1. BIOGRAPHY OF THE SAYADAW U KUNDALABHIVAMSA
The Sayadaw was born in Waw Township, Bago District, Myanmar in 1921 to U Tha Phyo and Daw Pu. He became a samanera at the age of nine at the Waw Monastery. He studied at various learning monasteries, amongst which are the two well-known Shwe-hintha forest monastery and the Maydhini forest monastery.
He attained the title of Dhamma Lecturership in 1956, and another title of Dhamma Lecturership in 1958. On 4th January 1998, the 7th Waxing of Pyatho, 1359 M.E (the Golden Jubilee Independence Day of Myanmar) he attained a yet higher title of Dhamma Lecturenship, that of Agga Maha Kammatthanacariya, vide Union of Myanmar State Peace and Development Council Notification No. 2198.
The Sayadaw taught Buddhist Scriptures to about two hundred monks daily at the Maydhini forest monastery for twenty years. After having meditated under the tutelage of the late Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw for a year, the Sayadaw decided to teach meditation. He founded the Saddhammaransi Meditation centre in 1978. The centre is now catering to two hundred yogis daily.
The Saddhammaransi meditation centre has three branches: -
(1) Sukhapatipada Saddhammaransi meditation centre at Kyauk-kon, Yangon, founded in 1993.
(2) Vivekatawya Saddhammaransi meditation centre founded in 1994, at Nyaunglebin
(3) Khippabhinna Saddhammaransi meditation centre of Indyne, founded in 1995.
The Sayadaw is also a prolific writer and has published several Dhamma books. He is one of the chief advisory Sanghas in the main Mahasi meditation centre in Yangon. Recently he has visited Singapore, the United Kingdom, France, the United States, Australia, Japan, Thailand and Malaysia at the invitation of the devotees, to conduct meditation retreats and to give dhamma talks.
In the introduction, the Sayadaw mentioned the dual purpose of writing this book. One is to gain general knowledge by the devotees, and the other to promote their kusala merits. The readers will notice the detailed account of time and places, and also the names of the devotees in connection with sponsorship, arrangement, alm-offering, etc. The attentive perusal of the departure and the arrival time for each flight from one place to another, provides information about the gain and loss in time when travelling to the East or West. The readers may find it uninteresting to read the names of the devotees who met him at the air port, offered breakfast, and lunch, etc. The reason, why the Sayadaw mentioned these names, is to honour them and to promote their kusala merits. Upon reading their names in the book, they will be delighted and joyfully reflect upon the merits they have done. Moreover, the readers will undoubtedly be joyous to know how far the Buddha's Sasana has flourished in the world, after reading the names of the various meditation centres.
Although the Sayadaw's dhamma talks mostly dwell upon the vipassana meditation, there are some talks suitable for the young people. "The Five Benefits of the Monks' Visit" and "Reflection on the Buddha's attributes" will foster kusala mind, especially in the young people. For in stance, to reflect upon "Buddha" to succeed in study and examinations: to reflect upon"Bhagava" for success in performance, work, etc.
The Sayadaw delivered simple and straight forward dhamma discourses, so that the meditators and the devotees would easily comprehend and practise accordingly. The repetition in the Sayadaw's dhamma talks is meant to promote lasting memory of the listeners and it is also the Buddha's ways of preaching. During the discussion periods at the end of the retreat, the Sayadaw answered the questions explicitly and patiently encouraged the meditators by saying "You may realise the dhamma if you strive hard" or "since you have the four conditions, it is evident that you will attain the dhamma in this very life". From his answers, we can gauge the depth of his compassion and the extent of forhearance, the two outstanding characteristics of the Sayadaw. The illustrative one is the answer to a Ceylonese yogi on the cessation of sufferings in 3600 becomings, by one hour vipassana meditation.
The readers will find the frequent use of Pali terms, in this book, which is meant to introduce a precision of meaning that is impossible in English. It is also meant to provide an apportunity for the readers to add new Pali terms to their vocabulary.
The last and perhaps the most hopeful wish is that you may be able to tally your own experiences with the Sayadaw's dhamma discourses. For example "The Four Conditions hard to attain". If you have these and practise in depth, it can be a joyous and rapturous occassion when you realise that your experiences conform to the explanation given in the dhamma talks.
If you have not practised meditation yet, perhaps these dhamma talks can inspire you to begin now. Then wisdom, the most potent medicine, can bring you relief from the sufferings of your mind.
If anyone finds something amiss in this book, it is the sole responsibility of the translator. I offer you my best wishes and encouragement. After reading this book and practising accordingly, may you reach nibbana— the cessation of all kinds of sufferings, the highest goal.
This condensed account of Sayadaw's travel abroad has dual objectives, namely to enrich the general knowledge of the devotees and to propagate Kusala Dhamma. Daw Myo Thaint of Yangon and Daw Khin Khin Gyi of San Joes, California, arranged this trip for Sasana Abroad.
At the invitation of the London Vihara Trust, London, Sayadaw together with Dr. U Mya Aung and U Tun Kyi left Yangon by air at 8 a.m on Sunday June 5th, 1994 for Singapore. We arrived at Singapore at 12:10 p.m. (Singapore Standard time) or 10:40 a.m. Myanma Standard Time (M.S.T). U Aung Than, Daw Khin Mya Mya family, U Ne Win, Daw Than Than Sein and family, U Moe Kyaw Thoung and sister Ma Pa Lai met us at the Singapore Airport. On Wednes day June 8th 1994, Sayadaw, Dr. U Mya Aung and U Tun Kyi left Singapore for London at 11:00 pm and arrived at London on Thursday morning at 12 A.M (Singapore Standard Time) 5:55 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time (GMT}. Birmingham Sayadaw Dr. U Rewata, U Hla Myint from the Myanmar Embassy, London and the devotees from the London Vihara Trust were at the London Airport to meet Sayadaw and his team.
1. Duration of Sasana Abroad trip was two months and thirteen days.
2. Countries visited were Singapore, Britain, France, U.S.A and Japan.
3. Dhamma talks and instructions were conducted in eight places. At the London Vihara, London, beginning from June 9th Sayadaw gave one dhamma talk for the foreign yogi, and another for the Myanmar yogi, every day. The dhamma talks were followed by discussions, especially by the foreign yogi. Some of the questions and the answers were very informative for the Myanmar devotees.
On June l3rd and l4th Sayadaw discoursed on the benefits of vipassana contemplation from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Dr. U Mya Aung translated the dhamma discourse into English.
4. The Benefits of Vipassana Contemplation
The satipatthana vipassana contemplation is the most beneficial practice. The satipatthana vipassana practice gives two beneficial results, although one performs just one action contemplation. While practising satipatthana vipassana, each and every noting eradicates impurities such as lobha, dosa and moha which lead one to apaya. Moreover, each and every noting strengthens the concentration which results in the attainment of nibbana. In other words each and every noting in the satipatthana vipassana practice, closes the door to apaya and at the same time, gets closer to Nibbana. In this way, satipatthana vipassana contemplation is the most beneficial practice. How ever, at the beginning, the benefits are not so evident. Nevertheless at the middle and later stages of the practice they become apparent. The benefits at the beginning of the practice can be vividly perceived by mathematical calculation.
A meditator can make at least one noting per second. When he meditates for a minute, he has performed sixty notings and so in an hour, thirty six hundreds notings. All these notings are meritorious deeds which send one to Nibbana. With each noting. the chance for the development of greed and craving is eliminated. Thereupon, there is no clinging which in turn eradicates kamma. When there is no kamma there is no conditioning of the process of becoming. Hence, no sufferings due to old age, death, sorrow, pain, grief, despair, and lamentation. In this way all sufferings of whatsoever nature, are extinguished. The extinction of thirty-six hundreds processes of becoming and all sufferings, by one hour practice of satipatthana vipassana, in fact, is the benefit of the satipatthana vipassana contemplation.
At the end of the dhamma talk, one Ceylonese lady of London asked Sayadaw whether the dhamma on the extinction of thirty-six hundred processes of becoming and all sufferings were mentioned in the Sutta Pitaka or the Abhidhamma Pitaka. Sayadaw answered at once, "There is no direct mentioning of the extinction of all sufferings either in the Sutta Pitaka or in the Abhidhamma Pitaka. However, according to the Dependent Origination Law of causality, there is no resultant when the cause extincts, therefore thirty-six hundred processes of becoming, also extinct. That is the reason why Sayadaw said that the extinction of thirty-six hundred processes of becoming, is the benefit of the satipatthana vipassana contemplation.
Another Ceylonese gentleman of London, also put a question;"Can the Nama-rupa pariceheda Nana. and Paecaya pariggaha Nana attained in the present life, be re-attained in the next existence?"
Answer: "The vipassana wisdom attained by practising vipassana meditation in this life cannot be re-attained in the next existence. However, if one practises the correct method of vipassana meditating in the next existences, it is possible to attain the vipassana wisdom. On the other hand, if one has attained Magga and Phala Nana in this life, he will re-attain them in the next existence"
5. London to France
After the dhamma Discourses and dhamma instruction at the London Vihara for twenty one days, at the invitation of Ven. U Vijaya, Sakyamuni Sasana Yeiktha, France, Sayadaw together with U Pannasiha (London) and Dr. U Mya Aung left by air for France, at 11:30 a.m on June 30th, 1994.
Ven. U Vijaya and the yogi of Sakyamuni met Sayadaw and his team at the Orly Airport, France at 12 noon. Sayadaw and his team were driven to the Sakyamuni Meditation Center established by Vietnamese monk U Vijaya, at Montbeon village. There, Sayadaw conducted a six-day retreat beginning from July 1st.
At the discussion period, Susanta, a Vietnamese nun told Sayadaw, "While contemplating vipassana, I observe all kinds of sufferings in my body. My observation is very bad and I abhor my body and was disgusted with it." Sayadaw's answer was: At this stage of nana yogi may not be happy with the contemplation, however according to the stage of insight it is regarded as good or improvement in dhamma. At this bad stage of insight it is natural to encounter bad sufferings. To be entirely disgusted with the body is very good in the dhamma sense. "To see the body as despicable" is "viraga" in Pali, that means to be totally detached. One is liberated from sufferings (vimutta) when he is detached. The Atthakatha masters rendered viraga as Magga and vimutta as Phala and Nibbana. The detachment of the body, accordingly, is the cause for the attainment of Magga, Phala and Nibbana.
On July 2nd, 8:00 a.m to 10:00 a.m was the discussion period. The yogis and devotees of Sakyamuni held a ceremony to pay obeisance to Sayadaw after breakfast on July 3rd, Nguen Hue In, a Vietnamese yogi who had spent a month to meditate at Yangon and ten days in France, respectfully requested Sayadaw to allow her to put up a question "I am practising vipassana meditation, will I have a chance to gain noble dhamma in this very life?" Sayadaw answered briefly, "Since yogi is complete with the four conditions which are hard to attain, you can gain the noble dhamma." Afterwards, Sayadaw explained the four conditions which the questioner and the listeners of the dhamma, have in them.
(1) Though it is hard to be alive, you are living now.
(2) Though it is hard to be a human being, you are now human beings.
(3) Though it is hard to listen to the noble dhamma you are now listening to it.
(4) Though it is hard to be present during the sasana, you are enjoying it.
The second question was from a Vietnamese yogi of France. "To gain dhamma, are there any other conditions besides these four?"
Sayadaw's answer: "Yes, there are other two conditions"
(a) The satipatthana vipassana instructors and teachers must have the ability to teach the correct method to attain Magga, Phala and Nibbana.
(b) Those practising satipatthana vipassana must contemplate diligently till they attain Magga, Phala and Nibbana.
If you are complete with these two conditions you may gain the aspired dhamma. On the other hand, if one of these two conditions is not fulfilled, you may not gain the dhamma.
6. Paris to Washington D.C.
At the end of the six-day retreat at Sakyamuni Meditation Centre, France, Sayadaw together with U Pannasiha (London), Dr. U Mya Aung and Sakyamuni U Vijaya left the De Gaulle Airport, France, for Washington D.C. at 8:00 a.m, July 7th, 1994. After a stop over at London, left at 12 noon and arrived at Washington D.C. at 5:00 p.m. Sayadaw U Kelasa, Mg Tun Lin and Mg Phyo Win were waiting at the airport.
In Washington, Sayadaw resided at Sayadaw U Kelasa's Mingalarama Monastery together with Chan Myay Sayadaw and Bombay Sayadaw. On July 9th, 1994, Sayadaw gave a dhamma talk from 1:00 p.m to 2:00 p.m on "Four Conditions which are hard to gain", About twenty Myanmar devotees listened to the dhamma respectfully. On July 10th, at 1:00 p.m. Sayadaw discoursed for one hour on the four conditions for sotapanna and twenty four types of sotaponna to a group of about twenty Myanmar devotees.
Twenty four Types of Sotapanna
Sayadaw explained briefly under three headings as follows.
1. Three sotapanna according to the number of existence.
2. Two sotapannna according to predominating factors.
3. Four sotapanna according to the ways of practice.
Multiply the three sotapanna of No. (1), by the two sotapanna of No. (2) you get six sotapannna, again multiply these six sotapanna with the four sotapanna of No. (3) you get twenty four types of sotapanna. Sayadaw went on to explain the four sotapanna according to the ways of practice as follows.
When yogis practice vipassana meditation to be a Sotapanna, (1) Some have difficulties in practice and are also slow to attain dhamma.
(2) Some have difficulties in practice, however they easily gain dhamma.
(3) Some practise with no difficulties, nevertheless they are slow in gaining dhamma.
(4) Some practise without difficulties and also easily gain dhamma.
Three ways to overcome dukkha vedana
Among these four types, yogis who have difficulties and are also slow in attaining dhamma, should contemplate dukkha vedana so that pain may be experienced physically but not mentally. There are three ways of contemplating in order to overcome the dukkha vedana.
(1) Contemplation with the intention to eliminate the dukkha vedana.
(2) Contemplation with the intention to eradicate the dukkha vedana at once, that is contemplation with a harsh mind.
(3) Contemplation with the intention to discern the nature of the dukkha vedana.
(1) The contemplation with the purpose of eliminating the dukkha vedana, as a matter of fact, is the desire to be at ease or relieve from the pain. Thus there arises lobha. A person contemplates to lessen or to eradicate lobha, however, now he is developing lobha or desire to be happy. Since there arises lobha kilesa in between notings, he does not perceive dhamma. Thereupon the progress in dhamma is slackened and the attainment of dhamma is slow. That is the reason why this way of contemplating the dukkha vedana is not to be practised.
(2) The contemplation to eradicate the dukkha vedana at once involves a harsh mind. A harsh mind means dosa. Vipassana contemplation is to prohibit dosa, however, there arises kilesa (dosa) in between notings. In such a condition, it is difficult to see dhamma. If it is so, the progress in dhamma is slow and accordingly the attainment of dhamma is not to be expected. This method of eradicating the dukkha vedana also is not to be practised.
(3) The contemplation to discern the nature of the dukkha vedana is the correct method. In vipassana meditation first and foremost, it is required to discern the nature or the phenomena.
Then only the process of becoming and dissolution will be apparent. The knowledge of the process of becoming and dissolution fosters the perception of impermanence, suffering and non-self. The realization of the happiness of Nibbana is inevitable only when one has a perfect perception of the three characteristics.
Lord Buddha had admonished that one must practise so that he will suffer physically but not mentally upon encountering the dukkha vedana.
Once the Buddha was residing in a forest near Susumaragira town in the Bhagga State. At the same time Nakulapita, a rich man lived in that town. The Buddha and the rich man were father and son for the past five hundred existences. The rich man was too old and stricken with various diseases. Reflecting that this may be the last time he could see the Buddha he went to the Buddha expecting to hear a dhamma sermon, "The Exalted one, I am too old and weak, besides I suffer various diseases. I may not he strong enough to come and see you again. Therefore please bless me with a sermon."
The Buddha said, "Oh rich man, there is no one who is not stricken with disease. Whosoever said that he has no disease must be stupid and naive." Then He continued, "Oh rich man practise not to be mentally, but physically painful." The rich man went to Ashin Sariputta and told him what the Buddha had said. Thereupon Ashin Sariputta preached the Dhamma on physically as well as mentally painful and physically painful but not mentally.
Whosoever treat nama and rupa as a whole without perceiving them separately will suffer both physically and mentally. Whosoever could observe nama and rupa separately suffer only physical not mental pain.
When unbearable dukkha vedanas arise while practising vipassana meditation first and foremost you must bear in mind to be patient. There should not be anxieties such as. "Am I going to be painful like this for the whole hour." You should ponder, "Vedana naturally is painful. To note is my only duty." Yogi should relax both physically and mentally, instead of getting stiff when it becomes more painful. After relaxing both body and mind, he must fix his mind directly on the Vedana and observe the intensity of Vedana, such as "is the pain only in the flesh or skin? Is it from the nerve, bone, bone-marrow", "by noting" painful", "painful. After four or five attentive notings the yogi will experience the increasing pain. However it will decrease again after reaching the maximum. This awareness of increasing and decreasing intensity of pain is the perception of the nature of pain.
The concentration becomes strong by continuous noting and the increasing pain with each noting is more vivid. Moreover, after reaching the maximum, the pain, somehow or other, decreases with each noting. In this way the nature of pain (Vedana) is more lucid to the yogi. With successive noting the concentration is more strengthened and mature. Thereupon the yogi will find that Vedana arises and disappears by each noting. The arising is becoming and the disappearing is dissolution. When this process of be coming and dissolution is more apparent, the noting of it, overwhelms the Vedana. This is how Vedana is over come by the noting mind.
The concentration is more and more strengthened by repetitive noting and at the Bhanga Nana Stage, on noting "painful", the becoming is not vivid but only the dissolution. By virtue of the strong concentration, not only the vedana but also the noting mind dissolves when noted as "painful". Since the noting mind has overwhelmed the pain, the yogi suffers only physically but not mentally. The listeners of the dhamma are mostly vipassana yogi, hence you may have dhamma friends they would want some dhamma present. Upon their request just give this dhamma present, "Dear dhamma friend, do not let yourself suffer mentally, but only physically. You should practise not to suffer mentally."
Let us recite this motto as a dhamma gift.
Motto: To be painful physically but not mentally. Practise Satipatthana.
The listeners of the dhamma talk were so much impressed with the instruction on how to observe vedana, that they telephoned Daw Khin Khin Gyi, the sponsor of Sayadaw's trip and expressed so.
7. Washington D.C. to New York
On July 11th, 1994 at 2:00 p.m. accompanied by Dr. U Mya Aung and U Tun Kyi. Sayadaw left for New York, after two days dhamma talk at the Mingalarama monastery, Washington D.C. Sayadaw and his team arrived at the New York airport and were met by U Indaka of Lokachantha Pagoda Monastery, U Mahosadha Pandita, U Abhayalankara and the monastery donor U Han Kyu. Sayadaw gave dhamma talks to the earnest and attentive listeners on: -
The Anuggahita Sutta
Today is the seventh day of the new moon of Waso, 1356 (M.E) and the Anuggahita Sutta" from Anguttara Pali will be delivered. Anuggahita means to support the vipassana right view. The listeners of this sermon, as Buddhists, will one day practise vipassana meditation. The Buddha had admonished that vipassana right view should be supported by five dhammas while practising the vipassana meditation to attain Magga and phala. The five dhammas to support the vipassana right belief— (1) Silanuggahita (2) Sutanuggahita (3) Sakaccanuggahita (4) Samathanuggahita (5) Vipassana nuggahita supporting by sila. supporting by knowledge through listening to dhamma. supporting by dhamma discussion. supporting by samatha meditation supporting by vipassana meditation
At this point the Attakatha masters drew an analogy of planting a young tree and how the aspiration of Magga and Phala support the vipassana right view by the five supporting dhammas. In order to let the young tree grow strongly and bear desirable flowers and fruits the planters of the tree require to support the tree by:
Let us recite the following motto:
1. The planters of young trees must fence them to keep away the cattle and other animals. Similarly whosoever practises vipassana meditation must fence the vipassana right belief by sila so that it may be free from danger. If the young trees are not fenced around, cattle and other animals can destroy them. In the same manner, if not fenced around by sila the vipassana right view can be endangered by lobha, dosa and moha, the physical and verbal causes leading to the commitment of the heinous "Actions with Immediate Destiny".
Motto: Sila is likened to a fence around the young tree.
2. The planters of young trees must water them so that they will not wither but develop well. Likewise the mediators should support the vipassana right belief by the knowledge gained through listening to the dhamma. The young plants will wither and die if not watered, so also if the meditators do not support the vipassana right belief by listening to the dhamma they may not be able to note well. They will be disheartened when there is no progress or improvement in Dhamma. It is, therefore, important to support the vipassana right belief by the knowledge gained through listening to dhamma.
Motto: Knowledge is similar to watering the tree.
3. The planters of young trees have to clear the old rotten roots and cut away the grass and weeds. So also the meditators have to support the vipassana right belief by discussing dhamma. If the rotten old roots and weeds around the trees are not cut and cleared the trees will not thrive and grow well. In the same way if the meditators do not dispel their doubts or correct their wrong practice by discussion of dhamma, they will slack in discerning the dhamma followed by slow improvement and uncertain attainment of noble dhamma.
4. As the planters of young trees have to clear the insects on the trees, the meditators likewise have to repel the frequent arising of kilesa such as lobha, dosa and moha in their conscious mind by samatha meditation. The insects can destroy the trees if the latter is not cleared of the insects. In the same way if the repetitive arising kilesa such as lobha, dosa and moha were not dispelled by samatha meditation, the vipassana right view can be destroyed. That is the reason why the vipassana right view must be supported by samatha meditation.
Motto: Samatha is likened to clearing of insects.
Nowadays the vipassana meditators could not accomplish the jhana absorption which annihilates kilesa (likened to insects). They should develop the preparatory moment by reflecting the four self-guardian dhammas or samatha meditation, namely: -
Buddhanussati meditation especially dispels moha whereas metta meditation dispels dosa. Asubha meditation can expel lobha and the reflection of death repeatedly expels conceit (mana.)
Buddhanussati meditation is the repeated mindful reflection of Buddha's attributes. Buddha's attributes are incalculable so also are there power and influence. The Atthakatha masters explained that whosoever reflects on the uncountable attributes of the Exalted one will enjoy the uncountable benefits. The reflection of each of the nine attributes yields the benefits according to the meaning of the great virtues.
When in danger reflect Arahan Attribute, "Arahan—The Exalted one, indeed annihilates the kilesa (impurities)" By reflecting this the dangers and harms can be expelled.
Motto: To be free from danger must ponder on "Arahan".
When sitting for very difficult examinations or discerning things which are hard to be understood, reflect, "Sammasambuddho - Lord Buddha, indeed, is omniscient" Thus reflecting, the difficult things will be easily discerned.
Motto: To understand profoundly must ponder on 'Sammasambuddho".
When you want to be complete with sila, concentration and wisdom or to quickly gain dhamma, to rapidly improve it, reflect, Vijjacarana sampanno— Indeed, the Buddha has accomplished the three-fold knowledge, the eight kinds of knowledge and the fifteen kinds of conduct". Thus reflecting the practice of sila, concentration and wisdom will be completed.
Motto: To be complete with training must ponder on wisdom (Vijja)
When you are about to start on a journey or during the journey, to prevent danger and to reach the destination safely, reflect. Sugato— Truely, the Exalted One has journeyed to nibbana. "By reflecting Sugato attribute, you can travel harmlessly and happily, and safely arrive at the destination.
Motto: On taking a journey must ponder upon "Sugato."
To be successful at the interview or in the discussion of important matters, reflect Sugato - in fact, Lord Buddha is the speaker of right words."
So reflecting Sugato you can achieve your project with no difficulty.
Motto: To speak and achieve must ponder on Sugato."
To discuss or investigate the worldly, affairs such as social and business problems or when searching for a lost person or property, reflect, "Lokavidu—the Buddha, indeed, is the knower of the three worlds". Thus reflecting you can discern matters easily.
Motto: To be well versed in the world ponder on "Lokavidu."
When to chastise the untamed people, reflect, "Annuttaropurisa Dhammasarathi—Buddha, truly is an incomparable charioteer for the taming of untamed men, devas and animals to be tamed" This reflection will yield the benefit of uncivilized persons to become civilized when chastised.
Motto: Wishing to chastise must ponder on "Anuttaro".
Teachers while imparting knowledge, should reflect. "Satta devamanussanam - the Enlightened one, indeed is the Teacher of devas and men." This will make the students learn easily and quickly.
Motto: When imparting knowledge must ponder on Sattadevamanussanam.
If you are learning something, reflect "Buddho— 'Buddho, indeed is the Knower of the Four Noble Truths." Reflecting thus you can learn very quickly and easily.
Motto: Wishing to learn trade must ponder on Buddho.
To fulfil one's benefit as well as of others reflect. "Bhagava—Lord Buddha, truly is entirely endowed with the six great qualities of glory". Thereupon one's own as well as other's wishes are fulfilled.
Motto: Wishing to fulfil benefits reflect Bhagava.
During the explanation of the Buddha's attributes some of the dhamma listeners took down notes.
5. The planters of young trees' have to remove the webs at the tip of the trees, so also the vipassana meditators must support the vipassana right view by eradicating the arammananussaya (inherent tendency for defilements due to sensual objects.) by means of ultra-strong (balava) vipassana. This inherent tendency develops when six sense objects come into contact with the six sense-doors.
The six sense objects, namely sight, sound, odour, taste, touch and thought come into contact daily with the six sense-organs, namely eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and consciousness, just like the webs entangling tips of the young trees. With the entangled webs the young tree cannot thrive and grow well. In the same manner the vipassana right belief cannot progress if the arammananussaya kilesa, likened to the webs, are not removed by ultra strong vipassana observation. When the sense objects come into contact with the sense doors, they must be noted right away as, "seeing", "hearing", "smelling", "eating", "touching", and "thinking".
Motto: Vipassana is likened to the removal of webs.
After listening to the "Anuggahita Sutta", may the vipassana meditators, sons and daughters of good parentage, be able to support the vipassana right view developed in their disposition by
May you, accordingly, realise your aspired noble magga and phala immediately with easy practice.
Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!
8. New York to San Jose
After the three night dhamma discourse at the Loka-Chantha Pagoda Monastery, Sayadaw, Dr. U Mya Aung and U Tun Kyi left the New York Airport for San Fransico on July 15, 1994 at 10:00 a.m. Daw Khin Khin Gyi, U War Kyu, U Soe Kaw and Dr. Mg Mg Myint were at the airport to meet Sayadaw and his team. Sayadaw and his team arrived at the Tathagata meditation Center, San Jose, 25 miles away from the airport in U Khaws car. At that center, Sayadaw conducted a five-day retreat by giving dhamma talks, instructions on vipassana meditation from 1356, (M.E) 13th waxing day to 2nd waning day of Waso. About thirty yogi participated in the retreat.
Four factors for vipassana meditation
To-day July 20th is the opening day of the five day retreat at the Tathagata Meditation Center. I would like to give a few admonishment and preach on the four factors for vipassana meditation. The vipassana meditation which the listeners of dhamma and the yogi are going to practise, is the most beneficial practice for the present and future life and also for the attainment of the happiness of nibbana.
In vipassana meditation, though yogi practise just observation only, two benefits are achieved. It annihilates the kilesa such as lobha, dosa and moha which lead to apaya and on the other hand it achieves the happines of nibbana by developing mature concentration. For these reasons I exhort you to practise whenever time is available.
The meditators, first and foremost must practise to develop concentration which fosters vipassana wisdom. Ashin Kaccayana explained the four factors for the development of concentration.
(1) Cakkhumassa yatha andho—One must act as a blind person although his eye-sight is good.
(2) Sotava bhadhiroyatha—One must act as a deaf person although his hearing is good.
(3) Pannavassa yatha mugo—One must act as a dumb person although he is wise and good in speaking.
(4) Balava dubbaloriva—One must act as a weak person although he is strong and healthy.
(1) The mediators need not act like blind person in the sitting practice since they have closed their eyes. However in walking practice and general noting practice, concentration will not develop if they look around just as they do while in towns and cities. Then no vipassana wisdom establishes. For that reason they should act like a blind person though their eyesight is good.
Motto: Though eye-sight is good, should act like a blind person.
(2) If the meditators hear all kinds of sound just like in the towns and cities, concentration cannot develop. Hence no establishment of vipassana wisdom. That is the reason why a person with good hearing should act like a deaf person so as to quickly achieve vipassana wisdom.
Motto: Though good in hearing act like a deaf person
(3) When there is no special reason the mediators should not talk, since talking distract concentration. Both the speaker and the listener can lose their concentration. A five minutes' talk disturbs the concentration for ten minutes. Moreover, the recollection of the talk deters the concentration for five minutes. That is why meditators should act like a dumb person though they are wise and good in speaking.
Motto: Though good in speaking act like a dumb person.
(4) As they are strong and healthy the meditators might act and behave quickly as usual, there upon the noting mind may not be able to keep pace with the bodily movements. If the noting is not right at the present, then concentration will not develop hence no establishment of vipassana wisdom. It is, therefore essential for the meditators to act like a weak person though they are strong and healthy.
Motto: Though strong act like a weak person.
While practising vipassana meditation the bodily movements should be slow like a sick man, then only the noting mind can keep pace with them and the noting to be precisely at the present. When the noting is right at the present, concentration develops. Thereupon the nature of lightness and heaviness, that of pushing and pulling will be apparent. The vividness of nature will lead to the awareness of becoming and dissolution. This awareness will yield the knowledge of anicca (impermanence), dukkha (pain) and anatta (non-self). Then only the most aspired happiness of nibbana will be realised. That is the reason why the meditators should move about like a sick man.
The meditators, the aspirants for magga, phala and nibbana, sons and daughters of good parentage, should guard their eyes, their ears, avoid talking and act softly and slowly.
After practising according to Ashin Kaccayana's instruction may the listeners be able to immediately realise, their most aspired noble dhamma, namely magga, phala and nibbana, the extinction of all sufferings by easy practice.
Questions and answers.
Beginning from July 21st, two discussion periods were allotted: 9:00 a.m to 11:00 a.m in the morning and 2:00 p.m to 3:00 p.m in the afternoon for every day. Dr. U Mya Aung translated into English for the American and Vietnamese yogi. Some significant questions and answers are mentioned here.
Ashin Nandacara (Vietnamese): I can sit two and half hours continuously. At that time, my bent left leg stretched out automatically. The same thing happened to the bent right leg. Afterwards they bent back by them selves. The hands also stretched out and bent again automatically. Is it in accordance with the dhamma?
Sayadaw, Yes, it is the nature of dhamma. At this stage of insight, the other yogi like Ashin Nandacara, found their legs and arms stretch and bend automatically. This is due to Ubbega Piti (up lifting joy) Many strange things happen. When the concentration is good the body is elevated. Some time legs and hands are raised in different forms as if dancing. Without fear, note these various behaviour attentively and penetratively as "stretching", "stretching" or "bending bending" accordingly as it happened. Bend your mind towards the dissolution of these various behaviour.
Ashin Sujata (Vietnamese): In walking practice I make three notings in each step as "lifting", "pushing" and "putting down". When lifting I'm aware of the lightness, in pushing the awareness of moving, in putting down the awareness of heaviness. Is it dhamma?
Sayadaw, The awareness of lightness, pushing and heaviness is the perception of dhamma. The awareness of lightness and pushing is the perception of the elements of heat (tejo) and motion (vayo) whereas the awareness of heaviness is the perception of the elements of earth (pathavi) and cohesion. (apo)
Ashin Soon (Vietnamese): During the sitting practice I noticed the successive stage in "rising" and "falling". Moreover there is stopping at the end of "rising" and "falling". Is it the correct dhamma?
Sayadaw: Yes, it is correct. By dint of strong concentration the successive stages of "rising" and "falling" become apparent. The awareness of the stopping at the end of "rising" and "falling" is the beginning of perceiving the nature of dissolution and that there is "falling" only after the dissolution of "rising", the rising after the dissolution of "falling". The discontinuity of "rising" and "falling" is also noted.
Mr. Arthur Hin (American): On July 23rd the noting of "rising", and "falling" was better then before. When my mind wandered off, I can immediately note it and the wandering mind disappeared. Is that the correct dhamma?"
Sayadaw: It is due to the improvement in observation. That you could note the wandering mind immediately and that it disappears on noting it. It can be said that you have attained the Bhanga Nana Stage, where the dissolution is more vivid.
Daw Lanug Chan (Chinese) (45 years old): I can contemplate the dukkha vedana in my rupa (body) but not those of nama (mind). Moreover, I can perceive ultimate reality and conventional reality separately in my body, however not that of the mind.
Sayadaw: You will be able to observe the dukkha vedana of your mind when your observation is strong. It will be so by noting in succession. You need to practice, with special attention to note the general bodily action. It is perfect to differentiate ultimate reality and conventional reality in the body, how ever you cannot do so with the mind since it is an ultimate realty itself.
The Closing dhamma discourse
On July 24th the closing of the 5 days retreat at the Tathagata mediation Centre, San Jose, Sayadaw delivered a closing dhamma discourse. Dr. U Mya Aung translated into English, while U Virapanno, Vietnamese monk translated into Vietnamese.
As vipassana dhamma flourishes nowadays, the meditation retreat centres were conducted in many places, some for ten days, some for seven days and others for five days. At the end of the retreat, it is a usual practice for the Sayadaws and the monks to give a closing dhamma talk. At the Tathagata Meditation Centre, San Jose, California U.S.A., a five day retreat (20th to 24th July) was conducted and led by Saddhammaransi Sayadaw. On July 24th the closing ceremony was held from 4:00 p.m to 5:30 p.m, where Sayadaw delivered the closing dhamma discourse as requested by the yogi and the devotees. It consists of three parts.
1. To rejoice at the vipassana meditation practice which last for five days.
2. Not to stop contemplating without reaching the destination.
3. To continue noting the general activities.
1. To rejoice by reflecting, "We, indeed, have practised the vipassana meditation which Buddhas, Silent-Buddhas and arahats have practised and realized nibbana. Indeed, we have followed the path trodden by Buddha, Silent Buddha and arahats. It is evident that one day we too will realise nibbana like Buddha, Silent-Buddha and arahats." The vipassana meditation is the most beneficial practice, therefore if you want to make the best use of your extra time, practise satipatthana vipassana. In satipatthana practice, the only work is to observe, however, two benefits are gained. One benefit is the elimination of lobha, dosa and moha which send one to apaya and the other one is the strengthening of concentration which leads to the attainment of the happiness of nibbana. By virtue of satipatthana practice each and every noting keeps away the sufferings in apaya and makes nibbana to be nearer and nearer. It is beneficial because it can fulfil our aspiration, we make every time we perform kusala deeds, such as "May we be free from the danger of apaya. May we attain nibbana speedily" For these reasons you should rejoice at the vipassana meditation. The satipatthana vipassana meditators can make at least one noting per second, sixty notings per minute and thirty-six hundred per hour. The average total noting hour per day is about fourteen hours, therefore during five days the total hours of noting is seventy hours. Thus there are two hundred and fifty two thousands notings in five days. These are the kusala deeds which will lead to the happiness of nibbana. That is the reason why it is to rejoice at the vipassana meditation practice.
2. After leaving the meditation centre at the end of the five day retreat when you do not continue noting, your time will be used up by worldly affairs. Thereupon you would lose the noble dhamma which you should gain in this life. It is, therefore, advisable not to stop noting till the destination is reached. The Atthakatha masters explained "antaraca abyosanena" meaning, "before reaching the end, that is magga, phala and nibbana, one should not discontinue noting."
Motto: Do not surrender half-way, continue till you reach the destination.
There are four conditions which are difficult to attain:
Nevertheless in the very present life you are a man, you are alive, you can listen to the noble dhamma and lastly you exist in the presence of Buddhas Sasana. Consequently you can attain or reach the ultimate goal, that is magga, phala and nibbana. Accordingly you should continue noting even though you are not at the meditation center. The ultimate goal for the yogi and the listeners of dhamma are:—
(1) The nibbana which can be realised by sotapatti magga nana and sotapatti phala nana.
(ii) The nibbana which can be realised by sakadagami magga nana and sakadagami phala nana.
(iii) The nibbana which can be realized by anagami magga nana and anagami phala nana.
(iv) The nibbana which can be realized by arahatta magga nana and arahatta phala nana. Out of these four ultimate goals, you should strive at least to gain the nibbana by means of sotapatti magga nana and sotapatti phala nana.
3. At the end of the five day retreat when you go home you should continue to note the bodily actions or general notings in walking, standing, sitting and lying down, which will lead you to the ultimate goal, nibbana. The general noting is the sampajanna noting as pointed out by Lord Buddha. Sampajanna means the noting of the various bodily actions while walking, standing, sitting and lying down so as to understand them rightly.
"Abhikkante patikante sampajanakari hoti"
The Buddha first and foremost instructed us to note the forward and backward moving bodily actions so as to know them rightly. The forward and backward moving bodily actions are;—
(a) The forward and backward moving bodily actions are more distinct in the walking practice. Noting 'lifting', 'pushing', 'dropping', you walk foreword, that is the forward moving bodily action. At the end of the corridor you turn around that is the backward moving bodily action. While noting 'lifting', 'pushing', 'dropping' according to sampajanna noting it is to note the bodily actions. However the Exalted One had allowed us to note whatever was more apparent. While noting 'lifting', 'pushing', 'dropping', the forward bodily actions performed and at the end of the corridor you stop for a while and turn back. That is the backward bodily action. At that moment if you are more attentive you will notice the intention to turn back. Then note 'intend to turn, 'intend to turn' when the body begins to turn around the bodily actions are made, then only note 'turning', 'turning'. Two stages of insight are achieved when the intention to turn around is perceived. The intention to turn is the conscious mind, nama and the turning bodily action is the unconscious corporeality, rupa. This distinction of nama and rupa is the Namarupa pariccheda Nana. The bodily turning actions are performed due to the intention to turn. The intention to turn is the conscious mind, and the cause of turning action. The turning action is the effect of the intention. Thus the Paccaya pariggaha Nana, the knowledge of differentiating the cause and effect. Thus two stages of nana is attained.
(b) The forward moving action while standing is apparent in bending down movement and the backward moving action in straightening up movement. The intention to bend can be clearly perceived if you are mindful when you have to bend down to do something. Thereupon note 'intend to bend' 'intend to bend'. When the body bends then note 'bending', 'bending'. The noting mind is consciousness, therefore it is nama, the bent body is the corporeality, therefore it is rupa. The Namarupa paraccheda Nana is achieved. The intention to bend is the cause and the bending action is the effect. The knowledge of distinction between cause and effect, Paccaya pariggaha Nana is attained.
When things are done, you want to straighten up. If you are mindful you will be aware of the intention to straighten up. Then note 'intend to straighten up', 'intend to straighten up'. When the actual bodily straightening action appears, note 'straightening up', 'straightening up'. The intention to straighten up is the conscious mind, nama and the straightening body is the corporeality rupa. The Namarupa parriccheda Nana is achieved. The intention is the cause and the actual bodily action is the effect. Thus you gain the Paccaya pariggaha Nana.
(c) The forward and backward movement in Sitting is more lucid in paying homage to the Buddha. Before bending to pay homage if you are mindful you will be aware of the intention to bend, Then note 'intend to bend', 'intend to bend'. When the actual bending, (the forward movement), occurs note 'bending', 'bending'. When the Paying homage behaviour is performed note 'paying homage', 'paying homage'. The intention to homage is the conscious mind, nama and the behaviour to pay homage is the corporeality rupa.
Thereupon the Nama-rupa pariccheda Nana is attained. The intention to pay homage is the cause and the actual paying homage action is the effect. Thus the Paccaya pariggaha Nana is attained.
After paying homage, if you are attentive, you will be aware of the intention to straighten up. Then note, 'intend to straighten up', 'intend to straighten up'. When the straightening up action appears note 'straightening' 'straightening'. The Nama-rupa pariccheda Nana is reached when the distinction between the intention, the conscious mind, nama and the straightening body, the corporeality, rupa is discerned. The Paccaya pariggaha Nana is achieved when the intention to straighten and the straightening bodily action are differentiated as the cause and effect.
(d) The forward moving action in lying down is the behaviour of lying down from the sitting posture. The backward moving action in lying down is the behaviour of getting up. When you are about to lie down from the siting posture, the intention to lie down will be apparent if you are mindful. Then note 'intend to lie down', 'intend to lie down'. When the lowering behaviour of the body happens then note 'lying down', 'lying down'.
The Namarupa pariccheda Nana is attained when you notice the intention as the conscious mind, nama and the bodily action as the corporeality rupa. Moreover, you gain the Paccaya pariggaha Nana when the cause (i.e. the intention to lie down) and the effect (the bodily action) are separately understood.
After lying down you want to get up. The intention to get up will be lucid if you are mindful. Then note 'intend to get up', 'intend to get up'. When the body is raised then note 'getting up', 'getting up'. The Nama-rupa pariccheda Nana is achieved when you perceive the intention, the conscious mind as nana and the bodily action as matter, rupa. When you discern the intention as the cause and the bodily action as the effect, you certainly have reached the Paccaya pariggaha Nana.
The attainment of Namarupa pariccheda Nana and Paccaya pariggaha Nana by contemplating the intention to move forward backward and so on, will yield the benefit of a rebirth in desirable existence such as human world and celestial realm. The Atthakatha masters claim this as Cula Sotapanna, a junior sotapanna.
After meditations for five days at the Tathagata Meditation Center, you have listened to the dhamma talk on (1) To rejoice (2) To continue the contemplation, and (3) To note the general bodily actions. May you be capable of practising accordingly and, speedily realise your most aspired noble dhamma, Nibbana, the cessation of sufferings of whatsoever nature by easy practice.
Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!
On July 28th Sayadaw and Dr. U Mya Aung left San Fransico Airport at 2:40 p.m for Chicago and arrived there at 5:40 p.m. Sayadaw U Kesava (Myanmar Monastery), U Vijaya, U Dhammapiya, Daw May Kyi Win and other devotees met Sayadaw at the Chicago airport.
It was learnt that meditation retreat had never been conducted at the Chicago Myanma Monastery before. The success of the Chicago retreat was due to the ardent organisation of Daw May Kyi Win and her associates and the donors of the monastery.
Chicago Myanmar Monastery Retreat Programme
July 28th-29th", 7—9, Evening, Dhamma Courses
8—10: Instruction on Meditation, Practice and meditation
1—2: The rejoiceful dhamma on Alms food dana
2—3: Sitting Practice
4—5: Sitting Practice
5—6: Walking Practice
7—8: Sitting Practice
8—9: Dhamma Talk
July 31st, Morning , 8 —10: Meditation
This very life, a noble one
On July 29th" from 8:00 p.m to 9:30 p.m. the dhamma discourse about "The Four Conditions hard to attain" was delivered to a group of about twenty-five to thirty devotees, including two Americans. At the end of the dhamma discourse, some of the listeners respectfully informed Sayadaw that it was a beneficial one.
The title of this evening dhamma talk is 'This very life, a noble one." According to the Anamatagga Sutta, this very life is the most noble one out of the incalculable past that you have lived. Why is it so?
In your uncountable past existences you may have lived in a hundred thousands years long life-span or thousand-thousands years long life span. So the long life-span is not the main factor for the most noble life. Is it the richness and wealth you have in this very life? In your un countable past existences you were many a time billionaire. So it is not the factor of wealth. Is it the power and influence you have now? In your uncountable past existences you may have been a more powerful monarch or the monarch of all the universes. Therefore it is not the factor of power. You have passed through many existences be tween now and then, consequently you are unable to remember that you have lived that long life, that you were so rich and that you have been so great and influential.
The reason why this very life is the most noble one, is because in this very life you can listen to the noble dhamma which closes the door to apaya and enables you to realize nibbana. This is so, because you have the four conditions which are hard to achieve. The dhamma on these four conditions was preached by the Buddha at one time on the way to the Sanga River, under one of the seven big rain trees in connection with Erakapatta dragon.
The four conditions are:
The door to apaya will be closed, you will realise nibbana and gain the noble dhamma if you practise satipatthana vipassana meditation under the right guidance. Since you have these four condition thereupon the present life that you are living is the most noble one. The Buddha preached the Nakhasika Sutta (Earth dust on the Buddha's thumb nail) to explain how it is difficult to be a human being.
Once Buddha was residing at the Jetavana monastery, Savatthi. One day the congregation of monks and the devotees were waiting to listen to the dhamma talk and as there was no time for a dhamma talk, the Buddha put some earth dust on His thumb nail and asked, "Oh, monks, what would you say comparing the earth dust on My thumb nail and that of the Earth, which is greater?" "Your most Ven. Sir, the amount of earth dust on the nail is much too little compared to that of the Earth which is much too much", replied the monks. Thereupon the Exalted One pointed out, "My good sons, the chance to be a human being can be compared to the earth dust on my nail. The number of people reborn as human beings after passing away from the human world can also be comparable to the dust on the nail. On the other hand, the number of people reborn in apaya after passing away from the human world is comparable to the amount of dust on the Earth." Thus the Buddha made it vivid how difficult it is to attain human life. Now the audience of this dhamma talk have learnt how difficult it is for one to be a human being. Accordingly, you should strive earnestly to practise satipatthana meditation. The most Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw composed the following mottos to exhort the dhamma listeners and the future generation.
As there was not enough time to deliver a dhamma discourse, the Buddha continued, "You have gained a human life which is very difficult to attain. The chance to be a human being is as little as the earth dust on the nail. Since you are now in the presence of My Sasana, you should not forget', 'you should not forget', 'Practise ardently.' Does the statement 'you should not forget' means that the Buddha was reminding us not to forget to enjoy the pleasurable life of man, devas and brahmas, after performing sila, dana and samatha? No, your Ven. Sir, Lord Buddha, in fact, meant to remind the dhamma listeners as well as all beings, beginning from this very life, not to forget to practise Satipatthana vipassana which closes the door to apaya, liberates one from all sufferings of existences and provides the bliss of nibbana.
The reason why this simple statement 'Should not forget' is interpreted as to remind the dhamma listeners and all beings not to forget to practise satipatthana vipassana which sets them free from the sufferings of existences and leads to the happiness of nibbana is: That the Buddhawouldbe underwent four incalculables and a hundred thousand worlds to complete the perfections of parami (purification) without regard for his body and life. This sacrifice does not aim for the dhamma listeners and all beings to enjoy the sensual pleasures of men, devas and brahmas.
Thus, the one and only aim of this great sacrifice in His completion of purification during the four incalculables and a hundred thousand worlds, with no regard for his body and life is, beginning from this very life, to liberate the dhamma listeners and all beings from apaya, to set them free from all sufferings of existences and to take them to nibbana. Accordingly the listeners of dhamma are now practising satipatthana vipassana whenever time is available.
During His life-time, the Buddha's wish for all beings was not only to become a sotapanna, a sakadagami, or an anagam but to become an arahant. As there were more people with mature parami, in the Buddha's lifetime, many aspired and strove for the attainment of arahatship. How ever, nowadays in the later part of Sasana, there are less people with mature parami and there may be few who aspire for arahatship. Anyhow, there are aspirants at least for sotapanna. While living as a man in the presence of Buddha sasana, should you not practise at least to be a sotapanna by attaining the insight which can close the door to apaya? (Yes, Your Ven. Sir, we should).
Our Benefactor Mahasi Sayadaw, Vebu Sayadaw, Toung-pu-lu Sayadaw and many such compassionate Sayadaws exhort their close devotees, 'Practise, practise vipassana while you are in the (Buddha's) sasana, at least to be a sotapanna who is free from the sufferings of apaya and to whom the door to apaya is closed". The great Sayadaws' admonishments mean that it is possible to be a sotapanna in these days. You are, accord ingly practising at present. Our benefactor Mahasi Sayadaw gently advised us with the following motto.
Lord Buddha frequently exhorted not to miss the golden opportunity of the sasana and to practise to attain, at least, the stage of nana which closes the door to apaya "If you fail to seize this golden opportunity and do not practise dhamma, the consequences are that whoever misses the sasana will be reborn in apaya, and repeatddly suffer anxieties and miseries." Thus the Buddha advised with great compassion.
Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!
Not to suffer as mentioned above, while living in the presence of Sasana, everyone should exert to practise earnestly and intelligently. When there is an opportunity to be a sotapanna, a boat which can carry one to the other side of the samsara, nibbana, cessation of worries, every one should strive to attain that magga. This is the Buddha's admonishment.
With his sublime wisdom the Buddha clearly knew how difficult it was for a man to be alive. The listener of dhamma will also realise it, if you think deeply. The Buddha preached that a man should do what he should do to-day, because he clearly perceived the fact that a man may be alive to-day, nevertheless it is not sure for tomorrow. Accordingly Mahasi Sayadaw composed the following motto:
In the Bhaddekaratta Sutta, the Exalted One has expounded that a man who was alive to-day may not be so tomorrow. Why? "Death" has ninety-six various diseases in our body as his internal armies; and knives, guns, poison and such are his external forces. We cannot bribe him to let us live one, two or three years, more, or one, two or three days longer. Moreover we cannot make friends with him nor recruit armies strong enough to defeat him. For these reasons though we live to-day, tomorrow is not sure for us. Consequently we must observe sila, practise samatha and vipassana right to-day. The Buddha said if you had a chance to practise vipassana which liberates you from apaya, do it right now. The following motto is composed by Mahasi Sayadaw
3. It is not an easy one to listen to the noble 5 vipassana dhamma instructed rightly how to practise to attain magga, phala and nibbana. The dhamma listeners have heard the various dhamma on dana, sila and samatha without difficulties. Even in the absence of sasana you can listen to such dhamma. The reason why you do not remember them is because you have gone through many existences between now and then. The satipatthana vipassana dhammas were not heard in the absence of sasana since there was no one to preach it. Even in the presence of sasana a few years ago, people were quite satisfied with dhamma on dana, sila and samatha as it was the time for dana, sila and samatha. People were also elated with the titles such as donors of pagodas, and monasteries. At that time, it was difficult to listen to satipatthana vipassana dhamma as the great sayadaws and samghas were more concerned with the conduct (sila) and contented with the purity of sila. However, they did not preach the dhamma on Satipatthana vipassana. The devotees revered them too for their purity in sila. As it is the opportune time for the satipatthana vipassana, you all can listen to the dhamma on satipatthana vipassana. On the other hand, for those who have no basic purification (parami), it is hard for them to listen to satipatthana vipassana dhamma even in the presence of Sasana. Mahasi Sayadaw has composed the following motto.
4. It is also difficult to be in the presence of the Sasana which exists only when there is enlightenment of Buddha. To be an Enlightened One, the would -be-Buddha has to undergo four incalculable and a hundred thousand worlds, eight incalculable and a hundred thousand worlds, or sixteen incalculable and a hundred thousands Worlds, with no regard for his body and life in order to fulfil the parami. The number of worlds without an enlightened Buddha is far greater, in comparison with that of the worlds where there is an enlightened Buddha. That is the reason why it is hard to be in the presence of Sasana. You exist in the presence of Sasana since you have fulfilled, to a certain extent, the special parami in your numerous past existences. Accordingly, should you not strive, at least to be a Sotapanna which saves you from apaya? (Your Ven. Sir, We should)
It is also difficult to be complete with the already discussed four conditions.
It is not possible to be complete with these four conditions even if you have lived many incalculable existences. However, you have this opportunity in this very life because of your special kusala and parami.
Lord Buddha expounded this dhamma on the four conditions to make people realise that they can achieve the noble magga by practising vipassana dhamma under the correct guidance, if these four conditions are complete for them. The Benefactor Mahasi Sayadaw has accordingly composed the motto to exhort the devotees and the coming generation to practise vipassana in order to become, at least, an apaya-door closing Sotapanna.
I believe that you are now quite sure that in this present existence you can gain the noble dhamma, you can prevent apaya and attain nibbana Are you sure? (Yes, your Ven. Sir). If it is so, you need to practise the correct Satipatthana vipassana. I will give you a brief account of how to practise Satipatthana vipassana correctly. Here are three types of practice.
28th Septeber 2000
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