First and foremost, it appears appropriate to make a brief mention of the events leading to the exposition of this sutta by the Blessed One. Thereafter, throwing light on the essence of this Discourse will, it is hoped, bring easier appreciation of the precious dhamma expounded by an illustrious disciple of the Buddha, the Venerable Mahāsi Sayādaw of Myanmar, whose intellectual and spiritual achievement in the field of Buddhism stands prominent in the world today.
During the interim period between the fourth and fifth Vassa(Lent) on the full moon day of the month of the Nayon after his achievement of the Supreme Enlightenment, the Buddha went into retreat and seated himself under the pleasant foliage of a huge and majestic tree in the Mahäwun forest in the neighbourhood of the capital city of Kapilavatthu. At this juncture five-hundred monks who were the princes of the Sakya clan and who had then achieved the stage of Sotāpanna, being bent upon gaining higher progressive insight, sought for and received the sublime teaching of the Blessed One. Having done so they respectively retreated to suitable secluded spots such as the cool shade of age-old trees, ravines and valleys in that forest to continue practising kammaṭṭhāna meditation. After serious meditation, they attained Arahatship on the eve of the night of the very day they went into further meditation.
Having reached Arahatship, the first monk who become Arahat made his way to the Buddha to pay obeisance and report about his accomplishment of the final sanctification as an Arahat. After taking his seat in an appropriate place before the Buddha, he looked back to find out if there was any other person besides him who had come to report of his own achievement just as he did. On seeing one monk coming to report to the Buddha, he dismissed his original idea of reporting to the Buddha of his spiritual attainment. He therefore remained in his sitting posture and immersed himself in deep silence. Then another monk followed suit and then another and sat at the foot of the Exalted One. In this manner there was a continuous flow of newly-fledged five hundred Arahats taking seat and paying obeisance to the Buddha. When all these Arahats had thus assembled at the feet of the Exalted One, Devas and Brahmäs from ten-thousand Universes appeared successively to pay respectful homage to the Blessed One and the five hundred Arahats. It was stated that there were only a few who had failed to make their appearance on this auspicious occasion. The huge Congregation or the Assembly of a multitude of devas and brahmäs is known as Mahāsamaya. At this congregation the Buddha solemnly proclaimed the number of devas who were present and their respective celestial abodes from where they came to join the Assembly. The words so uttered by the Buddha were given the name of Mahāsamaya Sutta and were recited as such at the great Buddhist Council.
The impact of the Buddha's announcement on the Devas and Brahmās brought about a fitting composure in them. They were in a state of bliss, mentally strong, firm and receptive. The Buddha then delivered a series of discourses, six in number the essence of each different discourse or sutta being intended to fall in with the natural tendency and idiosyncrasy of the respective deva or brahmā. Of these six suttas, the first is "Sammāpraibbājaniya Sutta Dhamma." which is truly meant for those devas and brahmās who have the instinctive tendency to indulge in sensual pleasures or in other words, who are dominated by the habit of räga or pleasurable desires. This is the Discourse, the subject matter of which is now being presented for the benefit of all mankind (veneyya).
From the very outset of this sutta, the question was put by Nimmita Buddha, the created image of the Buddha, to the Blessed One. It began with the Nimmita Buddha eulogising the noble qualities and supreme attributes of the Lord Buddha in the following way; "In this Universe (kämaloka) all sentient beings are not only drifting along with the tide of kāma, sensual pleasures, but are also drowned in them. It is because of their attachment to sensual existence that they are thus drifting and submerged in the raging waters of Existence (bhava). This being the result of wrong belief, only those who have faith in the Buddha's dhamma in this sāsanä will have the chance of being liberated from this whirlpool. Wrong believers are simply drifting and sinking. Not knowing the truth of the law of impermanence, etc., they are carried away by the rush of turbulent waters of ignorance of great immensity. The Buddha, however, has escaped from the four whirlpools and reached the other side of the bank, the zone of freedom called Nibbāna. With the attainment of Arahatta maggaphala, all craving desires become extinct and this extinction is known as saupadisesanibbāna, the meaning of which is peace and serenity unperturbed by all sensual pleasures of existence, i.e., annihilation of all kilesās except the five khandhas. For this reason, the mind of the Blessed One is absolutely calm, tranquil and unruffled without the slightest tinge of kilesās. "Following this eulogy, it poses a query as to how a bhikkhu who leads a holy life of solitude in a remote forest after abandoning his home and family and after discarding all worldly pleasures should conduct himself well so as to escape from this mundane world and from all fetters.
Thereafter, the interrogation and answers cover a wide range of human thoughts explaining the right and wrong relating to the true concept of the Buddhist way of life. Beginning with the noble advice to dispel erroneous views such as beliefs in ominous signs, ill omens, bad dreams, weird sounds and other various kinds of superstition such as fatalism, supernatural occurrences portending good or evil, prophesy and propitiating of nats, and blind belief in astrology, it comprehends the method of extinguishing human passions, evil desire, greed, attachment and lust. Furthermore, elucidation has been made how to tread on the right path, how magga-phala ñāṇa can be achieved through vipassanā mediation and how freedom can be gained from three kind of bhava, viz., kāmabhava, rūpabhava and arūpabhava, "sensual existence, corporeal existence and formless existence."
This sutta gives a comprehensive treatment of the fundamentals of the principles of Buddhism. It also prescribes the ways and means to combat and overcome māna (conceit or pride) arising from egoism, anger, hatred and all other feelings of animosity and sceptical doubts. Moreover it shows us the way to devote to the practice of bhāvanā, vipassanā meditation, to get rid of these human imperfections and shortcomings which will only bring demerits. It enjoin us to practise the bhāvanā, mettā, muditā, karuṇā, upekkhā and to diligently follow the Noble Eightfold Path and to gain realization of the Four Truths that will lead to the cessation of dukkha sacca, the existence, i. e., Nibbāna, (the Summum Bonum of Buddhism).
The methods of meditation exercise to be employed are also explained in brief. The ten saṃyojanas, the bond, of human passion which bind men to continued existence and which can be got rid of by Arahatship are outlined. While listening to this Sutta with concentrated mindfulness, one hundred thousand crores of devas and brahmãs attained Arahatship. The number of those who achieved various stages of vipassanā māgga-phala ñãṇa was, however innumerable.
It is really surprising that the Venerable Mahāsi Sayādaw, the author of this Sutta in Myanmar version has been able to compress into a small volume various aspects of the noble dhamma, which serves as an antidote to all ills and misery.
May all beings be well and happy.
Buddha Sāsana Nuggaha Organization
Mahāsi Thathana Yeiktha
Discourse on the Sermon
SAMMĀ PARIBBĀJANIYA SUTTA
VENERABLE MAHĀSI SAYĀDAW
(New Moon Day of Thadingyut, 1338 M.E.)
Out of the six Mahā Samaya Suttas, Purabheda Sutta has long since come out in book form. Tuvataka Sutta is now being printed at Kabā-Aye Buddha Sāsana Press, and will soon come out in book form. Requests have been made for printing the discourses on the remaining four Suttas. There seems to be no occasion for delivering discourses on each of the four Suttas separately. It would serve the purpose if after granting sīla to the audience a gāthā (verse) each were dealt with on every sabbath day, as I am doing now. Each gāthā will probably take fifteen to thirty minutes. Today we will start with Sammā Paribbajāniyā Sutta.
This Sutta was delivered by the Buddha to the devas and brahmās who still had the habit of rāga. In it he surrogate Buddha (Nimmita Buddha) with the wishes of the real Buddha.
Pucchāmi munim pahutapāññaṃ, tinnaṃ päriñgataṃ parinibbutaṃ thitattaṃ.
Nikkhamma gharā panujja kāme, kathaṃ bhikkhu sammā so loke paribbā jeyya.
"I pose this question to the Master who is fully endowed with great and all-embracing wisdom. I pose the question to the Buddha who has stable and peaceful mind, free from the fire of kilesā".
These were words of adoration to the Buddha. The Buddha has great and large scope of wisdom, knowing all the dhamma. All the beings in the loka has been drifting in the current of kāma-rāga, and are being drowned in it. They are drifting and sinking in bhava-rāga, lust for life and also in diṭṭhi-rāga, erroneous beliefs. When the Buddha's dhamma is shedding its light, the believers in the dhamma have a chance of swimming across the current of diṭṭhi-rāga. All the other beings are drifting and sinking; They are drifting and sinking in the current of avijjā which blind them to the truth about anicca, dukkha and anatta. The Buddha has already swum across the four currents and arrived at the other shore-the state of nibbāna. The state of being free form all kinds of kilesā after having arrived at the stage of arahatta magga is called sa-upādisesa nibbāna. The Buddha had peace form sa-upādisesa nibbanā and His mind was stable. The above gāthā is the adoration to the Budd-ha. The following is the text of the question:
"Denying kāma in all its manifestations, the Bhikkhu has taken to the woods after discarding the society of laity who are building families. How is the bhikkhu to do to carry on the good work?"
To this question the real Buddha gave an answer beginning with the following verse:
Answer Number One
Yassa maṅgalā samuhatāse,
uppätä supinā ca lakkhaṇā ca.
samma so loke paribbājeyya.
DISCARAD ALL SECULAR MAṄGALĀ
The genuine Buddha said that bhikkhu had discarded all superstitions, called secular maṅgalā, by means of arahatta magga. Superstition consists in belief of bed luck, in regard to thunder stroke, mysterious outbreaks of fire, etc., and in belief of good luck, as well as bad luck, in dreams, peculiar marks in domestic animals and tools and appliances. The Buddha said that bhikkhu had discarded all superstitious beliefs and was able to practise the dhamma well.
MAṄGALĀS THAT SHOULD BE DISCARDED
According to this gāthā, the 38 maṅgalās which are the genuine ones, are those to be observed, not neglected. The maṅgalās which are to be discarded are the superstitious beliefs falling into three categories, namely, diṭṭha maṅgalā, suta maṅgalā and muta maṅgalā.
Diṭṭha maṅgalā denotes the superstitious belief in good or bad luck according to good or bad sight. For instance, the sights of a swallow, a lark, a bird which speaks human words, a pregnant woman, an unmarried male or female, a pot full of water, a horse of äzani breed, a large bull, .... such sights are considered to bring good luck; this is good maṅgalā. Such superstitions prevail in India even today, and some in Myanmar, too. In ancient times, the sight of a beggar was taken to be a bad omen.
A BRIEF STORY OF DIṬṬHA-MAṄGALIKĀ
In the story of Mätaṅga, the rich man's daughter Diṭṭha-maṅgalikā, carefully looked at the hands and feet of her many suitors and was displeased. She told each one of them that he was of a lower caste and drove him out. Then she washed her face for, she said, she had seen a bad sight. She was in the habit of putting persons to shame for their low caste; she drove them out, saying that they were a bad sight, a bad omen. It was because of this habit of screening people by sight labelling them generally as bad omen, that this daughter of the rich man was named Diṭṭhamaṅgalikā, the believer in omen by sight.
At the time our Buddha-to be was born as a beggar and his name was Mātaṅga. Beggars were not allowed to live in the city; they have to live outside. One day Mātaṅga went into the city on some business. Beggars were required to put on rags when they were to go into the city. They were also required to make a sound so that others of higher castes were warned of their approach. Mātaṅga put on dark dress, carried a basket in one hand and a small bell in the other. The bell was to send out sounds of warning of his approach. He was also required to pay respects to the passers-by. The meaning of the sound of the bell was "I am a low caste beggar. Please avoid touching me."
While Mātaṅga was walking on the road, the rich man's daughter Diṭṭha maṅgalikä, came riding on a horse-card to the bank of the river to take a bath and to picnic with her attendants. When she heard the bell, she looked and saw a man. "Who is this man?" she asked, and was told that the man was a beggar. Then the rich man's daughter felt that it was a bad omen occuring at the time of going to the auspicious ceremony bathing and picnicking on the riverside. She turned back immediately and returned home to wash her face. Her attendants were angry with Mātaṅga for having spoilt the fun and beat him up. If you want to know the full story, please look up Mātaṅga Jātaka. Story No.20 of the 550 life stories of the Buddha-to-be. Diṭṭha maṅgalikā's story can be read also in Citta-Sambhuta Jātaka.
Suta Maṅgalā is superstitions regarding hearing of sounds. Sounds of joy and laughter are taken to be good omens, and sounds of weeping and mourning taken to be bad omens. The cry of an owl, for instance, is good omen; the cry of a night bird is a bad omen.
Muta Maṅgalā is superstition relating to smells and physical contacts. A sweet small or a pleasant touch is considered to be an omen for the good and conversely, a bad smell or an unpleasant touch means a bad omen. According to the caste system in India, physical contact, however slight with a beggar or a low-caste person is considered to be a bad omen. Once, a low-caste student had a slight touch with his high-caste teacher by mere accident, but the teacher could not forgive him and thrashed him soundly according to a paper I changed to have read.
Included in such beliefs are superstitious reckoning of auspicious and inauspicious days, according to the movement of stars and other astrological calculations, when the occasion for alms-giving ceremony or a wedding is to be determined. Auspicious dates are chosen for the occasion of ceremonial laying of foundation-stones of a new building, such as a house or monastery. These are after all superstitious practices. It does not matter whether a certain time is auspicious or inauspicious so long as a construction can be carried out according to plan. If the construction is not done properly, it won't be successfully done despite the fact that it has been started on an auspicious date. In the same way, a marriage contracted on an auspicious date may fail if the partners cannot maintain good relationship, and they will be separated. Such cases are many, just as some pagodas and monasteries remain uncompleted.
CHOOSING AUSPICIOUS DAYS USELESS
Personally, I regard this practice of choosing auspicious dates as useless. Nowadays, most people of Yangon don't seem to care for auspicious days and usually choose Sundays to hold their ceremonies. That is quite a rational method. Sunday is an official holiday; so any ceremony held on any other day cannot attract as large an attendance as is desired.
DISPELLING WRONG BELIEFS IS IMPORTANT
According to this gāthā, it is important to dispel beliefs regarding such secular maṅgalā or superstitions. In fact, good luck and bad luck are related to one's merits and demerits of the past. They are also related to his good and bad deeds of the present. The benefits of one's merits will engender good luck, or maṅgalā, and the effect of one's demerits will continue bad luck, or amaṅgalā. So we should believe unreservedly in our own kamma. That would then be the right belief in the workings of kamma, called in pāḷi, kammassakatā sammādiṭṭhi. Belief in superstitions is contradictory to it, and is a form of micchā diṭṭhi. So the main thing is to dispel such micchā diṭṭhi. All wrong beliefs can be dispelled by sotāpatti magga. Yet a sotāpanna retains possibility of cohabitation, so he cannot be completely rid of all the superstitious beliefs. Still living in human society, one feels obliged to conform to practices of secular maṅgalā to a certain extent. We don't believe in auspicious or inauspicious days, but we feel obliged to permit religious ceremonies to be held on days chosen by lay disciples as auspicious. The same with foundation-laying ceremonies for new monasteries. We make such concessions because we don't want to sow doubts in the minds of lay disciples if the construction doesn't work out according to plan.
As a matter of fact, there is no connection whatsoever between good results and auspicious time chosen after astrological calculations. Once, during the time of the Buddha, a certain man in Sāvatthi city asked for the hand of the daughter of another man for his son and fixed the date of the wedding. Then only he approached his heretic master and asked if the date he had chosen was the right one. The master took offence against him for having failed to consult him before the date was chosen and said that the date was not the right one. "If you hold the wedding ceremony on that day, there will be great destruction," the cunning master said. So the man did not go to the bride's house on the appointed day. He went only the following day with his son. The bride's parents were angry at the man's failure and married off their daughter to another young man. When the man arrived the next day with his son, they were roundly abused and driven out.
The news of this incident spread and reached the ears of the Buddha's disciples who fell to discussing it. When the Buddha came upon the scene and asked what the topic of discussion was, He was told the story. The Buddha said that such an incident was not noble, for a precedent had occurred in the past. He then gave a sermon on it. The story under reference is called Nakkhatta Jātaka, No.49 of Ekaka Nipāta. The wise man in that story was reported to have said in following gāthā;_
Failure can result from waitting for auspicious time
attho bālaṃ upaccagā.
Attho atthassa nakkhattaṃ,
kim karissanti tārakā.
"Benefits will approach and pass the fool who waits for a good time according to the planets. Getting the benefit desired is the same as getting it at an astrologically good time. How can planets do any good?"
This gāthā is a remarkable one. In the present time there are instances of failure to get good results from failing to get things done in good time or rather at a time when it is advisable to do the work. Two or three years ago, a certain woman from Mergui came to Yangon to get her eye disease treated, but she was a little late because she waited for an auspicious date for departure from her home-town. The doctors said that the disease could not be cured because they were consulted too late. I heard about this from a lay disciple. This is an incident to remember in the matter of waiting for an auspicious time.
The bhikkhu who discarded all the beliefs of secular maṅgalā will not be disturbed any longer by then, and will thus attain the state of perpetual happiness. The Buddha said that as such a bhikkhu had rid himself of these undesirable beliefs and notions, he can carry out the good work in the loka or human society.
And then, you should get rid of the superstitions relating to thunder-strokes or mysterious fires or similar disasters. Such disasters are seldom met with. Then superstitions about dreams must also be dispelled. The scriptures say that dreams occur to illustrious persons on the eve of some great events of good or bad effect. To the ordinary person, however, dreams are of no significance; they are mere reflections of their fears and fancies. Whatever they may be, all dreams are to be disregarded. When one reached the stage of Arahatta magga, one would not have any dream at all. We all should strive to reach that stage.
Here, one may pause to reflect. This Sutta was delivered to an audience of devas and brahmās, and these celestial beings have never had an occasion for a dream. So they wouldn't have any notions connected with dreams, and wouldn't ever be interested in the dream of human beings. We may wonder how the devas and brahmās would understand about dreams. It is true that the devas and brahmās living in extra-terrestrial regions would not have dreams, but there are quite many devas, such as guardian devas of a tree who are living on the earth. Their lives are so closely related to the lives of human beings that they may have occasions for dreams. The Buddha's advice to dispel superstitious beliefs on dreams was appropriate for such terrestrial devas.
And then, the Buddha's advice on beliefs regarding the peculiar marks on the domestic animals and tools, appliances and other things in daily use, was probably meant for the devas living on the earth and having estates just like human beings. According to the masters of Veda, certain marks on the property or on servants are responsible for good or bad luck of the owners. All such beliefs constitute superstitions, and they must be completely discarded.
Such beliefs presuppose lobha rāga, the desire for making headway in life, and they are usually held by those who have an excess of rāga (lust). There may been some such beings among the devas and branmās whom the Buddha was addressing. When they heard the Buddha say that the bhikkhu who had discarded all these superstitions could remain in peaceful happiness, they would probably have greater confidence in the noble bhikkhu, and would at the same time strive to discard such superstitions of their own. They would, therefore, go in for meditational practice and make greater adoration for the bhikkhus and the dhamma. Thus, would they achieve pure joy and immeditately attain Ariyā magga and phala.
BHIKKHU AND SECULAR MAṄGALĀ
According to this sermon, all the monks in the Buddha Sāsanā, who have taken the vows of monkhood should discard all the beliefs about secular Maṅgalä. They should not encourage people to hold such beliefs. Yet there are some monks who have been giving lectures purporting to promote such beliefs; they have been teaching people how to make propitiations to ward off ill effects indicated by dreams on signs or other things; they have been giving instructions to do something, such as carrying about one's person certain tokens of charm, amulets in order to gain prosperity in business or promotion in official positions. Those who want to be save form ill luck or to become rich or to get promotions approach such masters. Such monks are becoming powerful and prosperous. According to this gāthā, such practices should be discontinued and attainment of sīla, samādhi and paññā should be striven for. If one can discard all these false beliefs, one can be free from all attachments and achieve the highest happiness.
To sum up, the question was: "How does a bhikkhu who has gone into the woods after leaving the defilements of kāma do his religious work?" The answer was "The bhikkhu who has discarded all superstitious beliefs in secular maṅgalā has been doing good work."
We will conclude today's session. May you all be able to strive to attain meditational insights leading to the achievement of the goal of nibbāna after discarding all the superstitious notions about secular maṅgalā.
Sādhu! Sādhu! Sādhu!
End of Part I
Today, the 8th Waxing day of Tazaungmon, I am going to continue with the Sutta by reciting the third gāthā, Answer No.2.
Answer Number Two
Rāgaṃ vinayetha mānusesu, dibbesu kāmesu cāpi bhikkhu. Atikkamma bhavaṃ samecca dhammaṃ, sammā so loke paribbājeyya.
The bhikkhu who has renounced kāmaguṇa (sensual pleasures) should abstain from rāga from amidst the kāmaguṇa of the human world and rāga of the kāmaguṇa of the human world and rāga of the kāmaguṇa of the celestial world.
The one who has renounced the human world's kāmaguṇa and put on the saffron robes to become a bhikkhu would not be free of the sensualities pertaining to kāmaguṇa as yet. These sensualities should be got rid of, but how? By practising bhāvanā to gain samādhi (concentration) and thus making one's sīla (moral practice) pure. This action could bring one to the stage of first jhāna which would diminish or reduce the desires, but kāma rāga would not be completely got rid of as yet. If circumstances favour, these desires would show up again. That is why there have been instances in which some persons who have attained jhāna abhiññāṇa fell from that stage when they revelled in the voices of women. They fell from the sky while they were flying in the air. Jhāna samādhi alone would not be a safe guarantee against kāma rāga. One must employ the jhanā samādhi as a basic for promoting the practice of vipassnā.
GETTING RID OF KĀMA AND RĀGA COMPLETELY
The way to get rid of kāma and rāga completely is to observe the state of mind in the jhāna. It is same as the way in which the yogīs in this audience make mindful observations of the various acts such as seeing, hearing, knowing. When one attains the stage of anāgämi magga and phala by means of mindfulness of various acts of the body and the mind, there will be no occasion for kāmaguṇa to happen, and thus all the ramifications of kāma-rāga and kāma-taṇhā will be eliminated.
When one practises to attain jhāna samādhi, one must try to attain upacāra samādhi, the stage of calmness nearest to the attainment of jhāna. Using upacāra samādhi as a basis, one may successfully practise vipassanā. If one does not have an opportunity to achieve upacāra samādhi, one should make observations of the physical and mental actions to achieve vipassanā khaṇika samādhi which is of the same strength as upacāra samādhi, as testified to in the various commentaries.
When one is fully strengthened by this vipassanā khaṇika samādhi one will come to know rūpa and nāma (physical and mental phenomena) separately; one will realize the difference between cause and effect; one will know personally the changing nature of the phenomena in accordance with anicca, dukkha and anatta. One will thus progress in mindfulness along the grades of insight, magga phala ñāṇa, until one attains the stage of anāgāmi magga and phala and becomes and anāgāmi. At that stage käma rāga and kāma taṇhā are eliminated. An anāgāmi has, therefore, no hankering after sensual pleasures and desires of this human world. Nor does he hanker after the pleasures of the celestial world. And thus he achieves genuine peace and serenity.
MISERY DUE TO KĀMA AND RĀGA
Today people are suffering from all kinds of misery as a result of their desires for things, animate and inanimate. They want to enjoy things they have once enjoyed and are trying to get these things. After having got them, these people try their utmost to keep them from loss or destruction. They have to worry about food, clothing and shelter besides being called upon to render social services. While thus serving, they happen to have committed several sins of killing, theft, cheating, etc.
There are also instances of belligerence and war between countries. So the Buddha said in Cūḷa Dukkhakkhanda sutta (128) of Majjhima Nikāya in Pāḷi pīṭaka that kings quarrel among them-selves because of their greed, lust and desires. So do Brahmins, rich men and well to do persons. So do parents and their children, brothers and brothers, sisters and other near relatives. These quarrels usually end in fights with weapons, resulting in deaths.
Those who commit sins owing to kāmaguṇa go to hell and suffer misery, to the world of petas and suffer misery, or to the animals world where they suffer various kinds of misery. In short, the beings in the worlds of kāma are suffering mistery of all kinds simply because of their desires, hankerings and obsessions, that is, their kāmaguṇa. So kāmaguṇa is indeed a very terrible thing.
However, most people consider these desires and sensations the best things in life. They think that such enjoyment of pleasures makes for happiness. But if you make a serious study of this matter, you will find that the so-called happiness is not so very much compared with the amount of trouble one has to go through to gain such pleasures. The Buddha, therefore, taught that the pleasures of both the human and the celestial worlds should be rejected.
Of the two pleasures, namely, the earthly pleasures and the celestial pleasures, nobody among us has had any personal experience of the latter. It is seldom that people commit sins to get celestial pleasures; only; they commit all sorts of sins to get earthly pleasures. How should we try to lessen such sins? Of course, by making a note of all the physical and mental actions and thus acquire a deep knowledge of the nature of these actions. If we can not do that and let ourselves go, then we should not fail to make a note of the happenings of the desires for such pleasures and then reject them as they occur. We should know that these pleasures are the ones that will push us down to hell; they are simply terrible.
There are some persons who are under the impression that by renouncing the secular life and entering monkhood they will gain celestial pleasures in their next existence and they hope for a life of pleasures in the celestial world. Entertainment of such hopes is also not proper and any desire for a celestial existence, if it occurs to you, should be instantly brushed aside. If you cannot get rid of it by making a note of it, you should reject it after serious consideration. If you can't do that, you will get human and celestial existences again and again, and thus suffer misery of all kinds that are heir to these existences. Then, as you wouldn't be free of sins you would go to hell and other nether regions of existence and suffer untold misery there. Now that you have a good existence here and now, you should not fail to take this opportunity of attaining anāgāmi magga through an intense practice of vipassanā.
If you have attained that exalted stage of anāgāmi, you will be quite safe. In the present existence you will not suffer misery owing to the pleasures of kāmaguṇa simply because you have no hankering after them. Then after you have passed away, you will get to the world of Brahamās, and there you will gain mental as well as physical happiness. Even then, there still exists misery resulting from the physical and mental actions. In order to be free of this misery, the Buddha continued thus: "The wisdom of arahatta magga ñāṇa which sees the Four Noble Truths overcomes and surpasses the state of continuous existence."
Do not be complacent after having attained the stage of anāgāmi. Try to attain the final stage of arahatta magga which sees the Four Noble Truths. When one attains this stage and thus becomes an arahanta, one will be rid of hankering after the three bhavas, or places of existences namely, kāma bhava, rūpa bhava and arūpa bhava. After getting rid of this bhava rāga (hankering after bhava) the arahanta has no more existence for him, and after passing away from the present existence, he will attain Anupādisesa Nibbāna, the state of genuine peace. That is the state of supreme happiness. So the arahanta spends the remaining part of his present existence without suffering any misery resulting from kilesā and he is in genuine peace and happiness.
So the Buddha said: "The bhikkhu who has overcome and surpassed the three bhavas lives properly in this world."
To really know the Four Noble Truths doesn't mean knowing them from learning by rote; such knowledge would not enable one to overcome the three bhavas. We mean that one would attain the stage of anāgāmi after completely rejecting kāma rāga, and then continuing the intense practice of insight meditation, one attains a full and deep knowledge of the Four Noble Truths through the wisdom of arahatta magga ñāṇa. We mean to advise that the yogīs should persist in their efforts to climb the steep path toward the final stage by way of insight meditation.
Of course, there is no need to repeat here the process of insight meditation, but I will tell you briefly about catusaccā kammaṭṭhāna as described in the commentaries.
PRACTICE OF CATUSACCÄ KAMMAṬṬHĀNA
Of the Four Truths, only two should be observed. The two are Dukkha Saccā and Samudaya Saccā. The other two, Nirodha Saccā and Magga Saccā, need not be observed. To be free and away from all kinds of misery (dukkha) is Nibbāna which is Nirodha Saccā, the most desirable objective, and to achieve this objective Magga Saccā, or the Eight Noble Path must be followed, and that also is the most desirable objective. Knowing the nature of these two Truths, one has only to wish for attainment of them. Having set one's wish on them, one has to observe Dukkha Saccā, the Truth about Misery, as preliminary to the attainment of Nibbāna, and that preliminary measure is Vipassanā Magga, the path of insight meditation. Observing the Truth about the Misery involves making a mental note of all the physical and mental actions as they occur and seeing their impermanent nature. Failure to see the impermanent nature of these actions would lead to an obsession with permanence, bliss and self, and such obsession is called upādānakkhandā. Observing the impermanence of things by making a mental note of them as they occur would bring correct knowledge, and kind of observation is the same as following the path of Vipassanā. With the development of this correct observation the stage of attainment of Nirodha Saccā will be reached in due course.
Here, I may refer to what some persons say about vipassanā. They say that the practice of vipassanā entails trouble and discomfort. This view is an incorrect one, a failure to understand the true nature of vipassanā magga. Some hold the opinion that passing away to the state of Nibbāna means the ultimate death and, therefore, it is a dangerous state. That also is avijjā (ignorance) which is an incorrect view of Nirodha Saccā. Taking the physical and mental actions such as seeing, hearing, etc., to be good things and Nirodha Saccā as bad, is moha (sheer ignorance). The truth is that the physical and mental actions of an organism are in constant flux and because of their instability, it is misery. One should make an effort to see this truth through insight meditation.
When one realises the truth about misery one will be free from desire for these actions. That freedom from hankering Samudaya Saccā is in fact the rejection of pleasures which makes for an escape from the stream of existences which are the results of taṇhā (hankering) upādāna (obsession) bhava (existence), jāti (birth) jarā (old age) and maraṇa (death) which are kinds of misery attached to existence. This freedom, if only for a moment is achieved by vipassanā. Making a mental note and thus gaining is vipassanā magga, and rejecting in this way attachment, desires and obsessions is achieving from moment to moment Nirodha Saccā.
When this vipassanā ñāṇa, or meditational insight is developed, one eventually comes to realise Nirodha Saccā and thus reach the stage of nibbāna. The first stage is, of course, sotāpanna the second sakadāgāmi, and when the third stage anāgāmi, is reached all the desires for pleasures (kāma rāga) are eliminated. Continuing from that third stage one goes on to the final stage of arahatta magga by means of vipassanā. Attainment of this stage spells an achievement of Nirodha Saccā where all kinds of misery are eliminated and rebirth is precluded. Arahatta nāṇa, the wisdom of insight of the Four Noble Truth, makes its achiever an arahanta who surpasses all the three worlds and thus achieve genuine peace and happiness.
This is the end of the second part of Sammā Pribbājaniya Sutta. May the audience be able to achieve eventually genuine peace and happiness by surpassing the three worlds of existence through vipassanā.
Sādhu! Sādhu! Sādhu!
End of Part II
Today, the full moon day of Tazaungmon, we will have a discourse on the fourth gāthā.
Answer Number Three
kodhaṃ kadariyaṃ jaheyya bhikkhu.
sammā so loke pribbajeyya.
"The bhikkhu should turn his back on the other person's gossip and slander and eschew anger and malice. He should also reject prejudice and hatred. Such a bhikkhu lives properly in the world."
The meaning of this gāthā is that the bhikkhu must reject anger, prejudices, indulgences and attachments and their opposites, annoyances and hatred. And that such a bhikkhu will have no attachment in the world and will therefore be able to live cleanly, peacefully and happily.
In the six suttas of the Mahā Samaya Sutta, one gāthā is sufficient for the purpose but several more were given by way of repetition. Those who have enough intelligence will wonder why there should be such repetition. The reason is that the devas and brahmās who had sufficient intelligence to understand with the first gāthā gained realisation soon after it was enunciated, and those with inferior intelligence understood the meaning after enunciation of the second or third gāthā, as the case may be. So it must be that the Buddha taught his Dhamma in similar gāthās bearing the same meaning.
In the previous gāthā the Buddha taught that one must reject kāma rāga and overcome and surpass the three worlds. If one has rejected kāma rāga it goes without saying that one has rejected all the kilesā such as dosa, moha, māna, diṭṭhi etc. In the present gāthā the advice is to reject gossips, anger, malice and prejuidces. Compared to the previous gāthā, this one which refers to gossips may seem inferior but this was meant for devas whose intelligence was inferior. This point we must note.
GOSSIP MUST BE REJECTED
Gossip is meant to create misunderstanding between those who love and respect one another. To tell someone or other some faults of one or more persons, whether the allegations are correct or not. Or, like the brāhmin Vassakāra, to make one doubt about another's motives and thus create misunderstanding between them. This has been referred to in my discourse on Sallekha Sutta. Gossip and slander must be got rid of by means of anāgām, magga (as referred to in Visuddhi magga). We must try to attain anāgāmi magga in order to get rid of the habit of gossip and slander. As it has been said that when one reached the stage of sotāpatti magga, one would not resort to any misdeed that would pull one down to hell, a sotāpanna would not tell white lies. The object of the slander is to alienate, two persons who love and respect each other, and if such persons are so alienated, the purpose of the slanderer is achieved. That sin will, however, pull the slanderer down to the hell or one of the nether regions. A satāpanna will never commit such a sin.
Although one may not have yet become an anāgami, it is best to avoid telling about other persons faults or demeaning others. By avoiding such sins, one should work hard to attain to the stage of anāgami in due course.
ANGER MUST BE REJECTED
Anger, too, can be completely got rid of only when one reaches the stage of anāgami magga. But if one could reject anger as much and as often as possible before attaining that exalted stage, it would be very much better. When anger arise; one should dispel it either by making a mental note of it or by discerning it. It should be nipped in the bud, or it would assume such proportions that the angry person might resort to foul speech or even physical act of rudeness. One should, therefore, nip anger in the bud before it becomes visible to others through one's speech and action. We should develop this practice of eschewing anger till we reach the stage of anāgami magga.
UNCHARITABLENESS MUST BE REJECTED
Uncharitableness or envy, should also be eschewed. A monk could be uncharitable,
(1) in connection with the monastery;
(2) in connection with the intimate dāyaka and dāyika (lay man and lay woman);
(3) in connection with alms and gifts;
(4) in connection with religious treatises;
(5) in connection with prestige.
An uncharitable act is an attempt to deter others from sharing the things that are in one's possession. Commentaries say that this attitude is eschewed when one reaches the stage of sotāpatti magga.
Even if one has not yet reached this stage, one should reject uncharitable attitude through meditational practice. Uncharitableness should be eschewed in one's relationship particularly with those who are engaged in the practice of sīla. In short, I'd say "Turning ones back on gossip, one must eschew anger and envy".
Turning one's back on gossip means, of course, abandoning the habit of gossiping. "Turning ones back on slander" is in fact, a direct translation from Pāḷi.
ACQUIESCENCE AND OPPOSITION SHOULD BE REJECTED
It is good and proper to acquiesce in the wishes of another person in his interest and for his good. Acquiescence, which should be avoided, we mean complying with the wishes of another person with lascivious intent and for gratification of lust. Opposition is a demonstration of anger and hatred; that should be avoided. Anger and hatred are synonymous.
Anger can be completely rejected only when one attains the stage of anāgāmi magga. Compliance with the wishes of another under the instigation of desire and lust is, of course, the work of rāga and rāga is eliminated only when one attains the final stage of purity, that is arahatta magga. We should work hard for the attainment of the final stage. With the elimination of rāga on attainment of arahatta magga one dispels all kilesā. Thus, one is free from all attachment, and can live properly in this world.
May this audience be able to work hard in their meditational practice in order to dispel such uncharitable attitudes as slander, gossip and eventually rāga, and achieve the ultimate goal of nibbāna.
Sādhu! Sādhu! Sādhu!
End of Part III
Today the 8th waning day of Tazaungmon, it is the turn for fifth gāthā.
Answer Number Four
Hitvāna piyañca appiyañca,
anupādāya anissito kuhiñci.
Saṃyojariye hi vippamutto,
sammā so loke paribbajeyya.
"The bhikkhu who is striving for liberation from the misery of samsāra, rejects lovable beings and lovable things as well as hateful beings and hateful things through meditation in order to reach the stage of arahatta phala. To a monk there should be no beloved or hated persons or things. People suffer immense misery because of beloved and hated beings and things. In this reference the Dhammapada says:
MĀ piyehi samāgañchi,
Piyānaṃ adassanaṃ dukkham
"May (I) not meet with lovable beings and things, nor with hateful beings and things, for missing the former makes for misery, and meeting with the latter makes for misery, too."
Just coming across lovable beings or things does not matter as much as falling in love with them. Likewise, mere coming across hateful beings and things is not so damaging as hating them. One feels miserable if one's beloved children are separated from one by death or by having to live separately with hardly any hope of meeting them again. In the same manner, if one's prized possessions such as gold, silver, jewellery and other valuables were robbed or destroyed by fire, flood or storm, one would suffer much misery. So it is better for one not to come across beloved beings and things and loving them. It is far better not to come across them at all, for if they were met with, one would probably fall in love with them.
However, most people think that it is very good, very enjoyable to come across lovable beings and things and loving them. So they are out in search of them, in other words, they are searching for misery. That is like creating misery for oneself.
Then, one would be happy not to come across hateful things and enemies. If one meets with them, it is good to eschew malice and develop loving-kindness for them. Among hateful things, bad smell is worse; it is worse than hateful sight. Then again, bad contact is wrose than bad smell. Aches, pains and tiredness could result from a bad contact; it could even kill one. It is best not to meet with such hateful things. It one has to meet them, one much endure them as much as one can.
One should reject hatefull persons and objects by making a constant note of the sight of them as such, and such noting would not admit of either love or hated. If one feels either love or hatred, one should make an immediate note of that feeling and thus get rid of that feeling of love or hatred as the case may be.
If one makes a note of the happening and fading-out in this manner and gets to the stage of an anāgāmi, hatred that is included in dosa (anger) is abandoned. In that stage one would not have any feeling of hatred for hateful things or persons one meets with, and remain in peace and happiness. Again, when one reaches the stage of an arahanta, one would be rid of rāga (lust) which is often mistaken for love. One would not then be effected by anything lovable or lovely, and would remain in peaceful and happy state. We all should work to attain that stage.
If one is rid of loving or hating, one is rid of kilesā. The Buddha reiterated the message in another form so that the audience of celestial beings would understand better.
MUST BE FREE OF OBSESSION
It has been stated clearly in the satipaṭṭhāna teaching that if one is in meditation by making a note of the in-breath and out-breath or of the constant changes in body, or of pain and sensation such as, tension, pain and aches or the changing mental phenomena, one would not have any occasion for lust or desire. One would not also have any egoistic obsession. So if one wants to be rid of obsessions, one must go in for meditation, and thus make a constant note of the ever-changing phenomena in the body, the feelings, the states of mind, and mental conceptions. At the beginning of the meditation practice, one would find nothing unusual. But as one carries on and thus gains concentration (samādhi), one would discern the matter from the mind. One would also see the cause and the effect and the ever-changing character of the phenomena. One would then be convinced that these happenings and disappearances are in a state of flux and they spell only misery and are going by themselves beyond one's control. In other words, one would be convinced of the anicca, dukkha and antta nature. When one is thus convinced, one will be free of obsessions, and eventually gain insight of arahatta magga phala. One would then become an arahanta.
BE FREE FROM THE HITCHING-POST
If one is free of obsessions, one is released from the hitching-post of samsāra. So the Pāḷi idiom says:
Saṃyojaniyehi, meaning "being free from the hitching-post of attachment for things, animate or inanimate".
Saṃyojana, or the fetter is a tying of one so that one cannot get out of samsāra.
It is after all an aggregate of kilesā (defilement). The arahantäs have cut off these ties and are free from the hitching-post of samsāra. Such bhikkhus can achieve sammā paribbājeyya, meaning that they can live properly in the world.
Now, in review, the second gāthā relates to the riddance of secular maṅgalā: the third to the riddance of kāma rāga and bhava rāga. The present one relates to the riddance of obsessions of love and hatred.
May the audience be free from the saṃyojana, the hitching-post of samsāra, and thus speedily attain the state of nibbāna.
Sādhu! Sādhu! Sādhu!
End of Part IV
Today, the new moon day of Tazaungmon, I will give you a discourse on the sixth gāthā.
Answer Number Five
Na so upadhisu sārameti,
ādänesu vineyya chandaāgaṃ.
So anissito anaññaneyyo,
sammā so loke paribbajeyya.
The bhikkhu who has been striving to escape from samsāra, does not revel in the sensorial aggregates in which reside pleasures and pains.
Ordinary people are under the impression that the physical and mental phenomena are "self", or atta, which is alive throughout one's life and which gives of permanence and happiness. They think of others in the same manner. Whenever they see, hear, touch or know people, they think of them as selves. They see women as women and men as men and are pleased with the sight.
On the contrary the yogī who has been mindful of the incessant changes of the phenomena finds impermanence, misery and absence of self. The yogī finds that it is entirely devoid of essence and does not feel attracted to the sensorial aggregates.
The notion of self is referred to in this gāthā as ādānesu which is the same as upādāna-kkhandā, which is the place where misery dwells. If people are under the impression that there is self and are enamoured of it, they will have desires and obsessions and will not be able to rid themselves of these desires and obsessions.
Now we are giving discourses on the Buddha's sermons with a view to helping people to free themselves from such desires and obsessions, and strive for escape from samsāra. But most people are still enamoured of them. Until people are convinced themselves of the utter emptiness of essence, they will continue to have these desires and obsessions. If, on the contrary, they are convinced through meditation insight, they will be able to abondon them.
The yogī who makes a note of the incessant happening and going out of existence of the physical and mental phenomena or in other words, the yogī who is making a note of the changing phenomena, such as seeing when he sees, hearing when he hears, will hardly have a chance of entertaining desires or lust. However, it must be remembered that until one has achieved arahatta magga, that is, the final stage on the path to purity, one will possibly have desires and lust. We should therefore work hard to attain that stage to achieve this purpose.
MAY YOU KNOW INDEPEDENTLY
That bhikkhu must know by himself without depending on any other's instructions. To know something, in this context, means to know by one's own conviction, from one's own experience, without a teacher's instruction or guidance after eliminating such attachment as taṇhä (lust) and diṭṭhi (false faith).
The last line in the Pāḷi verse means (literally): that bhikkhu lives in this world well, and is convinced of the utter lack of essence in desires and lust for the sensorial aggregates of one's own and of others. Here it means the one who knows through such a conviction is an arahanta, and as such, he or she lives the remaining portion of his or her life in this world well, and properly.
This audience should also strive to attain such kind of happy and unattached state by eliminating desires and lust for sensorial aggregates.
Sādhu! Sādhu! Sādhu!
End of Part V
Today the 8th waxing day of Nattaw, we will deal with the seventh gāthā.
Answer Number Six
Vacasā manasā ca kammunā ca,
aviruddho sammā vidtivä dhammaṃ.
sammā so loke paribbajeyya.
The bhikkhu who is striving to escape the dangers of samsāra must not contravene the precepts of good deeds done physically, by speech and mentally.
The person who is striving to escape from the samsāra must act physically without discord, that is, without contravening the three good physical deeds namely, (1) refraining from killing; (2) refraining from stealing (3) refraining from adultery and fornication.
It should be noted that torture and cruel treatment, short of killing, is also in contravention of this precept. So also, stealing includes acts ruining others and preventing others from gathering the fruits of their labour and achievement. Refraining from such acts is the same as behaving properly. In other words, one must refrain from physical acts which would incur criticism of the noble and pure persons.
Furthermore, it is said speech acts must not be in contravention of the precepts for the four good deeds, namely, (1) refraining from telling lies; (2) refraining from slander; (3) refraining from using abusive language; (4) refraining from frivolous and useless talk. One must speak only the truth; one must speak words which are conducive to unity and understanding among people; words pleasant and acceptable to others; and words worthy of note.
If one speaks such words, one is said to be speaking in accord with the precepts of good speech. A monk must refrain from bad speech; if one does so, one is regarded as having achieved sīla (moral practice)
Then one must refrain from there bad mental acts, namely, (1) intention of misappropriating other's property; (2) intention of killing or destroying; (3) subscribing to the belief contradictory to the kamma and its effect, or the law of causation.
As for the monk, he must refrain from lustful thoughts, malice, and intention to illtreat others. If he does so, he is regarded as having thoughts of restraint of lustful desires (nekkhama vitakka), the thoughts of loving-kindness (avyāpāda vitakka), and the thoughts of kindness and pity (avihimsa vitakka).
Of the three acts of refraining, the first namely, refraining from lustful desires, indicate, the motive for practice relating to vipassanā (insight) and bhāvanā (meditation). To be into this kind of good mental act, one must pratise either of them, especially vipassanā.
A SHORT COURSE OF VIPASSANĀ PRACTICE
Instructions for practice of vipassanā have so often been given at this meditation centre that they have become rather commonplace, but I feel I must repeat them for the benefit of those who have been away from the practice. The cognition of seeing, hearing, smelling, eating and touching is altogether nāma-rūpa, or mental and physical phenomena. When one is mindful of these, one will know from his own observation that the unknowing rūpa (physical matter) and knowing nāma (mind) are two separate things. One will also be convinced of the law of cause and effect. One will also know that these phenomena are constantly in a flux. One will also know that these phenomena are impermanent, or in a world, anicca. One will also know that such a state of instability breeds misery, in a word, dukkha. One will also know that these phenomena cannot be controlled by anyone or anything, that they are happening and disappearing all by themselves or, in a word, anatta.
To be fully convinced through one's own insight, one must be constantly making a note of these phenomena.
Of course, at first, one cannot possibly make a note of these changes fully and completely. So one must start the observation by making a note of the various kinds of tactile senses. While one is concentrating upon one kind of the sense of touch, a thought might occur, and one must promptly make a note of that. Then an unbearable feeling of discomfort may occur, and that, too, must he made a note of promptly. In a word, all mental and physical phenomena must be taken notice of as they occur. When nothing occurs, then the meditating yogī must go back to the original starting point of noting the rising and falling of the abdomen. If one does so, one must be regarded as having done good mental deeds. As one goes on making a note of these phenomena, one will be convinced of the anicca, dukkha and anatta nature. And as one is thus convinced, an occasion for the rise of taṇhā will not arise. Since taṇhā is eliminated, if for a moment, the causes for the beginning of a new existence and its unwholesome consequences will be, at least momentarily, eliminated. This is momentary achievement of nirodha saccā (truth about cessation). Every time cognitive meditation is practised, vipassanā magga saccā is achieved. Thus meditation makes for the development of insight into the Four Noble Truths, and eventually the meditating yogī would achieve the final stage of insight and attain the highest stage of an arahanta.
Therefore, the Pāḷi gātā says that the bhikkhu who acts in consonance with the good physical, speech and mental deeds will come to the realisation of the Truth.
DEATH AND LIFE NOT WANTED: ONLY NIBBĀNA WANTED
So it is said that the arahanta who knows the Four Noble Truths does not want to have a condition entailing life and death; such a noble person is expecting the time of his passing away to Nibbāna. It is just like the case of a salary earning worker. He does not want to be unemployed, nor does he want to be doing the work he does not like. He is simply expecting for the payday to come around.
The arahantas do not want to be carrying the burden of their bodies, doing the daily chores for them, such as, washing and cleaning, eating and drinking, and such other functions which, after all, make for occasions of discomfort. Discomfort, even distress, occurs when illness sets in. Although the body is ailing, the mind of an arahanta remains tranquil. To him even inhaling and exhaling entail discomfort. To the arahantas living and performing natural functions and thus bearing the burden of the body is undesirable, and are, therefore, waiting for the time of discarding this burden and passing on to the eternal tranquility of Nibbāna.
To the puthujjana (the ordinary persons) the body is looked upon as a source of pleasure. Because there is the body, one can see what one wishes to see, hear what one wants to hear, smell what one wants to smell, eat what one likes to eat, have physical contact with what one loves to contact. They can give free rein to their fancies and imagination. So they want to have their bodies; they don't want their bodies destroyed. On the contrary the arahantas take these so-called pleasures as occasions of discomfort or distress. They know that genuine happiness comes out of the tranquility of Nibbāna. Before the time of their passing on to Nibbāna, while they are living the present life, they are not at all attached to any of the senses; so they live this life in tranquility happiness.
The Buddha, therefore, said that the bhikkhu who knows the truth wants only Nibāna which means cessation of misery, and lives in this world properly.
The occasion for today's meeting is the ceremony for the libation for the meditation monastery for the female yogīs going by the honorific of "Mahā Dhammacarini". Today's discourse serves the purpose of admonition to these yogīs for the meditation practice that will be carried on in this meditation monastery. If the yogīs act according to good physical and speech deeds, they will achieve sīla, or moral practice. If they do meditation constantly on the lines of samatha and vipassanā, they will achieve good mental deeds. If they do so, they will eventually know the Four Noble Truths and attain the state of Nibbāna. May they attain that final state of cessation of all misery and of tranquility and happiness.
Sādhu! Sādhu! Sādhu!
End of Part VI
Today, the 8th waxing day of Nattaw, it is the turn of the 8th gāthā.
Answer Number Seven
Yo vandati manti nunnameyya,
akkutthopi na sandhiyetha bhikkhu.
Laddhā parabhojanaṃ na majje,
Sammā so loke paribbājeyya.
The bhikkhu must not be proud because people make obeisance to him. It is customary that people make obeisance to all the monks. If a bhikkhu thinks that people make obeisance to him, and so feels pride, he must not be proud. He must not think highly of himself simply because people pay respects to him.
DON'T BE ANGRY AT ABUSE AND ACCUSATION
The bhikkhu must not be angry when people abuse him or level charges against him. He must not react to people's lack of respect for him with anger or malice. These two passages, taken together, mean that the bhikkhu must not be affected by the favourable or unfavourable behaviour of people. He must be able to ignore both accolade and accusation.
To remain unaffected by respect and recrimination is not an easy matter, and only arahantas can do that perfectly. Those of the strict observers of sīla among the ordinary monks can do so to a considerable extent. The Buddha's sermon was directed to the arahantas, but it is also appropriate or the ordinary monks. To remain so unaffected, one must go into constant meditation and eschew pride or anger. Even if one cannot go into meditation constantly, one should react with caution.
Receiving respects is concerned with the monk. In those days kings and high officials also received obeisance in the form of kowtow. At present, however, high-rankers get only salute of one from or another. As for receiving abuse, it concerns also the lay people. So this sermon should be noted by them, too. They will have to restrain their pride and anger.
DON'T BE VAIN FROM ABUNDANCE
The bhikkhu must not be vain about the abundance of gifts he receives from people. Monks do not have to worry about their living. All they require in the way of clothing (the robes) food and shelter (monastery), charitable lay people are ready to provide. For the monks who are well known and influential, these things are in abundance. Such monks who are so endowed possibly feel vain. They think that it is they who have received such an abundance of property. But they mustn't be vain.
In reference to the admonition that monks should not be proud or peeved about people's respect or lack of it, the Buddha said in Alagaddupamä Sutta:
"Bhikkhus, I had been giving sermons on misery and cessation of misery. So I was abused, threatened and slandered merely to provoke me to anger and unhappiness. But I did not feel anger, distress or dissatisfaction. And those who understood my sermon properly made obeisance and paid respects to me. But I did not feel pleased, or glad, or elated.
"Bhikkhu's, when people make obeisance to me. I feel in this way. I who am composed of the five sensorial aggregates have become the Buddha, knowing all that is to know, and those of laity who understand me, make obeisance to me. This is how I feel."
That is the Buddha's attitude toward the good and bad behaviour of others. The Buddha did not feel that the obeisance was not Him, and for His delight, but it was for the five aggregates which received the obeisance. He felt that way because He had already known the truth about things when He gained enlightenment under the sacred Bo tree.
At that time and since, the Buddha and the three pariñās (exact knowledge), namely:
Ñatapariññā which means knowledge that there are only nāma and rūpa and that there are only causes and effects. This understanding is derived from constant noting of the changing phenomena of physical and mental properties.
Tiranapariññā which means, knowledge of the anicca, dukkha and anatta nature of things and beings. This is derived also from the meditation practice.
Pahānapariññā which means, knowledge which enables one to discard the wrong beliefs of permanence, pleasure and self and all the defilements emanating from them.
The three perfect understandings were acquired by the Buddha during the period from His Prospective-Buddhahood to His final Enlightenment. The understanding continued, of course, during His tenure of Buddhahood, but it may be noted that these comprehensive understandings had been acquired at an early stage. The Buddha would have the bhikkhus strive for purification of their minds by acquisition of three perfect understanding. So he instructed them thus:
"Bhikkhus, you must not feel disgruntled at the irrespectful attitude of people or elated by their respectful attitude. Do not labour under the mistaken notion of: "They are worshipping me. I am enjoying the reverence." You must know; in accordance with the three Pariññās, that they are worshipping the five sensorial aggregates."
This admonition is addressed to those of the monks who had not yet been arahantas. Arahantas did not have to have such admonition. In fact, this admonition was meant as a reminder to the nonarahantas that they were to work for achievement of that highest stage of purity. It is indeed important for the ordinary monks to work for the ultimate goal.
Those who have not yet achieved the state of an arahanta, should appropriately strike an attitude to the effect that people worship the five sensorial aggregates and not themselves. That attitude could be acquired through the practice of meditation. If that attitude were struck, there would not be any cause or occasion for vanity. Just as one waters a flower plant tenderly not to be vain about it, because the plant is not oneself, so also the five aggregates are not oneself, and paying respects to them is not paying respects to oneself, and so there is no reason to be vain about the honour.
CONTEMPLATING FOOD WHILE TAKING IT
The other method is to take food while contemplating it. How to contemplate? The monk must eat his meal not for enjoyment. In the secular world, people eat to gain strength and vigour so that they can enjoy life. Some take aphrodisiacs as food. The monks take food not for such purposes, not to gain virility and youthful vigour. Nor for growing stout or for making the body beautiful. Then why do they take food? For continued existence of the body, for allaying hunger and for being able to let the body function normally. And all these for the performance of brahmacariya (religious duties). That, briefly, is how to contemplate the food that is being taken.
Similar contemplation must be made while using the saffron robes and the monastery. They are used for protection of the body from cold and heat, from attacks mosquitoes, scorpions, snakes, etc. If a monk so contemplates, he will not need food, good robes and a grand monastery; nor will he need many of them. He uses them because he cannot do without them for his life sustenance. He will not, therefore, be vain about the good ones and the many things he may have received.
Another method of eschewing vainty is to contemplate the 32 parts of one's body. He will see, if he contemplates intensely, the loathsome characteristics of these parts; he will realise that feeding this loathsome body is equally loathsome; so is providing clothing and shelter. There is nothing anywhere to feel pleasant about, to feed gratified. There is, therefore, nothing to be vain about. To contemplate in this manner is for those who have not attained the stage of an arahanta.
They have already done this kind of contemplation and reached the ultimate stage of purity; there is no need for them to do such contemplation because they have already discarded vanity. The Buddha's admonition was directed toward those who had not reached that final stage.
So the last line of the gāthā says that the bhikkhu who have no attachment lives properly in this world.
This eighth gāthā was addressed to the monks, but the lay people who adore them should also take a lesson from it and strive to rid themselves of pride and vanity, anger and malice. May they, too, be able to work for the attachment of Nibbanā.
Sādhu! Sādhu! Sādhu!
End of Part VII
Today, the new moon day of Nattaw, the 9th gāthā will be explained.
Answer Number Eight
Lobhāñca bhavañca vippahāya,
virato chedanabandhanā ca bhikkhu.
So tinnaka-thamkatho visallo,
sammā so loke paribbājeyya.
The bhikkhu has abandoned lobha as well as kamma which causes new existence. He, too, refrains from ill-treatment, cruelty including bondage. He is free form the spike of kilesā after over-coming doubts.
In this gāthā, the things that should be discarded are similar to those mentioned in previous verses, but a repetition is being made here for those who are going to realise the Truth in the manner of driving home the important points.
The gāthā says lobha (greed) must be eradicated. This is quite obvious to the audience here. But in those days, some devas and brahmās might not have had an opportunity of hearing the Buddha's sermon previously. It was for the benefit of such beings that this point was repeated.
THE WAY TO ERADICATE LOBHA
The lobha that must be done away with is the same as Samudaya Saccā of the Four Noble Truths. In other words, it is taṇhā (lust). That is indeed an important one to be eradicated. Desire, delight, attachment, etc, are its other names used in Dhammasaṅganī Pāḷi treatise in the Abhidhammā Part of the tri-Pīṭaka. There are more than one hundred synonyms. This lobha is to be eradicated by the arahatta magga insight, and until it can be done so, it has to be curbed by sīla (moral practice). Lobha belongs to the mind, and desire or lust may occur in the mind, but sīla must be kept to check its implementation by deed or speech. One who keeps sīla in strict observance will avoid the misdeeds of stealing deceiving and resorting to unjust means. This is obvious.
To go one step further, one must eliminate desire or lust, or greed, by striving to gain mental stability through bhāvanā (meditation). For example, if one makes a constant note of the incoming and outgoing breath passing through the nostril, desire or greed will not generally occur. The occurrence will be delayed. During the time when one is into jhāna, the lobha sentiment will be totally excluded. Even after the jhāna sitting it seldom occurs. That is why some of those who has had jhāna thought they had become arahanta though they had not really reached the stage of arahatta magga phala. Although they had jhāna, they could fall from that stage when they came across something desirable.
One must go in for vipassanā meditation to preclude the possibility of hankering after things of delight. We have already told you how to do meditation. If one makes a constant note of the phenomena as they occur, there will be no chance for lobha to get into one's mind. If one fully aware of the anicca, dukkha and anatta nature, one will not give lobha a chance to occur. If the vipassanā insight were fully developed, one would achieve ariyā magga insight and reach the ultimate goal of Nibbāna. On attaining the first stage of insight, one will eliminate such lobha as can push one down to hell. On attaining the second stage one will have got rid of the desires and lust for things of delight, and on attaining the final stage, one will eradicate all desires and attachment to existence. That was what the Buddha instructed for eradication of lobha.
REJECTION OF BHAVA
Next, the gāthā says, the cause of new existence must be rejected.
Once lobha has been eradicated by means of arahatta magga insight the possibility of a new existence has been precluded. One who has attained the first stage on the path to purity, that is, one who has become a sotāpanna, will have rejected all ill deeds paving the way to the nether regions of hell. Such a person will have only seven existences in the upper regions for he has already rejected the possibility of an extension beyond that limit. On the third stage that is on becoming an anāgāmi, one has eliminated the cause for any further existence, and on reaching the final stage of arahatta magga, possibility of a new existence in rūpa bhava (corporeal world) or arūpa bhava (incorporeal world) has been eradicated once and for all. So when an arahanta passes away he is said to have passed into parinibbāna (final release from the cycle of existence).
REFRAINING FROM MAYHEM
Next, the gāthā says the bhikkhu must refrain from cruelty. Cruel treatment includes cutting of limbs and putting in chains and throwing into prison. In those days criminals were treated cruelly. They were seized and placed in chains and thrown into prison. Then they were subjected to all kinds of cruel treatment including cutting off of their limbs. In the same manner, men captured animals and killed them, or cut of their limbs. Such cruel treatment must be refrained from by bhikkhus; that is; by those who are concerned with keeping of the precept relating to killing and torture. This habit can be rejected when one has acquired the sotāpanna insight. When one reaches the final stage of arahatta magga, not a slight vestige of cruelty has remained. The Buddha urged his disciple to attain that final stage in order to eradicate cruelty.
REJECTION OF DOUBTS
Then, the gāthā says that the bhikkhu must overcome all doubts and hesitation.
Doubts arise when one cannot decide between truth and falsehood. Doubts spread over the veracity of such points as whether the Buddha is the true one or the false, the doctrine of magga, phala and Nibbāna is true or false, or whether the practice for sīla, samādhi and paññā is true or false. There are doubts about the sanghä the disciples of the Buddha. Doubts arise about kamma and its effect, or about cause and effect. The bhikkhus must entertain no such doubts; these must be dispelled. These doubts are cleared only on attaining the sotāpatti magga insight. Before reaching that stage one can disperse doubts by listening to discourses on the words of the Buddha.
Yogīs who are in meditation practice can dispel these doubts. When one comes to realise the separateness of rūpa and nāma, the doubt about nāma-rūpa will be dispelled. For instance bending (of arm) is the effect of the desire to bend which is the cause. If one realises that one will not entertain doubt about cause and effect. This is in fact, dispelling of doubt in respect of paticcasamuppāda (causal genesis). Then when one see clearly the flux of phenomena, one will be convinced of the anicca, dukkha and anatta nature, and there won't be any doubts about them. Then when one reaches the stage of sotäpatti magga, all doubts will be dispelled.
BE FREE FROM SPIKES
The Pāḷi term salla means "arrow" or "spike". Here the latter meaning seems more appropriate. What are the spikes referred to in this context? They are rāga, dosa and moha. Rāga is the same as lobha; so once lobha has been rejected, rāga go with it. In fact, once lobha is eradicated, dosa and moha disappear too. Those who are afflicted with rāga suffer immense misery. Just as one suffers a lingering pain when stuck by a spike one who is afflicted with rāga suffers unending misery. As he thinks lust is enjoyable, he will go about hunting things to lust for, and such hunting entials a series of discomfort and distress.
In the same way, one who revels in anger would not like to be told to restrain it. One who is overwhelmed by moha takes falsehood for truth, thinks that the impermanent rūpa and nāma to be lasting and that the corporeal matter is self ("my-self"). Being thus misguided, such a person commits sins unwittingly and has to pay for them by suffering in hell. So the Buddha urged His disciples to work to be free from the spikes of defilements.
The refrain the verses runs: "The monk who is free from all attachments lives properly in this world".
This is the end of the discourse on the 9th gāthā in the Sutta.
Sādhu! Sādhu! Sādhu!
End of Part VIII
Today, the 8th waxing day of Pyatho, we will explain the 10th gāthā of the Sutta.
Answer Number Nine
Sāruppaṃ attano viditvā,
no ca bhikkhu himseyya kañci loke.
Yathātathiyaṃ viditvā dhammaṃ,
sammä so loke paribbajeyya.
The bhikkhu must know what is appropriate to him, and act accordingly.
ACT WHAT IS APPROPRIATE
What is appropriate to a monk is the duties of a monk, and he must act accordingly. Just knowing the duties will not do. Knowing must be followed by acting accordingly. That is what the Pāḷi commentary says. What I take it to mean is that a monk must know all that is appropriate to his life as a monk. This is he must know not only vinaya, the rules and regulations of the Holy order, but also the practice of the Dhamma as well as facts of life such as, proper living, health and other things. A monk must know, besides vinaya, how to guide yogī in their practice of meditation, giving them lessons suitable to their idiosyncrasies.
Then the monk must know how to live in the world properly, and how to keep his health while he is in the practice of meditation. He must know whether it is advisable to sit and meditate, or walk while meditating, so that his health is kept in shape. He must conduct himself so that his health is not impaired from continuous meditation practice. So if he is weak and tired, he must know that he should lie down and take some rest. He must look after his diet in accordance with the changing seasons. I think these are some of the things that are referred to in the Pāḷi gāthā as "appropriate things for living".
DO NOT INCONVENIENCE OTHERS
Then the gāthā says, "do not ill-treat others to gain one's benefit. One must behave properly and work to suit one's purpose, but must not intrude upon others rights and convenience."
KNOWING THE TRUTH AS ONE SHOULD
Whatever happens does happen by itself, and that is the truth. That, in fact, constitutes the Four Noble Truths. So the monk must know the truth as he should know it. What should one know? One must know the truth about misery, or dukkha Saccä. That knowing this called Pāriññā Paṭiveda. One must know the truth Samudaya or Samudaya Saccā and reject lust, craving and attachment. This knowing is called Pahāna Paṭivedā. One must realize the truth about cessation, or Nirodha Saccä. This knowing or realization is called Sacchikiariyā Paṭiveda. Then one must know the Path, or maggā Saccā. This is called Bhāvanā Paṭiveda.
Pariññā Paṭiveda. That is knowing dukkha by cognitive meditation. In other words, it is knowing the truth about misery through making notes of the incessant changes in the physical and mental structure, or rūpa and näma. It is because people do not know that these changes constitute misery, and it is because people think that these changes make for joy and happiness that they are enamoured of them, and thus desires and attachment rise in them. If a constant note of these changes is made, then nothing will be found pleasing or delightful. On the contrary these will be seen as something tiresome and terrible. So the true nature of matter and mind should be discerned and the anicca, dukkha and anatta, nature will then be known analytically. Pariññä Paṭiveda means knowing analytically.
When one knows the truth about these things, one will not hanker after them; one will reject them. And that rejection is Pahana Paṭiveda. As one rejects lust, upādanā (attachment or clinging to existence) will not have a chance to crop up. Because upādanā is absent, there will be no chance of a new existence. No existence precludes jāti (birth), jarā (old age) and maraṇa (death). Such cessation is spelled from moment to moment as meditational observation is being made. That is called tadaṅga nirodha (momentary cessation). This sort of cessation is not to be looked forward to but it arrives by itself as one is into vipassanā insight. It is important that a meditator should work to achieve such momentary cessation.
Bhāvanā Paṭiveda. When one is into meditation one has been following the eightfold Noble Path. That is Bhāvanā Paṭiveda. One can know how one has been following the eightfold Noble Path while one is meditating. It is like this, One makes an effort to make a note of the changing phenomena, and thus one is following the path of Sammā Vāyama (Right effort). Meditation itself is Sammā Sati (Right mindfulness). The Buddha said that the four Satipaṭṭhāna (Application of mindfulness) constitutes Sammā Sati. During meditation the meditator gains momentary concentration. His attention is stuck upon the object of meditation. Concentration for the moment is called Khaṇika samādhi, and that constitutes Sammā Samādhi. Visuddhi-magga Mahä Tīkā commentary says that without Khaṇika Samädhi one cannot gain vipassanā insight. As the mind is pointed to one object in concentration, one sees the truth. And seeing the truth constitutes Sammā Diṭṭhi (Right belief). As the mind of the meditator is directed to seeing the truth, one is achieving the right purpose which is Sammä Saṅkappa. So all these five vipassanā maggaṅga, or the five of the eightfold Noble Path have been achieved by the Yogī who is into meditation. As for the three remaining of the eightfold Noble Path, namely, Sammā Vācā (Right Speech), Sammā Kammanta (Right Work) and Sammā Ājīva (Right Livelihood) can be achieved before one goes into meditation by observing the precepts. These three constitute Sīla Maggaṅga. While in meditation, this precept observance is not impaired. Sīla (moral practice) can become more developed. So the eightfold Noble Path can be achieved by one while in meditation.
There is another way to develop Sīla Maggaṅga. If one fails to make a note of the changing phenomena and the anicca, dukkha and anatta nature, one will be under the delusion of permanence, pleasure and self and may be disposed to tell lies, to use abusive language, to slander and make useless speech, and thus commit the sins of speech. One may also commit killing, theft and cruel acts. Likewise, one may commit sins in order to make a living. If, on the other hand, one make a note of the changing phenomena and ponder upon the anicca, dukkha and anatta nature, and act and live in the right way one will be living in accord with Sammā Vācā, Sammā Kammanta and Sammā Ājīva, or in other words, Sīla maggaṅga. So all the eight of the Noble Path are achieved through meditation. And that achievement is Bhāvanā paṭiveda.
Such an achievement is in effect, the achievement of Ariyā magga and one sees the Light of Dhamma and attains the highest state of purity. That is what the gāthā says of "Knowing the true Dhamma". After knowing the truth about misery about attachment and rejecting attachment, walking the Noble Path of magga one comes to the realization of the ultimate state of cessation, thus achieving the ultimate purpose of attaining peace and tranquility, Nirodha Saccā. This is knowing the four Noble Truths all together.
The last line of the gāthā, says, as usual, that the bhikkhu who has no attachment lives in this world properly.
Sādhu! Sādhu! Sādhu!
End of Part IX
Today, fullmoon day of Pyatho, we will give a discourse on the 11th gāthā of the Sutta.
Answer Number Ten
Yassā nusayā na santi keci,
múlā ca akusalā samuhatāse.
sammā so loke paribbājeyya.
In the bhikkhu some of anusaya have been eradicated.
MEANING OF ANUSAYA
Ānusaya Kilesa means dormant defilements. What is lying dormant can arise when an opportunity favours. There are two kinds of dormant kilesā. One is that which is dormant in the physical and mental make-up of a being, and can arise when there is a chance. The other kind is that which is dormant in the sense-object (arāmana). Kilesā can arise from the senses such as seeing, hearing, smell, taste, touch and idea. Actually, lust, greed, desire and other feelings which constitute kilesā do not lie dormant in the sense-objects. It is by association of similar sense experienced previously that kilesā arises. When it arises, it does so in the physical and mental make-up of a being.
Anusaya kilesā is of seven kinds, namely; (1) kāma-rāga (sensual passion), (2) bhava-rāga (lust of life), (3) paṭigha (anger), (4) māna (conceit), (5) diṭṭhi (false faith), (6) vicikicchā (doubt), (7) avijjā (ignorance).
These anusaya kilesā can arise in the being of any puthujjana (ordinary uniformed person). So it is said that these are lying dormant in puthujjana. When one has become a sotäpanna, diṭṭhi and vicikicchā are rid of. The other five remain. When one reaches the stage of an anāgami, kāma-rāga and patigha are eliminated. The other three remain. Only when one reaches the final stage and has become an arahanta, all the seven anusaya kilesās are eradicated.
DORMANT IN THE SENSES
The way anusaya kilesā lies dormant in the senses is like this. If one does not observe and know the nature of the senses that are in constant flux, kilesā will arise from an association of similar senses that have been experienced previously. So every person who is not into meditation will entertain kilesā of all sorts whenever senses happen. They will think that the senses and the objects are permanent and will become attached to them, enjoying them.
However, the meditating yogī knows the nature of things and does not feel attached, or pleased with any sense objects and thus avoids any kind of kilesā. So there is no question of kilesā lying dormant in him. On the other hand, those who fail to go into meditation think the sense-objects are lovely and delightful, and feel attached to them. If the sense-objects are unpleasant they are displeased, and even angry.
AN ARAHANTA IS FREE OF ANUSAYA
An arahanta is entirely free of anusaya kilesā. Not a vestige has been left. Kilesā of all sorts, the kind that is dormant and the kind that is active, all have been eradicated. Furthermore, an arahanta has also uprooted lobha, dosa and moha from which arise all kinds of misdeeds and sins. Lust and desires and attachment spring from lobha, murder and mayhem arise out of anger and malice, that is dosa, and lassitude and funcy spawn in the pool of moha.
The bhikkhu who has eradicated anusaya and uprooted the roots of sin, does not have wants and wishes. Wants and wishes are in fact the product of lobha and since lobha has been uprooted there can be no occasion for them to arise. This is a reiteration which seemed to be called for when the Buddha addressed His sermon to devas and brahmās.
The last line of the gāthā, the refrain, says, as usual, that the bhikkhu who has no attachment lives properly in this world.
May the audience understand the anusaya and the sins explained in this gāthā of the Sutta and work for attainment of Nibbāna in the shortest possible time.
Sādhu! Sādhu! Sādhu!
End of Part X
Today, the 8th waning day of Pyatho, we are going to explain the 12th gātā of the Sutta.
Answer Number Eleven
sabbaṃ rāgapathaṃ upativatto.
Danto parinibbuto thitatto,
sammā so loke paribbajeyya.
The bhikkhu in whom all asava are absent, and who has rejected the nine kinds of māna, has overcome through meditational insight all the essential conditions which are like roads for desires and lust.
REJECTION OF ĀSAVA
Āsava means that which flow. There are four kinds of āsava, namely, (1) Kāmāsava, (2) Bhavāsava, (3) Diṭṭhāsava and (4) Avijjāsava. Kāmāsava is the flowing of desires and lust from the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind, seeing and sight, hearing and sound, smelling and smell, tongue and taste, body and touch, mind and though, imagination and ideas from all of these flow desires, lust.
All āsavas are kilesās. Flowing out of lust, desires and sensuality is kāmāsava. Delight in living the life is bhavāsava. Wrong beliefs, such as thinking of impermanent as permanent, suffering as pleasure and absence of self a presence of self is avijjāsava. We all must strive to dry up these flowings, and how to do it is as you all know full well; that is, by means of meditation.
If one becomes a sotāpanna, one rejects the obvious kinds of kāmāsava, such as, adultery and fornication, theft, telling lies and taking liquor and narcotics. He has rejected wrong beliefs. And whatever of moha that would drag one down to hell, too.
Further, rejection in these areas is effected by the sakadāgāmi. When one reaches the stage of an anāgāmi one is fully rid of kāmāsava, but he still has a liking for bhava (existence) either corporeal or incorporeal. That is why anāgams usually pass on from human or deva existences to corporeal and incorporeal brahmā regions. He has not rid himself of bhavāsava. Only on attaining the state of an arahanta does one rid himself completely of bhavāsava and avijjāsava. All lobha, dosa and moha are dried up then.
NO ĀSAVA, NO MĀNA
When one is clean of āsava one becomes an arahanta. And an arahanta has already rid him-self of māna. Māna means pride or conceit, and it is of nine categories. There is conceit in high esteem for oneself, in thinking of oneself as an equal to others, and also in thinking a superior to others or thinking that one is inferior to others. These three categories of conceit prevail in the higher, middle and lower strata of society. So there are nine categories of conceit. The arahanta has none.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HUMILITY AND BASE PRIDE
Now, the question may be raised about the pride regarding the thought that one is inferior to others. Can it be called conceit? To think lowly of oneself must be humility, you'd say. It is not humility. It is not taking a humble position in deference to others. It is a vicious pride shown by insolent behaviour toward those higher and nobler than oneself. It is competing with the noble ones. It's like this. "We are ordinary monks, so we can behave as we like. We need not keep dignity as those senior monks do." In the same way among laymen, the attitude and behaviour denoting, "We are lower rankers. We can do as we wish to; we need not keep up dignity like those higher officials and rich men". This is pride indeed; it is what may be called base pride. Such pride is called in Pāḷi, hina māna. Pride with equals is sadisa māna. Pride of superiority is seyya māna.
TRUE PRIDE AND FALSE PRIDE
If one thinks highly of himself because he deserves high esteem, he is said to have yāthāva māna (true pride). If one does not deserve the esteem, he claims, then he is said to have false pride, or a-yāthāva māna. When one has become a sotāpanna, one has got rid of false pride but true pride remains. It remains with sakadāgaṃ too, and even with anāgaṃ. True pride leaves one only on attaining the state of an arahanta. So when one has become an arahanta, one is completely rid of all the nine categories of pride. This and the other about the riddance of āsava are the attributes of an arahanta. The following two lines also describe the attributes of an arahanta. This sermon contains so many of the attributes of an arahanta.
THE PATH OF RĀGA
The next line in the stanza refers to rāgapatha, the path of rāga. All conditioned things are like the path for progress of rāga. In other words, all the things in sensual, corporeal and incorporeal regions that proliferate upādāna or attachment, are the path of rāga. Simply said, all the secular life which is apart from Nibbāna, or the life-producing misery (Dukkha Saccā), the constant flux of life, contributes to the occurrence of rāga. It must be overcome.
TO APPROACH AND OVERCOME
All conditioned things, all the factors of misery that are in the flux of physical and mental phenomena must be approached with meditational insight and then overcome. As the insight develops, the yogī will know matter and mind separately, cause and effect separately and the transitoriness of the pheonmena. Then the yogī will be able to overcome the changing flux, the conditioned things, by knowing the anicca, dukkha and anatta nature. Such overcoming is in fact, tadaṅga pahāna or momentary abandoning.
As meditational insight develops, one reaches the stage of sotāpanna magga phala, and abandons all the rāga that could drag one down to hell. The abandonment continues through anāgāmi to arahatta magga insight, and all rāgas are overcome.
The attributes of an arahanta enumerated so far are riddance of asava, and overcoming of rāga. The third line of the stanza says that an arahanta adopts a gentle and serene attitude, and because in him is totally absent all kinds of kilesā, his mind is stable.
MUST ABANDON WILDNESS AND HAVE SERENITY
To have acquired serenity is to be entirely free of all the wild elements that constituting kilesā. Physical and speech sins must be wiped out by sīla (moral practice). Sensual thoughts and ideas must be expelled by samādhi (concentration). Some wild elements remain however, in the form of anusaya kilesā, the innate kind and must be done away with by vipassanā and ariya magga insight. Once the arahatta magga phala stage is reached, all the wild elements that are in kilesā, will have been expelled and serenity is gained. And that also is an attribute of an arahanta.
Then the other attribute is stability of the mind. It denotes peace resulting from riddance of all kilesā. Stability of the mind can be achieved by ordinary sāmādhi and jhāna samādhi but in this context stability of the mind means the state of the mind of an arahanta who knows peace as a result of abandonment of all kilesā. An arahanta's mind is stable all the time; there is no difference between the time he is engaged in jhāna and the time when he is not. He can be engaged in jhāna for the entire day or for the entire week.
The last line of the gāthā says, as usual, that the bhikkhu who has abandoned all attachment lives properly in this world.
This gāthā directs the yogīs to strive to attain the state when in them are absent all the categories of kilesā. May they be able to work in the meditation prictice to gain magga phala insight and thus reach the ultimate state of Nibbāna.
Sādhu! Sādhu! Sādhu!
End of Part XI
Today, the new moon day of Pyatho, we are going to explain the 13th gāthā of the Sutta.
Answer Number Twelve
Sadho sutavā niyāmadassi,
vaggagatesu na vaggasāri dhiro.
Lobhaṃ dosaṃ vineyya patigaṃ,
sammā so loke paribbājeyya.
The bhikkhu having been full of faith and conviction and also full of knowledge, finds ariya magga as inviolable doctrine.
MUST HAVE FAITH AND CONVICTION
Faith is generally traditional, that is, one embraces faith in a particular religion because one's parents have been doing so. That is quite good. Buddhist parents have taught their children since childhood to have faith in the true Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha. They have taught them to worship the Buddha and Sangha and also to recite "Buddhaṃ saranaṃ gacchāmi" etc. That is why Buddhist children have learnt about the attributes of the Buddha, Dhamma and the Sangha quite early. These young people have also faith in the Three Gems, and thus they have taken refuge in them. So far so good. Because having faith and taking refuge in the Buddha, the Dhamma and Sangha can save them from hell. In the introduction to "Mahā samaya Sutta" a Brahmā said to the Buddha thus:
Ye kesi Buddhaṃ saranaṃ gatāse,
na te gamissanti apāyabhumim.
Pahāya manusaṃ dehaṃ,
The Brahmā said: "Innumerable people who adore the Buddha do not go to hell. When they die as human beings, they become devas, thus increasing the deva population.
If one adores the Buddha, it follows that he adores the Dhamma and Sangha, too. Those who have faith and take refuge in the three Gems are saved from hell.
Now, Buddhist children will be saved from hell and will get to the celestial world because they have learnt to gain merit by having faith and taking refuge in the three Gems. They will be gaining merit for their reverence to the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha. So I say it is quite good to be traditionally taught to believe in Buddhism. As these children grow up, they will have many occasions to listen to sermons and discourses of good teachers and also to read dhamma books. They will then probably have greater faith. Ordinary faith is called pasāda saddhā, and faith born of conviction is called Okappana saddhā. Of course, the latter is more stable.
But these two kinds of saddhā are not enough. One must be full of avecca-pasāda saddhā which means that one must know the Dhamma well enough to be thoroughly convinced. That kind of firm faith is entertained at least by the sotāpanna. The conviction must develop with the prictice of vipassanā where in the yogīs must know matter and mind separately. He must say to himself, "The Buddha said that there are only matter and mind, there is no person or being. That is true indeed." Then his faith will become really firm. When he comes to realise the anicca, dukkha and anatta nature by his own insight, his faith will become much firmer. When he gains insight into the rise and fall of the phenomena (udayabbaya ñāṇa), the force of his faith becomes great. But he must go on acquiring greater insight through meditation until he reaches the final stage, ariya magga ñäṇa. Then only will his faith be full and firm. Then and then only will he find the Buddha who led him the way.
"The one who sees the Dhamma, see me," said the Buddha, in the gāthā. As one thus sees the Buddhas, one's faith in Him is profound.
MUST BE FULL OF KNOWLEDGE
Then, the bhikkhu must be full of knowledge. The term suta relates to hearing; it is not followed directly by seeing. There are two kinds of suta namely āgama suta, this is knowledge gained from hearing the Buddha's sermons, and adhigama suta, that is knowledge gained from one's experience. The latter may be called seeing. So suta means knowledge gained from hearing and seeing. It is good to learn all the three Pīṭaka scriptures, but if one has learnt the instructions for working to gain sīla, samādhi and paññā, it is enough. The commentaries say it is enough to have learnt just one gāthā.
As regards āgama suta, knowledge gained from seeing, one has to acquire knowledge through meditational observation. One must aim to acquire the four insights of ariya magga ñāṇa. One must thus be full of such spiritual knowledge.
ARIYA MAGGA IS CALLED NIYĀMA
Once one has acquired spiritual adhigama suta, one has come to realise niyāma, or the ultimate truth; that is one has achieved ariya magga. Niyāma means fixed truth knowing the anicca, dukkha and anatta nature is knowing the fixed truth. It is certain that one will gain the benefit of ariya phala. That is why ariya magga the four of them, viz, sotāpatti magga, sakadāgāmi magga, anāgāmi magga and arahatta magga all together is called niyāma.
MUST BE FREE OF WRONG BELIEFS
The beliefs that are different from the true belief are, briefly, sassata diṭṭihi and uccheca diṭṭhi. The belief that atta or soul is indestructible is of the first kind, and the belief that nothing is left after death is of the second. In this world, people are disunited because of their differing beliefs. The bhikkhu subscribes to none of the differing wrong beliefs. When one reaches the sotāpatti magga, one dispels all wrong beliefs.
MUST BE FREE OF LOBHA, ETC
We have often talked about the rejection of lobha and dosa. Paṭigaha is synonymous with dosa. The repetition in this line of the gā thā is mere reiteration. Paṭigha is explained in Abhidhamma Aṭṭhakathā commentary as "a violent feeling." Hence the mention here of paṭigha alongside dosa.
The last line of the gāthā is the refrain about the unattached bhikkhu living properly in the world.
May this audience work hard to be able to reject lobha, dosa and paṭigha acquire magga-phala insight speedily.
Sādhu! Sādhu! Sādhu!
End of Part XII
Today is 8th waxing day of Tabodwe. I am going to Mawlamyaing on the first waxing day of this month. I will return only on the first waxing day of next month, Tabaung. Four more gāthās remain of this Sammā pribbājaniya Sutta. I want to finish it before I leave for Mawlamyaing. So today I am going to give you a discourse on 14th and 15th gāthās.
Answer Number Thirteen
dhammesu vasï pāragu anejo.
sammā so loke paribbājeyya.
The bhikkhu has conquered the enemy kilesā with arahatta magga which is the purest, and has also been free of the three vaṭṭas and all the coverings.
Arahatta magga is the cleanest and purest of all magga or paths. With this the dangers and menace of kilesā are overcome. The bhikkhu has also been clear of the three vattas, namely, kilesä vatta, kamma vatta and vipāka vatta. He has also been rid of such coverings as rāga, dosa, moha, māna; dhṭṭhi, avijjā and duccarita.
All the four ariya maggas are clean and pure, and of them arahatta magga has completely discarded all kilesās and is therefore the cleanest. The bhikkhu who has conquered kilesā with arahatta magga is of course an arahanta. Since he has conquered all kilesās, he is rid of kilesā vaṭṭa, or kilesā vipāka, meaning consequences of kilesā. When this vaṭṭa has been rid of, most of kamma and vipāka vaṭṭa go with it. Then the coverings and hindrances such as rāga, dosa and others are also cleared. Duccarita or bad deed, can prevent the doer from getting to higher regions of existence, so it is included among the impediment. Duccarita is got rid of when the entire category of kilesā has been abandoned.
The next line says, the bhikkhu has accomplished the dhamma. What kind of dhamma? The commentary says that it is the four Noble Truths. Other interpretations say that it is the accomplishment of jhanā-samāpatti and phala-samāpatti. That is to say that the bhikkhu can enter upon meditation and concentration (jhāna) and upon the fruition of the Path phala.
The next two lines say that the bhikkhu reaches the other shore and is free of taṇhā which is usually of agitating nature.
The constant flux of life in the body is called samsāra. The existence of nāma-rūpa khandhā or aggregates which condition the appearance of life in any from is taken as "this shore" and the non existence of aggregates is taken as "the other shore". So long as kilesā prevails, there will be nāma-rūpa khandhā, and that being concerned will be adrift in the unending stream of samsāra. If, with the aid of arahatta magga insight, one attains the stage of Nibbāna, one is said to have reached "the other shore". Taṇhā is lust for all pleasurable sensations, and so it is always in a state of agitation. Agitation is jo, so an arahantä is called anejo, one who is free of agitation.
The attributes of an arahanta are according to this gāthā three, namely, dhammesu vasi, one who has full knowledge of the dhamma; pāragu one who has reached "the other shore"; and anejo, one who is free of agitation.
The third lines says, the bhikkhu has in him saṅkhāranirodha ñāṇakusala, meaning insight which sees Nibbāna which is the cessation of all the conditioned things.
This insight is the four ariya magga insights, progressing to the fourth and final arahantta magga ñāṇa. The commentary say that the bhikkhu has accomplished ariya magga ñäṇa, and that is because he has realised the four insights. Each magga ñāṇa occurs once at a time, and so the bhikkhu has expert knowledge of each of the four as it occurs to him.
In this gāthā, the attribute of conquest of kilesā with arahatta magga ñāṇa; the attribute of being free of the three vipākas and hindrances of kilesā; the attribute of having reached "the other shore"; the attribute of being free of agitation owing to taṇhā; and the attribute of full knowledge of Nibbāna, which is the cessation of all conditioned things, are given. They are all the attributes of an arahanta.
How to strive for attainment of these attributes has been explained in the discourses on the earlier gāthā. It is for you to make an effort.
That last line of the gāthā, the refrain, is that the bhikkhu who has abandoned all attachments lives properly in this world.
Now we will go on to the 15th gāthā.
Atitesu anagātesu cäpi,
sammā so loke paribbājeyya.
The bhikkhu has overcome the habit of thinking of the past and of the future.
He must be free of thoughts about the past and the future. The conditioned things that occurred in the past are the past. The bhikkhu must abandon all attachment to the actions of matter and mind that have occurred in the past. Such attachment is due to the wrong belief that the five aggregates are Self (I, myself, mine). The actions in the past existence is not known, so they are not dwelt upon. But there are some who think "I" existed before in the past life, and now "I" have come to live the present life. However, people generally think more about the past within this existence.
People think of their childhood days and remember what they "themselves" did in the way of seeing, hearing, smelling, eating, touching and thinking. They often think of the actions of immediate past. Such thoughts, owing to attachment are called kappa. It is necessary to abandon them.
The future is what will happen at a later time during this life. Thoughts, about the future are also due to attachment to nāma-rūpa. Some people hope to become rich in the future. So also they hope that they will be better off in their future existence. The bhikkhu must abandon such thoughts.
It may be asked whether or not one should think of the present with attachment. The answer is that such thoughts must also be overcome. Reference to the past and the future includes an indication to the present. The Pāḷi version admits of such an inference. For instance, if we say in Pāḷi, "We adore the Buddha. We adore the Dhamma", we mean to say that we adore the Sangha, too. Minding the present actions in the meditational practice is, in effect, precluding thoughts, with attachment, of the present. When one is into meditation there will be no chance for such thoughts to occur.
If, one knows, in the course of mindfulness, that what has occurred is impermanent, that what is happening and fading out is instability which means dukkha, or misery, and that these actions are automatic and uncontrollable, which means anatta, then selfish thoughts about the present will have no chance to occur. In the same manner, thoughts about the past and the future will have no chance to occur. They will be rejected, if for a moment, through meditation, and that is overcoming them by tadaṅga pahāna (momentary abandonment). When one has developed ariya magga insight, one will progress through the three stages to the final state of arahatta magga ñāṇa. Once one has overcome these thoughts which are, in fact, stray and random, then one has gained the clearest insight.
The third lines says that the bhikkhu has overcome the twelve āyatana (sense organs). As this means that the bhikkhu must overcome attachment owing to sense organs and sense objects, it is the same as overcoming thoughts about the past, the present and the future.
Āyatana is the cause for occurrence of sense. Sense of seeing depends upon the eye and the sight. The latter two are āyatana. So are ear and hearing, nose and smelling, tongue and taste, body and touch, and mind and thought or fancy. They all bring about sense or knowledge of feeling. In the case of body and touch, it is the tactile feeling of roughness and smoothness which is pathavī contact, of cold and warmth, which is tejo contact, and the tautness, the push back and forth and other kinetic actions are vāyo contact. The yogī making a note of the rise and fall of the abdomen will note the action of vāyo. All these sense organs and sense objects, altogether twelve, are āyatana. They must be overcome.
How to overcome them, how to be free of them? You must abandon, and escape from, attachment due to taking these āyatanas to be your own. You must escape from the attachment due to revelling in the senses. This escape or abandonment can be achieved through meditation. By the process of momentary abandonment one can reject all the kilesā emanating from āyatana, and eventually uproot all the kilesā. This also is an attribute of an arahanta.
The last line of the gāthā is the refrain, as usual, meaning that the bhikkhu who has no attachment whatsoever lives properly in this world.
ĀYATANA REVEALED IN MEDITATION
The yogī here will certainly see clearly the āyatana as they are making a constant note of the flux of phenomena. While seeing, one knows clearly of the eye and the sight, that is cakkhāyatana and rupāyatana respectively. And also the sense occurring in the mind or manāyatana is quite obvious. These three āyatanas are obvious while seeing. Sometimes contact from seeing, or phassa; reaction to the sight, or vedanā; cognition of sight, or taking into the mind of the sight, called manasikāra; making an effort to see, or intention is called cetana; these are all obvious. Cognition of the sight is saññā. Phassa, vedanā, saññā, cetanā and manasikāra are all dhhmmāyatana. In this way, while seeing, four āyatanas are revealed. So also while hearing, smelling, eating, touching, four āyatanas are revealed in each case. As for thinking or speculating, it is manāyatana, if known sub-consciously, it is manāyatana, too. Thinking, speculating or knowing as such is dhammāyatana. So in thinking or speculating or knowing subconsciously there are only two āyatanas.
The yogī who has been making a note of the phenomena is seeing the āyatana. When one's samādhi is developed through meditation one sees āyatana appear and disappear quickly and so one can contemplate upon the anicca, dukkha and anatta nature of it. Therefore, by the process of momentary abandonment one can see the truth about destruction of the phenomena and come to the final stage of ariya magga.
May the yogīs of this meditation centre be able to abandon the twelve āyatanas and arrive at the state of Nibbāna after gaining magga-phala insight.
Sādhu! Sādhu! Sādhu!
End of Part XIII
Today is the full moon day of the month of Tabodwe, 1338 M.E. As we are going to Mawlamyaing tomorrow, I will finish up with the discourse on "Sammā Paribbājaniya Sutta" today. The 17th and last gāthā is the thanks giving of the Nimmita Buddha, the surrogate Buddha. Now we will deal with the 16th gāthā.
Aññāya padaṃ samecca dhammaṃ,
vivataṃ disvāna pahānamāsavānaṃ.
sammā so loke paribbājeyya.
The bhikkhu has known the four Noble Truths one by one and knows them all at once when he has acquired the final ariya magga insight. One can never acquire all the four at once: One has to graduate to the final stage, and when one has reached the final, all the four Truths are revealed to him in his own insight.
LEARNING TO KNOW EACH TRUTH
Five Paṭivedas. The person who is going into meditation can have attachment because of taṇhā, wrong belief because of attachment to sensorial aggregates which is taken as self. These aggregates are collectively called upādānakkhandhā (factors of clinging to existence).
These factors are constantly changing, and that unstable condition makes for dukkha. This is Dukkha Sacca, the Truth about misery. There is an attachment to these factors of misery, and that is Samudaya Sacca, the Truth about attachment. In this way, one must learn about the four Noble Truths from a teacher. The knowledge acquired from learning is called Uggaha-Paṭiveda. Learning after further questions and inquiries is called Paripuccha Pativedā. Learning by listening is called Savana Paṭiveda. Learning to know the Truths about misery and attachment through meditation is called Sammasana Paṭiveda.
Before achieving the ariya magga insight, one must learn by applying the methods mentioned above. Even here, learning can be done for knowing only one Truth at a time. So also the other two Truths, Nirodha Saccā and Magga Saccā can be learnt only separately. And that knowledge is acquired only by the first four methods, and not by Sammasana Paṭiveda or by the meditation method.
The listen-and-learn method can be illustrated thus: "Nirodha is the cessation of all the physical and mental elements. and such a state spells peace of the most adorable kind. And Magga Sacca is the Path to that state, and is also the most desirable." The listening learner then learns to appreciate this, and his or her mind is inclined toward that most adorable state attainable by the most desirable Path. Even by this method, one can know only one Truth at each time.
KNOWING SIMULTANEOUSLY THE FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS
The moment one has acquired the ariya-magga, one knows all the four Noble Truths simultaneously. That is to say that when one has seen the light of Nibbāna through the achievement of Nirodha Saccā, one knows Dukkha Saccā and Samudaya Saccā.
Knowing the truth about misery and abandoning attachment after knowing about the true nature of attachment, one achieves what is known as pahāna paṭiveda (attainment of rejection). As Magga Saccā is in oneself, that is, one is practising meditation, one is said to have achieved bhāvanāpaṭiveda (attainment of meditation). It is clear now that by means of the ariya-magga insight, one knows all the four Noble Truths. In other words, after one has come to know the three saccās, thas is, dukkha, samudaya and magga, and thus know, reject and develop where need be one comes to realise Nirodha Saccā, the truth about the cessation.
To reiterate, one does not know the four Noble Truths all at once when one is learning or doing meditation work. It is only after realisation of the fourth, Nirodhā Saccā that one knows of the four simultaneously.
Of the four, dukkha and samudaya succā are within the three vattas whereas magga and Nirodha are on the outside. The latter two do not need vipassanā meditation.
Only the former two need it. In the commentaries it is said clearly that in the case of Dukkha Saccā and Samudaya Saccā there is the need for vipassanā meditation but in the case of Magga and Nirodha Saccā, there is no such need. Therefore, one who wishes to attain Nibbāna, and has been constantly making a note of the phenomena as they occur and fade out knows Dukkha Saccä and Samudaya Saccā separately, and in the meantime, as his mind is inclined toward attainment of magga insight and Nibbāna, he is knowing Magga Saccā and Nirodha saccā separately.
When the vipassanā insight develops and the stage of the saṅkhārupekkhā insight is reached, and as it develops further, one sees the light of Nibbāna when the cessation of all conditioned things happens. The moment one reaches this state, one knows all the four Noble Truths simultaneously.
The bhikkhu knows the Truth separately before realising the last Truth, and then he sees all the four together.
The second line of the gāthā says that the bhikkhu is free of all the āsava and realises the stage of Nibbāna. Then all the four upādhi ceases in him and he is clear of all attachment. Upādhi means something that is inherent, or permanently attached. What are the four of them? They are misery occurring in the body and in the mind, the consequences of one's action and the conditioned things.
When there is the body, there are various kinds of misery attached to it. All the kilesā, kāmaguṇa (sensual pleasure), and the actions, good or bad generate misery. There is a complete abandonment of these in the case of the bhikkhu who has already realised the ultimate Truth.
Then the refrain, which says, as usual, that the bhikkhu who has abandoned all attachment lives properly in this world.
Now the fifteen gāthās, from the second to the sixteenth are the Buddha's answer to the first gāthā which is the question put to Him by Nimmita Buddha, the surrogate Buddha. After the sixteenth and final gāthā, the Buddha's answer was complete. Now, in the 17th, Nimmita Buddha praised the Buddha, and thanked Him. This thanks giving stanza is as follows:
Nimmita Buddha's Thanksgiving
Addhā hi Bhagavā tatheva etaṃ,
yo so evamvihāri danto bhikkhu.
sammā so loke paribbājeyya.
"Most illustrious Buddha, all your answers are correct. The bhikkhu who acts according to your answers contained in these gāthās, will be free of the wild kilesā and be gentle and serene. He will have overcome all saṃyojana and yoga."
TEN SAº YOJANAS
Saṃyojanas are the fetters that bind one from escaping from the samsāra. Overcoming these saṃyojanas means not letting them occur; to be free of them. There are ten kinds of saṃyojanas.
(1) Kämarāga saṃyojana, revelling in sensual pleasure. The person who has this kind of saṃyojana has to be back to kāma-bhava (the sphere dominated by pleasures) even after he has reached the higher regions of rūpa-brahmā bhava or arūpa brahmā bhava because kāma-rāga saṃyojana pulls him down and fetters him there.
(2) Bhava-rāga saṃyojana, attachment to the state of existence. The person who has this saṃyojana does not want cessation of existence. He enjoys being in existence. Such a person will not be able to realise Nibbāna which is the cessation of existences.
(3) Paṭiga saṃyojana, anger and malice for persons or things not wanted by the person concerned. Such a person feels miserable whenever he come across unpleasant and undesirable things.
(4) Māna saṃyojana, conceit. The person who has this saṃyojana thinks highly of himself whether there are reasons or not for such self-esteem.
(5) Diṭṭhi saṃyojana, having a wrong belief by thinking that there is self. Such a person entertains wrong notions that there is no kamma action which has any effect.
(6) Vicikicchā saṃyojana, being assailed by doubts. Such a person is always in doubt about the truth.
(7) Sīlabbata saṃyojana, going in for wrong religious practices under the wrong impression that they will produce good results. The person who has diṭṭhi, vicikicchā and sīlabbata saṃyojana is not safe from hell. Although he may be in good upper regions because of his deeds, he is likely to go down to hell.
(8) Issā saṃyojana, envy. Such a person has no good wishes for people who are prosperous.
(9) Macchariya saṃyojana, jealousy. Such a person would like the possessions, rights and persons that are his own not to be connected in any way with others.
(10) Avijjā saṃyojana, wrong belief. So long as a person is not free from this fetter he will never escape from samsāra.
The bhikkhu is, of course, free of all these saṃyojanas.
Then there are four yogas, or bonds which the bhikkhu has already overcome. They are: (1) Kamāyoga; (2) Bhavayoga; (3) Diṭṭhi-yoga; and (4) Avijjā-yoga. These bonds are the same as the fetters (saṃyojana) described in the foregoing paragraphs. So the bhikkhu has been free of all the fetters and bonds.
The Buddha's answers are all correct.
The one who acts accordingly lives well and serenely.
He is free of yogā and saṃyojana completely.
The last line of the gāthā, the refrain, says: So he lives properly in this world.
The 17th gāthā has now been explained, and the discourse on Sammā Paribbājaniya Sutta has come to an end.
BENEFIT FROM LISTENING TO THE SERMON
The benefit accruing from attending this sermon session is described in Sutta-nipāta Commentary thus:
"On conclusion of the sermon, one hundred thousand crores of devās and brahmās reached the state of arahatta phala. Those who reached the stages of sotāpatti-magga phala, sakadāgāmi-magga-phala and anāgami-magga-phala were in-numerable.
One hundred thousand crores of arahantas.
The devas and brahmās who attended the sermon session of this Sammā Paribbājaniya Sutta attain various stages of enlightenment in such staggering numbers. That is amazing. The reason is that this sermon is difficult to comprehend. Even a long discourse on each of the gāthā does not make it easy to understand. These devas and brahmās who comprehended the sermon and received enlightenment were endowed with pārami.
Pāramī (perfection) is none other than listening and learning and practising meditation. If the persons now in this practice have not acquired pāramī yet in this life-time, they will acquire it in their second, or third, or some subsequent lifetime by continuing the practice. If, one gets to the celestial region, one will be able to attend sermon sessions conducted by celestial religious lectures in the world of brahmās.
CHANCE OF IMMEDIATE ENLIGHTENMENT IN CELESIAL WORLD
If One becomes a deva, one's body will be clean and clear, and one's intelligence will be equally clear and sharp. One can remember one's religious practice in the previous existence, and would possibly gain an immediate enlightenment. So the Buddha said:
"Dandho bhikkhave satuppādo, athakho
so satto khippameva visesabhāgi hoti."
"Bhikkhus, memory of the religious practice during the past lifetime may be slow to come, but once it comes, it quickly makes for enlightenment of the person concerned."
When one gets to the world of devas, one may be conversing with other devas and making friends with them, and so one may not chance to recapitulate the past lifetime for quite some time. So there may be a delay, but once one gives time to recalling the past, one will remember one's efforts in the religious practice during one's lifetime of the previous existence. Then one will immediately gain enlightenment of the Dhamma and reach the ultimate goal of Nibbāna.
Therefore, those who are now in the practice of Dhamma will gain enlightenment during this lifetime, if conditions are favourable. Otherwise, one will certainly achieve enlightenment in their second or third existence. It is for you all to work unhesitatingly according to the exposition in this Sutta. May the audience be able to work for the attainment of Nibbāna as expeditiously as possible.
Sādhu! Sādhu! Sādhu!
End of the discourse on
SAMMĀ PARIBBĀJANIYA SUTTA