STRIVE WHILE THERE IS TIME
(Translated by U Khin of London)
"O monks, and lay devotees, take note that one must practise Samatha Vipassana with utmost diligence. One should not forget or neglect to do this. One should avoid repentance and remorse later." This Is my admonition to you and this also was the admonition of all the Buddhas.
Such are the words of the Buddha mentioned in the Majjhiima pannasa.
I will elaborate and explain about this admonition. Kindly pay attention.
The Dhamma, the Buddha's teaching has six attributes:
1. The Dhamma was well taught by the Buddha, who first practised it himself and then expounded it clearly (svakkhato).
2. It it also realisable, understandable and practicable for anyone who practises the Dhamma (sanditthiko).
3. It can bring results and benefits here and now (akaliko).
4. It invites anyone to come and practise and experience for himself or herself the benefits to be derived therefrom (ehi passiko).
5. It is for anyone to practise so that it will lead directly to the goal (opaneyyiko).
6. It provides self-realisation for any average intelligent person who strives (paccam veditabbo).
Be mindful and do not be negligent. Killing, stealing, adultery, untruthfulness and taking imoxicants can bring misery upon oneself. So they must be avoided.
If one does not abstain from these immoral acts, one can suffer in the four states of loss (apaya): namely, hell, animal world, the world of Petas (hungry ghosts) and the Asurakayas (demons).
Practising moral acts such as charity (dana), morality (sila), will keep away defilements from your mind. Once your mind is clear from defilements, do not forget to practise concentration (samadhi) leading to insight (vipassana).
Since you are composed of mind (nama) and matter (rupa) i.e., mental and physical phenomena, you are bound to become old, infirm and finally to die. Such is the nature of dukkha unsatisfactoriness of being.
As every second and minute goes by, you are approaching the inevitable state of old age, infirmity and death. Once you get old, your sight and hearing will gradually fail, you will not be able to sit erect so easily, you will lose your height slowly, your skin will become wrinkled and you will become weaker and weaker. You are also more susceptible to disease and infirmity due to all kinds of infections and degeneration. Finally, you will succumb to the grim reaper - Death.
Nobody knows when one will die. Some will die in infancy, some in their adolescence, some in the prime of life and some only when they reach the end of their natural life-span. Nobody can foresee what disease, ailment or accident they will die of. Nobody knows at which place they will die.
So, one must always be fearful of these things which will inevitably have to meet. It is not like the fright of seeing a ghost; it must be accompanied by realisation and wisdom.
If you die whilst still having defilements in your mind, you will be reborn into new lives with the same kind of mental and physical phenomena which all compounded things are made of. Then, you will again be subject to all the dukkha like you have undergone in your present and previous existences.
So, while you are in this human world, while the Buddha's Sasana is still thriving, you must strive hard by practising Satipatthana Vipassana meditation, so that there will be no more of this compounded mentality and materiality. And that is the essence of the Buddha's message as mentioned in the Majjhima Pannasa of the Majjhima nikaya.
One must practise before one get too old because when one is very old and infirm, one cannot practise so effectively. When one is too ill or dying, one cannot practise meditation for long periods. Only one who has practised meditation before can reach the higher stages of insight while sick or close to death. If not, one will surely be overwhelmed with regrets and long for the lost opportunity during which one could have practised and developed insight. That is the reason why the Buddha exhorted his followers to avoid repentance and remorse in their later years.
The Buddha had to acquire the Ten Perfections (Paramita) throughout his existences for an interminable period in order to become the Enlightened One who could impart the Dhamma to all living beings.
The Buddha also exhorted the people to follow his teaching as it is very rare to be born at a time and place when the Buddha Sasana is still thriving. If one is in the eight kinds of circumstances one cannot encounter the Buddha sasana.
1. When one is born in hell.
2. When one is born as an animal.
3. When one is born in the world of Petas.
4. When one is in a Brahma world where the Brahmas are too old.
5. When one is in the lands of wild barbarians.
6. When one is an unbeliever.
7. When one is born an imbecile or mute.
8. When one is born in a world where the Buddha's teaching does not exist.
You are very fortunate that you are born in this world at this time when the ssana, is still in existence. So while you are enjoying these most favourable circumstances, you must strive hard to find the answer for the cessation of all dukkha and attain the nibbanic peace by practising vipassana meditation. Please leave aside for the time-being your worldly duties and family responsibilities and take up the most vital task in your life. That was the message of the Buddha.
There are four kinds of Satipatthana Vipassana namely:
I. Kayanupassana - Mindfulness of the body.
2. Vedananupassana - Mindfulness of feelings.
3. Cetanupassana - Mindfulness of consciousness.
4. Dhammanupassana - Mindfulness of mental and physical phenomena.
There are seven kinds of benefits for those who practise meditation:
1. One's mind can be free from defilements.
2. One can overcome worry and anxiety.
3. One can overcome sorrow and lamentation.
4. The practicc can extinguish physical suffering.
5. The practice can extinguish mental suffering.
6. It can bring forth the Noble Path Knowledge.
7. It can enable the practitioner to realise nibbana - the end of suffering.
In the Satipatthana Sutta the Buddha guaranteed that for those who practise satipatthana these benefits can be attained within seven days at the least or seven years at the most.
It is my earnest wish that all of you will be able to practise the Satipatthana Vipassana meditation and attain the seven benefits from such practice.
May you all live long, taking refuge in the Buddha.
May you all live long, taking refuge in the Dhamma.
May you all live long, taking refuge in the Sangha.
May you all attain the final goal - nibbana
Sadhu, Sadhu, Sadhu