Chapter 04: Speech : Delivered to Phra Rajsuddhinanamongkol
The Supreme Patriarch
I would like to rejoice with Chao Khun Phra Ra-jsuddhin~a-n.amangala and righteous followers who are disciples of Wat Ambavana, in the occasion that Chao Khun and his disciples of Wat Ambavana have donated suitable present for the amount of 250,000 baht, to participate in the construction of temple in the United State of America, contemplated on the 3rd of October 1993.
Chao Khun Phra Ra-jsuddhin~a-n.amangala has a reputation of having right conducts and has, for a long time, taught righteous people, all Buddhist communions in the ordained and the laity side to have right conducts according to the principle of meditation practice tasks, which are tranquility meditation and insight meditation. These tasks can also be called the principle of the Threefold Training, which is training in higher morality, training in higher mentality and training in higher wisdom, for vimutti (salvation) according to the Buddha’s teaching.
He also leads the making of all merits and donations, such as leading this donation which is one way of making merit.
Thus, Chao Khun is reputed as being beneficial, both as being his own benefit and being benefit to others, for a long time.
The ways of making merit in Buddhism can be summarized into what are widely known. It is the making merit by donation, morality or meditation, which are tranquility and insight meditation, in order to attain vimutti according to the Buddha’s teaching.
In this way, the person who makes merit according to the Buddha’s teaching and leads others to do so can be considered making merit, which is the name of happiness. This can be quoted from the Buddha’s sayings:
“Monks, do not be afraid of merit at all. Merit is the name of happiness.”
For this reason, the Buddha taught us to learn, that is to study and to put into practice this making of merit in many ways, so as to create happiness, like what we are doing by making donations, observing the Precepts, practicing tranquility meditation or insight meditation, in order to attain vimutti as aforementioned. I would like to congratulate you on those.
One way among others, the Buddha taught us to practise a-na-pa-nasati (mindfulness on breathing), which is the meindfulness in contemplating one’s and other’s in and out-breath, especially one’s own because every one has in and outbreath naturally.
Contemplation of in and out-breath is not difficult to do. It is easy. Even in the major sutta (discourse) which is Maha- satipat.t.ha-na sutta (the major discourse concerning foundations of mindfulness), the Buddha explained about a-na-panasati (mindfulness on breathing) as the first point.
He also referred to a-na-pa-nasati in his other teachings, regarding the possible practice methods, which are ka-ya-nupassana- – body contemplation, vedana-nupassana- – feelings contemplation, citta-nupassana- – mind contemplation and dhamma-nupassana- – contemplation on mind-objects. All of us must have studied and practiced those to a certain degree.
According to the Buddha’s teaching, practising foundations of mindfulness gains a lot of benefits. It leads to the attainment of purity, to the overcoming of sorrow and lamentation, to the cessation of pain and grief, to the entering of the right path, which has to be attained step by step until Nibba-na.
Therefore, a-na-pa-nasati is the first point that the Buddha taught in the major discourse as aforementioned because every one can practice without difficulty. Just set mindfulness in contemplating one’s own breath and follow the teaching. a person can practise from the Four Foundations of Mindfulness right through to the seven Constituents of Enlightenment.
For this reason, the in and out-breath is the important carrier or carriage that can really take one to the cessation of suffering according to what the Buddha taught.
Even according to the Buddha’s life-story, when the Buddha went for the Great Renunciation in search of mokkhadhamma (salvation), he endeavoured to practise in the same method that hermits and ascetics were practising at the time.
This included the self-mortification practice which was very popular in those days. Despite all endeavours he could not be enlightened as he had wished for. Thus, he stopped such practice. Then he recalled the meditation attained while he was a princeling, following his royal father to the Royal First Ploughing Ceremony. While his royal father was performing the Ceremony, the Buddha (at that time was Prince Siddhattha) contemplated on his own in and out-breath. He attained the meditation, which was identified as the first jhana (state of serene contemplation). But that meditation level deteriorated.
Once he recalled the meditation attained while he was a young prince through in and out-breath, he realized that contemplation of in and out-breath would be the way leading to mokkhadhamma – the state of being free from sufferring as he wished. Therefore, he trained himself on anapanasati (mindfulness on breathing) until he attained the result of his practice step by step upto high level of meditation. Then he attained the insight wisdom step by step upto asavakkhayan~a-n.a – knowledge of the cessation of all defilement.
It, therefore, could be said that after searching for extrinsic teachers and many practice methods, he could not attain mokkhadhamma. So, he used the method that he had found, or, being his own teacher. He undertook to practise a-na-pa-nasati (mindfulness on breathing). That led him to attain high level of meditation. He then bent that meditation to attain wisdom and enlightenment. So, he attained insight wisdom step by step upto a-savakkhayan~a-n.a – knowledge of the cessation of mental intoxication. The birth had ended. There would be no more new state of existence.
So, he was contented that he had attained the enlightenment of the supreme knowledge and had become the Buddha – the righteously enlightened by himself, thus. So, he disseminated the doctrine and regulated the discipline, established Buddhism in the world, until this day. Buddhist communions in the present days are comprised of monks, novices, male and female followers. All of us are considered fortunate to have been born and met with Buddhism. Although we cannot meet the Buddha in person, but once we have met Buddhism, we can practise until we see him. That is practise until we see the doctrine. He said,
Whoever sees the dhamma sees me.
Whoever sees me sees the dhamma.
In seeing dhamma, it starts from dhammacakkhu which is the Eye of Wisdom, like when Venerable Kon.dan~n~a obtained after listening to the First Sermon. The Eye of Wisdom that Ven. Kon.dan~n~a had seen was described at the end of the discourse as follows.
Yam. kin~ci samudayadhammam. – Anything which normally arises. Sabbantam. nirodhadhammam. -Those things would normally cease.
This means that he has seen all things which is called san.kha-ra or compounded things. This includes upa-dinnaka san.kha-ra – the compounded things governed by view and anupa-dinnaka san.kha-ra – the compounded things not governed by view. Both have to cease as normal. All that has arisen must cease, thus.
This is the Eye of Wisdom attained by Ven. Kon.dan~n~a after listening to the First Sermon. The Buddha uttered the words.
An~n~a-si vata bho Kon.dan~n~a – Kon.dan~n~a has perceived, thus. An~n~a-si vata bho Kon.dan~n~a – Kon.dan~n~a has perceived, thus.
That was why his name was added to be ‘An~n~a- Kon.dan~n~a’, which he has been called until now.
All of us are fortunate to have been born in time to meet Buddhism, which is like meeting the Buddha, because meeting Buddhism is like listening to his preaching. Practising his preaching causes happiness. All of us can attain four types of happiness according to the Buddha’s teaching.
1. Sukho Buddha-namuppa-do – The arising of a Buddha causes happiness. 2. Sukha- saddhammadesana- – The explication of the doctrine causes happiness.
3. Sukha- san.ghassa sa-maggi- – The unity of Sangha, which are a group of good practitioners, right practitioners and those who practise according to the Buddha’s teachings, causes happiness.
4. Samagga-nam. tapo sukho – Endeavour to do away with defilement of the united group of people cause happiness, thus.
The fourth point indicates the importance of practising Buddhism with effort. It is called ‘ a-ta-po ’, which means endeavour to do away with defilement. The practice according to Buddhism can be noted that all of the Buddha’s teachings either in the morality part, meditation part or wisdom part are tools to do away with defilement.
Morality is the tool to do away with coarse defilement, which is shown through malpractice corporeally, verbally and mentally.
Meditation is the tool to do away with less coarse defilement, which arises together with the mind.
Wisdom is the tool to do away with fine defilement right through to the asava anusaya level (underlying tendency of defilement).
In such a manner, morality, meditation and wisdom are practising points so as to do away with defilement, in order to attain vimutti or salvation.
Defilement comprises of greed, anger and ignorance. In a fine level it is called a-sava anusaya. In the less coarse level it is called pariyuttha-na kilesa. In the coarse level it is called vitikkama kilesa. All these burn the person’s mind.
If a person does not practise to do away with defilement, it will burn the mind of that person and destroy him instead. So, every one can see that it is better to practise in order to do away with defilement according to the Buddha’s teaching.
Otherwise, if there is no Buddhism, the Buddha has not arisen in the world, he has not taught, there is no san.gha who follow the doctrine and there is no dhamma practise by each person, then, defilement will burn down the world, or, all sentient beings in the world in general and individually, much more than what it is burning now.
But the Buddha has arisen in the world. He explicated the doctrine. There have been following practitioners, in group which are the San.gha and as an individual. For this reason, there are practitioners who practise to burn down defilement or to reduce its power. When defilement can be burned, it loses power, thus causing genuine happiness.
Thus, let us all think of the virtues of the Buddha, the dhamma and the san.gha as our objects of consciousness regularly that the happiness we received today stemmed from the Buddha’s teachings and the existence of san.gha who followed the teaching consecutively. Everybody who practises the teaching, is working on burning the defilement. That subdues the power of defilement somewhat. In this way, each person gains more or less happiness depending on the degree that he can do away with defilement.
When defilement intensifies, there will be turmoil like harming or inflicting injury to oneself, to each other from small to large scale. Many wars, or even World Wars, are caused by the explosion of defilement first.
When defilement has exploded, weapons explosion follows. There is a shooting, stabbing, slashing and harming each other causing a lot of death each time. It may not be the World War, just local wars. Although they are local wars, they destroy each other personally if defilement intensifies.
When defilement is subdued by the power of dhamma practice in morality, meditation and wisdom section, harming each other will be more or less subdued.
For this reason, Buddhism is very useful. The Buddha is beneficial to the world a great deal. Let us all recall the Buddha’s virtues which can be summarized as follows.
Buddho susuddho karun.a- maha-n.n.avo. Buddho: the Buddha is the Enlightened One. This shows his wisdom virtue. Susuddho: He is the purified one. This shows his purity virtue. Karun.a- mahan.n.avo: His compassion is like the ocean. This shows his compassion virtue.
So, wisdom virtue, purity virtue and compassion virtue are the summary of the Buddha’s virtues which is innumerable as stated in the following chanting verse.
Appama-n.o Buddho. The Buddha is innumerable.
Appama-n.o Dhammo. The Doctrine is innumerable.
Appama-n.o Sangho. The San.gha are innumerable.
This refers to innumerable virtues that make all of us live happily. Let us all practise what the Buddha has taught.
In a way, the doctrine taught by the Buddha has a general character of being what should be known and logical that the listener can follow the logic. He taught of the result of practice which will be rewarded to practitioners according to their practising level.
Regarding what should be known the Buddha preached about our body, which is one wah (two metres) long, one kueb (ten inches) thick with perception and mind.
As the Buddha talked to Rohitassa male deity that:-
The Buddha formalizes the world.
He formalizes loka samudaya – the cause of the world.
He formalizes loka nirodha – the cessation of the world.
He formalizes loka nirodha ga-mini- pat.ipada- – the path leading to attain the cessation of the world at every one’s body which is one wah long and one kueb thick.
In this way, the doctrine is like in the verse that we chant praising dhamma virtue, sandit.t.hiko – every one can see for himself and aka-liko – it is not comprised of time, for example.
Since the preaching is about every one’s body, every one can understand his preaching after contemplate on the doctrine in his own body, or at the name and form or the five aggregates.
If the Buddha has preached about things outside our body, every one may not be able to follow. But he has preached about thing inside our body every one can see. All base of the doctrine that he has taught it in every one’s body. Thus, it can be seen and practised, like the medical text book. All large and small medical text books are based on human’s body. The doctors cure disease at human’s body whereas the disease occur in human’s body. So, the medical text book is about human’s body.
But Buddhism is about human’s mind. Thus, the Buddha said that all dhamma has the mind as the leader. It can be achieved by the mind. So, mind is important. All dhamma that the Buddha has taught depends on the mind, body and speech of every one. But the mind is the important base.
The Buddha has taught about:-
Parin~n~a-tabba dhamma – the dhamma that should be realized.
Paha-tabba dhamma – the dhamma that should be discarded.
Sacchika-tabba dhamma – the dhamma that should be enlightened.
Bha-vetabba dhamma – the dhamma that should be nurtured in the mind.
The Buddha has taught us to observe morality corporeally, verbally and mentally. He has taught us to meditate using our mind. When wisdom arises, it stems from the mind. So, it is all in the mind of every one. Practice is actually practising body and mind according to the principle of morality, meditation and wisdom.
Take a-na-pa-nasati (mindfulness on breathing) which is explicated in the Four Foundations of Mindfulness as follows.
Ka-ya-nupassana- satipat.t.ha-na – Body contemplation
Vedana-nupassana- satipat.t.ha-na – Feelings contemplation
Citta-nupassana satipat.t.ha-na – Mind contemplation
Dhamma-nupassana- satipat.t.ha-na – Contemplation of Mind-objects.
A-na-pa-nasati is also explicated in other chapters like Bojjhan.ga (Constituents of enlightenment) for example. It has been aforementioned. We can practise according to the teaching. Beginning from retreating to the forest, bottom of tree, deserted house, which means staying in a quiet place wherever can be found to make quiet surrounding for the body. Once the body is in quiet surrounding you can practise for the quietness of mind. Then quietness of defilement can follow.
So, when you are in a quiet surrounding, bend your mind inside to contemplate on your own breath. Know when you breathe in and out. Then
1. Know when you in-breath and out-breath are long.
2. Know when your in-breath and out-breath are short.
3. Concentrate on the in and out-breath only.
4. Concentrate on the breath and restrain it.
As a matter of fact, when we contemplate on the in and out-breath, the mind will be more concentrated. It will be calm. When the mind is calm, body will also be calm. When body is calm, the in and out-breath will automatically be restrained. We do not have to force it.
When you meditate your mind is calm, your body is calm, your in and outbreath which is a kind of body, is also calm. When the concentration is more refined, the breath is more refined until you may feel as if you are not breathing. In fact, you are still breathing. It is just when your body is utmost calm your breath will be utmost calm as if not breathing. Do not be scared. This kind of contemplation is ana-pa-nasati (mindfulness on breathing) in the part called ka-ya-nupassanasatipat.t.ha-na (body contemplation).
Then contemplate on the feelings arising during practice.
1. Know when rapture arises.
2. Know when happiness arises.
3. Realize that rapture and happiness are mind formation.
4. Calm down the mind formation at your in and out breath.
This is the practice on vedana-nupassana-satipat.t.ha-na.
Then contemplate on the mind.
1. Identify the mind.
2. Identify the delight part of the mind.
3. Identify the mind that is stable.
4. Liberate the mind. When the mind is full of passion, anger and ignorance, when the mind is incoherent, stop it. Calm the mind again. Always liberate the mind from incoherence. This is citta-nupassana- satipat.t.ha-na (mind contemplation).
Then contemplate on impermanence which is wisdom itself. Contemplate on the five aggregates. Form and name are not permanent. Do this by contemplate that the in and out-breath are not permanent. The in and out-breath are form. Realisation of in and out-breath are name. So, you realize the form and name that are impermanent.
1. Know that name and form are impermanent.
2. The mind does not cling to body and mind. It is vira-ga (detachment).
3. Nirodha (cessation) arises. All thought, pleasure, love, hate, anger and ignorance cease.
4. You will be rid of defilement. The mind will be liberated from all gladness and sadness.
This is dhamma-nupassana- satipat.t.ha-na (contemplation on Mindobjects).
The combination of these practices is called four levels of mindfulness, with four points in each level. It is the a-na-pa-nasati (mindfulness on breathing) contemplating on 16 levels. This is a brief of what the Buddha has taught.
So, this principle can be practised by all righteous practitioners. It is beneficial for doing away with defilement according to the Buddha’s teaching.
Finally, I would like to rejoice with you all. May the power of merit you have made in term of donation, morality and meditation, protects every on of you. May you prosper in age, complexion, happiness and energy. May you be safe from suffering, sadness, harm and danger. May you achieve happiness and prosperity in the doctrine forever more.
Ratanattaya- nubha- vena Ratanattaya tejasa
Icchitam. patthitam. tumham. Khippameva samijjhatu
Sabbe purentu san.kappa- Cando pan.n.araso yatha-
Mani jotiraso yatha-
Sabbi- tiyo vivajjantu Sabbarogo vinassatu
Ma- te bhavatvantara- yo Sukhi- di-gha-yuko bhava
Abhiva- dana si-lisa Niccam. vuddha-paca-yino
Catta-ro dhamma- vaddhanti A-yu van.n.o sukham. balam
So sa- te atthaladdha sukhita- virulha- buddhasa-sane
Aroga- sukhita- hotha Saha sabbehi n~a- tibhi
Bhava tusabba man.galam. rakhantu subba devata
Sabba buddha- dhamma- sangha- nubha- vena sada- sotthi- bhavantu te
Credit: eBooks. Wat Amphawan.