( Chapter IV)
From "BUDDHISM: THEORY AND PRACTICE"
By U Maung Nu
Former Prime Minsiter of Burma
Now we have come to the most important part of the Buddha's teachings. This is the part, which the Buddha Himself valued most.
Throughout forty five years of Buddhahood, the Buddha had, as far as the writer had read, delivered only one Sutta, in which He tole about the infinity of Cakkavalas and beings. (Somewhere in the introduction of this book. it has been explained that a group of 31 abodes of being is called a Cakkavalas.) In that Sutta, the Buddha had told how Cakkavalas were destroyed when seven suns appeared. In that Sutta, the Buddha said that some of the beings from the Cakkavalas, which were destroyed, were reborn as Brahmas, in one of the abodes of Brahmas, which were not destroyed. That is all.
However, it was the great commentators, who, after explaining in their commentaries, what the Buddha meant by 'some,' added that all the beings from the Cakkavalas, that were destroyed, were reborn in the remaining portions of the Brahma abodes in accordance with the Jhanas, which they had acquired. It was there commentators, who also added that the Cakkavalas were sometimes destroyed by water and storms. These great commentators are revered and highly respected by the whole Theravada Buddhist World.
That Sutta is a very short one. It was delivered in order to emphasize the infinity of beings that were running through endless rebirths and their attendant sufferings.
Again, throughout the forty five years of Buddhahood, the Buddha had, as far as the writer had read, delivered only one Sutta, in which He explained the formation of the world and the appearance of life. He also added, in that Sutta, that all human beings were descended from these first beings of the world. This Sutta was delivered to a Brahmin, who was excommunicated by his fellow Brahmins for having chosen to join the order of Buddhist monks. This Sutta was delivered to emphasize the equality of all human beings and the superfluity of castes.
At one time, a monk asked the Buddha certain questions and threatened that he would not practise the teachings of the Buddha and leave the order if those questions were not answered. The Buddha was never in the habit of refusing to answer questions, that pertained to the acquisition of Panna (Magga). However, since the questions were found to be superfluous, the Buddha asked the monk if He had ever told him, before he joined the order that these questions would be answered, if he joined the order. The monk replied in the negative. Then the Buddha said it was not proper to ask superfluous questions without practicing Bhavana for the end of suffering and gave the monk the following illustration. It would not be proper, if a man, who was seriously shot with an arrow, persisted in saying that he would refuse to be treated, until and unless he knew whether the man who shot him was black or brown, whether the arrow was made of teak or oak, whether the string or the bow made of ox hide or deer hide and so on. The man would certainly die before he could know all the things that he wanted to know. Therefore the monk should not waste his time in asking superfluous question. He must do what was most essential. He should concentrate on practising the Bhavana that would liberate him from sufferings.
If one studies the teachings of the Buddha, it will be found that the great bulk of the teachings deals with sufferings, cause of sufferings, end of sufferings and way to end of sufferings.
In the chapter on Sila, 4 types of Kusala have been mentioned. It will be useful to mention them here again. They are:—
Out of these four, the Buddha did not value 1, 2 and 3, as much as He valued 4, for the simple reason that 1, 2 and 3 could not put a stop to sufferings. Therefore the Buddha always enjoined upon his disciples that, whether they were offering Charity or observing Sila or practising Samadhi, they must never lose sight of their goal, namely, the end of sufferings.
In this chapter, the writer will deal, as fully as he can, with the methods for acquiring Panna, that can put an end to sufferings.
Then what is Panna?
Panna is the synonym for Magga and Phala. In the foregoing pages, only Magga has been explained. Phala has not yet been explained. Phala means minds that are concentrating on Nibbana. As soon as the Yogi acquires Magga, his mind is detached from its usual Arammanas, namely, sight, sound, smell, taste, touch and thought. The two minds or in certain cases, three minds that follow Magga mind, are called Phala. They also will concentrate on Nibbana. Then the mind will revert to one of its six usual Arammanas. If, after its reversion, the yogi practises Vipassana Bhavana as before, he will regain Phala. This time Phala may be longer than the 1st Phala after Magga. The duration of Phala depends upon the strength of Samadhi or mental concentration, which the Yogi has acquired. More of this will be told later.
4 different kinds
There are four different kinds of Magga and Phala. They are as follows:
Under the 7th difference, Ten ropes that tie all beings to endless rebirths, have been mentioned. How the maggas smash these ropes to pieces had also been mentioned. However, in order to refresh the reader's memory, something of these should be mentioned here again.
1) Sotapatti Magga cuts 3 ropes, namely, Ditthi, Vicikiccha, Silabbatapramasa. The person, who gets Sotapatti Magga, is called Sotapanna. Since 3 vital ropes have been cut, the Sotapanna shall not have more than seven rebirths and their attendant sufferings.
2) Sakadagami Magga does not cut any of the remaining ropes. But it weakens them. The person who gets Sakadagami Magga is called Sakadagami. Since the remaining ropes have been weakened, Sakadagami shall not have more than two rebirths and their attendant sufferings.
3) Anagami magga cuts 4 of the seven remaining ropes, namely, Kamaraga, Patigha, Issa, Macchariya. The person, who gets Anagami Magga, is called Anagami. Since these ropes have been cut, an Anagami shall not have more that one rebirth and its attendant sufferings.
4) Arahatta Magga cuts the remaining 3 ropes, namely, Mana, Bhavaraga, Avijja. The person, who gets Arahatta Magga, is called Arahanta. Since there are no more ropes that had tied him to rebirths, an Arahanta shall not have any mor rebirth and its attendant sufferings.
Five most important points
The five most important points for a Yogi, who wants to practise Vipassana Bhavana, for the achievement of Panna or Magga and Phala, are as follows:
1. A qualified instructor
A qualified instructor is a person, who has himself got at least Sotapatti Magga and has studied Buddhism fairly well.
In the Bhavana centres in Burma, there are generally some instructors-instructors for male Yogis, for female Yogis and for monk Yogis.
A Yogi must see the instructor once a day and relate to him all the experience regarding the practice of the Bhavana. After hearing, the instructor gives the Yogi necessary help. If the Yogi is following the wrong path. he sets him right, If the Yogi is on the right path, the instructor says so. If the Yogi is shirking, the instructor finds it out during the interview and tells him to work harder. If a Yogi is found to be dejected due to lack of progress, the instructor gives him some words of encouragements if the Yogi is making progress, the instructor congratulates him.
2. Firm faith
It can not be said that every Yogi, who comes to the Bhavana centre, has firm faith in the Yogi Bhavana. Some have all the good points, namely, obedience, faith, discipline, honesty and diligence. They set good examples to others. Some come in order to give the Yogi Bhavana a trial. After some time, only when they get certain good results, their faith in the Bhavana increases. And they remain in the centre, till they acquire Magga and Phala. Some people, who do not get good results, through lack of diligence or some other faults, run away from the centre.
Of all insights, Magga and Phala are most delicate. Therefore, Yogis, who are practising for them, are required to have a very firm faith.
3. Iron discipline
From the time the lessons in Bhavana are given to the Yogi, till he leaves the centre, after he has acquired Magga and Phala, a Yogi has practically no rest, except when he sleeps for the day.
The Yogi at the centre usually gets up at about 3 a.m. He practises Bhavana right up to about 11 p.m. This insufficiency of sleep, under normal circumstances, may affect the health of a person. But it does not affect the health of a practicing Yogi, because of his mental concentration. As the concentration improves, the Yogi will become more and more alert. He will always feel fresh.
General conversation on worldly affairs, smoking, reading of newspapers are strictly prohibited at the centre.
The Yogis are required to obey these rules of the centre strictly.
4. Transparent honesty
Transparent honesty is very helpful to a Yogi. If he feels too indolent to carry on the practice or if he feels dejected, he must say so to the instructor.
In relating to the instructor his experiences regarding the practice of the Bhavana, a Yogi must be strictly truthful. Those, who have read about the Bhavana, may sometimes be tempted to say, as their own experiences, certain facts which they had read in the books.
5. Unflagging diligence
Once an experienced instructor said Magga and Phala were nothing but the sum total of 40 % faith, 40% diligence and 20% the rest, namely, instructor, discipline and honesty.
A Yogi, who has these five most important points, can hope to get Sotapatti Magga and Phala in about 2 months. Some had got them in about a month or 20 days. However, if the Yogi is determined to get Magga and Phala, the writer wishes to advise him to set aside 2 months.
The Buddha, in one of His Suttas, in the compilation, called Nidanavagga Samyutta, said that Magga and Phala, which could put an end to sufferings, could be achieved only though massive diligence and not through perfunctory efforts.
Some people do not have any centre. Moreover since they are working, they do not have whole-time to devote to the Bhavana. In such a case, instead of doing nothing, something should be done. Every night before going to bed, they should practise Bhavana for about an hour. This kind of practice may not give him Magga and Phala, but if he persists in regularly doing it, he may reach certain stages of instants of insight on his way to Magga and Phala, in due course.
The writer had come across a doctor a few years ago. He had no opportunity to go to the centre to devote whole-time to the Bhavana. Therefore he practised Bhavana for about 2 hours every night. After about two and half years, he got Sotapatti Magga and Phala.
Even if a person does not get Magga and Phala, he will get some other good results. The regular practice of the Bhavana, for about a few hours every day will give him peace of mind and relaxation. In future, if he gets an opportunity to practice whole- time, at a centre, these few hours of daily practice will help him in acquiring Magga and Phala very quickly. Even if he does not get Magga and Phala in this life time, for lack of opportunity for properly practising Bhavana, these few hours of daily practice will not be in vain. They will be very helpful to him in the life hereafter
One very valuable result of these few hours of daily practise must also be mentioned. A person, who persists in this kind of daily practice, will slowly but steadily overcome fear of death.
What does a Yogi do, if he practises Vipassana?
The Buddha had set 4 steps for a Yogi, who wants to practise Vipassana. These 4 steps are called 4 Satipatthana. They are as follows:
Satipatthana is a combination of two words -- Sati and Patthana . Sati means awareness or mental concentration. Patthana means extreme steadfastness. Therefore Satipatthana means extremely steadfast awareness.
Kayanupassana is a combination of words -kaya, nu, and Passana. Kaya means body. Nu means constant. Passana means perception. Therefore Kayanupassana Satipatthana means extremely steadfast awareness for the constant perception of everything pertaining to the body.
Vedana means feelings. Therefore Vedananupassana Satipatthana means extremely steadfast awareness for the constant perception of everything pertaining to feelings.
Citta means mind. Therefore Cittanapassana Satipatthana means steadfast awareness for the constant perception of everything pertaining to mind.
Dhamma means thought. Therefore Dhammanupassana Satipatthana means steadfast awareness for the constant perception of everything pertaining to thoughts.
1. Kayanupassana Satipatthana
Under this, 14 methods are mentioned. These 14 methods are as follows:
Total - 14
It will be too much for the beginners to study all of these 14 methods. Therefore, only two, namely, Iriyapatha and Sampajanna, will be mentioned here. These two will be quite helpful to the Yogis.
A man has roughly 4 postures, namely, walking, standing, sitting and lying. He must be always aware of these postures. If he is walking, he must be aware that he is walking and so on.
These postures are matter. It is the mind that is aware of these postures. Steadfast awareness of these matter and mind, till the Yogi perceives Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta of these is called Iriyapatha method.
The movements are matter. It is the mind that is aware of these. Steadfast awareness of these matter and mind till the Yogi perceives Anicca, Dukkha, and Anatta of these is called Sampajanna method.
2. Vedananupassana Satipatthana
According to Buddhism, there are 3 different kinds of feelings, namely, Sukhavedana, Dukkhavedana and Upekkhavedana.
Sukhavedana means pleasant feelings. Dukkhavedana means unpleasant feelings. Upekkhavedana means feelings of indifference.
It is easy to know pleasant and unpleasant feelings. But it is not easy to find out feelings of indifference. It is a mental state, where there is neither love nor hatred, neither solicitous regard nor evil desire. When people see a stranger whom they neither love nor hate, they generally have a semblance of this feeling of indifference. In fact, however, the real meaning of Upekkha goes deeper than that. In the absence of a better word, Upekkha is translated as feelings of indifference. The writer is of the opinion that Upekkha should be translated as javanaless Vithi, (See 1st difference, Introduction for the explanation of Javanaless Vithi. It is the kind of mental state, which only Arahantas and persons who are having 4 Rupa Jhana, all of Arupa Jhanas and Sankharupekkha Nana, can have. Arupa Jhanas, which can cause rebirth as a Brahma, having mind and no body, have been explained under 2nd difference in the introduction. Sankharupekkha Nana will be explained later.)
When the Yogi has pleasant feelings, he must be aware that he has pleasant feelings. When he has unpleasant feelings, he must be aware that he has unpleasant feelings. When he has feeling of indifference, he must be aware that he has feelings of indifference.
It is the mind that feels. And it is also the mind that is aware of feelings. A Yogi must be constantly aware of the feelings and of the mind that is aware of these feelings, till he perceives Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta of these minds.
The Yogi must also be aware of any bodily reaction, such as itching pain, ache, numbness, tiredness, cold, heat and so on, that gives rise to any kind of these feelings.
3. Cittanupassana Satipatthana
Every being has different kinds of mind. The Yogi must be aware of them.
A yogi must be constantly aware in order to perceive Anicca, dukkha and Anatta of these minds and also of the minds that are aware of them.
4. Dhammanupassana Satipatthana
The Yogi must be constantly aware of all the thoughts, in order to perceive Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta of the thoughts and also of minds that are aware of these thoughts.
If the Yogi practises strictly in accordance with these 4 Satipatthana, with unswerving faith and unflagging diligence, he will very clearly perceive Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta of Matter and Mind. Vipassana, in simple English, means clear perception of Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta of Matter and Mind. Therefore, when a Yogi says, that he is practising Vipassana, he means to say that he is making an effort to see Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta of Matter and Mind, by using 4 methods of Satipatthana.
Here, at this stage, it will be useful to point out an important distinction between Samatha Bhavana and Vipassana Bhavana. In Samatha Bhavana, a Yogi concentrates on something, such as an object or a person or an idea, outside of himself. In Vipassana Bhavana, a Yogi concentrates on his body and mind.
A Yogi will not certainly know how to practise Vipassana Bhavana after studying 4 Satipatthana. He should be given a detailed instruction as to what he should do and should not do, while practising Vipassana. However, before this detailed instruction is given, a Yogi should know some preliminaries.
Continence is the essence of life at the meditation centre. Eat what you are given. Stay where you are kept. Give up everything that has nothing to do with the practice of Vipassana Bhavana
The following are the few important points, which a Yogi should remember.
1. May the Atthanga Sila, which I am observing, be helpful to me for acquiring Magga and Phala."
While contemplating on the meaning of the wish, the Yogi should quietly say it three or four times.
2. If the Yogi had made derogatory remarks against Vipassana Bhavana, he should, after doing obeisance to the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha ask for forgiveness. If he had made fun of persons who had practised Vipassana Bhavana, he should apologise to them. If he has no opportunity for seeing these persons, he must express regret for having done so, to the instructor.
3. It will be helpful, if the Yogi can say this once or twice. ' offer myself to the Buddha,' Some Yogis get frightened, as a result of seeing some apparitions, during their practice, and they can not continue their practice for some time. Many of these cases are nothing but figments of their imagination. Therefore if a Yogi has offered himself in the beginning, such incidents will not take place. Even if these do take place, the fright can be quickly controlled.
4. The Yogi should formally ask the instructor to have no restraint whatsoever to correct him if he happens to be on the wrong path.
5. After receiving instructions and before starting the practice, it will be very helpful, if he can contemplate on the following for a few moments.
a) Nibbana, which means the end of all sufferings, is good.
b) Magga, which can bring about the end of all sufferings, is also good.
c) By virtue of Vipassana Bhavana, I shall get Magga, which can bring about the end of all sufferings.
d) I am now right on the path, which the Buddhas, Pacceka Buddhas and Arahantas had passed through.
6. It will be helpful if he can think of the virtues of Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha. It will give him feelings of elation.
7. It will be helpful if he can concentrate on a corpse, which he had seen, and say to himself, "I will also die like him one day.' It will keep away sexual desires.
8. The Yogi should not forget the Brahmas and Devas also. He should do a bit of Metta Bhavana, by saying four or five times, after concentrating on them, 'May Brahmas and Devas, who are near and far away, have peace of mind'
9. When he practises, he can sit in any way he prefers. He may sit on a chair or squat on the floor.
When a Yogi practises Vipassana Bhavana, he must make constant efforts to be aware of whatever he sees, hears, smells, tastes, touches, thinks and whatever movements he makes. Since, however, he can not be aware of all these, in the beginning, before he acquires Samadhi, it will be very helpful, if he can concentrate on one particular Arammana. This Arammana must be one, that is always present and is also very easy to concentrate on. While he is concentrating on it, he will gradually acquire Samadhi. Only after he has acquired sufficient Samadhi, he can advance to the next step of having his constant awareness for whatever he sees hears, smells, tastes, touches, thinks and whatever movements he makes.
Then what is the best Arammana to start with?
Inhaling and exhaling are considered by some to be the best Arammanas to start with. Those, who find it easier to concentrate on inhaling and exhaling, may do so. However, through long experience, the Mahasi Sayadaw, who is the head of a famous Yogi Bhavana centre, in Burma, believes that rising of the abdomen, when one inhales and falling of the abdomen when one exhales, are easier Arammana than inhaling and I exhaling. The writer accepts the judgement of the Mahasi Sayadaw. '
Therefore the Yogi must concentrate on rising and falling of the abdomen. While concentrating on rising and falling, as he acquires more and more Samadhi, he will become increasingly aware of some other things, such as movements of certain parts of his body, which he had never been aware of before. This awareness of rising and falling and also of movements of his body, is called Kayanupassana Satipatthana.
As his Samadhi gains momentum, he becomes increasingly aware of feelings and his bodily reactions, such as cold, heat, aches, pains, numbness, touch etc., that give rise to one feeling or the other. This awareness of feelings and bodily reactions, that give rise to feelings, is called Vedananupassana Satipatthana.
As his Samadhi gains more and more momentum, he becomes increasingly aware of the minds that appear. If he wants to move a limb, he becomes aware of the desire to move the limb before he actually moves. As soon as a sexual desire appears, he at once knows that it is sexual desire and so on. This awareness of all kinds of minds as soon as they appear, is called Cittanapassana Satipatthana.
As his Samadhi gains more and more momentum, he becomes increasingly aware of his thoughts. In the beginning, while he is concentrating on rising and falling, his mind wanders. During that wandering, he reaches his home, meets his wife, asks her to cook a favorite dish, sits together with his wife, takes the lunch and so on. He is not aware that his mind is wandering till he finishes the "mental lunch with his wife. However, when his Samadhi becomes sufficiently strong, he is aware that his mind is wandering before he steps, as it were, on the threshold of his home. This awareness of all his thoughts as soon as they appear is called Dhammanupassana Satipatthana.
Vipassana Bhavana begins
The following is the detailed instruction given to the Yogis, by the Mahasi Sayadaw, the chief of Thar-tha-na Yeik-thar, a Yogi Bhavana Centre in Burma.
Concentrate on the abdomen. You will see, it is rising and falling. If rising and falling are not noticeable, put the palm of your hand on the abdomen for a few minutes. When you can notice rising and falling, you can take away the palm.
Then, when the abdomen rises because of inhaling, you must say mentally "Rising." When the abdomen falls because of exhaling, you must say mentally "Falling." While it is rising and falling, you must be fully aware of rising and falling, you must inhale and exhale as usual. You must not make any special effort. If you do so, you will soon be tired out.
While concentrating on rising and falling, your mind may wander away. As soon as you become aware of your thoughts, call them by their appropriate names. For example, if you are planning. say mentally. "planning, planning, planning." If you are solving a problem, say, "solving, solving, solving.' If your mind is wandering, say, "wandering, wandering, wandering." If you are meeting somebody during mental wandering, say, "meeting, meeting, meeting." If, during the mental wandering, you are talking to somebody, say, "talking, talking, talking." You must call the thoughts by their appropriate names repeatedly, till they disappear. When these thoughts disappear, concentrate on rising and falling. While concentrating on this, if you want to swallow your saliva, say, "wanting to swallow" If you swallow it, say, "swallowing." If you want to spit, say, "wanting to spit." If you spit, say, "spitting," After that, concentrate on rising and falling. While concentrating on it, if you want to bend your head, say, "wanting to bend." When you are bending, say, "bending, bending;' When you bend, bend slowly. If you want to raise your head, say, "wanting to raise," When you raise, say, "raising, raising, raising." Raise slowly. After that concentrate on rising and falling.
If a part of your body is aching because of too much sitting, concentrate on that spot and say," aching, aching, aching" slowly. The ache may disappear after some time. If, however, you want to change your position, because it grows worse, say, "wanting to change." Call all the movements of your body by their appropriate names. For example, you want to raise your leg. Then say, "wanting to raise." While you are raising it, raise slowly, while saying "raising, raising" at every movement. If you want to stretch your leg, say, "wanting to stretch." And as you stretch slowly, say, "stretching, stretching, stretching" at every movement. If you want to bend your leg, say. "wanting to bend." And as you bend slowly, say, "bending, bending" at every movement. When you want to put it down, say, "wanting to put it down." As you put it down slowly, say, "Putting down. putting down" at every movement. As you put down your leg, if a part of it touches something, say "touching." After that, concentrate on rising and falling. While you are thus concentrating, you may fell hot on a part of your body. Do as you have done in the case of aching. Make constant effort to be aware. Awareness must not cease even for a moment.
Some people may have very strange experiences. Whenever their Samadhi gains momentum, they have unbearable pains, such as pain just above the abdomen; pain in the flesh as if they have been pierced with a sharp knife; burning sensation throughout their whole body; itching as if little insects are running to and fro on their body; intense cold throughout their body. However, these unbearable pains and sensations stop as soon as they stop their efforts at awareness. And these pains come back again, as soon as their Samadhi regains momentum.
If you have similar experiences, firstly concentrate on these pains. If they do not disappear in spite of the concentration, do not pay attention to them. Just concentrate vigorously on rising and falling. Do not worry. Do not be afraid. These are not extra-ordinary pains. These are just ordinary pains. These were there even before these Yogis come to the centre. Due to lack of concentration, they were not aware of them, Some other matters in which they were interested had submerged these pains. When these interests are driven away by concentration, these pains become conspicuous. Therefore, if you come across such experiences, do not stop your Bhavana out of fright. Carry on. These pains can not endanger you. They will certainly disappear, if you persist in your Bhavana.
While concentrating on rising and falling, some people find themselves to be swinging inadvertently. If you have a similar experience, just say, "swinging, swinging", while you are concentrating on it. If, in spite of this concentration, swinging becomes wilder, either lean against a wall or lie on your bed, while concentrating on it, Swinging will disappear.
Sometimes, while you are concentrating, you may have very queer sensation from head to toe. And you get very easily frightened even by small harmless noises. This sort of thing usually happens, when your concentration becomes very good.
If, while you are concentrating, you want to drink water, say, wanting to drink water." If you want to get up from your seat, say, "wanting to get up". When you get up, you must be aware of every movement of your limbs. Concentrating on the body that slowly rises up, you must say, "rising, rising, rising"· at every movement. It you have stood up, say, standing up." If you look at the jug, say, 'looking' or seeing.' If you want to go to the jug, say, 'wanting to go.' While you are going, say, going, going at every step. Or you may say 'left, right'. You must be fully aware of every step, from raising to dropping. If you are walking slowly, say, 'Raising' when you raise your feet and say, 'dropping' when you drop your feet.
When you can master the two stages of 'raising' and 'dropping,' pick up one more stage like this. Say 'Raising' as soon as you raise your feet. Say 'Stepping' as soon as you step. And say 'Dropping' as soon as you drop. Remember three stages ... raising, stepping and dropping. You must be fully aware of these three stages. Whenever you see the jug or something else, say, 'seeing or looking'. If you stand near the jug, say, 'standing'. When you want to stretch your hands towards the glass and the jug, say, 'wanting to stretch'. When you stretch your hands slowly towards the glass or the jug, say, 'Stretching, stretching, stretching' As soon as your hands touch the glass or the jug, say, 'touching.' When you want to pour water into the glass, say,'wanting to pour'. When you pour water slowly into the glass, say, 'pouring, pouring.'
When you want to bring the glass to your mouth, say 'wanting to bring'. As you slowly bring the glass towards your mouth, say, 'bringing, bringing, bringing.' As soon as the glass touches your mouth, say, touching.' When your lips feel cold, say, cold, cold.' While you are drinking slowly, say, 'Drinking, drinking, drinking.' As water is going down the mouth and the throat, your mouth and throat feel cold. You must be fully aware of it and say all the time, 'cold, cold, cold.' When you are slowly putting back the glass or the jug, say, 'putting back, putting back.' When you want to drop your hands, say, 'wanting to drop.' When you slowly put your hands down, say, 'dropping, dropping, dropping'. If your hands touch your body, say, 'touching, touching.' If you want to turn back, say, 'wanting to turn'. When you turn slowly, say, 'turning, turning, turning'. When you walk back to your place, concentrate on the steps, just as your did when you came towards the jug. When you want to stand , say, 'wanting to stand.' While you are standing, say, 'Standing, standing, standing.' After standing there for a while, concentrate on rising and falling.
When you want to sit, say, 'wanting to sit.' When you are walking to the place where you are going to sit, concentrate on your steps as before. When you reach that place say, 'reaching.' When you turn slowly, say, 'turning, turning.' When you want to sit, say, 'wanting to sit'. When you sit slowly, say, 'sitting, sitting, sitting.' You must be fully aware of every movement of sitting. Just after you have sat, there may be some movements of your hands and legs. Say appropriately, while you are concentrating on every movement . After that concentrate on rising and falling.
It you want to sleep, say 'wanting to sleep'. When you are lying down on your bed, concentrating on every movement of your body, say 'lying, lying, lying'. When your head or body touches the pillow or bed, say 'touching'. Just after you have laid on your bed, there may be some movements of your hands and legs. While concentrating on every movement, say something appropriately. After that, concentrate on rising and falling.
While you are lying on the bed, you must be fully aware of every movement of your body: all feelings and all bodily reactions that give rise to feelings: all kinds of minds that appear: and all kinds of thoughts. When you have nothing particular to be aware of, then concentrate on rising and falling.
When you want to sleep, say 'wanting to sleep, wanting to sleep.' When your eye-lids become heavy, say 'becoming heavy, becoming heavy'. If your Samadhi is good, sleepiness may go and you may become fully awake. Then concentrating on your becoming fully awake, say ''becoming awake, becoming awake.' After that, concentrate on rising and falling. However sleepy you may be, you must not stop concentrating. It must be carried on at any cost till you finally fall asleep.
It is not possible to concentrate when you are asleep.
However, as soon as you are awake, you must be aware of it and say becoming awake. "In the beginning, it will be difficult to be aware, as soon as you are awake. If. therefore, you can not be aware of it, try to be aware of something as soon as you can. If you are thinking, you must be aware of it and say 'Thinking, thinking.' After that, concentrate on rising and falling. If you hear a certain sound, say hearing, hearing.' Then concentrate on rising and falling. You must be aware of all the movements, such as turning. bending, stretching and call each movement appropriately. If you think of the time, say 'Thinking.' If you want to get up from bed, say 'wanting to get up.' Be fully aware of all the movements that lead to your getting up from bed. As you slowly get up from bed, say getting up, getting up' while concentrating on every movement of your body. Say 'sitting, sitting' as soon as you have sat up. After that concentrate on rising and falling.
When you wash your face, when you take bath, when you answer your call of nature, you must be fully aware of everything — whatever you look at. whatever you see, whatever you hear, whatever you think, whatever you touch, whatever you pick up, whatever you do, not even excepting the cleaning of excreta with toilet paper. When you are washing your hands, you must be aware of the movements of the hands. You must be aware of the cold, if water is cold: you must be aware of the heat, if water is hot. After washing your hands, when you tidy your dress, you must be fully aware of every movement. When you come out of the bath room, concentrate on every step, as before.
When you are eating, if you see something, say "seeing, seeing." When you smash or cut or roll your food, say "smashing" or cutting' or "'rolling." When you touch your food, say touching." When you slowly bring food to your mouth, say bringing, bringing, bringing." If you bend your head, say "bending." If the food touches the mouth, say 'touching When you open your mouth, say "opening. When the food is put into the mouth, say "putting." When you close your mouth, say "closing". When you drop your hands, say "dropping, dropping." If it touches the plate, say "touching." When you raise your head, say raising." While you are chewing your food, say "chewing, chewing, chewing." If you get the taste of the food, say tasting, tasting." When you swallow, say "Swallowing, swallowing." If the food touches the throat, say "touching, touching." In this manner, try your best to be aware of everything while you are taking your food.
In the beginning, it may not be possible to be aware of everything. Do not get disappointed, if you can not concentrate properly. After you have built up Samadhi, It will be easy to concentrate on many more things than those that have been mentioned here.
(When you say something appropriately for what you are aware of, say mentally. You need not say aloud. Words, mentioned here as being appropriate, need not necessarily be taken. The Yogi may choose any words to suit his convenience. So long as the words convey to him the meaning of what he is aware of, it is correct.)
Higher form of concentration
After a few days, you will think that concentration on rising and falling has become very easy you may fell that, in addition to these two, you can put in one more Arammana to concentrate on. At that stage you have built up Samadhi to a certain extent. Therefore you naturally feel that way.
You may concentrate on your sitting posture, besides rising and falling. Then concentrating on rising, failings and sittings, you must say, "rising, falling, sitting." Just as you are fully aware of rising and falling, while you are saying, "rising, falling." you must be fully aware of sitting, while you are saying "sitting."
While you are lying on your bed, concentration should be transferred from sitting to lying. In this posture, you must say "rising, falling, lying." You must be fully aware of lying, just as you are fully aware of rising and falling.
When your samadhi becomes stronger, you may feel like adding one more Arammana for your concentration. Then you must concentrate on that part of your body, that touches the bed, besides rising, falling and lying. In this case, you must say, "rising, falling, lying, touching." You must be fully aware of all of these for -- rising, falling, lying and touching. If you are sitting on a chair, say "sitting" instead of lying.
If it suits you more, while sitting, you may say, ''rising, sitting, falling, sitting:'' and while lying, you may say "Raising, lying, falling, lying."'
While concentrating on one of the above sets of 4, if you happen to see ordinary objects such as chairs, bed, table etc., in the room, you need not be aware of these ordinary objects. Go on with concentration on one of these sets of 4. While concentrating on one of these sets, the sight of such ordinary objects can not lead your mind astray into some train of thought. However, if you intentionally look at some objects, even if they are ordinary, you must be aware of seeing them and say "seeing, or looking." After that, concentrate on one of the sets of 4.
If you see a special sight, such as a woman or a man, even if you do not look at it intentionally, you must say "seeing, seeing" many a time, before you come back to your set of 4.
In the case of the sound too, above rules apply. Do not mind ordinary sounds. Go on with your concentration on one of the sets of 4. However, if you happen to have listened intentionally, say "listening, listening" several times, before you come back to your set of 4. When you hear distinct sounds, such as singing, barking of dogs, crowing of cocks, chirping of birds, you must say "hearing, hearing" several times, before you come back to your set of 4.
If you are not aware of the fact that you are seeing of hearing, and as a result of this un-awareness, if you do not say "seeing" or "hearing," the sight or sound may lead your mind astray into some train of thought. Such train of thought of thought may give rise to greed, anger, lust etc. If, because of this un-awareness, you are thinking or planning or having lust, say some appropriate words, as soon as you become aware of any of them, before you come back to your set of 4. If you do not cut off your train of thought, by being aware of it, it is quite possible that you may find it difficult to concentrate even on your usual set of 4.
Sometimes, it may happen like this. You will suddenly stand up, for getting to make note of your desire to stand up. You suddenly pick up an object from the floor, forgetting to make note of your desire to pick it up. You lie down suddenly on your bed, forgetting to make note of your bodily movements. You remember only after you have sat, or picked up the object, or laid on the bed, that you had forgotten to make note of your desire to sit: to make note of your desire to pick up; to make note of bodily movements. As soon as you are aware that you have forgotten to make note of any of these, say "forgetting, forgetting," After that, come back to your set of 4.
In the beginning, before you acquire Samadhi, you will find this kind of concentrating in accordance with 4 Satipatthanas, uninteresting and dull. You must be fully aware of this and say "uninteresting, uninteresting" or "feeling dull, feeling dull." Sometimes, you may doubt if this kind of concentration can lead to the annihilation of all mental defilements. Be aware of these doubts and say "doubting, doubting." Sometimes you expect that soon your Samadhi will become good. Be fully aware of it and say "expecting, expecting." Sometimes you may recall in the afternoon what you had experienced in the morning. You may recall in the evening, what you had experienced in the afternoon. Be aware of it and say "recalling, recalling." If you are trying to analyse these past experiences, you must be fully ware of it and say "analysing, analysing." you may feel disappointed, if your awareness is poor. Be aware of it and say "feeling disappointed, feeling disappointed." You become happy, when awareness becomes better. Be aware of it and say "feeling happy, feeling happy." In this way, you must be fully aware of whatever mental state you have. After making note of all the mental states, Whenever they appear, go back to your set of 4.
You must be fully and constantly aware of everything from the time you become awake, till you finally fall asleep at night. You must never lapse into unawareness, even for a moment.
In the beginning, you may sometimes feel sleepy. You will be required to make great effort to keep yourself awake, every now and then. However, when your Samadhi becomes stronger, you will not feel sleepy. You will be cheerfully alert. The writer had seen a monk, who did not even have a wink for seven days and remained cheerfully alert.
In this course of instruction, 4 methods of Satipatthana are fully mentioned.
Summary of instruction.
Special note for Yogis
When sight or sound or smell or taste or touch or thought comes into contact with your eyes or ears or nose or tongue or body or mind, you must be aware of the contact at once. However, never concentrate on sight, sound or smell or taste or touch or thought. You must concentrate on the fact of your seeing or hearing or smelling or tasting or having a touch or thought. As soon as one of these arammanas come into contact with the appropriate sense organ, you must divert your attention from the Arammana to the tact of seeing etc. Outside Arammanas must be shut off from your consciousness, as far as possible, by means of constant awareness. You have been asked to say, for instance, "seeing, seeing," when you see something. While you are saying "seeing, seeing, seeing" you must be concentrating on the fact of seeing, and not on the sight. You must do likewise, in the case of other Arammanas. Your mind must stand still on your body and mind.. You must not allow it to be distracted by any outside Arammanas.
If you faithfully, earnestly and diligently follow the instruction, you will go up one stage of insight after another, till you finally reach Magga and Phala. "Insight" will be explained later on.
Can we really reach Magga and Phala through awareness?
It will be necessary to explain how you can acquire Magga and Phala only through awareness. If this is not explained, you are liable to doubt it. You are liable to doubt also if you will ever get even a glimpse or Nibbana during your lifetime. Therefore it is quite essential to explain to you how important awareness is to you, if you are in quest of Magga and Phala.
Mental defilements such as love, attachment, hatred, anger sexual desire etc., are originally nowhere in your mind. Only when eyes and sight, ears and sound, nose and smell, tongue and taste, body and touch, mind and thought, come into contact with each other, these defilements arise.
For example, let us say there is a woman in a part of the United States. Mr. A has never seen her. He has never heard of her. In fact, he does not even know that she has existed. Can Mr. A have love or attachment or hatred or sexual desire for this woman? No. only when he sees her, it she happens to be a charming lady, he will have either love or attachment or sexual desire for her. If she happens to be an ugly, arrogant, uncultured lady, he will have anger or hatred for her.
When persons are not making constant efforts to be aware, in accordance with 4 Satipatthana, whenever they see, whenever they hear, whenever they smell, whenever they taste, whenever they fell touch, whenever they think, they generally have one or the other of mental defilements. Only on very, very rare occasions they may have such benevolence as Metta, compassion, piety and so on. According to the Buddha, mind revels more in vice that in virtue.
If you concentrate on the fact of your seeing and not on the person, as soon as you see him, by saying "seeing, seeing, seeing" several times, the train of thought that always follows six Arammanas, such as sight, sound, smell, taste, touch and thought, cannot take place. if the usual train of thought can not take place, there will be nothing that will give rise to mental defilements. Therefore, either greed or anger or lust etc., does not arise at all.
In the beginning, since your Samadhi is not firm as yet, you may not be able to keep the mental defilements out completely. Your awareness of the fact, that you see something, takes place long after the train of thought had followed the sight. However, when your Samadhi becomes firm, as soon as you see a sight, the awareness of the fact of seeing is automatic. Verbal confirmation of your awareness of seeing is also automatic. Therefore the sight, or for that matter, sound, or smell or taste or touch or thought remains as it is and train of thought that usually follows arammanas, has no chance to come in. Since train of thought has no chance to come in, you do not know what you see. And since you do not know what you see, mental defilements can not arise at all.
Two or three different minds can not take place simultaneously. Only one mind can take place at a time. Therefore so long as there is mental awareness, no train of thought can take place. When there is no train of thought, there can be no mental defilements, since it is the train of thought that invariably given rise to these mental defilements.
Kindly forgive the writer, if he is found to be redundant. He is trying to emphasize one very important point here, that constant awareness can shut out mental defilements that usually arise, as a result of seeing, hearing etc.
This keeping out of the mental defilements by means of constant awareness is the 1st important point of awareness. The Buddha praised and called the person who could thus keep Out mental defilements by means of constant awareness, Tadamganibbuta. It means a person who is temporarily devoid of mental defilements.
Awareness has two other important points.
2nd important point will be dealt with now. The mind, that is constantly aware, always stands still on either the body or the mind. The mind that always stands still on either the body or the mind, can perceive Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta of body and mind. How they are perceived will be explained later on.
Let us now come to the 3rd important point. Those persons, who have constant awareness, gain one insight after another, till they finally gain Magga and Phala. The its, which they gain, are in the following order.
These insights will be explained later on.
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