BUDDHISM THEORY AND PRACTICE
U Maung Nu
Former Prime Minister of Burma Published by Mahachulalongkorn Buddhist UniversityBangkok, 1983
|Introduction||Introduction: Part One||P1 - P24|
|Introduction: Part Two||P25 - P26|
|Buddha||P27 - P29|
|Sila||P30 - P32|
|P33 - P48|
|Panna||P49 - P65|
|Experience of a Yogi||P66 - P85|
|Some Extracts from Visuddhimagga||P86 - P88|
The Most Venerable Phra Bimaladhamma, Lord Abbot of Mahadhatu Monastery and President of the Mahachulalongkorn Buddhist University, Under Royal Patronage, is completing his 80th birthday on November 8th, BE 2526 (A D 1983). The Mahachulalongkorn Buddhist University, along with his disciples and admirers, consider it appropriate to have a book published on the Dhamma in order to commemorate tile happy occasion and offer it as a taken of respect to him. It is well-known that throughout his long and eventful career, the Most Venerable Phra Bimaladhamma has devoted special interest to the practice of Buddhism. It was he who, about thirty years ago, went to Burma to observe the study of Abhidhamma (Higher Doctrine) and the practice of Vipassana Kammatthana (Insight Meditation) as prevalent in that country. Realising their advantages, upon his return to Thailand and with considerable efforts, lie introduced these two fundamental aspects of the Dhamma to the Thai Buddhists among whom they have become quite popular now.
The present book "Buddhism Theory and Practice" is a work of the Honourable U Maung Nu, former Prime Minister of Burma and an internationally known scholar of Buddhism. It was presented to the Most Venerable Phra Bimaladhamma as a mark of respect from the author and for the propagation of the Dhamma and its practice.
The Mahachulalongkorn Buddhist University takes this opportunity to congratulate the Honourable U Maung Nu for the painstaking task of bringing out this scholarly work and offering it as a Dhamma-Dana. May the pious derive benefits from this invaluable treatise and may it be beneficial to all those who seek light in the Buddha dhamma.
"Ciram titthatu Buddha-sasanam !"
November 8, 2526
During 45 years of Buddhahood, the Buddha had delivered several sermons. They are grouped into three main pairs. These three pairs are called -The Three Pitakas, which mean the three baskets.
The first part is known as the Suttas, the second is the Vinayas and the third as the Abhidhamma
(1) The Suttas
The sermons in the Suttas are mainly about (a) Dana (b) Sila and (c) Bhavana.
(a) Dana means charity. The Buddha described many forms of charity and the merits which one will gain from one's charity.
(b) Sila means control of the body from doing what is bad and control of the mouth from speaking what is bad. The Buddha also described the merits which one will gain from such controls.
(c) Bhavana means culturing of the mind to attain its goals. In Bhavana there are two different goals. The one is called Abhinna and the other is called Magga.
Abhinna is a mental faculty that gives the person who achieves it spiritual powers. Magga is also a mental faculty that can annihilate mental defilements such as greed, anger, ignorance.
Culturing of the mind to reach the first goal is called Samatha Bhavana. And culturing of the mind to reach the second is called Vipassana Bhavana
Let me first of all deal briefly with the Bhavana, namely Samatha Bhavana. Under Samatha Bhavana, the Buddha had given forty methods for culturing the mind. Out of these forty methods, some are for the attainment of ordinary mental concentration. And the others are for the attainment of extra-ordinary mental concentration. If the mind stands still on an object, for the most part of an hour, but flits about now and again, it is ordinary mental concentration. However, if the mind stands still on an object from a few hours to a few days, without flitting about even once this becomes an extra-ordinary mental concentration, called Nana, in Pali.
When one achieves Nana, the mind becomes transfixed on the object, as if it were tied tightly to the object with a strong rope or were screwed firmly.
There are 8 different kinds of Nanas. However only four will be mentioned here. The beginners will find it hard to understand the other four. The four that will be mentioned here are: -
From the point of view of mental concentration, the 2nd is stronger than the 1st, the 3rd is stronger than the 2nd and the 4th is stronger than the 3rd.
A person, who wants to achieve Abhinna, the 1st goal, must, first of all, get these four Nanas. Having got them, in order to bring the mental concentration to a very high pitch he must do some mental exercises by letting the mind jump from one Nana, to the other. For example as soon as he reaches the 4th Nana, let him abandon it and pick up the 1st Nana. After the 1st Nana, let him pick up the 4th. After the 4th let him pick up the 2nd, After the 2nd, let him pick up the 4th. After the 4th, let him pick up the 3rd. After the 3rd, let him pick up the 4th. In this way, if he can pick up any Nana, at his will, he is deemed to have mastered the Nanas. He must carry on this mental exercise, till his mastery over the Nanas becomes complete.
Having done this, if, for instance, he likes to achieve Dibba Cakkhu Abhinna, which is the second Abhinna, let him concentrate on it for a moment and say "Let me achieve Dibba Cakkhu Abhinna for about 4 or 5 times. And then let him pick up the 4th Nana. He will achieve the Dibba Cakkhu Abhinna after a few minutes. Those whose mastery over the Nana is never weakened or impaired, get any Abhinna they like to have, very quickly.
There are six different kinds of Abhinna. They are:
(1) Pubbe Nivasa Abhinna: A person, who has achieved this Abhinna, can recall any past, which may go back to some thirty or forty previous worlds.
(2) Dibba Cakkhu Abhinna: A person, who has achieved this Abhinna can see any animate being or inanimate object, in the 31 abodes of life (According to Buddhism, there are 31 abodes of life, 20 for Brahmas, 6 for Devas, 1 for Human beings and 4 for Nether beings.)
(According to Buddhism, all beings, except Arahats, are reborn after death. A person, who achieves this Abhinna, can also see in which abode of life one is reborn after one's death.)
(3) Dibba Sota Abhinna: A person, who has achieved this Abhinna, can hear any sound or voice from any abode of life.
(4) Ceto Pariya Abhinna: A person, who has achieved this Abhinna, can read any thought.
(5) Iddhi Vidhi Abhinna: A person, who has achieved this Abhinna, can create animate beings and inanimate objects. (However the beings and objects thus created are not real. Because of Abhinna, the spectators think they are real. It is some what like a magic show.)
(6) Mano Mayiddhi Abhinna: A person, who has achieved this Abhinna, can transform himself into different forms. (It is also like a magic show.)
Let me now deal with the second Bhavana, namely Vipassana Bhavana. As I have said above, the goal of Vipassana Bhavana is Magga. There are four different kinds of Magga, namely, Sotapatti Magga, Sakadagami Magga, Anagami Magga and Arahatta Magga. As soon as a person achieves Arahatta Magga, which is the fourth and final Magga, all his mental defilements become annihilated. Under Vipassana Bhavana, the Buddha had given four methods for the achievement of these Maggas. These methods are known in Buddhism as the Four Maha Sati Patthanas.
Out of the four main parts in Suttas, namely, Dana, Sila, Samatha Bhavana and Vipassana Bhavana, Dana and Sila are very superficially dealt with in this book.
Out of the forty methods given under the Samatha Bhavana, only three are mentioned.
Since, however, Magga is prized more than anything else by the Buddha, Vipassana Bhavana is dealt with more fully in this book.
Out of the three Pitakas, namely, Sutta, Vinaya and Abhidhamma, Vinaya is completely left out of this book. Vinaya is the law for the Buddhist monks. It has 227 sections.
Abhidhamma is the composition of doctrines relating to Mind, Matter, Nibbana. Some facts which are mentioned with regard to Mind and Matter in this book are taken from Abhidhamma.
Most interesting point
The writer become a Buddhist, because his parents were Buddhists. Even after he had sufficiently grown up, he was not interested in Buddhism. Only after he had studied some fundamental theories of Buddhism and practised Vipassana Bhavana, to some extent, he became genuinely interested in Buddhism. According to the Buddha, Magga is the only goal which his disciples should strive for. And those who strive for this goal strictly and honestly in accordance with the Buddha's instructions, will reach that goal during his or her lifetime, and not hereafter. The writer finds this point most interesting.
Buddhism is not comprehensible to even a great majority of Buddhist. The writer fully realizes that many will encounter difficulties when they begin to study Buddhism. Therefore Pali words are deliberately dropped wherever possible. When one comes across certain difficult words or passages, please do not get disheartened. The writer would like to ask them respectfully to carry on. Since every word or passage has been fully explained, stage by stage, the writer sincerely hopes that the reader will come to understand as he goes on.
Translation into English
The three Pitakas are in Pali. About 15 years ago, the Government of the Union of Burma, translated them into Burmese. The writer learned from some source that the Government of India also translated them into Hindi.
If the three Pitakas are translated into English, it can reach wider circles of readers throughout the world.
In Buddhism, Bhavana, the mind-culture, is the key. Without it, some fundamental facts of Buddhism can not be observed.
Therefore, those who are interested in: -
Sig: Maung Nu, 27-06-73
|* (Sayadaw passed away in 14-08-82), ** Mahasi Sasana Yeiktha, now.|
As far as the writer can find out there are seven fundamental differences between Buddhism and other religions. They are as follows.
In other religions, there is a very powerful Supreme Being He is called God or Allah or Yahowa or Vishnu, Shiva, Brahma in these religions.
This Supreme Being creates the Universe.
Since the Universe is nothing but the composition of Mind and Matter, it can be said that the Supreme Being creates Mind and Matter.
In Buddhism there is no Supreme Being that creates Mind and Matter. According to Buddhism, there are only 6 Laws of Nature, namely,
Besides these Six Laws of Nature, there is nothing in the Universe.
According to Buddhism, no one creates Mind and Matter. They are the products of these 6 Laws of Nature.
Although Pathavi, Apo, Tejo and Vayo are 4 different Laws of Nature, they are inseparable. Because of this inseparability, tiny dusts called Pa-ra-ma-nu are ceaselessly being formed. These Pa-ra-ma-nu are so tiny that they can not be seen with naked eyes. Matter is nothing but the composition of these Paramanu. However, because of the Law of Akasa, these Paramanu in any Matter do not touch each other. There is space between each of them.
A Paramanu does not last long. It disintegrates as soon as it is formed. Since, however, Paramarnu are ceaselessly being formed, in some cases matter appears to remain the same, and in other cases, matter appears to grow. The disintegration cannot be observed unless one practices Bhavana.
The speed of the formation and disintegration of a Paramanu is so very great that, within a second, the births and death of Paramanu can take place several thousand times.
As matter is nothing but the composition of 5 Laws of Nature namely Pathavi, Apo, Tejo, Vayo and Akasa, in the final analysis of the matter neither liquid nor solid nor particle nor substance will be found. There will be only these 5 Laws of Nature.
Regarding mind one should bear the following 5 points in mind.
The house, in which mind lives is somewhere in the heart. This house is called in Pali "Hadaya Vatthu"
Most people are under the impression that from birth to death all the beings have only one mind. According to Buddhism as soon as mind is born , it gives birth to another mind and dies. The mind that is born gives birth to another and dies. The speed of the births and deaths of a mind is so very great that within a second, the births and deaths can take place several thousand times.
It has been said above that both matter and mind disintegrate very quickly. However matter lasts longer than mind. The lifetime of matter is 17 times longer than that of mind.
According to Buddhism even after the death of being the process of one mind giving birth to another does not cease. That is the reason why there are rebirths after deaths.
There were innumerable worlds before this present world. No one knows when the first world was formed. And no one knows when the first beings were born. The rebirths and deaths of a being throughout immeasurable ages, were so immensely numerous that they were really beyond enumeration. Once the Buddha saw a monk weeping over the death of a beloved of his. Then the Buddha said that if the tears that the monk had shed in all his previous existences over the deaths of his beloved ones, could be stored up, these tears would be more voluminous than the water in the oceans. From this sermon of the Buddha, one can guess the immensity of births and deaths of a being throughout immeasurable ages.
So long as the Mind has defilements such as greed, anger, ignorance, this process of one mind giving birth to another will go on eternally giving use to endless rebirths and deaths. Only when the defilements are uprooted, this process will cease after death and as a result there will be no rebirth and its attendant evils such as old age, disease, death separation from beloved ones etc.
The Third Point
The Mind cannot stand by itself. It must have something to rest on. This something on which the Mind rests is called Arammana. There are six kinds of Arammanas. They are: -
Out of these six Arammanas only thought can come into touch with mind directly. The other five Arammanas have to have some other agencies in order to come into touch with the mind. The sight must have the eyes that can see, the sound must have the ears that can hear, the smell must have the nose that can smell, the taste must have the tongue that can taste, and the touch must have the body that can feel.
The thing that makes the eyes see, the ears hear, the nose smell the tongue taste and the body feet, is called in Pali, "Pasada"
The 4th Point
Mind has 4 attributes They are: -
In the Pali Texts, the 4 attributes of Mind are mentioned in the above order. However, for the benefit of the beginners, I want to change the above order as follows -
(1) Vinnana: It is the attribute that drives or pushes the mind towards the Arammanas. For example, when the sight falls on "Pasada" of the eyes, it is this attribute that drives the mind towards the sight. Similarly when the sound falls on pasada of the ears, when the smell falls on pasada of the nose, when the taste falls on the pasada of the tongue, when the touch falls on the pasada of the body, when the thought appears it is this attribute that drives the mind to the sound, smell, taste, touch and thought respectively.
Because of Vinnana, the mind comes into contact with the sight on the pasada of the eyes and only sees the sight. It has no capability to let the mind know what kind of sight it is. In the case of sound, smell, taste, touch and thought also, the mind only hears, smells tastes touches, and thinks. However, it does not know what it hears, smells, tastes, touches and thinks.
The job of the Vinnana is only to drive the mind towards the Arammanas, such as, sight, sound, smell, taste, touch and thought.
(2) Sanna - It is the attribute that memorizes and lets the mind know what it is that the mind sees, hears, smells, tastes, touches and thinks.
(3) Vedana- It is the attribute that makes the mind feel. According to Buddhism, there are 3 different kinds of feelings. They are: -
When the Arammanas, such as sight, sound, smell, taste, touch and thought come into contact with the Mind, these 4 attributes take place several thousand times, in a second. In order to illustrate the functions of these 4 attributes, the following example should be given. James, a friend of John, is walking in front of John's house. Because of Vinnana, John sees some one in front of his house. Because of Sanna, John knows that some one he sees is James, his friend. John feels glad. It is Vedana that makes John feel glad. Then John suddenly shouts, "Hello James. Won't you drop in to sip a cup of coffee? It is Sanna that makes John shout like this. If, however, James happens to be John's enemy, Vinnana will make John see some one in front of the house. Sanna will let John know that some one he sees is James, his enemy. When John knows it is his enemy James, he will be angry. This is the work of Vedana. Then he will suddenly run out of the house and knock out James. It is Sanna that makes John run after James and knock him out. From the moment when John sees James up to the moment, when the former knocks the latter out, the time will not be more than half a minute. However, even during that very short space of time, the minds that have these 4 attributes will have taken place several thousand times.
1. In every oral activity, such as talking, preaching, singing, etc.
2. In every physical activity, such as driving, boxing, running, killing, stealing, taking sexual intercourse, drinking liquor, going to church, giving alms, etc.
3. In every mental activity, such as planning, solving a problem, having faith in a religion, etc. , only these 4 attributes and nothing else, will be found.
Left to itself, the mind has no power. Only when the Arammana come into contact with it, these 4 mental attributes have got the chance to function. Only when they can function, good words or bad words, good deeds or bad deeds, good thoughts or bad thoughts can take place.
The 5th Point
In the 1st point, it has been mentioned that the mind lives in the house, called 'Hadaya Vatthu, which lies somewhere in the heart. In the 3rd point, it has been mentioned that the mind can not stand by itself, that it must have something to rest on, and that this something to rest on is called Arammana. Therefore it must be said here that the mind rests on an Arammana in the Hadaya Vatthu, which lies somewhere in the heart. This Arammana is not one of the six Arammana which one gets during ones present lifetime. It is an Arammana which one had got from one's previous lifetime. In order to distinguish it from the six Arammana which one gets during one's present lifetime, it will be called as "old Arammana". What kind of an Arammana it is, will be explained later.
When the mind is out of contact with any one of the six Arammana, it rests on the old Arammana. While it is resting on the old Arammana, it appears as if it has fallen fast asleep. Only when any of the six Arammana has fallen on the "Pasada" of the eyes, the ears, the nose, the tongue, the body and in the case of a thought Arammana, on the mind directly, the mind becomes animated and leaves the old Arammana for the new. As soon as the mind loses contact with the Arammana, it flies back to its old Arammana in the Hadaya Vatthu of the heart and has again fallen fast asleep, only to become animated again, when a new Arammana appears to shake it up. This point should be illustrated as follows.
Let us say John stares at a painting for a minute. And John believes that he sees the painting continuously without any break, during that one minute. As a matter off fact, John does not see the painting continuously, without any break, during that one minute.
While he is staring at the painting, the sight of the painting falls on the Pasada of his eyes. Since that sight is matter, it lasts as long as 17 consecutive minds only. The sight expires together with the seventeenth mind, the 1st mind being the mind that is born at the same time as the sight falls on the pasada of the eyes. The eighteenth mind, having no Arammana to rest on, flies back to its old Arammana and falls fast asleep there. Then another sight of the painting falls on the pasada of the eyes. The sight shakes up the mind, the mind becomes animated and leaves the old Arammana for the new. The sight again expires, the mind flies back to its old Arammana and falls fast asleep.
In one second, the fragmentary sights of the painting fall on the pasada of Johns eyes, several thousand times. And whenever sights fall on the pasada of John's eyes, the mind wakes up from its slumber, becomes animated and leaves the old Arammana for the new. And whenever sights expire, the mind flies back to the old Arammana and as usual, slips into a nice slumber again.
Out of the 17 minds that are from the moment a sight touches the pasada of the eyes, only one mind sees the sight. This point will be illustrated just now. Since, however, the speed with which the sights fall on the pasada of the eyes, is so immensely great that John is under the impression that he is seeing the painting continuously, without a break.
It has been mentioned above that the lifetime of matter is equal to that of 17 consecutive minds. Therefore let us see what kind of minds takes place during the lifetime of a sight
1' 2' 3' 4' 5' 6' 7' 8' 9' 10' 11' 12' 13' 14' 15' 16' 17'
The numbers shown above indicate the number of minds that take place during the lifetime of a sight. The sight is not visible, as soon as it falls on the pasada of the eyes. It becomes visible at least after a mind has expired. Sometimes, it is not visible till 2 to 11 minds have expired. It depends upon many factors, such as the size of the object sufficiency of light, the quality of the pasada of the eyes. Therefore in order to make the explanation easy, let us take it for granted here that the sight becomes visible after the expiry of the first mind.
As soon as the sight becomes visible, it shakes up the second mind. Since, however, the mind is fast asleep on the old Arammana in the Hadaya Vatthu of the heart, the second mind expires without becoming awake, after it has given birth to the third mind. The sight continues to shake up the third one. The third one also is fast asleep. Therefore, it expires without becoming awake, after giving birth to the fourth one.
The fourth one becomes fully awake. It inquires after the sight that has fallen on the pasada of the eyes.
The fifth one is the mind that sees the sight.
The sixth and the seventh consider all the facts they know about the sight.
The eighth makes decisions - the sight is good, bad, pretty, ugly, honest, treacherous and so on.
The seven minds from the ninth up to the fifteenth are called "Javanas". Sometimes only six Javanas take place. When one is near one's death, because of general weakness, only five Javanas can take place. However, there are generally seven Javanas.
What is a Javana? Unlike other minds, a Javana is a mind which impregnated with either goodness or badness, such as detachment or sensual desires generosity or covetousness, love or hatred, compassion or anger, enlightenment ignorance, piety or impiety and so on. When other minds expire, they do not leave behind anything. But when a Javana expires, it leaves behind its effect. A good Javana leaves behind good effect and a bad Javana leaves behind bad effect. The rebirths in any one of 31 abodes of beings, wealth and poverty, beauty and ugliness, intelligence and dullness, popularity and unpopularity, fame and notoriety, influence and lack of it, long life and short life, happiness and unhappiness, etc., of all beings are the works of these Javanas, and no one else. Life, according to Buddhism, is nothing but if manifestation of these Javanas in other forms. Javanas are more popularly called Buddhism as "Kamma". A good Javana is called "Kusala Kamma" and a bad Javana is called "Akusala Kamma".
In a minute, several thousand Javanas take place. So one can imagine many Javanas will have taken place during the lifetime of a being. It is not in any way possible for all these innumerable Javanas to manifest during the lifetime of a being. Some of them manifest. And those, that have manifested, are "written off". A good many that have not yet got the chance to manifest are carried forward. Throw immeasurable ages, every being has thus accumulated an inexhaustible reserve of these Javanas. The Javanas that are thus reserved are called Aprapriya-ve-da-ni-ya-Kamma. Some Javanas from this great reserve manifest themselves from time, through immeasurable ages, until finally, the fourth Magga called Arahat Magga annihilate rebirth of the being that had accumulated this great reserve.
The state of these Javanas is conditioned by the attitude of the 6th, 7th and 8th minds. If their attitude is proper, the Javanas become good Javanas or Kusala-Kamma:
If their attitude is improper, the Javanas become bad Javanas or Akusala-Kamma; example, John sees an enemy who is sick. If the 6th, 7th and 8th minds think and decides that the enemy must be loved, naturally the Javanas will become impregnated with desire for the quick recovery of the sick person. If he has only such good desire called Mano (mental) Kusala Kamma. If, because of this good desire, John prays for quick recovery of the sick man, he is deemed to have gained Vaci (verbal) Kusala Kamma, besides Mano (mental) Kusala Kamma. If, however, he does something for quick recovery of the sick person, he gains Kaya (bodily) Kusala Kamma in addition to Mano (mental) and Vaci (verbal) Kusala Kamma.
If the 6th, 7th and 8th minds think and decide that the sick person is the enemy that has caused a lot of trouble, naturally the Javanas will become impregnated with the evil desire for the quick death of the sick person. If John has only such evil desire called Mano (mental) Akusala-Kamma. It, because of this evil desire, John curses the sick person, he is deemed to have committed Vaci (verbal) Akusala-Kamma, besides Mano (mental) Akusala-Kamma. If, however, John does something for the quick death of the sick person, he has committed Kaya (bodily) Akusala-Kamma, in addition to the Mano (mental) and Vaci (verbal) Akusala-Kamma.
In Buddhism, the adoption of a proper attitude is very important. The proper attitude is called Yoniso-manasikara. One must constantly train oneself to acquire the ability to adopt this proper attitude at all times. Otherwise, one may unnecessarily commit either Mano or Vaci or Kaya Akusala-Kamma which one could have very well avoided.
The 16th and 17th minds reflect on the Jananas.
Bhavanga and Vithi
So long as minds are on the old Arammana, they are called Bhavanga Minds. Bhavanga minds are so called because they are the minds that maintain the continuity of life. The 14 minds from the 4th to the 17th are called Vithi Minds, meaning minds that take place according to plan. All the beings which have the body and the mind, have no other minds besides. Bhavanga Minds and Vithi Minds. While there are Bhavanga Minds, there are no Vithi Minds and vice versa.
Patisandhi and Cuti, the 1st and the last minds of life are also Bhavanga minds. Therefore, these three minds rest on one and the same Arammana throughout a lifetime.
We have seen how minds react in the case of sight. In the case of sound, smell, taste, touch and thought also, the minds react in the same way.
While one is listening to a song; or while one is getting a smell; or while one is chewing a mouthful; or while one is hugging one's friend; or while one is having a thought, within the space of a second, the Bhavanga minds and the Vithi minds take place several thousand times in the same way as it has been described above.
Ordinarily one cannot observe the minds slipping back to Bhavanga slumbers. However, as one achieve a higher state of mental concentration, during the course of Vipassana Bhavana, one observes that there are breaks in what he sees, hears, smells, tastes, touches.
While a being is asleep, or while he is unconscious or when an Arammana, on which minds are resting, expires, the Bhavanga Minds take place. While minds are in contact with any of the six Arammanas, Vithi minds take place.
One very interesting point should be mentioned here. Out of the 14 minds in a Vithi, only number 5 takes place on the pasada of the eyes, ears, nose, tongue and body. The rest take place in the mental house called Hadaya Vatthu. But during a Vithi, the minds leave the old Arammana and rest on the new.
Out of 14 minds in a Vithi, only 7 Javanas can be either Kusala Kamma or Akusala Kamma. The rest can be neither Kusala Kamma.
Arammana of Bhavanga Mind
It has been said above that the Bhavanga minds rest on the old Arammana. Then what kind of Arammana is the old Arammana? We know now how Vithis take place. The last one before a being expires is called Marana Sanna Vithi. After this, no other Vithi takes place. Only the last mind, which is called Cuti, takes place. When Cuti expires, the being dies. But before Cuti expires, it gives birth to a mind called Patisandhi. It is so called because it is the connecting link between the old life and the new. It is also call Jati because it is the 1st mind of the new life.
Please keep in mind the picture of the Maranasanna Vithi, followed by Cuti and Jati consecutively.
A few moments before death, several thousand Vithis have something as their thought-Arammana. Let us say, for example, that this something is the thought-Arammana of a revolver. When the Marana sanna Vithi takes place, it accepts this thought-Arammana of the revolver as its Arammana. When Cuti, the last mind takes place, it cannot accept this thought-Arammana of the revolver as its Arammana, since it is the Bhavanga mind so if slips back to its old Arammana. But when Patisandhi or Jati takes place, it accepts the thought-Arammana which had been accepted by the Maranasanna-Vithi, i. e. the thought-Arammana of the revolver. Throughout the new life, this thought-Arammana of the revolver becomes the old Arammana - the resting place of all Bhavanga Minds and Cuti, the last mind.
In other religions, there are 4 abodes of beings. They are: -
(1) Abode for God and celestial beings.
(2) Abode for Human beings.
(3) Abode for Animals.
(4) Abode for condemned sinners.
In Buddhism, there are altogether 31 abodes. They are: -
A brief explanation of these 31 abodes should be given here.
4 abodes for nether beings
The beings in these 4 abodes are very miserable. And the beings in Hell are worst of the whole lot. Compared to beings in Hell, the animals are less miserable. They have few moments to enjoy life. The Petas and Asurakayas are also very miserable. However, since they have the capability to earn Kusala Kamma if they wish they are deemed to be better off than the previous two.
Those, who kill, steal, take sexual intercourse with persons other than their wives and husbands, tell lie, drink intoxicating liquor, are generally born in one of these 4 abodes.
We know about human beings. Therefore let us proceed to the 6 abodes for the Devas.
6 abodes for the Devas
There are six abodes for the Devas They are: -
Out of these 6 abodes, the first two are linked with our world. The rest are in the sky, one being above the other, with Yama at the lowest.
The life span of Devas is wonderfully long. Even in the lowest abode, some Devas live some millions years.
Their enjoyment of sensual pleasures is frightfully excessive. Many male Devas have many hundred wives. Even the humblest have a few dozens. There are frequent cases of death due to excessive sexual indulgences. In Nimmanarati and Paranimmitavasavatti, Devas have no marriage. In Nimmanarati, Devas, both male and female, create their own lovers when they want to enjoy sexual intercourse. In Paranimmitavasavatti, the Devas, both male and female, are so powerful, that they do not create anything or any being for their pleasure. Their aids have got to do it for them.
The Devas take sexual intercourse in the same way as human beings. But unlike Men, the male devas reach the height of sexual excitement without discharging semen.
The Devas are bewithchingly charming. They look youthful throughout their life. Their food is so very delicate, that they have no need for discharging excrement.
The females do not have menses.
How are the Devas born? Are they born like human beings? No. In the case of human beings, it will be remembered that Cuti, the last mind of the old life, gives birth to another mind before it expires. That mind is known as Patisandhi, because it is the connecting link between the old life and the new. It is also known as Jati because it is the 1st mind of the new life. From the moment that his first mind takes place, till the moment when the child is born, many months have to pass by and from the moment when the child is born, till the moment when he or she attains full manhood or womanhood, many years have to pass by. This kind of birth according to Buddhism, is Samsedhaja birth.
In the case of Brahmas, Devas, Asurakaya, Petas and beings in Hell, as soon as Patisandhi or Jati, the first mind of the new life, takes place, it attains full maturity. It is transformed into a fully fledged being. This kind of birth is called the Opapatika birth.
The mansions of the Devas are very impressive. The parks and lakes are very beautiful. They all conspire together to make the Deva lands a source of ever increasing pleasure to the Devas. The lovers and the couples that stroll in the parks appear as if they are vying with a great variety of flowers that blossom gracefully in the parks. The Devas know the time of their death. Therefore when that time is approaching, in order to comfort themselves, a good many Devas visit those parks and lakes.
In the Deva Lands, there is plenty of orchestras, operas, dancing shows, various forms of entertainments, that can capture the hearts of the Devas.
It is not difficult to become Devas. Those who have given to others whatever they can, generally will be reborn after death in one of these abodes of Devas.
Those who can make a vow not to kill, not to steal, not to take sexual intercourse with persons other than their wives and husbands, not to tell lies and not to take intoxicating liquor and keep that vow even at the cost of their lives, will, generally, be reborn after death in one of these six abodes of Devas.
20 abodes for Brahmas
20 abodes for Brahmas are as follows:
Those who want to become Brahmas must practice Jhanas. A Jhana can be easily remembered as a strong concentration of mind. In this book, in the chapter on Samadhi, some methods for the attainment of Jhanas are mentioned.
There are 8 kinds of Jhanas. They are:
Those, who can retain the 1st Jhana, up to the time of Cuti, will be reborn as Brahmas in one of the three 1st Jhana abodes.
Those, who can retain the 2nd Jhana, up to the time of Cuti, will be reborn as Brahmas in one of the three 2nd Jhana abodes.
Those, who can retain the 3rd Jhana, up to the time of Cuti, will be reborn as Brahmas in one of the three 3rd Jhana abodes.
Whose, who can retain the 4th Jhana, up to the time of Cuti, will be reborn as Brahmas in one of the two 4th Jhana abodes. In these 4th Jhana abodes, besides Brahmas with body and mind, there are also Brahmas who have only body and no mind. Before they become Brahmas, they are the persons, who believe that mind is the root cause of all sufferings. With this abhorrence of mind, they practice up to the 4th Jhana. And when they die, they become mindless Brahmas. (In fact the mind is not annihilated) It is so completely repressed that it appears as if there is no mind.)
In the same group as the second 4th Jhana abodes, there are 5 abodes called Suddhavasa. The abodes are exclusively for Brahmas who have got the 3rd Magga, called Anagami Magga.
There are four abodes for Brahmas who have only mind and no body. Before they become Brahmas, they are the persons, who believe that body is the root cause of all sufferings. With this abhorrence of body, they first of all practise up to the 4th Jhana. Having got it, they take on a spiritual Arammana in lieu of the material one which they have used while they are practising up to the 4th Jhana. The second 4 Jhanas which they get after using the spiritual Arammana, are much stronger than the 4th Jhana. And when they die, they become body-less Brahmas.
Let us now say something about Brahmas, who have both body and mind. They are very peculiar beings. Their body appears to be the same as that of a male human being. Even though they have eyes, ears, nose, tongue and body, only their eyes have pasada. The rest have no pasada. It has been explained above the pasada is something which enables eyes to see, ears to hear, nose to smell, tongue to taste and body to feel. Therefore these Brahmas can see and hear only. They can not smell, taste and feel.
The reason for this is not far to find. In the previous life, while they were practising Jhanas, their sensual desires became very much repressed. As a result of his, all the pasada of eyes, ears, nose, tongue and body, which are the birth places for sensual desires, could have been obliterated. However, the pasada of only eyes and ears remain because they are quite essential for existence. Together with the 3 pasada, their genital organs have also gone.
The Brahmas have extremely delicate body. They do not eat anything. They are, for most of the time, practising Jhanas. And the ecstasy which they get on account of their Jhana, is quite sufficient to sustain them.
Among all the beings in the 31 abodes, the span of life of Brahmas is the longest. A humblest Brahma lives as long as world. Some powerful Brahmas can live as long as several thousand worlds.
What is a Cakkavala?
The 31 abodes, which has been mentioned above, constitute one Cakkavala. Such Cakkvalas are infinite throughout space.
How do they come into being?
The lifetime of a world is extremely long. One day a monk asked the Buddha how long the lifetime of a world was. The Buddha replied that it was not possible to give the answer in terms of years. Then the monk asked again whether it would not be possible to answer his question by means of an example. The Buddha said by way of an example that if a person rubbed a mountain about 12 miles high, 12 miles long and 12 miles broad, with a piece of velvet once in 100 years, the mountain might wither or disappear as a result of rubbing. The world would not have come to an end by that time. The Buddha, on the next occasion, gave a second example thus. Put mustard seeds to the full, inside the four walls which are 1-2 miles high, 12 miles long and 12 miles broad. Let a person pick one mustard seed and throw it away once in 100 years. By the time the four walls were completely empty of the mustard seeds, the world would not have come to an end. Since the, life of world is so extremely long, this life is called, in Pali, Asankheyyakappa.
When the world is about to end, another Sun, besides the original one, appears. Because of that second Sun, the rivulets and creeks dry up. After some time, the third Sun appears. Then the big rivers dry up. After some time, the fourth Sun appears. Then the big lakes dry up. After some time, the fifth Sun appears. Then oceans and seas dry up. After some time, the sixth Sun appears. Then smoke begins to rise from every object. When, after some time, the seventh Sun appears, the whole world is in flames.
Besides fire, the world is sometimes destroyed by water, sometimes by storms. When a world is to be destroyed by water, there is very heavy rainfall. The rain water is unlike ordinary water. It melts everything.
Every time Cakkavalas are destroyed, a million million Cakkavalas are destroyed together. And when they are formed, they are formed together. When Cakkavalas are destroyed by fire, all abodes up to the 1st Jhana abodes, are destroyed. When they are destroyed by water, all abodes up to the 2nd Jhana abodes are destroyed. When they are destroyed by storms, all abodes up to the 3rd Jhana abodes are destroyed.
The time taken to destroy everything of a million million Cakkavalas is as long as the lifetime of a world. So the time for destruction is also called Asankheyyakappa.
The void or the emptiness caused by the destruction last as long as the world and the destruction. Therefore the time for the void is also called Asankhyeyyakappa.
When the time for the formation of new Cakkavalas arrives, first of all, there is a very heavy rainfall. The time from this heavy rainfall, up to the time when Cakkavalas are finally formed, is as long as the world, the destruction and the void. Therefore this time for formation is also called Asankheyyakappa.
It is impossible to say when the 1st Cakkavalas were formed and destroyed. The formations and destructions of Cakkavalas, through immeasurable ages, had been innumerable.
Where have they gone to?
When the Cakkavalas are destroyed, what happens to the beings that inhabit these Cakkavalas?
When the world is approaching its end, by virtue of some of the Kusala-kamma which they have accumulated in that inexhaustible reserve called Aparapariyavedaniya-kamma, the beings in the 4 abodes are reborn, after death, as either human beings or devas. The Devas and human beings, at that time practise appropriate Jhanas. Therefore, long before the abodes they live in are destroyed, they are already reborn as Brahmas in those abodes which are not destroyed.
When new Cakkavalas are formed, some Brahmas, in those abodes that are not destroyed, are reborn, after death as Brahmas, some as Devas, some as human beings. In the beginning of the world, conditions for Samsedaja births, do not exist so the human beings in the beginning of the world have Opapatika births (Samsedaja and Opapatika births have been explained above. Please see "6 abodes for the Devas"). The human beings in the beginning of the world are more like Brahmas than human beings. They do not eat. Like Brahmas they are sustained by the Piti which they get as a result of their practice of the Jhanas. Since they do not eat, they do not have any need for discharging excreta. They do not have genital organs. Their constant practice of the Jhana have fully repressed their sexual desires.
However after some time, some of these first human beings begin to eat the cream that forms on the earth. When the cream vanishes, they eat a kind of sweet creepers. When these creepers also vanish, they eat grains. When they eat grains, the need for discharging excreta arises. Since then, the genital organs appear. Those who were males, before they became Brahmas, have male organs. Those, who were females, have female organs. As a result of the appearance of these sexual organs, sexual affinity grows Samsedaja births begin from that time.
Since the writer has, so far, no knowledge of how the animals first appear in the world, he would like to venture a guess. A Brahma, after death, cannot be reborn directly in any of the 4 abodes. Therefore, when some first human beings die, by virtue of some of their Akusala kamma which they had accumulated in that great reserve, called Aparapriyavedaniya Kamma, they are reborn as animals. Since the conditions for Samsedaja births have not yet existed in the beginning of the world, the first animals will also have Opapatika births. However, this is only a guess, which is probably untrue.
According to other religions, Heaven is eternal. All the beings in Heaven are also eternal.
Hell is eternal. All the beings in Hell are also eternal.
In Buddhism, there are neither eternal abodes nor eternal beings. Anything of anybody that comes into being must decay. According to Buddhism, the idea of an animate being or an inanimate object, lasting eternally is against Laws of Nature
In other religions, God is almighty. His power over the destiny of all His creatures is absolute. Wealth or poverty, power or powerlessness, happiness or unhappiness, long life or short life, high position or low position, in short anything that happens to all beings while they are alive, is fully conditioned in accordance with His will. And on the day of Judgement, He will send believers to Heaven and unbelievers to Hell.
The Buddha, however, had no such absolute powers over the beings. In one of the Dhammapada verses, the Buddha said, 'Engage yourself in Charity, Sila and Bhavana (for your deliverance from suffering). The Buddha can only show you the path"
According to Buddhism, rebirth in one of the abodes of life, or anything that happens to a being is fully conditioned in accordance with the Kusala Kamma or Akusala Kamma which that being had earned.
This point is clearly illustrated in the following sermon.
One day, while the Buddha was sojourning in the mango tree garden, owned by Pavarika of Nalanda, one headman, who was the son of Asivantaka, came and questioned thus. "It is said that Brahmins who live in Pissa Bumi can help people to be reborn, after death, in one of the Deva abodes. Can the Buddha, who is the Enlightened One also do likewise?" Then the Buddha said thus 'Headman, let me ask you some questions in connection with this matter. You can answer as you please. Headman, let us say a man drops a big stone into a well. After that, all the people nearby entreat the stone to come to the surface. They also pray several times so that the big stone may come to the surface. Because of these entreaties and prayers, will the stone come to the surface?''
Sir, it can not come to the surface the headman replied.
The Buddha then asked the headman another question. 'Headman, let us say again that a man drops a pot of butter or oil into the well and breaks it. If that is done, will not the broken pieces of the pot drop to the bottom of the well and the butter or the oil come up to the surface? Then let us say, the people nearby assemble and with the palms of their hands respectfully placed on their foreheads, pray several times so that the butter or the oil may sink to the bottom of the well. Because of these prayers, will the butter or oil sink to the bottom?
No Sir, the butter or oil will not sink to the bottom" the headman answered.
The Buddha continued thus. "Headman, a man is like the stone and butter or oil in these examples. If, without engaging himself in Charity, Sila and Bhavana, a man is committing Akusala Kamma, in spite of repeated prayers for his rebirth in one of the abodes of Devas, he will be reborn, after death, in Hell. If a man never keeps himself away from Charity, Sila and Bhavana, he will be reborn, after death, in one of the abodes of Devas, even though whoever may pray for his rebirth in Hell."
The following is a list of main Akusala Kamma, that can make a being to be reborn, after death, in one of the four abodes of beings and Kusala Kamma that can make a being to be reborn, after death, as either a human being or a Deva or a Brahma.
List of main Akusala Kamma
Number 1, 2, 3 and 4 are Kaya (bodily) Akusala Kamma.
Number 5 is a Vaci (verbal) Akusala Kamma.
Number 6, 7 and 8 are Mano (mental) Akusala Kamma.
List of main Kusala Kamma
Number 1 is called Dana.
Number 2 is called Sila.
Number 3 is called Bhavana.
Those, who dutifully adhere to number 1 and 2 Kusala Kamma will be reborn, after death, as either human beings or Devas.
Those, who delight in number 3 Kusala Kamma will be reborn, after death, as Brahmas.
In the matter of rebirths in 31 abodes of life, religion which one professes is immaterial. Only Kusala Kamma or Akusala Kamma, which the beings have earned are essential. Even though a person is not a Buddhist, if he never keeps himself away from Dana and Sila, he will be reborn either as a human being or Deva. Even though a person is not a Buddhist, if he can practise Jhana up to the time of his death, he will be reborn as a Brahma. And even though a person is a Buddhist, if he commits Akusala Kamma keeping himself away from either Dana, Sila or Bhavana, he will he reborn, after death, in one of the 4 abodes of beings.
According to Buddhism, everything that happens to a being while he is alive and the rebirths after his death, will be fully conditioned in accordance with his Kusala Kamma or Akusala Kamma whether he is a Buddhist or a non Buddhist.
However, if a person is interested in annihilating the mental defilements, such as greed, anger, ignorance, he is required to become a Buddhist, since faith in the Buddha, Dhamma (His teachings) and Samgha (His disciples) is one of the most essential steps for the attainment of Magga, that can annihilate the mental defilements
How does it take place?
We know now that rebirths take place in accordance with Kusala Kamma or Akusala Kamma of a being. How do they take place?
Out of many different kinds of beings, let us take the rebirth of a human being. A person, by means of deeds or words or thoughts, throughout his life, had earned innumerable Kusala Kamma and Akusala Kamma. The deeds which he had done, the words which he had spoken, the thoughts which he had conceived, more regularly than other deeds, words and thoughts, throughout his life, are called Acinnakamma. To a philanthropist, his regular charity, throughout his life, is Acinnakamma. To a man of virtue, his constant observance of Sila, throughout his life, is Acinnakamma. To a robber, his list of robbing, kidnapping and killing, throughout his life, is Acinnakamma.
When a person is on the threshold of his death, one of these Acinnakamma generally appears in the form of one of the 6 Arammanas, namely, sight, sound, smell, taste and thought. However, since a person is very weak, when he is dying mostly thought Arammanas appear at such a time.
Let me illustrate this point by means of an example. A philanthropist is dying. Out of many charities he had made throughout his life, particularly the donation of a hospital appears as a thought Arammanas. If he only remembers the fact of his donating the hospital, it is called, in Buddhism, Kammanimitta. If he sees the hospital building or medical equipments or medicines, it is called Kammanimitta. Sometimes, one of his Acinnakamma may manifest as some colours or appearances, that have some sort of relationship with the abode in which it can cause his rebirth. For example, if an Acinnakamma of his, that can cause his rebirth to take place in an abode of Devas gets the chance to manifest, it may sometimes manifest as thought Arammanas in the form of colours or objects or charming beings that are very pleasing to him. If he sees such colours or objects or beings, it is called Gatinimitta.
Let us now take a bad example. A thief is dying .Out of many evil deeds he had committed, particularly the burglary of a drug store appears as a thought Arammanas. If he remembers only the fact of his committing the burglary, it is called Kammanimitta. If he sees the steel safe or the inside of it or the instrument with which he broke open the safe it is called Kammanimitta If the Acinnakamma of his that manifests at that time is one that can cause his rebirth to take place in Hell, he may see awful flames or frightful objects or ghostly figures. If he sees such appearances, it is called Gatinimitta.
Nimitta means an omen. Kammanimitta means the fact that presages whether a good or bad rebirth is going to take place. Kammanimitta means the object that presages the kind of rebirth. Gatinimitta means anything pertaining to an abode which presages in which abode the rebirth will take place.
When a being is dying, one of these three Nimittas must inevitably appear as a thought Arammana in the mind of that being.
If a good thought Arammana appears, the Vithis will be good Vithis. The good Javanas of the good Vithis pave the way for a good Patisandhi Citta, which usually takes place in either the abode of the human beings or in one of the abodes of the Devas or in one of the abodes of the Brahmas.
If a bad thought Arammana appears, the Vithis will be bad Vithis. The bad Javanas of the bad Vithis pave the way for a bad Patisandhi Citta, which usually takes place in one of the 4 abodes of neither beings.
The Arammana that appears at the last moment of the life of a being decides the rebirth, after death, of a being. And that Arammana is nothing but a reflection of Kusala Kamma or Akusala Kamma which a being has accumulated in that great reserve called Aparapriyavedaniya Kamma.
We have now talked about ordinary deaths. What happens in the case of sudden deaths? For an example, let us take an ant. Put it on an anvil and smash it with a big hammer. Even in such a very sudden death, the process for rebirth is the same. Just before its death, one of the three Nimittas must appear that must decide its rebirth. The death is, no doubt, sudden. But the speed with which the mental process takes place is also amazingly great.
It can not be categorically said that one of Acinnakamma inevitably appears when a person is on the threshold of his death. It can only be said that one of it generally appears. A person may, during the last moment of his life, earn an entirely new Kamma which decides the kind of rebirth for him. The Kamma, which he earns during the last moment of his death is called Asannakamma meaning the Kamma that a person has earned near his death.
In fact, a solitary Asannakamma cannot be as solid and weighty as the Acinnakamma, the group of many Kamma, which a person has accumulated through sustained efforts throughout his life. However, since it takes place, at the last moment, just before death, it has influence over this rebirth. The example of a old, decrepit ox will be appropriate here. Let us say there is a cattle compound with full of strong oxen and an old, decrepit ox. The old, decrepit ox was standing just in front of the gate. As soon as the gate is open, the old decrepit ox gets out first.
For example, a man has given away much of his wealth generously. Throughout his life, he refrains from killing, stealing, taking wrongful intercourse, lying and taking alcohol. However, when he is dying, he tells the doctor to give him an injection to remove an acute pain immediately. The doctor does not give it, as the injection at that time will, in the opinion of the doctor, do more harm than good. This refusal of the doctor makes the philanthropist very furious. The furious Javanas cause his rebirth to take place in one of the 4 abodes of nether beings.
In one of the Suttas, a case, very much resembling the above example, had been mentioned.
According to the Sutta, a monk lived near the Buddha. He respectfully observed the Vinaya rules which enjoined on him to refrain from bodily and verbal sins. However, when he was dying, one of his robes, for which he had great attachment appeared as thought Arammana. Because of these bad thought Arammana, the Vithis became very bad. The "Javana" of these bad Vithis became fully impregnated with avarice. These avaricous Javana made him to be reborn as an animal.
Dana, Sila and Jhanas are not enough to prevent a being from being reborn in one of the 4 abodes of nether beings. An evil Asannakamma may unexpectedly appear. Because of this Asannakamma, bad Vithis will be formed and the Javana will become impregnated with mental defilements that can land the rebirth in one of the 4 abodes of nether beings.
Only when a person has acquired the 1st of the 4 Maggas, he is completely liberated from the rebirths in these 4 abodes, because that Magga had uprooted all the mental defilements that cause rebirth in the 4 abodes of nether beings.
Let us now take the example of a robber. When the robber is dying he gives away many dollars to his old mother. The sight of his happy mother, on receipt of the dollars, made him happy also. A few seconds before his death, the thought Arammana of his happy mother, holding dollars, overwhelm other Arammana. As a result of these thought Arammana the Vithis become very good. The Javana of the Vithis become impregnated with generosity. These generous Javana will make him to be reborn as a Deva.
Here is the case of an executioner which is mentioned in one of the Suttas. Tampadipa was an executioner in the service of King Bimbisara. He had to behead at least 2 or 3 criminals every day. One day after the retirement, he had the chance to listen to a sermon of Ayasma Sariputta, one of the two chief disciples of the Buddha. The sermon had a profound effect upon him. After it he went out to accompany. Ayasma Sariputta went to a certain place. On the way, he was gored to death by a wild bull. Since however, the sermons appeared as thought Arammana on the verge of his death, the Vithis became very good. The Javana became impregnated with piety. These pious Javanas made him to be reborn in one of the abodes of Devas.
Even though the philanthropist is reborn as an animal, because of a bad Asannakamma, that animal will be very much better off than many other animals, because of good Acinnakamma which he had accumulated during his previous existence. Let us say that the philanthropist is reborn as a dog. That dog will be a pampered dog. It will be well kept, well fed, well looked after. It will be very popular with human beings as well as animals. The Kusala Kamma which he had accumulated in that great reserve called Aparapariyavedaniyakamma will manifest in the form of good things for him, for many new existences to come, till his rebirth is annihilated by the 4th Magga called the Arahat Magga.
Let us now come to the robber, who, by a stroke of good Asannakamma is reborn as a Devas. Because of his bad Acinnakamma, which he had earned during his previous existence, he will be a poor Deva. He will be very much unpopular. His life as a Deva will be very short. The Akusala Kamma, which he had accumulated in that great reserve, will manifest in the form of bad things for him, for many many existences to come, till his rebirth is annihilated by the 4th Magga.
All the beings in the 31 abodes are reborn in one abode or the other, in accordance with their Kusala Kamma or Akusala Kamma, in the manner which is mentioned above.
In other religions, it is said the Creator had created the soul of human beings. In some religions, the soul is called Atman. During the lifetime of the Buddha, the Atman was known as Atta.
In other religions, it is taught that knowing, remembering, feeling, thinking, deciding, urging and so on, are the work of the Soul.
According to Buddhism, any creed, that accepts the Soul or the Atman or the Atta, is called the Atta creed.
No one creates Matter and Mind. Matter is formed as a result of the inseparability of 4 Laws of Nature, namely, Pathavi, Apo, Tejo and Vayo. The unending mental process takes place in accordance with Law of Mano.
Under the 1st difference, the four attributes, namely, Vinnana, Sanna, Vedana, Sankhara, had been mentioned.
1. When sight Arammana comes in to contact with mind, through the intermediary of the pasada of the eyes,
2. When sound Arammana comes into contact with mind, through the intermediary of the pasada of the ears,
3. when smell Arammana comes into contact with mind, through the intermediary of the pasada of the nose,
4. When taste Arammana comes into contact with mind, through the intermediary of the pasada of the tongue,
5. When touch Arammana comes into contact with mind, through the intermediary of the pasada of the body,
6. when thought Arammana comes into direct contact with mind, these 4 mental attributes are called into full play.
Greed, anger, pity, piety, love etc. are not always present in the mind of a being. Only when one of the 6 Arammanas come into contact with mind, greed, anger etc. appear, as a result of coming into full play of these 4 mental attributes.
Knowing, remembering, feeling, thinking, dividing etc. are not the work of the Soul of the Atman or the Atta. They are the work of these 4 mental attributes.
These 4 mental attributes are not created by anybody. These attributes are formed in accordance with the Law of Nature called Mano. The Buddha had made this point very clearly in Anattalakkhana Sutta, the second sermon which the Buddha had delivered to the five monks after He attained the Buddhahood.
It may be mentioned here that the Anattalakkhana Sutta was delivered to the five monks called Pancavagga. While the Bodhisatta (the future Buddha) was taking a very rigorous and painful course for the attainment of Buddhahood, these five monks lived together with the Bodhisatta as disciples. However, when the Bodhisatta abandoned the rigorous and painful course as being incorrect and improper, the five disciples left Him, thinking that He would never become the Buddha. After attaining Buddhahood, the Buddha went to His former disciples. When they saw Him coming from a distance, they decided among themselves that He would be given shelter, if He wanted to live with them, but He would not be treated with deference since He had abandoned the rigorous and painful course. When the Buddha told them He had attained Buddhahood, they replied that they did not believe it. Then the Buddha gave them the first sermon, named Dhamma Cakka, in which he propounded the Four Noble Truths, namely, suffering, cause of suffering, end of suffering, way to the end of suffering.
Five days after the First sermon, the Buddha gave the Second sermon, known as Anattalakkhana Sutta. By the time, Anattalakkhana Sutta was delivered to them, all of them had acquired Sottapatti Magga, through the practice of Vipassana Bhavana, under the guidance of the Buddha. During the course of Vipassana Bhavana, when their mental concentration was at its height, they very clearly perceive the fleeting nature of their body and mind. This perception gives rise to a spontaneous realization of the fact that impermanent matter and mind can cause only suffering and nothing else. This realization again led them to another spontaneous realization that matter and mind behaved in their own way, that they were impervious to any outside influences and also that they never deviated from the path set for them.
Anatta lakkhana Sutta
Questions and Answers
In order to enable the beginners to understand the above Sutta some elucidation is necessary.
In the light of these facts, will it be proper to say "matter and mind are my possessions, I am matter and mind, matter and mind are pervious to my wishes?"
These truths will be perceptible to anybody who has proper concentration of mind. Therefore make effort to perceive them through mental concentration.
If a person sees these truths, he will become gravely abhorrent of matter and mind. When such an abhorrence reaches the proper stage, the minds, that had been eternally attached, throughout immeasurable ages, to one Arammana or the other will become completely detached from the Arammanas. This complete detachment is the fatal blow to all the mental defilements. As soon as the mental defilements are annihilated, he will know: -
The doctrine of Anatta is so very deep, that even many of the Buddhists find it very difficult to accept. They accept it, under sufferance because if is the teaching of the Buddha. Many of the Buddhists believe that there is, in every human being, a leipya kaung (butterfly, if literally translated into English) it is this leipya kaung that enables the human being to know, to feel, to remember, to think, to plan, to work. Only after these Buddhists had practised Vipassana Bhavana and acquired, at least, the 1st Magga, their belief in the leipya kaung expires.
*leipya kaung: A Burmese word for 'butterfly' which is symbolic of fast moves, similar to 'soul.'
Permanent or Impermanent
Other religions say Soul is eternal. Buddhism says, the 4 mental attributes come in to being and expire several thousand times within the twinkling of an eye, within the flash of lightening.
Can or cannot order
Other religions say God commands and the soul becomes eternal. Buddhism says no one can command matter and mind to become permanent or eternal. Since Buddhism is fundamentally different from other religions which the Buddha called as Atta religions, Buddhism is known as Anatta religion.
The goal of other religions is Heaven, the abode for eternal life and eternal bliss.
The goal of Buddhism is to put a stop to rebirth.
Since God is the Supreme Being who has the absolute power to send beings to either Heaven or Hell, the adherents of those religions,
(1) Must have absolute faith in God,
(2) Must regularly worship Him and pray to Him
In Buddhism too, absolute faith in the Buddha is essential. Unless the adherents have absolute faith in the Buddha, they will not do, what the Buddha wanted them to do. The adherents must also worship Him and pray to Him as the greatest benefactor who had shown them the way to the end of sufferings. However, faith, worship and prayers are not enough for a Buddhist to reach the goal of Buddhism. He must practise Vipassana Bhavana in accordance with the instructions laid down by the Buddha. The methods for practising Vipassana Bhavana are mentioned in detail in the following chapters. Since, however, the Vipassana Bhavana is practised in order to put a stop to rebirth, the causes of rebirth should be mentioned here briefly. The causes are as follows -
1. Ditthi, 2. Vicikiccha, 3. Silabbatapramasa, 4. Kamaraga, 5. Patigha,
6. Issa, 7. Macchariya, 8. Mana, 9. Bhavaraga, 10. Avijja
They are also known as ten ropes that tie a being to rebirths. If they are to be called in one word, they can be collectively called "Tanha".
The belief that there is such a thing as a soul or an Atman or an atta or Leipya Kaung is called Ditthi.
Is it true that the Buddha is enlightened and that He is omniscient? Is it true that His teachings are capable of putting a stop to rebirth? Is it true that among His disciples there are persons who had acquired either one or the other of 4 Maggas? Such doubts are called Vicikiccha.
The belief that there are many ways to attain eternal bliss other than the Buddha's eightfold noble paths is called Silabbatapramasa.
Attachment for good sight, good sound, good smell, good taste and good touch is called Kamaraga.
Anger, fear, hatred, disappointment, evil desire to ill treat of destroy others, anxiety, sorrow, unhappiness, worries etc. are called Patigha.
Unhappiness on seeing or hearing about or reading about somebody who is better off than him is called Issa.
Unhappiness on seeing or hearing about or reading about somebody growing to reach his level in success, in beauty, in wealth, in prosperity etc. is called Macchariya.
Desire to be reborn as Devas and Brahmas is called Bhavaraga
Ignorance of the true Nature of Matter and Mind.
Who can kill them?
If there are some or all of these ten ropes, rebirths are bound to take place. Whenever there is rebirth, there will be old age, disease, death, separation from beloved ones, unhappiness, anxiety, worries etc. Only when there is no rebirth, there will be no old age, disease, death etc. Therefore those, who want to be liberated from such endless sufferings, must cut these ten ropes asunder, must smash them to pieces, must destroy them.
These mental defilements, which are also called ten ropes, can be annihilated only by 4 Maggas. Nothing else can.
The 4 Maggas are as follows: -
(1) As soon as Sotapatti Magga is acquired, 1st, 2nd and 3rd ropes will be smashed to pieces.
The person who gets this Magga is called Sotapanna. If he happened to be a person who had believed in either Soul or Atman or Atta or Leipya Kaung before, he will find, after he has got the 1st Magga, that such a belief has been completely obliterated. He will also find that he can accept the Anatta doctrine without difficulty. His belief that the Buddha's way is the only way to acquire Magga, will become confirmed. If a person has not acquired the 1st Magga, even though he is a very devout and learned priest, who had joined the order of the monks since his boyhood, he will sometimes be assailed with doubt about the Buddha, and His teachings. These doubts will vanish. They will never return because the mental defilements that engender these doubts had been uprooted by the 1st Magga.
If the Sotapanna was a very bad man before, it would be very interesting to see that, after the acquisition of 1st Magga, he can no more kill, steal, take wrongful intercourse, lie and take alcohol.
Even if the Sotapanna gives up the practice of Vipassana Bhavana, he can have, at the most, seven rebirths The 1st three ropes are the base of all mental defilements, mentioned in the Ten ropes. Therefore when the base is annihilated, the rest automatically meet their death, which shall not linger more than the seven rebirths. It is like the girdling of a tree at the base. The tree dies automatically within certain specified period. However, if the Sotapanna continues his practice of the Vipassana Bhavana, the period for completely eliminating the mental defilements can be shortened.
(2) If the sotapanna continues his practice of the Vipassana Bhavana, he can acquire the 2nd Magga, called Sakadagami Magga. He who gets the 2nd Magga is called Sakadagami. This Magga does not take away any of the seven ropes that remain. However, it weakens the remaining mental defilements. Because of this weakness of mental defilements, the Sakadagami can not have more than 2 rebirths.
(3) If the Sakadagami continues to practise, Vipassana Bhavana, he can get the 3rd Magga, called Anagami Magga .The person who gets this Magga is called Anagami.
The Anagami Magga smashes to pieces the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th ropes. Therefore an Anagami has no attachment for good sight, good sound, good smell, good taste and good touch. He has no anger, no fear and other defilements which are mentioned under 5th, 6th and 7th ropes.
He cannot have more than one birth. When he dies, he will be reborn in one of the five Sudhavasa abodes of Brahmas.
(4) If an Anagami continues to practice Vipassana Bhavana, he will get the fourth and final Magga, called Arahatta Magga. He who gets it is called Arahat. The Arahatta Magga eliminates the remaining 3 ropes namely, the 8th, 9th and 10th ropes. An Arahat is completely devoid of all mental defilements. Therefore when he dies, rebirth, with all its attendant sufferings such as old age, disease, death, separation from dear ones etc. ceases
Those, who have studied Buddhism, will have heard of the word 'Nibbana' What does it mean? The mental state, after the elimination of all defilements by the 4th Magga, is called Nibbana. The end of rebirth after the death of an Arahat is also called Nibbana. The discontinuity or cessation of the immeasurably long mental process of continuously giving birth to one mind after another, after the death of an Arahat, is also called Nibbana.
What is to be done?
What is to be done to acquire Magga?
The 1st step to gain Magga is to observe sila. If a person refrains from killing, stealing, taking wrongful intercourse, lying, taking alcohol, he is said to be observing Sila. Or, if one likes, he can be called a person with Sila.
The second step is to have Samadhi. Samadhi is nothing but mental concentration. The capability of the mind to rest on an Arammana, without flitting about, is called Samadhi. If a person acquires that capability, he can be called a person with Samadhi.
Samadhi is called by some Buddhist scholars as the microscope. Just as a scientist can see, through a microscope, many things which naked eyes can not see, a person can see, through Samadhi, the true nature of matter and mind, which naked eyes can not see.
Through the Samadhi, which a person has acquired, he must look at his body and mind. Seeing the true nature of his body and mind, is the beginning that will eventually lead him to the acquisition of Magga. Magga also called Panna. Therefore a person who gets the Magga, can be called a man with Panna.
Methods for acquiring Sila, Samadhi and Panna are mentioned, at considerable length, in the following chapters.
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