Salient Articles on
|2. What is Buddhism||3. Proper Understanding of Action "Kamma"|
|4. Practical Aspects of Buddhism||5. How to attain Truth and Peace|
|6. General Themes of Buddhism||7. Buddhist Way of Emancipation|
|8. Why We need Meditation||9. The Buddhist Way to Genuine Peace and Happiness|
|10. The Sublime Truth between Two Extremes||11. The Sublimity of Abhidhamma|
|12. Alms-giving (Dana)||13. Components of Dana|
|14. The Resultant Effects of Dana||15. Moral Conduct|
|16. Morality (Sila)||17. Moral Virtue (Sila)|
|18. Mental Development (Bhavana)||19. Buddhist Meditation Practice for Every body|
|20. Some Salient Attributes of the Dhamma||21. The Buddhist Ideals for Enlightenment|
|22. The Threefold Training of a Disciple||23. Buddha Sasana|
|24. Five Rarities||25. The Root of Defilements|
|26. Ignorance (Avijja)||27. Craving (Tanha)|
The principles in the
Buddha's Teaching arc quite appropriate and applicable to man's daily life. As
man is born out of natural law of cosmic order, he ought to adjust with his
environment or society. Being socially a moral person, he must regard himself.
He can change himself. He can indeed elevate himself up to the utmost peak of
Supreme Peace, Happiness and Wisdom.
Buddhism indicates the universal ethics of human philosophy and psychology. If man cannot distinguish between wholesomeness (kusala) and unwholesomeness (akusala), guiltlessness (anavajja) and guilt (savajja), nobility (panita) and meanness (hina), purity or merit (sukka) and impurity or demerit (kanha), then he duly declines to the stage of ignorant worldling (andha puthujjana) with a lot of attachment.
On the contrary, when man can differentiate between these pairs of positive and negative factors, then only he is able to uplift himself with his virtue towards the stage of a good moral person, for he in the phases of his day to day life, would not only avoid all evils, but also cultivate only good and earnestly strive to purify his mind. The Buddha emphatically taught in His admonition how man must avoid evil, cultivate good and purify his mind. These three main principles are, in fact, not only for His followers, but also for the whole of mankind.
As such, each and every individual aspiring todevelop his or her pure moral life, positively needs to properly understand what evil is, what good is and how to purify one's mind. Here in this book the salient articles on various aspects of Buddhism will clearly show the reader through the ample light of the sublime Dhamma how man can live a good life of peace, harmony and happiness. Thus by shunning all evils, cultivating good moral deeds and purifying one's own mind, man is assured of attaining the goal of his aspiration Real Lasting Bliss and Supreme Enlightenment in Nibbana.
BHADDHATA PANNA DIPA
Buddhism is the Teaching of the Buddha. The word "Buddha" is a Pali term which means the All-knowing One who was fully enlightened and awakened in the four Noble Truths over 2500 years ago in northern India. Before he became the Buddha he was a prince named Siddhattha (wish full), born of royal parents, King Suddhodana and Queen Maha Maya. He was well-educated and trained in the art of welfare in his teenage years.
At the age of sixteen he married his cousin Yasodhara,a princess of the same age. As he was very thoughtful and wise, he always used to think alone very seriously about the actual nature of live.
One day, on his way to the royal park, he saw an old man, a sick man and a dead man, and thus he was extremely alarmed and shocked at foreseeing that he would also come to such a condition one day. Then, at the sight of a holy hermit he visioned that it was the only way for release from these ills of life and attaining the supreme peace and happiness. On discerning the real nature of life, he did not relish to live a king's worldly life in the palace, and at the age of 29 he renounced the world as an ascetic leaving his family and royal possessions and went to the forest for truth and peace. First he went to the two well-known great sages, Alara and Udaka and studied their teachings.
When he found that their teachings could not lead to the attainment of final liberation, he left them. After that he searched alone for the truth and peace following severe practices for six years yet he did not find any solution to his search for final liberation because of his misleading way of practice.
Recalling the way that he had attained the first Jhana in his childhood, he then changed his method to the middle way (Majjhima Patipada) which was the only path of release from two extremes, i.e., enjoyment of sensual pleasures and indulgence in painful self-torturing practice.
One evening under the Bodhi Tree at Buddha Gaya in modern Bihar during his deep meditation on in-breathing and out-breathing, the Bodhisatta first attained the higher Jhanic states and spiritual powers. He then meditated on the arising and vanishing of the five aggregates of clinging to Mind and Body which enable him to penetrate into higher insight and supreme knowledge.
Finally at the age of 35, he gained the knowledge for Remembrance of innumerable past lives, the Divine eye which could see the birth and death of all beings and the total Exhaustion of all passions. Having realized perfectly the four Noble Truths - (The Truth of Suffering, the Cause of Suffering, the Cessation of Suffering and the way to the Cessation of Suffering), the Bodhisatta thus became a Sammasambuddha which means the Supremely Self-Enlightened One or the Fully-awakened One.
After the attainment of Buddhahood, The Buddha expounded the sublime Dhamma for 45 years. The Dhamma that the Buddha taught is known as Buddhism. The Dhamma is an immutable law of nature or the eternal truth of nature of the universe which is always in existence whether the Buddha appears in the world or not. However, the Dhamrna can be discovered and fully realized only by the Buddha through His Supreme Enlightenment. The Dhamma itself is therefore that which really is. In other words it is the doctrine of reality or truth comprehensible only by the wise or the Noble Ones. It is therefore a means of deliverance from all sufferings of life. The Dhamma indeed prevents one who lives up to its principles from falling into the miserable and woeful planes of existence. The Dhamma contains only non-aggressive morals and psycho-ethical and philosophical principles. Therefore it demands no blind faith, expounds no dogma and encourages no superstitions.
The teaching of the Buddha, or the so-called Dhamma are the universal principles of cosmic nature by means of which all human beings can be released from suffering of life in Samsara and attain the ultimate peace and happiness of Nibbana. The Noble Truths of the Dhamma are not confined to only one religion, or one individual, or one sect, or one nation. They can be discerned and realized by each and every body provided he or she really wishes to obtain them. They are, in fact, potentially present in each and every one's mind and body, and applicable to all. But the essential fact of the Dhamma is to examine the teaching by oneself, to try to test it by oneself and actually, to practise the teaching by oneself. Then will one experience the most delicious taste of the sublime Dhamma by oneself.
As the Buddha discovered the Noble Truths (Ariyasacca) through human effort and obtained the Supreme Peace and Happiness of Nibbana, each and everybody also has the potential capacity for attaining the Supreme Bliss like the Buddha. The Dhamma is indeed open to all and free from any restrictions of authority, of rites and rituals, of speculation, of traditional biases, of Divine Power or Grace and of supernatural mystery. The Dhamma is a kind of solution to life's problem which is radical in its insight. One can approach the Dhamma as empirical, scientific and realistic. For only direct personal experience is the final test for truth.
In the Dhamma of His Teachings, the Buddha made the following noteworthy points:
"He who practises the Dhamma to the best of his ability honours me best. One is one's refuge, who else could be his refuge?"
"By oneself is evil done, by oneself one suffers: by oneself is evil left undone, by oneself is one purified. Purity and impurity are dependent on oneself, no one can purify another."
"You should do your work, for the Buddha teaches and shows only the way. You yourself should make an effort: the Buddha is only a teacher. Be ye enlightened unto yourself, be ye a refuge unto yourself, be ye a refuge unto the Dhamma, there is no external refuge."
"One who practises the Dhamma, will in turn be protected by the Dhamma. He who imbibes the Dhamma will live happily with a purified mind and the wise always take delight in the Dhamma as revealed by the Noble Ones.
"The gift of truth excels all gifts, the flavour of truth excels all flavours, the delight in truth excels all delights and the final victory over all sufferings is the extinction of craving."
Moreover, with regard to belief in religion, the Buddha explained and advised the Kalama Princes in the Kesamutti Sutta of the Anguttara Nikaya:
"Do not believe in anything on mere hearsay; do no believe in anything that is handed down by traditions, or what people say or what is stated on the authority of your traditional teachings; do not believe in anything just by reasoning, by inferring, or by argument as to method, or by directions from your teachers. But, Oh! Kalamas when you know by yourselves that certain actions done by you are not good, false and considered worthless by the wise that, when perpetrated, they will lead to loss or suffering, then give them up .... and when you know by yourselves that certain action done by you are good, true and considered worthy by the wise, then accept them and put them into practice."
Furthermore, you can also analyse, observe and scrutinise your experience with the significant inherent qualities of the Dhamma and see whether it is excellent in the beginning, excellent in the middle, and excellent in the end (Svakkhato), whether it is to be realised by oneself (Sanditthiko), whether it is immediately effective (Akaliko), whether it is inviting all to "come and see" (Ehipassiko), whether it is worthy to be achieved (Opanneyyiko) and whether it is to be comprehended by the wise each for himself (Paccatam Veditabbo Vinnuhi).
Last but not least, the true followers of the Buddha, on the whole who live up to the principles of the Dhamma can assuredly enjoy the Blissful Happiness of Liberation (Vimutti Sukha) and experience the Blissful Taste of liberation (Vimutti Rasa) of Nibbana here and now in this present life.
We always do actions in three manners, viz, bodily, verbally and mentally; in other words, deeds, words and thoughts. In Buddhism, these three actions are called "Kamma" in "Pali" language, i.e., Kayakamma - bodily action, Vacikamma - verbal action, and Manokamma - mental action. We believe that we will get bad results if we do evil actions, and will get good results if we do good actions
We are assured that we will have due effects of what we have done or deserved at present or in the present life, whether good or bad. This is the true fact of nature. We are, of course, conditioned by the law of nature. We cannot avoid the natural conditions. Nature eternally governs every thing; nature creates men and the universe; nature shows us what truth actually is and what things are going on time after time, day after day, year after year, life after life. If we say truth it must be always true by itself in nature.
For instance, earth has the element of hardness or softness in nature; water, the element of liquidity; air, the element of motion; and fire, the element of heat. These natural elements, since time immemorial, has existed for ever and ever and changing all the time from one form to another. These primary elements are usually existent in the past, they are still obviously existent in the present and will also certainly be existent in their intrinsic quality. In exactly the same way, the actions and reactions, or cause and effect, or activity and its result are really in existence for all time and everywhere.
If we can really see and understand the real work of nature, it is very clear that there is no other person or being who governs or orders nature to do something, this or that, or good or bad. Here we see that we act ourselves with our own intention or volition whether good or bad. So the actions done by oneself are not entirely concerned with any other person or being or creator or God, but depend wholly on oneself to be good or bad or to get reward or to commit sins.
The common saying is quite true that good begets good and bad begets bad. This true principle or theory was taught by the Enlightened Buddha over 2500 years ago. He said in His Teachings, "By oneself doing evil, one defiles oneself, by oneself doing good, one purifies oneself. Purity and impurity are dependent only on oneself, no one purifies another". It is quite natural that in the whole universe if there is a cause there must be an effect which is exactly produced by the very cause. Without a cause, there can never arise any effect.
In reality, the law of cause-effect is eternally in existence in the whole universe. It is obvious that an immutable law of nature provides that if there is a cause there must be an effect and conversely, an effect cannot be produced without a cause. Actually, nothing can happen in the whole world without foundation of either cause or effect.
As soon as a cause has been done due effect necessarily comes into being as a result. In other words, when a cause has been performed at the first moment and passed away instantaneously at the very next, then the effect immediately comes into being again as its consequence, and by itself passes away in a state of constant flux. As such, there is nothing that can escape from the process of cause and effect, that is, a cause produces an effect, the effect arises just dependent on the cause.
In exactly the same way, "Action", i.e., a thing or an action done by a person mentally or verbally or bodily, must inevitably produce "Reaction" as a consequence. The action is the same as the cause, the reaction as the effect. Each and every one of us has these three actions with which activities are done, motivated by volition (Cetana).
In other words, without volition, no action can be done either. If a person has done an action either good or bad, intentionally or unintentionally, he has to reap the reaction good or bad according as the force of his own action. It is a plane fact that one naturally deserves what one has accumulated by one's own action good or bad. This is the reaction of his own action.
It is a natural and scientific law of the universe that whosoever does any good or bad action will surely have the consequence of good or bad reaction as an old proverb says; "As we sow, so shall we reap. Similarly, there is a Buddhist saying: "A tree will bear fruits according as its seed, whether bitter, sweet or sour"
Quite simply, we can expect only the result of what one has done and will also have the result from what one is doing or acting here at the present. Good produces good and evil produces evil.
It therefore wholly depends upon how one cultivates one's own actions (Kamma) of good or bad during one's lifetime, and one is certain to reap the consequent result or reaction (Vipaka) somewhere in this life or in the lives to come. A seed is something like the cause or action (Kamma) and the effect or reaction (Vipaka) is like the fruit borne by the tree.
What we reap at present or today is what we have sown in the past during this life or lives in the long past, and we shall also have to reap what we are sowing here at present or today. As there are three tenses of time. i.e. past, present and future, or yesterday, today and tomorrow. so also there must be past and future births or existences as we do exist in the present.
So we are indeed existent in the cycle of cause and effect or action (Kamma) and reaction (Vipaka). In reality, we are just at the instance of existence in the rounds of moral and immoral volition, (Cetana) since it is one's own doing or act reacting on oneself. Therefore, it is not necessary to depend on any other being or supernatural power or Almighty God or Permanent Soul or Spirit. Quite obviously, one's experience in enjoyment or anguish is the resultant outcome of what one has done by one's thought or word or deed either good or bad.
This is called "Kamma" in Buddhism, a law in itself, a law of universal truth and a law of ultimate reality. It operates in its own field without any intervention of external independent ruling agency. It is a force or an energy of one's own volition by which one acts with one's thought or word or deed either good or bad performing various kinds of activities and at the same time acquiring resultant effects in consequence.
Buddhist Kamma. in a plain sense, means action or doing. Strictly speaking, Kamma, in the ultimate sense of the term, means all moral and immoral volition (Cetana). It is neither the conception of fatalism nor determinism. It is rather a dynamic energy always vibrating upwards and downwards according to one's own volitional activities done as good or bad.
With regard to Kamma formation in Buddhism, there are only three phenomena, namely, wholesome state (Kusaladhamma, unwholesome state Akusala dhamma) and neither wholesome nor unwholesome states (Abyakata dhamma). The states here mean one's own volition or tendency which motivates one to carry out an action of thoughts or words or deeds. And Buddhism here attributes that one's action (Kamma) is one's own, one s inheritance, one's cause, one's kinsman, one's refuge: if one does either good or bad, one is the heir of that action.
Proper understanding of Action (Kamma) and Reaction (Vipaka) or Cause and Effect is called "Right Understanding" of the true nature of Kamma formation as it is (Kammassakata sammaditthi) Thus we can see that Kamma or action is a real cause which engenders in each and every one the various statues and inequalities that exist among mankind. What are in this present stage is not because of some other reasons or beings, but because of our own volitional activities.
For this reason, there is no spiritual being, or celestial being (Deva), nor higher god (Brahma), nor supernatural being, nor mighty power or God who can create or dominate one to be such and such status, position or destiny to lower, or higher abodes, expect the cause of one's own Kamma that accrues like a shadow which never departs one.
Such being the case, from the Buddhist's standpoint, the differences of our mentality, intellects, temperament and say all kinds of equalities in our present stage are due to our own actions and tendencies or volitional activities both in the past and present.
Buddhism is not a system of thought or ideology, nor a philosophy, nor a religion: it is much more, it is indeed a way of life. In accordance with the principles of the Buddha's Teaching, one's life has to be lived through actual practice of that teaching. It is also a virtuous path that can be followed by each and everyone in order to reach certain stages of wisdom or enlightenment towards the goal called Nibbana in Buddhism.
The Buddha, as an extraordinary human being, was enlightened in the Noble Truths (Ariyasacca) through His search and practice, and then has shown us the way of deliverance through the sublime Truth (Dhamma). He advocated to all humanity the Noble Path of Liberation (Vimuttimagga) to be followed so that all men can be released from the sufferings of life.
Buddhists accept the three noble objects of sanctification, i.e.,
i. the Buddha as their teacher or guide,
ii. the Teaching or Doctrine (Dhamma) as the way of practice and
iii. the Sangha, the holy disciples of the Buddha, as the medium between the lay-followers and the Dhamma.
They believe the fact that the Buddha is perfectly Enlightened or Awakened in the Supreme wisdom (SammaSambodhinana).
The Buddha, through the Enlightenment, has taught us that our life, all life is a process of unceasing suffering and of no-self or non-ego containing nothing that is changeless, immortal or substantial. He further has taught us that minds of men are aflame with fires of greed or lust, anger or hatred, malice, pride, illusion, ignorance, envy, jealousy, etc. because of which all men are wandering sorrowfully in the world of misery and woe. The physical body too is continuously decaying and constantly changing with much pain of old age, decay, disease and death.
Contrary to all these sufferings of life, the Buddha has shown us the way of deliverance from human misery and pain. The first step in the application of Buddhism is the acknowledgement of these facts as really truth, and the firm confidence of overcoming all these pains of life through the practice of the Teaching.
The second is to realise that we ourselves are responsible either for happiness or for misery which arises only due to our own activities in deeds, words and thoughts. Therefore happiness or misery is dependent on our own creation or action whether good or bad. No one else can or does mould or create our lives in order to bring about either happiness or misery.
The third step is to realise that the main task depends only on the individual, not masses, nor societies. Therefore each individual has a positive duty to accomplish his ultimate aim by right understanding that one's life can be freed from all these passions of greed, hatred or anger, illusion, delusion, etc. And thus one's own self, one's family, one's society, one's country and even the whole world would be peaceful and happy. We can, of course, help each other fulfilling our duties with good intention or volition, love, kindness, selflessness, justice, honesty and purity to our fellow men as brothers and sisters. We cannot avoid our responsibilities as regards ourselves because we are indeed first and foremost responsible for our own good or bad.
The path of self-development can be fulfilled and accomplished only with ceaseless endeavour and constant practice of awareness. In the Buddha's Teaching, every action is to purify one's own deeds, words and thoughts. The real source of cleaning them is purification of mind from evil tendencies. For instance, greed, desire, craving and lust are cleansed by the practice of their opposites, e.g. charity or generosity and unselfishness; hatred or ill-will by love, compassion and observance of moral precepts; illusion, delusion or ignorance by right understanding or wisdom.
These qualities can be acquired in our daily life and if we really want to possess them, we must earnestly seek the opportunity to do so. According to the advice of the Buddha, the quality of an action depends entirely on the quality of thought or latent volition or tendency (Cetana) which always incites or inspires man to act. Therefore, if we so will to be cleaned, every act of ours can be purified through the practice of giving, generosity, unselfishness; observance of moral precepts, love, compassion, purity, honesty, right understanding and wisdom in our daily life. It is only because of this fact that the Buddha laid so much emphasis on Right Mindfulness or Awareness (Samma Sati ) in every deed, word and thought of ours.
If we are mindfully aware and watchful of everything we act, speak or think, we will see that countless are the opportunities we encounter, in whatever sphere of activity our work lies, to cleanse the evil of our hearts and to fill them with good and pure thoughts till we are all the time accustomed to perform goodness and purity in our way of life. Only then would we become incapable of doing that a goal worth achieving can never be won except by perseverance and strong will. So do work for your own salvation, liberation and perfection with vigilant mindfulness (Appamadena Sampadetha).
Man, as a rule, is always wanting pleasurable objects for gratification of his senses. In his various phases of life, he usually imagines what he sees, hears, smells, tastes, touches or thinks of a person as the real thing or entity or personality or substantiality.
He is, in fact, clouded by ignorance (Avijja) and ensnared with craving (Tanha). Thus, not understanding the intrinsic nature of their matter, he hankers after and thirsts for sensual pleasures all the time to satisfy himself or herself. He or she assumes that enjoyment or pleasure is the only real happiness in his or her life.
One is rarely aware of what ultimate Truth is and what genuine Peace is. Truth indeed is eternally sublime and supreme in itself without any change in the sense of ultimate reality. So, Truth is as it is or as it really is. Truth, in fact, is a phenomenon that is attainable; peace also is a phenomenon that is enjoyable by each and every one in one's inner realm. They are, of course, within the reach of every one. Yet man can hardly attain them due to lack of supreme wisdom or enlightenment. Truth and Peace can be enjoyed only when supreme wisdom is attained.
Most people, by nature, only believe in their own faith or religion. Besides their faith or religion, they hardly study or research other faiths and religions. They are therefore bound to be satisfied only with their own faith or religion. So most men do not have a chance of finding out the real benefits and advantages derived from comparison with other religions. They just dare not even think of other faiths and religions. They fear too much that they may anger their Supreme Being or God. They usually accept only the doctrine that has come down from their forefathers or ancestors without any critical examination or reasoning.
Truth and Peace are in reality mainly concerned only with the mental realm. In order to find Truth and Peace, you do not need to rely on any other Heavenly Power or Supreme Being, but only on yourself. That is, you will have to search for them only within your own mind and body. Of these two phenomena, mind is more important.
You are in fact given a golden opportunity of revealing your potentiality in your mental realm to obtain Truth and Peace. If you are efficient and ardently willing enough, you are sure to gain what you wish. Your mind originally is pure, but when it is mixed with impurities bred by greed, hatred, delusion, envy, jealousy, etc., it becomes defiled, and as a result, your body becomes impure, too.
Here, you come to see that the real source of Truth and Peace is within your mind. Only when your mind becomes purified, then you are certain to attain Truth. So at first, you must be purified and be true to yourself and others as well. Nobody else can purify man just by praying to God, an eternal soul or to the Buddha. But you yourself must purify your own impurities done by yourself. In actuality, man must work for himself to obtain the absolute Truth and unalloyed Peace.
As a first foundation, one must lay down the human moral precepts or rules of morality avoiding bodily and verbal evil deeds, such as killing, stealing, telling lies, etc. And then you must purify your mind up to the utmost state of attaining the highest consciousness of Wisdom or Enlightenment. The purest state of consciousness is not defiled with any taint of passion. This state of mind is called the stage of tranquillity(Samadhi) or ecstatic state of mind (Jhana) in Buddhism. This is not the final liberation or emancipation from the cycle of old age, disease and death in Samsara. Man, therefore, must inevitably seek for this kind of final and ultimate liberation (Vimutti).
Man's mind usually is defiled with impurities of passion. So long as man is swayed to the domain of passion, he can hardly find his own Truth and Peace though they exist within himself. The important thing for man to strive for is cleansing or purifying his own defilement or passion. For instance, when light comes in, darkness usually goes away. So also, as soon as man enlightens his mind, the darkness of passion or ignorance would disappear from his mind. And thus the mind becomes cleansed and purified.
The purified or concentrated mind can actually see a thing as it truly is. Consequently, in due course, he can differentiate between mind and matter. Now he comes to see the actual nature of the aggregate of the mind and matter in his own being.
From this very stage, when a Meditator continues his practice of meditation, he would pass through insight knowledge, such as, cause and effect, observance of the nature of mind and body, arising and passing away, and discerning one's own being as egoless, soulless, impersonal or insubstantial. As a result, he finally comes to realise the real Truth or Noble Truth (Ariya Sacca). When he has thus realised this Noble Truth, it is said that he has attained the genuine Peace (Santi) that he has never experienced before. This stage is the final deliverance from all physical and mental suffering which is called the Supramundane Peace and Happiness of Nibbana or Nibbanic Bliss.
Generally speaking, Buddhism, there are four categories in the Teachings of the Buddha. They are:
1. The three noble objects of veneration upon which we have to rely.
2. 'The three kinds of impurities which we must dispel.
3. The three kinds of principles that we practise or adhere to.
4. The three characteristics which are offered for meditation.
1. The Three Noble Objects of Veneration
We venerate the Three Holy Objects, e.g., the Buddha who was enlightened in the Noble Truths, the Dhamma, His Teachings, and the Sangha, the Holy disciples of the Buddha. They are called the Threefold Refuge or Triple Gem. These three are regarded as the essential and holy objects for a Buddhist. Without taking refuge in them with confidence, one cannot be a true Buddhist. They are, of course, the sources of faith and real theme of our practice. Knowing them in a proper sense you will find sanctuary and unshakeable faith in them.
Finding sanctuary in them, one can be liberated from the unsatisfactory aspects of life in the cycles of Samsara. Reliance upon them only in an intellectual sense is not good enough, nor is it final. After you have studied the life of the Buddha and His Teachings, you will come to know how the Buddha was liberated from the sufferings of life by virtue of His Supreme Wisdom and how He laid out the path for us to follow that He found out by His practice.
By taking as our example, the life of the Buddha and by following in His footsteps through the practice of the Dhamma taught by Him, you will eventually attain deliverance or salvation as He did.
The Buddha is the Enlightened One endowed with great compassion and Supreme Wisdom, who revealed the Dhamma to us for our liberation from the sufferings of life. His Teachings, the Dhamma, presents beautiful principles to be practised by both men and women. The Dhamma indeed can give us the light of the Path to end all our sufferings and attain the Supreme Peace of Nibbana. The Sangha, the Holy disciples who practise the Dhamma and have understood it and then taught the lay people how to plant meritorious seeds for the happiness of their lives. The Sangha devote their time to two main tasks, that is, the study of the Dhamma (Pariyatti) and practice of meditation (Patipatti) and teach others for the attainment of Nibbana. The Pali canon says:
"Buddho loke samuppanno hitaya sabbapaninam,
Dhammo loke samuppanno sukhaya sabbapaninam,
Sangha loke samuppanno punnayan sabbapaninam " which means that the Buddha came into the world for the welfare of all living beings. The Dhamma has been taught for the happiness of all living beings. The Sangha was established for the benefit of all living beings, to teach them to perform meritorious deeds.
2. The Three Kinds of Impurities
As for the second category, there are three kinds of impurities. They are greed (Lobha), anger or hatred (Dosa), and delusion (Moha). We, human beings, are constantly enmeshed or enshrouded in these three misconceptions. In a sense, we are burning with these three fires. We are born in the sensuous plane and we are usually swayed into the realm of pleasures. We think we can be happy only when we enjoy sensual pleasures.
For this reason, we hanker after the gratification of our basic senses, e.g., through our eyes, ears, nose, tongue and body. With reference to greed (Lobha), we are always vulnerable to greed whenever we experience and enjoy pleasures. For instance, in the case of vision, when we see a beautiful object, greed may arise and pleasure may be experienced if we are pleased. Though we enjoy it now and again we can never be gratified and contented with these objects alone. The desire to enjoy pleasures is ultimately rooted in greed which incites the enjoyer to desire more and more; greed never comes to an end. We are constantly looking for newer and more pleasurable things without a moment of rest, yet we are not aware that we will suffer for that very desire. For this reason, we are unavoidably confronted with suffering all the time.
The Buddha said in the Dhammacakka-pavattana sutta: "Yam piccham nalabhati tampi dukkham": i.e., not to get what one desires is suffering. Besides this, He admonished us: "Lobho attham na janati": i.e., a man obstructed with greed sees no reason. Then "Obhena hi tanhaya petti vicayam uppapajjanti": i.e., He introduces the metaphor that a person will be born in the plane of hungry ghosts due to his own greed or craving.
We are also certain, in some way or the other, to come across anger or hatred (Dosa)" which is the most dangerous internal enemy for man, say, for everyone of us. Whatever evil thoughts one entertains in one's mind, such as, resentment, ill-will, hatred or anger, ill thoughts despising others, or destroying others. etc., all come basically from the root of anger (Dosa). If we cannot control our anger, we may commit crimes and become involved in fights between brothers and sisters, between one's own faith and kin or between races or even between nations. Civil wars, great wars or even a nuclear war are possible when anger is not properly recognized and controlled.
Because of one man's anger, many others or his fellowmen may be destroyed or killed. We saw the truth of this when innocent people were killed during the Second World War. With reference to anger (Dosa), the Buddha taught "Doso attham na janati": a man with anger does not know reason. This was followed by the admonition which should also be carefully noted: "Dosena hi kandajatitayanirayam uppapajanati": a man aroused by anger due to its brutal or barbarous nature will go to hell. Then we have another admonition: "Natthi dosa samokali": there is no greater fault than anger
The last impurity is delusion (Moha). Since we usually are shrouded in delusion or ignorance, we cannot see things as they really are. Then, we grope in the darkness of ignorance. But we are not aware that we are in the dark; perhaps we think that what we see, here, smell, taste, touch and think are realities. But, in actuality, they are not. We observe only the superficial and outer forms or appearances
So we will he imperfect until and unless we obtain supreme wisdom which can dispel delusion.
Due to delusion or ignorance, man becomes foolish and barbarous and thus he can commit the worst possible crimes. The Buddha said: "Moho attham na janati": a man shrouded in delusion cannot know things reasonably. Another notable passage should be carefully borne in mind: "Mohena hi muyhana sabhavata tiricchannayoniyam uppapajjjanti ". It means metaphorically "a man in ignorance due to a deluded nature will be born in the animal world".
So the Buddha admonished that these kinds of impurities must be dispelled as quickly as possible so that one will be free from suffering.
3. The Three Main Principles
There are three main principles which we have to practise or adhere to. They are: charity or alms-giving (Dana), morality or virtue (Sila) and mental development or meditation (Bhavana). In order to dispel the three kinds of impurities, we need to perform three kinds of meritorious deeds. Offering alms or giving a charity can eradicate greed, observing moral precepts or virtue, or in other words, keeping the thoughts of loving-kindness, can eradicate anger and meditation can eradicate delusion. Without performing these three meritorious deeds, the emotional fires that stem from impurities can never be extinguished. So these three principles are essentially indispensable for each and every one of us.
We should be generous in offering alms (Dana). The property or wealth we think we possess is in reality impermanent. In fact, we cannot own any property. One day, either we or our property will be gone, we cannot take our wealth with us into the next life.
Naturally our wealth is spent in three ways; e.g.
(1) Through giving charity,
(2) Spending for our own use and
(3) Destroyed by some causes.
If we do not use our wealth for charity or for our own good use, it is analogous to a lake in a deep forest.
Though the water of the lake is very clear and sweet to drink or use, it cannot he reached and used because of inaccessibility. When summer sets in, the lake itself may become dried up in vain, i.e.. it would have existed without being of use or value to any one. In the same way, if our wealth is not properly used, it is just wasted and its acquisition becomes meaningless. Therefore, we should spend our wealth in a better and more useful way through either for charity or for our own good use.
We must also be as moral as possible. For moral conduct elevates man from the lower level of instinct to that of higher wisdom. Without moral conduct, man normally descends to an animal-like stage where there is no love and compassion, no tolerance, nor reasoning intellect. There is no moral restraint in thought, speech and deeds.
In the Buddha's Teachings, moral conduct or virtue is of vital importance, for only by laying the firm foundation of moral purity, will one have the capacity for emotional maturity and strength to proceed towards the attainment of higher stage of concentration (Samadhi) and supreme wisdom or enlightenment: positively one needs to abstain from all vicious and sinful deeds and words in order to be perfect in the establishment of moral purity.
Obviously, moral purity can only be gained by the actual practice of restraint by oneself and not violating the moral precepts through bodily, verbal or mental actions. Moral precepts are, in fact, observed for the sake of one's happiness and security from troubles or dangers. For instance, when we observe the people around us, we will see that those who can abide by moral precepts are living happily without anxiety, fear or repentance: on the contrary those who break or violate the moral precepts suffer greatly because of their evil deeds and subsequent crimes.
By following the moral principles laid down by the Buddha, one becomes a truly virtuous person with perfect purity in moral conduct. As a result, one will live quite a happy and peaceful life without severe anxiety, grief, fear, repentance or remorse and finally can attain the Supreme Blissful Happiness of Nibbana.
The final principle for practice is mental development or meditation (Bhavana). It is of utmost importance in Buddhism, because without Bhavana one cannot discipline or develop one's mind. And thus, one cannot attain even to the initial state of concentration (Samadhi), required for the beginning of insight meditation. Consequently, it is very hard to see things as they really are and to attain supreme wisdom (Panna). In order to attain supreme wisdom through the practice of Buddhism, one is wholly concerned with the inner realm, i.e., purity of mind through mental development or meditation (Bhavana).
The human mind is inherently defiled with corrupting events (Kilesa), such as: greed (Lobha), anger (Dosa), craving (Tanha), pride (Mana), wrong view (Ditthi), etc. These latent impure forces in their original nature arise simply from negligence or heedlessness in meditation: that is to say, they arise from lack of mindfulness or awareness of reality through the impact of sense organs with external objects and internal experiences.
The Buddha said: each of these defilements arises in its respective turn as the case may be " just as the rain leaks through the roof of a poorly thatched house, even so does passion penetrate an undeveloped mind. But on the contrary, just as the rain cannot penetrate a well-roofed house, even so passion cannot penetrate a well-developed mind". These impure mental states always appear unnoticed in the absence of mental awareness or meditative mindfulness through the senses. These impurities are certain to arise whenever there is a chance to see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think through sense organs. They will persist and unless we crush and reject them by means of the practice of concentration or meditation (Bhavana).
For control of one's mind, Bhavana is of basic and vital importance. Without it, the mind is uncontrollable as it flits about from one object to another. It is the mind that creates the troubles, difficulties or problems that control men and women throughout Samsara (cycle of death and birth). Control of the mind is the most difficult task for a person because the mind is usually delighted by unwholesome thoughts rather than wholesome ones.
The mind, in its intrinsic nature is the most powerful phenomenon and so the world or an individual is led and attached by it. It is only because of the mind everyone is swayed to its domain or sovereignty. Each and everyone is therefore dominated by a mind that guides as his master. It is only the mind that makes one impure or pure, just as water in the form of mud soils and in its pure form cleanses. The mind naturally exists in a state of desire or delight in evil, polluting a person with impurities, such as greed, anger and delusion, etc. If the mind is thus impure with these corrupting agents, the body becomes impure as well.
Such being the case, it is an obvious fact that without Bhavana, which can abate and eliminate ones delilements or corruptions, one can never obtain genuine happiness and real peace of mind. As the Buddha said in the Digha Nikaya. "With the development of morality (Sila), concentration (Samadhi) is of great benefit and value: again with the development of concentration, wisdom (Panna ) is of great benefit and value".
Quite apparently one cannot proceed to the state of wisdom unless one's mind is concentrated, for the mind polluted with defilements finds it very difficult to see each thing as it is. That is the reason why Bhavana is essential and indispensable to a person for development or tranquillity of mind. On the whole, as the devoted followers of the Buddha, you must practise these three main principles so that you can dispel the three kinds of impurities on one hand and develop your mind to the pure and mature stage so as to attain the Supreme Blissful Happiness of Nibbana on the other.
4. The Three Kinds of Characteristics
As for the fourth category, there are three kinds of characteristics by means of which we must concentrate or meditate. They are:
impermanence (Anicca), Suffering Dukkha). and non-self or non-ego or insubstantiality Anatta). These three characteristics show the actual nature of one's being, that is, how physical and mental phenomena are going on in their true nature within oneself.
It is due to our unknowing nature, very hard to understand ones own being as it really is because of self—illusion, ignorance, craving, passion, pride, wrong view, etc. But when we concentrate or meditate on the actual nature of physical and mental phenomena, we will come to know that we are composed of only two ultimate realities. i.e., mind and matter. Either the mind or the matter itself is going on according to its own cosmic order.
For instance, by mentally noting at the tip of the nose. the in breath and out-breath, or its touch with mindful awareness, you will come to see the differentiation between mind and matter. Matter, by it's nature, does arise from the touch in the impact of nose-tip and air and then immediately it passes away.
The awareness which knows the object. "touch". is called mind. The so-called mind itself is actually nothing but merely a process of consciousness. There is no identity or entity in the process, by its nature, is only conscious element which also arises and passes away in a perpetual state of flux.
The mental states, however, pass away much faster than the physical phenomena. Therefore, within the entirety of mental phenomena, there cannot be found any permanent entity of mind or consciousness or indestructible soul or self. Rather, mental phenomena consists merely of an on-going process of consciousness which occurs through the impact of organs and sense objects.
It is only when the internal sense organs come into contact with external objects, that these different states of consciousness appear in the present. It is a moment-to-moment process. In the very nest instant it disappears giving rise to the subsequent momentary state.
Thus, when you meditate on the touch and awareness for some days, you will come to realise that there are only two phenomena or two ultimate realities (Paramattha). i.e., physical phenomenon and mental phenomenon in your being. By means of applying your mindful awareness to other sense organs, you will also realise that what you see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think of a thing or a being is nothing but the arising and passing phenomena of mind and matter.
In this stage, you come to understand that the phenomena of the mind and matter are subject to the nature of impermanence or transience (Anicca). When you understand Anicca in a true sense, you will discern the nature of suffering Dukkha) and then of selflessness or soullessness (Anatta) . The Buddha taught in the Samyutta Nikaya:
'What is transient (Yadaniccam) is painful (Tamdukkham,). What is painful ( Yamdukkham) is soulless (Tadanatta), What is soulless (Yadanattam) is not mine, nor "I am", nor myself: thus it is to be realised as it is (Yathabhutam) by right way of understanding"
In this way, you must focus, scrutinize, and meditate on your own body and mind by means ol the nature of impermanancy, suffering and insubstantiality and also apply to other things and beings of all the universes in the same manner. When you have thus discerned the real nature of mind and matter, you will have an intense desire to be released from the sufferings of life of a mind-body being.
And by continual practice of meditation on the rise and fall of each and every happening in your body and in the world outside, then you will eventually reach the cessation of the mind-matter phenomena passing through the stages of insightful knowledge (Vipassana nana).
Consequently, your mind will be free from impurities, developing towards the higher mental state and be enlightened in the Noble Truths (Ariya Sacca). This is the state of Supreme Blissful Peace and Happiness of Nibbana in Buddhism
In conclusion, to sum up my talk. I would like to remind you of the four categories of the Buddha's Teachings:
1. The three focuses of Veneration. i e . the Buddha. the Dhamma and the Sangha upon which we rely,
2. The three kinds ol impurities. i.e., greed (Lobha). anger (Dosa) and delusion (Moha) which we must dispel,
3. The three main principles, i.e., alms-giving (Dana) , morality (Sila) and meditation (Bhavana ) which we must practise or adhere to and
4. The three characteristics. i.e., impermanence (Anicca), suffering (Dukkha) and insubstantiality (Anatta) which we are offered for meditation. By recollecting and following the four categories admonished by the Buddha, I do hope you would he able to attain the Enlightenment of the Path. Fruition and Nibbana.
In Buddhism as Nibbana is the final goal, the subject of Nibbana is indeed very profound in the ultimate sense of the term. But Nibbana is not the one which is unattainable or unrealizable, it is, of course within the reach of every man. Apparently, Nibbana in a proper sense, is not easily comprehensible even for a Buddhist from both theoretical and practical aspect. As it is the final aim, all Buddhist aspire to reach it.
Nibbana is a Pali word which is generally interpreted as the extinction of craving for sensual pleasures. Many people are under the impression that they could find genuine lasting peace and happiness by providing themselves with sensual pleasures to gratify their senses. But this would be an endless task. Man's desire never comes to an end. As the saying goes: "The more we get, the more we want".
Therefore no man ever could fulfil the eternal thirst or craving of his senses until and unless the craving is wiped out of his mind. Man may work as hard as a slave until his last breath is taken but still his desire or craving will continue to take root in him, even though he is too old to make use of his faculties. The infallible method to quench his craving as taught by the Buddha is to calm down one's senses instead of gratifying then. There are four ways of practice in Buddhism for overcoming craving.
1. to give alms or charity (Dana),
2. to keep to morality or to restrain one's body and verbal actions (Sila).
3. to concentrate on any one of the forty objects (Samatha) and
4. to meditate on the actual nature of one's own mind and body (Vipassana).
These can quench your cravings. The more you practise these four principles, the more you can reduce or decrease your thirst. For instance, by giving alms or charity, greed (Lobha) in your mind can be dispelled and by observing moral precepts, anger or hatred can be appeased, by concentrating on the supreme qualities of the Buddha or Loving-kindness (Metta). your mind will be cleansed and highly developed and also the hindrances (Nivarana) can be kept away and the mind thus becomes completely tranquillized.
By practising meditation, you can attain the insightful knowledge which can see things as they really are and then attain to the deliverance of Nibbana. Man must learn how to control his senses in order to follow these principles of the Dhamma through self-training, self-discipline and self-restraint. He must also learn to achieve contentment and detachment. Very few people have realized that the cause of suffering is due to their own craving and attachment towards various pleasurable things.
They are rarely aware of the fact of being subject to the inescapable nature of old age, disease and death. And they are not in a position to understand that one day they would have to depart from each one and every thing that they now hold as dear. The Buddhist Nibbana is quite different from the Hebrew Paradise or Christian Heaven or the Hindu Brahma or Salvation or so introduced by other religions. The Buddhist way of salvation or eternal bliss cannot be attained unless man purifies himself by becoming a perfect one or a Noble One (Ariya). The follower of other faiths believe that they can only find their salvation or liberation through the influence of power of God or Brahma by believing and praying to him.
Buddhists believe that there are certain heavenly abodes for good people who have done meritorious deeds to enjoy the sensual pleasure where there are also for lower miserable abodes for wicked people who have done evil deeds. According to Buddhisrn heaven is not a place where man can find eternal bliss, but just a temporary feeling of happiness. After sometime there will come an end to such happiness, and hell also does not mean that one is permanently doomed for eternal woe. When the force of one's evil deeds is exhausted in hell, one will be destined again for better and higher abodes.
Even in the abode of blissful heaven, one cannot get rid of the suffering of old age, disease and death, for as long as he has cravings or sensual pleasures, he will continue to be subjected to the cycle of birth and death in Samsara. There is a great difference between the happiness one derives from sensual gratification and that which one gets from restraining one's senses of craving. Here, the Buddha definitely taught that the highest form of genuine happiness or bliss in life is to be attained only by controlling ones senses and not by indulging in them freely.
Some religions say that beings attain immortality or the highest bliss after death, while others proclaim that there is no life after death. According to Buddhism both these views are unacceptable for if one's potentiality is perfect enough, one can reach the highest peak of genuine bliss even in this life experiencing it by oneself. Nothing is utterly annihilated in the whole universe. Buddhists believe in the process of' cause and effect. If there is attachment in a person as a cause, consequently he will be reborn from life to life so long as the process of either the good or bad way of his actions is continually produced by himself.
Man in the sensuous world will not he released from decay or old age, sickness, worries, sorrow, grief, pain etc., until and unless lie becomes a most saintly person or the Worthy One (Arahat). Even though an Arahat is liberated from mental pain, he can still suffer from his physical body since he is already composed of the changeable and breakable body as an effect from the cause of his past lives.
People in this world are for ever and ever struggling to find out peace and happiness by adopting various wrong ways. not knowing of the real path due to their own ignorance (Avijja) and craving (Tanha). It is very clear that according to Buddhism, no one can expect to attain real peace and genuine happiness by praying to God or Eternal Soul or Mighty Powerful Being and performing ceremonies. rites and rituals. But in order to attain this kind of final supreme bliss, one must be purified and good to oneself and others as well.
He has to cultivate himself by observing moral precepts and avoiding all evils, doing meritorious deeds and purifying his mind to its utmost to attain blissful peace or enlightenment. Nobody else can purify man just by praying to God or to the Buddha to wash away all his sins. Actually, man must work for that by himself.
Nibbana can never be explained completely and satisfactorily in ordinary words because languages are too shallow and inadequate to express or describe the real nature of Nibbana. However, Nibbana is generally translated as the Absolute Truth, Ultimate Reality, Supramundane Happiness, Ultimate Peaceful Bliss in our common words with the most applicable terms, Yet they are not able to convey the true connotation from the actual sense of the term. Only those who have actually experienced the stages of the Noble Ones can express their feelings or experience of bliss according to their degree of enlightenment.
Languages or words are created and used by the mass of human beings to express things and ideas as experienced by their senses. On this point, one's expression is obviously different from others as the decrees of their knowledge are varied in nature due to their actions in the past as well as experiences in the present life (Kamma). For this reason. supramundane experience of Nibbana Bliss cannot be derived from such a category to conventional truth.
Words are of course a conventional or relative truth or symbols representing things and ideas known to us, but these symbols cannot convey exactly and fully the true nature of even ordinary things. Language is a combination of words expressed by human beings. So language is supposedly deceptive and misleading in the matter of understanding the Absolute Truth (Paramattha Sacca).
The Ultimate Reality or Absolute Truth can only be realized by the enlightened knowledge of insight not by ordinary naked eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind. The Ultimate Reality or Absolute Truth .
The Ultimate Reality or Absolute Truth can only be realized by the enlightened knowledge of insight not by ordinary naked eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind. The Ultimate Reality or Absolute Truth is eternally sublime or supreme in itself without any change in the sense of reality the truth as it is or as really as it is mentioned "Uttamo" most sublime, "Aviparito "unchangeability or immutability, "Sabbannuta nanassa gocaro". it can be comprehensible only by all knowing insight knowledge of the Buddha.
Nevertheless, we cannot do without language. To understand Nibbana we have to use words as applicable and perfect a manner as possible. So, if Nibbana is to be expressed and explained in positive terms as the "Absolute Happiness", it is all also likely that we may immediately grasp it as an idea generally associated with those terms which may be quite contrary to the actual meaning. For this reason, it is often referred to or expressed in various negative terms such as "Extinction of Thirst, Uncomposed, Unconditioned, Unborn, Uncreated, Unmade. etc. It is indeed the complete absence of desire or the cessation of that very thirst or craving (Thanakkayo), giving it up (Cago), renouncing it (Patinissaggo). emancipation (Mutti) and detachment Analayo) from it.
Referring to exhaustion of all conditioned things and giving up all defilements. Nibbana is thus expressed in negative terms. Therefore many have got the wrong notion that Nibbana is negative and expresses self-annihilation of self because there is no self to annihilate and there is also no nothingness in Nibbana because there is neither space nor time where and when Nibbana can be located.
Buddhism holds that final extinction of ignorance and craving is the way of escape from the rounds of life (Samsara), but the escape is not actually reached somewhere and it of course could not be reached like a union with Brahma or God which is to be attained only after this life. The final victory to be gained by the extinction of' ignorance and craving in the Buddhist view is the victory which can be gained and enjoyed in this very life.
This is what is meant by the Buddhist ideal of the Worthiest One (Arahattaship). the noblest life of a man fulfilled to perfection by insight wisdom. This noblest life has been travelled along the Noble Eightfold Path and has broken all the fetters and cankers and won the final liberation or emancipation in its entirety.
This transcendental or supramundane wisdom (Adhipanna) can be obtained before the dissolution of the physical body and thus the Noble One or the Worthy One has actually experienced the most supreme Peace and Happiness of Nibbana by himself in this present life
We, human beings, generally want to get rid of SORROWS or sufferings and obtain happiness, and for this reason, we all are struggling to earn our own living everyday to get enough food, clothing and shelter. Though we struggle for our needs in the hustle and hustle of daily life, we can say that we are never satisfied and contented with whatever we have. Our desires never come to an end.
In the midst of various pleasurable things of the material world, the more something becomes new, the more we look forward to getting newer and newer things. Obviously, we are insatiable. We long all the time for something more pleasurable, one after another.
Blinded by ignorance and ensnared with craving, we tend never to be satisfied and be contented with just what we have; rather we are always chasing after more and more luxuries and pleasures. We are always wanting more in the way of money, wealth, position, status, power and glory, etc., throughout our lives.
We must look at ourselves, For example, our eyes see beautiful forms, our ears hear sweet sounds, our noses smell sweet scents, our tongue tastes delicious food, our bodies feel pleasant objects and our minds observe and entertain fascinating notions and ideas. yet are we ever satisfied with these sensual pleasures. Although one may get what one wants in larger and larger quantities. Is it ever enough?
The answer is very definitely "No, never." It is just like a person who drinks salt water trying to quench his thirst. What he drinks makes him more and more thirsty. In fact many a man may reach the end of his life still hankering after sensual pleasures.
So man on the whole is certainly sure to face anxiety, worry, sorrow, pain, grief, lamentation, and so on and so forth, because of his own craving. So long as man cannot overcome his craving and attachment, he has unavoidably to face a great deal of misery at present and will also be the same in the future.
So if you really wish to be released from all these pains in your life, you positively need a remedy for releasing and dispelling all your miseries. The remedy is nothing but insight meditation which alone will free you from all your sufferings and enable you to attain the real peace and happiness of your life.
Meditation means to keep one's mind quite calm guarding it not to go away here and there. Mind usually goes away to enjoy pleasurable things. Thus, mind is unstable, shaking or jumping from object to object. If so, one's mind is sure to come across anxiety, worry, tension, agitation, ill-will, grief, sorrow, dissatisfaction, resentment and so on and so forth. And then, your mind becomes impure with evil thoughts. If your mind is impure, your being or physical body becomes impure too. Then. you are sure to suffer from all these physical and mental ills or pains. Naturally an impure mind indeed will give unhappiness and a pure mind happiness.
Actually, we human beings want to gain happiness and be released from all suffering. Then how can we gain happiness and avoid suffering? It is nothing but to control your own mind, or manage or train your mind by means of meditation practice. Only through meditation practice, you can control and purify your mind, and as a result, your mind will become calm, tranquil, peaceful, satisfied and contented, and then you will come to see the truth which in turn leads towards real peace and happiness in life.
Happiness really blooms out of ones mind. So, mind training is indeed of vital importance. Mind usually takes delight in evils (Papasamin ramati mano). If your mind goes away to evil ways, it will become impure and this impure mind will in turn give you mental pain and thus you are sure to suffer in some way or the other. Then you wont have ease and peace of mind. That is only because you do not know how to make your mind calm. peaceful, or happy. When you have meditative experience, you will come to know that meditation is really a source of peace and happiness which again leads to enlightenment in the Noble Truth. Without peace of mind and happiness, our life is meaningless and is truly not worth living.
We have two kinds of happiness, namely, physical happiness and mental happiness. If we have a wound or if we are sick, we naturally suffer from physical pain. If we have sorrow, grief or lamentation we suffer from mental pain. But, in reality, mind is the only thing which feels the actual suffering from both of these two kinds of pain. Pain usually arises out of mind, for whenever you come across unhappiness, you feel some kind of mental pain.
For instance, when you see a pleasant thing and if you like it, then the consciousness of greed arises. And in like manner, when you see an unpleasant thing and if you dislike it, consciousness of hate or aversion will arise; in exactly the same way, if you are not aware of the thing as it truly is, the consciousness of delusion or ignorance arises. Therefore you are not able to escape from these evil states of mind. These evil states of mind are indeed the very roots of unwholesome mental factors. And consequently, you will have had effects as a reaction from your own mental thoughts.
So meditation actually means to purify one's own mind from evil mental states; in other words, to make one's mind calm, peaceful and happy And then you will find the real truth or Noble Truth in your own being. In fact, you can discover the real truth as it is in its own nature. You will have to find out this real truth within your body and mind through the practice of meditation. When you find the real truth in your own being, then you can see the same thing in other beings too, because each and every one is composed of the same phenomena.
For instance, you now have to focus your attention on the tip of the nose to make a mental note just on the touch and awareness. In due course, you will come to see that there are only two elements or phenomena in your being that is, "Touch and Awareness." Touch is a physical phenomenon and awareness, a mental phenomenon, and you are indeed composed of only these two elements. For instance, hair is a solid element or a material phenomenon; urine is a liquid element, the wind in the body is an air element. and heat in the body is the fire element. These elements are already existent in your physical body as well as in the whole universe, but they all are not permanent, they are indeed transient, changing from one state of constant flux to another.
As for mental element or phenomenon, the so-called mind is only a process of consciousness. For instance, when you see an object, eye consciousness arises and so on and so forth. In this way, there always arises a process of consciousness. There is nothing more than this. On the whole, only these two elements - mind and matter - are going on, nothing else rather than the flux of these two states. Here you come to see that the so-called person, man or woman is nothing but just a composition of elements, in other words, a group or composition of mind and matter or a psycho-physical element.
An ordinary worldling is originally deluded by ignorance (Avijja) and ensnared with craving (Tanha.) These two roots of defilement are the very origins of ones evil mental states. Until and unless you drive them out of your mind, they certainly will overwhelm you all the time. Because whenever you see anything you will take for granted that what you see is permanent, lovable, substantial and pleasurable and thus there arises the two evil mental states of defilement, namely, ignorance and craving, and as a result, you will suffer something in your mind involving either desire or aversion.
For example, when you see an object, your mind will be greedy if you think that the object is beautiful and desirable. Opposite to that, when you see an object, your mind will be agitated or angry if you think that the object is not good or makes you feel unpleasant. And you will also be ignorant or fall under the influence of ignorance if you are not aware of the object as it truly is. Here, you come to see that without meditation practice, you are sure to become a victim or fall into the domain of evil thoughts or defilements or passions.
So, you really need meditation. In a real sense, meditation in the Buddhist way means to see things as they really are in their true perspective and nature. It is a practical teaching of self observation or self-examination or self-analysis. It is a kind of scientific and reasonable method of analysis of one's own body and mind. So Buddhist meditation is indeed able to provide you with the real result of total purification of mind and the supreme bliss of liberation.
The objective of meditation is first to purify one's mind since all our actions come out of our mind. A pure mind is indeed full of love, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity without any taint or shade of impurity. So you will come to know that the sustained practice of meditation will bring about a real transformation in your behaviour, attitude and personality.
I have composed a Myanmar verse about the results of insight meditation. Insight meditation is for the purification of all impurities or defilements. For the appeasement of worries and sorrows, for decreasing of sufferings, for the development of insight knowledge and for the attainment of Nibbana.
Meditation in an ordinary sense is to think about a thing deeply and reflect seriously. According to our Buddhist sense of the term, meditation means to keep one's mind quiet or calm. not to let it go away here and there, and to develop it stage by stage for the progress of mental purity. It is therefore called mental development in Theravada Buddhism of Myanmar 'Naing Ngan'. (Burma)
There are two kinds of mental development. They are:
1. Concentration or contemplation (Samatha) and
2. Insight meditation (Vipassana.)
Concentration in an ordinary sense is to bring together one's thoughts and fix on one object or to give one's attention on one object. Contemplation means to look at a thing seriously or think about a particular thing deeply.
As for concentration and contemplation, there are altogether forty objects in the Buddhist Text. When your mind is flexed on one of the objects, such as concentrating on the much of your breath at the tip of the nose, it is called concentration. When you look at or think about the physical nature of your body, such as unpleasantness or loathsomeness, it is called contemplation.
We have four kinds of contemplation under the title of the Foundation of Mindfulness (Mahasatipatthana). Namely:
(i) Contemplation on the body (Kayanupassana satipatthana)
(ii) Contemplation on feelings (Vedanupassana satipatthana)
(iii) Contemplation on consciousness (Cittanupassana satipatthana)
(iv) Contemplation on mental objects ( dhammanupassana satipatthana)
Concentration or contemplation makes one appeased from hindrances or defilement (Nivarane sametiti samatho kilese sametiti samatho).
Most of the Yogi practitioners in India are following along these two kinds of concentration and contemplation, but they are not on the way of Insight Meditation (Vipassana).
According to Buddhism, these two techniques of Samatha can dispel only craving (Tanha) but not ignorance (Avijja). The darkness of ignorance can only be annihilated by means of the practice of Vipassana. Regarding insight meditation ( Vipassana). the Word Vipassana is a combination of two words Vi and passana. Vi means particularly or specifically and passana means seeing or penetrating into the real nature of a thing.
According to the commentary. Vipassana is so-called:
(i) because it sees or penetrates into states or things by way of impermanent nature, etc., analysing in their true perspective from different aspects.
(Aniccadivasena vividhehi akarehi Dhamme passatiti Vipassana.)
(ii) because it sees or penetrates into the nature of conditioned things as impermanence, etc., in their true perspective from different aspects.
(Sankhare aniccadihi vividheni adarehi passatiti vipassana).
(iii) because it penetrates into things by way of impermanence, etc., from different aspects discarding their outward appearance or parlance.
(Pannattim thepetva aniccadi akarena dhamme passatiti vipassana)
Among the various types of meditation in the world today, this technique of insight meditation is a very simple and scientific way of practice and it is also logical and applicable to everybody for the achievement of real peace and happiness of mind which, in turn, will lead to a practical and useful way in one's daily life.
Insight meditation will certainly bring you real peace and happiness in your life. At first you will feel as though you were wandering on a rough and potted road, but gradually you will find it to be a real royal road, which leads to liberation from all sufferings and to the attainment of full enlightenment. I have no doubt that this very road leads directly to the goal the Noble Truth (Kriya Sacca or Nibbana.
I would therefore, like to encourage all of you to take this road so that you will also find the real way of truth and peace in your life and experience the real happiness of liberation in Nibbana. The real test of meditation is applying it in life. I want to encourage you to live in the world happily with a mindful awareness on the real nature of life. I distribute this technique of meditation purely and sincerely as a noble service to humanity in order to help those who are in need of help. The technique of meditation offers equal benefits to all who practise it without any discrimination on the basis of race, class, sex, colour or faith. I can definitely say it is applicable to each and every person.
Time is always passing away. The time that is spent can never be regained. So you must use your time in a fruitful way. Most of you perhaps are whiling away your precious time. Let us see the normal schedule during the 24 hours of your day. You usually spend 7 to 8 hours sleeping, 8 hours working, 4 hours going, coming and eating, 4 hours playing, practising and exercising for your health, entertaining people socially and carrying out family matters.
Now you have spent the whole 24 hours, but you haven't really gained much for spiritual progress in your life. In this way you are wasting your precious time, day after day, month after month and year after year. Meanwhile, your body is getting older and older, yet you are not waking any spiritual progress in your life. There are 168 hours in a week. If you cannot reserve, or set aside just one hour per week, if not daily, for your own sake to obtain real peace and happiness, your life is not worth living. So in order to attain a real benefit in your life, you have to try and reserve some, if not all, of your free time in the pursuit of mental peace and happiness. Thus is simply for meditation or spiritual retreat.
Meditation alone will bring you real peace and happiness. You should have meditation experience so that you can obstruct or hinder your evil tendencies coming from outside through seeing, hearing, smelling and so on. Your mind is originally pure, but when it becomes mixed up with these evil thoughts, then it becomes impure. The impure or defiled mind will merely make you unhappy and miserable.
When you practice meditation, for instance, making a mental note just on the touch and awareness at the tip of your nose, your mind is only knowing and mindful of the touch and awareness. Then it will become calm, and you will be mindfully aware of seeing whatever you see, of hearing whatever you hear, and so on. In this way. you are ever alert or mindful of every mental state. So whatever mental state happens to you, you know immediately whether it is good or bad and then you don't keep the bad mental state any longer in your mind. You come to know at once that the evil mental state or thought has occurred. Ordinary ignorant people find it very difficult to know how their minds are working. They cannot see the real nature of things as they are. Since the mind usually takes delight in sensual pleasures. It is extremely difficult to guard or control one's mind. A guarded mind will make you really happy.
On this point, I would like to talk about the mind as the Buddha explained in His Teachings. It is mentioned in the Dhammapada.
"The mind in nature is wandering after, flitting alone, immaterial. located in the recesses of heart, flighty and fickle. It is rather hard to guard, control and bring under restraint."
"The wise, however should guard, control and overcome it. The guarded and subdued mind will certainly bring about real peace and happiness. He can thus be liberated from the bondage of the miserable world."
The real root of all sufferings in our life is due to craving, (Tanha), entangled with the four kinds of attachment or clinging, namely, attachment to sensuality (Dammupadam), attachment to ceremonial rites and rituals (Silabbatupadam), attachment to wrong views (Ditthupadam), and attachment to the belief in one's eternal Soul or Ego (Attavadupadam).
When your mind is fully concentrated and constantly mindful of each mental state, you will be able to stand just on the present moment of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, and thinking. Here your mind will be freed from all evil thoughts because you are fully meditating on each and every thing, just at the present.
On this point, the Buddha taught the following stanza: "Don't be sorry for the past, Don't worry about the future too, but if you can keep your mind attentive, Concentrating just on the present, Your mind will be free from impurities And so you will he really happy." In this meditation practice, you are sure to enjoy the most supreme Bliss and Happiness of Nibbana.
This page at Nibbana.com was last modified:
Page Views Since 12-Jan- 2002