Discourse on the Sermon
SAMMA PARIBBAJANIYA SUTTA
VENERABLE MAHASI SAYADAW
2. The Question
3. Answer Number One
4. Discard All Secular Mangala
5. Mangalas That should Be Discarded
6. Dittha Mangala
7. A Brief Story Of Dittha Mangalika
8. Suta Mangala
10. Choosing Auspicious Days is Useless
11. Dispelling Wrong Belief is Important
12. Bhikkhu and Secular Mangala
13. Answer Number Two
14. Getting Rid of Kama and Raga Completely
15. Misery Due To Kama and Raga
16. Practice of Catusacca Kammatthana
17. Answer Number Three
18. Gossip Must be Rejected
19. Anger Must be Rejected
20. Uncharitableness Must be Rejected
21. Acquiescence and Opposition Should be Rejected
22. Answer Number Four
23. Must be Free of Obsession
24. Be Free Form the Hitching-Post
25. Answer Number Five
26. Avoid Attachment
27. May You Know Independently
28. Answer Number Six
29. A Short Course of Vipassana Practice
30. Only Nibbana Wanted
31. Answer Number Seven
32. Don't Be Angry At Abuse and Accusation
33. Don't Be Vain from Abundance
34. Contemplating Food While Taking It
35. Answer Number Eight
36. The Way To Eradicate Lobha
37. Rejection of Bhava
38. Refraining from Mayhem
39. Rejection of Doubts
40. Be Free From Spikes
41. Answer Number Nine
42. Act What is Appropriate
43. Do Not Inconvenience Others
44. Knowing the Truth as One Should
45. Answer Number Ten
46. Meaning of Anusaya
47. Dormant in the Senses
48. An Arahanta is Free of Anusaya
49. Answer Number Eleven
50. Rejection of Asava
51. No Asava, No Mana
52. Difference Between Humility and Base Pride
53. True Pride and False Pride
54. The Path of Raga
55. To Approach and Overcome
56. Must Abandon Wildness and Have Serenity
57. Answer Number Twelve
58. Must Have Faith and Conviction
59. Must Be Full of Knowledge
60. Ariya Magga is Called Niyama
61. Must Be Free of Wrong Beliefs
62. Must Be Free of Lobha, etc..
63. Answer Number Thirteen
64. Ayatana Revealed in Meditation
65. Learning to Know Each Truth
66. knowing Simultaneously The Four Noble Truths
67. Further Explanation
68. Nimmita Buddha's Thanksgiving
69. Ten Samyojana
70. Benefit From Listening to The Sermon I
71. Chance of Immediate Enlightenment hi Celestial World
First and foremost, it appears appropriate to make a brief mention of the events leading to the exposition of this sutta by the Blessed One. Thereafter throwing light on the essence of this Discourse will, it is hoped, bring easier appreciation of the precious dhamma expounded by an illustrious disciple of the Buddha, the Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw of Myanmar. whose intellectual and spiritual achievement in the field of Buddhism stands prominent in the world today.
During the interim period between the fourth and fifth Vassa (Lent) on the full moon day of the month of the Nayon after his achievement of the Supreme Enlightenment, the Buddha went into retreat and seated himself under the pleasant foliage of a huge and majestic tree in the Mahawun forest in the neighbourhood of the capital city of Kapilavatthu. At this juncture five-hundred monks who were the princes of the Sakya clan and who had then achieved the stage of Sotapanna, being bent upon gaining higher progressive insight, sought for and received the sublime teaching of the Blessed One. Having done so they respectively retreated to suitable secluded spots such as the cool shade of age-old trees, ravines and valleys in that forest to continue practising kammatthana meditation. After serious meditation, they attained Arahatship on the eve of the night of the very day they went into further meditation.
Having reached Arahatship, the first monk who become Arahat made his way to the Buddha to pay obeisance and report about his accomplishment of the final sanctification as an Arahat. After taking his seat in an appropriate place before the Buddha, he looked back to find out if there was any other person besides him who had come to report of his own achievement just as he did. On seeing one monk coming to report to the Buddha, he dismissed his original idea of reporting to the Buddha of his spiritual attainment. He therefore remained in his sitting posture and immersed him self in deep silence. Then another monk followed suit and then another and sat at the foot of the Exalted One. In this manner there was a continuous flow of newly-fledged five hundred Arahats taking seat and paying obeisance to the Buddha. When all these Arahats had thus assembled at the feet of the Exalted One, Devas and Brahmas from ten-thousand Universes appeared successively to pay respectful homage to the Blessed One and the five hundred Arahats. It was stated that there were only a few who had failed to make their appearance on this auspicious occasion. The huge Congregation or the Assembly of a multitude of devas and brahmas is known as Mahasamaya. At this congregation, the Buddha solemnly proclaimed the number of devas who were present and their respective celestial abodes from where they came to join the Assembly. The words so uttered by the Buddha were given the name of Mahasamaya Sutta and were recited as such at the great Buddha Council.
The impact of the Buddha's announcement on the Devas and Brahmas brought about a fitting composure in them. They were in a state of bliss, mentally strong, firm and receptive. The Buddha then delivered a series of discourses, six in number, the essence of each different discourse or sutta being intended to fall in with the natural tendency and idiosyncrasy of the respective deva or brahma. Of these six suttas, the first is 'Sammaparibbajaniya Sutta Dhamma' which is truly meant for those devas and brahmas who have the instinctive tendency to indulge in sensual pleasures or in other Words, who are dominated by the habit of raga or pleasurable desires. This is the Discourse the subject matter of which is now being presented for the benefit of all mankind (veney ya)
From the very out set of this sutta, the question was put by Nimmita Buddha the created image of the Buddha, to the Blessed One. It began with the Nimmita Buddha eulogising the noble qualities and supreme attributes of the Lord Buddha in the following way; "In this Universe (kamaloka) all sentient beings are not only drifting along with the tide of kama, sensual pleasures, but are also drowned in them. It is because of their attachment to sensual existence that they are thus drifting and submerged in the raging waters of Existence (bhava). This being the result of wrong belief, only those who have faith in the Buddha's dhamma in this sasana will have the chance of being liberated from this whirlpool. Wrong believers are simply drifting and sinking. Not knowing the truth of the law of impermanence, etc., they are carried away by the rush of turbulent waters of ignorance of great immensity. The Buddha, however, has escaped from the four whirlpools and reached the other side of the bank, the zone of freedom called Nibbana. With the attainment of Arahatta magga phala, all craving desires become extinct and this extinction is known as saupadisesanibbana, the meaning of which is peace and serenity unperturbed by all sensual pleasures of existence, i.e., annihilation of all kilesa except the five khandhas. For this reason, the mind of the Blessed One is absolutely calm, tranquil and unruffled without the slightest tinge of kilesas. "Following this eulogy, it poses a query as to how a bhikkhu who leads a holy life of solitude in a remote forest after abandoning his home and family and after discarding all worldly pleasures should conduct himself well so as to escape from this mundane world and from all fetters.
Thereafter the interrogation and answers cover a wide range of human thoughts explaining the right and wrong relating to the true concept of the Buddhist way of life. Beginning with the noble advice to dispel erroneous views such as beliefs in ominous signs, ill omens, bad dreams, weird sounds and other various kinds of superstition such as fatalism, supernatural occurrences portending good or evil, Prophesy and propitiating of nats, and blind belief in astrology it comprehends the method of extinguishing human passions evil desire, greed, attachment and lust. Furthermore elucidation has been made how to tread on the right path, how magga-phala nana can be achieved through Vipassana meditation and how freedom can be gained from three kind of bhava, viz., kamabhava, rupabhava , and arupabhava, "sensual existence, corporeal existence and formless existence"
This sutta gives a comprehensive treatment of the fundamentals of the principles of Buddhism it also prescribes the ways and means to combat and overcome mana(conceit or pride) arising from egoism, anger, hatred and all other feelings of animosity and sceptical doubts. Moreover it show us the way to devote to the practice of bhavana, Vipassana meditation, to get rid of these human imperfections and shortcomings which will only bring demerits. It enjoin us to practise the bhavana metta, mudita, karuna, upekkha and to diligently follow the Noble Eightfold Path and to gain realization of the Four Truths that will lead to the cessation of dukkha sacca, the existence, i.e., Nibbana, (the Summum Bonum of Buddhism).
The methods of meditation exercise to be employed are also explained in brief. The ten samyojanas, the bond, of human passion which bind men to continued existence and which can be got rid of by Arahatship are outlined. While listening to this Sutta with concentrated mindfulness, one hundred thousand crores of devas and brahmas attained Arahatship. The number of those who achieved various stages of Vipassana magga-phala nana was, however innumerable.
It is really surprising that the Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw, the author of this Sutta in Myanmar version has been able to compress into a small volume various aspects of the noble dhamma, which serves as an antidote to all ills and misery
May all beings be well and happy.
Buddha Sasana Nuggaha Organization Mahasi Thathana Yeiktha
(New Moon Day of Thadingyut 1338 B.E.)
Out of the six Maha Samaya Suttas, Purabheda Sutta has long since come out in book form. Tuvataka Sutta is now being printed at Kaba-Aye Buddha Sasana Press, and will soon come out in book form. Requests have been made for printing the discourses on the remaining four Suttas. There seems to be no occasion for delivering discourses on each of the four Suttas separately.. It would serve the purpose if after granting sila to the audience a gatha (verse) each were dealt with on every sabbath day, as I am doing now. Each gatha will probably take fifteen to thirty minutes. Today we will start with Samma Paribbajaniya Sutta.
This Sutta was delivered by the Buddha to the devas and brahmas who still had the habit of raga. In it the surrogate Buddha (Nimmita Buddha) with the wishes of the real Buddha
Pucchami munim pahutapannam, tinnam
paringatam parinibbutam thitattam.
Nikkhamma ghara panujja kame, katham
bhikkhu samma so loke paribba jeyya.
"I pose this question to the Master who is fully endowed with great and all-embracing wisdom. I pose the question to the Buddha who has stable and peaceful mind, free from the fire of kilesa".
These were words of adoration to the Buddha. The Buddha has great and large scope of wisdom, knowing all the dhamma. All the beings in the loka has been drifting in the current of kama-raga, and are being drowned in it. They are drifting and sinking in bhava-raga, lust for life and also in ditthi-raga, erroneous beliefs. When the Buddha's dhamma is shedding its light, the believers in the dhamma have a chance of swimming across the current of ditthi-raga. All the other beings are drifting and sinking; They are drifting and sinking in the current of avijja which blind them to the truth about anicca, dukkha and anatta. The Buddha has already swum across the four currents and arrived at the other shore-the state of Nibbana . The state of being free from all kinds of kilesa after having arrived at the stage of arahatta magga is called sa-upadisesa nibbana . The Buddha had peace from sa-upadisesa nibbana and his mind was stable. The above gatha is the adoration to the Buddha. The following is the text of the question:
"Denying kama in all its manifestations the bhikkhus has taken to the woods after discarding the society of laity who are building families how is the bhikkhu to do to carry on the good work?"
To this question the real Buddha gave an answer beginning with the following verse:
Answer Number One
Yassa mangala samuhatase
uppata Supina ca lakkhana ca.
samma so loke paribbajeya
DISCARD ALL SECULAR MANGALA
The genuine Buddha said that bhikkhu had discarded all superstitions called secular mangala,by means of arahatta-magga.Superstition consists in belief of bad luck, in regard to thunder stroke, mysterious outbreaks of fire, etc., and in belief of good luck, as well as bad luck, in dreams peculiar marks in domestic animals and tools and appliances. The Buddha said that the bhikkhu had discarded all superstitious beliefs and was able to practise the dhamma well.
MANGALAS THAT SHOULD BE DISCARDED
According to this gathathe 38 mangalas which are the genuine ones, are those to be observed, not neglected. The mangalas which are to be discarded are the superstitious beliefs falling into three categories, namely, dittha mangala, suta mangala and muta mangala.
Dittha mangala denotes the superstitious belief in good or bad luck according to good or bad sight. For instance, the sights of a swallow, a lark, a bird which speaks human words, a pregnant woman, an unmarried male or female, a pot full of water, a horse of azani breed, a large bull... such sights are considered to bring good luck; this is good mangala.Such superstitions prevail in India even today, and some in Myanmar, too. In ancient times, the sight of a beggar was taken to be a bad omen.
A BRIEF STORY OF DITTHA-MANGALIKA
In the story of Matanga, the rich man's daughter Dittha-mangalika, carefully looked at the hands and feet of her many suitors and was displeased. She told each one of them that he was of a lower caste and drove him out. Then she washed her face for, she said, she had seen a bad sight. She was in the habit of putting persons to shame for their low caste; she drove them out, saying that they were a bad sight, a bad omen. It was because of this habit of screening people by sight labelling them generally as bad omen, that this daughter of the rich man was named Dittha mangalika, the believer in omen by sight.
At the time our Buddha-to be was born as a beggar and his name was Matanga. Beggars were not allowed to live in the city; they have to live Outside. One day Matanga went into the city on some business. Beggars were required to put on rags when they were to go into the city. They were also required to make a sound so that others of higher castes were warned of their approach. Matanga put on dark dress, carried a basket in one hand and a small bell in the other. The bell was to send out sounds of warning of his approach. He was also required to pay respects to the passers-by. The meaning of the sound of the bell was "I am a low caste beggar. Please avoid touching me."
'While Matanga was walking on the road the rich man's daughter Dittha mangalika came riding on a horse-cart to the bank of the river to take a bath and to picnic with her attendants. When she heard the bell, she looked and saw a man. "Who is this man?" she asked, and was told that the man was a beggar. Then the rich man's daughter felt that it was a bad omen occurring at the time of going to the auspicious ceremony bathing and picnicking on the riverside. She turned back immediately and returned home to wash her face. Her attendants were angry with Matanga for having spoilt the fun and beat him up. If you want to know the full story, please look up Matanga Jataka, Story No.20 of the 550 life stories of the Buddha-to-be. Dittha mangalika's story can be read also in Citta-Sambhuta Jataka.
Suta Mangala is superstitious regarding hearing of sounds. Sounds of joy and laughter are taken to be good omens, and sounds of weeping and mourning taken to be bad omens. The cry of an owl, for instance, is good omen; the cry of a night bird is a bad omen.
Muta Mangala is superstition relating to smells and physical contacts. A sweet smell or a pleasant touch is considered to be an omen for the good and conversely, a bad smell or an unpleasant touch means a bad omen. According to the caste system in India, physical contact, however slight, with a beggar or a low-caste person is considered to be a bad omen. Once, a low-caste student has a slight touch with his high-caste teacher by men accident, but the teacher could not forgive him and thrashed him soundly according to a paper I changed to have read.
Included in such beliefs are superstitious reckoning of auspicious and inauspicious days, according to the movement of stars and other astrological calculations, when the occasion for alms-giving ceremony or a wedding is to be determined. Auspicious dates are chosen for the occasion of ceremonial laying of foundation-stones of a new building, such as a house or monastery. These are after all superstitious practices. It does not matter whether a certain time is auspicious or inauspicious so long as a construction can be carried out according to plan. If the construction is not done properly, it won't be successfully done despite the fact that it has been started on an auspicious date. In the same way a marriage contracted on an auspicious date may fail if the partners cannot maintain good relationship, and they will be separated. Such cases are many, just as some pagodas and monasteries remain uncompleted
CHOOSING AUSPICIOUS DAYS USELESS
Personally I regard this practice of choosing auspicious dates as useless. Nowadays, most people of Yangon don't seem to care for auspicious days and usually choose Sundays to hold their ceremonies. That is quite a rational method. Sunday is an official holiday; so any ceremony held on any other day cannot attract as large an attendance as is desired.
DISPELLING WRONG BELIEFS IS IMPORTANT
According to this gatha, it is important to dispel beliefs regarding such secular mangalaor superstitions. In fact, good luck and bad luck are related to one's merits and demerits of the past. They are also related to his good and bad deeds of the present. The benefits of one's merits will engender good luck, or mangala and the effect of ones demerits will constitute bad luck, or amangala. So we should believe unreservedly in our our kamma. That would then be the right belief in the workings of kamma, called in Pali, kammassakata sammaditthi. Belief in superstitions is contradictory to it, and is a form of miccha ditthi. So the main thing is to dispel such miccha ditthi. All wrong beliefs can be dispelled by sotapatti magga. Yet a sotapanna retains possibility of cohabitation, so he cannot be completely rid of all the superstitious beliefs. Still living in human society, one feels obliged to conform to practices of secular mangala to a certain extent. We don't believe in auspicious or inauspicious days, but we feel obliged to permit religious ceremonies to be held on days chosen by lay disciples as auspicious. The same with foundation-laying ceremonies for new monasteries. We make such concessions because we don't want to sow doubts in the minds of lay disciples if the construction doesn't work out according to plan.
As a matter of fact, there is no connection whatsoever between good results and auspicious time chosen after astrological calculations. Once, during the time of the Buddha, a certain man in Savatthi city asked for the hand of the daughter of another man for his son and fixed the date of the wedding. Then only he approached his heretic master and asked if the date he had chosen was the tight one. The master took offence against him for having failed to consult him before the date was chosen and said that the date was not the right one. "If you hold the wedding ceremony on that day, there will be great destruction" the cunning master said. So the man did not go to the bride's house on the appointed day. He went only the following day with his son. The bride's parents were angry at the man's failure and married off their daughter to another young man. When the man arrived the next day with his son, they were roundly abused and driven out.
The news of this incident spread and reached the ears of the Buddha's disciples who fell to discussing it. When the Buddha came upon the scene and asked what the topic of discussion was,
He was told the story. The Buddha said that such an incident was not novel, for a precedent had occurred in the past. He then gave a sermon on it. The story under reference is called Nakkhatta Jataka, No. 49 of Ekaka Nipata. The wise man in that story was reported to have said in following gatha;
Failure can result from waiting for auspicious time
Nakkhattam patimanennatam, attho balam upaccaga.
Attho atthassa nakkhattam, kim karissanti taraka.
"Benefits will approach and pass the fool who waits for a good time according to the planets. Getting the benefit desired is the same as getting it at an astrologically good time. How can planets do any good?"
This gatha is a remarkable one. In the present time there are instances of failure to get good results from failing to get things done in good time, or rather at a time when it is advisable to do the work. Two or three years ago, a certain woman from Mergui came to Yangon to get her eye disease treated, but she was a little late because she waited for an auspicious date for departure from her home-town. The doctors said that the disease could not be cured because they were consulted too late. I heard about this from a lay disciple. This is an incident to remember in the matter of waiting for an auspicious time.
The bhikkhu who discarded all the beliefs of secular mangala will not be disturbed any longer by them, and will thus attain the state of perpetual happiness. The Buddha said that as such a bhikkhu ) had rid himself of these undesirable beliefs and notions, he can carry out the good work in the loka or human society.
And then, you should get rid of the superstitions relating to thunder-strokes or mysterious fires or similar disasters. Such disasters are seldom met with. Then superstitions about dreams must also be dispelled. The scriptures say that dreams occur to illustrious persons on the eve of some great events of good or bad effect. To the ordinary person, however, dreams are of no significance; they are mere reflections of their fears and fancies. Whatever they may be, all dreams are to be disregarded. When one reached the stage of Arahatta magga, one would not have any dream at all. We all should strive to reach that stage. Here, one may pause to reflect. This Sutta was delivered to an audience of devas and brahmas, and these celestial beings have never had an occasion for a dream. So they wouldn't have any notions connected with dreams, and wouldn't ever be interested in the dream of human beings. We may wonder how the devas and brahmas would understand about dreams. It is true that the devas and brahmas living in extra-terrestrial regions would not have dreams, but there are quite many devas, such as guardian devas of a tree, who are living on the earth. Their lives are so closely related to the lives of human beings that they may have occasions for dreams. The Buddha's advice to dispel superstitious beliefs on dreams was appropriate for such terrestrial devas.
And then, the Buddha's advice on beliefs regarding the peculiar marks on the domestic animals and tools, appliances and other things in daily use, was probably meant for the devas living on the earth and having estates just like human beings. According to the masters of Veda, certain marks on the property or on servants are responsible for good or bad luck of the owners. All such beliefs constitute superstitions, and they must be completely discarded.
Such beliefs presuppose lobha raga, the desire for making headway in life, and they are usually held by those who have an excess of raga (lust). There may been some such beings among the devas and brahmas whom the Buddha was addressing. When they heard the Buddha say that the bhikkhu who had discarded all these superstitions could remain in peaceful happiness, they would probably have greater confidence in the noble bhikkhu and would at the same time strive to discard such superstitions of their own. They would, therefore, go in for meditation practice and make greater adoration for the bhikkhus and the dhamma. Thus, would they achieve pure joy and immediately attain Ariya magga and phala.
BHIKKHU AND SECULAR MANGALA
According to this sermon, all the monks in the Buddha Sasana, who have taken the vows of monkhood should discard all the beliefs about secular Mangala. They should not encourage people to hold such beliefs. Yet there are some monks who have been giving lectures purporting to promote such beliefs; they have been teaching people how to make propitiations to ward off ill effects indicated by dreams on signs or other things; they have been giving instructions to do something, such as carrying about one's person certain tokens of charm, amulets in order to gain prosperity in business or promotion in official positions. Those who want to be saved form ill luck or to become rich or to get promotions approach such masters. Such monks are becoming powerful and prosperous. According to this gatha such practices should be discontinued and attainment of sila; samadhi and panna should be striven for. If one can discard all these false beliefs, one can be free from all attachments and achieve the highest happiness.
To sum up, the question was; "How does a bhikkhu who has gone into the woods after leaving the defilements of kama do his religious work?" The answer was "The bhikkhu who has discarded all superstitious beliefs in secular mangala has been doing good work."
We will conclude today's session. May you all be able to strive to attain meditation insights leading to the achievement of the goal of nibbanaafter discarding all the superstitious notions about secular mangala.
Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!
End of Part I
Today, the 8th Waxing day of Tazaungmon, I am going to continue with the Sutta by reciting the third gatha, Answer No.2.
Answer Number Two
Ragam vinayetha manusesu,
dibbesu kamesu capi bhikkhu.
Atikkamma bhavam samecca dhammam,
samma so loke paribbajeyya.
The bhikkhu who has renounced kamaguna (sensual pleasures) should abstain from raga from amidst the kamaguna of the human world and raga of the kamaguna of the celestial world.
The one who has renounced the human world's kamaguna and put on the saffron robes to become a bhikkhu would not be free of the sensualities pertaining to kamaguna as yet. These sensualities should be got rid of, but how? By practising bhavana to gain samadhi (concentration) and thus making one's sila (moral practice) pure. This action could bring one to the stage of first jhana which would diminish or reduce the desires, but kama raga would not be completely got rid of as yet. If circumstances favour, these desires would show up again. That is why there have been instances in which some persons who have attained jhana abhinnana fell from that stage when they revelled in the voices of women. They fell from the sky while they were flying in the air. Jhana samadhi alone would not be a safe guarantee against kama raga. One must employ the jhana samadhi as a basic for promoting the practice of vipassana.
GETTING RID OF KAMA AND RAGA COMPLETELY
The way to get rid of kama and raga completely is to observe the state of mind in the jhana. It is same as the way in which the yogis in this audience make mindful observations of the various acts such as seeing, hearing, knowing. When one attains the stage of anagami magga and phala by means of mindfulness of various acts of the body and the mind, there will be no occasion for kamaguna to happen, and thus all the ramifications of kama-raga and kama-tanha will be eliminated.
When one practises to attain jhana samadhi, one must try to attain upacara samadhi, the stage of calmness nearest to the attainment of jhana. Using upacara samadhi as a basis, one may successfully practise vipassana.If one does not have an opportunity to achieve upacara samadhi, one should make observations of the physical and mental actions to achieve vipassana khanika samadhi which is of the same strength as upacara samadhi, as testified to in the various commentaries.
When one is fully strengthened by this vipassana khanika samadhi one will come to know rupa and nama (physical and mental phenomena) separately; one will realize the difference between cause and effect; one will know personally the changing nature of the phenomena in accordance with anicca, dukkha and anatta.
One will thus progress in mindfulness along the grades of insight, magga phala nana, until one attains the stage of anagami magga and phala and becomes and anagami. At that stage kama raga and kama tanha are eliminated. An anagami has therefore, no hankering after sensual pleasures and desires of this human world. Nor does he hanker after the pleasures of the celestial world. And thus he achieves genuine peace and serenity.
MISERY DUE TO KAMA AND RAGA
Today people are suffering from all kinds of misery as a result of their desires for things, animate and inanimate. They want to enjoy things they have once enjoyed and are trying to get these things. After having got them these people try their utmost to keep them from loss or destruction. They have to worry about food, clothing and shelter besides being called upon to render social services. While thus serving, they happen to have committed several sins of killing, theft, cheating, etc.
There are also instances of belligerence and war between countries. So the Buddha said in Cula Dukkhakkhanda sutta (128) of Majjhima Nikaya in Pali pitaka that kings quarrel among themselves because of their greed, lust and desires. So do Brahmins, rich men and well to do persons. So do parents and their children, brothers and brothers, sisters and sisters and other near relatives. These quarrels usually end in fights with weapons, resulting in deaths.
Those who commit sins owing to kamaguna go to hell and suffer misery, to the world of petas and suffer misery, or to the animals world where they suffer various kinds of misery. In short, the beings in the worlds of kama are suffering misery of all kinds simply because of their desires, hankerings and obsessions, that is, their kamaguna. So kamaguna is indeed a very terrible thing.
However, most people consider these desires and sensations the best things in life. They think that such enjoyment of pleasures makes for happiness. But if you make a serious study of this matter you will find that the so-called happiness is not so very much compared with the amount of trouble one has to go though to gain such pleasures. The Buddha, therefore, taught that the pleasures of both the human and the celestial worlds should be rejected.
Of the two pleasures, namely, the earthly pleasures and the celestial pleasures, nobody among us has had any personal experience of the latter, It is seldom that people commit sins to get celestial pleasures; only; they commit all sorts of sins to get earthly pleasures. How should we try to lessen such sins? Of course, by making a note of all the physical and mental actions and thus acquire a deep knowledge of the nature of these actions. If we can not do that and let ourselves go, then we should not fail to make a note of the happenings of the desires for such pleasures and then reject them as they occur. We should know that these pleasures are the ones that will push us down to hell; they are simply terrible.
There are some persons who are under the impression that by renouncing the secular life and entering monkhood they will gain celestial pleasures in their next existence and they hope for a life of pleasures in the celestial world. Entertainment of such hopes is also not proper and any desire for a celestial existence, if it occurs to you, should be instantly brushed aside. If you cannot get rid of it by making a note of it, you should reject it after serious consideration. If you can't do that, you will get human and celestial existences again and again, and thus suffer misery of all kinds that are heir to these existences. Then, as you wouldn't be free of sins you would go to hell and other nether regions of existence and suffer untold misery there. Now that you have a good existence here and now, you should not fail to take this opportunity of attaining anagami magga through an intense practice of vipassana.
If you have attained that exalted stage of anagami, you will be quite safe. In the present existence you will not suffer misery owing to the pleasures of kamaguna simply because you have no hankering after them. Then after you have passed away, you will get to the world of Brahmas and there you will gain mental as well as physical happiness. Even then, there still exists misery resulting from the physical and mental actions. In order to be free of this misery, the Buddha continued thus: "The wisdom of arahatta magga nana which sees the Four Noble Truths overcomes and surpasses this state of continuous existence."
Do not be complacent after having attained the stage of anagami. Try to attain the final stage of arahatta magga which sees the Four Noble Truths. When one attains this stage and thus becomes an arahanta, one will be rid of hankering after the three bhavas, or planes of existences, namely, kama bhava, rupa bhava and arupa bhava. After getting rid of this bhava raga (hankering after bhava) the arahanta has no more existence for him, and after passing away from the present existence, he will attain Anupadisesa Nibbana, the state of genuine peace. That is the state of supreme happiness. So the arahanta spends the remaining part of his present existence without suffering any misery resulting from kilesa and he is in genuine peace and happiness.
So the Buddha said: "The bhikkhu who has overcome and surpassed the three bhavas lives properly in this world."
To really know the Four Noble Truths doesn't mean knowing them from learning by rote; such knowledge would not enable one to overcome the three bhavas . We mean that one would attain the stage of anagami after completely rejecting kama raga, and then continuing the intense practice of insight meditation, one attains a full and deep knowledge of the Four Noble Truths through the wisdom of arahatta magga nana. We mean to advise that the yogis should persist in their efforts to climb the steep path toward the final stage by way of insight meditation
Of course, there is no need to repeat here the process of insight meditation but I will tell you briefly about catusacca kammatthana, as described in the commentaries.
PRACTICE OF CATUSACCA KAMMATTHANA
Of the Four Truths, only two should be observed. The two are Dukkha Sacca and Samudaya Sacca. The other two, Nirodha Sacca and Magga Sacca, need not be observed. To be free and away from all kinds of misery (dukkha) is Nibbana which is Nirodha Sacca, the most desirable objective, and to achieve this objective Magga Sacca, or the Eight Noble Path must be followed, and that also is the most desirable objective. Knowing the nature of these two Truths, one has only to wish for attainment of them. Having set one's wish on them, one has to observe Dukkha Sacca the Truth about Misery, as preliminary to the attainment of Nibbana, and that preliminary measure is Vipassana Magga, the path of insight meditation. Observing the Truth about the Misery involves making a mental note of all the physical and mental actions as they occur and seeing their impermanent nature. Failure to see the impermanent nature of these actions would lead to an obsession with permanence, bliss and self and such obsession is called upadanakkhanda. Observing the impermanence of things by making a mental note of them as they occur would bring correct knowledge, and kind of observation is the same as following the path of Vipassana. With the development of this correct observation the stage of attainment of Nirodha Sacca will be reached in due course.
Here, I may refer to what some persons say about Vipassana. They say that the Practice of vipassana entails trouble and discomfort. This view is an incorrect one, a failure to understand the true nature of vipassana magga. Some hold the opinion that passing away to the state of Nibbana means the ultimate death and, therefore, it is a dangerous state. That also is avijja (ignorance) which is an incorrect view of Nirodha Sacca. Taking the physical and mental actions such as seeing, hearing, etc., to be good things and Nirodha Sacca as bad, is moha (sheer ignorance). The truth is that the physical and mental actions of an organism are in constant flux and because of their instability, it is misery. One should make an effort to see this truth through insight meditation.
When one realises the truth about misery one will be free from desire for these actions. That freedom from hankering Samudaya Sacca is in fact the rejection of pleasures which makes for an escape from the stream of existences which are the results of tanha (hankering) upadana (obsession), bhava (existence) jati (birth) jara (old age) and marana (death) which are kinds of misery attached to existence. This freedom, if only for a moment is achieved by vipassana. Making a mental note and thus gaining insight is vipassana magga, and rejecting in this way attachment desires and obsessions is achieving from moment to moment Nirodha Sacca.
When this vipassana nana, or meditation insight is developed, one eventually comes to realise Nirodha Sacca and thus reach the stage of nibbana. The first stage is, of course, sotapanna the second sakadagami, and when the third stage anagami, is reached all the desires for pleasures (kama raga) are eliminated. Continuing from that third stage one goes on to the final stage of arahatta magga by means of vipassana Attainment of this stage spells an achievement of Nirodha Sacca where all kinds of misery are eliminated and rebirth is precluded. Arahatta nana, the wisdom of insight of the Four Noble Truth, makes its achiever an arahanta who surpasses all the three worlds and thus achieve genuine peace and happiness.
This is the end of the second part of Samma Paribbajaniya Sutta. May the audience be able to achieve eventually genuine peace and happiness by surpassing the three worlds of existence through vipassana.
Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!
End of Part II
Today, the hill moon day of Tazaungmon, we will have a discourse on the fourth gatha
A nswer Number Three
kodham kadariyam jaheyya bhikkhu.
samma so loke pribbajeyya.
"The bhikkhu, should turn his back on the other person's gossip and slander and eschew anger and malice. He should also reject prejudice and hatred. Such a bhikkhu lives properly in the world."
The meaning of this gatha is that the bhikkhu must reject anger, prejudices indulgences and attachments and their opposites, annoyances and hatred. And that such a bhikkhu will have no attachment in the world and will therefore be able to live cleanly peacefully and happily
In the six Suttas of the Maha Samaya Sutta, one gatha is sufficient for the purpose but several more were given by way of repetition. Those who have enough intelligence will wonder why there should be such repetition. The reason is that the devas and brahmas who had sufficient intelligence to understand with the first gatha gained reahisation soon after it was enunciated, and those with inferior intelligence understood the meaning after enunciation of the second or third gatha, as the case may be. So it must be that the Buddha taught his Dhamma in similar gathas bearing the same meaning.
In the previous gatha the Buddha taught that one must reject kamma raga and overcome and surpass the three worlds. If one has rejected kama raga it goes without saying that one has rejected all the kilesa such as dosa, moha, mana, ditthi, etc. In the present gatha the advice is to reject gossips, anger, malice and prejuidces. Compared to the previous gatha, this one which refers to gossips may seem inferior but this was meant for devas whose intelligence was inferior. This point we must note.
GOSSIP MUST BE REJECTED
Gossip is meant to create misunderstanding between those who love and respect one another. To tell someone or other some faults of one or more persons, whether the allegations are correct or not. Or, like the brahmin Vassakara, to make one doubt about another's motives and thus create misunderstanding between them. This has been referred to in my discourse on Sallekha Sutta. Gossip and slander must be got rid of by means of anagami magga (as referred to in visuddhi magga). We must try to attain anagami magga in order to get rid of the habit of gossip and slander. As it has been said that when one reached the stage of sotapatti magga, one would not resort to any misdeed that would pull one down to hell, a sotapanna would not tell white lies. The object of the slanderer is to alienate, two persons who love and respect each other, and if such persons are so alienated, the purpose of the slanderer is achieved. That sin will, however, pull the slanderer down to the hell or one of the nether regions A sotapanna will never commit such a sin.
Although one may not have yet become an anagami it is best to avoid telling about other persons faults or demeaning others. By avoiding such sins, one should work hard to attain to the stage of anagami in due course.
ANGER MUST BE REJECTED
Anger, too, can be completely got rid of only when one reaches the stage of anagami magga. But if one could reject anger as much and as often as possible before attaining that exalted stage, it would be very much better. When anger arises; one should dispel it either by making a mental note of it or by discerning it. It should be nipped in the bud, or it would assume such proportions that the angry person might resort to foul speech or even physical act of rudeness. One should, therefore nip anger in the bud before it becomes visible to others through one's speech and action. We should develop this practice of eschewing anger till we reach the stage of anagami magga.
UNCHARITABLENESS MUST BE REJECTED
Uncharitableness or envy, should also be eschewed. A monk could be uncharitable,(1) in connection with the monastery; (2) in connection with the intimate dayaka and dayika (lay man and lay woman); (3) in connection with alms and gills; (4) in connection with religious treatises; (5) in connection with prestige.
An uncharitable act is an attempt to deter others from sharing the things that are in one's possession. Commentaries say that this attitude is eschewed when one reaches the stage of sotapatti magga.
Even if one has not yet reached this stage, one should reject uncharitable attitude through meditational practice. Uncharitableness should be eschewed in one's relationsnip particularly with those who are engaged in the practice of sila. In short, I'd say "Turning one's back on gossip, one must eschew anger and envy".
Turning one's back on gossip means, of course, abandoning the habit of gossiping. "Turning one's back on slander" is in fact, a direct translation from Pali.
ACQUIESCENCE AND OPPOSITION SHOULD BE REJECTED
It is good and proper to acquiesce in the wishes of another person in his interest and for his good. Acquiescence, which should be avoided, we mean complying with the wishes of another person with lascivious intent and for gratifiction of lust. Opposition is a demonstration of anger and hatred; that should be avoided. Anger and hatred are synonymous.
Anger can be completely rejected only when one attains the stage of anagami magga. Compliance with the wishes of another under the instigation of desire and lust is, of course, the work of raga and raga is eliminated only when one attains the final stage of purity. that is arahatta magga. We should workhard for the attainment of the final stage. With the elimination of raga on attainment of arahatta magga one dispels all kilesa. Thus, one is free from all attachment, and can live properly in this world.
May this audience be able to work hard in their meditational practice in order to dispel such uncharitable attitudes as slander, gossip and even tually raga, and achieve the ultimate goal of nibbaa.
Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!
End of Part III
Today the 8th waning day of Tazaungmon, it is the turn for fifth gatha.
Answer Number Four
Hitvana piyanca appiyanca,
anupadaya anissito kuhinci.
Samyojariye hi vippamutto,
samma so loke paribbajeyya.
"The bhikkhu who is striving for liberation from the misery of samsara rejects lovable beings and lovable things as well as hateful beings and hateful things through meditation in order to reach the stage of arahatta phala. To a monk there should be no beloved or hated persons or things. People suffer immense misery because of beloved and hated beings and things. In this reference the Dhammapada says:
Ma piyehi samaganchi, appiyehi kudacanam.
Piyanam adassanam dukkham
'May I not meet with lovable beings and things, nor with hateftul beings and things, for missing the former makes for misery, and meeting with the latter makes for misery, too."
Just coming across lovable beings or things does not matter as much as falling in love with them. Likewise, mere coming across hateflul beings and things is not so damaging as hating them. One feels miserable if one's beloved children are separated from one by death or by having to live separately with hardly any hope of meeting them again. In the same manner, if one's prized possessions such as gold, silver, jewellery and other valuables were robbed or destroyed by fire, flood or storm one would suffer much misery. So it is better for one not to come across beloved beings and things and loving them. It is far better not to come across them at all, for if they were met with, one would probably fall in love with them.
However, most people think that it is very good, very enjoyable, to come across lovable beings and things and loving them. So they are out in search of them, in other words, they are searching for misery. That is like creating misery for oneself
Then, one would be happy not to come across hateful things and enemies. If one meets with them, it is good to eschew malice and develop loving-kindness for them. Among hateful things, bad smell is worse; it is worse than hateful sights. Then again, bad contact is wrose than bad smell. Aches, pains and tiredness could result from a bad contact: it could even kill one. It is best not to meet with such hateful things. It one has to meet them one much endure them as much as one can. One should reject hatefull persons and objects by making a constant note of the sight of them as such, and such noting would not admit of either love or hatred. If one feels either love or hatred, one should make an immediate note of that feeling and thus get rid of that feeling of love or hatred as the case may be.
If one makes a note of the happening and fading-out in this manner and gets to the stage of an anagami, hatred that is included in dosa (an ger) is abandoned. In that stage one would not have any feeling of hatred for hateful things or persons one meets with, and remain in peace and happiness. Again, when one reaches the stage of an arahanta, one would be rid of raga (lust) which is often mistaken for love. One would not then be effected by anything lovable or lovely, and would remain in peaceful and happy state. We all should work to attain that stage.
If one is rid of loving or hating, one is rid of kilesa. The Buddha reiterated the message in an other form so that the audience of celestial beings would understand better.
MUST BE FREE OF OBSESSION
It has been stated clearly in the satipatthana teaching that if one is in meditation by making a note of the in-breath and out-breath or of the constant changes in body, or of pain and sensation such as, tension, pain and aches or the changing mental phenornena one would not have any occasion for lust or desire. One would not also have any egoistic obsession. So if one wants to be rid of obsessions, one must go in for meditation, and thus make a constant note of the ever-changing phenomena in the body, the feelings, the states of mind, and mental conceptions. At the beginning of the meditation practice, one would find nothing unusual. But as one carries on and thus gains concentration (samadhi), one Would discern the matter from the mind. One would also see the cause and the effect and the ever-changing character of the phenomena. One would then be convinced that these happenings and disapperances are in a state of flux and they spell only misery and are going by themselves beyond one's control. In other words, one would be convinced of the anicca, dukkha and anatta nature. When one is thus convinced, one will be free of obsessions, and eventually gain insight of arahatta magga phala. One would then become an arahanta
BE FREE FROM THE HITCHINGPOST
If one is free of obsessions, one is released from the hitching-post of samsara. So the Pali idiom says:
Samyojaniyehi, meaning "being free from the hitching-post of attachment for things, animate or inanimate.
Samyojana, or the fetter is a tying of one so that one cannot get out of samsara.
It is after all an aggregate of kilesa (defilement). The arahantas have cut off these ties and are free from the hitching-post of samsara. Such bhikkhus can achieve samma paribbajeyya, meaning that they can live properly in the world.
Now, in review, the second gatha relates to the riddance of secular mangala: the third to the riddance of kama raga and bhaava raga. The present one relates to the riddance of obsessions of love and hatred.
May the audience be free from the samyojana, the hitching-post of samsara, and thus speedily attain the state of nibbana.
Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!
End of Part IV
Today, the new moon day of Tazaungmon, I will give you a discourse on the sixth gatha.
Answer Number Five
Na so upadhisu sarameti,
adanesu vineyya chandaagam
So anissito anannaneyyo
samma so loke paribbajeyya.
The bhikkhu who has been striving to escape from samsara, does not revel in the sensorial aggregates in which reside pleasures and pains.
Ordinary people are under the impression that physical and mental phenomena are "self', or atta, which is alive throughout one's life and which gives of permanence and happiness. They think of others in the same manner. Whenever they see, hear, touch or know people, they think of them as selves. They see women as women and men as men and are pleased with the sight.
On the contrary the yogi who has been mindful of the incessant changes of the phenomena finds impermanence, misery and absence of self. The yogi finds that it is entirely devoid of essence and does not feel attracted to the sensorial aggregates.
The notion of self is referred to in this gatha as adanesu which is the same as upadanakkhanda, which is the place where misery dwells. If people are under the impression that there is self and are enamoured of it, they will have desires and obsessions and will not be able to rid themselves of these desires and obsessions.
Now we are giving discourses on the Buddha's sermons with a view to helping people to free themselves from such desires and obsessions, and strive for escape from samsara. But most people are still enamoured of them. Until people are convinced themselves of the utter emptiness of essence, they will continue to have these desires and obsessions. If on the contrary, they are convinced through meditation insight, they will be able to abondom them.
The yogi who makes a note of the incessant happening and going out of existence of the physical and mental phenomena or in others words, the yogi who is making a note of the changing phenomena, such as seeing when he sees, hearing when he hears, will hardly have a chance of entertaining desires or lust. However, it must be remembered that until one has achieved arahatta magga, that is, the final stage on the path to purity, one will possibly have desires and lust. We should therefore work hard to attain that stage to achieve this purpose.
MAY YOU KNOW INDEPEDENTLY
That bhikkhu must know by himself without depending on any other's instructions. To know something, in this context, means to know by one's own conviction, from one's own experience without a teacher's instruction or guidance, after eliminating such attachment as tanha (lust) and ditthi (false faith).
The last line in the Pali verse means (literally): that bhikkhu lives in this world well, and is convinced of the utter lack of essence in desires and lust for the sensorial aggregates of one's own and of others. Here it means the one who knows through such a conviction is an arahanta and as such, he or she lives the remaining portion of his or her life in this world well, and properly.
This audience should also strive to attain such kind of happy and unattached state by eliminating desires and lust for sensorial aggregates.
Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!
End of Part V
Today the 8th waining day of Nattaw, we will deal with the seventh gatha.
Answer Number Six
Vacasa manasa ca kammuna ca,
aviruddho samma vidtiva dhammam.
samma so loke paribbajeyya.
The bhikkhu who is striving to escape the dangers of samsara must not contravene the precepts of good deeds done physically, by speech and mentally.
The person who is striving to escape from the samsara must act physically without discord, that is, without contravening the three good physical deeds, namely, (1) refraining from killing; (2) refraining from stealing (3) refraining from adultery and forniccation.
It should be noted that torture and cruel treatment, short of killing, is also in contravention of this precept. So also, stealing includes acts ruining others and preventing others from gathering the fruits of their labour and achievement. Refraining from such acts is the same as behaving properly. In other words, one must refrain from physical acts which would incur criticism of the noble and pure persons.
Furthermore it is said speech acts must not be in contravention of the precepts for the four good deeds, namely, (1) refraining from telling lies; (2) refraining from slander; (3) refraining from using abusive language; (4) refraining from frivolous and useless talk. One must speak only the truth; one must speak words which are conducive to unity and understanding among people; words pleasant and acceptable to others; and words worthy of note.
If one speaks such words, one is said to be speaking in accord with the precepts of good speech. A monk must refrain from bad Speech; if one does so, one is regarded as having achieved sila (moral practice)
Then one must refrain from three bad mental acts, namely (1) intention of misappropriating other's property· (2) intention of killing or destroying; (3) subscribing to the belief contradictory to the kamma and its effect, or the law of causation.
As for the monk, he must refrain from lustful thoughts malice, and intention to ill-treat others. If he does so, he is regarded as having thoughts of restraint of lustful desires (nekkhama vitakka), the thoughts of loving-kindness (avyapada vitakka), and the thoughts of kindness and pity (avihimsa vitakka).
Of the three acts of refraining, the first namely, refraining from lustful desires, indicate the motive for practice relating to vipassana (insight) and bhavana (meditation). To be into this kind of good mental act, one must pratise either of them, especially vipassana.
A SHORT COURSE OF VIPASSANA PRACTICE
Instructions for practice of vipassana have so often been given at this meditation centre that they have become rather commonplace, but I feel I must repeat them for the benefit of those who have been away from the practice. The cognition of seeing, hearing, smelling, eating and touching is altogether nama-rupa, or mental and physical phenomena. When one is mindful of these, one will know from his own observation that the unknowing rupa (physical matter) and knowing nama (mind) are two separate things. One will also be convinced of the law of cause and effect. One will also know that these phenomena are constantly in a flux. One will also know that these phenomena are impermanent, or in a word, anicca. One will also know that such a state of instability breeds misery, in a word, dukkha. One will also know that these phenomena cannot be controlled by anyone or anything, that they are happening and disappearing all by themselves or, in a word, anatta.
To be fully convinced through one's own insight, one must be constantly making a note of these phenomena.
Of course, at first, one cannot possibly make a note of these changes fully and completely. So one must start the observation by making a note of the various kinds of tactile senses. While one is concentrating upon one kind of the sense of touch, a thought might occur, and one must promptly make a note of that. Then an unbearable feeling of discomfort may occur, and that, too, must be make a note of promptly in a word, all mental and physical phenomena must be taken notice of as they occur; When nothing occurs, then the meditating yogi must go back to the original starting point of noting the rising and falling of the abdoman. If one does so, one must be regarded as having done good mental deeds. As one goes on making a note of these phenomena, one will be convinced of the anicca, dukkha and anatta nature. And as one is thus convinced an occasion for the rise of tanha will not arise. Since tanha is eliminated if for a moment, the causes for the beginning of a new existance and its unwholesome consequences will be, at least momentarily, eliminated. This is momentary achievement of nirodha Sacca (truth about cessation). Every time cognitive meditation is practised, Vipassana magga sacca is achieved. Thus meditation makes for the development of insight into the Four Noble Truths and eventually the meditating yogi would achieve the final stage of insight and attain the highest stage of an arahanta.
Therefore, the Pali gatha says that the bhikkhu who acts in consonance with the good physical, speech and mental deeds will come to the realisation of the Truth.
DEATH AND LIFE NOT WANTED: ONLY NIBBANA WANTED
So it is said that the arahanta who knows the Four Noble Truths does not want to have a condition entailing life and death; such a noble person is expecting the time of his passing away to Nibbana. It is just like the case of a salary earning worker. He does not want to be unemployed, nor does he want to be doing the work he does not like. He is simply expecting for the payday to come around.
The arahantas do not want to be carrying the burden of their bodies, doing the daily chores for them, such as, washing and cleaning, eating and driniking, and such other functions which, after all, make for occasions of discomfort. Discomfort, even distress, occurs when illness sets in. Although the body is ailing, the mind of an arahanta remains tranquil. To him even inhaling and exhaling entail discomfort. To the arahantas living and performing natural funtions and thus bearing the burden of the body is undesirable, and are, therefore, waiting for the time of discarding this burden and passing on to the eternal tranquility of Nibbana.
To the puthujjana (the ordinary persons) the body is looked upon as a source of Pleasure. Because there is the body, one can see what one wishes to see, hear what one wants to hear, smell what one wants to smell, eat what one likes to eat, have physical contact with what one loves to contact. They can give free rein to their fancies and imagination. So they want to have their bodies; they don't want their bodies destroyed. On the countrary the arahantas take these so-called pleasures as occasions of discomfort or distress. They know that genuine happiness comes out of the tranquility of Nibbana. Before the time of their passing on to Nibbana, while they are living the present life, they are not at all attached to any of the senses; so they live this life in tranquility happiness.
The Buddha, therefore, said that the bhikkhu who knows the truth wants only Nibbana which means cessation of misery and lives in this world properly.
The occasion for today's meeting is the ceremony for the libation for the meditation monastery for the female yogis going by the honorific of "Maha Dhammacarini" Today's discourse serves the purpose of admonition to these yogis for the meditation practice that will be carried on in this meditation monastely. If the yogis act according to good physical and speech deeds, they will achieve sila, or moral practice. If they do meditation constantly on the lines of samatha and vipassana they will achieve good mental deeds. If they do so, they will eventually know the Four Noble Truths and attain the state of Nibbana. May they attain that final state of cessation of all misery and of tranquility and happiness.
Sddhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!
End of Part VI