the nature of cessation.) ” Having listening to the first sermon, Kondabba who was one of the five bhikkhus became a stream-winner. The Buddha Himself taught each of the other four bhikkhus day after day. On the 5th waning day of Waso (Asalha), all bhikkhus became stream-winners. So the Buddha started teaching the practical meditation to them by expounding Anattalakkhana Sutta. The Buddha pointed out in the sutta that the five aggregates are impermanent, suffering and non-self. But most people do not assume that Anattalakkhana Sutta was preached for the practice of insight meditation (vipassana). If one determines righteously, you will discern deeply. Is it happiness or suffering? Taking as permanence, happiness and self in every thing (eatm mama; esohamasmi; eso me atta), it will continue endlessly. If one assumes that the five aggregates are ‘Soul or Self or entity’, it will continue incessantly. If one takes the real nature of things as non-self or nonentity, he will be liberated from the burning status. Then there will be no more rebirths (jati).
15 Shall we study the Dependent Origination taught by the Buddha? The teachings of Mingun Sayadaw and Shwe Hintha Sayadaw are remarkable and noteworthy. From these teachings, their disciples presumed that they already finished what should be done and they had nothing to do, i.e., they became arahats. There are three tenses of time, namely past, present and future. The present is happening in this life; you can see it in second and third quadrants in the circular diagram. The consciousness does not arise alone. Whatever consciousness arises there, mental concomitants accompany with it. You must also know that they arise only when a sense-object strikes the sense-door. After seeing or knowing the image or behaviour, if the mind is enveloped by the darkness, one cannot see the reality. If he is attached to the sense-objects, he grasps wrongly with craving as my hand, my foot, my house, etc. It is the craving. When the craving ripens, he thinks these things are his, for him, his wealth and so on; and he makes the plans for these things. Then it is the clinging (upadana). Due to the clinging, he makes the plans to do, and the potency dwells in his mind. Every person has many plans or in his life, isn’t it? Suppose, in a family, the father decides to be ordained as a monk and mother decides to be a nun after leaving their prosperities. However, they may give one reason or another such as 'they have to look after the children’. They cannot cut off the clinging, but the craving still remains in them. How do you think? Can the eye speak? Having thought as a visible form and as a living being, craving comes into the mind; and he will speak that he cannot cancel the plans he has already made. Actually, the mind does not speak. After coming to life, verbal expression (vaci-vibbatti) put the words to speak. Depending on the images, he speaks thus: “my son, my house, my properties.” So he can not escape from the round of deeds (kamma) because he is unable to drive out the perception such as ‘I, my, mine’ that is strongly rooted in his mind. For being unable to escape from the round of deeds, it is sure that rebirth (jati) is not cut off, and he will be reborn. Mostly you must be reborn again and again through the samsara. Therefore, in order to be comfortable and convenient along the journey, I am teaching you. They had been reborn repeatedly in many existences; they had been in the woeful states; they had been in the happy destinations; they had been poor; and also they had been rich. There is pubbenivasanussati bana which can remember and see the previous existences. You must learn to gain merit which is conducive to great happiness such as the life of deva and brahma which you had already experienced in your countless previous existences. To clarify, when Yasodhara went to the Buddha together with Rahula, her beloved son, to ask for the heir from his father, the Buddha made a question to her, “For what purpose, you ask for the heir for your son?” Yasodhara said, “I believe, if my son becomes a king, the whole country would be prosperous. For the son who will be a king one day, Venerable Sir, I ask for the heir.” The Buddha uttered, “I don’t see like that. If you see (the aggregates) as the visible form, due to your wrong, only the mass of earth in the
16 graveyard will be higher and higher because of your endless death. You had been in the woeful abodes as well as the higher happiness states again and again. If you do the merit, you will obtain happiness. The best way is to find out the way for the liberation from the sufferings of samsara.” On that day, Yasodhara was ordained as a bhikkhuni. Yasodhara became a bhikkhuni, right? While the people are trying for their living, earning money and saving the wealth, they have to die at last. Gaining more merit can make you reach higher states. Then you will be near to the Path, Fruition and Nibbana owing to the great merit. Now also, you have the chance to listen the virtuous Dhamma, as a result, you are nearer to the Nibbana than before. You had been the king, the queen of the Universal Monarch, King Sakka, the celestial being (deva), the animals as well as the being in the woeful states. There is no existence in which you had not been born except Nibbana –the supreme state showed by the Buddha. Then the Buddha pointed out that Nibbana is the best way. The Eightfold Noble Path should be regarded as the best companion for you, and should enjoy or rely on it. Others cannot be good companions, you must know that. Here I would like to explain the word ‘companion’. When I talk of a good companion, the image of your children or grandchildren or husband or wife or friend will appear in your mind as your companion. There are many companions to go to the market or the cinema. Can you rely on them when you are dying? When you are suffering from pain at your death-bed, they cannot help you at all. If you die with anger or hatred, unwholesome consciousness, you will be reborn in the miserable abodes. So the companion should not be taken as a visible form and need not to attach them. You must go on until to realize formless state. When you cut off the attachment or craving, clinging cannot arise, there will not be round of kamma. If live this companion, the Eightfold Noble Path, it is for sure that you will not be born in the lower abodes after your death. As a result, you will become at least a minor stream-winner (culasotapanna) or a noble celestial being after death as expounded in Sotanugata Sutta. Even if you know such knowledge, it is good for you. When we are about to die, if we close our eyes, nothing will appear except the signs (nimitta). It is expounded by the Buddha. If you know such a basic knowledge, it is invaluable. Sometimes, faith is stronger at the dying stage. You practise the meditation loosely without strenuous effort because you never think you will die today or tonight. Suppose you know that you will die tonight, you will endeavour with great effort in meditation practice; and your wisdom also will be sharp. At that time, if you die, you will be reborn as a celestial being or deva. Then, when one of the devas remind you to practise, and if you practise meditation, you will become great stream-winner. You must know that there are also Dhamma-talks in the deva world. If you listen to the Dhamma and practise meditation, you will be the great stream-winner. There were some meditators who passed away earlier; they would be the great stream-winners. The Buddha said that they
17 will not be born as inferior beings; you only need to practise more while you are in the human world. More practice helps to gain more understanding. The higher Path (magga) is not a special stage of knowledge, and no one can give it to you. It means that the view or discernment becomes clearer and clearer. Thapyekan Sayadaw said that if the wisdom light becomes greater, the light will be brighter. In order to cut off the link of craving, we come to know the Dhamma only when one Buddha appears. You should understand that the Dhamma you are learning is of the highest value in the thirty-one planes of existence. You had to spend a lot of money to invite me, without stinginess. So I knew you respect the Dhamma. Sometimes, when I went and preached the dhamma in the rural areas, they don’t regard highly of the Dhamma. We have a chance to listen to the Dhamma only when one Buddha appears, therefore it is of the highest value in the thirty-one planes of existence. The people value something only if it costs much money. Indeed, the Dhamma is the most valuable treasure, and it is a rarity to listen to. Everyone regardless of religion, race or nationality can listen to this Dhamma. One and all can learn the Dhamma openly like psychology, without converting to Buddhism. Every sentient being will turn to the right view for the Dhamma if they understand it clearly. Everybody can learn the Dhamma. What will happen if one does not meditate and take note? Here I would like to give the example of two brothers, Culatissa and Mahatissa, in Savatthi Town. One day, the elder one, Mahatissa, went to other town for trading with five hundreds bullock carts. He was accompanied by five hundreds followers. While trading, he heard about the Buddha. So he went to the Buddha and listened to the teachings of the Buddha then held the great reverence in Him. When he arrived back to his town, he informed his younger brother, Culatissa, that there was the Buddha in the world. Mahatissa also told that he realized the teachings of the Buddha, and would enter the Order. So he abandoned all the properties and was ordained as a monk in the Buddha. Culatissa also followed his brother and was also ordained but he did not practise very well like his brother. After twelve years, one day the Buddha travelled to Savatthi together with His disciples including the two brothers. When they arrived at their former house in the early morning, their former wives offered the alms food to the monks. On seeing his former wife, Culatissa felt excited and became restless. When his former wife greeted him with beautiful smile, and asked whether she was beautiful as a female deity, he could not stand her pleasant voice and he decided to give up the life of a monk. Other monks felt sorry for him. The former wives of Mahatissa also tried to persuade her former husband to come back to the lay life. Mahatissa knew that if he went back to the lay life, he would be fall into the ravine of samsara. So she stayed with right view, and his mind was neither disturbed nor agitated by his wife. When the Buddha arrived at that house, He told him to stay there and preach the Dhamma to his former wives. At that time, the ordinary monks talked over the differences of those two brothers. On hearing their words, the Buddha asked what they were talking about. They told the
18 Buddha about the differences of two brothers. The younger brother thought of his former wife as a form; and he did not stop there, but regarded her as beautiful. The elder brother reflected on his former wife as disgusting thing like a chamber pot full of excrement, and he continued to contemplate the nature of ageing, decay and death. Of these two brothers, the younger one did not close the doors of the faculty (indriya), therefore he reflected improperly; on the other hand, the elder brother closed the doors of the faculty and, therefore, he reflected in a proper way –as a disgusting thing. If the people do not close the doors of the faculty (indriya), they will reflect improperly. Then they will see the movies. They will have the food without limitation; they will eat to his fill if the food is delicious; however, they will eat only a little if the food is not good. They will indulge in daydreaming by following miccha vitakka (wrong thought), they will become indolent people. Just like a foolish cat that swallows a living rat, if one indulges in the endless thoughts, he will have strong delusion (moha) and craving (tanha). Such person will be killed by the internal danger or defilement which is like swallowing a living rat. Let’s take an example. When there is a storm, if the plant is small, it cannot stand firmly; likewise, doe to the pleasant words of the former wife, he could not live as a monk any longer. It was because he had not enough resistance against the attack of the internal enemies. But his brother had strong power to resist the attack of the internal enemies, so he reached to the determining the sense-objects as the disgusting things. Those two cases are just opposites. Even if the image of your mother appears, you should try to think the nature of unavoidable death and as disgusting thing like a chamber pot full of excrement. You cannot acquire this kind of perception at once. You must practice in this way very often with mindfulness. By practising so regularly, you can reduce the clinging to a lesser degree, and the plans for the attachments will be destroyed. Then the power of craving will also be reduced. You must start from the basis. You should not look whatever you see. Seeing movies is just the inquisitiveness indeed; when the story enters into your mind, your craving will become stronger. The strong craving can make the evil consequences increase. You should be moderate also in eating; and know that the food will change into excrement. So too, the elder brother in the above example, cut off the craving by reflecting on the nature of repulsiveness. When a thought arose, he would not continue the thought. If one indulges in daydreaming, the thought will arise repeatedly. So his strength of Dhamma became stronger within twelve years; it was due to the practice. The elder one had no conceit, and no shaking of the mind. Just as the breeze cannot make the big mountain of rock to shake, his mind did not tremble when he saw his former wife and heard her voice. In fact, practising Dhamma is like cultivating the paddy; one cannot expect the paddy to ripen immediately after the cultivation. Likewise, the clinging or craving, etc., cannot be dispelled at once. You should try to reduce gradually by controlling the sense-faculties and by contemplating the repulsiveness of the body (asubha-bhavana), the nature of death (marananussati kmmatthana), and so on. You must practise regularly in this way, stage by stage.
19 Just as the handle of an adze used by a carpenter for many years becomes thin, the defilements will be decreased gradually. Then you should not hasten in understanding the Dhamma nor undertake the heavy burden. I know this fact by myself from my own experience. If you may think the practice is burdensome for you, you should adjust it. Then, you should go back to the reflection on the attributes of the Buddha, etc., for a while. But you should not go outside the field of merit. You should go on with your practice after developing the sense of urgency (samvega). Now I would like to ask you one thing. I will wind up what I have taught till now. Since the meditating wisdom arises in association with the mind, is it ‘I’ or ‘you’? The meditating wisdom should not be taken as ‘I’ or ‘you’. Some meditators understand incorrectly. Most people cannot gain the right view highlighted by the Buddha for a long time. As the time passes, the power of light becomes weak, and the concept of ‘I’ may reappear and your perception will mix with ‘I, My, Mine’. It is also very important to separate them. After a long time, the perception as ‘I, My, Mine’ will be involved. In practising the meditation, you should not pamper yourself and you should always practise with great endeavour while the wisdom light is still strong. If the wisdom light becomes weak and the severe pain arises, you should not continue the practice stubbornly. You should change your position or posture, and you should start from the beginning. Then, only when you become fresh and clear again, you should resume your practice. In this way, you should practise repeatedly. Only when the wisdom weakens or decreases, the perception as ‘I’ or ‘a being’ arises in your mind. It you sit continuously although you feel serious pain, the concept of ‘I’ will come in. It is due to the lack of concentration. As a result, the upset or disappointment will finally arise. Then you don’t want to go on with the meditation practice. The idleness my also come up. Then you should adjust or adapt your mind. It is the nature of dhamma that if the way you practise is right, you can know with wisdom how to practise continuously to attain stream-entry. If you do not attain the higher concentration, it is not your fault. Even though the concentration does not become strengthened, you can at least gain the merit. You must try to develop the merit; or if any phenomenon arises you can gain contemplate the arising and dissolving or it. Everyone cannot be happy with the insight meditation every time. But the reflection on the attributes of the Buddha (Buddhanussati) can also be conducive to rapture (piti). Besides, you can also count the rosary beads by reciting the attributes of the Buddha. In fact, telling your beads is not a danger of the practising Dhamma; it is just counting the number or frequency of the concentrated mind. Whatever you do for your concentration, you should do according to your capacity. If not so, you may feel disappointed. You should not say that it is impossible to gain progress nor should you be lazy. Instead, you should adjust the mind. Adjusting the mind is like catching a wild buffalo; it is difficult in the long run. At times when you are not practising the insight meditation, you should try to live performing meritorious deeds or developing the merits. You can clean your house, or look after others with loving-
20 kindness. You can live happily by giving charity or observing the precepts. Gradually, you will be endowed with sufficient qualifications. I hope you understand this fact. One cannot attain Path and Fruition at once. You have to go on steadily. To prove that statement, I will tell you a story. Once there was a monk in Sri Lanka. He wanted to give up the monkhood after one year (vasa). So his teacher who was an arahant ordered him to curve out a cave in the mountain side. It took him one month to finish the cave. Then, the teacher told him to practise meditation in that cave. When a person practises the development of loving-kindness (mettabhavana), there are benefits such as calmness, coolness, or clarity of the mind; the deities love him; he will be born in the celestial abodes after death. So it is the basis for attaining the good destiny. The Buddha dislikes one who has not even the basis to attain the good destiny in the deva world. The Buddha said to the Venerable Sariputta thus: “Even you, the General of Dhamma, are deficient in the morality, how others will do?” Thus the Venerable Sariputta strived to practise the Dhamma for the satisfaction of his teacher with strenuous effort. At that moment, no other thoughts would come into his mind, but his mind was full of serenity. Only when one filled with the energy of merit, one would be happy in practising Dhamma. As a meditator, it is not enough by contemplating arising and dissolving nature of the phenomena. He should also strength his merit by observing the precepts, reflecting on the attributes of the Buddha, cleaning the pagodas and surroundings, by radiating loving kindness, etc. Just like charging the battery, it is necessary to practise the principles such as morality, concentration and wisdom taught by the Buddha. One should practise or develop them in this sequence. We shall we stop after meditation practice, shall we? Please take care. You should know that we have decided rightly. It will be not too long. Is it really reliable at the time we are dying? The meditation practice is really reliable. In that feeling, the main thing is not the expression of the face. There is no expression; there is no voice; no words spoken such as “I am your head, or your hand and feet, or your forehead”. The bodily action is also keeping silence. Just like the reflection of a mirage, there is no soul and no capacity to move. It is silent accompanied with feeling. You must understand decisively that all the surroundings are neither visible forms nor entities. These behaviours and images do not speak. The facial and bodily expressions are still quiet without having any new words. If you contemplate like this which is according to the Buddha’s instruction, craving, conceit and wrong view will not emerge. Please compare the feeling before and after the mediation practice.
21 It is just replacing the dark with the light. You should be glad for this. In reality, the mind is arising and passing away one billion times during a wink’s time. You should develop such a view, and also practise frequently in order to gain maturity. Now open your eyes, please. If you cannot do continuously, you should not overexert your effort. Try to contemplate repeatedly. Be mindful of the manner during the contemplation or practice. It is in conformity with the Pali “netam mama (this is not mine); nesohamasmi (this is not ‘I’); na meso atta (this is not my self)”. It is just the nature of Dhamma in which you cannot find anything as: “This is mine, this is ‘I’, this is my self.” Although people practise repeatedly in this way, some cannot attain the ariya stage at once; this is due to the difference in their foundations. The group of five ascetics (pabcavaggiya) had lived near the Buddha for six years. It is like dyeing the white cloth. If we die, we may be reborn in the deva world. There are many instances in which one can acquire the benefit from contemplating even for a while. If you try to use your sharp wisdom, you will surely escape from the samsara. At least, you will not to fall to the woeful states. Try to practise gradually. If you contemplate when you are about to die, the craving will not arise, and you can attain Nibbana. We must decidedly determine that this is the best way. You can practice meditation everywhere; you can contemplate while you are lying down, sitting, standing or walking, etc. If you have no worry, you can practise everywhere. Now, you may have understood well. Let’s stop now. It is determining rightly as the nature of knowing. Is it right if we regard the wisdom as ‘I’? Is it right if the body being contemplated is regarded as ‘I’? Is it right ‘I must concentrate’? Is it right the successive wisdom is ‘I’? Is it right to say ‘I am a stream-winner’? Let’s stop here. May you gain the cessation of the five aggregates from the cycle of rebirths, i.e. Nibbana, with more brilliant wisdom light! Now I will lead you to pay homage. Also fetch the children next time. Shall we pay homage to the Blessed One who defeated Five Victories? *********************
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