This book on Purābheda Sutta Dhamma is the last of a series of six Discourses delivered by the Lord Buddha on the occasion of the huge Congregation called 'Mahāsamaya', which took place in the Mahāvun forest lying adjacent to the Himalayas near the city of Kapilavatthu. Present at this unprecedented Congregation were innumerable number of Devas and Brahmās from ten thousand Universes who had come over of their own accord without being invited, to pay obeisance to the Lord Buddha and the five hundred full-bloom Arahats. These Arahats gathered round the Lord Buddha soon after their attainment of Arahatta-phala to pay homage. The wide expanse of the pleasant Mahāvum forest and entire Universe were overflowed with a multitude of Devas and Brahmās eager to listen to what the Buddha would preach. The illustrious gathering of Celestial Beings was unparalleled with the Lord Buddha occupying a central pivoted position emitting brilliant rays of Divine Light in six different colours, flanked by the highly noble Arahats who had then just eliminated and cleansed themselves of the impurities of all kilesās, passionate desires.
The Lord Buddha, after his intuitive observation with His Divine Eye on the idiosyncrasies of the respective Devas and Brahmās, preached the six different Discourses suited to those present at the congregation according to their respective inherent nature of character and mental disposition to enable them to gain the awakening consciousness-Enlightenment.
Of the six discourses, this Purābheda Sutta Dhamma was meant for the extremely wise persons of erudition with very keen intellect. Realizing by his intuition that no common person in the Universe would have the aptitude to raise questions to fulfil the curiosity of those Devas and Brahmās, the Exalted One had created an Image of his own Self, a replica, called Nimmita, by his supernatural faculty Abhiñṇā. This created Image of the Buddha after descending from the firmament with radiance took his seat majestically before the real living Buddha, and commenced raising problematic questions relating to all the six Discourses. The first of the Discourses was the Sammā Paribbājanīya Sutta, meant for those Devas and Brahmās who were dominated by the habit of rāga. The last of these was Purābheda Sutta as stated earlier. It is so profound that ordinary men of intellect would find it difficult to explain. It will even be far more difficult to make it comprehensible with particular reference to the actual application and practice of paṭipatti.
And yet, the Venerable Mahāsī Sayādaw with his penetrating wisdom and great compassion had elucidated this remarkable Sutta Dhamma outlining a variety of methods with reference to Aṭṭhakathā and Ṭīkās. The phraseology was brilliantly couched in common usages of plain Myanmar currently in use to make all and sundry easily understand the deeper aspect of the desanā.
This Purābhèda Sutta Dhamma originally comprises fourteen (14) Verses of which only One is a question, while the rest thirteen are answers. The object of the question is to find out what kind of "morality" or "attributes" should a person possess to be deserving of being regarded as an Upasanta, a noble personage of great learning with serenity of mind. Buddha had purposely made repeated utterances in verses conveying the same sense to make his illustrious audience easily understandable. The fundamental point stressed therein is to strive for personal realization of the Dhamma during one's present lifetime before death. The answers relating to the Noble attributes of the Dhamma lay emphasis on the need to eradicate taṇhā in as much as clinging attachment to all pleasures of life can drag a person down to the nether world.
The noble qualities of an Upasanta or Santa individual are described fully with lucidity. It has also been made obvious that a Santa individual is an Arahat in whom all kilesās have been extinguished. The method of severing the bonds of kilesās has been effectively prescribed, and this method of practice is nothing but Vipassanā. This would involve contemplation of the four foundations of Mindfulness, called Satipaṭṭhāna. It has been clearly stated that this meditational exercise must be developed to ensure better prospects for one's future existence after demise. It is also revealed that while living, an ordinary worldling will be beset with so many kinds of pitfalls in his life time and with obsessions in the shape of anger, hatred, envy, pride, worry and improper behaviour, and that if these evils cannot be rejected by contemplating and noting in his pursuit of worldly affairs or spiritual knowledge, he will remain unliberated from the crushing miseries and sufferings in the present existence and in the life hereafter. If vices become predominant by the fuelling up of his craving desires, it is most likely that he will descend to the realm of Apāya, the Nether World. The best remedy therefore lies in practising Vipassanā-bhāvanā for one's own salvation so as to attain ariya-magga-phala. Different stages of achievement that can be reached up to Saṅkhārūpekkhā-ñāṇa leading to Nibbāna has been elaborated by the Thanks-Worthy Sayādawphayagī, the author of this Sutta according to the desanā.
While making emphasis on the significance of Vipassanā meditation, the method of rejecting all kinds of vulgarisms and kukkucca, verbally, mentally and physically, has been lucidly explained. Clear exposition has been made that by contemplating and noting with good concentration after equipping oneself with the purity of sīla, morality, one can achieve the highest state in progressive Insight. Further amplification has been made in this Sutta Dhamma relating to the essential need to avoid all improper behaviours, to subdue anger and to eschew self-conceit which can react sharply to hinder the progress in the realization of the noble Dhamma.
Furthermore, this Sutta Dhamma has been clearly explained by the author, besprinkling it with relevant anecdotes, making it all the more effective and interesting. The Venerable Mahāsī Sayādawphayagī with his talented genius has made us fully understand without skepticism the attributes of Vipassanā meditation. This is the only way to gain insight knowledge stage by stage bringing arahatta-magga-phala within easy reach if there is faith, devotion and diligence. Furthermore, the noble attributes of an Arahat are amply described.
The unprecedented nature and scope of this highly philosophical Sutta Dhamma, now expounded by the Venerable Mahāsī Sayādaw in simple language, which had once made its impact on a deeply appreciative audience to attain Arahatship in myriads on the spot, will, I am sure, likewise bring beneficial results to all Yogīs, monks and laymen alike.
The Venerable Sayādawgyi had emphasized the goal of Nibbāna as attainable in this very life existence. The proper practice of Buddha's doctrine is clearly manifested to have involved a technique of living, which, while not worrying about the past, or the present or the future, would place upon the individual the art of living in sanctity until he has attained in this life the goal, Nibbāna. This way of living is essentially to practise Vipassanā meditation by developing constant mindfulness on the phenomenal occurrences of body and mind to the extent of gaining full awareness or perception of their true characteristics of impermanence, suffering and non-self, which will eventually lead to insight wisdom of varying degrees up to the attainment of arahatship. By this ultimate attainment, kilesās together with taṇhā and diṭṭhi which in fact bind a person from one existence to another, will be completely eradicated. One should therefore strive to accomplish this Dhamma. It is quite obvious that neither Buddha, nor anyone, prayer nor bribe, can help and that man alone is the architect of his future.
May you all be able to put forth spiritual strenuousness and to practise virtues unceasingly as a Santa individual does, and work out a way of life that would end in the realization of the goal, here and now.
(Min Kyaw Thu)
Buddha Sāsana Nuggaha Organization
Mahāsī Sāsanā Yeikthā
PURĀBHEDA SUTTA DHAMMA
Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Sammā-smbuddhassa
The Dhamma to be delivered to-day is the last of a series of discourses all six in number, preached by the Buddha at the huge Congregation of a multitude of Devas and Brahmās, known as Mahāsamaya. The essence of each different discourse or Sutta Dhamma is related to the natural tendency and idiosyncrasy of the respective Deva or Brahmā. Purābheda Sutta is the name it bears.
The expression "Purābheda" is a combination of two words comprising 'bheda', which means 'annihilation' or 'destruction', while 'purā' conveys the meaning of 'before' or, 'prior to', or, 'foremost'. Hence, "Purābheda" connotes 'before destruction', or 'prior to death'. The Discourse has therefore been given the name of "Purābheda" for having related to or reference to the Dhammas that one should accomplish and would surely come across before his final death or utter destruction of his life.
The essence of what is contained in the Sutta will be clearly revealed in the course of my sermon explaining the basic facts of the Dhamma. In delivering this Sutta, as in the case of Sammā Paribbājaniya Sutta, Nimmita, the replica of the Buddha created by the Exalted One, raised the following question as desired, for the benefit of the erudites who were very learned with their high intellectual power having natural aptitude and bent to acquire the sublime knowledge.
Question raised by Nimmita
(Created image of the Buddha)
Q. Kathamdassī kathasīlo, upasantoti vuccati.
Taṃ me Gotama pabyūhi, pucchito uttamaṃ naraṃ.
Addressing the Lord Buddha who belonged to the noble lineage of the Gotama Clan, the question that was asked is: "Reverend Sir, What kind of wisdom or foresight and moral conduct a person should possess to be worthy of honour in the name of 'Upasanta' individual having the intrinsic qualities of inner peace of mind or calmness? Oh, my Lord! Would you please elucidate what is the kind of such a noble personage?
This is the question put by Nimmita Buddha to the real Buddha. These two Buddhas, the created Image and the Buddha himself had had their dialogue between the two, the one putting questions while the other giving answers. There was only one question as stated in the above Pāḷi verse, whereas the answers comprised thirteen verses. I will amplify in full only a few verses since an elaborated statement would probably be considered as mere repetition by some of the listening audience. In fact, there were only a very few peculiar features in the verses. There are many which have similarity in meaning. I would therefore deal with only a few, comprehensively.
Listening to A Sermon is to gain Peace of Mind
The primary object of the question is to find out what kind of conduct or morality and what sort of knowledgeable experience should a person possess to be regarded as a distinctive individual endowed with the quality of serenity. In so far as this Dhamma is concerned, 'serenity' or 'peace of mind' refers to freedom and liberation from every aspect of suffering, hard toil and tiresomeness. Those who are presently listening to the sermon and are meditating aim at achieving that kind of peace and calmness. All meditational practices in the realm of this Sāsana seek for realization of real peace and happiness. Other religions outside the domain of Buddha's Teaching likewise expect to gain such kind of peace. In their own way they all have striven wishing to achieve that objective. The only difference between the two categories of concept lies in the kind of peace derived as to whether it is really genuine or not.
There is no reason to doubt that in the present Universe every individual desires to enjoy peace and happiness. At the present time, the peace initiatives advanced by countries all over the world are intended to bring about World Peace with the sole object of finding a real way for the defense of peace in the interests of all mankind. The main intention, however, is to avoid conflicts between nations and catastrophic consequences. This aim and object does not embrace a wide scope. The 'Peace' envisaged in this Dhamma is the Real Peace. It would eradicate all troubles, tribulations, anxieties, miseries and pain, and would result in extinguishing all kinds of sufferings and worries, thereby bringing "real" peace and happiness forever. One who finds such noble peace and calmness is called Upasanta person. Upasanta means a person who has a tranquil state of mind. Such a person must be well learned, wise and noble and must have adequate worldly experience and knowledge. The created image of Buddha, Nimmita, enquired the Enlightened One as to what kind of knowledge and worldly experience and good conduct such a peace-minded man should competently and sufficiently possess. I will recite the following motto for you to memorize easily.
"What knowledge and what practice, if acquired, would deserve to be named 'Santa'?"
As already stated earlier there were thirteen verses as explained by the Exalted One in response to the query made by the Nimmita Buddha. These verses disclosed the noble attributes of a 'Santa' individual. Some of the words contained in the answers convey almost the same sense. To make the preachings understood by different kinds of Devas and Brahmās with different outlook and idiosyncrasies peculiar to the kind of Celestial Abode or heaven to which they respectively belonged, repeated explanations had been rendered in a variety of ways. Among such an audience who formed the Congregation 'Mahāsamaya', there were some who could not grasp the essence of the teachings if ordinarily rendered by the Lord Buddha. This was the reason why different versions of preachings conveying the same sense or the underlying meaning were repeatedly done.
Repeatedly uttered to make them understand
In the same manner, I have to repeat the preachings in a variety of expressions although they carry the same sense to enable the audience to gain fuller appreciation. At the Congregation innumerable number of Devas and Brahmās from different Celestial Abodes were present. Even in the human world different dialects spoken in a variety of languages are involved. Likewise, dialectic expressions of different shades could be spoken or be in use among different Celestial Beings.
"Vītataṇho purābhedā, pubbamanta' manissito.
Vemajjhe nupasaṅkheyyo, tassa natthi purakkhataṃ-"
The meaning of the above conveys: "Oh, Ashin Rahaṃ, the Nimmita! I would say that a person who is not obsessed or gripped by taṇhā, or in other words, who is free from the clinging desires or taṇhā is a 'Santa' individual."
It is essential to realize the Dhamma before death
Before one meets with death, he should be freed of taṇhā, human passions or cravings. Such a person who gets rid of taṇhā is said to be an Upasanta having been endued with peace of mind. It means that one should be able to equip himself with the Dhamma emancipated from the bonds of craving attachment, i.e. free from the taint of taṇhā. It is of paramount importance to remain unblemished by taṇhā. Those who are highly intellectual possessing moral qualities and sound intelligence, naturally have the ability to weigh things and judge properly. This Sutta has been preached purposely for such learned people. This initial single expression itself stands prominent conveying an immensely profound meaning for men of wisdom. There are different kinds of religious doctrines or Dhammas which earn reverence in this world. In most of these Dhammas or religions, reference has been made to post-contingencies or uncertain occurrences after demise, such as the state of condition or destiny that will befall a man or a being after his death. No one can however verify or stand witness to what would really happen to a person after his expiry.
The fundamental point is to gain personal realization of the Dhamma before death comes. One can be rest assured if he could achieve the Dhamma that ought to be practised, and also reap the fruits of benefit thereof while living in the present existence. From the viewpoint of all men of erudition, they would probably be satisfied and find contentment only if they could clearly realize the Truth of the Dhamma before death takes place. That will only give them positive assurance for the future.
The Enlightened One has therefore expressed approbation of his own Dhamma as follows:
"Sandiṭṭhiko-the Dhamma or the Truth that can be seen and realized personally with immediate results even during the life span of this existence."
Some intellectual laymen, Brahmins and wise ascetics asked the Exalted One: "Oh, Lord! Frequent utterances are being made mentioning Sandiṭṭhika Dhamma; and this Dhamma is said to be one which can be practically achieved right now. To what extent a person should possess the noble qualities to be able to say that he has personally gained immediate results.?"
Noble attributes of Dhamma
The Buddha has extolled his own Dhamma as: "It is the Dhamma which can be experienced personally now in the present lifetime through practice so as to lead to personal insight (Sandiṭṭhika). It brings forth or bestows upon a person a lot of advantages at any time without delay and pre-announcement or prior intimation (Akāliko). It is deserving of solicitous invitation as 'Come and See for yourself' (Ehipassiko). It is worthy of practising and is conducive to perfect realization by one to be kept and retained in one's own personality (O pāneyyiko). It is a Dhamma that can be equally benefited and consciously felt or experienced by each and every person (Paccattaṃ Veditabbo). The question that was put relates to these noble qualities or attributes. Buddha has answered to the wise interrogators to their entire satisfaction. However, these questions and answers are not from this Purābheda Sutta. I have given this clarification drawing references from other Suttas to make the meaning more clear and convincing since they have bearing on the statement that clinging desires, taṇhā, should be dispelled or eradicated before death.
The manner of deriving immediate advantages personally
Buddha's answer to the question on Sandiṭṭhika is in the manner stated below:
"Oh, Brahmaṇa! Thou shall ponder thus. A person who is overwhelmed and crushed with rāga, lust or passionate desires, may do anything that is detrimental to himself and others as incited by evil passions. He is also capable of committing vices or bad actions akusala, by physical action, by words or speech, and by malicious thought or ill will. On the other hand, if he is free from rāga, he will abstain from doing all such evils. Hence, is it not true that freedom from rāga and abstention from doing unwholesome acts for having been got rid of rāga, are the Dhammas actually realized in this present life time?"
It is, in fact, a counter question put by the Lord Buddha to let the questioners reflect and consider the immediate beneficial results of their being able to expel rāga and avoid vices. This had made the questioners clearly comprehensible. Of course, not all of them were able to dispel rāga completely. There were some who just perceived the significance of the answer given in the form of a counter-question.
The gist of it is urging them to practise meditation so as to get liberated from rāga, passionate desire. It is essential to get release from rāga in the present life time. For so long as rāga has its firm grip on a person, he is liable to commit evil deeds detrimental to himself as well as to others. Such malicious actions or vices might have been done also out of mere spite or anger blinded by delusion. Rāga, however, forms one of the contributory factors that have stirred up a person to commit vices. It is because those who are ridden with rāga, being introverts with an obsession for their own good at the expense of others, generally tend to do mischief with obstinacy and without sensibility. Hence, there are instances where murder or killing, theft, robbery and other harmful and imprudent acts or offences have been committed. Commission of such sinful deeds is mainly attributable to the presence of rāga. There are vices committed also because of māna, self-pride. Some have done mischief, committed blunder, and uttered obscene or indecent words as impulsed by self-egoism. Diṭṭhi is a false belief which is erroneously considered as truth. Depending on this false belief, wrongful deeds are likely to be done. At times, even harm may be caused to others who hold different faiths. Leaving aside this matter of wrong faith, in the present world, hot controversies usually take place in opposition over different policy matters and in political concepts or ideologies among bigoted persons. Such incidents have happened due to lobha, greed, dosa, hatred or anger, moha (delusion), māna, self-pride, and diṭṭhi, false views. Such dogmatic and irrational views have caused and are causing bad feelings and harm which deny the interests of both the wrong-doers and others.
These are the resultant effects which we have come across at the present day. Ill-effects will even become manifold in the next existence. With the extinction of rāga and with the complete eradication of delusion, self-pride, and false beliefs, such resultant evil kammas will have no opportunity to occur. No harmful acts will then be done to others. To get rid of these abominable feelings of rāga, anger, ego, etc., there is the method of practice. If this method is adhered to and practised on the right lines, you will realize the Truth personally. This Truth is nothing but the Sandiṭṭhika Dhamma. When clarification was made as stated those who came over and inquired became fully convinced and enlightened. Nobody can say with certainty what the future destiny will be of a being after death. It is because of this contingency that Buddha had preached this Dhamma that could be personally realized at the present time.
Purābheda, prior to death, that is, before the destruction of this khandhā, taṇhā, craving, is utterly destroyed or extirpated. In other words, taṇhā should be completely cleansed before death. What Buddha has preached is that a person who is totally liberated from taṇhā as stated, should be called a person endowed with the serenity of mind-Upasanta.
Method of practice for eradication of taṇhā before death
The method to get rid of taṇhā before death may be said to be the Eight maggaṅgas, the eightfold path. If spoken in terms of conduct and moral training, sekkha, there are three attributes, namely, sīla, samādhi and paññā. It is therefore essential to practise sīla, morality or observance of precepts, samādhi, ecstatic concentration and paññā, insight wisdom.
Sīla, morality or good conduct according to precepts, will dispel extreme forms of crude kilesā, called vitikkama-kilesā, violent passionate cravings, both physical and verbal, which have exceeded the bounds.
Samādhi, concentration, rejects all kinds of wild imaginations which have arisen in a person's mind-complex.
Paññā, wisdom, expels anusaya-kilesās, thoughts and mental inclinations or tendencies, which may arise under favourable circumstances.
As such, the crude form of taṇhā falling within the scope of highest degree, should be rejected by sīla. Mediocre or ordinary form of taṇhā must be rejected by samādhi, and the subtle or delicate form of taṇhā should be rejected by paññā.
Features of taṇhā clinging desires, if distinguished by the six senses will have six kinds. These are, in short, craving for pleasurable sensation of sight or beauty of the visual object; of pleasurable melodious sound or sweet voice; of good smell; of delicious taste; of good touch and of fine imagination and nature of thought that arises.
If elaborated, the kinds of taṇhā would be numerous. Just make a guess of many pleasurable or delightful sensations which may occur at the sight of even one visual object. There is a multitude of varying aspects. The attachment of taṇhā not only takes place in connection with one's own looks and personality but also has an inclination to find others, such as, the members of his household family and retinue, look beautiful and smart. You want to possess pretty and dainty clothes of fine texture and other luxurious household properties. You may even dream of such nice things as you may wish to own. If these have come into your possession, you will again continue to have pleasurable attachment to them. You like to choose different colours and designs of garments pleasing to your eye for your dress, foot-wear, umbrellas, motor-cars, etc., Everything that affords satisfaction will attract your cravings.
In regard to beautiful sights and scenes, pleasant tunes and sweet voices, good smell or odour, tasty food, and tender touch, these would stimulate one's delightful sensations. Such kinds of sensations are too many to be adequately enumerated. In the case of mere fanciful ideas and imaginations which may find a place in your heart, enjoyable feeling might arise in you longing to have them. This is said to be "dhamma taṇhā". All those which are likely to occur through the apertures of the six-sense bases bringing pleasurable sensations called taṇhā, must necessarily be extirpated. Such taṇhās or craving desires will be got rid of if you keep constant vigilance by your full accomplishment of Sīla which will eliminate the extreme forms of physical and verbal intrusions.
Manner of Eliminating Vītikkama-taṇhā by Sīla
An example may be cited. A person who does not respect and observe the rules of conduct (Sīla), may probably cheat or steal or even commit murder to get a thing or property which he feels like taking being highly attracted to him. If such vice is committed, it would amount to a breach of his morality. Then it becomes Vītikkama-taṇhā, and that means cravings that arise in him will have gone beyond bounds. He who respects Sīla and keeps his morality in tact will not give way to taṇhā, his craving desire, to get the better of him, and accordingly will abstain from committing the act of cheating or stealing or killing. By so doing, he is freed of Vītikkama taṇhā which, if present, could have prompted him to resort to evil action. This indicates how extreme forms of craving desire could be eliminated.
As regards monks, there are a lot of things which they ought not to do or speak or utter though they may feel like doing or speaking. Such mental perversity should be kept in check. Self-restraint or avoidance of such peevish thoughts or perversion is tantamount to keeping oneself free from Vītikkhama taṇhā. It is not permissible to speak or ask for a thing from a person with a motive to make him offer. Restraint should be exercised even though a monk may be eager to obtain a thing or property. No attempt should be made directly or indirectly to ask for something by way of alms. Inducing others to offer alms or donation is prohibited. If such inducement or insinuation is made, irrespective of whether a thing or property is received in the shape of donation or not, the sanctity or purity of Sīla or moral conduct shall be deemed to have been destroyed according to the Rules of Discipline. If the qualities of Sīla are properly guarded and kept purified, it would amount to remaining free from Vītikkama taṇhā (passionate desires which go beyond bound) by virtue of Sīla.
Putting it in a nutshell, observance of these moral principles by way of refraining oneself from committing evils either physically or verbally, must be done in the least in this Buddha's Sāsanā so as to eliminate the crude form of taṇhā, named Vīttikkama.
Eliminating surging Passionate Desires-Taṇhā by Samādhi
However, the subjugation of taṇhā by virtue of Sīla is not clear enough. It becomes more obvious with the faculty of Samādhi-bhāvanā. i.e. development of concentration through meditation. Fixed concentration on the contemplated object such as kasina, a process inducing mystic meditation with constant mindfulness is "Samādhi-bhāvanā." By being mindful with fixed concentration, the mind is riveted on one single object. Sometimes, if the mind flits, it should be recalled and put back on the object of contemplation. Therefore, while Samādhi meditation is being carried on, pleasurable attachment to sensations on sight, sound, etc., which may arise by wishful imagination or thinking, will cease to occur. This is the manner in which the upsurge of taṇhā is wiped off by the practice of Samādhi, i.e. by developing concentration.
How Anusaya-taṇhā is eradicated by paññā
Samādhi can only dispel taṇhā for a moment while contemplation is on the swing. Once contemplation is halted or comes to a standstill, taṇhā will creep in or prevail. Hence, if it is desired to totally root out the taṇhā, paññā-bhāvanā meditational development of wisdom must be practised. Paññā-bhāvanā simply means Vipassanā (Insight knowledge). Accordingly, contemplation with mindfulness must be made at every moment of seeing, hearing, smelling, eating, walking, standing, lying, bending, stretching, moving, and imagining. In brief, all phenomena arising from the six-sense doors must be contemplated. If it is done so, what is seen or heard or contacted, etc., not being considered as delightful or pleasurable, no clinging or passionate desire-taṇhā-will have the chance to occur.
An ordinary worldling who fails to contemplate and note, will find pleasure in everything good and agreeable which is seen, heard, or contacted, or known, bringing forth the taṇhā. If disagreeable or bad things are seen or heard or found, craving desires, taṇhā will be generated wishing to seek for what is agreeable and good. For a Yogī who is constantly contemplating on every phenomenon arising at the moment of seeing, hearing, finding, or knowing, he will (if concentrated mindfulness in the process of meditation is developed up to the stage of bhaṅga-ñāṇa) no longer think of the phenomena as being agreeable or disagreeable, but will become aware of them as being impermanent having truly realized the phenomenal arising and dissolution of things. Moreover, because of the natural characteristics of their impermanence, he will come to realize them as 'suffering' or misery. Having appreciated as such relating to all what is seen or heard etc., no pleasurable sensation of taṇhā will occur. And also in respect of every sense object contemplated no feeling of taṇhā will arise, and consequently, the mind remains calm. This is how anusaya-taṇhā is liberated or removed.
Two kinds of Anusaya
Ārammanānusaya and Santanānusaya are the two kinds of Anusaya.
Ārammanānusaya means the kāmarāga, passionate or sensual desires etc., which can occur after retrospective reflection on the objects of sense that have escaped notice of the contemplation by means of Vipassanā. A Yogī whose knowledge or wisdom has become mature equivalent to Bhaṅga-ñāṇa gained in the process of progressive insight, will not miss a single phenomenon which occurs at every moment of seeing, hearing, touching and knowing (awareness). All rūpa nāma that appear every time they are contemplated will be found vanishing and dissolving immediately. For this reason, the meditating Yogī will come to a realization of all these phenomena as "impermanence" "suffering", and "anatta", not-self. Having realized as such, the phenomenal nature of all such happenings will be reflected and perceived by him in their true light or characteristics thereby preventing taṇhā from arising. This explains the eradication of the delicate or subtle form of taṇhā called Ārammanānusaya by means of Vipassanā.
Santānānusaya means kāmarāga, which can occur in the personality of puthujjana or an ordinary sekkha individual under favourable circumstances, but which have not yet been dispelled by Ariyamagga. This Santānānusaya can only be rejected by Ariyamagga, the Sublime Path.
The manner of rejection is that while in the process of contemplating on the continual dissolution of rūpa and nāma, arising and passing away of their phenomenal activities, saṅkhāras, are realized through the achievement of Sotāpattimagga by which Nibbāna is reached where all are found to have been exterminated by virtue of the knowledge of Vipassanā which has become mature and fully accomplished. A person who achieves Sotāpattimagga whereby Nibbāna is found and realized is totally free from Sakkāyadiṭṭhi, atta belief, and viccikicchā, skeptical doubt, the two santānānusayas. Hence, in regard to a fully-fledged Sotāpanna whether he is contemplating Vipassanā or not, no false belief and doubt in his absolute faith in Dhamma can possibly occur connected with any kind of sensation. Nevertheless, a Sotāpanna is not yet free from taṇhā, the kāmarāga or sense desires. Be it as it may, vehement kind of taṇhā, strong or unruly passionate desires, which can drag down an ordinary worldling to the realm of apāya, nether worlds, will not arise in a Sotāpanna. Therefore, a person who has attained Sotāpannaship will abstain from doing wrongful acts, such as, killing, stealing, telling lies, etc. which can relegate him to the nether world. An ordinary worldling would have done these misdeeds either because of his clinging attachment to property or of loving attachment to his wife and children, or to save his own skin.
In connection with this point of fact, there are many instances illustrated in the Pāḷi Scriptures. Among these, the most interesting example relates to the personal guarantee or affirmation made by the Commander-in-Chief of the Army-General Thīha who was really a true Sotāpanna.
Affirmation or guarantee given by general Thīha
Na ca mayaṃ jīvitahetupi saṅcicca pānaṃ jīvita voro peyyāma.
The gist of the above Pāḷi phrase is:
We, having regard for what is called 'life', or rather, in self-defence to prevent one's own life from imminent danger of death, will never intentionally cause the death of a being; or in other words, take the life of another being.
This is not the statement written by someone on his own fancy. It is a confirmatory word of guarantee by General Thīha, a Sotāpanna, of his own experience and mental set-up. In that statement the words "jīvitahetupi" should be given particular attention. Some probably hold the opinion that a Sotāpanna in whom greed and anger are still unliberated and clinging, will commit the act of killing in self-defence or in anger, if he has the lethal weapon ready at hand when he happens to face the enemy who is going to do harm to him to the extent of causing death. General Thīha's statement is that even to save his own life, he could not possibly kill another. This statement is exactly on all fours as preached by the Buddha. It should therefore be borne in mind that though a Sotāpanna is not totally free from Kāmataṇhā, he is cleared of Vītikkama-taṇhā which can cause him to land in the nether world for having committed such acts of killing, stealing, etc.
An ordinary worldling for not having rejected even a fraction of taṇhārāga, will no doubt commit evils or vices as urged by that violent passion which can cause him to descend to the nether world after his death. Neither will be avoid doing Akusala, unwholesome acts such as, stealing other people's property. This evidently reveals the unabated strength of taṇhārāga. There are a few among puthujjana who dare not commit vices or evil deeds. They are those who have the deep and sincere devotion of the mind for having heard the sermon (Dhamma) with concentrated attention. However, this is not an assurance or in other words, cannot be rest assured. After falling into bad company and after repeatedly hearing the words of evil or profane talks, he could become an apostate or he might deviate from the right path and thought either in this present life-time or future existences.
A Sotāpanna is not so, Taṇhārāga, passionate desires, invoking attachment have lost its vigor or become weak, and such being the case, he cannot think of doing unwholesome actions that will banish him to the Lower Worlds of Apāya, in both the present or future existences. This is indicative of the liberation or disengagement of taṇhā.
A Sotāpanna on his attainment of Sakadāgāmimagga will again be free from the crude or boisterous form of kāmarāgataṇhā, ill-will (byāpāda), and anger (dosa).
When reaching the stage of anāgāmimagga, the entire kāmarāga and byāpāda are totally extirpated. As such, an Anāgāmi becomes tranquil or unagitated in so far as the matter of kāmaguṇa is concerned. Despite this achievement, as he still has his feeling of delight and pleasure in respect of his life existence, he cannot be regarded as having been totally free from sufferings and misery. This bhavataṇhā, clinging desire for life existence, will be eliminated only after he has reached arahattamagga. Then only, all craving desires, taṇhā and all other defilements, kilesās, such as dosa, moha, māna, etc., are completely annihilated. Such a state of sanctity can be realized in this very life existence. A noble person possessing such attributes and devoid of taṇhā is called Upasanta, one who has attained calmness and tranquility of mind according to the teaching of the Lord Buddha.
Such an Arahat who has been named as Upasanta, at the time of his demise or Parinibbāna, will not be reborn again since rūpa-nāma khandhā have become extinct. No new existence will come into being and with the absolute extinction of being the annihilation of the individual eternal or everlasting peace and bliss will be gained. Such a blissful stage is said to be anupādisesanibbāna. Upasanta individual who is cleansed of taṇhā before his final destruction-death, remains in a blissful state of what is known as saupādisesanibbāna, which means annihilation of everything except the five khandhās.
How calm and blissful is it?
The meaning of it is that an Arahat who is totally devoid of taṇhā, still holds or keeps in possession his khandhās, which continue to undergo the process of arising and dissolution. For this reason, he still experiences and perceives the sense-objects of sight, hearing, smelling etc. In particular, he is subjected to bodily or mental suffering caused by heat and cold. Owing to the indisposition and transient nature of the bodily elements, dhātus, for the worse, the material body has to suffer ailments, such as, stiffness, pain and ache. He may also fall sick. However, there is a complete absence of miserable feelings even if an Arahat comes to face with "unbearable" sensations. This is the peculiar mental characteristic of an Arahat. In a way, he is mentally unperturbed and is at peace, the mind being calm, unaffected, and purified. It is the sobering and unflinching effect feeling extremely better and tranquil.
Those Sotāpannas and Sakadāgāmis who have not yet escaped from the grasping hands of taṇhā will have two kinds of misery, namely, suffering disagreeable sensations when undergoing what is disagreeable, and becoming unhappy being intolerable by reflecting on all sufferings and misery which he has gone through. For example, it is something like a person in distress for being hurt by two pricking sharp-pointed thorns. If by accident he is pricked by a thorn in the hand or in the foot, then after taking out the thorn with another sharp-pointed thorn, let's say, a part of the thorn is left behind stuck in the flesh. Pain will then be felt in two ways-one, the pricking sensation caused by the piece of thorn that still remains in the flesh and the other-the pain that is hurt by extraction or removal of the thorn. Likewise, an ordinary worldling will suffer two kinds of misery: one from bad sensations felt and the other-mental distress caused by the sensitive mind.
As for an Arahat, he seldom meets disagreeable sensations. In case, when bad sensations happen to occur, there will be no consequential unhappiness. The mind is serene and pure. It remains always calm. Apart from that, all impurities of kilesā, such as, anger, delusion, conceit or self-pride, etc., do not abide in him. Therefore, he is mentally unmoved and unagitated or uninspired by any form of pleasure no matter how good and pleasant the sensation may be. That is the reason why an Arahat when passes into parinibbāna, the rūpa-nāma-khandhā will no longer happen anew. It is eternal peace. Such a person is, therefore, said to be an Upasanta individual.
As stated earlier, such a person is freed of taṇhā before death. He who holds no attachment to the present, and does not hope for the future or rely on the past, remains calm and serene free from taṇhā. He is to be regarded as Upasanta individual.
A person having cleansed of taṇhā before death abandoning his longings for the future and not relying on the past but living only for the present without clinging attachment by avoidance of the two extremes, is a "Santa" in name.
Let us therefore recite this Motto:
"He who is cleansed of taṇhā before death neither relying on the past nor longing for the future, avoiding the two extremes by practising at the present time, is a Santa individual in name."
If that is so, the question may arise as to why preaching is done repeatedly as "pubbamanta manissito, etc. It may therefore be noted that what has been stated earlier in brief, not being understood as yet by the devas and brahmās, repeated utterance had to be made in amplification with details. Referring to this it has been stated at the initial stage of the Dhamma. In the latter part also which follows, repeated preachings made are in the same manner.
Method of practising to get rid of Taṇhā
As to how practice should be made to eliminate taṇhā before death, is explained as pubbamanta-manissito, etc. That means practice must be done so as to escape from clinging to the past as also to abandon hope for the future. In the intermediary stage, i. e. in the present time, practice should be carried out to avoid numerical enlistment. This statement is not very easy to comprehend either.
However, as mentioned at the beginning, this Sutta was delivered and meant for those who possessed the highest degree of intellect. These intellectual giants were able to understand the preachings though ordinary persons of mediocre intellect might not comprehend. Since it is meant for the learned, it is necessary to mention a few things that need reflection. As such, from the very outset, it has been preached in this Sutta that taṇhā must be cleared off before death takes place.
Beneficial results accrued in the present existence before death
It is indeed really very interesting for all learned men. In pursuing the practice of religious Dhamma, only if benefit is derived before death, one can rest assured of himself. It is uncertain what will happen after the present life has ended. For instance, when suffering from disease, only if it is presently cured, it will be worth taking treatment. If it could be cured in the life next hereafter, no one will be inclined to take treatment. The quicker the recovery, the better. In the same way, if peace of mind can be acquired in the present life time, it will be extremely satisfactory. Only if serious practice is resorted to, one can attain Arahatship in this life existence, freed of taṇhā. Such an attainment, if achieved, one shall be deemed to be called an Upasanta individual. Therefore, in the ninth Verse given in answer, it is stated as "Taṃ byūmi upasantoti" which means: a person totally liberated from taṇhā is called a man of serenity with absolute peace and calmness. In the last Verse too, it has been preached as: "save santoti vuccati". All qualities mentioned in the previous verses shall be ended with either one of the aforesaid two phrases.
Hence, a person who is devoid or entirely freed of taṇhā is said to be an Upasanta or Santa individual. The method of practice embracing sīla, samādhi, and paññā to be indulged, has already been described quite fully. However, a few points may be mentioned relating to how calmness is taking place without the slightest tinge of taṇhā at the moment of Vipassanā contemplation.
How devoid of Taṇhā while contemplating
Vipassanā means constant contemplation of all phenomena arising out of the six sense-doors at every moment of seeing, hearing, contacting and knowing or arising mind-consciousness. It is so contemplated to get rid of taṇhā. In respect of every sense-object contemplated, kilèsā or defilements, cease to occur momentarily. Meanwhile, taṇhā becomes also extinct. The more contemplation becomes intense, the more the kilèsā-taṇhā can be mopped up. When contemplation is prolonged, kilesās will be very much reduced. Rugged and harsh types of kilesās, cravings, will be minimized. At times calmness of mind will be achieved to the extent that one would probably think of the crude form of kilesās which having ceased to occur, will not rise again as before. This calmness referred to is the momentary achievement only while contemplation is going on. Some people have a wrong notion that this peaceful state of mind is indicative of the complete cessation of kilesā. However, until and unless ariya-magga is attained, the calmness achieved is not a reality yet. After a considerable lapse of time, say, a number of days after Vipassanā practice has been dropped off, crude form of kilesās will gradually appear. Calmness is realized while the process of contemplation is being done. The calmness so realized is, in fact, the benefit gained before one's own death.
It is more obvious to those whose samādhi, concentration, is greatly strengthened. Pleasurable sensations that may arise will vanish without recurrence after contemplating and noting them once or twice only. Taṇhā will then be found to have ceased altogether. When samādhi-ñāṇa becomes vigorous, pleasurable and delightful sensations will subside without being able to display. Although the pleasurable sense-objects are noticed, since contemplating and noting being in process, these will be found to have been vanishing so fast that they will not even be thought of as pleasurable. Hence, calmness of mind prevails without pleasurable attachment. This is the manner in which taṇhā is cleansed while contemplation is proceeding. It is nothing but the beneficial result found and realized before death comes.
As contemplating and noting continues to become accelerated, ariya-magga is reached by virtue of vipassanāñāṇa which becomes mature with full accomplishment. All craving attachment, taṇhā, which can cause one to land in the nether world, will then be extinguished followed by personal realization of the real peace. This is also evident of how freedom from taṇhā is experienced prior to destruction or death. All passionate desires and pleasurable attachments will be found completely eliminated when arahattamgga is reached and Arahatship attained. This is, in fact, the clearing away of taṇhā, human passions, before demise.
Immediate personal realization
Taṇhā, lust or cravings, cease altogether in the person of an Arahat. Then, all is calm and peaceful. This realization is sandiṭṭhika dhamma which is personally achieved in the very life existence. Akāliko this Dhamma is practically realized immediately without delay. To put it in another way, this Dhamma can be achieved in no time. Moreover, as the fruits of benefit can be reaped immediately at the present time, it is a Dhamma deserving of urging and inviting others to "come and see" -Ehipassiko. Yes, indeed. After extending an invitation to others, if no beneficial results are derived all at once by them despite their indulgence in the practice of the Dhamma, it would be unsatisfactory. Satisfaction will be obtained only if the benefits are gained more or less immediately or without undue delay. If satisfaction is thus felt, thanks will be showered upon the person who urges or encourages others to do the practice. An example as an analogy may be shown thus. If a man stricken with disease were advised by the other to take medical treatment and yet he fails to get better or relief from his sickness with immediate result, confidence may be lost in the practitioner. Only if the sick recovers or get better overnight after taking medicine, he will have confidence both in the medicine prescribed and the practitioner, and also in the person who has earnestly tendered his advice. Similarly, Buddha's Dhamma is Ehipassiko, deserving of inviting and encouraging others as: "Come and See" and "Put yourself into practice". If practice is really performed with diligence as urged, one will be liberated from kilesā taṇhā in this present life existence. It is sure enough. If the Truth of Dhamma is realized, one who indulges in meditation is likely to reciprocate his gratitude to the person who has invited him to follow the Dhamma as prescribed by the Enlightened One.
Carry out and put into practice so as to get imbued with
Dhamma in your body and mind
Then, Opāneyyiko-True indeed is the Dhamma which is worthy of practising contemplation or keeping it up to get penetrated or injected into your mind. Let it pervade the whole body and remain absorbed just like orally taking medicine or an injection to cure a disease or to rejuvenate the strength. It is a Dhamma-Ehipassiko, deserving of practice so as to spread in your own bodily self. If the Dhamma could be retained in the body by practising it, pleasant or odious sensations can be resisted or withstood. The disease of kilesā, defilement, can be perfectly cured or eradicated. How? When coming across a sensation which may bring about kilesā, it should be rejected by contemplating and noting it, as it arises. If it is so contemplated and noted, the sensation whether good or bad will be found vanishing. You will surely find it as such. Then, no pleasant craving-taṇhā will occur at all. Anger will also cease. In case, pleasure and anger crop up, they will suddenly disappear if contemplated and noted penetratingly with constant mindfulness. Even more conspicuous will this act of vanishing become when miserable feeling or unhappiness occurs. If a person who practises cannot as yet dispel such miserable feeling of distress by contemplating and noting it, then it may be considered as unsatisfactory. If that is the case, it should be borne in mind that basically he is not yet accomplished in the Dhamma.
Real ability becomes obvious only when faced with danger
Apadāsu thāmo veditabbo. It means when faced with danger, a person's strength of ability and true courage will be clearly known, or shall be determined. Under ordinary circumstance when no unusual situation happens, a person's real courage and true caliber cannot be judged though he might have been extolled as a brave person with great ability. Correct assessment of his innate qualities can only be made when he could tolerate against the onslaught of serious opposition under adverse conditions and in a perilous situation, which run counter to his own interests. Much as he may assume or strike an attitude as a hero and make boast of himself, it is hard to decide his true colours. When only one is confronted with real danger and put to a tight corner which calls for a decisive combat and a test of true valour, if he is found fighting against his foe valiantly at the risk of his life, then it can be taken for granted that he is a proven tough and courageous man. In the same way, in matters concerning Dhamma, one may be said to be highly accomplished and noble. But before he comes to face with any adverse condition, he cannot be vouched for as being really noble and knowledgeable. If only he can tolerate and exercise self-restraint or control in subduing his passionate desires, which when occur, become lessened or rather less obvious, or in suppressing his rising anger to the point of vanishing or near obliteration; or, when sorrowful sensations that may arise have not become manifested, he deserves approbation.
According to the quality of the Dhamma that is achieved by a person, or in other words, the more he is accomplished with the qualities of Dhamma, the more he will become tolerant and be able to endure no matter from which dvāra or door of the six senses, unpleasant and harmful sensations may appear. This Dhamma therefore merits practising with all might to get instilled into the whole body and mind-Opāneyyiko.
Then comes paccattaṃ veditabbo. This is the Dhamma that can be realized by one on his own individual effort by practising it. It is solely dependent upon one's own effort and cannot be indirectly achieved. The Dhamma that has been gained by one through his own personal persevering practice cannot be offered or transferred to another. The teacher cannot bestow the Dhamma he has in him upon his pupil or disciple. Parents too cannot hand it down to his off-springs. Neither can the children sons and daughters give it over to their parents nor can close intimates share it among themselves.
One gets satiated only if one eats
In this worldly existence, during one's life time, only by one's own performance of the work which needs be done, his objective will be achieved. Even in taking meals, or food, only if one eats, he will have complete self-satisfaction. Any other person will not be satiated. Likewise, one should sleep for his own good. Good sleep cannot be obtained on hire. Any pattern of phenomena that will only happen in one's own bodily self cannot be done through an agency. Similarly, if one personally devotes himself to practice, no one but himself will gain accomplishment in the Dhamma. Therefore, paccattaṃ veditabbo is said to be the Dhamma which can be fully appreciated individually and severally by those practising the Dhamma personally.
To make the meaning of this Sandiṭṭhika dhamma, etc., more convincing or distinct, Buddha has preached thus:
Purābheda-before the destruction of this corporeal body (khandā), or in other words, prior to death, vitatanho, i.e. taṇhā or craving is got rid of. Preaching was done beginning with this phrase. Phrases which followed in succession after the first phrase were the amplified statements of explanation in detail as has been mentioned earlier. Therefore, it is not worth-while imagining that there is similarity in their meanings. Let us go on preaching the subsequent phrases.
No reliance should be made on the past
Pubbaṃ antaṃ-no reliance should be placed on the former existences, if spoken in terms of bhava, existence. However, rare indeed is a human who can know his past existences. There are only a few persons who are said to be re-incarnated in the present life, that is, those who remember their former existences. According to this phrase it would appear as if the majority of human beings are unable to indulge in the practice. For this reason, the expression 'past' or 'former' should be taken to mean "earlier in time from now" i.e. all preceding years, months, days, hours, minutes and seconds. Looking back from this time of preaching, what has been seen or heard or found, or known are all reminiscences of the past. Even the words just spoken and heard will belong to the 'past'. What is being spoken or heard, or in other words, speaking or hearing right at the moment constitutes the 'present'. What is going to be said or heard may be regarded as the 'future'. In the present case, what has been seen, or heard, or found, or known previously or rather just before in time, are meant to be the "past". It was stated that these should not be relied upon.
Reliance on taṇhā-diṭṭhi
"Relying or Leaning on" means nothing but taṇhā and diṭṭhi. I have been delivering sermons about taṇhā diṭṭhi so often repeatedly that the subject matter has become almost stale for our benefactors. Since opportunity comes up again, I have to repeat lest it should leave a gap in the process of my preachings. In all teachings of the Buddha whenever the expression "reliance upon" is used, it indicates taṇhā and diṭṭhi. Only with reference to these two kinds of Dhamma, either nissito and anissaya "relying on" and "not intending to rely on" etc., has been preached. This is true. When pleasurable sensation occurs in respect of a sense-object, it amounts to relying on the sensation. Because of false belief or wrong view, if craving or grasping is taking place, it is in a way sticking on to or relying on the sensation that arises, without letting it go.
If there is clinging attachment to the past events in retrospect, it is said to be putting "reliance upon" with taṇhā. For instance, if one is taking his seat touching a wall, it may be said to be relying on the wall. In fact, he is leaning against the wall which lends support. If sitting close to a post, the post is relied upon as a support. If sitting posture is taken on the ground (earth) or on the floor, it amounts to making reliance on the ground or on the floor, as the case may be. In the like manner, taṇhā, by reflecting repeatedly on the past sensations that had been perceived, goes to rely upon them with pleasure. Various kinds of sensation which have been seen, or heard, or smelt, or tasted, or contacted in the past, as the case may be, are often reflected with pleasure. Such reflective mood or thoughts constitute acts of reliance accompanied with and stimulated by taṇhā. Delightful and pleasant sensations which have arisen in retrospect relating to events of the previous existence should be construed as reliance made with taṇhā. Those who remember the past existences are exceptionally few.
However, since this Sutta was delivered at the huge Congregation of Devas and Brahmās, called Mahāsamaya, the Devas (deities) and Brahmās who were present on that occasion, might probably remember the events happened in their former existences. If pleasurable sensations are felt by reflecting as such on the events that had occurred in the previous existences, it must be interpreted as being relied upon with taṇhā. As far as human beings are concerned, it is hard to remember the past events which had taken place even in the days of childhood, far less the past existences. What is important is that events happened in the past could also be reflected from the time of becoming grownups. These are those past events relating to food taken with relish, or, joy and happiness found, or activities done in the company of friends, etc. to which pleasurable sensations have become attached. Sometimes, such events might come into one's head automatically without the need to put in special effort. This kind of recollection of the past with pleasure means leaning back on the 'past'. Such a state of mind should not be allowed to occur. As preached in the foregoing, if taṇhā were eliminated, it can no longer be relied upon. Therefore, the phrase stating that no reliance should be made on the past appears to be redundant. Nevertheless, the first phrase wherein mention has been made as "free from taṇhā", is the summarised statement. Preaching was therefore done in elaboration that no reliance should be made on the past, and it was meant for those people who could not be made as yet to understand with just a mere brief statement.
This is more important for people who are presently practising contemplation. While meditating, if reflection is made on the past events with pleasurable feelings, it would amount to putting reliance on the past. No such leaning back should be permitted or allowed to occur. When feeling of reliance appears, rejection should be made by contemplating and noting it. If imagination occurs by reflecting on what has been seen, or heard, or tasted with enjoyment before, it must be dispelled by contemplating and noting. All such events of the past should be contemplated and noted the moment they creep into one's mind. If it is done so, "reliance" which is likely to attract pleasurable attachment will fail to take place. One will then be completely free from "reliance".
In this regard, there includes a number of recent events. It may be things relating to occurrences taken place on the previous day or in the morning or day time to-day, or the events that have just been heard, or met, or known. Such events being very recent, are more conspicuous. Things which happened just a few seconds ago, or in the morning or day time might even appear in the mind's eye without making reflection. They come into one's own imagination automatically. Hence, more care should be exercised in regard to recent events of the past. All such sensations should be rejected by contemplating and noting at every moment of their arising. This is the manner in which rejection of "reliance with taṇhā", is made.
"Relying on" with diṭṭhi is of similar nature. What has been seen, or heard, or contacted, or known is wrongly presumed as, it is "I" who saw, or heard, or knew; and also the sense-object concerned is reflected as to who is who, or as a human being or an animal, etc. Since the manner of this reflection or recollection being done as a "being", it may be said that reliance has been made with diṭṭhi, false view. This is the retrospective imagination with Sakkāya and Atta diṭṭhi. If at all such thoughts arise, it must be contemplated and noted and then rejected. Therefore, the motto has said: "He who is cleansed of taṇhā before death neither relying on the past, etc."
The expression "neither relying on the past" refers to the events that had happened in the past. Pleasurable sensations with taṇhā should not be allowed to occur by reflecting on the past events. If such sensation or thought arises, it should be rejected by contemplating and noting it. This method is extremely fine. If noting is done through mindfulness on the consciousness that arises, it will be found disappearing. This state of mind or mental activity was absent before. It occurs right at the moment and vanishes at once, and hence, it is clearly realized as "Impermanence". Nor is there any living entity or a being. It is merely a natural phenomenon arising and passing away. It will be vividly known as such. Having realized the truth, taṇhā the pleasurable attachment cannot arise. Nor will false view, diṭṭhi, appear with a wrong notion that it is a living being or "I"-Self. Therefore, this method of contemplation and noting is very effective in rejecting the taṇhā and diṭṭhi which take place relying on the past. All imaginations that may arise relating to the past events should be dispelled by contemplating and noting in the same manner as stated.
If rejection is done by contemplating and noting with mindfulness, it will eventually lead to the attainment of arahatta-magga-phala. On reaching that stage, taṇhā and diṭṭhi which are prone to rely upon the past will be pulled up by the roots. This is the reason why practice should be made from the very beginning as a common worldling to get rid of taṇhā and diṭṭhi absolutely. Without practising as such, taṇhā and diṭṭhi could never be rejected. If one begins to take up practice from the status of an ordinary worldling, he will reach the stage of sotāpattimagga and become a Sotāpanna after he has become accomplished with vipassanā ñāṇa in the course of his contemplation. When he reaches this status, taṇhā which can cause one to land in the nether world will be removed. If a Sotāpanna continues to carry on contemplating, he will become a Sakadāgāmi. Further continued practice will bring him better progressive insight and make him become an Anāgāmi. When reaching that stage, all clinging desires connected with kāmaguṇa, sensual pleasures, will become extinct. If an Anāgāmi proceeds with his contemplation, he will become an Arahat, whereby all clinging desires or cravings (kilesās) will be entirely extirpated. Of course, clinging to diṭṭhi, false views, have been wiped off since the time of the achievement of Sotāpattimagga. However, Sotāpanna, Sakadāgāmi and Anāgāmi still have ego or self-pride called māna. This māna though devoid of attachment to the existence of atta, the way it happens is something that resembles diṭṭhi. Pride may cause to think of himself something like atta, self. It is because of the presence of diṭṭhi working as an agent, it is called asamimāna-diṭṭhimāna. The three higher stages of magga as Sotāpanna, Sakadāgāmi and Anāgāmi attained by virtue of Vipassanā, will reject the clinging diṭṭhimāna. When however, on reaching arahatta-magga-phala and after becoming an Arahat, all these clinging or grasping taṇhā, diṭṭhi and māna will be completely erased. It is with this intention of eradicating all leaning or grasping sensations which may appear in connection with the 'past', it has been preached as - "pubbamantam", which means the past which is one extreme shall not be relied upon.
Do not expect the future
Let's talk about how to restrain oneself from looking forward to the future after having mentioned about 'non-reliance' on the past, according to the motto. This was contained in the preachings as the fourth stanza of the verse, which runs as Tassa naṭṭhi purekkhataṃ."
It means: a person who does not hold any expectations for the future. For example-he who intends to travel by train will have to plan ahead as to how he should proceed to the railway station, and manage to get a seat in the carriage for a good ride on the train to be able to reach a certain destination, etc., without a hitch. This is "purekkhatam" planning before hand and making arrangements in so far as travelling is concerned. The same thing is found in the Dhamma. All beings are mere travellers journeying without a pause in the rounds of saṃsāra. They are therefore looking forward to what would happen to them in their next existences, expecting to find things according to their desires. They yearn for a better life aspiring to reach greater heights of power and prosperity in the next existence in the world of human beings. They wish to be born in an aristocratic family or in a rich family of higher social status. Moreover, they wish to be born with handsome looks, fair complexion and hope for a luxurious life in the company of followers and attendants. If they were to be born in the Celestial World, they expect to become powerful Devas. In the present existence too, they want to be free from all dangers, and to become opulent among a high class society of friends and relatives. These are longings for the Future. It is just looking forward, and hence in the motto, it has been stated as: " ... nor looking forward to the future ..." The gist of it is not to look forward to and yearn for the future. If you happen to be imagining as such, you should contemplate, note and then reject it.
It is meant for those who are now doing meditation and not for those who are preoccupied with their daily chores in their own homes. As regards people who have to perform their domestic duties and are fully preoccupied not having time to meditate, it is impossible to take up the practice and to contemplate and note. Therefore, the method of practising contemplation on the right lines is only important for those who are meditating. If and when practical exercise in meditation is made, say, for an hour or so, or both day and night continuously, it will be the meditator's duty to contemplate and note with diligence. Hence, if any thought or imagination occurs relating to matters concerning the future, it must be noted. There are so many things to be contemplated and noted. If what is going to happen in the future is reflected upon, the thought or imagination that arises must be noted. In the present life time, one is likely to think and yearn for what one wishes to acquire or to be done according to his own will or desire. Sometimes, one may be imagining and longing for happiness in the world of human beings or Devas by virtue of his morality which he has practised and gained. These arising thoughts and imaginations should be contemplated, noted and then rejected, Also, one may be planning to promote paṭipatti sāsanā. That of course, is a virtuous thought. However, if one dwells his mind on it for a pretty length of time, it will interfere with his practice of meditation. If it so happens, knowledge through concentration will fail to occur. Then, progress of insight-wisdom will be deterred. Therefore, even good and virtuous thoughts or imaginations should be rejected by contemplating and noting. Also, if one intends, or imagines to develop samādhi ñāṇa to the extreme, contemplation and noting will be spoilt or hindered. As such, this type of imagination must invariably be rejected by proper contemplation and noting.
If all such thoughts, ideas and longings for the futures are rejected, progressive insight of vipassanā ñāṇa will be developed leading to the attainment of ariya-magga-phala. On the achievement of Arahatship such thoughtful imaginations will be totally exterminated. For this reason an Arahat having got rid of all cravings and clinging desires, taṇhā, will have no new existence-rūpa-nāma-khandhā after his demise whereby he will gain eternal peace and bliss. Ordinary sekkha individuals, putthujjana, having had taṇhā, craving desires, will cling to one of the sensations appearing as kamma, kamma nimitta and gati nimitta visualized on the verge of death. Then the mind being rivetted on that particular sensation, the cuti or death consciousness, sometimes called relinking consciousness, hangs-on to it leading to rebirth, That is how they will be reborn in another existence with a new formation of khandhās. This rebirth and new life existence opens the way to sufferings and misery such as old age, disease and death. Therefore, to be able to avoid such sufferings, do not reflect on the past events and also long for anything to take place in the future. These mental thoughts are to be rejected after contemplating and noting.
Do not allow to be enlisted also at the intermediate stage
No enlistment should be made at the intermediate stage or in the middle portion between the two extremes, and that is, not to permit oneself to reach a situation whereby enlistment or reckoning could be done at the intermediate stage, i.e. in the present existence. This means not to allow to be dubbed a person with clinging attachment indulging in sensual pleasures or debauchery. Avoid being named or called as a person of fiery nature full of anger and spite. Do not give a chance to be named or regarded as an unknowledgeable person under a delusion or as an egoistic and arrogant person; or as a false-believer with sceptical doubts; or a miscreant or an outrageous and immoral person brimful with sensual cravings or clinging attachments; or, as a person heading for or precipitating towards lowly existence, or the world of tiracchāna (animals) or the realm of petas; or, as a person who will be reborn a human being or a Deva. In essence, meditation should be practised to escape from enlistment as a person belonging to any one of the categories stated in the foregoing.
The statement such as, "Do not rely on the past, and long for the future" is the terminology used in the ancient days. It is well-nigh impossible to be grasped by the present generation. Then also, this Dhamma preached in the ancient times is not meant for ordinary people. It is meant for knowledgeable persons of very high intellect. It could be easier for them to understand. Moreover, the expression "nupa-saṅkheyyo"-i. e. it should not be allowed to be named or enlisted," is even more profound. I will explain it once again.
"Vemajjhenupasaṅkheyyo": which means the person must be one who should not be reckoned in the intermediate stage or the middle portion. "The Middle Portion" denotes the concept of Dhamma which is occurring from the six sense-doors at every moment of seeing and knowing. One should not allow himself to be named or enlisted as a person who is dominated by passion or who is raging in anger relating to a variety of sensations which occur presently. If pleasurable sensation occurs with attachment at the sight of a visual object, one should be called a person of lust with great passionate attachment to all kinds of sensations that arise at every moment of hearing, smelling, eating, contacting, imagining and knowing, etc. A person who feels angry on seeing a sense-object, may be called an angry man. Then, a person can be called a man under a delusion if he does not appreciate the truth of the sensational phenomena that have arisen in him and attracted his notice.
Similarly, if feeling elated and honoured in connection with the sensations arising from what have been seen, heard, contacted, imagined and known, a person deserves to be called a haughty man or a man full of pride. If a person considers that it is his own "Self" a being, who sees or hears, etc., should be called a false-believer or a heretic. If demerits occur relating to what has been seen or heard, etc., or, if opportunity is allowed to prevail for demerits to occur, a person may be said to be making his way to Apāya, the nether world. On the other hand, if merits are being achieved or, in other words, if the way is kept open for a person to gain merits, he may be called a man of virtue who will be reborn a human being or a deva. Hence, it is essential to conduct oneself so as to avoid being named or enlisted as stated. Then, how should one behave, or, what course should one take to achieve that objective. The method is to contemplate and note, in true perspective, all phenomena of rūpa and nāma that arise from the six sense-doors at every moment of seeing, hearing, contacting, and knowing. If so contemplated and noted, it will be clearly known that the arising phenomena are merely rūpa-nāma which, in fact, appear and vanish immediately and that therefore they assume the nature of impermanence, suffering and 'not-self'. If thus truly realized, pleasurable feeling and attachment will cease to occur. If not, all sensations will stick to the sensitive mind just like a film when taking a photograph. Delightful pleasures may repeatedly occur in case where the mind is imprinted with the picture of a pleasurable sensation on which mental reflection is made. If it happens to be a grudging or spiteful sensation, anger may arise. I shall relate a story where anger becomes prominent. This is contained in Mahosadhā Jātaka.
Advice given by Kevaṭṭa, the Brahmin
In the Jātaka story of Mahosadhā, Kevaṭṭa, the Brahmin advised the King: "Oh, Your Majesty! if you follow my advice and carry out everything exactly in accordance with my directions, you will become a Universal Monarch. Oh, my Lord! this is quite simple and easy. You should mobilise your troops and raise a big army, and subdue with great force at your command all neighbouring states which are weak in strength." The King then remarked in affirmation-"What has been stated by Kevaṭṭa Brahmin is perfectly right. It is an easy job for a powerfully strong nation to pounce upon a young and weak nation and make a conquest of it. This plan is acceptable and shall be adopted. Threaten them by show of force and give them pressure urging them whether they will submit to our suzerainty as vassal states. The country which concedes to our demand be left unharmed and may be allowed to remain in status quo. We shall tell them that they should follow our leadership and extend their fullest co-operation according to our directions. These smaller nations will no doubt through fear, obey our dictates. With the enlistment of their support when our country gets more strengthened in its might, we shall further proceed to put the bigger nations in tight corner in the like manner. These big nations too will have no other alternative but to acquiesce to our will and pleasure." The Brahmin Kevaṭṭa therefore gave orders that all neighbouring states should be subjected to our control in the said manner.
Kevaṭṭa, the Brahmin, was not a dullard. Quite intelligent he was. Of course, if one has the necessary strength, plots can be hatched. In the world of to-day, imperial colonists are assuming such an aggressive attitude. Also, King Cūḷanī Brahmādatta had found it appropriate to adopt the policy of aggrandizement-the strong oppressing the weak, as advocated by Kevaṭṭa. He met with outstanding success in his venture on the lines indicated by the Brahmin Kevaṭṭa. If a small nation is threatened with aggression by a big nation backed up by a hugh army with overwhelming superiority of strength, the poor small nation has to give way and obey in the face of an imminent danger to avert disaster. In this manner, all neighbouring states, big or small, had to bow down and come to humiliating negotiation as dictated by King Brahmādatta. After the achievement gained in its efforts to coalesce a good number of states, and on making further incursions with their military strength, some of the big nations became intolerable and could not endure anymore. The mighty force was then gradually advancing towards Videharit country. It is not too big a state in the middle part of India, lying to the north of the country of Māgadha. In those days, the so-called states were not very large. Not any one of them would be comparable in size to that of the Union of Myanmar, though much exaggerated in the literature. The Brahmin Kevaṭṭa purposely delayed the execution of his plan to invade the country of Videharit simply because of the powerful presence of the Minister Mahosadhā, the reputed Sage.
In the scriptures, mention was made that the big royal army besieged a fairly small state of Videharit with eighteen divisions of armed forces. It was terribly large and broad-based. In those ancient times, the military weaponry used in warfare were mainly swords, spears and bows and arrows. There were then no sophisticated weapons unlike in modern times as at present. As such, it is likely that the strength of the fighting forces might have been fairly large. Mithilā, the capital city of Videharit was surrounded by eighteen big army divisions. The striking force then sent a massage to the beleaguered city whether they would make an unconditional surrender. The king of Videharit then sought the advice of Mahosadhā asking "How would you resolve or manage to combat this dire situation which calls for an urgent solution?"
Mahosadhā's depth of wisdom
Mahosadhā had envisaged beforehand that Kevaṭṭa's armed forces would one day march on to Videharit and make a siege. He had therefore made early preparations to make the city self-sufficient within its own city limits in food and other essential materials. Dams, lakes and canals were constructed within the precincts of the city for adequate supply of water both for consumption and for purposes of cultivating crops and cereals. Spies and intelligencers had been sent to various other countries. Even among Kevaṭṭa's army there were fifth-columnists who had done the work of propaganda to the effect that food supplies were in abundance within the city, etc. They, of course, made exaggerated statements of the stock-piling of all sorts of provisions and of the state of prepared-ness in the event of a siege. This information had caused Kevaṭṭa's troops to think of an alternative strategy as against the original plan. Their new strategy was a proposal to stage a battle of wits between intellectuals of either party and mutually agree to submission by the unsuccessful party to the winner. Mahosadhā accepted this proposal. He therefore sent word to the enemy camp that in the morning on the next day at sunrise, he would come out from the western gate of the city with valuable gifts to hold talks for negotiation, and that they should wait for him. Kevaṭṭa's party with a huge array of armed forces awaited in eagerness for the occasion. Since they had to wait from the western gate, selected as a place for rendezvous, their faces were scorched by the burning rays of the rising sun. The climate in India particularly at that time was unbearably hot. They were facing the sun as they looked up at the eastern horizon while waiting for Mahosadhā's arrival. Mahosadhā did not arrive early. The delay on the part of Mahosadhā was intentional to keep the other party in suspense and make them suffer with intense heat. It is a clever way of ill-treating others. Kevaṭṭa's troops who were badly perspiring had a lot of trouble. Only about midday, Mahosadhā and party made their appearance. Kevaṭṭa then said, "Friend ! As we two are men of wisdom, courtesy should have been shown between intellectuals. Depending upon you all, Mohosadhā, we have arrived here since the past few days and yet, up till to-day you have not made a friendly gesture by presenting us with gifts." This was an insinuation. Mahosadhā then responded that he had not been able to offer gifts as yet or rather earlier, and that the delay was due to the time taken in considering as to what kind of gifts would be most proper and appropriate. "Now that having brought with me a priceless gem to be presented as a gift, please honour us by your acceptance," said Mahosadhā. So saying, he took a stance as if he was about to offer and hand over the gem.
Bramin Kevaṭṭa's imagination
The great Brahmin then reflected in this way. "As Mahosadhā had come to offer the gift, it amounted to his paying homage and to submit to subjugation." He thought he was a victor in a way. With great delight and eagerness, he extended his hands and spread his palms ready to receive the gift. Mahosadhā then purposely put the gem on the top of Kevaṭṭa's fingers so as to let it slide down. The gem being a bit heavy, dropped through the space of the Brahmin's fingers and landed on the surface of the ground between Mahosadhā's two feet standing apart. Impulsed by his greed, the great Brahmin moved forward a bit and tried to pick up the gem stone. At that moment, Mahosadhā catching hold of the Brahmin's neck by the back, pressed the head down causing the latter's brow touch and brush the surface of the earth, and uttered loudly "Oh, Ashin Brahmin! I'm obviously young. You are older then me. Don't worship me, please. It is highly improper and indecent."
As a matter of fact, the Brahmin was by no means paying his respect to Mahosadhā. He merely moved forward and attempted to pick up the gem stone with his two hands. However, it would appear to others by the sight of his posture that he was doing the worshipping. Mahosadhā therefore, placing his one hand on the neck of the Brahmin and holding the knot of the garment at the waist of the Brahmin with the other hand, pressed him down and brushed the Brahmin's forehead against the ground and shouted out! "Oh, Teacher! Please stand up, I'm too young to be deserving of reverence in this manner. I'm only about the age of your grandson. Don't worship me." So saying, he swept the Brahmin off the feet by pulling him hard.
Almost simultaneously, Mahosadhā's team of spies among Kevaṭṭa's retinue suddenly proclaimed "Our Teacher, the great Brahmin is paying reverence and respect to Mohosadhā for having failed in the battle of wits." When the voice of this loud proclamation rang forth, the entire armed forces of Brahmādatta king started running helter-skelter, King Brahmādatta himself fled having been caught unawares all of a sudden. Many a troop must have suffered casualties in the midst of commotion. Fright usually spurs men to take to heels in a melee to save one's own life. It is really dreadful. In the ancient times, it must be all the more horrible.
Fled in fear of the danger consequent upon defeat in battle
The victor used to plunder the property belonging to the vanquished as they pleased. Both life and tangible property were usually destroyed, ravaged, or seized. Towns and villages might be destroyed. Sometimes, men were captured and might be put to death. Prisoners of war were generally taken and then treated as slaves. Those who were defeated in battle or war as well as the country which was overrun, would lose their freedom, sovereignty and national prestige and would also be cruelly suppressed. It must have been this fear of impending disaster that had made Brahmādatta king and his armed forces to take to flight.
The Brahmin Kevaṭṭa tried to overtake king Brahmādatta and prevented him from running away. He explained at length that they were not defeated yet, and that he was not paying his reverence to Mahosadhā. Even the battle of wits through conversation had not yet started and it was merely a trick played upon him by Mahosadhā by offering him a piece of gem stone as a gift. King Brahmādatta then realizing what had actually happened as explained by Kevaṭṭa, rallied his scattered and disorganized troops, came back again and laid siege to the city of Mithilā with his armed forces firmly pitched for battle.
Deputed to bring about schism
Despite the siege, Mahosadhā, the wise, deputed a Brahmin of his own choice, named Anukevaṭṭa under sham orders of extradiction in pretence. Later, Anukevaṭṭa sought to attend on Brahmādatta and worked up closely to create the king's suspicion on Kevaṭṭa, the king's counseller, and other Heads of the States together with the troops. Concisely, on investigations being made by the king Brahmādatta, he could no longer trust anyone of his army generals and other personal including his adviser Kevaṭṭa for having found with them military weapons and presents bearing the marks or insignia of Mahosadhā. Fear therefore seized him thinking that all his followers had taken sides surreptitiously with Mahosadhā. On one night Anukevaṭṭa and king Brahmādatta together secretly fled the place as pre-arranged by Anukevaṭṭa, the spy. Immediately at the same time, other spies working for Mahosadhā publicly announced the secret and sudden departure of king Brahmādatta. The royal army of great magnitude woke up from sleep in surprise and dismay and fled all at once in confusion. From the point of view of some individuals in modern times, such an incident might probably be regarded as a "believe it or not" story. However, considering Mahosadhā's remarkable ability, wisdom and glorious attributes, it could have really happened in those conservative old days. Even in Myanmar History, such incidents were said to have taken place when seized by extreme fear.
Heritage of war
What was inherited from this war, the big battle, was the disfiguration of the face with an ugly scar on the forehead of Kevaṭṭa, the Brahmin, received from the injury sustained by him. It was stated that every time he looked at the mirror, the image of the scar which he saw in reflection, had reminded him of the past events. Reminiscences of the past episode had infuriated Kevaṭṭa who swore vengeance on Mahosadhā for causing him suffering, shame and ignominy. Every time he saw the permanent scar on his forehead, it made him reflect upon the past incident which stirred up his imagination as: Ay, Mahosadhā had given me trouble by deception. I failed to get the gem-stone and the only result I have had is the big scar on my brow. He is really evil-minded-the wicked devil, indeed. Wait, I'll take revenge on him in one way or the other, and make him suffer." With this imaginative mood clinging to him, he was constantly plotting against Mahosadhā. The ruse employed by him was that Videharit king was communicated and invited to be present at a ceremonious occasion as a bridegroom to be given in marriage to the daughter of Brahmādatta. The intention behind this move was when the king Videharit together with Mahosadhā and their retinue came over without taking due precautions for their security inadvertently in response to the invitation, they were to be captured and massacred. However, this plot was spoilt by careful and cautious handling of the situation by Mahosadhā who had taken preventive measures, being aware of the plot prior to the occasion.
The gist of what is to be spoken
Here, the significant point that needs emphasis is the manner in which anger arises when reflection is made on the past events. Indeed rare is the case in which anger has arisen on seeing a scar. In this case, however, the reason for the upsurge of anger at the sight of the scar was because Kevaṭṭa, the Brahmin, had his indelible impression of the past events. If he could forget and forgive Mahosadhā, there is no reason why he should get angry with Mahosadhā. Just imagine. It had so happened because of the presence of the wrong notion of self, atta and the scar on his forehead as being "mine" i. e. his own self, which is paññatta, just as Mahosadhā was thought of as a "being", an illusion that is known or manifested in name only-paññatta. If it were truly known and realized, anger will not have found its place.
If the mind clinches on a sensation, and if reflection is made on it, it would be the basic or root cause for the occurrence of greed, anger, delusion and kilesā, cravings or moral defilements. These sensations have popped up from what is seen, heard, contacted or known. It is true. If no contemplation and noting is done at the moment of seeing, hearing, contacting and knowing, greed (loba), anger (dosa), delusion (moha), self-pride (māna), etc. can take place.
It is really alarming to be enlisted
It resembles taking out a thing from a pocket and often looking at it. Repeated occurrences of greed, anger, etc., are taking place by reflecting on what has been seen, heard and known. As such, a person who fails to contemplate and note at every moment of seeing, etc., will be wrapped up in greed from the time he sees, hears or knows. Such a person shall be named a man becoming avaricious. He may also be said to be a person in whom anger, delusion and pride have arisen. Since he has been enlisted as a person accepting and receiving akusala kamma or demerits, he is included in the list of those who are destined to relegate to the nether world or to the realm of lower existences, such as animals or petas, ghostly spirits. If that is the case, it is really alarming or rather, frightening.
How to avoid enlistment
This is to say that if one fails to contemplate and note at every moment of seeing a sense-object or hearing a sound, etc., greed and anger can arise out of the sensation which occurs from what is seen, heard, touched, or known. When greed, anger, etc., have become overwhelmingly great, either foul or fair deed is liable to be committed or done. If so committed, and if it yields unmerited results, he will descend to apāya, the nether world. Therefore, he has been enlisted as one who will go down to hell, the nether world or the animal kingdom.
And next. Merits can be derived also by depending upon greed or anger. How does it happen? It is done by way of giving away in charity or giving donation wishing to acquire and enjoy the kind of pleasurable sensation that can be derived from what is seen, heard, contacted or known, in the next existence even though it may not be within one's reach in the present life time. He may keep observance of the moral precepts wishing to gain merits. It shows how moral merits are derived based upon or fundamentally depending upon greed (loba). If meritorious deeds are done in anger with a view to fulfilling one's own desire, kusala, merits-the resultant effects will be gained relying upon anger. If merits are acquired in this manner, these actions will pave the way or bring good results to be reborn in sugati, the world of human beings or of Devas. If exertion is made to achieve jhāna merits, it can bring beneficial results even to the extent of becoming a Brahmā. Such kinds of kamma action, speech or thought bringing forth good and bad effects or results are being experienced by every individual. These have so happened and made their appearance at the time of seeing, hearing, contacting and knowing and since then they have become enlisted. Practice of meditation should therefore be made to avoid being enlisted as such.
The manner of practising is to contemplate and note constantly without a break on the arising phenomena of rūpa and nāma from the six sense-doors at every time of seeing, hearing, contacting and knowing. While contemplation is being carried on, the true characteristics of impermanence (anicca), suffering (dukkha) and 'not self' (anatta) should be clearly perceived. Awareness takes place in the manner herein-after stated. It will be known as disappearing or vanishing if contemplation and noting is carried on at the moment of seeing. It is also realized as arising and passing away instantaneously. Hence, it becomes obvious that it is impermanent and not lasting. If also what is heard is contemplated and noted, it disappears all at once after hearing has taken place. It is also found disappearing and dissolving. Awareness then comes of the truth of impermanence. In the same way, what has been contacted and known immediately disappears. It arises and dissolves, and this phenomena will be realized as anicca dhamma, the law of impermanence. If realization comes in the manner stated, no enlistment is possible as a man of greed, or of anger or a man under a delusion. Such a person must not be called a man who has greed or an individual who has desirable attachment. Neither shall he be called a person who is in a mood of anger nor a man under a delusion nor a person who is puffed up with false pride (māna), nor, one possessing craving desires (kilesās), nor, a man deriving demerits or merits. He will then escape from enlistment as a person who will have his rebirth either in the nether world or in the world of human and celestial beings as a result of his demeritorious or meritorious deeds. Meditational practice should therefore be made to escape from being enlisted in respect of, or from being entangled in, every sensation that may arise.
Only on attainment of Arahatship one becomes free from
all entanglements or enlistment
When becoming an Arahat, all such sensations which cause entanglements and pave the way for enlistment will be entirely cleared off or got rid of. Even an Anāgāmi will not yet be free from all kinds of sensations. Such sensations which are listed and present in a most complicated form remain to be accounted for in the case of ordinary worldlings. Those which need be reckoned, comprise rebirths as a human or a Deva or in the realms of apāya, animals and Petas. Hence, common worldlings have all these things to be reckoned and liquidated. In this regard, a Sotāpanna is better off for not being very much entangled. There is no cause for him to be relegated to the lower regions of existences and the nether world. He has been enlisted to become a human being, or a Deva or a Brahmā. As for Sakadāgāmi, he is in the same boat with Sotāpanna to be accounted for and reckoned. In respect of an Anāgāmi, however, there is hardly anything to be rendered and accounted for since there is even no enlistment to be reborn a human or a Deva. He has been firmly listed to become a Brahmā. Eventually, when Arahatship is attained. there is nothing left to be listed or reckoned. Everything has been completely settled and fully liquidated. That is why it is essential to practise to be able to settle and liquidate all entanglements. Relating to this point preaching has been made in a very profound manner. However, intellectuals who have the right bent of mind with noble attributes can understand and appreciate these profoundly difficult aspects of Dhamma.
In the Motto, the statement conveyed is to avoid being named in the 'Middle Portion' i.e. in the present existence by indulging in the practice of meditation. Further elucidation will be done again. The "Middle Portion" or the Intermediate stage means: The arising phenomena of rūpa and nāma at the moment of seeing, hearing, contacting and knowing. This is the manner in which contemplation is being made by the present Yogīs. They have to contemplate at every moment of arising of the bodily phenomena according to the method of mindfulness, i.e. Satipaṭṭhāna. They are to contemplate on every sensation which occurs at the moment of seeing, hearing, imagining, and on all other sensations of stiffness, hotness, pain, ache, etc. This is done with a view to preventing kilesās from arising in the intermediary stage, which means, at the present time, and to avoid being assailed by rāga (passion), dosa (anger) and moha (delusion), or, being enlisted as one destined to reach sugati, heavenly abodes, and duggati, the world of sufferings, or, drifting in the incessantly flowing current of saṃsāra. On becoming an Arahat, these things to be accounted for will be totally cleared away or removed. A person becoming fully accomplished as such, is a "Santa" individual who has gained real peace and serenity.
The first verse uttered by the Lord Buddha in answer to the question runs:
"Vītataṇho purābhedā, pubbamanta manissito.
Vemajjhe nupasaṅkheyo, tassa natthi purekkhataṃ."
The above Pāḷi stanza may be explained as: An individual who is free of taṇhā in his present life time, i.e. prior to death. Neither does he rely upon the past nor crave for the present the intermediary stage, nor, hope and long for the future with a passionate desire. Such an individual is really a person with peace of mind-calm and serene. It is adequate enough even with this explanation relating to one single verse. However, at the time of delivering this Sutta Dhamma, only a few Devas and Brahmās were able to grasp the full meaning of this first verse. Some were yet unable to appreciate. Hence, for those who still failed to comprehend, the Enlightened One proceeded to deliver the sermon in respect of the remaining twelve Verses to make them fully convinced of the magga-phala dhamma and become well accomplished.
In the text of this Sutta, there is only one and only question in the form of a Verse while the answer itself embraces thirteen Verses in all. Therein, it is stated that if taṇhā has been got rid of before death, one has already become an Arahat.
Then also, if a person is not deserving of being named as a man who relies upon the Past or looks forward to the Future, or has wrapped up in kilèsā or craving in the present existence, i.e. the "Middle Portion", he is said to have already become an Arahat.
After attaining Arahatship no further practice needs be exercised. That is why the Dhamma is found to be adequate and comprehensive even with the exposition given in the first Verse. However, to make some of the Devas and Brahmās clearly understand the Dhamma, which they had failed to grasp and appreciate, the Blessed One continued to elucidate it in detail.
"Akkodhano asantāsī, avikatthī akukkuco."
Mantabhāṇī anuddhato, sa ve vāsāyato muni.
The meaning of the above phrase is: "A person who is not prone to anger." In other words, a person should be free from anger, that is, mild and gentle without harbouring any grudge or spite. He is also free from worry and anxiety. Neither is he egoistic and boastful. He is far above contempt in regard to his physical and mental behaviour and assumes no loathsome and despicable attitude both in speech and action. He is not used to speak perfunctorily i. e, without considering and weighing things with his own wisdom. He is not restless, and is endowed with the stability of mind. A priest possessing such noble attributes is one who exercises restraint in speech. Buddha has preached thus: "Such an individual is, I say, a person who is at peace, calm and serene-an "Upassanta". To be able to memorize, let us recite a Motto. In order, however, to be able to do the recitation only after appreciating it's meaning to a certain extent. I will explain a bit more.
"Tame the anger and avoid worry without being arrogant and stay free from kukkucca."
The word "Kukkucca" cannot briefly be translated into Myanmar. Hence, it is expressed in its original Pāḷi language. Then also, when talking and making a speech, it should be weighed and cogitated with one's own background knowledge.
These are the six noble attributes of a "Santa" individual. The motto having ascribed the attributes only, is difficult to be recited with a smooth flow. As it would be absurd to understand the expression in Pāḷi language, it is composed in plain Myanmar in a feasible way as far as possible.
Suppress the Anger
A person should not allow himself to become indignant. In other words, do not let the anger get the better of oneself. All individuals with the exception of Anāgāmis and Arahats, have anger in varying degrees. When loathsome sensations arise, anger generally takes place. Leaving aside ordinary worldlings, even Sotāpanna and Sakadāgāmi still have anger. Anger arises in them when disagreeable or bad sensations are felt.
Fury or violence is the natural characteristic of 'anger'. It is far from being meek and mild. It resembles a cobra, a poisonous snake, which raises its head and hisses fuming with anger the moment it is touched. Anger may become suddenly vehement beyond control. Anger rages on hearing unfair criticism or any kind of harsh talk. If is just like a snake hissing with great fury. Greed and anger are the Dhammas in rivalry. Anger is, of course, more conspicuous because of its ferocious nature. Anger in fact truly reflects the mood of an individual or a person's mental disposition. Since "anger" is rough, wild and fierce in nature, practice of contemplation should be done so as to dispel it completely.
Easier for anger to arise on hearing
Anger usually arises when one comes across with detestable or loathsome sensations. The moment contact takes place bringing forth bad sensations, anger makes its appearance. Any unpleasant or ugly sight immediately stirs up anger to raise its head. Unpleasant and hideous sounds stimulate wrath almost simultaneously the moment they are heard. It is more likely that feeling of anger will arise when a sound or voice is heard rather than when an object is perceived by the eye. One can tolerate to a certain extent when an ugly or disagreeable object is seen, but usually he will become unbearable at the moment of hearing as abusive word, or disparagement or derision which consequently causes bitter feelings or indignation.
Anger becomes more violent when one is railed against with obscene words or an abuse. Such a word, however, does not cause even a slight injury, nay, not even an abrasion on his physical body. It is the ringing of the voice and yet it may provoke bitterness to the extent of killing another amounting to murder, a criminal offence.
Such an intolerable state of affairs commences from the time of hearing a harsh talk or a jibe. Even among nations in the world, they may declare war against one another because of disputes or hot controversies or disparaging talks over political issues of divergent or dogmatic views which could eventually lead to a crisis. Hence, indecent remarks or criticisms are likely to cause a great deal of trouble.
Then sometimes, foul smell emitted from a neighbouring house may cause nuisance to another living in the same quarters or ward, and may lead to petty quarrels between neighbours. Disagreeable or bitter taste of food may cause anger to a person who eats. Even a married couple may pick up a quarrel over the question of likes and dislikes of food according to one's own taste or fancy. Such cases are, of course, extremely rare.
Likely to become intolerable relating to sense of touch
Sometimes, it may be beyond one's own patience relating to a sense of touch. Bad sensations arising from the sense of touch or tactile, may cause a person to become angry, such as, annoyances given by flies or mosquito bites. A person may also get angry for having accidentally dashed his toe against something hard even through his own fault, or if anyone has involuntarily pushed against him while hurriedly rushing in a crowd, or has purposely hit him with a stick. These are instances where anger may arise.
At times, feeling of anger may not occur on the spur of the moment. If someone comes to insult him or talk to him rudely, though sudden provocation may not arise, it might later develop into a furious anger either after repeated provocation or retrospective imagination. Feeling of anger may bring about a change in his looks which then can become sour or sullen. When anger runs high, hot words may ensue. Words may gradually make one become greatly irritated leading to an assault in a fit of anger, or may develop into a state of blind fury to the extent of committing murder or suicide. This is the manner in which anger may become swollen or soar up to a great height stage by stage.
Resembles a toad
It has been preached Vammika Sutta that this "anger" is very similar to uddhumāyika, the toad. This kind of toad becomes puffed up or swollen every time it is touched by hand or a stick. In Shwebo district, such a kind of toad is called a "Phar-om". Some called it "Phar-gon-hñyin". In some places, it is named as "Phar-byoke". "Phar-byoke", of course, is poisonous. This toad uddhumāyika is not a poisonous creature. Everybody will know if it is described as a frog which becomes swollen in size every time it is touched. It stays among dirty old dry leaves or at the foot of a tree. Sometimes, it may stay inside a hole in the earth. As it grows swollen every time it is touched, it eventually becomes unable to move. Once it is put upside-down, it will not be able to resume its normal posture on its legs. It cannot even move about if crows or other birds may come to prick or prey on it. It will then finally become a victim to crows and birds.
"Anger" is similar to that kind of toad. On hearing unpleasant or undesirable sounds, bad sensations are puffed up. If such sensational contacts repeatedly take place, anger is grown in immense proportion. It may cause one to do things which ought not to be done. It might even go to extreme lengths.
If medicine is not available, suffering occurs;
if available, relief can be obtained
Such being the case, the moment anger arises, it should be nipped in the bud, or dispelled by contemplating and noting. Those who are not acquainted with the method of contemplating and noting, will have no remedy. They will suffer mentally whenever anger arises just as a sick person has to undergo suffering for lack of medicine. If medicine is readily available, relief can be obtained and the patient can fully recover from his illness, eventually. In the same way, without the Dhamma being handy, no help can be rendered to a person if anger has its grip on him. He will then suffer from mental distress. Some are blinded by ignorance when they are inflamed by anger so much so that they cannot even restrain themselves from becoming highly impulsive and furious. It reflects the nature of anger. However, in the case of those who are knowledgeable with Dhamma, anger, when appears, can be easily contemplated, noted and dispelled. It should be rejected in that manner.
Nine modes or causes of Āghāta
When rising anger becomes unabated and intensified, malice and feeling of vengeance can occur. The manner in which vengeance or ill-will takes place in connection with human beings, is of nine categories. This is known as nine āghātavatthu, causes or occasions of ill-will or grudge.
One person may become vindictive or bear grudge against another out of mere discontentment or dissatisfaction. Then, consciousness of grievance will take place. He may reflect on the past incidents remembering and feeling hurt that a particular person has given him a lot of trouble many times detrimental to his interests or well-being. This is bearing grudge or ill-will against that person to retaliate or return the same sort of ill-treatment that he has received. Another kind is that he may think of taking revenge on a person for doing harm to him at the present moment and by his own assumption that in future also this person is likely to cause him harm to the detriment of his own interests. These are the three kinds of vengeance relating to three different incidents arising out of the present situation.
This kind of vengeance may be generated not only against individuals but also against other sentient beings. Revengeful thoughts can occur even against mosquitoes, fleas, ants and other disturbing insects. These tiny creatures may be considered as giving people a lot of nuisance and trouble all the time, and so, feeling of disgust or hatred may occur. If no virtuous thoughts were entertained, these creatures would have all been killed or destroyed. Worse can happen by making massacre of innocent people. Revenge may also be taken by a person against a dog which had once attacked and bitten him, or barked at him. These sorts of grudge are not uncommon.
The above three forms of wreaking vengeance with embittered feelings will happen usually after ruminating over the incidents where harm has been done in the past, and is being done at present, and with an anxiety that harm may also be done in the future.
Furthermore, there are three other kinds of vengeance relating to a person for whom one has deep love and respect. One may resent against somebody who has done harm to his beloved in the past, or is doing wrong now and is going to do harm in the future. Then, relating to a person whom one hates, vengeance may be taken upon another person for giving help to the man whom he hates, or, for lending out assistance to that person at the moment and also for any possible assistance that may be rendered in future. All in all, there are nine sorts of āghātavatthu. Apart from these, one may unnecessarily become angry with lifeless or inanimate things, such as, sharp-pointed stumps, pegs and thorns, or the burning rays of the sun, or sudden down pour and so on. This is called "aṭṭhānakopa".
Not getting angry where anger should not arise
Inclusive of āghātavatthu called āṭṭhāṇakopa, it will come to ten categories of āghātavatthu in all. I will amplify a little more in explaining how aṭṭhānakopa happens. The way it occurs is that anger may arise if the weather becomes hot when refreshing coolness is desirable, or, if there is heavy downpour when rain is not longed for, or, if a strong breeze flows in when it is not needed. Sometimes, one may get angry with the disease he is suffering, or with the sickness which may be prolonged despite his wish for a speedy recovery. When natural phenomena such as, wind, rain, thunder, etc., break out, or if occurrences of bad of ill-sensations arise in him according to circum-stances, one may become intolerable and feel angry. These happenings are called aṭṭhānakopa, and are indicative of wrath in cases where angry sensations should not have arisen. Some people even become angry at a lifeless stump against which they have accidentally struck while walking. If so happened, they may even purposely hit against it again and again through rage. Also, some may even become so irritated for having inadvertently dropped something out of their hands that they would repeatedly throw it away and beat it through uncontrollable temper. There are occasions when anger presents itself without rhyme or reason. To prevent such anger from arising, it should be contemplated and noted and then rejected.
All undesirable sensations arising out of the six sense-doors which invoke sudden impulsive mood of anger should be dispelled by contemplating and noting. If anger appears, it should be suppressed from the very outset to bring it to the point of cessation so as to prevent any possible occurrence of improper physical behaviour. If after rejection of such undesirable sensation when vipassanā-ñāṇa becomes stronger, ariyamagga-ñāṇa can be attained. A Sotāpanna is not as yet entirely free from anger but no vehement anger will arise in him to be capable of killing another person, which if it were committed, would have caused one to descend to the nether world. A person who has reached the stage of sotāpannamagga-ñāṇa, will be able to control his temper from becoming boisterous and furious though he may still become angry with undesirable sensations that may arise. However, no anger which can cause him to steal other people's property, or bring financial ruin to others, or to tell lies, will occur. He may therefore be said to be relieved of sinful acts. When reaching the stage of anāgāmimagga-phala, all kinds of anger will entirely cease. There is therefore nothing to be said of an Arahat in whom all kilesās, moral defilements, have become extinct. Hence, it is stated as "akkodhano", which means "not used to be angry". Anāgāmis and Arahats, in whom anger does not reside, are liberated from suffering and misery in so far as dosakilesā is concerned. Such a person is called an "upasanta" individual.
Should have no worry and anxiety by feeling dejected
Moreover, it is stated as "asantāsica", i.e. free from fear and anxiety. In this universe, the majority of the people become anxious and worried and dejected for not being able to fulfil their personal desires. In the verse under reference, this feeling of anxiety or worry is called santasa. Monks are likely to become worried and dejected for fear of scarcity of benefactors or donors or helpers. Sometimes they may become down-hearted for not having friends and adherents on whom reliance can be made.
In brief, out of eight worldly conditions-lokadhamma, if any unpleasant or unhappy circumstances or conditions, such as, loss, dishonour, blame and suffering, are met with, a person may become dejected. He may feel disappointed or discontented for lack of gifts or privileges which he has hoped for, or for having had no followers or companionship, or for want of assistance when need arises. Of course, it is natural for people to wish for fame and honour and escape criticism. They hope to become fortunate and find happiness and avoid misery and sufferings. Hence, if they have come across miserable conditions which bring them no happiness, they may become sad and greatly depressed reflecting that misfortune has come upon them as a result of bad kamma.
The above instances reveal how dejection has taken place because of unfulfilled desires brought about by unfavourable circumstances. Hence, such mental depressions must not be allowed to happen, or rather, should be discarded. If such depressive moods happen to occur, these must be rejected by contemplating and noting them. There is no reason why a person should be morose and dispirited. He needs encouragement from others. Some people are optimistic while others are pessimistic. There are some people who become very much disheartened and miserable when they feel sick. It is absolutely necessary to be able to withstand the onslaughts of lokadhamma. One should be able to remain composed and unaffected whatever may be the consequences of the ups and downs of life. If at all he becomes dejected, feeling of dejection should be contemplated, noted and rejected. Therefore, the motto goes to say "Avoid anger and worry". Do not let the anger raise its head. If anger arises, it should be contemplated and noted and then dispelled. Then it says "Avoid worry". Do not allow yourself to get dejected for not having good and pleasant sensations, goods and properties and companions, maids and servants, as you may wish. If you feel unhappy and disappointed, such dejected feeling should be contemplated, noted and rejected.
Should also have no pride
Apart from getting rid of anger and worry, a person should also have no pride. It has been stated as "Avikattha" and that is, not to allow pride become manifested.
This dèsanā has been preached with particular reference to monks for whom it is intended; and the Commentators have therefore expounded the nature of a variety of circumstances which are likely to happen in connection with the monks. Particularly, Bhikkhus should have absolutely no pride. Pride must be avoided. Some used to tell falsehood relating to their lineage as if they have descended from a noble and distinguished family line. Some make boast of having possessed the attributes of sīlā (morality) under false pretension and then, without having knowledgeable experience in pariyatti, they may pretend to be well-accomplished in the knowledge of scriptures. Some also feign to have been practising dhutaṅga; etc., in the field of paṭipatti, without having done so. In the like manner, they even boast of having attained jhāna Samāpatti without real attainment. This Desanā does not embrace Lokottara dhamma. Hence, without being fully accomplished in Lokiya Dhamma, one should not be proud of having gained accomplishments under a false pretence.
As regards ordinary common worldlings, they should not be proud of their success or of social and financial status in both worldly and business affairs. Neither should they be proud of their relatives, friends and good company. Some have a natural inclination to brag, while some are simple and honest. In this regard, even as a layman who is practising the noble Dhamma, if the feeling of pride appears, it should be contemplated and noted, and then discarded. Efforts should be made to get rid of this pride by constant practice. A Sotāpanna will have no such pride. That is the reason why it has been stated that meditation should be practised; and then reject this pride by contemplating and noting. Let us recite the Motto:
"Anger be suppressed, and Worry avoided, With Pride discarded; Kukkucca be cleared free, Weighing things before talking on a spree; With the mind deterred from going astray, Constituting the Six attributes of his glorious array."
The six attributes are enumerated as below:
(1) Not to get angry,
(2) Not being anxious and worried because of unfulfilled desirable sensations.
(3) Not being boastful.
(4) Being free from kukkucca, i.e. doubt, restlessness, etc.
(5) To speak what is proper when occasion arises, only after reflection.
(6) To remain calm and serene with complete control of the flitting mind after gaining concentration.
Kukkucca should be dispelled
It has now reached a turn to speak about kukkucca which if freed is one of the attributes just mentioned. It needs to be expressed at length elaborately. It is really worthy of note. Simply put, kukkucca comprises three kinds, namely:
(1) Hattha-kukkucca and pāda-kukkucca
(2) Vinaya kukkucca
(3) Vippaṭisāra kukkucca
"Kukkucca" means wrongful deed or despicable act or misbehaviour. It is so named because, in essence, it is devoid of benefit for having bad manners or behaviour without propriety. Such behaviour being contemptible, may be said to be vicious or malevolent.
Misbehaviour with the hands and feet
First and foremost, hattha kukkucca and pāda kukkucca is nothing but misbehaviour with the hands and feet. Hattha kukkucca means improper conduct with the feet. Persons who are lacking in mindfulness and concentration are restless without being able to keep their hands and feet remain still. Neither can they remain mute. They used to be gibbering and are at the same time often changing their sitting posture by moving their hands and feet to relieve discomfort even while delivery of sermon is being made. This restlessness is a pointer to the flitting mind that wanders with obvious lack of constant mindfulness. This is what is named as hattha kukkucca and pāda kukkucca. In Plain Myanmar, it may be translated as restlessness of hands and feet. Not only the hands and feet, but also the head and the entire body not remaining quiet or still, being in a state of disquietude, may be regarded as kukkucca. Only an Arahat will, of course, be totally free from kukhucca. It is therefore advisable that all other individuals should devote themselves to mindfulness contemplation to get rid of this kukkucca, misconduct. Care should be exercised to minimize this feeling of restlessness. Those who possess mindfulness will be more calm and tranquil than those who do not contemplate and gain mindfulness. Kandaraka Sutta serves as evidence to this fact.
How Kandaraka reveres
At one time, two persons, namely, one called Pessa, and the other a Paribbājaka (a wandering religious mendicant, nay, a hermit outside the domain of Sāsanā) by the name of Kandaraka called on the Exalted One. On that particular occasion, other Buddhist priests or Bhikkhus were present paying obeisance in the close proximity of the Lord Buddha. At that time, Kandaraka, the Paribbājjako, when making a survey of the said Bhikkhus (Sanghās), witnessed a good number of them remaining calm and tranquil. None of them were found even slightly moving their hands and feet or their heads. No talking, no act of stirring, or even no coughing out were heard or seen. Not one of the Sanghās made a stir with his hands, feet or head. All of them were found absolutely still, calm, peaceful, quiet and gentle.
It has been stated in Pāḷi as "tuṇhī-bhūtaṃ, tuṇhi-bhūtaṃ." Despite the presence of a large number of Sanghās, all of them were found in a state of tranquility from whatever angle they were viewed. The environmental effect of the quiet and peaceful atmosphere was such that even though a paribbājjako himself, it had generated a feeling of profound respect and awe in Kandaraka, who thought it really surprising of the noble teachings of the Lord Buddha. This state of mind had brought faith in him, and he respectfully told Buddha, "Oh, Lord! It appears to me that all supremely Enlightened Buddhas of the past ages must have taught their disciples in the same manner as is now done by your Lordship. The kind of audience in those old days might also be similar to the present assemblage of noble persons. Presumably, future Enlightened Buddhas might teach their disciples just the way you are now doing. Moreover, the entire gathering of noble personages is likely to be of the same kind, and being calm, serene and gentle, they are indeed worthy of reverence."
In response to this statement expressing approbation, the enlightened one said, "Oh, Kandaraka! What you do know is only this present assembly of persons. I will explain to you the reason for their tranquil state of mind and serenity. Among this assembly, there are Arahats who being fully accomplished with the practical knowledge of Satipaṭṭhāna-Mindfulness-after practising the noble Dhamma, have extirpated all Kilesas, moral defilements. "Of course, no commendation is called for in regard to the noble Arahats. Being Arahats, the noble quality of mindfulness reflects in them and makes a full display with reference to all sensations arising from the six-sense bases. How could one refrain from respecting and revering them? All have become admirably noble, gentle and refined. Buddha then went on to say that amongst the congregation, present were those indulging in the practice of meditation, called "Sekkha". Sekkha individuals comprise Anāgāmis, Sakadāgāmis, Sotāpannas and Kalyyāṇaputthujjana. All of them are called "Sekkhas", having lofty morality, lefty thoughts and lofty wisdom, and they are undergoing moral and spiritual training in what is known as the Dhamma relating to "Four Foundations of Mindfulness". Hence, it has been described as "Catūsu Satipaṭṭhānesu Suppaṭiṭṭhitacitta."
The meaning of the above Pāḷi phrase is that having possessed the stability of mind with an earnest devotion to the Four Satipaṭṭhānas, they remain in a tranquil state of mind meditating on these four kinds of mindfulness, viz: Mindfulness on the impurity of the body, on the evils of sensations, on the evanescence of thought, and on the conditions of existence.
The meditating Yogīs are well aware of these four Satipaṭṭhānas. Nevertheless, full explanation will be given to make them understand more clearly and vividly. Some have implanted their mind basically on kāyānupassanā mindfulness. Some on vedanānupassanā; some on cittānupassanā and some on dhammānupassanā. Yes, indeed. If attention is focussed on satipaṭṭhanā dhamma, they become calm and tranquil. No change or correction in their physical behaviour is done without being mindful. As such, if at all any change in physical posture is to be made, or arising thoughts are to be noted, since mindfulness is applied, they are always gentle and composed. Nothing is done haphazardly, or in a disorderly manner. It is because contemplation and noting is done with mindfulness acting as a forerunner. That is why the Exalted One had said that this entire crowd forming an Assembly was extremely calm, unruffled and fully refined.
The manner of king Kosala's solicitation
Once, King Pasenadī Kosala reverentially spoke to the Lord Buddha expressing his opinion as: "Reverend Sir, we are the monarchs with absolute powers. We have the powers to confiscate the property of the people and impose penalty on them. We can also punish them with death sentence according to our own will, or banish them if we prefer." Yes, it is true. Such despots wielded supreme sovereign powers unlike the present day Rulers of the States in which the Rule of Law prevails. Hence, in modern times, cases involving any breach of law are put up to the Law-Courts for trial where the accused have the right to be defended by lawyers and advocates. Only in cases where there is sufficient evidence against the accused for the offences committed, appropriate punishments are imposed. In cases where there is no clear and concrete evidence against an accused person for the alleged offence, he is either discharged or acquitted by the Court according to Law. These despotic rulers of the ancient times had unlimited powers and their word was the Law. There was no right of appeal against the orders passed by them. Sometimes, however, there had been instances where the Ministers commented upon the King's orders or pronouncements with the best of intention, though their behaviour might have been looked upon as disrespectful. On such occasions, it was stated that they had to be entreated or solaced.
The audience consisting of the disciples of the Exalted One was extremely gentle. The Buddha never resorted to force or influence or, tried to induce his disciples or threaten them. He merely gave his exhortation or due admonition by way of delivering a sermon. Yet, His adherents who formed the congregation were remarkably refined and delicate in manners. While listening to the sermon with great reverence, the whole congregation was perfectly calm. Even if any one of the priests could not help refraining himself from coughing out, the other priest nearby would nudge him to remain in silence to avoid causing interference to others. King Pasenadī Kosala extolled the qualities of the members of the congregation in the manner described above stating that all of them were perfectly pure in thoughts and faultless in manners, and were therefore entirely free from kukkucca.
In the realm of Buddha's Sāsanā, if practical meditation is exercised with satisampajānaṃ, active thoughts and consciousness, one would become gentle. However, some people who are not able to exercise restraint in action and thoughts would speak ill of others disparaging at the same time that they are acting under pretension. Some of the monks also might go on preaching without manners and yet some people would appreciate that kind of misbehaviour. As a matter of fact, different kinds of people have different out look and mentality. Such improper attitude bears testimony to the absence of the noble quality of mindfulness. These improper acts and misconduct should have been discarded. If these cannot be completely eradicated, practice should be made in the least to avoid or bear down misbehaviour as far as possible. It has therefore been stated that hatta kukkucca and pāda kukkucca should be dispelled.
We now come to the subject of vinaya kukkucca. Feeling of doubt may occur concerning certain matters or things relevant to the rules of Vinaya or discipline, etc. Sceptical doubt arises as to whether it is right or wrong, and proper or improper relating to any kind of one's own performances, or the use of goods for consumption. When such kukkucca, doubt, occurs, it will not yet reach the stage of committing a sinful act. This kind of doubt is relevant to the rule of discipline - Vinaya. It is therefore regarded as one of the attributes which all priests should possess. Yet, some of them pay no heed to any such suspicion or doubt that might occur. In the absence of any such doubt (or rather, reluctance), they may give vent to any kind of misdeed which would have amounted to contravening the rule of discipline. These people will have no purity of mind or morality. Without reflecting on the propriety or impropriety of any such acts, they may do or consume anything they like regardless of the rules of discipline laid down for the monks. If they misbehave in the said manner, it is open to derision and is tantamount to dereliction of their priestly duty. It is quite natural that this vinaya kukkucca will take place where it should and cannot possibly be entirely dispelled. However, if one knowingly eats, drinks or makes use of a thing with a feeling of doubt, it would amount to committing 'guilt' on his part. This sort of "kukkucca" should be rejected by way of avoiding any action relating to which one has his doubts about its propriety.
The next type of kukkucca is called "vippaṭisāra kukkucca", and that is, the kukkucca where there is regret or feeling of unpleasantness. This kukkucca is of two kinds. One is that it may occur for any wrongful act or rather, wrongdoing, and the other, for not doing anything which should have been done. Wrongful acts means acts of vice or akusala, evil deeds. Feeling of repentance may then occur after imagining in retrospect as "Oh! I've done something wrong, and how regretful and unfortunate it is", relating to any improper act done physically, or verbally, or mentally. One may become morose and remorseful with bitter regret for any wrongdoing. If this state of mind pervades, it is known as "vipaṭisāra kukkucca". It should be discarded. Hence, it is well and good if at all this kukkucca could be dispelled. Of course, it will be almost absurd to get rid of this feeling entirely. To find such a person who is totally free from this kind of kukkucca, which could have taken place at one time or the other from the time of his birth up till the present moment, will be extremely rare. The only difference may be that remorse or anxiety may or may not occur though wrongful acts would have been committed, more or less. Hence, feeling of remorse may or may not take place. Nevertheless, if it occurs, rejection should be made after contemplating and noting it. This wrongdoing was a thing of the past; and therefore, it is not worthwhile recalling it and regretting what had been done previously. This kind of thought may be dispelled bearing in mind that such acts will in future be a voided. It is best to dispel any such ill thoughts that may arise.
Acts which ought to be done are the meritorious deeds. These virtuous deeds are dāna (charity), sīla (morality), etc. repentance may occur for not having performed such merits. Such a feeling of remorse should be discarded too. Acts of charity and observance of the principles of good conduct of morality should be done as far as possible within one's own means and capability. One may worship the Buddha whenever time permits, and pay respects to the teachers as and when opportunity affords him. If such good actions or meritorious deeds are performed, there is no need to worry. That means one should do everything which ought to be done within one's own capability. When such feelings of worry or remorse appear, these should be cleared away by contemplating and noting them with a firm resolve that no such short-comings will be allowed to happen again and that what should have been done, would certainly be done without lapse.
Kukkucca which is of paramount importance
Among such kukkuccas, feeling of repentance that may arise for not being able to fully accomplish oneself with morality (sīla) is particularly important. Remorse may appear for having so far failed to practise meditation to gain concentration (samādhi), wisdom (paññā) and ariya-magga Dhamma; and then for not being accomplished in Dhamma to get rid of the Saṃsāra. Is it not true that you are now practising meditation to avoid or subdue such worries? Those who are now practising meditation have this objective in mind and, if full accomplishment is achieved, no such feeling of repentance or regret will worry. What is more important is when one is on the threshold of death. On the verge of his death, he will no doubt reflect on what has been done all along throughout his life to ensure himself for the good of his future existence to come. When so reflected, he would have bitter feelings of regret if he has not yet accomplished in the Dhamma as has been stated in the foregoing. Therefore, to get rid of such worries and anxieties, one should practise as early as possible. The earlier the better.
The story of a young sick priest
During the lifetime of Lord Buddha, there was a sick priest. Usually, of course, a number of priests were on the sick list. For easy remembrance, we shall give an account relating to only one of such sick priests. A member of the Sanghas was deputed to see the Lord Buddha conveying information about the serious illness of a young priest. Buddha was to be apprised of the fact that this young priest was a mere nonentity and that he might be given a blessing by the Buddha in person.
Having heard the news of this poor sick priest belonging to an unknown lowborn family without any helper to nurse-aid him, the Exalted One with full of compassion decided to visit the young priest. On his arrival at the place of where the young monk was residing, the Buddha inquired of the young patient how he was faring and whether he was getting better or worse. Under ordinary circumstances, the young priest would have been greatly encouraged and enraptured by the presence of the Lord Buddha in person before him. However, his condition being serious, he replied that the condition of the disease was deteriorating. Although the condition of the patient was known to be bad, the manner of verbal approach initially made, should be done that way. In any case, Buddha had come over to this place to bless him with the sermon. The Exalted One them continued to ask the young priest whether he had something else to be worried and repented for because of his embarrassment with kukkucca. The young priest stated in reply that he was full of remorse, uttering thus: "anappakaṃ kukkuccaṃ anappako vippaṭisāro."
Buddha then questioned him further whether he was having a bitter feeling of repentance for not being accomplished with sīla, morality. The answer given was that he had noting to regret whatsoever in connection with his sīla. As far as priests are concerned, it is important that they gene-rally have a feeling of remorse relating to one's own morality, sīla. They may be feeling distressed with worry and anxiety for not being free from 'guilt' consequent upon the impurity of their sīla, moral conduct. This point is rather important for the monks. It is however, easier for laymen. If they have breached the principles of morality, they could, by observance of the five precepts, regain purification in their moral conduct. It is more difficult for the priests to do so. Certain guilts cannot be expiated by merely uttering and listening to the desanā. It is pretty rigid requiring them to abandon properties in their possession and to observe parivuṭṭhamānattaṃ, and that is, to undergo penance or punishment attached to the commission of a sanghādisesa offence. That is why they would usually become repented in connection with their moral conduct, sīla. This is the reason for the query made by the Lord Buddha whether there was any feeling of remorse in the young priest relating to sīla.
The objective of the noble Buddha Sāsanā
Buddha further interrogated the young priest as, "If your morality is purified, what else has made you to get worried?" This question was put so as to enable the young priest to divulge his problem. The young priest fervently replied. "Your Reverend Sir, as far as my knowledge goes, the Dhamma that has been preached by the Buddha is not meant for practising only for the purification of sīla. The Teachings of the Buddha are not certainly intended to be practised only to make one's own morality purified." Then, further question followed: "Oh, Dear son! It is meant not just for the sake of purity of sīla, morality, have you any idea as to the purpose for which it is also intended?" The young priest then respectfully gave his reply as follows:
"Rāga viragatthaṃ-For the attainment of Nibbāna which is devoid of cravings for human passions, anupādaparinibbānatthaṃ-one should follow the practice leading to the extinction of clinging attachment to passionate desires so as to extinguish all sufferings and misery. It is what the Buddha has taught and I have been given to understand as such. Accordingly, I have been practising the Dhamma with a view to reaching Nibbāna, a Blissful State where all kilesās, cravings for human passions are annihilated and become extinct. However, Nibbāna not being within my reach as yet, I have become very much worried with grave anxiety."
To have reliance is important on the verge of death
The manner of reply given by the young priest was quite realistic and natural. It is essential to have something to rely upon to face any exigency that may arise when death approaches. To have such reliance on the eve of one's death is more important than other matters. It there is nothing to be depended upon, feeling of remorse and anxiety can occur. If one feels sure of the purity of his morality, he will have full confidence in himself of his rebirth in the Abode of Devas in the next existence after his death. As regards this young priest, his objective was not just to reach the heavenly abode of devas after demise. The ultimate goal was to achieve Nibbāna magga-Phala. However, his objective not having been achieved as yet, he was greatly worried. This feeling of worry and anxiety is nothing but "kukkucca". As such, practice of meditation should be made to get liberated from this kind of kukkucca. In response to the statement of answer made by the young priest, Buddha had preached as follows:
"Oh, dear son, you shall pay careful attention to my preachings." Buddha commenced His preachings with the words: 'Cakkhum niccaṃ vā aniccaṃ vā', which means whether the eye is indestructible or impermanent, etc. It is, in fact, a question as to whether the material form, the eye-rūpa is everlasing or not. If the answer were to be given according to the sense conveyed in the question, it could be quite easy. If such a question were raised at a Congregation, the questioner's expected answer being clearly known, the answer to be given would be simple enough to meet the wish of the preacher. The question now put by the Buddha was however to be answered after the underlying meaning of the question had been fully grasped. That is why it is rather difficult to give the right answer. Therefore, the answer would be meaningful as expected, only if one has the knowledge of the characteristic of "impermanence" in as much as what has been ascertained is whether the eye is everlastingly permanent or not. Roughly speaking, when death takes place, the material eye is destroyed. If it is so appreciated and if the answer were that the eye is impermanent, it would be relevant. Then also, if the eye were damaged by some kind of accident, it could have been destroyed. The destruction of the eye may be caused by serious injury or by affliction of the disease. Hence, the answer can be considered as proper if it is stated that the eye is not permanent. However, such kind of answer being rough and ready without real essence or deeper meaning, no knowledge of bhāvanā could be achieved.
Knowledge through bhāvanā, i.e. meditation, can be gained only by virtue of Vipassanā ñāṇa achieved through the medium of contemplation. While contemplating on rūpa-nāma at the moment of their occurrence through the six sense-doors, every time it is perceived by the eye, if contemplated as "seeing", "seeing" both the tangible eye rūpa, and the visual object as well as the consciousness of sight, and the mind that is contemplated and noted, will be found to have disappeared at every moment of noting. Only if these natural phenomena are truly known and realized, it would be possible to give a proper and accurate answer. The young priest being a meditator himself in Vipassanā was able to give a proper answer. Hence, he replied: "It is impermanent, my Lord." A question may, therefore, arise as to why it is impermanent. It is because at every moment "seeing" takes place, it disappears, or in other words, the moment it is perceived, dissolution of the sensation arising from perception follows suit. When asked if the thing that is seen is permanent, or impermanent, the answer given by the young priest to the Buddha was: "It is impermanent." In the same manner, the sub-sequent answers given in respect of consciousness of sight, awareness of the visual contact, and the pleasurable or unpleasurable sensations arising out of contact with the eye and the visual object, were "impermanent and not lasting."
The characteristic of impermanence is likewise found when hearing takes place. The sound, the knowing mind or consciousness, the sound that is perceived with the ear through which it flows, and the pleasurable and unpleasant sensations arising from contact with the sound, disappears all at once the moment it is heard.
Similarly, when smelling, eating, and touching or contacting, all good and bad sensations which arise from contact, pass away or disappear at every moment these are contemplated and noted.
"Bending" and "stretching" are tactile. Every time it is noted as "bending" or "stretching", the mind that perceives the sense of touch will be found 'arising' followed immediately by 'dissolution'. The same nature of phenomena will be realized at every moment of noting the "stiffness", "hotness", "pain", and "ache" as they occur. Such occurrences are personally found taking place by the Yogīs themselves.
When "imagination" or mind-consciousness takes place, the mind that imagines, the sensation that appears and the knowing mind, and all contacts and awareness of thoughts will be found vanishing. While imagining, delightful or undelightful feelings or a feeling of indifference may occur. All these sensations whether good, bad or neutral are impermanent simply because it so happens that they arise and then disappear, being transient by nature.
All those who are meditating now should note each and every phenomenal occurrence that arises from any of the six sense-doors and all of them will be found appearing and vanishing. Nothing will be found remaining constant. Their true nature will be visualized personally through the mind's eye. Realization then comes of their transient nature incessantly appearing and disappearing in a state of flux. Being impermanent, they are pain and suffering. There is, therefore, no such thing as an individual or a living entity. All these are the Dhammas or conditions coming into being and passing away in a whirlwind motion ceaselessly. This is the natural phenomena occurring in accordance with their own conditions under different circumstances, and are arising and vanishing. Hence, they are stated to have the characteristic of impermanence. These are "suffering", or unsatisfactoriness-dukkha, and never oblige one with what one wishes to happen. They are unmanageable and un-governable. As such, they are to be contemplated with awareness as being uncontrollable, and as anatta, non-self.
Then, although they are said to be 'sufferings', it is not that they are unendurable. What is meant by it is that they are the conditions or Dhamma which cannot be regarded as something desirable and worthy of reliance. How could one rely upon them since they fade away in a split second after emergence. As a matter of fact, every time they vanish, death can take place. If new rūpa nāma fail to appear, death is sure to come. Such being the case, it is really frightful. For this reason, it is said to be "dukkha", pain, misery and suffering, and as they appear and disappear on their own because of their phenomenal nature, they are also ungovernable. Since this kind of condition being uncontrollable, how can it be "atta"? Yes, it is truly anatta. Buddha had therefore preached the young priest to contemplate on anicca, dukkha and anatta.
When anicca, dukkha and anatta are truely realized, one becomes wearied of the vanity of life, or in other words, disgusted with the life existence-nibbindati.
When becoming so disgusted on this wearisome Dhamma, one will be free from cravings and attachment, and that is nibbindaṃ virajjati.
Then, one is fully released or emancipated for having got rid of his desire for attachment to human passions, and this is called "Virāgā vimuccati."
When fully liberated as such in accordance with what has been stated as "Khīṇā jāti vusitaṃ brahmācariyam" and so on, no new existence or rebirth will take place. The Supreme Buddha gave his preachings up to the stage of Arahatta magga-phala, saying that one would also come to realize with his own personal insight knowledge that he had reached the road-end of his practice.
While listening attentively to this Dhamma, the young invalid priest attained Arahatship. All worries and unpleasant feeling called vippaṭisāra kukkuca are, therefore, eradicated. It is of utmost importance to get rid of all kukkuccas as mentioned in the foregoing. I would like to exhort all Yogīs who are now meditating not to become dispirited though they may not have fully accomplished in the practice of Dhamma, as yet. You all can gain realization of the Special Dhamma if you carry on with the contemplation on the eve of death like the young invalid priest. This young priest had achieved the highest stage of arahatta-magga-phala. This should serve one as an encouragement. Hence, it is fundamentally important to practice early before one becomes old, or sick, and before death seizes him so as to be able to dispel vippaṭisāra kukkucca-Kukkucca will be got rid of on becoming an Anāgāmi. There is, therefore, nothing to be said of an Arahat. A person who is entirely free from kukkucca as stated, is called a "santa" Individual.
Weigh one's words before speaking
Next, one should judge and weigh before saying something. Only speak what is proper and appropriate to the occasion. Hence, it has been preached as: "mantabhāṇī", speak wisely. "pariggahitavā", after careful consideration and reflection, and "bhāṇī", make a habit of talking in the said manner.
Avoid talking non-sense and speak with wisdom what is proper and suited to the occasion. It is not time-consuming. What is to be spoken will come into one's head automatically while conversation is going on. Avoidance of making improper and inaccurate statement amounts to weighing things before speaking. If done so, words which will bring demerits cannot come out of one's mouth. It will have the effect of deterring one from speaking falsehood or telling lies-Musāvācā. Nor will slanderous or malicious utterances "Pisuṇavācā" be made. Neither will harsh or abusive language be spoken freely-Pharusavācā. It is important to tame and control the tongue simply because, if something disagreeable is heard, anger will appear all of a sudden possibly leading to the use of violent and offensive words with an insulting tone. It is essential that such indecent and unbridled utterances must be restrained and controlled.
Then also, a person who weighs and cogitates before speaking is likely to eschew frivolous, trifling and futile talks, i.e. "Samphappalāpa". However, it will not be easy for those to abstain from talking rubbish or foolishly, if they are by nature fool-hardy and habitually inclined to talk insolently. On the other hand, those not accustomed to talk in a rude manner very seldom utter slander insultingly in an offensive manner. Avoid talking nonsense. Only appropriate words suited to the occasion should be spoken gently. These words of Dhamma are included in the ten kinds of Kathāvatthu enumerated below;
(1) Words of encouragement relating to lack of greed or covetousness.
(2) Words of encouragement relating to one's readiness of contentment,
(3) Words of encouragement to the way of remaining in solitude and to the practising of meditation with a view to eradicate kilesā.
(4) Words of encouragement relating to the manner of exemplary behaviour avoiding contact and familiarity with male and female benefactors without attachment.
(5) Words of encouragement relating to the practising of meditation seriously with relentless exertion.
Furthermore, number 6 to 10 comprise the five attributes, namely sīla, samādhi, paññā, vimutti, vīmutti-ñāṇa-dasana, relating to which encouraging words are spoken. Together with these five, it comes to a total of Ten Kathāvutthu. It is stated that these encouraging words of Dhamma should be spoken. They are relevant to the monks only.
In so far as laymen are concerned, communication needs unavoidably be made by word of mouth relating to business dealings as and when called for. When indulging in talks or holding conversation, only fruitful talks should be made without causing adverse effect on other people's interests.
Do not let the mind go astray
Next, the mind should not be permitted to flit. This would require accomplishment of samādhi, power of concentration. To gain concentration, practice of meditation must be made with vigour. Only when meditating, the mind will remain stable without flitting. While remaining aloof from meditation, one should continue to remain in a reflective mood with mindfulness. The mind shall be put under restraint to prevent it from making short flights hither and thither. A tranquil mind abides in an Arahat. It does not go astray. An Arahat with peace of mind remains calm with constant concentration. Such a person who has deep self-concentration, samādhi, is called a person with serenity of mind. What have just been stated are noble attributes belonging to Upasanta individuals.
Thereafter, the Lord Buddha proceeded to repeat the noble attributes of an Upasanta individual in another Verse as:
Nirāsatti anāgate, atītaṃ nāmusocati.
Vivekadossī phassesu, diṭṭhīsu ca na niyati.
This Verse having had almost the same meaning is conveyed in the verse commencing with the words "Vītataṇho purābhedā", mention is now made in brief, to avoid any possible criticism, as an insertion to my first preaching where it has been omitted.
The gist of it is that in connection with anything that may happen in future, no conjecture should be made with a longing desire yearning for what is expected. This kind of thought forecasting the future, if appeared, should be rejected by contemplating and noting.
What has happened in the past relating to incidents, such as, the destruction of bodily limbs or sense-organs of the material body, or any other external property for personal use, or death of any relatives and friends, there is likelihood of becoming worried and lamentable. This sort of worry, regret and lamentation should be avoided, and if at all such feelings occur, these should be dispelled by means of contemplating and noting them. All phenomenal occurrences of what has been seen, heard, smelt or contacted, imagined, and found, should be realized by contemplating and noting them that "they are governed by the Law of Impermanence and that they immediately dissolve or pass away." "Having caused suffering and harassment all the time without interval by continuous arising and disappearing of the natural phenomena, they are not dependable and are not affording any pleasure, and such being the case, these should be known and realized as Impermanent." Depending on their own conditions under varying circumstances as they appear, and disappear, it should also be known that they are ungovernable and not atta, a being. "Contact", called phassa does not mingle or concern with the nature of impermanence. Neither it mingles or mixes with the nature of pleasure as an Atta, a being. This should be fully comprehended. Furthermore, what has been seen, heard, smelt, eaten or tasted, and contacted have nothing to do with the present sensations immediately arising from such occurrences. It will bring satisfaction with the realization that what is going to happen after subsequent contacts will be quite separate from what is presently happening or what has already occurred. This is clearly evident because of the fact that a meditator who is continuously contemplating and noting such transient phenomenal occurrences will find them in a state of flux, appearing and disappearing without a break.
Then also, one should not be subjected to pursuasion or inducement in respect of wrong views. This means that practice should be made to free oneself from all kinds of micchādiṭṭhi, heretical views or false doctrines. Buddha has preached that a person endowed with these attributes is an "Upasanta" individual, with calmness and serenity.
One who is accomplished with the four attributes, namely, having no anticipation for the future, no remorse for and no looking-back to the past, having distinguishing knowledge of the acts of seeing and knowing, contacting, etc., and not having been subjected to inducement relating to false beliefs, diṭṭhi, is declared by the Buddha as an Upasanta individual. This means to say that a person is recognized as such by the Buddha himself.
After preaching and explaining this Verse, the Exalted One continued to preach and answered as follows:
Patilīno akuhako, appihālu amicchari.
Appagabbho ājheguccho, pesuneyye ca no yuto.
This is to say that such an individual is inclined to hesitate. (In this regard, the word "hesitate" is used in good sense). He is not pretentious. Neither does he anticipate, or rather, long for and take pleasure, nor become envious, nor disgusted, nor slanderous. A person who is endowed with such attributes is an Upasanta individual.
Should hesitate relating to occurrences of kilesās
These are the noble qualities of an Upasanta individual. To be reluctant in matters relating to performances of noble and meritorious acts is bad. Such reluctance or hesitancy is called thinamiddha, sloth and torpor. The present usage of the word "hesitancy" or reluctance is not concerned with thinamiddha kilesās. It has reference to 'becoming hesitant' to prevent rāga, human passionate desires, from arising, in cases where rāga etc., are likely to occur. As regards ordinary common worldlings, they become keen and enlivened when rāga finds opportunity to arise or display. To those individuals who are meditating with heart and soul, the degree of the strength of rāga becomes weak in commensurate with the different stages of progress in the achievement of the Dhamma. Though it is "rāga", it does not become strong and violent. It is rather lacking in strength. For instance, if the parents have neglected to give due and proper advice to their children, the young children will have no control over themselves, and may utter or behave or do anything according to their own wishful thinking. They will, however, have the power of restraint from the time they have received instructions or parental advice as to how they should conduct themselves in their worldly life. Then they will not be very unruly and rude in their manners as they had been before. The same thing applies in the matter of noble Dhamma.
Those who are lacking in their effort to enhance their morality and knowledge of the virtuous Dhamma by way of meditation, rāga, dosa and moha will play havoc freely without restraint. People who are following a virtuous path will be able to minimize these passionate desires, anger and delusion. Feeling of shame and fear to do what is improper will abide in them. Therefore, what has been stated is that they should hesitate to do anything that is connected with rāga dosa, and moha. Reluctance should be nursed to avoid doing such unvirtuous things to the best of ones own ability. It is wise to restrain to the extent of totally suppressing the feelings of passionate desires, anger and delusion. How could it be said to have calmness of mind and serenity if rāga, dosa and moha are generated with all vigour and delight.
Among mankind, it is because of this rāga, dosa and moha that heroes and such other outstanding persons have appeared. In this mundane world, those who are capable of performing and achieving gigantic tasks and who thereby become famous and distinguished with their inherent lust for power or fame, passion, anger and delusion, are to be regarded as outstanding personalities. They are said to have found success in their life. On the other hand, from the point of view of Dhamma, it is quite the contrary. They are not looked upon as heroes, and only those who dare not perform things connected with the contaminating influence of rāga, dosa and moha, are considered to be truly outstanding. If seen from a different angle, they might be regarded as persons who are inferior in strength, will power and courage and are just mediocre without ambition. Those who have gone through meditational practice hesitate to indulge themselves in mundane affairs though they might have been very active, vigourous and enthusiastic prior to the taking-up of meditational practice. Some of them may even abandon their worldly activities. It would appear as if they have become enfeebled and indolent. Nevertheless, after reaching arahatta-magga-phala, they will be devoid of worldly desires or cravings, kilesās, which become extinct. They will be entirely scrupulous being careful to offend in nothing and is always calm. Such kind of hesitation in matters concerning worldly affairs is also one of the attributes of a Santa individual.
It is for those who are meditating or listening to the sermon to weigh things and see for themselves how they have become hesitant in the matter of rāga, dosa and moha. The upsurge of rāga, evil desire, and dosa anger, and the strength of delusion will diminish to a certain extent. This is stated as "reluctance" or "hesitancy". Hence, the motto goes to say: "Seemingly hesitant without making pretence."
Do not pretend to evoke wonder
Then, one should not make pretension to strike wonder. In this regard, it has been elucidated for the monks. Pretension is done to make oneself appear worthy of reverence by falsely acting as a pretender without justification. There are three kinds of pretence as stated below:
1. Making pretensions in regard to the manner of using property or goods.
2. Making pretensions relating to attainment of Special Dhamma and of the noble attributes.
3. Being pretentious in connection with the way of deportment.
1. Making pretension in the use of property
Relating to the use or consumption of property and goods, when male and female benefactors offer donations, the pretender would say, "Oh, my benefactors! why do you bother to offer in donation such nice and valuable things or property? We are simply contented with robes that have been discarded by others. As regards monastery, it is good enough to remain in solitude or lodge at the foot of a tree. In so far as meals are concerned, it would be the best to accept what is offered when going out for alms. In regard to medicine the disease can be cured by just drinking cattle's urine and that is, depending on "cow-urine-medicine" as his resource in illness-"Putimutta bhesajjam". Extremely good properties are not required." After telling the donors that such valuable properties are not desirable, the properties which are donated are stated to have been refused. Such utterances are made under false pretence although the monk may be really fond of the things that are offered. He is in fact willing to accept them. When speaking in the said manner under pretence, the benefactors' faith and generosity will be greatly enhanced thinking that the monk is indeed a noble person with hardly any greed. As such, the benefactors will become all the more generous and offer things more and more. When things or property are donated profusely, the monk acting under pretence is said to have accepted the offerings unavoidably saying with a grumble, "Ay, if I refuse, the benefactors would not gain any merits." The offerings are then accepted as an obligation as if he has great compassion for the donors. This kind of pretence concerns the monks only. Such pretentious display should be avoided and dispelled.
2. Making pretensions relating to attainment of
special Dhamma and of noble attributes
Under this sub-heading, the manner of pretension is by making a misleading statement in circumlocution, or rather, practising deception to make others think highly of him as an Arahat saying that a monk who can find contentment with what has been provided, such as, the robes, a begging bowl, a monastery or other requisites, like him, is an Arahat or an Ariyā, and so on. Such kind of inducement or insinuation should be avoided. Generally, it concerns the monks. However, at the present day, even among laymen, some play the role of impostors assuming themselves as Anāgāmis or Arahats or swindlers having led an ignoble life with wife and children are met with ridicule from some quarters for not being liberated as yet from bonds of kāmaguṇa, human passions and sensuous pleasures. In refuting such derogatory remarks, they merely explained that their mode of living or conduct is permissible provided that there is no pleasurable sensations. This is marvellous. What is more surprising are the people who revere such cheats and pretenders as real Buddhas or Arahats. Such incidents are mentioned for you to beware and ponder and to be on guard.
3. Making pretensions relating to deportment
The manner of pretension relating to ripatha, posture or behaviour, is to let others think of him as practising meditation without actually indulging himself in the practice. Although lacking in samādhi, he is moving about as if he has to attributes of calmness and tranquility. He would pretend taking a sitting posture gently and calmly to give a good impression to others who might have seen him though he had originally taken a sitting posture as done by an ordinary layman. Or, when walking, he would pretend to be slowly taking his steps with complete mindfulness. In this way, whatever behaviour he might have carried on, he will change his deportment to make himself appear really noble in the eyes of others who will consequently have a high estimation of his seemingly good qualities. Such kind of pretensions should be avoided and cleared away. These three kinds of pretensions have been comprehensively mentioned in the scriptural texts.
Do not yearn through emulation
Next, do not long for or yearn. If one yearns for any decent dress, wearing apparels, ornaments and fine things, he will himself strongly feel like possessing similar things. This sort of yearning is of different kinds. Having seen a thing, he may wish to have the visual object of his seeing-sensation. He wishes to fulfil his desires. This amounts to yearning. Similarly, in the course of his contemplation and noting what is heard, smelt, eaten, contacted, imagined or thought of, he is willing to be accomplished like others, emulating their achievements in Dhamma. This is longing for the accomplishment, and such yearnings should be dispelled.
Wishing to reach the abode of Devas and enjoy the heavenly pleasures and angelic luxurious life of the celestial beings either through the knowledge of books or as told by others, is also another kind of yearning. One should not entertain such feelings which, if appeared, should be rejected by contemplating and noting.
Among such yearnings, there are good things. This is to yearn for ariya-magga-phala-dhamma. It is an excellent form of yearning which one should have. Those who are practising meditation wish to gain the noble attributes of vipassanā ñāṇa. They are bent upon attaining magga-phala-dhamma. This kind of yarning, if goes to the extreme, will not be proper. As such, if extreme form of yearning appears, it should be rejected by contemplating and noting. If not, samādhi ñāṇa will remain at a standstill without any progress. Hence, it is highly important to reject such yearning by means of contemplation and noting it. In some cases, despite the fact that the samādhi ñāṇa becomes good, no progressive insight is achieved because of over-indulgence or over zeal. If yearning is grown to great dimensions, it is improper. Neither will it do good if entirely slackened. This seems difficult. It is important to keep the mind within bounds.
It has been preached as: "Abbinataṃ cittaṃ rāga nupatitaṃ," It means that the mind which is very much inclined towards rāga, always follows in pursuit of it. If one becomes over-enthusiastic to achieve magga-phala Dhamma, it amounts to rāga trailing behind. This might give a wrong impression of the appearance of a desire to gain merits because he would have in mind that what has been longed for is a virtuous thought in connection with Vipassanā magga-phala Dhamma. As a matter of fact, rāga is following after the mental activities. Moreover, extreme form of yearning is a danger to Samādhi.
It says: "Taṃ sampājano hitvā rāgaṃ pajahabhi" This is to say that the extremely yearning mind which being understood as "yearning" is rejected. In essence, reject it after contemplating and noting.
The presence of a mental thought with extremely strong yearning would deter the progress of samādhi-ñāṇa. It should therefore be rejected. The Kammaṭṭhāna-cariyas who are the spiritual teachers are to correct such mental behaviours or thoughts that are likely to occur. As concentration gains momentum, such yearnings are bound to arise. The meditator usually wishes to gain speedy accomplishment of the Dhamma. When becoming overzealous, yearning accompanied by mental distress will become exuberant. That is the reason why the knowledge of samādhi is likely to be hindered in its progress.
Mind your own business
For that reason, one should suppress such thoughts from arising, and keep the mind under control, calmly noting as: "Let samādhi ñāṇa take its own course. It is their intrinsic nature. Special knowledge may not be gained even though utmost endeavour is put in by me to bring about progress. No one can do that or mould them. Only under favourable circumstances which may take place on their own, knowledge will come by itself. It is only one's own business to contemplate and note continuously whatever sensations may arise from the sense-doors-'dvāras'. I shall therefore simply carry on contemplating and noting these sensations without a break." If carried out in the said manner, progressive insight through stabilized concentration will soon be realized. The significant point is, however, not to brush aside or dismiss yearnings all in all by getting disappointed.
If there is dearth of any feeling for yearning through some kind of disappointment, it would be like what is stated as: "Apanataṃ cittaṃ byāpada nupatitaṃ." This means the mind that shirks will not abide in the person and will remain aloof. If it is avoided in that manner, it will amount to ignoring the Dhamma. Then the mind would embrace disappointment or discontentment called "Byāpāda". All such thoughts should be rejected by contemplating and noting. As such, one should have at least a modicum of yearning relating to Dhamma. If extreme forms of yearnings are dispelled by contemplating and noting, progressive knowledge of the Dhamma is likely to be achieved.
The Motto therefore runs as:
"If no pretension is shown as being reluctant, envy is discarded."
One should be free from envy, or in other words, one should not be envious. To feel bitter about another's good fortune is Macchariya. Becoming unsociable and not wishing to befriend others, being avaricious with unwillingness to share one's own property and to be selfish and become envious with another's better fortune is said to be "macchariya". The Commentary says that this feeling of envy will be got rid of on attainment of Sotāpatti-magga. One should therefore meditate diligently to reach that stage.
Vulgarism should be avoided
"Reject vulgarism which is disgusting, without being envious," runs the Motto. One should not be vulgar. Vulgarism comprises three kinds, namely, physical misbehaviour, vulgar or coarse language or speech, and vulgar mind.
It has been explained as to what is meant by rude bodily behaviour or ill-manners in so far as monks are concerned. Indiscreet or rude behaviour without giving due respect when meeting or communicating with sangas and monks is regarded as vulgar in manners. Sometimes, persons deserving of respect and reverence, are hit against while moving along, without regards. One may stand in front of an elderly monk worthy of respect blocking the way, or remain sitting non-chalantly, or pass by after overtaking the other while walking, without decency. Such misbehaviours indicate rudeness and vulgarism. There are instances where seats are occupied in places reserved for the Mahā Theras, and where some of them would squeeze in for space making the junior monks get congested and become uncomfortable. These are bad-manners, rude and rowdy. This kind of personal attitude or conduct is highly disrespectful. These are other bodily behaviours which are ugly and disgusting. Some may spit out in a reckless manner and expel nasal secretions in the presence of others and cough out heedless of human decency. People in Myanmar are, of course, used to that kind of indiscreet mannerisms which can however be excused as being habitual. Foreigners will, nevertheless make a wry face at such indecent mannerisms.
In regard to the manner of speech, vulgarism is rampant. Indecent or harsh words spoken, the vulgar tongue, obviously run counter to culture. In an assembly of Sanghas, preaching must be done only when permission is granted by the Mahā Thera. To join in delivering a speech voluntarily in a group discussion is considered as ill-mannered or uncivilized. All such misbehaviours should be avoided.
As regards vulgarism or corruption of the Mind, the occurrence of wild and evil thoughts without proper restraint is regarded as vulgar. Making comparisons or competing with other in personal status and social standing of one's own self, and putting oneself on equal footing with other persons of higher status or rank are considered to be vulgar in mental behaviour. This, of course, concerns laymen or ordinary worldlings. However, in connection with the matter relating to Dhamma, a person may speak ill of others without having purity of sīla, if thought or imagination arises regarding himself on the same level with other persons accomplished with the purity of sīla. Or, he may consider himself as being equal in ability to others who can practise dhhutaṅga, ascetic practices, while he himself is lacking in such a practice. Or he may think of himself as being accomplished in scriptural knowledge placing himself on equal footing with other more well-learned people, though he himself is unable to devote to the study of the Commentaries and Ṭīkās. Some persons may even think highly of themselves as being equal in position to those who are indulging in meditation though they themselves are unable to meditate and contemplate. All these are instances of mental vulgarisms.
A meditator should reject such virulent or foul thoughts, if occurred, by contemplating and noting them. However, if sīla, samādhi and paññā have been methodically practised, no vulgar thoughts will have the opportunity to arise. Those who are well-accomplished with sīla, etc., will escape from the vulgar type of thoughts. If by accident, they occur, these detestable thoughtful imaginations can easily be dispelled by contemplating and noting.
Reject all that are disgusting
All moral behaviours that are disgusting and rude should be completely dispelled. Here, what is disgusting and rugged or rude refers to impurity of sīla or morality. Persons lacking in the virtues of morality are disgusted and disrespected by those who are purified in thoughts and actions. A dirty man earns disgust from others who will accordingly harbour a strong feeling of dislike. People do not wish to mix with a despicable person dirty in the way of living or dress or in thoughts. A person whose morality is polluted will be detested by people who have a purified mind. If a man of pure morality mingles with a dirty-minded or wicked person, others may think of him as being "a bird of the same feathers." They shun those evil-minded persons. It is because they are disgusted with such persons of immoral character. However, it is not out of personal hatred. Such disgusting immorality or impurified sīla must be got rid of.
Sīla means observance of precepts by which one should himself refrain from committing improper acts of behaviour both physically and verbally. Hence, to eradicate these immoral acts, one should earnestly practise meditation.
The realm of Buddha Sāsanā is where holy persons dwell in peace. It can be considered in that light. This Sāsanā is the abode of noble personages with purity of mind, such as, Ashin Sāriputtarā, Ashin Moggallāna, Ashin Mahā Kassapa and others. People living in such a holy abode should also sincerely practise to become purified in mind or thoughts like these noble personages. If practice of morality is observed, all disgusting factors will disappear. This observance, however, is not as yet the practice of bhāvanā. Those who have come to this meditation centre are fulfilling the needs for acquiring not only sīla but also samādhi and paññā. Therefore, both their physical and mental behaviours are really courteous and are worthy of reverence. If by practising to get accomplished in the noble qualities as stated, and if becoming free from all loathsome misdemeanours, a person is deemed to be regarded as a Santa individual, who is calm and serene.
The Motto goes to say;
Disgust and rudeness
Be wholly shattered
Words devoid of love and fondness
Shall not be uttered.
Backbiting is an utterrance to cause discord or dissension between the two parties. No vile words should be spoken to create a split or dissolution of friendship between one person and another who have been on good terms or in harmonious relationship. If such malicious thoughts arise to slander, it should be either discarded as improper by imagining as such, or, be rejected by contemplating and noting.
"Reluctance" means to lessen one's vigour in eagerness relating to temporal affairs. In connection with sensations likely to occur concerning rāga, one must be reluctant so as to prevent such feeling of passionate desires from arising. Similarly, reluctance should be minimized in connection with anger, or māna (self-pride), or any other form of kilesā, cravings, that may occur. Practice should be made to let all cravings and vehement desires become submerged or dormant.
Next, "making no pretence" means not to pretend as having possessed an attributes which one does not really have. Pretension should neither be made as having possessed finer attributes than those which one really owns. This is relevant to minks as well as others who earn reverence and respect. Hence, monks should refrain themselves from claiming to have seemingly possessed the attributes of sīla, samādhi and paññā much more than those they are really endowed with, or from making a boast of it. They should not pretend to have better attributes to earn reverence from their benefactors. That is the reason why monks who are genuinely modest usually remain mute or keep secret relating to the attributes which they have. Though one may be an Arahat himself, he will remain in secrecy of his real attainment of Dhamma and may reveal his real achievement to his fellow monks only on the eve of his death, prinibbāna.
Next, "No yearning" means not to yearn for earthly, pleasurable sensations of kāmaguṇa emulating others accomplishments. It does also convey the sense that the practising meditator should avoid yearning to the extreme to attain the Special Dhamma. It is because if he is overenthusiastically yearning for it, it will hinder his progress of samādhi and paññā, concentration and insight wisdom. Of course, the matter concerning "free from envy" has already been explained quite clearly.
"Disgust and rudeness be wholly shattered" means, to avoid and reject all forms of violent or rugged type of physical, verbal and mental activities or behaviours. Disgusting or loathsome moral impurities should also be dispelled. Then comes "Words devoid of love and fondness shall not be uttered". It is also necessary to avoid or abstain from backbiting and slanderous talks to cause to lose confidence in, or respect for, or create dissension among, any other group of persons or individuals. These are the seven attributes of an upasanta individual, who remains tranquil.
We have so far gone through the answers given in the four verses. We shall now start with answer number 5 verse.
"Satiyaysu anassati; atimāno ca no yuto.
Sanho ca patibhānava, na saddho na virajjati."
A person should not have any exuberant feeling or should not allow himself to exudate and drift towards the sensations connected with the constituents of sensual pleasures, the kāmaguṇa. This is one of the attributes. Another attribute is not to be highly conceited or vainglorious and not to look down upon others. The other attribute is to be gentle, humble and devoid of coarseness in all bodily, verbal and mental behaviours. The next attribute is to be wise, and that is, to be fully accomplished with intelligence and knowledge that will enable him to easily comprehend the problems relating to pariyatti and patipatti. Moreover, no complete reliance should be made on others with full confidence. This is also one of the attributes. This Sutta or discourse having been delivered for those who are of great intellect and sound wisdom, contains certain queer usages and expressions which are profound and difficult of easy comprehension. Since it has been stated not to repose entire confidence in others, it would perhaps amount to inhibiting or forbidding another's faith and generosity. This expression is something like a riddle. I will explain it later in amplification. Then, the Pāḷi usage of the words "na virajjati" which means not to be displeased or disgusted or "not as yet free from clinging attachment." (This expression appears deceptive with a double trick in that the usage "not as yet free from clinging attachment" may carry the meaning as "still having clinging attachment." It is, however, not intended to convey that sense. The expression "not as yet free from clinging attachment," in fact, means "free from clinging or grasping desires." Since totally devoid of such clinging attachment, it means to say that no further practical religious exercise need be made.) This also is one of the attributes. Buddha had preached thus: "I say that such a person is an Upasanta individual, who is in a tranquil state of mind."
A person who is fully endowed with such attributes is an Upasanta individual. Buddha had stated that he gave due recognition to such an individual. This is really worthy of note and remembrance. The practices of bhāvanā are also included in this Verse.
To make the above statements easily understandable, the Motto that is couched in plain Myanmar, may be recited as follows:
"Flowing not into the stream of pleasurable sensations, with Pride dispelled and gentleness maintained, Gaining wisdom and credulity unentertained; Cravings detached by clearing away, Constituting his Six noble attributes in array."
(Flowing not into the stream of pleasurable sensations)-means: "not to be mentally inclined towards pleasurable sensations with clinging attachment."
(With Pride dispelled and gentleness maintained)-is: "not to think highly of one's own self with ego or self-pride assuming the other as an inferior, and consequently holding him in low estimation; and also to accomplish oneself with gentleness and become well-polished in physical, verbal and mental behaviours by dispelling all rude and vile manners."
(Gaining wisdom and credulity unentertained; cravings detached by clearing away) means: "to easily understand with ready wit all problematic questions relating to matters concerning pariyatti and patipatti; to realize personally without solely placing trust or confidence in others; and to be cleansed or got rid of clinging desires or cravings." These three together with the other three just mentioned totalling six attributes are embraced in this Verse, and they constitute the Six noble attributes.
The manner of flowing into pleasurable conditions
The expression "Flowing not into the stream of pleasurable sensations" may be elaborated in this way. The pleasurable conditions are things which give delight to people who are presently craving for what is good and pleasant. These pleasurable things are fine visual objects, pleasant sounds, sweet and pleasing smell, delicious and tasty food, nice and pleasurable physical contacts and delightful feelings arising out of imagination or fanciful ideas. Such delightful and pleasant sensations are those which will attract one to gravitate towards them. As such, those who cannot yet escape from the fetters of kilèsā, find them pleasurable with delight and found attachment. Do not, therefore, allow your Mind to flow into this stream of pleasurable sensations or sensuous desires. Every time the mind is bent upon gliding towards them, reject it by contemplating and noting.
Regarding those who have no control over their mind, the raging torrent of kilèsās will be rushing into the sensations of sight or visual objects through the medium of the eye. The ear, the nose, the tongue, the body and the mind will, likewise, flow into all the respective sensations of sound, odour, taste, contact and imagination which will occur with great acceleration in a big rush. It is something like raging waters of a mountain stream on a higher level flowing down to the surface below when raining cats and dogs. The nature of flowing movement is stated as "Āsava Dhamma" in the desanā,-Teachings. This āsava or kilèsā, human passion or depravity of the mind is of four different kinds. They are kāmāsava (sensual pleasure), bhavāsava (love of existence), diṭṭhāsava (indulgence in heresy) and avijjāsava (defilement of ignorance). In so far as this Verse is concerned, out of the four Āsavas, it refers to kāmāsava and bhavāsava which are prone to flowing into the stream of pleasurable sensation. Relating to Dhamma, in essence, they are loba, greed, called taṇhā-rāga, clinging sensual desire.
It flows right up to Bhavagga
This Āsava, the taṇhā-rāga, proceeds up to the highest of the Arūpa World if stated with reference to an Abode or Existence. From the point of view of the nature of Dhamma, it flows right into Gotrabhū, a stage whereby the mind inclines towards the Path, its Fruition and Nibbāna.
Bhavagga is the culminating point of existence. It is the highest and the noblest abode or existence. To be able to understand this Highest and Noblest Abode, it in necessary to know the intermediate and lowest forms of existences. Of the thirty-one (31) Planes of Abode, the lowest in the scale is Hell (naraka), Animals (tiracchāna), Petas (ghostly spirits), and Asūrā (the world of fallen angels) forming the four Nether worlds, the Apāya. The lowest of them all is Hell. Of all the hells, the lowest level is known as Avīci. For this reason when merits are shared at a libation ceremony, it is usually stated as Bhavagga, the highest, and Avīci, the lowest.
Higher in the scale of existences above the four Nether worlds, the Apāyas, is the Human world. Above that is "heaven" or Devaloka comprising six in order of precedence, namely, Catuma-hārajika, Tāvatimsā, Yāmā, Tusitā, Nimmānarāti, Paranimmitavasavatti. In the Six Devalokas, as in the case of the world of human beings, males and females are present. There, all pleasures of sense (kāmaguṇa) are in abundance and full to the brim.
Higher above that Celestial world, there are three Abodes of the First jhāna. Though it is said to have three stages in the world of Brahmās, they are on the same plane. They are called three Abodes depending upon the three types of Brahmās residing in that world. Extending above that, there are three Abodes of the Second jhāna. They too are on the same plane and because of the presence of three different kinds of Brahmās, it is stated to be three Abodes. Beyond that world of heavens, come the three Abodes of the Third jhāna. These are also on the same plane inhabited by three kinds of Brahmās.
Above the Abodes of Third jhāna, there exists the world of Fourth jhāna. The lowest stage in this Realm is inhabited by two kinds of Brahmās, namely, Vehappho and Asaññāsata. This is also to be called the two Abodes. Out of these two kinds of Brahmās, Vehappho Brahmā like other Brahmās as well, has both rūpa and nāma. Therefore, the Vehappho Brahmā and the nine other kinds of Brahmās belonging to the lower three abodes or heavens, altogether ten kinds of Brahmās, can come down to devaloka and the human world to listen to the preachings of the Buddha. They have also the ability to preach. What is peculiar in them is that they have no masculine or feminine sex organs. Though their facial features contain the shape or figure of a nose, they have no sense of smell. They can however talk for having possessed the figure of a tongue, but have no sense of taste. They have the body but not tactile, without the sense of touch. They possess no parts or limbs of the body which are vile to be able to enjoy the depraved forms of sensuous pleasures, such as, the sensations of smell, taste and touch. This is pretty good. They have eyes and ears and are therefore capable of developing kusala, merits. That is why they can revere and worship the Buddha, and listen to the Dhamma preachings. Apart from that, having possessed the Mind, they can practise the Dhamma. Such being the case, the majority of these Brahmās had attained the Special Dhamma when they heard the sermon delivered by the Buddha. It is indeed very fine.
In the case of Asaññāsata Brahmās, they do not have the knowing mind. i.e. the nāma that brings consciousness. They have only the form, Rūpa. It may be similar to the carved images hewn out of wood or marble. Since they are deprived of the "mind" and "nāma", they have no conscious-ness. Neither do they move about, nor have the power of mobility. They cannot even shake. They are like lifeless images. They are therefore not aware of the appearance of Buddhas. Nor can they listen to the Dhamma-preachings. After the life span of five-hundred kappās is exhausted, they die and reach back to their original abodes of the human world or the celestial world of the Devas. For them there is absolutely no gain and no benefit. That is the reason why asaññāsata abode is included in the eight faulty and forbidden places or abodes.
Above vehappho and asaññāsata heavens, come the realm of Suddhāvāsa having five different stages or levels in serial order, peopled only by Anāgāmis and Arahats. The names are: Avihā heaven, Atappā, Sudassā, Sudassī and Akanittha. These five abodes of the Rūpabrahmāloka being inhabited only by the noble Anāgāmis and Arahats, who are cleansed from all forms of defilements, kilésās, with no desirable attachment which can cause them to relegate to the lower kāmaloka, are known as Suddhāvāsa, the pure abodes. The inhabitants are called collectively Suddhāvāsika.
On top of those Suddhāvāsa abodes, there are Arūpabrahmāloka, the abode of formless Brahmās, consisted of four heavens or stages, namely, Akāsānancāyatānaṃ, Viññāṇañcāyatanaṃ, Akiñcaññāyatanaṃ and Nevasaññā-nāsaññā yatanaṃ. In these formless or incorporeal heavens, the Brahmās have no bodily forms, but are mere effulgences endowed with intelligence and with mind and nāma. They have no material form. Being formless without the assemblage of the material elements and properties which constitute the body, they are invisible. Neither can they see, nor hear, nor appear before the Buddha, nor listen to the Dhamma-preachings. Worldlings or putthujjanas who have reached this abode will revert to their original homes of the human world or the world of Devas when their life-span expires. They derive no benefits. Hence, these abodes of Arūpa Brahmās are included in what is known as eight faulty, defective and unfavourable existences or conditions. People living in such places or under such conditions will miss the opportunity of achieving magga-phala-nibbāna.
However, as far as Ariyās are concerned, they can make progress in the path of achieving the Dhamma while residing in these abodes. Sotāpannas, Sakadāgāmis and Anāgāmis who are reborn in such abodes, can reach up to arahatta-phala through proper method of contemplation and by practising mindfulness which they have known before, and while living in these abodes they will pass away eventually into parinibbāna. Of the four Arūpa worlds, Nevasaññā-nāsaññāyatana heaven is the highest and the noblest. This heavenly abode is known as bhavagga.
The clinging mind flooded with pleasurable sensations is likely to flow into the realm of (31) abodes beginning from the lowest avīci, hell, to the highest abode of Nevasaññā-nāsaññāyatana. Because of its tendency to flow into the pool of passionate or sensual desires, it is called Āvāsa in terms of abode. Since, it is expressed as "anassāvi" according to the verse, it may be stated as "assāva". Hence, taṇhā-rāga called "assāva" which tends to drift along should be dispelled. It is therefore essential to practise meditation not to let oneself drift towards any of the 31 abodes, with pleasurable attachment.
Is hell, Nāraka, still pleasurable?
In this regard, a question may arise in this manner. Could it be possible whether pleasurable attachment to or clinging desire for worthless or despicable existences, will occur since hell is one of the worst abodes among the 31 different realms of existence and since the worlds of petas, asūrās and animals are obviously inferior and ignoble? The answer is quite simple and easy. It is true that a person who knows hell as "hell" and how bad it is, will surely have no yearning for it. However, one who is not aware of hell will think good of it and become attached to it with willful desire. This is evident if considered in the light of what had happened in the case of Mittavimdaka.
The story of Mittavimdaka
At one time, a person by the name of Mittavimdaka left his home after offending his own mother verbally and disrespectfully, and was roving about something like the present-day youngsters playing truant. While thus roaming about aimlessly, he reached a wharf at a seaport town, and then went aboard a ship which later left the port for a distant land. When the ship got into trouble on the high seas, the ship's crew had their usual superstition in that, there must be among them a vicious person who had committed some kind of fault. They them devised a method of drawing lots by which the most unfortunate or vicious person could be identified among persons on board the ship. Mittavimdaka having had the unlucky draw, was dropped off the ship with a raft to be drifted in the vast ocean. The moment he was made to leave the ship, it began to sail smoothly. While drifting in the sea, Mittavimdaka, by virtue of his good kamma or merits which he had derived for having observed the moral precepts in his previous existence, happened to reach a palatial mansion, or rather, an abode of four female Petas, by the name of Vemanika. Though they were Petas, their Abode being one which was installed by both merits and demerits, kusala and akusala mingled together, they had the benefit of enjoying all the pleasures pertaining to devas for a period of seven days, and then for the next seven days they had to pass through various kinds of severe pain and suffering, similar to those receiving punishment in Hell, alternately. After his arrival at this Abode, Mittavimdaka was very well looked after during the first seven days. Then after the period of warm reception was over, he was asked by the four female Petas to continue to stay in that abode and wait for them for seven days telling him that after expiry of that duration, they would come back and that in the meantime, they had to leave the place to undergo torment in Hell. Mittavimdaka, however, refused to comply with the request and left the Abode floating away with the small raft. With his good fortune still smiling on him for his virtuous kamma of the Past, he again reached the abode of eight Vemanika angelic Petas. After a period of seven days' sojourn in that abode as in the case of the former abode of Petas, he left the place, and in the like manner he passed through other abodes of Petas until eventually he reached the abode of 32 Petas, one after the other. He put up at that Abode for seven days as previously, and then proceeded from there on his last journey. Later, he landed on an Island of Hell in the sea for having done wrong, a demeritorious act, to his mother. While he was walking about on the island, he found a person whose neck was chopped off by a machine-driven knife. He saw the red blood spilling out profusely from the neck which had been cut, and the person was found shouting at the top of his voice and crying bitterly in great pain and suffering.
A wrong notion of what is bad as being good
The above sub-heading in the original Myanmar version of the Sutta is a well-known proverb which may be literally translated as "The hell of a fiery flower is wrongly conceived as a heavenly fine flower." Finding the man being subjected to immense suffering in hell, Mittavimdaka had a different opinion as to why the said person was screaming and yelling despite the fact that he was adorned with an extremely beautiful flower on his head. He imagined that how nice would it be if he were to have this big pretty flower stuck on his head. Referring to this incident, sages of the past had provided us with a proverb-"The hell of a fiery flower was wrongly conceived as a heavenly fine flower." He therefore told the man, "Please give me that full-bloom flower on your neck. "There-upon. the man suffering in hell entreated him truthfully thus:" I could not possibly dodge the terrible knife when it is about to fall right on my neck to slice it off. The thing on the back of my neck is not a golden flower but a sharp weapon of machine-driven knife. It is really horrible. Please do not wish to suffer that great pain and misery." However, Mittavimdaka could not believe the man's words. He therefore retorted, "Oh, my friend, I have seen that big flower with my own eyes. Don't tell me lies. Perhaps the way you have just spoken to me was probably because you are unwilling to offer me that flower. This big flower must have been worn by you on your head a long time ago." Furthermore, Mittavimdaka persistently solicited the man to yield to his request and hand over the flower to him.
This repeated utterance made that condemned man in Hell to reflect thus. "H'm, this man is ridden with an awfully bad kamma just like me. It seems that time has reached for me to get release from the severe suffering in this Hell." After imagining as such, he conceded saying. "Well, my friend, should you wish to have that full-bloom flower, you may have it now." So saying, he threw the automatic knife to fall on to Mittavimdaka. The moment it came to rest on the back of Mittavimdaka's neck, the mechanical device started to function on its own cutting off his neck. Only then, Mittavimdaka came to realize that it was not a golden flower at all as he had guessed, but a terrible cutting machine with the sharp edge of a knife. Now that he was helpless and could not get away from it. As long as his bad kamma was not exhausted, he was cruelly cut by the automatic knife. Considering this tragic episode, it is quite obvious that those who have akusala kamma, not knowing that hell is hell, would probably think of it as pleasurable. Then also curiously enough, although one may know what hell really is, when he himself has become as inmate of the abode of hell, he could find delight and pleasure in his own life existence. One may, on his own volition, be inclined to find happiness though he might even consider hell as undesirable. This amounts to becoming pleasurable in the hellish-khandā. It is therefore clear enough that pleasurable attachment to hell itself is caused by this clinging desire and that the very clinging desire is drifting towards the hellish-khandā.
The abode of Petas is also pleasurable
Next, as regards Petas, some of them suffer misery almost as much as one suffers in hell. In the abode of Petas too, when one himself is a Peta, he finds his own life-existence pleasurable. Since they are indulging in matrimonial affairs among their own kind, there is hardly any doubt that they have their own pleasurable attachment to one another who have the same fate and are living in a similar life-existence. Moreover, among Petas, there are some known as Vemānika Petas who, because of the resultant effects of their mixed kusala, merits, and akusala, demerits, are suffering all day long but enjoying pleasures at night time, or are undergoing suffering for the first seven days, and then becoming enraptured with pleasurable life during the next seven days, by turns. When the turn of meritorious kamma comes, they have a luxurious and pleasurable life as Devas do. Therefore, even an ordinary person who has come across such pleasurable conditions; would have a delightful attachment in such a lowly existence. Asūrās are somewhat under similar circumstances as Petas.
Animals also enjoy pleasure in their own existences
Among animals, there are dragons of the Nāga world, which have supernatural powers. It was stated that during the life time of our Lord Buddha, a daughter of the king of dragons, named Erakapatta created herself as a human and then danced singing a riddling (paheli) song. It was mentioned that having heard an announcement made by the king of dragons conveying the news that anybody who could give a solution and answer to the puzzling song, would be given his daughter's hand in marriage, the number of people who had visited the place of rendezvous wishing to get a dragon princess as a wife, was so large that there was hardly a standing space.
In the Bhūridata Jātaka also, mention was made that children were born of the two parents, the father being a human prince, and the mother, a dragon princess, and vice-versa.
In the Campeya Jātaka or story, it was stated that Bodhisatta, (the would-be Buddha in one of his previous existences before his last), having yearned for the existence of a dragon, had indeed been reborn as a dragon.
In the Vidhūra Jātaka, a Deva of an inferior type belonging to the lowest Celestial Abode, by the name of Poṇṇaka, was said to have fallen in love with a female dragon. He carried off a renown-ed Sage by the name of Vidhūra to the realm of dragons as prompted by his sweetheart, the female dragon, and her parents. Hence, it cannot be gainsaid that one can be attracted to the animal kingdom, the world of Tirracchāna with pleasurable attachment as impulsed by his clinging desires. People nowadays are domesticating the dogs as their pets caressing them with love and attachment. In the same manner, other kinds of animals are brought up with good care and attention. These are all the pleasurable attachments.
In particular, a person being a moulder of his own future destiny according to the law of cause and effect (kamma), if by force of unfavourable circumstances or akusala kamma, is reborn as an animal, such as, a dog, or a pig, or an ox, or a buffalo, or a horse, or an elephant, pleasurable attachment to one's own bodily self in any kind of existence, is bound to take place, wherever he may be. Pleasurable attachment with delight also occurs in the company of those belonging to the same worldly existence. This can be definitely known with reference to Campeya Jātaka, etc. The Bodhisatta having seen the remarkably high status and charming appearance of Campeya, the king of dragons, who had come in the guise of a human with all pomp and splendour to pay reverence to his father, the great Hermit, was greatly enchanted and accordingly, had a longing desire to become the king of dragons. He was, therefore, reborn as Campeya, the king of dragons, after his death. Initially, after his rebirth in the new existence when he found himself possessing the despicable body of a snake, he was said to be greatly depressed and disappointed. However, no sooner had he become a dragon amidst the pleasant company of a retinue of young female dragons in the guise of charming and sprightly human dancers, singing and dancing in the accompaniment of music, his dejection and pensive mood had dissolved into thin air being dominated by overwhelming pleasurable sensations derived from the pageantry and rejoicings. Hence, the presence of pleasurable attachment or clinging to one's own existence is a common thing for everybody.
No comment therefore appears necessary relating to the pleasurable and luxurious life in the abodes of human beings and Devas. Even the lives of Brahmās are also affording them pleasure and delight in their own peculiar way. Some other religionists desire for such Brahmālokas under a false belief that such abodes are excellent heavenly cities or paradise, a divine state of supreme bliss free from old age, suffering and death. During the life time of Lord Buddha, a Brahmā god by the name of Baka, assuming that his abode was a real heaven and eternal, devoid of old age, suffering and death, even invited the Enlightened One to his heavenly place, with great delight and satisfaction. Without even entertaining such thoughts, some have been enjoying their lives there for having found happiness with longevity. One of the Brahmās, having seen the human beings and Devas coming into being and passing away in so short a time with a brief span of life, was said to be preaching with eagerness to practise mental development in order to reach their abode of Brahmā and to be able to live long, as: "One should earnestly endeavour to practise for the attainment of jhāna by which kāmarāga can be dispelled similar to a person who would have tried in emergency to pull out the spear which is pierced through and stuck in the vital part of his body at the mouth of the abdomen, or to extinguish the burning fire on his head."
However, a question may arise if pleasurable sensations will occur in Suddhāvāsa abode which is inhabited only by noble persons whose minds are purified. Even in this abode, Anāgāmis being not yet free from bhava-rāga, passionate attachment to life existence, find pleasure in their own existences.
Arūpaloka is wrongly conceived as Nibbāna
Moreover, ordinary worldlings, Sotāpannas. Sakadāgāmis, and Anāgāmis are also enjoying pleasures with delight in the Abode of Arūpa Brahmās. In the abodes of Arūpa, the Formless Planes where there is only mental consciousness without the material body, rūpa, being fairly comfortable, some people have thought of it as Nibbāna, and are craving for it.
Ālāra and Udaka
When Bodhisatta, the would-be Gotama Buddha repaired to a forest retreat immediately after his renunciation of the worldly pleasures, he had accepted the instructions under the guidance of Ālāra and Udaka, the great hermits, relating to the method of practising Jhāna. These great ascetics or hermits were then personally practising to reach the heavens of Ākincaññāyatana and Nevāsaññānāsaññāyatana thinking that these places were Nibbānas. They were also preaching and teaching others with this wrong conception. The Bodhisatta however, was aware of the fact that the achievement of Jhānas is not the right way to attain Nibbāna. That was the reason why after abandoning the Ākincañña Jhāna and Nevasaññā Jhāna, he sought for the Truth of the Dhamma, and eventually gained Enlightenment. Then after becoming a Supreme Buddha, the Omniscient, when he decided to deliver his First Sermon, he came to know through his vision that the two hermits, Ālāra and Udaka had unfortunately passed away and had reached the Abodes of the said Arūpabrahmaloka, which they thought as being Nibbāna. These heavenly abodes being Formless, the inhabitants residing therein cannot listen to the Sermon to be preached by him. Such abodes have a very long span of life. The life-span in Ākincaññā is sixty-thousand Kappas whereas in Nevasaññā it is eighty-thousand Kappas. Then, after the expiry of the respective life-span when they die, they will be reverted to the Human World. But then, by the time they become human beings, Buddha Sāsanā would cease to exist or have faded out. As such, Magga-Phala-Nibbāna is a remote thing, too far away from them. The Enlightened One had therefore uttered with a grumble, "Mahājhāniyo", i.e. it was a tremendous loss for them. In view of the facts stated in the foregoing, if spoken in terms of an abode, taṇhā with pleasurable desires is likely to drift from the lowest abode of Avīci up to the highest Bhavagga. Therefore, to deter the current of taṇhā passionate desires, from drifting in the said manner, practice of bhāvanā, meditation, must be resorted to.
It is likely to drift up to Gotrabhū
This taṇhā, passionate desire, according to the nature of Dhamma tends to drift up to the state of mind or knowledge, known as Gotrabhū. Looking at it from the aspect of Dhamma, it clings with delight to all Dhammas within the domain of kāmāvacara, sensual pleasures. It grasps at rūpāvacara and arūpāvacara known as lofty and virtuous qualities of Jhāna. That is to say that it follows right up to Gotrabhū which occurs close to the attainment of ariyamagga, the noble Path, with delight and attachment. It also tends to bend towards and hold on to all pleasurable sensations which are considered nice and which will arise at every moment of seeing, hearing, contacting and knowing. One who is practising to gain rūpāvacara and arūpāvacara Jhānas, has a longing desire for their achievement. Moreover, he continues to find pleasure with clinging attachment in Jhāna, when achieved.
Furthermore, a person who is practising Vipassanā meditation eagerly expects to gain good concentration, before his concentration becomes strong. And then, when calmness of the mind becomes stable, pleasurable sensation of vipassanā-samādhi takes place. Again, while the power of contemplation and noting is still weak, he desires to gain better strength. Then, when it becomes strengthened, he is happy with joy and attachment to what is good. One who is not yet able to distinguish between rūpa and nāma, is eager to know their distinctive features distinguishingly. When so distinguishingly known, he takes delight and pleasure in the knowing-mind. He then inclines to know the nature and characteristics of anicca, etc. And when appreciated as such, he is greatly satisfied with his insight knowledge during the continual process of contemplating and noting. At the stage of Udayabayañāṇa when brilliant light or radiance are found or visualized, he is likely to become extremely satisfied with Pīti, rapture, Passaddhi, calmness, Sukha, happiness, and Saddhā, faith, in respect of his Vipassanā-Ñaṇa or insight knowledge, which occurs with great speed.
Briefly stated, when reaching the stage of Saṅkhārupekkhā, all sensations which need be contemplated and noted will appear one after another automatically without even making special effort. Sensations that may occur will be automatically realized with ease and comfort without exertion. This fine realization with awareness will continue for one or two hours or more at a stretch without losing momentum. This progressive insight gained by contemplation will also be looked upon with pleasurable attachment. When this Saṅkhārupekkhā Ñāṇa becomes fully strengthened, all noting and awareness will take place in an accelerated motion, and will be found pleasant in its own peculiar way. This is known as "Vuṭṭhānagāmini Vipassanā" which also may be found pleasurable. Noting will then becomes fast, and while insight knowledge is continuously occurring, consciousness will appear with inclination towards Nibbāna where all rūpa-nāma (body-mind) saṅkhāras, the phenomenal processes, will stop to operate, and cease. This realization and bent of mind will bring about Magga-Phala Ñāṇa which will ascend to or move towards the sensation of Nibbāna. In this way, consciousness of magga-phala glimpses Nibbāna. Only thereafter, retrospective contemplation or self-examination of all what have happened previously, called "paccavekkhaṇās" take place.
Among what have so happened, the nature of the mind that inclines towards Nibbāna is Gotrabhū consciousness. After reflecting it with paccavekkhaṇā, condition of pleasurable attachment to Gotrabhū knowledge can also take place. After that, Nibbāna where all saṅkhāras cease to occur, and also mental or mind consciousness of magga-phala which realizes the said nature of cessation, are not obvious as being pleasurable. Only the nature of such a state of cessation is clearly known. Hence, no pleasurable attachment to Magga-Phala-Nibbāna can possibly arise. Pleasurable attachment can only happen up to the earlier stage of Gotrabhū. That is the reason why according to nature of Dhamma, it has been stated that Taṇhā craving desires, drift up to Gotrabhū.
Resembles a wealth-conscious person
Some people without being well-accomplished in Dhamma by personally practising meditation exercise, probably make a tall-talk with ego or self-conceit. They would even tender advice to others not to let oneself involved in any kind of worldly sense-pleasures and not to crave for any-thing that is pleasurable. This kind of pep talk may be considered as precious if made by a worthy person at the right moment when feasible. If, however, the man who talks in that manner happens to be a person without any dependable background knowledge of the Dhamma by which he can aspire to be reborn in a happy condition, such as, the world of human beings or of Devas, it would be highly improper. Furthermore, if he himself is still clinging to trivial pleasures of life, it will be inappropriate for him to talk high in the like manner.
Next, some people may make slanderous talks either criticising or finding fault with others and also speak disparagingly that contemplation and noting of all phenomenal occurrences arising out of the six sense-doors are merely Samatha.
Such vicious utterances might have been made through sheer ignorance of the distinguishing features between Samatha and Vipassanā. It may also be spoken presumably with impudence in the manner stated; not knowing thoroughly that samatha-bhāvanā is a fundamental exercise practised by the Buddhas and noble personages. As a matter of fact, such people are talking with vanity thinking highly of themselves without any basic knowledge of the Dhamma. They may be likened to a person who assumes himself as a man of substance, or in other words, one who has become rich-minded without possessing any wealth or property and also without the ability to conduct any business enterprise considering the venture as one below his dignity and financial standing.
Any kind of Kusala-merit-needs be developed
The fact of the matter is that any kind of meritorious act or virtuous deed which will lead or pave the way to Nibbāna is the Dhamma that is deserving of performance, and is essential to be developed. None of the scriptural texts have indicated that the method of contemplating and noting every phenomenon arising from the six sense-doors is Samatha-bhāvanā. It is only mentioned there in as amounting to Vipassanā, i.e., successful exercise of ecstatic meditation.
Then also, to say "not to become pleasurable and seek for pleasures, or yearn for it", is easier said then done. From the practical point of view, it is extremely difficult to restrain oneself from becoming pleasurable. It is because āsava dhamma, called taṇhā, which is susceptible to enjoyment in pleasurable conditions and inclined to generate passionate desires, is likely to drift along with delightful sensations to bhavagga, if described in terms of an 'abode', and up to gotrabhū, with reference to Dhamma. As such, in regard to a person who has practised meditation so as to achieve jhāna-samāpatti, taṇhā, clinging attachment to such an achievement, which has arisen in him even earlier before his attainment, can take place. After his attainment of jhāna, he again takes pleasure in what has been achieved. As regards a meditator indulging in the practice of Vipassanā, the mind is not at rest or tranquil at the initial stage. It is all mixed up with nīvaranas, obstacles to the progress of his concentration. The mind is then still polluted. Such being the case, he is eager to have the purity of mind and to gain concentration. He also wishes to make good progress in noting with calmness and without the mind going astray. Then again, when noting can be done vigorously and effectively with calmness of mind, he finds pleasure with delight in being able to note thoroughly and satisfactorily.
While contemplating, the mind remains calm and fixed, continually dwelling on the sensation which ought to be noted, without wandering and flitting. The sensation that is to be noted may go on changing, but the mind which is noting remains stable. The mind is calm and steady without deviating from the point of sensation to which it directly proceeds. This is called vipassanā-khaṇika-samādhi. It is similar to upacāra samādhi obtained through samatha bhāvanā. Hence, it is to be called "citta visuddhi". When the mind becomes purified and strengthened in the process of noting, rūpa and nāma, matter and mind, are distinguishingly known. It becomes manifested that the sense-object which is noted is one, and the knowing-mind or consciousness is another. etc. This means that awareness or knowledge which distinguishes matter and mind takes place, and the two distinctive features are clearly known in the act of noting. This is nothing but insight knowledge called nāma-rūpa-paricchéda. Then again, pleasurable sensation arises on the awareness or knowledge that is so gained.
Thence, as one proceeds to carry on with his contemplation and noting, awareness becomes sharp that it is merely the phenomenon, arising and passing away in an instant being governed by the law of cause and effect, and that everything is impermanent, suffering and misery, all of them being unreliable. In the process of contemplating and noting, realization comes with satisfaction that all these are mere natural phenomena without the so-called "self" or "living entity" (anatta). Brilliant light will also be visualized, and both body and mind will be pervaded with intense joy, happiness and rapturous feeling. These are again looked upon as being pleasurable and delightful. All such feelings must also be contemplated, noted and then rejected.
After rejecting as such, if contemplation and noting is further carried on, vipassanā ñāṇa will get into strides leading to the knowledge which realizes dissolution of every object of awareness, and of the awareness itself at every moment of noting. This is what is known Bhaṅga-Ñāṇa. Briefly put, if further contemplation is made, Vipassanā-Ñāṇa will be gradually developed. Let's say, up to Saṅkhārupekkha-Ñāṇa. As to how this knowledge arises will be explained at length later on.
On reaching this stage of Saṅkhārupekkhā-Ñāṇa, noting becomes very easy, smooth and gentle without making special effort, with awareness taking place spontaneously and incessantly. This constant awareness is also appreciated by the meditator with delight and pleasure.
Gotrabhū can also be found pleasurable
If the pleasurable sensations which have so arisen, have been rejected, and if contemplating and noting is continuously carried on, progressive insight will reach a stage whereby ariya-magga-ñāṇa can be achieved. On reaching this stage, noting accompanied by awareness will automatically become accelerated. While becoming aware as such, the insight knowledge inclines towards the sensation of the body-mind Saṅkhāras, the phenomenal processes. This is the state of mind or insight called "Gotrabhū". The Mind inclines in the manner as stated and flows into the nature of Cessation of Saṅkhāras, the phenomenal processes. This realization is Magga-Phala. At that moment, there is no opportunity for pleasurable attachment or taṇhā to arise. The arising of the knowledge of Magga-Phala which have penetrated into the nature of Cessation does not also afford opportunity to think of any pleasurable condition. As such, there cannot be any pleasurable attachment to Dhammas, conditioning Magga-Phala-Nibbāna. However, the mind which has become very active and has arisen earlier with vipassanā towards the cessation known as Gotrabhū, may possibly be regarded as pleasurable, if and when reflection is made with retrospect. There can also be expectations before realization of these knowledge or insight-wisdom. For this reason, it has been stated that, according to Dhamma, this pleasurable attachment of taṇhā, can flow right up to Gotrabhū.
What has now been preached describes the manner in which Āsava-taṇhā drifts into the current of pleasurable sensations, with delight. These bad Āsava-kilesās or vicious cravings are indeed really wonderful.
Do not therefore permit this Taṇhā to drift along and also to arise. To prevent it from drifting and arising, all sensations that may occur should be continuously contemplated and noted without any break. If it is done so, since it will disappear or vanish immediately after arising the moment an object is seen, realization will come that it is impermanent (anicca), suffering (dukkha) and non-self (anatta). Similarly, it will be truly realized as such at the moment of hearing, smelling, eating and tasting, contacting, knowing and imagining. Hence, nothing will be found pleasurable. It is only because of one's own inability to contemplate and note, and to know the truth, sensations arising out of the six-sense bases are erroneously thought of as being pleasurable. If so considered as pleasurable, suffering and misery will follow in train with worry and anxiety over all these sensations.
Pregnancy that takes seven years & seven months
During the life-time of our Lord Buddha, a lady by the name of Suppavāsā, belonging to a royal family became pregnant for a period of seven years and seven months instead of the usual period of gestation for nine or ten months, because of her akusala-vipāka, the result of an act of demerit of retribution in her present existence for the evil deeds done in the past. Then again, during her confinement, she had to endure great pain and suffering for seven days continuously before giving birth to a son. The child was a prodigy who was to become an eminent Thera, the would-be Ashin Sīvali.
In one of their previous life-existences, these two persons-mother and son-happened to be the queen and son of the King of Vārānasī. At that time, King Kosala invaded the kingdom of Vārānasī, and after his annexation of the country, he put the King of Vārānasī to death. The Queen, however, was made one of his wives. Her son, the young prince, fled from his country, and later, after rallying a mighty armed force, advanced towards Vārānasī in an attempt to reoccupy it. Taking advice from his mother, he laid siege to the City of Vārānasī and sent his royal message to King Kosala asking whether the latter would surrender to him or contest a battle against him. King Kosala, however, neither submit nor choose to fight. The citizens having had a chance to bring into the City, food and other supplies that were needed through a small gate or an opening in the City-wall, were quite at ease. This state of affairs had lasted for seven years and seven months. Then the prince on receipt of further advice from his Queen-Mother, proceeded to close or block all city gates, big or small. After seven days' siege, the city-folks becoming intolerable revolted against the King and killed him. Thereafter, they proclaimed the young prince as their monarch. For this evil act in laying siege to the City, the embryo Ashin Sīvali had to suffer in hell (Avīci) for innumerable number of years till the earth had come up to a level of one Yojana in this Universe. In his last existence, he had to remain in his mother's womb for seven years and seven months. Moreover, for having closed all the gaps in the city-wall without leaving any loop-hole for seven days long, he had to pay retribution, as a result of his past bad kamma, with immense suffering for a duration of seven day at the time of his birth. The resultant effect of akusala dhamma is indeed really terrible!
As a mark of honour for having given birth to a bonny son, a ceremony (vijāyana-maṅgalā) was held by offering meals to the Lord Buddha and his disciple Sanghās. On that occasion, Ashin Sāriputtarā Thera beckoned the infant prince to come nearer to him, and spoke. Although this child was a newly born baby, he was seven years old. Therefore, he was able to understand what others had told him. Not only that, he could also speak and walk. Ashin Sāriputtarā asked the young child, "How are you, young son? Have you suffered pain and misery for having had to stay long in your mother's womb? Is it not terrible?" The young child replied, "Yes, Sir, Your Reverend. It is indeed miserable and is immensely terrible." The mother having heard her son's reply, was overjoyed with great satisfaction. She then soliloquized, "Ah! My precious son is remarkably outstanding. Just imagine, he can answer ably and talk on Dhamma even to an eminent Thera like Ashin Sāriputtarā." At this juncture, the Enlightened One spoke, "My dear daughter Suppavāsā, are you willing to have another son like the young baby, if at all possible?" Suppavāsā then respectfully replied, "Yes indeed, My Lord! If I were to conceive such a precious child, I wish I could have about seven off springs." Having heard her reply, the Lord Buddha made a solemn utterance the following hymn (udāna) in a verse.
"Asātaṃ sātarūpena, piyarūpena appiyaṃ.
Dukkhaṃ sukhassa rūpena, pamatta mativattati."
Asātaṃ, anything that is neither good nor pleasant; sātarūpena, being disguised as good and pleasant; pamattaṃ, (makes) a forgetful or thoughtless person; ativattati, overwhelmingly suffer.
Ill-treating by pretending to be pleasant
In this regard, the expression "forgetful" does not convey the sense of "not being conscious of anything". It carries the meaning of becoming careless or thoughtless without the quality of "mindfulness" which is usually acquired by the present Yogīs who are contemplating and noting with awareness of mind. Such a forgetful or thoughtless person is said to be over-ridden with minor and trivial matters which are seemingly pleasant or pleasurable. It is just like practising fraudulent deception on a simple and honest person by an imposter who is, in fact, a cheat. Do you get at the point now stressed?
Now that Suppavāsā had undergone a great deal of suffering and misery for seven years and seven months to get a son, and had to suffer pain and trouble for seven days at the time of her confinement; and yet she was still desirous of having such a son for whom she had to suffer very severely. This is evident of the fact that she had found pleasure, or rather found it pleasant in what was actually unpleasurable and unpleasant, because of her lack of understanding or ignorance of the noble Dhamma. This indicates what is "unpleasant" has been ill-treating under disguise as "being good and pleasant." To whom does it ill-treat? The answer being that it tends to cause ill-treatment to a "thoughtless" person. The question then arises as to how one should properly reflect or bear in mind. Reflection should be made with mindfulness bearing in mind that all these dukkha-dhamma are, in reality, distressful, painful and suffering. The cause leading to such sufferings should also be reflected upon and fully realized.
From the point of view of worldly affairs (lokiya), a person who though slack and negligent in connection with one's own business matters and means of livelihood, wishfully hopes to get on in life, without putting his energy or getting worried, is a "forgetful", or rather a thoughtless person. He may be said to be a person with no proper imagination or thinking power as to what consequences might ensue. Such a person can be a victim to dishonest or unscrupulous swindlers. If viewed from the angle of Saṃsāra, he is thoughtless and unimaginative, overwhelmed by his vehement desire to gain prosperity in this present life existence without thinking anything about merits and demerits for his future existences in the rounds of Saṃsāra. Sensual pleasures, kāmaguṇa, which is short-lived only for a duration of this life-time, will, under the pretence of having a great value, can cheat or play a dishonest trick. A person will not be aware of the deception practised on him until such time when he is on the threshold of his death. To a few others, realization comes only in the next existence after death.
Kamma and its resultant effects are known only
when becoming a Peta after death
In the country of Thuratha during the time of King Dhammāsoka, there lived a gentleman by the name of Nandaka. He believed in the false doctrine that there was no kusala-kamma, or, akusala-kamma, or future existences. Hence, his personal endeavours were only limited to the extent of deriving worldly benefits during his present life-time. When he passed away, he became a Peta within the confines of a forest, named Weinca. Then only he came to realize personally that there really exists the law of kamma with its cause and effect, and future existence after the death of a person or a being, and that he had been subjected to cheat by worthless things which, in fact, should not have been regarded as pleasurable. While he was thus recalling the past with reminiscence and was reflecting on his present existence, it happened to coincide with the time when his daughter 'Uttara' was making a libation after her donation is giving offerings of food and drinks (drinking-water) to the Sanghās and was praying for him to enable him to share the merits so performed. After uttering "Sādhu" to the merits imparted to him by his daughter, he immediately received all food and other eatables as might be accessible to Devas to his heart's content. The benefits so derived had made him all the more convincing that after all he had wrongly accepted a false belief in his previous existence. This was the way in which realization had come to him that he had been a victim of cheat in the past existence.
It is important not to forget
Therefore, what is essential is not to forget about matters concerning Saṃsāra. It means to say that all vices of akusala dhamma should be avoided to gain "real" happiness with a minimum of misery and suffering all throughout the rounds of future existences and that meritorious deeds or kusala dhamma should be performed as far as possible. This is really the point. If performances are done in the way as stated, just now, a person may be said to be always on the alert and "unforgetful" relating to the rounds of continued existences.
In particular, what is more significant is not to forget to escape from the whirlpool of the deep ocean of Saṃsāra, renewed existences. The way to escape is to be always mindful of the continual arising and dissolution of matter and mind-rūpa-nāma-that are occurring in the personality of one's own 'self', by contemplating and noting. This is all. By being unable to contemplate and note as already stated, the continuous phenomenal arising of rūpa-nāma will be thought of as being good and pleasurable. Pleasurable sensations will occur from the acts of "seeing", "hearing", "smelling", "eating", "contacting and knowing", and "imagining and arising consciousness".
Everything, or rather, all natural phenomena will be found pleasurable. Then, by being pleasurable as such, suffering will emanate from these pleasurable sensations in the present existence. If, under unfavourable circumstances, one goes down to Apāya, the nether world, misery and suffering will ensue. This is the cruel treatment given by things which are, in fact, non-pleasurable. If mindfulness is achieved by incessantly contemplating and noting, these matter and mind, rūpa-nāma, be will known in their true characteristics as merely anicca, dukkha and anatta. If realized as stated, there will be no "suffering" during the present life-time because of such sensations. Neither will one relegate to the Apāya. hell, in the rounds of Saṃsāra. If circumstances permit, ariya-magga-phala, the Special Dhamma, can be achieved in the course of contemplating and noting. If such an achievement is gained, one will be fully liberated from the realm of Apāya. Therefore, emphasis is made on the importance of "non-forgetfulness", i.e. on the essential need to exercise vigilance so that trivial matters, which do not deserve to be regarded as pleasurable, cannot possibly ill-treat you. Furthermore, it is stated as "Piyarūpena appiyam".
Appiyaṃ- any sense-object which is not lovable or pleasurable, piyarūpena, under the pretence of being lovable, and pleasurable, pamattaṃ. (make or prevails upon) a forgetful or thoughtless person, attivattati, suffer immensely.
It is Dukkha-saccā, the truth of suffering,
from the viewpoint of Vipassanâ
Though a sense-object is not lovable, it pretends to be charming, cultivating love and cruelly causing one to suffer. These are the things or objects which people usually see, hear, smell, eat, con-tact, and know. Plainly seen with the naked eye, it would appear as if the visual object is "a being", or "he", or, "male", or, "female" which are perceived with a misleading notion as lovable and fascinating. That is the reason why people are hankering after these ostensibly lovable things. Looking at these from the point of view of Vipassanā knowledge, they are simply found as mere natural phenomena of rūpa-nāmā, matter and mind, continually arising and disappearing, and as being impermanent, suffering, and Non-Self. These will also be perceived as detestable and horrible. If the Truth is realized as such, these sensations will have no strength or power to ill-treat you. It has also been stated as "dukkhaṃ-sukhassa rūpena."
The gist of this dictum is that all dukkha-dhamma, painful and unpleasant phenomenal conditions, though in reality, are mere sufferings, assume the role of "joy and happiness" in disguise, and cruelly pounce upon and ill-treat a thoughtless and forgetful person.
As a matter of fact, all animate or inanimate things with which people at present have come into contact, or found, give rise to or induce "pain and suffering" called "Dukkha-saccā", the Truth of Suffering, from the viewpoint of an Ariya, the Noble One, who perceives them in their true colour with the eye of Vipassanā-ñāṇa. At every moment of seeing with the eye-base, all these are found to be ceaselessly arising and vanishing, and are therefore miserable. Similar perception takes place at every moment of hearing, smelling, eating, contacting, imagining and knowing. However, to those who are unable to contemplate and note for being forgetful or unmindful without having the insight knowledge of Vipassanā, these miseries would seemingly appear as being pleasurable and good. Because of this deception, worldlings are always craving for things, trivial or not, with pleasure and delight hoping against hope that they would one day find real happiness. This truly illustrates the fact that what is really "dukkha", sufferings, are cruelly ill-treating pretending to be things of joy and pleasure. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to contemplate and note these dukkha-dhamma, every time they occur and disappear, with diligence. If on attaining Arahatship, one will become always mindful without forgetfulness, whereby no such dukkha-dhamma can possibly subject him to ill-treatment. As regards an ordinary worldling who is presently practising Vipassanā meditation, he will be better off to the extent he is capable of contemplating and noting with mindfulness.
The statement that a thing is not really pleasurable as mentioned in Udāna-dèsanā, conveys the same sense as sātiyesu, pleasurable things, as stated in this Purābhèda Sutta. Hence, care should be exercised not to allow oneself flow into pleasurable sensations. If pleasurable attachment or craving occurs to those who cannot practise Vipassanā meditation, they should take care not to permit themselves to get to the extreme. A person who is meditating Vippasanā must continuously con-template and note all occurrences arising out of the six sense-doors to prevent himself from drifting towards pleasurable conditions. If pleasurable attachment takes place, it should be rejected by contemplating and noting. The process of rejection should continue to be carried on relentlessly by contemplating and noting until it reaches Ariya-magga-ñaṇā, since it has been stated that the pleasurable conditions, according to Dhamma, drift along up to the stage of Gotrabhū. If rejection is done in the manner stated, ariya-magga-ñāṇa will ultimately be reached. The Motto has, therefore, been couched as:
"Flowing not into the stream of pleasurable sensations,
With pride dispelled and gentleness maintained;
Gaining wisdom and credulity unentertained,
Cravings detached by clearing away,
Constituting his six noble attributes in array."
According to this Motto, an Upasanta individual, in whom kilèsā have become extinct, is endowed with the six noble attributes. The first attribute: "Flowing not into the stream of pleasurable sensations" has been already explained to make you understand. The next attribute is stated as: "atimāne ca noyuto."
Do not underestimate the other
The meaning of the above Pāḷi phrase is: "One should not be arrogant and haughty with self-pride or conceit by belittling the other and regarding him as a nonentity, unworthy of attention. "It is important that one should not underestimate the other in both the aspects of worldly affairs and Dhamma. Low estimation of a person in respect of worldly affairs, may have reference to his lineage, or financial standing, or his education. Do not disparage a person in any manner, since it may eventually be found to be a blunder. If by holding a poor opinion of a person who is really deserving of high estimation or regards, one may get into trouble. I will relate to you a story in this connection.
During Buddha's life-time, king Pasenadī Kosala daily invited five-hundred Sanghās and offered them meals. The Sanghās led by Ashin Ānandā availed themselves of the invitation and accepted the offering of meals. The king himself took the lead in serving meals for a period of seven days in succession. For the remaining days, however, the king was unable to do so personally. He did not delegate others to perform the duties, either. Without specific orders and assignment of duties, no one dared to carry out what was required to be done, the place of serving the meals to Sanghās being the king's residential palace. Such being the case, even no seating arrangements or accommodation were made for the fitting reception to be accorded to the Sanghās. A good number of the invited Sanghās had therefore left the place, for not being provided with seats. On the following day, similar condition prevailed and a good many of the Sanghās had to leave the place. On the third day, only Ashin Ānandā was left alone at the place of offering, the rest of the Sanghās having departed from the place where feasting ceremony was to take place. Ashin Ānandā, of course, remained out of mere consideration, regard being had to the faith and generosity of the benefactor. This unsatisfactory state of affairs was witnessed by the king himself when he came over to the place personally. Having found Ashin Ānandā alone, and all dishes of rice and curry becoming redundant or rather, wasted, the king felt very sorry and upset. He therefore, proceeded to the Buddha to whom he respectfully put up as "Oh, my Lord! I had extended my invitation to five-hundred Sanghās to honour me with their presence at my residential palace for meals. However, only Ashin Ānandā had turned up." He further inquired as to why other Sanghās had failed to recognize him and visit his place in response to his request.
Nine qualities of a good benefactor worthy of esteem
Having heard the king's statement, the Enlightened One spoke: "Oh, king! My disciples, the Sanghās, have probably failed to visit your place for not being familiar with you." Then the Buddha further pointed out saying: "The Sanghās shall not acquaint themselves with or come into close con-tact with the benefactor who does not possess the nine qualities." The Buddha then proceeded to preach that the Sanghās would call on a benefactor and pay a visit to his house, only if the benefactor was endowed with the nine qualities, which were considered as requisite. These nine qualities are as enumerated below:
1. To stand up and welcome with courtesy.
2. To pay obeisance by worshipping.
3. To allocate a proper seat with reverence.
4. Not to hide things which he owns.
5. To donate as much as he can, if he has plenty.
6. To donate only what is good, if he has any.
7. To give the donation in a respectful manner.
8. To take a sitting posture close enough to listen to the sermon attentively, and
9. To listen to the preaching with enthusiasm.
Furthermore, the Lord Buddha gave his preachings recounting the story of Kaysava, a hermit, who though fully provided with delicious meals and good medicines by the king Vārānasī (of Benares) who was not familiar with him, had become deteriorated in his health to the point of near death; and only later when meeting with his disciples, both laymen and ascetics, who were his close intimates, he was restored to normal health within a few days after having been provided with fresh fruits and fleshly roots for his consumption.
Self-conceit of the members of Cakya (Sakya) clan
It had thus occurred to the king that he should try to get familiar or rather well-acquainted with the monks and Sanghās. He thought of finding an opportunity to make himself related by marriage to the militant race of Cakyas. He, therefore sent, out his emissaries to ask for the hands of a daughter of the Cakya royal family. The State of Cakka, which was the place where Cakyas lived and ruled, happened to be one of the semi-independent States in the country of Kosala. It is some-thing like one of the principalities of the Shan states within Myanmar, under the tutelage of the ancient Myanmar kings. Thereupon, Cakya rulers had imagined that refusal to comply with the express demand made by king Kosala would probably land them in trouble. Members of the Cakya family were extremely proud and arrogant. Being conceited, they considered themselves as belonging to the noblest race. Egoism had driven them to hold the view that their women-folks should not, under any circumstances, marry anyone other than their own race or clan. They were indeed very clannish and had a dogmatic feeling of racial superiority. They, therefore, convened an emergency meeting for consultation among themselves.
When deliberations were made, king Mahānaṃ told that he had a daughter born of one of his Maids-of-honour, a mistress, and suggested that this girl should be offered to king Kosala. She was not a real maid-servant though. Ancient absolute rulers regarded the people as servants. She might belong to a class of rich family but not a lineage of Cakya royal family. This advice given, was unanimously accepted by all those present at the meeting, and hence, the king's daughter, a common girl, was proposed to be given in marriage. This, of course, amounts to playing a trick on King Kosala who had asked for a Royal Princess, a pure descendant of the Cakya family. A person not knowing that deception has practised on him is usually pleased and satisfied; but when the truth is known, he can become terribly angry.
Later, when King Mahānam's half-caste daughter was handed over to King Kosala's envoys, they took her away and presented her to their King. The King believing that the girl was of pure royal blood of the Cakya family, was really delighted and made her his Chief Queen. Her name was "Vāsabakhattiyā". Later, she gave birth to a son. The name given to the young prince was "Viṭaṭūba". The King being very fond of his young son since his infancy, appointed the prince though still young, as Commander-in-Chief of the Army.
When Viṭaṭūba was about seven years old, he asked his mother whether she had no relatives on her side, since he had never received gifts from his maternal grandma and aunts while others, a lot of his play-mates, had received gifts of toy-elephants, toy-horses etc. He further inquired if the Queen Mother was still living. The prince's mother realizing that trouble would brew if the truth were revealed, willfully told a lie that her parents and relatives were of the royal blood of the famous Cakya Clan residing in Kapilavastu. She mentioned that King Mahānaṃ of Kapilavastu was her royal father and that the said King was, therefore, the prince's grand-father. She further comforted her son that no gifts could be sent to him as all of them were residing in a far distant land.
When the young prince reached the age of sixteen, he sought his mother's permission to allow him to visit his grandfather, King Mahānaṃ, and his maternal kinsmen. His mother at first refused to give permission but that he insisted upon her to allow him to proceed to Kapilavastu. The insistence was made so frequently that she was unable to prevent her son from abandoning his idea of visiting her relatives. Eventually she had to give in. Vāsabakhattiyā then sent prior intimation to Kapilavastu so that there might not be any unpleasantness or hitch on her son's arrival. Prior information was so furnished as she feared that members of the Cakya family might not give a fitting welcome to her son Viṭaṭūba and might even coldly treat him with disrespect.
Viṭaṭūba was slighted
The Royal Family of Cakya Clan had earlier sent away all princes younger than Viṭaṭūba to a remote place before the arrival date of Prince Viṭaṭūba. When Viṭaṭūba reached their place, they accorded a very warm reception. He was even introduced to the elderly members of the royal family of Cakya race pointing out as to who was who, such as, the King himself who was his grandfather, uncles and so on. Viṭaṭūba then paid his respects to all elders who were introduced to him. He then remarked that it was surprising to find no one who would have to pay respects to him. In reply, the Cakya rulers stated that at the moment, all younger princes had gone to a far off place. Later, they held a ceremonious feast in his honour.
When he returned home after his sojourn for two or three days at the Capital City, a servant of the Royal Cakya family was said to have washed and cleaned up the places with cows' milk uttering at the same time, "This is the place where the son of a maid-servant, Vāsabakhattiyā, had sat." The time of cleansing with the milk incidentally coincided with the time when one of Viṭaṭūba's army officials had returned to the place to take back a small weapon which was left behind inadvertently. He had seen how cleansing was done and what sort of disparaging remark was made while washing off the place. Afterwards, this official went on gossiping among his friends that Viṭaṭūba's mother was not a genuine princess of the royal family but the daughter of a maid-servant. This rumour, or rather news had spread all over the area and had ultimately reached the ears of the young prince, Viṭaṭūba. The startling news had enraged him, and swearing vengeance, he made a vow that these people might carry on with their work of sweeping and cleansing the place with cows' milk but that when he would become a king, the same place would be cleansed with the blood from the throats of the Cakya Royal Family.
How Cakya rulers had to face disaster for being self-conceited
Therefore, at one time when Viṭaṭūba succeeded his father and ascended the throne in the kingdom of Kosala, he advanced against the state of Kapilavastu along with his armed forces with the intention of killing all the members of the royal family of Cakya clan. Seeing this unfortunate state of affairs, the Lord Buddha made his way to where the troops were advancing towards Kapilavastu, and intervened not to fight and cause bloodshed. Three times the Exalted One had to prevent Viṭaṭūba from declaring war upon his own kinsmen. Viṭaṭūba, therefore, withdrew his armed forces and retreated. But on the fourth occassion when Viṭaṭūba ordered his troops to march on to Kapilavastu for an invasion, the Buddha remained indifferent without deterring Viṭaṭūba, foreseeing that in any case, akusala dhamma of the past would certainly befall on the Cakya rulers. After entering the city walls with all his troops, Viṭaṭūba ordered that all members of the Cakya royal family be executed except king Mahānaṃ and those who were found to be present with his grandfather, the king. All the dare-devils of Viṭaṭūba assassinated all those people who admitted their lineage as being descended from the Cakya royal family. They did not even spare the lives of babies in their mother's arms. Only a few who were found in close proximity with Mahānaṃ king and those who inadvertently uttered as "grass" when asked who they were, while cutting grass, and so on, through fright and slip of the tongue, not being considered as descended from Cakya family, were left unharmed.
The reason for meeting this fatal disaster and misery by the entire Cakya Royal Family was simply because of their own superiority-complex and self conceit treating people other than their own race as being low-born, ignoble and inferior to them. When one becomes egoistic, it is natural for him to look down upon others. They would also speak slighting others. In the present day also, there are a number of people who are self-centered and self-conceited. They can be in trouble if not as serious as suffered by the Cakya Clan. They are liable to be deprived of help and assistance when need arises. There were also instances where people got into trouble and distress for slighting an enemy.
What has now been stated concerns mundane affairs, However, the fundamental point stressed in the present dèsanā is to dispel the feeling of one's own superiority-complex which makes a person look down upon others, from the aspect of Dhamma. To elucidate this point, it may be stated that a person may regard others as inferior to him thinking: "This man does not come up to the required standard of quality in Sīla and is far behind me in the purity of moral conduct. He cannot upkeep the Dhamma just as I have done. He is unable to practise Kammat¬āna meditation. Neither is he pious or religious-minded. He is uncivilised, worthless and ignorant, etc." If one considers another as inferior to himself, he becomes automatically self-conceited. He may then feel proud of himself as: "My Sīla, moral conduct, is more purified than others. I'm fully accomplished with the noble Dhamma. My efforts in practising meditation bear fruit and are really far-reaching. I've become a Sotāpanna, an Ariyā!," and so on. If it were true as imagined, there is no fault. In any case, one should not have underestimated the other though he might have thought very highly of himself. The reason being that it might ultimately prove to be untrue, as he has imagined. Some time later, the other might attain a higher stage in the progress of insight than he had achieved.
Thinking highly of one's own self is māna, self-conceit. This māna is not only present in the mind of an ordinary worldling, but also in Ariyās or Noble Ones, such as Sotāpannas, Sakadāgāmis, and Anāgāmis. Nevertheless, the peculiar feature is that feeling of pride or māna which takes place in the minds of the Ariyās, only arises depending upon their own real attainment of the attributes. It is not that they think highly of themselves without reason. Hence, this kind of māna is called yathā-māna. It means taking pride with honour where it should.
Ordinary worldlings may think themselves great taking pride in mere triflings. Such kind of false-pride is called "Āyāthāvamāna".
On becoming a Sotāpanna by practising Vipassanā meditation, this false-pride called "Āyāthāvamāna" is freed. However, this kind of māna which occurs in connection with one's real attribute still lingers on. It will be eradicated completely when reaching the stage of arahatta-magga by practising Vipassanā meditation in serial order stage by stage. This dèsanā or teaching, therefore, has said that efforts should be made to meditate seriously until one reaches the state of arahatta-magga-phala and becomes an Arahat to get rid of his māna entirely.
The Motto has therefore stated as: "Flowing not into the stream of pleasurable sensations, with pride dispelled and gentleness maintained." After the 'pride' has been dispelled, comes 'gentleness'. It means "to be gentle in bodily action, verbally, and mentally."
Manner of becoming gentle both physically and verbally
To become gentle physically or rather in bodily behaviour, one should avoid all acts detrimental or harmful to others and should do things as much as possible for the good of all, i.e., virtuous deeds. Therefore, killing, stealing other people's property, robbing and committing adultery, which constitute indulgences in physical and immoral conduct or vices, should be avoided.
To be gentle verbally-gentleness in speech-may be explained as totally abstaining from talking lies, back-biting or slander, or abusing or uttering obscene words, and talking frivolously, the four vacīduccaritas or sins of speech.
Of the said two stated above, to be gentle and polite in words or speech is more important than to be gentle in physical actions or behaviours. It is because, among those who have a religious bent of mind, only a few will be found to be rude in their physical behaviour. Concerning speech, anything that has sprung up in the mind will ordinarily find an outlet or expression through the mouth-organ which makes utterances, polite or vulgar, either intentionally or inadvertently. Any perverse or indiscreet utterances should therefore be avoided.
Gentle character of the mind
The meaning of gentleness of the mind is that one should be free from abhijjhā, covetousness, i.e. unlawfully or unfairly wishing to possess other people's property. And also, ill-will or vyāpāda, unruly thoughts wishing others to suffer death or destruction, should be dispelled. "Micchādiṭṭhi", false beliefs, such as: "non-existence of kamma," "no good or beneficial result of kamma," and "no future existence," should be expelled and banished. In short, it means to say that one should have a good and virtuous mind devoid of malignant feelings towards others.
Good and virtuous thoughts comprise the gentle Bodhipakkhiya Dhamma, such as, the four foundations of mindfulness. Hence, meditation through mindfulness-the four Satipaṭṭhānas-should always be practised. Sammappadhānaṃ, right exertion, four in number, should also be put in. If contemplation and noting is continually done based upon the four foundations of mindfulness, harsh forms of mental thoughts or activities will have no chance to occur. The mind will then become very gentle. If the four Satipaṭṭhānas are being practised, it would appropriately embrace the four samma-padhānams, the four iddhipādas, the five indriyas, the five balas or forces (strength), the seven bojjhaṅgas, and the eight maggaṅgas otherwise known as ariya aṭṭhaṅgiko maggo, called the bodhi-pakkhiya dhamma (which is made up of thirty-seven constituents of true knowledge).
Therefore, if Satipaṭṭhāna Dhamma is developed, not only the mind but also both physical and mental behaviours become gentle. This is to say that a person who is developing Vipassanā mindfulness, will invariably weigh things before doing anything, and do things if only it is considered proper. He will not perform any act casually or haphazardly. When he is going to speak, he will think and ponder upon what is to be spoken sensibly and reasonably. When speaking or talking too, he needs to contemplate and note. By doing so, he will undoubtedly restrain himself from uttering harshly or rudely. Every time any thought or imagination arises, it must be necessarily contemplated and noted. As such, coarse mental behaviour will barely take place, and even if it occurs, it will not last long or will quickly pass away. Therefore, if mindfulness is properly developed, all physical, verbal and mental behaviours will become purified and gentle. Moreover, since Bodhipakkhiya Dhammas are embraced, as may be relevant, at every moment of contemplating and noting while practising and developing mindfulness meditation, it has been enunciated in Niddesa Pāḷi as: "Sanehi satipaṭṭhānchi sammannāgato", which means accomplishment is achieved with gentle mindfulness.
The Motto goes to say:
"Flowing not into the stream of pleasurable sensations, With pride dispelled and gentleness maintained, Gaining wisdom ... "
Knowledge which is easily comprehensible
After "gentleness", comes reflective knowledge or wisdom with which a person should be equipped. In connection with Pariyatti, one should have paṭibhāna knowledge, i.e. easy comprehension or wit. He should also possess intelligence and be able to speedily grasp the Dhamma connected with Paṭipatti, practical exercise of Vipassanā meditation. As regards any problematic question that is advanced, he must be in readiness to reply intelligently with presence of mind. Relating to Pariyatti, it would appear in the knowledgeable mind of a person who has accumulated the knowledge of scriptures, such as, Pāḷi, Commentaries and Tikās, as to what is to be spoken readily when reflected in the course of his delivering the sermon.
To a person who systematically practises Vipassanā Dhamma, with diligence, this Paṭibhāna knowledge is likely to occur, even without taking lessons. How it happens is that one who has had his practice of meditation may readily grasp the profound meaning of the concept of Dhamma relating to rūpa-nāma and also Vipassanā. He may even easily and deeply appreciate though the preacher has made a mere mention of the gist of the Dhamma.
Becomes really learned only after practising meditation
Persons who have already indulged themselves in the practical exercise of Vipassanā meditation will easily understand the meaning of what is contained in the scriptural texts by just reading through it. All which have not been properly understood before, will perhaps be clearly grasped. A great teacher had once stated that he had passed his examinations on scriptures with credit and that he had also taught others. He then considered himself as being really learned. However, it was found to be wrong, simply because the philosophical aspect of the Dhamma which had not been fully grasped before was vividly comprehended only after he had practised meditation.
It is true and correct. This comprehension of the deeper meaning of the Dhammas and scriptural writs is the knowledge or intellect called Paṭibhānañāṇa which is achieved through Vipassanā meditation. This knowledge becomes more obvious to persons who have meditated after having learned the lessons in Dhamma. This is quite distinctive because it is not the book-knowledge. What has now been stated is the manner in which Paṭibhāṇa knowledge has happened relating to Pariyatti.
Theoretically easy but practically difficult
In connection with the practical exercise of Vipassanā Meditation, i.e. Paṭipatti, the manner of gaining Paṭibhāna knowledge is that, it would easily arise in the minds of those meditators what are feasible to be practised and done if they would just reflect relating to the work of Paṭipatti. The ability to grasp the scriptures relating to paṭipatti is the quality of paṭibhāna knowledge connected with paṭipatti. As regards practical Dhamma which is in nature paṭivèda, it will be clearly realized by a person who has carried out practical exercise in meditation. What is meant by it is that the natural phenomena of rūpa-nāma can be explained without difficulty in a theoretical way. It is quite easy. However, it is not so easy as to appreciate the Dhamma from the practical point of view. As a matter of fact, it is extremely difficult. A person who has seriously practised meditation will distinguishingly know with his personal insight knowledge all the true nature of Dhamma relating to rūpa-nāma, which are hard to perceive and understand. At every moment of contemplating and noting, it will be known distinguishingly that the material matter or rūpa, which is the sense-object noted and realized, is quite different from the knowing-mind, the nāma.
Nāmarūpa pariccheda ñāṇa
Analytically stated according to the scriptural texts, the rūpa-Dhamma consists of pathavī, āpo, tejo, vāyo, etc., the elements of earth, water (liquidity), fire or heat, wind or air, and so on, totalling twenty-eight (28) in number (comprising "elementary matter" and "accidental matter"). Common or worldly mind named "akāsiti" consisting of eighty-one (81) kinds, together with fifty-two (52) "cetasika", mental formations or factors, is nāma. All these constitute the form and nāma-body and mind, the individual, forming an aggregate of material elements and properties, the so called 'body', and mental khandhās, called nāma. It had got to be mentioned in figures arithmetically to emphasise the fact that there are only two of these, namely, rūpa and nāma, matter and mind, as found in the scriptural texts or books of Dhamma. However, these are not the Dhammas that are pre-sent in the personality of a man called "Self". Merely knowing as such is not Nāmarūpā-Pariccheda, knowledge which distinguishingly realizes nāma and rūpa, i. e, the knowledge that distinguishes between mind and matter. This knowledge is only Saññā, perception. Just think over. Out of the said 28 matters, man has no feminine form or figure. A woman has also no masculine figure. Then also, of the 81 mental elements, a person who has not attained jhāna, will have no mental activities called rūpāvacara-arūpāvacara. Only Arahats have the mind that cause to become, called Mahākariya. Ordinary men have no such mental faculty. Therefore, could it be the real personal knowledge that distinguishingly knows the Dhamma or conditions which do not abide in one's own personality?. No, it cannot possibly be. It is merely the knowledge of Saññā.
The Dhamma is realized though illiterate or unlearned
People who are now meditating, although they may be illiterate and are unable to read and write, realize or know distinguishingly the distinctive features of matter and mind through his own personal insight or wisdom. At every time it is contemplated and noted, it will be personally realized that there are only two kinds, one being rūpa, matter, which is the object to be known, and the other-nāma, the mind, that knows. Similar realization will occur whenever seeing, or, hearing, or smelling, and eating takes place. Act of touching or tactility has a very wide scope. All acts of bending, stretching, walking, standing, sitting, lying, moving and changing the postures are included in it. Hence, when bending and stretching, the Mind that imagines or inclines to bend or stretch is One. The actual acts of bending, stretching and moving is another, whereas the noting Mind is quite separate. It can be differentiated and clearly known. The same process and knowledge take place when walking and so on. Imagining and knowing, or rather, imagination and awareness as well as noting and awareness are nāma, which has the faculty of knowing. Motivation and stiffness are rūpa, which has no consciousness. The arising phenomena of nāma-rūpa in pairs combined together are vividly known by personal realization.
Can arising and dissolution be known by mere statement?
Furthermore, some people are telling others to contemplate on "arising and dissolution" without having had any personal experience of the realization of the transient nature of matter and mind. They are simply contemplating by merely uttering verbally and mentally without the faculty of perception. This is quite unnatural. A Yogī who is continually contemplating and noting will truly perceive these matter and mind, the rūpa-nāma, at every moment of their arising, and will become aware of them both at the beginning of their arising, and dissolution immediately follows when his power of concentration becomes mature. For instance, when painful sensation occurs while he is noting as "painful", "painful", with fixed concentration, the painful sensations will be clearly found to be arising and disappearing falling away part by part. Such occurrences will be revealed and perceived with his mind's eye as if they are known and felt by the touch of his hands without the need to say or utter by word of mouth.
Then also, pīti, joy or rapture, and passaddhi, calmness, are rarely appreciated by mere book-knowledge. However, a Yogī who is meditating, when reaching the stage of udayabbaya-ñāṇa, will definitely realize pīti and passaddhi since they occur conspicuously. Moreover, cetasika dhamma, called "tatramajjhattatā" can hardly be known by mere book-knowledge. These will, however, be noticed with mental awareness automatically without making effort when the stages of udayabbaya ñāṇa and saṅkhārupekkhā-ñāṇa are reached. On reaching those stages, these will be clearly found equally balanced. And on attainment of saṅkhārupekkhā-ñāṇa, all sensations which are to be known, will be known and realized without special effort as they occur spontaneously, and that awareness of noting becomes obvious on its own as it takes place automatically. At that moment, the sensation that is known and the knowing mind, while in the process of knowing and disappearing, will be found incessantly arising and vanishing. Hence, their inherent nature of impermanence, is extremely obvious. Similarly, it will be clearly manifested that they are by nature mere dukkha, suffering, and anatta, unsubstantiality without the living entity.
For having personally realized with clarity and without ambiguity in the course of contemplating and noting, the natural characteristics of anicca, dukkha and anatta of the phenomenal occurrences will be clearly perceived through knowledge when reflected upon even while taking a brief respite without meditating. Also, if contemplated and noted, the usual insight knowledge will be gained. If he is a person who had once reached the stage of the cessation of saṅkhāras, he would reach back to the state of such a cessation while contemplating and noting. If again he reflects with retrospection on what has already been achieved, realization will again take place as before. This quick and easy resuscitation of his apprehension of the nature of Dhamma every time he reflects with retrospective effect is the attribute of the paṭibhāna knowledge relating to paṭivèdha.
The knowledge of paṭibhāna connected with the questions on scriptures will readily come into the head of a person who has taken a course of lessons to be able to tackle the questions relating to pariyatti. In the like manner, one who is accomplished with the knowledge of insight meditation will have a ready wit to deal with the questions relating to paṭipatti. These are the qualities of paṭibhāna-ñāṇa in so far as 'questions' are concerned. One should be accomplished with the three kinds of paṭibhāna knowledge as stated just now. Therefore, the motto has to say as follows:
"Flowing not into the stream of pleasurable sensations, With pride and gentleness maintained, Gaining wisdom ..."
Not believing just because others have said
It has been stated as: "Na saddho na rajjati." This means: No faith or firm belief has arisen because others have stated with a mistaken view that it is paṭibhāna knowledge. If that is so, it would have amounted to saying that there is no faith. In actual fact, it means to say that one should be accomplished with wisdom after his personal realization of the Dhamma and not just by blindly believing the other with full confidence and reliance. The expression "na saddho" if literally translated, conveys the meaning of "not having faith". It has been preached so, in order to differentiate between "believing in what others have said" and "personal realization or knowledge." If one has no knowledge of his own, he will believe what others would say. To put it in another way, if it is known and realized personally, it will not be necessary to believe what others have said. The term "na saddho" has been expressed in the preaching of the Buddha to make the above clearly known.
Knowing is nobler than believing
To cite an example: Even among people in Myanmar, those who have not been to the Shwedagon pagoda will have to note and keep in memory accepting as true or rather believing what others have said in connection with the said shrine. If they have personally visited the Shwedagon pagoda and have observed it closely, it will be unnecessary to take it for granted what others have told them is true. In the same manner, a person who has no personal realization of the vipassanā dhamma concerning magga-phala-nibbāna should believe what others would preach according to the scriptures. It is similar to the case of people who believe in the existence of sputniks or artificial satellites put into space by means of rocket propulsion, though they have not personally seen them with their own eyes. A person who has personally found and realized these Dhammas relating to vipassanā-magga-phala-nibbāna does not believe them merely because others have told him. It is his own personal achievement and realization. This is not believing others but "knowing the truth".
The Enlightened One asked Ashin Sāriputtarā, "Sāriputtarā! Do you believe that by developing saddhindriyaṃ, the moral quality of faith, one will reach the deathless Nibbāna, the Ultimate?" Ashin Sāriputtarā answered, "My Lord, in this regard, I don't believe the word of the Buddha." Puthujjana monks who heard the answer had misjudged Sāriputtarā. They imagined that Ashin Sāriputtarā being a Brahmin, belonging to the Brahmāna caste, had not yet believed in the Enlightened One. It would appear justifiable to think as such. Those who have a bias towards the doctrine of the Brahmins, do not believe or have faith in the Dhamma as preached by the Buddha. It was therefore likely to think so, for the simple reason that Ashin Sāriputtarā belonged to the Brahmin caste. What is really meant to be said is that Ashin Sāriputtarā himself had personally realized the fact that Nibbāna could be attained by developing faith. Therefore, in this regard, it was not believed just because Buddha had said so, but because the fact as stated by the Buddha had personally been realized by Ashin Sāriputtarā. Just imagine the previous example of a person who had personally visited and reveringly observed the Shwedagon pagoda. If he were asked whether he believed that the main masonry structure of the Shwedagon pagoda was plastered with gold plates, he would have replied that he believed so not because others had told him in as much as he himself had personally found it. Yes, indeed. Likewise; what Ashin Sāriputtarā had said that he did not believe what was stated was because he himself had personally found and realized the truth that developing saddhindriyaṃ would lead the way to Nibbāna. In connection with this reply, Ashin Sāriputtarā had been extolled in the Dhammapada as stated below:
"Assaddho akataññū ca, sandhicchedo ca yo nayo.
Natāvakāso vantāso, sa ve uttamaporiso.
This is the Verse which has been mentioned and recorded in Dhammapada, a text book of Dhamma, referring to Ashin Sāriputtā. It is not the verse contained in this Purābheda Sutta. However, as it contains terminology or common usages similar in meaning to the Verse in this Sutta, mention is made in my preachings to enable you to note and keep in memory.
Yó - a certain person, assaddo, has no faith, Sa-só, this person vè-actually uttamaporiso, is a noble and eminent person. This is the direct translation given without knowing the real intention. As it is, it will be entirely wrong and wide off the mark. In the Text of Aliṅkā this kind of secret word is called Pahèli, a puzzling statement. The real meaning in this instance is: Yó-a certain person, assaddhó, who does not believe the other with credulity, is one who personally realizes, Sa-só, this person, vè actually, uttamaporiso, is a remakable man of eminent personality. This is clear enough. Then the word that follows is:
Akataññu, a person who does not appreciate the gratitude indebted to another. Or in other words, one who does not know how to reciprocate his thanks to the other who has done good to him. This is the usual transliteration. According to this, it conveys the meaning as: "a man who does not appreciate other person's indebtedness", and therefore, he may be said to be a wicked person. He cannot be a nobleman. As such, this carries an opposite meaning contrary to what is expected. As a matter of fact, what it really means is "a noble person who truly knows what is Nibbāna."
Next, the expression "Sandhicchedo", if ordinarily interpreted, means, "a burglar or a thief who commits house-breaking." This is an undesirable meaning. The meaning which in essence is, "a person who has brought renewed existences, saṃsāra, to an end." In other words, "one who has cut off all links with miseries of saṃsāra." This would mean, according to Paṭiccasamuppāda-
1. One link is what is stated as: "paṭisandhi", rebirth consciousness, arises in the present existence because of kamma-saṅkhāra, good or evil deeds of the past existence."
2. Another link is what is stated as: "taṇhā arises because of vèdanā in the present existence."
3. The other link is what is stated as: "Future rebirth takes place because of the present kamma-bhava, existence caused by virtue of kamma.
There are three links as stated. Among them, since the past and present links have arisen, joining together or connected with one another, it cannot possibly be severed. It will not be also required to be severed. What is required to be done is to sever the two links, namely, to prevent the linking of vedanā to taṇhā, and to prevent rebirth in the fresh existence caused by the arising of new kamma. Of the said two links also, preventing Vedanā to get linked with Taṇhā is fundamental, or rather, the essential point. What the present Yogīs are contemplating and noting at every moment of seeing, hearing, contacting, and knowing, is to prevent vedaṇā from linking with taṇhā. While continuous contemplation is carried on, progressive strides of Vipassanā insight knowledge and magga-ñāṇa, knowledge of the Path, will take place in sequence, and on reaching or attaining arahatta-magga-phala, the links of continued existences will all be severed. Hence, a person who has already cut the connecting link of saṃsāra, "sandhicchedo" is said to be an eminent or noble person.
The next word is stated as: "hatāvakāso". 'Hata' means 'destroyed;' 'āvakāsa' means "opportunity" in an ordinary sense. If it is meant to say that opportunities for getting success in life and prosperity are to be destroyed, the meaning is uncalled for. The essence of the meaning needed in this regard is, "hatāvakāso", i.e., a person, who has destroyed the opportunity to be reborn or bring about fresh existence, is a noble or eminent personage.
Then comes another expression of the words which is stated as "vantāso". In this group of words, if it is to be interpreted as: "vanta" -the discharge that is vomited, 'asa' - is eaten. "it would be highly improper and unfeasible from the worldly point of view. The relevant meaning required in this connection, is that 'want' or 'desire' is called 'Āsā'. Hence, some used to say that 'āsā' (pronounced as 'arthur')- Gusto can not be quenched, which, in fact, is meant to indicate insatiable appetites or unfulfilled desires". An Arahat is totally free from all passionate or lustful desires, and has renounced all desires relating to mundane affairs and the fulfillment of Dhamma. With this objective, it has been preached as "Vantāso", i.e., One who has rejected all desires resembling the discharge that has been ejected or vomited. Therefore, the Dhammapada Verse has been transliterated as such, to arrive at the meaning which is essentially appropriate, or rather, what is really intended.
Yo naro, a man or a certain person, assaddho ca-without believing the other with full reliance, becomes realized. Akatiññū ca-has also clearly seen Nibbāna; the Unconditioned. Sandhi-cchedo ca-has severed or removed all the links of the miseries of saṃsāra. "Hatāvakāso"-has also destroyed or eliminated the opportunity to be reborn in a fresh existence. "Vantāso ca". Hoti-has rejected or discarded all kinds of desires. Sa-so, such a man, or rather, an individual, Vè-is, in fact, "uttamaporiso", a noble or an eminent person.
The significant point stressed in this Verse is: "not just believing or credulous by entirely relying upon what the other has said, but knowing or becoming aware on his own personal realization or wisdom." This is fundamentally important. The Dhamma which one should know must necessarily be practised to achieve personal realization. The phenomenal arising and dissolution of rūpa-nāma, matter and mind, which are in reality anicca, impermanence, dukkha, suffering, and anatta, non-self, are Dhammas which ought to be personally known and realized. These should be personally practised and developed to become fully aware. Insight knowledge-Vipassanā-ñāṇa, the Path and Fruition, are Dhammas which must be practised to be clearly known and acquired. A person who has realized the said Dhammas, need not rely upon and believe others. Neither should he depend upon and believe in literature relating to the scriptural texts of Dhamma. Nor should he depend upon the Buddha. In reality, he has gained personal realization with awareness on his own.
The statement made to personally indulge in meditation to know for himself without believing and depending upon others, has reference only to matter which could be known and realized personally. In respect of other things which one cannot know on his own, he should believe others who are knowledgeable or learned. Even Ashin Sāriputtarā had to depend upon the Lord Buddha in matters beyond his comprehension, and believed what the Buddha had preached. Some might with meager knowledge refuse to believe even trivial things on the ground that they have had no personal experience in the matter concerned. This is unrealistic. If an experienced traveller gives an account of a place where he has personally visited, the other who has not been there should believe him.
Just leave aside people who have visited and seen certain places personally. Even what is learnt from newsprint or information booklets, though these may be second hand information, will have to be regarded as most probably true by those who have heard of or read it. It will be ridiculous if one says that he cannot possibly believe the information just because he has not personally seen what is mentioned in the news or informative material. In regard to Dhamma, it is the same. If a person who has personally experienced and realized the Dhamma tells another about it which the other has not yet known, it appears reasonable to believe that person who has had his experience and personal knowledge. Thereafter, believing what is stated, it would be wise for him to personally practise so as to achieve realization of the Dhamma. When personal realization is gained through diligent practice, it could fall in line with the desanā, preaching, called "assaddho".
Citta, the rich and nāṭaputta
There was a rich man, an Anāgāmi, by the name of Citta, during the life time of the Lord Buddha. One day, Citta, the rich, made his way to one Nāṭaputta, the leader of a sect of naked ascetics, called Nigaṇtha. This great teacher Nāṭaputta was looked upon as Jina, the Buddha, with great reverence by the members of the Jain Sect. He had gained popularity well before our Lord Buddha became an Enlightened One. On his arrival there, teacher Nāṭaputta asked Citta: "Do you believe that your teacher Shin Gotama has attained Jhāna-Samādhi whereby he is cleansed of vitakka and vicāra, and is able to free his mind from reasoning (reflection) and investigation which have thus become ceased." To this question, Citta replied, "In regard to the point relating to the cessation of vitakka and vicāra, it is not that I have to recognize it for my having believed the Lord Buddha." This answer had given Nāṭaputta a wrong impression that Citta, the rich, did not believe Lord Buddha. He therefore went on to say. "Hey, my disciples! Look! This Citta, the rich, is very simple and honest. He says truly and candidly what he has in his mind that he does not believe. It is, indeed, not worth believing. It is impossible to make vitakka and vicāra, become extinct. It is really absurd just as air cannot be caught hold of by a net, or, as the running waters of the Ganges river cannot be prevented from flowing by the palm or a clenched hand."
Personal knowledge versus believing in what others have said
Such being the case, Citta inquired, "Ashin Nāṭaputta, which of the two-'Knowing' and 'Believing', is more noble?" Nāṭaputta replied 'Knowing' is more noble than 'Believing'. Then, Citta proceeded to tell. "Oh, teacher! I can at any time enter into the First jhāna by virtue of which vitakka and vicāra are present, i.e., the mind will reason upon and investigate the subject chosen for contemplation. I can also enter into the Second Jhāna at which stage, the mind is freed from reasoning and investigation-vitakka and vicāra-while the ecstasy and serenity remain. Then, I can also plunge myself into the Third Jhāna where ecstasy or rapture (Pīti) is divested of, and also I can pass on to the Fourth Jhāna and remain in it, by which the mind, exalted and purified, is indifferent to all emotions, alike of pleasure (sukha) and pain." He then retorted saying, "Would you therefore think it necessary for me to rely on and believe any other monk or a noble personage in connection with the point raised that there is Jhāna Samādhi, concentrated contemplation upon a single thought and getting into a profound trance, despite the fact that I myself have personally found, realized and attained the Jhāna which is entirely free from this vitakka and vicāra?"
Then Nāṭaputta spoke in derision discrediting Citta: "Look, my disciples! This rich man Citta is a cunning cheat and a crook. Just a while ago, he has stated that he disbelieved the Buddha. Now that he again expressed his belief. He is an extremely dishonest man."
Citta, the rich, did not submit to this jibe. He retaliated, "Ashin teacher! You have just told your disciples that Citta is a very honest man. Now that you say he is dishonest. Your statement is highly inconsistent. If what you have first stated is correct, then the statement made by you later must be wrong, and vice versa,"
In the story of Citta, the rich, just now narrated, Nāṭaputta teacher had openly expressed his opinion that he did not experience or discover the jhāna freed of vitakka and vicāra, and that he considered that there could be no Samādhi, concentration caused by mystic meditation by which one can divest himself of vitakka and vicāra, i.e., reflection and investigation, by measuring himself up or comparing with his own limitation. As regards Citta, the millionaire, since he had achieved and realized the attributes of jhāna, he had spoken courageously, guaranteeing the refined qualities of jāna samādhi. This honest guarantee of his attainment of jhāna and of his personal realization was given with his firm conviction. It is not because he just believed it. It was his own personal acquisition of knowledge through practice. It is therefore essential that the Dhamma which ought to be known, should be earnestly practised for one's own personal realization and achievement as had been done by Citta, the rich. Referring to a person who has had his personal realization, it has also been preached in this Purābheda Sutta as: "na saddho", which means, "not just believing what others say, but a personal realization (of the truth of the Dhamma), or rather, a knowledge which is acquired personally by one's own effort.
Should be free from attachment
The last word is: "na virajjati". It means: "Not as yet free or cleared away from attachment." According to this meaning, it would appear reasonable to hold the view that there is still an attachment. It is not so. In fact, "not as yet free from attachment," does convey the sense as "entirely free from attachment," and it refers to 'sekha' individual, and 'asekha' individual. The term "sekha" (sometimes spelled sekkha), implies to kalyāṇaputhujjana, noble worldlings, who are striving after their spiritual good and also those Ariyās, Noble Ones, who are under training or on probation in the practice of the Dhamma. Aseka individuals are Arahats who have fully completed the training and have eradicated all human passions.
Bālaputhujjana, unwise worldlings, who are those not yet pursuing or practising the noble Dhamma, have their attachment to all sensations flowing out from the six dvāras or sense-doors, imagining them as good and pleasurable. Then, if they think these sensations as bad, they will crave for what is good, and become attached to such sensations. Therefore, those who fail to meditate will always be overwhelmed with desirable attachments. They are rarely free from such sensual attachments.
In the process of getting free from attachment
A kalyāṇaputhujjana individual, who realizes that all phenomenal occurrences arising out of the six sense-doors by contemplating and noting, are merely rūpa-nāma and are by their transient nature, coming into being and passing away in an accelerated motion, will be free from desirable attachment to the sensation which is noted every time contemplation is made, with full awareness of their being mere anicca, dukkha and anatta. Hence, noble worldlings, who are practising Vipassanā meditation and are contemplating and noting, are deemed to be individuals on the path to eradicate attachment. While thus contemplating, his concentration will be developed gradually gaining Vipassanā insight knowledge stage by stage in serial order up to sotāpatti-magga-phala. On reaching sotāpatti-magga-phala, he is free from desirable attachment which can drag him down to the nether world-apāya. Then also, passionate desires or cravings which are eager to arise for more than seven existences will be eradicated. However, for the duration of his seven existences in the abode of sugati, this pleasurable attachment, taṇhā, will not yet be extirpated. Hence, it cannot be said that such a person is completely free from attachment as yet. It may be stated that he is "about to be liberated from craving attachment". Similarly even when he reaches the stages of Sakadāgāmi and anāgāmi magga phala step by step, he will still be in the process of getting rid of cravings or clinging attachment. Only when he attains arahatta-magga, all these clinging attachments will be dispelled, and yet, at this juncture, it does not mean that attachment is totally exterminated. In other words, feeling of attachment is still clinging on and is still in the process of eradication.
Not in the process of getting free from attachment
Eventually however, only when arahatta-phala (Fruition of Arahatship) is attained and on becoming an Arahat, all such clinging attachments have been totally extirpated. As an Arahat, he is no longer in the process of eradicating the attachment. With this objective, it has been preached as: "na virajjati" i.e., it is not that attachment is being eliminated, but that it has been completely eradicated or rooted out. This has been stated in the motto as: "... Craving detached by clearing away."
The rendering of the meaning of this Verse, called "sātiyesu anassāvī" is now fairly adequate.
Practice is made not to receive gratification or bribe
Lābhakamyā na sikhati, alābhe ca na kuppati.
Aviruddho ca taṇhāya, rasesu, nānugijjhati.
Literally, the above Pāḷi phrase may be explained thus:
Yo, a certain monk, lābhakamya-expecting to receive gratification or bribe na sikhati-is not indulging in practice, and that is, he does not practise being desirous of receiving gratification or gift, which is in the form of a bribe.
Some monks pursue the studies in scriptures, or equip themselves with the knowledge of the scriptures, or practise dhutaṅga with a view to seeking for glory and fame and receiving offerings of gifts. The monk in question is not that type. As a matter of fact, he is only practising expecting to get liberated from Saṃsāra and reach Nibbāna. This is one of the attributes of a Santa individual.
Alābhe ca-for not achieving his objective, na kuppati-he does not feel angry. Some of the monks not having devotees and benefactors, may get disappointed and angry. They may also feel dejected and angry for not having adherents belonging to the same sect, or for not receiving approbation or admiration, or for not receiving gifts of robes, etc. A Worthy One, as mentioned earlier, is neither disappointed nor angry. This is also one of the attributes of a Santa individual.
Aviruddho ca-some individuals may feel angry or irritated for having seen, or heard, or found what is undesirable. Those living together may be at logger-heads. Some are inclined to bear grudge against or quarrel with a stranger. A Worthy one or a holy person does not contradict anyone or come into conflict with anybody. He is tolerant and gentle without anger or hatred. This is a very noble attribute.
Taṇhāya rasesu, na anugijjhati, i.e., not likely to be greedy or to have vehement desire, or craving for any food which is tasty. Some have a great liking for good food and are planning and imagining to take what is good and tasty. They will not usually forget and will long for delicious food which they have once relished. The monk in question is not as such. Wholesome or nourishing food that is taken is not for enjoyment or avarice. Neither is it taken to have a fair complexion, nor to become pursy, nor to have good appearance and looks. In fact, nourishment is for preservation of one's own body, and to appease hunger and also to be able to practise the noble ariya-magga dhamma. While eating, he reflects with paccavekkhaṇa-ñāṇa, contemplating and noting with mindfulness. He does not yearn for the taste which he has not yet tasted, and does not find delight or become pleasurable in what has been tasted. Such a holy monk, in fact, is said to be a Santa individual, who possesses the attributes as stated in the foregoing.
Upekkhako sadā sato, na loke maññate samaṃ,
Na visesī na nīceyo tassa no santi ussadā.
The above Pāḷi phrase denotes or purports that a person being in constant mindfulness, views thing with equanimity and with indifference. It means to say that one should always be mindful and be capable of viewing things with indifference and with a state of mind which is equally balanced.
He does not think of himself as being equal to others, nor does he consider himself as being extra-ordinary. Neither does he think himself as being inferior and lower in status or dignity as compared to others. (He should not have self-pride or conceit that he is on the same level in status as others, or that he is more noble, or that he is inferior. There should be no māna, self-pride, three in number, by rivalling others.) He will be free from all kamma-kilesās which would bring about the prolongation of the rounds of life existences, saṃsāra. (He should have no rāga, passions, anger, delusion and self-conceit which are cravings of kusala and akusala-dhamma.) This kind of a noble personage is stated by the Lord Buddha, as one who has extinguished the fires of kilesa, and is Upasanta, by name.
The motto stated in Mahāsamaya Discourse delivered by me about ten years ago, was composed, carrying the sense as contained in the present Verse. This motto runs:
"Contemplating and noting in sequence,
And reflecting with indifference,
Three kinds of māna, self-conceit,
If possible of rejection,
Makes a person become a Santa by designation."
Becoming mindful at all times
"Contemplating and noting in sequence" as contained in the above motto means: always becoming mindful, day and night continuously. There is no break in between at all. Therefore, if one goes into meditation retreat for about seven or fifteen days, or a month, he should carry on his practical meditation exercise and continuously develop mindfulness without a break, day in and day out, both day and night, with the exception of the time set apart for sleeping.
Mindfulness means Satipaṭṭhāna
In the Niddesa Pāḷi, it has been expounded that when contemplation of the body is made, one may be said to have gained mindfulness. Similarly, mindfulness will be achieved while developing exercise in the contemplation of feelings (sensations), of mind and of mind-objects. Hence, one of the four foundations of mindfulness should be chosen to be developed as a fundamental basis. Generally speaking, it would be feasible to start with the contemplation of the body i.e., Kāyānu-passanā. Therefore, what is obvious in the bodily behaviours must be first contemplated and noted. In practising Vipassanā, everything which occurs from the six sense-doors, should be contemplated. At the initial stage however, not all such occurrences can be contemplated. As such, contemplation should be made commencing from the bodily behaviour which is most conspicuous.
Contemplation and noting can be done continuously while sitting, with concentrated attention on the sitting posture, noting as "sitting", "sitting". While inhaling and exhaling the breath, the touch that is felt at the tip of the nostril can be contemplated and noted with constant attentiveness, as "touching", "touching". Contemplation and noting can be done continuously as "touching", "touching" with fixed concentration on the point of touch at any place in the body from the head to toe. The best is to contemplate beginning from the movement of the wind element, vāyodhātu, namely, "rising and falling movement of the abdomen", as is now being contemplated by the Yogis at this meditation centre in a practical way. Moreover, when contemplation and noting is done on the rising and falling movements of the abdomen, other imaginations or thoughts that arise should also be noted. There-after, the mind should be reverted to the "rising" and "falling". All vedanās or feeling of sensations, such as, bodily stiffness, hotness, pain, and itching must also be noted. All changes in the bodily postures should likewise be noted, and then reverted to the original noting of "rising" and "falling". When walking too, every step taken must be noted continually beginning from the time of lifting the foot to the time of dropping it. When sitting after walking, the bodily behaviour or manoeuvre involved in taking a sitting posture must be noted. In the same manner, when lying down from the sitting posture, the movement in the change that takes place, must also be noted.
In brief, whether shaking, moving, or remaining still, all physical behaviours involved must be noted. Mental behaviours and thoughts that arise must also be noted. All sensations-vedanās, must be noted. Seeing, hearing, etc., must be noted as far as possible. In the absence of anything special which deserves to be noted, "rising" and "falling" of the abdomen must be continuously noted. This is the salient point which serves as a basis in contemplating kāyānupassanā in the process of developing the four kinds of mindfulness, called Satipaṭṭhāna. If so continuously contemplated and noted, what would happen is:_
By being always mindful, a stage will be reached whereby contemplation is made with a feeling of indifference to pain and pleasure alike on any sensation, the mind being equally balanced. However, guarantee cannot be given that one will reach that stage by contemplating and noting only after about one or two hours at a stretch, or within a day or two. If a meditator whose insight knowledge or wisdom is exceedingly keen and strong, he might reach the stage of upekkhā, equanimity, within a priod of about seven days. It is rare to find such a person though, say, even one in a hundred. Seldom do we find such a person even from among those who have meditated for a period of about fifteen days. Generally, of course, there are quite a number of people who have reached that stage after seriously meditating for a period ranging from twenty to thirty days. It takes time because of various stages in between which he has to pass through one after another in the course of progressive insight before the attainment of that stage. Among these insight knowledges, the first is called "nāma-rūpa-paricchèda-ñāṇa." Even before reaching that stage, it needs to be practised with great diligence to achieve purity of mind.
How Citta visuddhi is achieved
A novice who starts meditating, has to try with vigor and earnestness to be able to note correctly the rising and falling movements of the abdomen. It is likely to escape noticing the "rising" and "falling" as his mind flits away and wanders hither and thither. Be it as it may, if he carries on with his contemplation and noting with strong faith, will and perseverance, he will be able to note properly and correctly within one or two days, or, three to five days. At that juncture, the mind does not go astray. Noting will be in continuous process concentrating upon "rising" and "falling", and also on other sensations which ought to be noted. Sometimes when imagination or thought arises, it can be noted at once. Thereafter, noting can be proceeded as usual without any interruption in the process. When noting as such, nīvaraṇas, i.e., hindrances, such as kāmacchanda, etc., are got rid of. The mind that is noting becomes purified. This is therefore called "Citta Visuddhi".
How nāmarūpapariccheda-ñāṇa, etc., occurs
When the mind is thus purified, rūpa and nāma are distinguishingly known even while noting, and at every moment of noting, the sense-object-rūpa-is found quite different from the knowing mind, the nāma, etc. In other words, rūpa and nāma are found to be clearly distinct from one another even while noting. This is "Nāmarūpapariccheda-ñāṇa", the knowledge that distinguishes between mind and matter which are merely conditioned states. From that stage, if noting is carried on, cause and effect are found to be taking place in conjunction. This is "Paccayaparigaha-ñāṇa", the know-ledge that distinguishes between cause and effect.
Thereafter, if continuous contemplation is made, it will be perceived that the objects of sensation, or rather, the sense-objects are occurring and vanishing. The manner of perception is that when noting as 'rising' (of the abdomen), the movements of the belly caused by distension will be found recurring again and again and then vanishing. The same phenomena will also be noticed in noting the 'falling' movement of the abdomen. It is more obvious when noting the mind that is planning and imagining. Sensations, i.e., vedanās, such as, pain, hotness, etc, when noted with concentration as "painful," "painful", and so on, will be found dissolving or vanishing during the process of noting. The Yogī will be satisfied to find these phenomenal occurrences as being impermanent, since they are incessantly arising and passing away. Then, realization will come with satisfaction that these are undoubtedly miseries and are uncontrollable and ungovernable in as much as rūpa and nāma are appearing and disappearing according to their real characteristics or transient nature. This knowledge of reflection is "Sammāsana-ñāṇa".
From then onwards, while contemplation is further carried on, arising and dissolution of the phenomenal occurrences which are contemplated and noted will not only become accelerated but also vivid. At this stage, brilliant light may be visualized. Extremely rapturous feeling may occur, and calmness of the mind-passadhi- may become obvious. Both body and mind may be clearly found to have become buoyant (lahutā), and gentle (mudutā). Mindfulness with awareness and knowledge will be very keen and penetratingly strong. Ecstasy and happiness (sukha) will become extreme with clearness of mind and intense faith. One may then be filled with delight and pleasure in all these unusual happenings. All these delightful and pleasurable sensations should be rejected by contemplating and noting.
When rejection can be made successfully by so contemplating and noting, the sense-object which is noted and the knowing mind will, in the course of noting, be clearly found vanishing in pairs and dissolving in quick succession just as one would see the pictures in movies without any shape or form. At this moment, all arising sensations and the mental processes of noticing them having been found vanishing ceaselessly, it becomes very obvious that these are all anicca, dukkha and anatta. This is called "Bhaṅga-Ñāṇa" - (Insight into the dissolution of things).
Then, let us put it in a nutshell. When continuous contemplation and noting is carried on, "Baya-Ñāṇa", awareness of the frightful or perilous condition, "Adīnava-Ñāṇa", insight into unsatisfactory condition, "Nibbida-Ñāṇa", insight into wearisome condition of the monotonous, disgustful and unpleasant suffering, "Muncitu-kamyatā-ñāṇa", knowledge arising from desire to escape or more precisely, the knowledge that promotes a high level of urgency to "get" and "from" samsāric entanglements; and on proceeding further with contemplation, "Patisaṅkhā-Ñāṇa", insight arising out of further vigorous contemplation or further detailed analysis of anicca, dukkha and anatta, will arise serially.
Contemplating with equanimity by saṅkhārupekkhā
Then again, if further persistent contemplation and noting is made, it will reach a stage known as "Saṅkhārupekkhā-Ñāṇa", the knowledge acquired by reflecting upon the formation of existence. At this stage, the attribute of the knowledge that can view phycho-physical phenomena with equanimity is accomplished. All sensations arising from the six sense-doors are not considered as pleasurable. Neither these are thought of as detestable nor despicable. These can be viewed with equanimity and with a neutral feeling of neither love nor hatred. For having viewed as such with indifference, one who is accomplished with this knowledge is said to have been fully endowed with Chaṭṭhaṅgupekkhā. It has been described in Niddesa Pāḷi Text concerning Chaṭṭhaṅgupekkhā as follows:
Cakkhunā rūpaṃ disavā neva sumano hoti, na dummano, upekkhako viharati sāto sampajāno.
No joy or happiness occurs after having seen the body and the sight of 'beauty' or things with the eyes. No feeling of unhappiness also takes place. Being conscious of or aware of the truth, one remains indifferent.
The meaning of the above terminology is that there is an absence of happiness and pleasure no matter how pleasurable the sense-object may be, if seen with the eyes. Ordinary worldlings will feel happy to come across their beloved ones - parents, wives, husbands, children or friends and so on. A person who has reached the stage of saṅkhārupekkhā-ñāṇa, however, finds no enjoyment and pleasure. Even if the worst happens to him and even if he comes across and has to undergo any unfavourable conditions, he will not be miserable. It is because he is viewing things with equanimity and is contemplating what has been seen or noticed as transient in nature, arising and passing away all of a sudden. It has become possible for him to contemplate as such by reason of his having realized the truth. Yes, indeed. A Yogī who has attained that stage feels the same as stated, and realizes the true nature of the objects of contemplation without exertion and without any inclination towards either good or bad sensations as mentioned in the foregoing. Those who have reached that stage will certainly know that it is really so, and therefore, those who feel dissatisfied with this statement should practise Vipassanā. They will then realize the truth of the Dhamma.
The ability to view things with equanimity at every moment of seeing, hearing, contacting and knowing is the inherent attribute of an Arahat. It is called "chaṭṭhaṅgupekkhā". Ordinary Sekhā individual is accomplished with that kind of attribute only at the moment of his acquisition of this knowledge in the course of his contemplation. As such, he may be said to have been accomplished with the attributes of an Arahat only for a moment when he reaches that stage. This is really most encouraging and worthy of respect for himself as well as for others. After attaining the stage of saṅk-hārupekkhā-ñāṇa, to reach magga-phalañāṇa is not quite far off. It is within easy reach, say, even within one day. A person who has his past perfections, paramittas, will advance towards arahatta-phala after passing through four progressive stages of maggaphala, serially. It has therefore been preached to practise assiduously to get oneself accomplished as such. When thus becoming an Arahat, if every thing is viewed with equanimity, māna or self-conceit will be totally eradicated.
Should be cleansed of the three kinds of māna
Hence, an Arahat will never think of himself as being equal to others and will even never mentally or verbally challenge anyone as being his equal in status. He has, in fact, no self-pride, ego, or self-conceit.
Neither will be consider himself as belonging to a higher strata of society than others, nor as being pre-eminent. Nor will he regard himself with pride as being superior compared to others.
Also, he will not think of himself as being inferior to others, or rather, lower in status or standing than others.
Māna or self-pride has the characteristic of unnati, i.e., haughtiness. Māna sets too high a value on oneself and gives one an inspiration or idea to become haughty. This is what it really means. The kind of māna that is stated just now may probably give an impression that there is no inspired or mounting feeling, since one has already humiliated himself. However, this māna does not imbibe the nature of nivāti, lowliness or humility. It is one way of taking an honour in lowly or improper behaviour. What is really meant by it, may be put in that light, e.g. One might babble: "I'm more reckless than others, a dare-devil indeed! I dare kill others, I have nothing to care for anyone having possessed no dignity whatsoever. I have enough of courage to commit crime and can do as I damn please." This sort of self-pride is lowly. Even among slaves themselves, some would foolishly utter "I'm a low-born slave or an intimate laborious slave to a master, etc." Taking pride in this way, is really ignoble and mean. That is the reason why it is stated that one who is competing with others by considering himself as being inferior to others in rank or status is one way of becoming arrogant, insolent or presumptuous with a bad inspired feeling. An Arahat is devoid of such kind of māna.
Before attaining Arahatship, these three forms of māna abide in the mind of a person as may be appropriate. As such, a person who is practising meditation should reject, by contemplating and noting, any one of the three kinds of māna, which are likely to occur. For instance, one may become conceited as being on the same level in status with another person for having achieved insight knowledge up to a certain stage as acquired by the other, or that he has far surpassed the other in his attainment of insight knowledge. A novice in meditational practice at the inception, may, however, have in mind, that being just a beginner himself, it will not be necessary for him to exercise with care and attention in contemplating and noting just like others who have made progress in meditational exercises. He might even probably think nonchalantly as: "I can be care-free, and it won't deter the progress in my concentration, etc." This dispirited feeling with humility is also one kind of māna, pride, which can possibly occur. Whatever it may be, māna that arises should be rejected by contemplating and noting. This feeling of pride or māna is very potent just like taṇhā. Even an Anāgāmi has his own māna. Māna is totally rooted out only on attainment of arahattaphala. It is therefore up to your to get to that highest stage.
On reaching that stage of Arahatta-Magga-Phala when becoming an Arahat, all kilesas, cravings, and kamma called "Ussada" will be absolutely extinct. Such a person who is capable of viewing all those three types of māna with indifference, will have no passionate desires anger, delusion, māna (pride or conceit), diṭṭhi, false belief, and kilesa-kamma, which will cause to develop and perpetuate the continuance of existences one after another in saṃsāra. these are the seven kinds of Dhamma, viz: rāga, dosa, moha, māna, diṭṭhi, the remnants of kilesa, and meritorious and demeritorious kamma, i.e., kusala and akusala kamma. For so long as these Dhammas remain clinging on to you, the rounds of existences, one after another, will go on continuously and endlessly. These Dhammas are therefore called "Ussada". It has been stated that they are no longer in extant. This expression or word has been omitted in the motto stated earlier because of its nature of causative effect. The meaning of the said motto and the relevant Verse is, I think, clear and sufficient enough.
Yassa nissayanā natthi, ñātvā dhammaṃ anissito.
Bhavāya vibhavāya vā, taṇhā yassa na vijjati.
The gist of it is that taṇhā, and diṭṭhi, which may be relied upon by a person no longer exist. Realizing the truth of rūpa nāma dhamma saṅkhāra, no reliance is made on anything by him. Taṇhā is one which is dependent upon any one of the Dhamma that occur within and outside the physical body. Diṭṭhi is another one on which dependence is made assuming the said Dhamma as "It is 'I' or 'He', or 'a living entity', or a 'being' who is eternal without destruction" or "One who will totally be annihilated after death." A person who has no tanṇhā and diṭṭhi on which reliance can be made as stated, is an Arahat. An Arahat is, therefore, a venerable person who, having truly realized the said rūpa-nāma-dhammas and saṅkhāra-dhamma as merely anicca, dukkha and anatta, will, it is stated, never think of any kind of rūpa and nāma as being permanent, delightful, or, an atta being, or a living substance, or 'self', and will have no clinging attachment to all what has now been stated.
Yassa, an Arahat will have no taṇhā, pleasurable attachment to 'sassata diṭṭhi, i.e., the heretical doctrine that mind and matter are eternal for continued existences, or to vibhavadiṭṭhi uccheda-diṭṭhi, the heresy that existence terminates with death. On the other hand, ordinary worldlings are likely to believe that what is called "I" or "he", "a living being", or an "atta", is everlasting and eternal, and that although the crude form of material body may be destroyed, the living Soul or an Atta-Being is not subjected to destruction. They believe that it is transmitted to another place or existence to reside therein and that it can never be annihilated. A heretical view of this kind is called Bhava-diṭṭhi. It is also called Sassata-diṭṭhi. It is a belief accepting the view that one passes into Nothing-ness after death. Such a heresy which holds a belief in non-existence after death is vibhāva-diṭṭhi, otherwise known as Uccheda-diṭṭhi. Puthujjana, common worldlings, have a liking for one of these two view. An Arahat, who entertains no such beliefs, will not crave or long for any kind of repeated existences - the continuum of life existences. Such an Arahat is called a Santa individual relating to which it has been stated in another verse.
Taṃ byūmi upasantoti, kāmesu anapekkhinaṃ, Ganthā tassa na vijjanti, atari so visattikaṃ.
It has been preached by the Buddha as: "An Arahat who has reached the final sanctification and who is fully accomplished with the noble attributes as stated before, without any clinging attachment to passionate desires-kāmaguṇa, is an Upasanta. Such an individual is said to have extinguished all the burning fires of kilesās."
Tassa, this Arahat who is called an "Upasanta" is not enmeshed in Dhammas that can tie him up. It is something like a string which, if tied up at its end with other strings of rope, one after another, forming into a knot at the joints, will be linked to become a lengthy and continuous chain of string without ends. In the same way taṇhā and diṭṭhi which create or serve as ties that link one existence to another at the end of every life existence are known as Gantha Dhamma. As these gantha-Dhammas are creating a bond which serves as a connecting link, ordinary worldlings are whirling or drifting along the current of Saṃsāra, endlessly. A Sotāpanna will have seven existences to go through at the most. A Sakadāgāmi has two more life existences. An Anāgāmi will be reborn in any one of the two existences, viz: rūpa and arūpa bhava, form and formless existences of Brahmās. As far as an Arahat is concerned, he has completely severed the tie or eradicated this Gantha Dhamma which forming as a tie, brings about a continuity of life existences.
Such an Arahat has therefore removed or prevailed over the entanglements of the pleasurable bonds of taṇhā, or rather, has utterly destroyed the linking mechanism of taṇhā, cravings. This should be clear enough.
Na tassa puttā pasava, khettaṃ vutthuñca vijjati.
Attā vāpi nirattā vā, na tasamim upalabbhati.
The gist of the above is that a person, who has become an Upasanta will have entirely no pleasurable attachment, and will not hold on or cling to his children or any tangible property, such as bullocks, elephants, horses, fowls, pigs, etc., or any cultivated field or landed property, commencing from the time of his attainment of Arahatship, although he may have his children and so on, before he becomes an Arahat. He has also completely dispelled all heretical beliefs. This has been explained in the previous verses. It has been repeated to make people understand if spoken in one's own plain language.
Yena naṃ vajjum puthujjanā, atho samanabrahmānā
Taṃ tassa apurekkhataṃ, tasmā vadesu ne jāṭi,
The above Pāḷi phrase conveys the meaning that the majority of the uneducated or unwise devas and human being as well as wise hermits, monks and brahmins are alleged to be persons who are afflicted with the sores or sufferings of passionate desires, etc., and who are infuriated with such afflictions. An Arahat, however, remains without mental distress being undominated by such harmful and faulty passionate desires. As regards common worldlings and sekha individuals, they are at the beck and call of, or rather, slaves to the dictates of rāga, sensual desires, etc. It amounts to electing rāga, etc., to take the role of a guide or a noble teacher who will direct or lead the way for them. And because of the presence of this rāga, etc. i.e., the master who guides the way, puthujjana and sekha individuals may at time be ridden by rāga. That is why the ordinary worldlings and sekha individuals have their clinging attachment. Sometimes, though they may not be influenced by rāga and anger, when circumstances permit, they are in readiness by their own inclination to be overrun by rāga and anger. They are liable to be accused by others as being wrathful and so on. An Arahat entirely refuses, to regard 'rāga' as a leader. He is above board and is therefore free from any such kind of allegation. He is totally devoid of pleasurable attachment, or anger, and is immuned from any kind of accusations. He is unperturbed and tranquil. This is obvious.
Vītagedho amacchārī, na ussesu vadate muni.
Na samesu na omesu, kappaṃ ne ti akappiyo.
So muni, a monk who is a noble Arahat, vītagedho, is free from greed or avarice. Amacchārī. Neither is he envious. Ussesu, in regard to a person who is more noble, na vadate, he will not say or mention as being his equal in status or rank in comparison. (Either because of the years (vassa) or length of experience as an ordained senior monk, or of the attributes of his knowledge in pariyatti or scriptures, or of the strength of the company of his disciples and devotees, he will not speak or mention as if he excels others, or is equal in status, or is inferior to others. The next two phrases or sentences carry the name meaning). Na, samesu, he will not also say about others as being inferior to him. Akappiyo, having no intention or bent of mind to speak as such with taṇha diṭṭhi, he will get rid of such evil thoughts.
Yassa loke sakaṃ natthī, asathī, asatāca, na socatī.
Dhammesu ca na gaccheti, sa ve santoti vuccati.
The above Pāḷi phrase denotes that an Arahat does not entertain any slightest feeling of attachment to property or any other substantial things whether it is his own material body or any part of his limbs or organs, such as the eyes. What is meant by it is that an Arahat has extirpated both taṇhā and diṭṭhi. Having been fully released or liberated from such feelings or sensations, he is free from worry and grief, and will not mourn for or dejected by the loss of even any limb or organ of his material body or any other personal property. He will neither be destined for any improper place or existence because of any incidence which may occur in relation to "rūppnāma-dhamma saṅkhāras". This term has several shades of meaning and is applied to all existing things or substances including animates or inanimate things, such as, sentient beings, clothings, food, paddy, gold, silver, house, monastery, etc., for human consumption or use, if viewed from the angle of bhāvanā knowledge. Even then, these rūpa-nāma-saṅkhāra dhammas are looked upon and regarded as "I", "he" "self" or "my own" and so on. These are all expressed by the usage of the term "dhammesu." This Suttaṃ desanā having been preached for the benefit of the outstanding intellectuals who have profound wisdom, it contains a lot of usages and terminology which are hard to be grasped and properly understood. Ordinary worldlings are doing things which ought not to be done regard being had to his own 'self' or to others, or to any gratification or offerings received, solely in the interest rūpa-nāma dhammas physical and mental aggregates which are transient in their inherent nature. They may resort to anything which is evil by committing vices through hatred, malice, envy, anger and delusion or ignorance. An Arahat whom I have just mentioned has completely escaped from the four agatis or evil states, viz: chanda, desire or lust, dosa, hatred, moha, ignorance, bhaya, fear. He will avoid all other acts of akusala, i.e., demeritorious acts, which would include evil speech and evil thoughts. An Arahat who is pre-eminent and is accomplished with all noble attributes as stated is called a Santa individual with peace and tranquility of mind, fully emancipated from the burning fires of kilesās.
Conclusion of the Dhamma
Purābheda Sutta Dhamma comes to an end with this verse. This Sutta contains one verse in the form of a question and thirteen verses in the form of an answer, totalling fourteen verses in all. It is a way of catechizing.
The question that is put is:
"What knowledge and what practice, if acquired," would deserve to be named "Santa"?
The answer can be fully complete and comprehensive with the first single verse only, out of the thirteen (13) verses given in reply. However, considering the varying degrees of the intellectual accomplishment of the respective Devas and Brahmās who formed the huge congregation, the Buddha had answered in 13 verses with appropriate common languages or dialect currently in use at that time. By so repeatedly delivering the sermon, the Devas and Brahmās had gained the awakening consciousness of the Special dhamma-magga-phala, batch by batch, after having heard the verses one after another as was suited to each of the group of Devas and Brahmās according to their respective degree of intellectual attainment. On that auspicious occasion, with this one Sutta or Discourse alone, it has been stated that thousand and thousands Billions (a lac of crores) of Devas and Brahmās attained Arahatship and that those who became Sotāpannas, Sakadāgāmis and Anāgāmis were countless.
Judging the idiosyncrasies of the audience at this Meditation Centre on every Sabbath day, I imagined that if I were to deliver the five verses out of thirteen as preached by the Buddha, my disciple Yogīs would probably grasp the essence of the Dhamma. With this end in view, I have expounded the five verses elaborately and briefly inserted the rest eight verses as a supplement.
It is my earnest hope that those who have listened to this Purābheda Sutta, and those who have read it, will be in a position to achieve the Special Dhamma even while listening to the discourse or after scrutinizing the Sutta, if they are endowed with their mature paramittas. If at all they failed so achieve as stated, right now, it could serve as fresh seeds of paramittas for future successful germination.
By virtue of your goodwill and keen consciousness (cetanā) for having listened attentively and respectfully to this Purābheda Sutta Dhamma, may you all be able to find happiness both in body and mind, and to strive for achievement of the noble attributes of a tranquil-minded Santa individual and attain the bliss of Nibbāna, as quickly as possible, by making good strides along the path of Vipassanā insight, stage by stage, through the coveted magga-phala-ñāṇa.
Sādhu! Sādhu! Sādhu!
U Min Swe
(Min Kyaw Thu)