SAMATHA AND VIPASSANA
Sayadaw U Uttamasara
(Hill Tracts Missionary Sayadaw)
(From 'The Buddhist Way of Life', 1989), Translated by Saya Ba Kyaw/ DHAMMA GIFT)
CONCENTRATION AND ENLIGHTENMENT
Most Myanmar people are Buddhists and understand charity (dana), morality (sila) and meditation (bhavana).
Every one knows charity and performs it traditionally; dana is a traditional custom in every part of Myanmar.
Morality is also popularly performed by Myanmar Buddhists; taking five-fold precept and eightfold precept are traditional practices and even young boys and girls understand them. Some are even in the habit of observing the ninefold precept.
Meditation (bhavana) is also known by people and practised in rural and urban areas; there are many meditators in Myanmar.
What is Bhavana?
Bhavana means, developing, scrutinizing, meditating or the task of repeated contemplation. It is a sort of mental task by means of repeated recitation, repeated contemplation and repeated scrutinizing.
There are two kinds, Samatha Bhavana and Vipassana Bhavana. (Bhavetabbati Bhavana).
Samatha Bhavanais sometimes called Samatha Kammatthana because it is directed towards one-pointedness of concentration (Samadhi) on one-specific object only; Vipassana Bhavana is also called Vipassana Kammatthana because it aims at the achievement of enlightenment after having contemplated on the objects.
There often arises a question; "What should be started first?"
The answer is, "you can start with whatever you like. If you have a chance of meeting with a well-experienced meditation teacher, you may start with whatever you like."
The Venerable Sayadaws in days of yore taught their disciples to practise the Samatha first; only when the disciples had been well-equipped with forceful one-pointedness of concentration, they were taught the Vipassana.
At present, there are many who are experienced in the task of Meditation, but they can not differentiate between Samatha and Vipassana. They came to me to find the solution and I have often helped them.
So, here I will explain what the difference between Samatha and Vipassana is.
Three Types of Vipassana
Vipassana denotes, Vi=by different ways and means; passana=looking at, scrutinizing, examining, i.e. scrutinizing and realizing natural phenomena as they really are.
(1) Anicca Vipassana:- You have to scrutinize impermanence; you should realize that all is impermanent if you realize it, you really penetrate the characteristics of impermanence. "What is impermanent?", You may ask. The answer is, everything is impermanent; there is no permanent thing. Note that the world is impermanent; every being is impermanent; everything is impermanent; there is nothing permanent; therefore, the world of being, the world of form and world of location (satta loka, sankhara loka and okasa loka) are all impermanent.
Human beings and animals are impermanent; buildings and plants are impermanent; everything animate or inanimate is impermanent; it should be noted that once you have come to realize how impermanent they are, Anicca Vipassana can be clearly realized!
(2) Dukkha Vipassana: - It is the way to see the truth of suffering; you have to examine it so as to know about the manner of suffering; if you see it, it may be said that you can clearly realize the characteristics of Dukkha Vipassana. What is suffering? There is no real peace and happiness in the whole human world. Search for what is really happy and peaceful; you will not find anything.
Does it make you happy to eat? You have to eat something because it is impossible for you to live without eating. Just like people drive motor cars by using fuel, so they feed themselves in order to live long one day after another. Really, it is not peace and happiness.
Does it make you happy to sleep? Occasionally, you may seem to be happy when you take rest after a long journey and fall asleep with fatigue, but you can see how insufferable and painful it is to stay in bed a long time when you are sick. You will be more weary of sleeping if you stay on the hospital-bed for long. Therefore, you should realize that sleeping is not enjoyable and pleasurable.
In the same way, be watchful of every movement of your body: - walking, standing, sitting, working, etc. It is not enjoyable or pleasurable. The more you endeavour to be watchful, the more you will realize how sufferable and painful it is. When you see it as it really is, you have to understand that you penetrate and fully realize the true nature of Dukkha Vipassana.
(3) Anatta Vipassana: It means penetrating and realizing the true nature of having no 'self' or 'soul'. When you have penetrated and fully realized this true nature, you can see the characteristics of Anatta Vipassana.
What is without 'self'? Everything is without 'self' and therefore uncontrollable. There is nothing controllable in this world; we cannot control even ourselves, i.e, we are unable to master the existence of our body and mind; they are always subject to change.
Invaluable Speech of Ven. U Sila
In old days, Venerable U Sila was well-known to lay-devotees in lower Myanmar, for his flawless moral conduct; he was born in Pegu district and led a secluded life being happy to live in a forest. As an Arahat he attained Parinibbana in Zalun Township.
On one occasion, the Divisional Commissioner U Thi Han (later, he became a Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Government of Pa-Sa-Pa-La Party, arrived at a town, during a tour, near the hermitage of Ven. U Sila, and went to pay homage to the Ven. Sayadaw together with his official staff. They donated offertories to the Sayadaw and were sitting in front of him.
"What sort of job do you do?", asked the Ven. U Si La.
U Thi Han did not answer that he was a Divisional Commissioner: he lowered his rank and replied to the Sayadaw; "Your Venerable Sir, I am a Myo-baing"* (*=Township Officer: literally meaning the one who possesses a town)
"Oh, you are Myo-baing, are you? Marvellous! You are very bright; do you possess a town; I do not possess even my body", replied Ven. U Sila."
All were smiling, and understood the profound meaning of the Anatta Vipassana.
In truth, we do not possess even our own body, so, we are subject to old-age, disease and death. You have to understand that all these are the characteristics of Anatta Vipassana.
This is the brief explanation of all the characteristics of Anicca Vipassana, Dukkha Vipassana and Anatta Vipassana.
Forty Samatha Kammatthanas
Samatha means calmness; so, the Dhammas which are the root causes of calmness may be called samatha. There are forty types of Samatha. Ten kinds of whole (kasina), Ten kinds of recollection (Anussati), Ten kinds of loathesomeness( Asubha), Four Sublime States (Brahmavihara); four kinds of Non-Materiality (Arupa); one perception of loathsomeness of nutrition (Aharepatikulasanna) and One Analysis of four elements (Catudhatuvavatthana). All these forty kinds are called Samatha Kammatthana. In order to fulfil the wishes of different kinds of people (Puggalijjhasaya), the Buddha taught the ways of meditation in different kinds.
I have heard some criticize its value contemptuously. The Buddha-to-be have fulfilled ten kinds of Parami (perfections) by means of practising Samatha Kammatthanas in their past rebirths through their Samsaric Circle. Passing through the earth and flying in space, and some different kinds of miraculous powers are the outcomes of practising Samatha Kammatthana. Therefore, you should regard it as a vitally important one, and should not look down upon it:
Meditation on Breath in Breath out (Anapana)
Today most meditation centres in Myanmar use the method of Breath-in and Breath-out; they specialize this method.
Anapananussati, one of the ten kinds of Recollection, is a task of concentrating on breath-in and breath-out through the tip of nose; it is a means of concentration and is easy to do. If you maintain the object in your one-pointed concentration, it means that you possess concentration; you have to see it in your mind with closed eyes; this is the true method.
If you know the method, you can do the work easily; you may gradually become interested in your work when you have repeatedly practised it. You will be happy to concentrate on the breath-in and breath-out with mindfulness.
Anapana in simple meaning is a sort of contemplation on the concentration of breath-in and breath-out, with stable mind, not letting it go towards any other object. In Pali it is called, "Assasa-passasa Kammatthana".
It produces Jhanic Trance and Miraculous Power
The Gotama Buddha-to-be sitting cross-legged on the golden throne under a Bo-tree, while practising this Breath-in and Breath-out Meditation, attained All-Knowing Enlightenment (Sabbannutannana) and reached the highest status of Buddhahood. Therefore you have to understand that Anapana plays the vital role in attainment of Enlightenment.
Moderate your breath-in and breath-out and be mindful of the movement at the tip of the nose; please make it clear in your minds' eye, not in your own eyes.
When the seeing is repeated, the object of mind becomes more clear. At that moment you will clearly see the process of breath-in and breath-out at the tip in your mind like a turner turning the band of a lathe; knowing or seeing the natural breath-in and breath-out at the tip of the nose is called, Parikammanimitta.
Without concentrating Parikammanimitta at the tip of the nose, if you can know or see the object of meditation, i e. the process of breath-in and breath-out, like the band of a lathe, it is called Uggahanimitta - the object of meditation which can be maintained in mind without concentration.
Develop it repeatedly till you can master this Uggahanimitta of Anapanabhvana: the more powerful one-pointedness of concentration, the clearer the object of meditation; the clearer the object of meditation, the more ecstatic you are. At that very moment rapture spreads through the whole body and mind, and note that you are nearer to attain Jhana.
The Light Produced by Anapana.
It is usual that the objects of meditation arises while meditating, weather he contemplates on Ten kasinas or Ten Asubhas or Four Brahmaviharas.
Whichever it is, the very first object of meditation in mind is called Parikammanimitta.
Note that you reach at the stage of Uggahanimitta when you can release the very first object of meditation (Parikammanimitta) from your minds' eye and easily take another object of meditation and retain it again in your mind: the attainment of Jhana completely depending on the Uggahanimitta.
While you are contemplating on the process of breath-in and breath-out with stable one-pointedness of concentration, you may be mindful of it like a small strand of smoke through your nose.
Moreover, when you can master your object of meditation, light may appear around your body: the colour of the light is white and it will be as bright as the power of your concentration; and sometimes the light may fill the room or even pass through the roof of monastery into the sky.
The predecessor-Sayadaws who were expert in the Pitaka Texts and the meditation tasks as well, urged devotees to maintain the object of meditation - They said that by doing so they had been able make it clearer and clearer according to their will and obtained Jhana trance. Therefore, these learned and well-experienced Sayadaws never faltered in their study of the object of meditation arisen out of contemplation. But some meditation teachers of this age who do not encourage the attainment of Jhana, but recognize only Vipassana as the correct way prevent their devotees from following the path of Samatha meditation.
My own view is that if one can master and control the object of meditation and his concentration is very forceful, I don't want to hinder him from doing so because he can understand the root-cause of Jhana and obtain miraculous powers. Therefore, I would like to instruct that it may be a right way toward Jhana if the object of meditation, the light produced by Anapana, is maintained.
The Popularity of the Light Produced by Anapana
Here, I would like to tell you of my own experience. Three years ago, it was said that there arose rays of light on the Khantim mountain, the northern part of Chin Hills where my monastery is now located; the native Chin people said that they had seen these rays of light with their own eyes every night. The Chin Nationals who saw this incident live in Loneton village, north of Falam township, in Chunkyune village of Hakah township south of Falam township, Yan-tho village and others in border area.
The people in that region took interest in that event and made inquiries.
At that tine I was residing at my small monastery on the side of the Khantim mountain.
U Than Tun, a judicial Officer from Tidam township came and paid respects to me and supplicated that Chin nationals were interested in that event and wanted to know about it. Some Myanmar Government servants answered, "The Guardian Devas of the Khantim mountain come and pay homage to the Ven. Sayadawgyi at night, and they may be the light radiating from their bodies." They answered whatever they thought.
In the same way, Captain Eik Wong (Retired.), the Headman of dun-yan Gurakha village, came and questioned me about it many times, " I myself have seen the light radiating above the mountain where you live now; the Chin people from far away said that they have seen it with their own eyes every night; I can't understand what it is and why it arises".
I never answered the questions they asked, nor took interest in it, either. It was because I did not know where and why the light they had seen at night emerged and I did not want to know about it.
The news of the light did not end! It was a very interesting and popular news in Falam and townspeople there made different assessment of it.
One day, the Chin State Education Officer U Maung Khant, an Upper Myanmar from Myingyan, came to see me and told me about the light. I assumed that he purposely came to me to inquire about it and he wanted to get my opinion. As I was not interested in this news, I said nothing about the light but I remarked, "People do said that!"
U Aung Khant said,:
"Your Venerable Sir! At about 9 pm, the whole sky was totally dark; above the place that the people often talk about, the luminosity of the light was seen wondrously just like a powerful searchlight. People knowing and seeing it for themselves are now discussing about it with great interest; I heard in the Workers' Cafe in Falam that the light emerged from the roof of your monastery and it was seen by Gurakha people as well.
The Real Cause:
Let me speak frankly. I'll tell you of my daily routine. I am used to doing my works all day long. Everyone who lives with me knows that I am always doing my work except at the time of my morning meal.
In the evening, I invite the guardian Devas of mountain and forest, and the Devas from countless Universes and preach the Buddha's Teachings to them. And I recite the Satasahassa Gatha-the stanza worthy of one lakh, to the Devas and share the merits with them. Reciting of eleven Parittas follows after them. Then I worship the Buddha recollecting His virtues while candles are being lit on the shrine and wish for what I am inclined.
Afterwards, I sit in meditation or at my writing table, depending on the seasonal situation. When the weather is too cold to work, I go to bed about 9.00 pm but when the weather is favourable, after 10 pm. Occasionally, I have a lot of work to do and go to bed after 1:00 am and get up at 3:00 am and write articles at my table.
While I am in bed I disseminate Metta towards all living beings including the Guardian Devas of the forest and the mountain. I cover all living beings with my net of Metta and Karuna and my mind is stable and clear. At that time , I prepare my posture and lie on the right side of my body. Then I contemplate on the meditation of breath-in and breath-out.
As my dwelling place is very cold, being situated in dense forest in the hill, I have to cover myself with thick blankets while I am in bed. In the middle of the winter I sleep under about nine layers of thick blankets. Due to the one-pointedness of concentration arisen out of the regular practice of meditation, light arises under my blanket.
While under my blanket, I take the three refuges and pay homage to the three gems and disseminate Metta towards the whole living world and at that very moment the radiance of light emerges from my body; while I am contemplating on the breath-in and breath-out meditation, the white clear light is radiantly shining under my blanket so that it would be possible for someone to thread a needle.
As the light becomes brighter and passes through the nine layers of blankets the whole bed room lightens up. Then it also passes through the roof. Only when people asked me often, I became aware of it. The light that Chin nationals and Gurakha devotees saw every night could be traced to the roof of my monastery. Perhaps, it may be the outcome of my regular practice of meditation. Be satisfied with this!
The Power of Anapana
Anapana, as it is a task of concentration in connection with the breath-in and breath-out, has a particular power, though it is included in the same group of Forty Samatha Kammatthanas. By the power of Samatha Kammatthana, a man cannot die even though he is enclosed in an airless cave or he stays in water without breathing for long. ( i.e, a man who has fully practised Anapana Meditation can stay without oxygen) there are many persons who stay in airless caves and drink only water for 49 days whilst practising Anapana Kammatthana meditation.
If the persons, especially bhikkhus, who have completely practised Anapana Kammatthana for long, pass away, they do not putrefy or swell, though they are laid out for years.
Besides, the persons who have ardently practised Anapana Meditation can proceed to endeavour for the attainment of miraculous powers - Abhinnanas, and Arahatship at least. This is the reason why many bhikkhus in Myanmar attained Arahatship.
Anapana in double effect
Anapana is one of the forty Kammatthanas and some said it is Samattha Kammatthana only and some said it is Vipassana Kammatthana only. Some devotees who have practised meditation in different meditation centres debated upon this matter with one another. Some devotees came and asked me to find a solution to this question.
The answer is short. If it is practised by way of Samatha, it is Samatha Kammatthana; if it is practised by way of Vipassana, it is Vipassana Kammatthana; indeed, Anapana is in double effect.
For example, concentrating on the passing away of breath-out and the banishing of breath-in, is called "Vipassana Kammatthana."
Anapana Kammatthana is similar to a tree falling towards its weighty side. If you want to practise Samatha, you have to contemplate it by means of Samatha; if you want to practise The Vipassana. you have to contemplate it by means of Vipassana.
From Samatha to Vipassana
It is easy to apply the method of changing from Samatha to Vipassana if meditation instructor can instruct the right way. Note that it is very easy to change the forty subjects of Kammatthana to Vipassana.
Here is the method of changing the meditation of samatha Kammatthana to that of Vipassana Kammatthana.
I have said the Vipassana is the contemplation on Anicca, Impermanency or transiency. If you contemplate on the breath-in only with mindfulness, it is samatha; if you comtemplate on the breath-out only with mindfulness, it is Vipassana; if you contemplate as both of breath-in and breath-out with mindfulness it is Samatha.
Change the method of contemplation of this kind; Contemplate on the nature of impermanency-Anicca, meditating that the breath-in passes away in abdomen and it is impermanent; then, such a kind may be called, Anicca Vipassana. So do the cases of the breath-out, and breath-in and breath-out.
Contemplate on the impermanency of the breath-out, meditating on the fact that when it comes out of the tip of nose, it passes away. And you can master the two cases: breath-in, breath-in and and breath- out.
If you want to practise Dukkha Vipassana, please meditate on the fact that the effort of breath-in and breath-out causes much suffering.
If you want to practise Anatta Vipassana, please meditate on the fact that the effort of breath-in is beyond control, the effort of breath-out is beyond control and the effort of breath-in and breath-out is beyond control; and also meditate that all these movement are naturally arising and passing away.
Arahantas in Myanmar
The predecessor Sayadaws of Myanmar who were far-sighted and experts on the texts of Buddhism remarked, 'There are always Arahanta in Myanmar." There have been Arahantas in Myanmar since the period of Tagaung, Hanlin Dynasties till today. Even Sinhalese and Thais know this fact and Arahantas in Myanmar are very well-known to them.
Where are Arahantas ?
The foreigners who know about Arahantas of Myanmar asked me, "Where were Arahantas? Where are they living?"
It is true that Arahantas never disappeared through the ages but they never said that they were Arahantas. Thus we cannot show the places where arahantas live.
There may arise a question: if so, aren't there Arahantas now?
The answer is: - They have really existed through the ages in Myanmar; at present, they really existed through the ages in Myanmar; at present, they really exist, too, but we know only after those Arahantas had passed away and left their relics after being cremated. These rare occasions often arise in Myanmar.
Ven. Sayadaw U Sila, Moe-god Sayadaw, Ok-Aing Kyaung Sayadaw U Kavinda (U Tharshun) are recent examples in this age. Recently we read a piece of news in the papers that a Sayadaw in Tadar-U Township passed away and was cremated in ceremony; After cremation, the devotees astonishingly saw his relics in the pile of ash.
In the golden eras of Ta-gaung and Han Lin Dynasties, there were many Arahantas. We have seen the Arahantas Relics of those ages with our own eyes; they are indeed, believable evidences and they can be measured by baskets.
There are many Arahantas in Myanmar but they do not want to be known, simply because they are tired of meeting devotees. Say for instance, if I were as Arahantas, I would not care to be known. Therefore, try to understand the reason why Arahantas cannot be found anywhere though there are many in Myanmar.
Threefold Mode of Training
I will tell you in brief of the way to be free from the suffering of the Samsaric Circle. It is not difficult to follow.
Sasana means Adhisila, Adhicitta, and Adhipanna. This threefold mode of Training is also called the Noble Eightfold path leading to the Nibbanic Peace.
First of all, you have to observe Precepts- Sila Sikkha and you should be heedful to abstain from the threefold bodily immoral deeds and fourfold verbal immoral speech. Now, understand that you are equipped with the virtue of Adhisila. You will become happy and peaceful. Note that you have. passed the first stage.
Nibbana within your reach
Now, you have to know about the third stage. Understand that your body is materiality and your mind is mentality. When your concentrative mind becomes more stable and powerful in due course, please be watchful of the arising and passing away of materiality and mentality. You will penetrate and realize the real nature of material and mental phenomena. This realization is called Adhipanna. You will, automatically step by step, realize the true nature of material and mental phenomena in future, Such a kind of realization is called, "The process of Enlightenment." It cannot be compared with the worldly knowledge simply because it can only be attained by means of practising Vipassana Bhavana. It is very noble and great. Note that the Nibbanic Peace is within your reach, now.
In the Dhammapada, the Buddha taught that:- One indeed is one's own refuge; how could anyone else be one's refuge? - Atta hi attano natho ko hi natho paro siva. It means that in order to be free from the suffering of the Samsaric Circle, one should rely on one's own effort.
Venerate the Buddha; believe the Buddha; take refuge in the Buddha; believe in the teaching of the Buddha; regard it with deep respect; make every effort to practise the Dhamma only; understand that only the Dhamma is your refuge. This is the straight and right way towards the Nibbanic Bliss.
I can only point out the road; it is up to you to tread the road rightfully.
As to going on your Samsaric journey, you cannot rely on others; everyone has to tread on the way of Kamma, whether towards the Nibbanic bliss or the Worldly pleasure. You cannot rely on your kinsmen, such as sons, daughters, husbands, wives, etc. You have to fully understand that there is no one to help you apart from yourself.
The Best Way
Do this! I'll show you the best way. In order to be released from the Samsaric circle quickly, aim to attain the reward of Noble disciple-Pakati-Savaka. In this age, you can have a golden chance to become an Arahanta. Observe the fivefold precepts at least. Abstain from committing five kinds of evil deeds. If you are replete with the virtues of the fivefold precept, you will have strong will-power and firm confidence; you will automatically know by your own sense, "I can fulfil whatever I wish." Such a view is right. Believe it yourself.
For those who would like to live in worldly pleasures In the Samsaric circle, or those who are very eager to release from the pains of Samsaric Circle-whoever may be, I will show the best way In brief. Regard it deeply! Follow it happily!
As I said earlier, please contemplate on the breath-In and breath-out Anapana Kammatthana. Be mindful of every movement of breath-in and breath-out: note, 'knowing at the very moment when the air of breath-in touches the tip of the nose and note, 'Knowing' at the very moment when the air of breath-out touches the tip of the nose. If you note, 'Knowing' at every touch of breath-in and breath-out, and your noting is stable and your concentration is fixed on what you are now meditating; know that you succeed in your task.
To Abolish Egoism
Go on 'noting' without any pause, not letting other objects come into your realm of concentration. Know that you are nearer to the way of release from Samsaric Sufferings if you can go on noting all through day and night. And you will understand that you do not want to be attached to other people but you really want to make an ardent effort in the task of meditation up to the attainment of fully Enlightenment, without expecting other's help. Therefore, you have to believe it firmly as it is a right way.
This kind of continuous 'knowing' at every touch of breath-in and breath-out is a sort of "Living in the very present moment." At that very moment, there is no 'I', nor 'you', nor 'person', nor 'being', 'nor man', nor 'woman'. You will practically know how true the teaching of the Buddha and, the process of natural phenomena are. Understand that Egoism sakkayaditthi, automatically leaves you.
Try Hard Once
Realizing the true nature of arising and passing away of mentality and materiality is seeing clearly the Anicca Vipassana-thorough penetrative understanding of Impermanency. If the Anicca Vipassana is under your perfect control, Dukkha Vipassana - thorough penetrative understanding of Suffering, will simultaneously arise. Continuing, you will automatically have the realization of Anatta Vipassana - a thorough penetrative understanding of Ego-lessness. Note that when you have tried hard once, and been effective, it is very easy to engage in this task again. Do not put it aside, please. Continue to try hard until you have fully realized the recurrent process of natural phenomena, i.e, repeated arising and passing away of conditioned Things- mentality and materiality. Note that the right way to release from the Samsaric suffering will come into your sight, automatically. That is the key-point I would like you to grasp.
Attitude of Noble Ones
To conclude the Chapter of Samatha and Vipassana, here I would like to tell you of how to become a Noble one and what the Nibbanic Peace is.
There are four Noble Ones in brief. They are: -
Each one has two different kinds of puggala: Magge-Individual and Phala-Individual, such as, Sotapanna Maggapuggala and Sotapanna Phalapuggala, etc. Thus, we have eight Noble ones.
If a puthujjana (worldling) wants to become a Sotapanna, he needs to exercise the above-mentioned Instructions. There is no change of instruction to become Sakadagami. You must follow the same Instruction. But you need put more effort and confidence in your task. It is easy to walk on the same path that you have before.
An Ariya Individual has the chance to be completely free from the danger of the four types of Hellish Suffering and cannot be reborn in the Lower Abodes. He becomes replete with the virtues of Five Precepts, at least. In this way, he can be free from the menaces of immorality.
Inner-attitude of the Sotapanna is totally different from that of the Worldlings; so is his knowledge and idea. He need not to purposely refrain from committing immoral actions. Indeed, he is automatically raised to a soft of higher status of morality. He is called Sotapanna-Stream-winner, simply because he triumphs over the stream of Path (Maggo) towards the Nibbanic Bliss.
What is Sotapanna?
Sotapannapuggala has no notion of 'I' 'mine' and 'self' of mentality and materiality (sakkayaditthi); he has no sceptical view on the true teachings of the Buddha (vicikiccha); he has no wrong belief in rites and rituals (silabbatapparamasa); and he is not jealous nor covetous (Issa and micchariya). This is the inner-attitude of Sotapannapuggala; you can guess how happy and peaceful he is, as he is detached from the evil-mindedness. Thus, he becomes a noble person who takes refuge in the Threefold Gem - Buddha, Dhamma and Samgha. He will never commit evil deeds - stealing, killing, lying, etc., in this present existence, nor even in further lives. He reaches the stage that he never transgress the fivefold precept.
This is the good time to make every endeavour to attain the reward of Noble Disciple (Savakabodhi) at least.
The higher the status of the Ariyapuggalas, the happier and more peaceful they are; they have no anger and disappointment; they are not attached to worldly pleasures; they have no pride and conceit; as they have no evil attitude they are completely happy and peaceful. They never return to the lower abodes. but they have the great expectation of higher abodes only.
The Meaning of Nibbana in Brief
The greatly pure attitude of these Noble Ones can never be understood by the sense of ordinary worldlings. They are very peaceful and noble so that no one can believe in their mental attitude. This is the true attainment of Blissful Nibbanic Peace in this present existence.
If the final stage, Arahatship, is attained and the existence of his life terminates, there will be no next existence to go on any further.
For example, when a flame of a candle is extinguished, it does not exist in air, nor on the candle, nor in any other place. In the similar way, the burden of suffering, i. e, the aggregate of mentality and materiality which has been wandering about in several ways due to the Kammic powers created oneself, totally terminates and the regeneration of kammic force completely ceases too. When there is no cause, no effects arise. Therefore, the passing away of Arahantas is called, Parinibbana-Noble Demise. In fact, it is a final release from all suffering. This is Nibbana, the final Goal which every Buddhist longs for. It is very profound and subtle. The mechanism of the Samsaric Circle, wandering about and being born and reborn in one existence after another in different abodes, ceases at the gate of Nibbanic Realm. The meaning of Nibbana can never be understood by mere knowledge, but it can only be fully realized by practical endeavour.
Here I would like to exhort you to try hard now. The Buddha proclaimed the six supreme Virtues of the Dhamma and openly invite you to try for the Final Goal in the following ways:- Sanditthiko - being practically known by oneself;
Akaliko -being immediately effective;
Ehi passiko - inviting you all to come and see.
Choose whatever you like: the Buddha showed forty kinds of Kammatthana (forty subjects of meditation), three modes of training and the Eightfold Noble Path.
In the Magga Vagga of Dhammapada Pali, the Buddha also taught in the following manner
Eseva maggo natthanno
Only the threefold mode of training or the Eightfold Noble Path, the root-cause of enlightenment, is the straight and right way towards Nibbana; there cannot be anything else other than this way.
The Buddha exhorted to follow the right way, which is the root-cause of release from all suffering and which can be known only when the Buddha appears, not to forget to practise it, to make use of this golden opportunity in favour of a good time, and not to feel remorse in future.
Not to Feel Remorse in Future
Jhayatha bhikkhave ma pamadattha,
Paccha vippatisarino ma ahuvattha,
Ayam vo amhakam anusasani.
Oh, Bhikkhus Contemplate on the specific object of meditation by means of Samatha Bhavana or contemplate on the characteristics of arising and passing away of the aggregates of mentality and materiality by means of Vipassana Bhavana. Don't be forgetful. Don't be filled with remorse for your failure when you are getting old, feeling sick and dying.
This is, indeed, all the Buddha's admonition with great compassion and pure loving-kindness for you all!
Sadhu, Sadhu, Sadhu
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