Chapter 11: Four Foundations of Mindfulness – The Practical Method
May 4, 1989
The most important principle of vipassana meditation taught by the Buddha is to use mindfulness effectively. The principle is called the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, and it is the basis of vipassana meditation.
Meditators should know that the Four Foundations of Mindfulness consists of four principles:
The First Principle is mindfulness as regards the body. It means that you should observe body in the body. Body is just a body. There is no individual entity, no they or we. In order to observe body in body, you use your mindfulness and mind in observing your body, and are aware of your deportment: standing, walking, sitting and lying down. Observe and know your deportment, every physical movement- head turning, bending, stretching, etc. This is an elementary knowledge.
The Second Principle is mindfulness as regards the feelings, or “vedana”. Vedana is a natural state that does not last forever and one which you cannot control. It has its own nature. Vedana consists of three states. They are pleasant feeling, painful feeling and indifferent feeling.
The objective is to observe these three states of vedana and be aware of them at all times. This is how you use mindfulness. Pleasure consists of physical and mental pleasure, This is called “Sukha-vedana.” Pain consists of physical and mental pain. This is called “Dhukkha-vedana.” The indifferent state is when you are neither pleasant nor painful. Your mind just wanders without any particular feeling. This is called “Upekkha-vedana.”
In order to deal with vedana, you have to be aware of all the feelings that occur and make a mental note of that feeling. This is how to acknowledge vedana. When you are aware of your state, you are using your mindfulness. To acknowledge gladness, take a deep breath, mindfully following the breath from nose to navel, concentrate at the solar plexus (set your mindfulness at the solar plexus), make a mental note of being glad by using the phrase “feeling glad,” “feeling glad.” This is how you acknowledge your gladness.
Why do we have to do this? Pleasure is always followed by pain. We should prepare for this, i.e., pleasure and pain come together. We must be aware of ourselves at the present moment and frequently practice this awareness. We do it by setting mindfulness at the solar plexus and acknowledging the feeling. You should keep on practicing it until you can do it. However, it is not right to acknowledge by setting your mind at your heart.
We can consider the solar plexus as a battery charger. It is up to each person how he uses the energy. This practice is not for you to analyze or access. You just have to keep on practicing until you understand, and then real knowledge will become clear to you.
You will know it by yourself and it is quite difficult to perceive. It is easy to acquire knowledge. We can read books and remember the content. But it is very difficult to perceive wisdom by yourself. The understanding will become clear in your mind. You can gain this kind of wisdom by practicing acknowledging your feelings: glad, sorrow, physically or mentally pleasant, and regret. You should not be careless, but always keep mindfulness at everything you are doing.
The point is to always be aware of yourself at the present moment. Do not dwell in the past or worry about the future, just concentrate on the present moment. This is how to practice vipassana meditation.
Set your mindfulness at your solar plexus, and acknowledge the present feeling. If you are sad or feel regret, acknowledge “sorrow”, “sorrow”. Take a deep breath, and ask yourself why you are sad. You input the data in your mind.
Mindfulness makes you aware. It can classify and analyze the reason for suffering. Consciousness makes you understand the cause. This is wisdom. You will realize the cause of things that arise in the present moment.
This is reason why we have to acknowledge vedana. Aches and pains are physical vedana, but when the mind holds onto them and they become mental suffering. For example, when we are sad or get sick, our mind holds onto this pain and we suffer even more. What we should do is to carefully acknowledge vedana. This is how to practice vipassana meditation.
You must acknowledge all kinds of pain: headaches, knee aches or any other pain. You should practice by acknowledging and being aware of yourself all the time. Concentrate the mind on this pain and learn to let go. This can be compared to climbing stairs. You have to set feet on the first step, rest your weight there and leave it as you step up to the second step.
At the beginning of meditation, what you practice is tranquil meditation. As you progress, you go beyond tranquil meditation and attain vipassana meditation, when you will understand the facts or the nature of life.
Therefore, meditators must understand this point. Acknowledge whatever happens to you right at the present moment. Most people do not acknowledge, so they do not understand the nature of life. Pleasure is always followed by pain. This is why they cannot solve their problems.
You must solve problems at their cause. Find the cause and solve the problem. Consciousness is the key to knowing everything, internally and externally. Then, you will understand. This is wisdom.
You must be able to focus your concentration at the painful position. Aches and pains are vedana that are main obstacles to the progress of vipassana meditation. Therefore we must acknowledge the pain. Do not expect that it will disappear as soon as you acknowledge it. The purpose of acknowledging is to use your mindfulness of observe and control the mind that is consumed by pain.
The reason why we feel pain is because we hold on to it and the mind also feels the pain. Then, it becomes suffering. This is because of the clinging that holds on to it. Remember the purpose of acknowledging the pain. Just use your mindfulness to observe and control your mind and see the extent of the pain.
Another kind of vedana is upekkha-vedana, that is indifferent feeling. You are neither pleasant nor painful. Your mind floats and holds on to nothing. You may see one person as two persons. Therefore, you must acknowledge this indifferent vedana, by concentrating your mindfulness at the solar plexus, taking a deep breath, relaxing and acknowledging “knowing”, “knowing”. Note the indifferent feeling that is being experienced.
This can be compared to a computer and software. You feed the complete data by acknowledging every feeling that happens to you. Soon, the mindfulness is strong and can control the mind. The mind becomes clear and peaceful. The suffering will disappear.
Most people forget indiffent vedana, when they are neither pleasant nor painful. Therefore, you must try to maintain mindfulness and acknowledge every feeling.
The Third Principle is mindfulness as regards thoughts. You must remember this foundation of mindfulness. Why does it have this name? It has this name because it is based on the mind. Mind is a natural state that thinks, perceives and records every sense-object. In order to purify one’s mind, one must know where and how the mind arises. The mind arises via the six-sense doors. I am going to explain this. When eyes see objects, the mind arises at the eyes. When ears hear sound, the mind arises at the ears. When nose smells odor, the mind arises at the nose. When body feels hot or cold, soft or hard, the mind arises at the body. This is called “mindfulness regarding the mind.”
I will explain how to practice vipassana meditation based on the third foundation of mindfulness. We know how the mind arises. For example, it arises through the eyes that see. Concentrate mindfulness at your forehead and know what you see. This can be compared to a calculator. You have to punch the correct button, i.e., plus, minus, multiply or divide, in order to get the right answer.
Acknowledge “seeing”, “seeing”. What do you see? You see an object. Where is the object? What is its status? What you see is not stable. It can change and deceive your eyes. This called corporeality. It is not real and can be disappeared. It can arise, exist, change and cease. Meditators must acknowledge “seeing” and should not overlook this important point.
For this third foundation, that is mindfulness regarding the mind, you should get the point, that it is the nature of the mind that exists at the eyes. Whatever you see, you must acknowledge by telling yourself “seeing”, “seeing”. Why do you have to acknowledge? It is because the mind arises as soon as your eyes contact an object. When it arises, and you see those objects without acknowledging, you have not yet obtained wisdom.
Do we like what we see? If we do, our mind is in “lobha” state, that is greed. If we do not like it, our mind is in “dosa” state, that is angry. If we do not use our mindfulness at all, our mind is in “moha” state, that is ignorance. We know only its appearance, but we do not know its reat state. We do not see with wisdom, but we see the ignorance. This is why people become unintelligent. So, we must use our mindfulness.
We must purify our mind by knowing the nature of the mind. We must acknowledge every action and deportment. Ears hear sound. Are ears and sound the same? However, you must not analyze or access. Why do we ask you not to do this?
Because it is not vipassana meditation, but it is only thought and analytical skill. This will not work. We must control our mindfulness and set in at our ears. When we hear something, we acknowledge “sound”. Why do we need to acknowledge?
If we do not acknowledge, we are not using our mindfulness. We can practice and sharpen the mindfulness by acknowledging hearing. This is, we are aware that we hear via our ears. You can also acknowledge this as “sound” (or “siang” in Thai), but it is not so effective as acknowledging “siang nhorr”. I am going to explan the reason to you.
The word “nhorr” is very good in reminding you. When we say “siang nhorr”, the word “nhorr” helps control the mind. You hear the sound with mindfulness. You are aware that the sound is blaming or praising you.
Consciousness helps you be aware that it is Mr. A’s voice or Mrs. B’s voice. Mindfulness helps you analyze the reason for such talk. Why does he say so? Consciousness tells you that his words are negative because he was jealous. Here is how it functions. Mindfulness indicates the event and consciousness thinks. Then, wisdon tells you that this sound is meaningless. It arises, exists and ceases at your ears. It cannot proceed to your mind. As a result, you will not be sad.
Therefore, it is important tht meditators acknowledge, Walking meditation and sitting meditation are not the main point. They are only the means to help you accumulate concentration and obtain vipassana nana. It is the same as storing data in the memory of a computer.
Meditators must begin with observing the mind. In this case, the mind arises at the ears. If you build a proper computer and have proper input, you have the right system that works. The data in your mind are sense-objects which you have been accumlating for a long time. They are greed, anger and ignorance that you cannot get rid of. They have made your mind sad for a very long time. Acknowledging will help you get rid of this defilement.
If we have good concentration and build up a strong enough foundation, we will know that there is much meaning in “sound” (siang nhorr) that we acknowledge. We know that he blames us, but our wisdom will tell us where are “we”? Where does it hurt? It hurts our feeling.
We hear what he blames us for. It is assumed that he blames us. Where are “we”? Wisdom tell us that there is no “we”, nobody and no “person”. So, it is only assumed that he is blaming. This state can change, then ceases right at the ears. This is “wisdom” that makes you realize this concept.
Meditators must acknowledge every deportment. This is the training method for reaching the goal of the wise. We must train ourselves until we are accustomed to it. Talking is easy. Everybody can do it. But doing is difficult because you have never acknowledged what you hear or see. You let everything pass, without acknowledging. And it reaches your mind through the six-sense doors. You are stuck with it and do not know how to solve your problem. This is important. Meditators sometimes never realize the importance of acknowledging. You pay attention to walking and watching the rising and falling or your abdomen, but do not apply the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. Especially, you miss the third foundation, Mindfulness regarding the mind. When you cannot acknowledge “sound” right at the moment it happens, it becomes the past, and is stored in your mind. Anger arises in your mind. What should you do when you are angry? You cannot acknowledge “sound” anymore. You have to acknowledge consciousness. Where do you set mindfulness in order to acknowledge this? You acknowledge by setting mindfulness at the solar plexus.
Some people do not teach the same way I do. It will not work if you just say or mouth some words. You cannot get effective results if you incorrectly punch the wrong button on your computer. This is important.
Meditators must pay good attention to this point. You must set your mindfulness at the solar plexus. I will not explain the reason here. You have to remain stupid for now. If you are clever, you will think about it while you are meditating. You will acquire false knowledge, not true knowledge.
The only way to acknowledge the event that has already passed is to acknowledge it as “knowing”. You cannot tell what you know. How will you know? You have to acknowledge “knowing” for everything or every event. Set mindfulness at the solar plexus, take a deep breath. How do you breathe?
Set your mindfulness at your solar plexus, breath from nose to naval. Then, set your mindfulness, take a deep breath, and acknowledge “knowing”, “knowing”. You must acknowledge awareness because that sound has passed, so you cannot acknowledge it as present anymore. I guarantee you wil get effective results doing it this way.
The Fourth Principle is mindfulness as regards ideas. This id Dhamma in Dhamma. It means that we are wise enough to know our mind. Our thought is merit or demerit, right or wrong. With this fourth principle, we can identify these ideas.
We will be aware and have wisdom in identifying our action or work, whether it is merit or demerit. This called mindfulness regarding ideas. I mean the principal way of it, not the theory. Academic knowledge cannot be used to explain this situation.
This is the practice of meditation based on mindfulness regarding ideas. It is Dhamma in Dhamma. We do it externally and internally. We know that our action is merit or demerit, right or wrong, according to the World’s rules or Dhamma principles. The comprehension is together here, in the mindfulness regarding ideas.
Our actions, thoughts, and emotions can be considered as merit or demerit. We tend to think or ourselves first and feel that we are always correct.
We can help ourselves in solving our problems by practicing meditation. We acknowledge “knowing”, “knowing” as mindfulness regarding ideas. Actually, we may not really know what it is, but we keep on acknowledging “knowing”, “knowing”, while breathing deeply. Later, we will realize that our action is wrong. It is physically, verbally or mentally demerit. This mindfulness regarding ideas can be understood from practice, not learning from books.
Someone said that the abbot of Wat Ambhavan explained this point incorrectly. Yes, it is incorrect against theory, but it is practically correct. You will know your action is merit. You will be happy as a result.
Your action is demeritorious and you will suffer. This is easy to perceive from a practical viewpoint. However, it requires a detailed explanation from an academic viewpoint. This is the point that is not too difficult to do.
Acknowledge “knowing”. Yes, we know. They why must we be angry? Who are we angry with? It is corporeality or mental image with which we are angry. Does the anger remain with the person who makes us angry? No, it is not with him, but it is with us, in our mind. Our mind collects this anger.
You collect only bad things inside your mind. Your mind is sad at all times. You will not have wisdom and cannot solve your own problems. You create problems from anger, and from revenge. You think that he looks down upon you, and you keep on having problems.
Practicing vipassana meditation is the way to help you solve your problems. You are wrong if you think that it creates problems for you. This practice helps you gain wisdom and helps you understand your emotions, sense-objects, and your mind. This is an important point.
Some do not teach meditation correctly. They do not know where to set mindfulness, while they are acknowledging “angry”, “angry”. This is like hitting the wrong button on the computer keyboard. You will get the wrong answer. So, it is very important to set your mindfulness at the correct position.
To acknowledge “seeing”, you set your mindfulness and concentrate your mind at your forehead. If you do so I teach you, I guarantee it will work. Do not just close your eyes and say the word.
Acknowledge “seeing” and radiate the power of your mind from your forehead. If we pay attention to ourselves, we will notice that all the feelings are centered at this position. The Chinese long realized the importance of this position. There can be light radiating from the forehead. It is difficult to explain. If you have a purified mind or highly developed mind, you can see by yourself which part of the face to look at.
I have spoken about this point many times, but few can really understand. It is the point between your eyebrows that is the center for radiating the power of mind. This is wisdom gained by meditators who correctly practice. It is not correct if you only want to see “nimitta”.
Someone asked me, “Luang Poh, I have this dream. I have this nimitta. What does it mean?” Your should not ask me. You can have a deceptive dream from your defiled mind. If you mind is full of anger and revenge, you will have a bad dream. You dream that bad guys are chasing you. You have bad nimitta from your demeritorious mind.
If you have good mindfulness and gain wisdom, you can dream of a real event. If you have deceived mind, you dream a deceiving dream.
Some instructors like to ask “Have you seen something yet?” or “Have you seen this or that?” You must not ask your students this kind of question. You should ask whether they acknowledge the seeing. “How do you acknowledge when you have vedana?” This is an appropriate question to ask. This has significant meaning in the practice of meditation.
Therefore, you must set your mindfulness at the right position. You know that you have to press the right button on a calculator to get the right answer. If you press the wrong key, you get the wrong answer. However, if you press the right button, but there is no power, you will also get no answer. This means that you have not accumulated sufficient concentration. You must also have concentration.
Concentration means that you maintain the point of your work and do not leave it. Fix your mind at one point. I compare this to electricity. If there is not enough power, we cannot get the right answer from the calculator. We cannot say that the calculator is broken. It is good, but there is not enough power to run it. This is to make you understand that you cannot get the right answer if you do not have sufficient concentration. You must understand this point.
If you do not know what to acknowledge, set your awareness at your solar plexus. You do not know what to do. You should do it the same way you used to. You should review your sense-object.
When you go to school, you have to review your lessons. For the review of the sense-object, you should acknowledge this way. Sit comfortably wherever you are. Take a deep breath, review your life and sense-object to see what sense-object you forgot. Where do you keep it? It is very useful to take a deep breath. Here is the method. Set your mindfulness at the solar plexus. Take a deep breath and acknowledge “thinking”, “thinking”. Take a deep breath because the main line of wisdom is from nose to navel, though the length of this distance is different in each person.
After a moment, if power is full, that is, you have good concentration and a solid foundation, your “computer” will give you the result. You can think of the solution to the problem that you have been stuck with and could not solve with any other academic knowledge. Your wisdom will reveal the solution to you. This is to practice correctly until you reach the point that you gain wisdom and can solve your problems.
Acknowledging “standing” five times is also important. I ask the instructors to guide their students to do it correctly. Not everybody understands this kind of meditation. Its base is on the original five foundations that every human has from birth. They are head hair, body hair, fingernails, teeth and skin.
This is how to acknowledge. Meditators should stand up. Do not bring your feet too close together for you will fall down. You can hold your hands behind you, at the lower back. Close you eyes and imagine the standing figure of yourself. Look at the centerline of your imaginary figure from head to toes. Start descending from head to navel while you are saying, “stand……” to yourself. See if your mindfulness can follow this move. At the beginning, mindfulness cannot follow. Do it again so that the mindfulness can follow. Then, go on descending from navel to toes while you are saying “ing” (we say “nhorr” in Thai” This is a good rhythm.. Mindfulness follows the mind that is travelling down to the toes. Use the centerline of your imaginary figure.
Descend from hair to toes and ascend from toes up. The instructors must correctly teach this practical method of standing meditation. Imagine the standing figure, acknowledge “stand” mind descends from crown, mindfulness follows (you are aware), and controls the mind, pause at the navel, and mindfulness can catch up with the mind. Go on acknowledging “ing”, or “nhorr” in Thai, while mind is descending from navel to toes.
Try practicing it. The second time, you concentrate from toes upward to head. Look at the toes of both feet. This is mindfulness regarding the body. Acknowledge “stand” and your mind moves upwards to the navel. Can mindfulness catch up with the mind? Yes. Then acknowledge “ing”, or “nhorr” in Thai, from the navel to the crown of the head. Make it even, that is at the end of “ing”, your mind reaches the crown. This is the proper rhythm. If you do not get this rhythm, it will not work.
Some meditators stand and close their eyes and say “standing”, but they only say the word, their mind does not work. They will not get results.
It is not effective if your mind reaches the navel, but your mindfulness does not follow. The mind is so quick that mindfulness cannot keep up. You should start all over again if that happens.
Close your eyes, imagine your standing figure, visualize from your toes to navel and say “stand…..”, and use your mind in reviewing this. From navel pass your solar plexus up to your crown, say “ing”.
If you have full control of your concentration and good mindfulness, you will have a special feeling at warmth radiating all over your body. You should know its purpose too. The instructors should teach the meditators correctly by following this principle.
Concentrate at your toes, acknowledge “stand” while your mind is ascending to the navel. Then, acknowledge “ing” while your mindfulness is following up from the navel passing the solar plexus to the head. Good mindfulness results in wisdom. You will thoroughly understand mindfulness regarding the body. Then, you have effective mindfulness inside your body.
Inside your body is sense-object. Your body is corporeality. The mentality status is inside you, and provides recognition. Its outcome is that you have concentration from meditaion. You can obviously perceive its characteristics, that is mentality.
The fifth cycle of “standing” can be practiced as follows: Concentrate at your crown and your mind travels down, mindfulness follows, and perceives. Acknowledge “stand”. Mindfulness is fluent on the fifth cycle. Mind and mindfulness connect through the subconscious at the solar plexus. Mind works and creates sense-object. You continue with acknowledging “ing” and mind travels to your toes. Then you open your eyes and look at your toes.
The next step is walking meditation. Concentrate at your toes and acknowledge “right goes thus”. Concentrate at your right foot. Be aware as you slowly move your right foot forward. Know how far your foot travels. Is it long or short” Acknowledge “thus” as you place your right foot on the floor. Can you see why we have this rhythm? It can be compared to climbing up stairs. If you miss the proper rhythm, you fall down. You will make no progress. This is important.
If there is any sound during walking meditation, you must acknowledge “sound”. If you have vedana, sucha as aches or pains at your neck, you must stop walking and acknowledge that vedana accordingly. How much pain it is? This is what you should do. You misunderstand if you think that the pain will disappear after you acknowledge it. You should acknowledge the pain and know the vedana. Acknowledging vedana will help you realize the Law of Karma and recall the wrond deeds you did in the past. However, some do not know the law. I will explain this in details later. If I explain now, you will think about it and cannot learn the fact by yourself.
The correct practice is that you have to let the Law of Karma spontaneously reveal itself to you. It will arise in your mind. You will be lost if you just imagine it.
Now we go on the next step, acknowledging “left go thus”. Meditators must concentrate on their left foot as it is moving. You must not walk with colsed eyes or look up or pay attention to nothing. You must watch the movement of corporeality and mentality. How do they move? After you are experienced, you do not have to concentrate as much as you do at the beginning. Your walking will assume its own rhythm. Your mindfulness will tell you everything that happens. This is an elementary exercise.
Your mind may wander or you may think of something while you are practicing walking meditation. You should stop walking and acknowledge at the solar plexus, take a deep breath and acknowledge “thinking”, “thinking”. This is how to acknowledge when you think of something else, and are not acknowledging the movement of your feet during the walking meditation.
If your thought keeps wandering, and you think of so many things, you acknowledge “thinking”, “thinking”. Your computer will correctly reveal that what you are thinking is non-sense. Then, you know and understand. This is correct. Then resume walking meditation.
“Right goes thus” and “Left goes thus”, walk as slow as you can because the mind is very fast and you have to tame it. You walk slowly so that you can quickly get good results. You lose now in order to gain later. Please remember this.
You must acknowledge whenever you have vedana or your mind keeps wandering. Acknowledge only one thing at a time. Do not get mixed up. It will not work. You must see and know everything thoroughly. You should understand what happens. This is the correct method.
You must be able to acknowledge “standing”. Then, proceed to practice walking meditation and then to sitting meditation. Watch your abdomen as it rises and falls as you inhale and exhale accordingly. You accumulate concentration this way. It is like constructing a computer. The Five Aggregates result from the mindfulness as regards thoughts. You perceive the concept of the difference between corporeality and mentality. You must acknowledge one thing at a time. Do not get mixed up by trying to acknowledge many things at one time.
At the beginning, it is too much if you acknowledge in detail of in a too complicated way. For example, acknowledge “wanting to…” You should start by acknowledging simple thing, otherwise you may get lost. Acknowledge one thing a a time, later it will get better and you can acknowledge “wanting to…”
“Wanting” is from the base of the mind. For example, you acknowledge “want to pick”. This base of mind is subconscious. We should acknowledge this after we are fluent in vipassana meditation. We practice a little at a time so that we learn to whole concept and know the proper rhythm. Then, we can acknowledge in detail. As a beginner, if we do it in too much detail, we will not get the proper step and cannot acknowledge “rising” and “falling” properly. We will have only the imagination.
When you finish walking meditation, you should continue with sitting meditation. Don’t do something else between. You should do waling and sitting meditation continuously like you are pulling thread from the spool. You pull it continuously and you get good results. For sitting meditation, you should sit cross-legged. You can sit in two ways: in half lotus or in full lotus. It is up to you. Place your right hand in the palm of your left hand. Take a deep breath.
In order to acknowledge “rising” and “falling”, you should take a deep breath, deeply inhale and exhale. Notice your abdomen; it rises as you inhale and falls as you exhale. You may put your hand on your navel and inhale deeply. When your abdomen moves upwards, you recite “rising”. When it moves downwards, your recite “falling”. You should concentrate and get the proper rhythm.
At the beginning, you may feel uncomfortable because you have never done it before. However, you will be able to do it. Do not just recite “rising” and “falling”. This is the key point, which you must be able to do.
Some people said that they had several kinds of “nimitta”. This is non-sense. You should be able to acknowledge “rising” and “falling” accordingly. People may have different experiences. He takes a big breath, his abdomen rises and he acknowledges “rising”. But it is not in time because his abdomen has already fallen. He then says “falling” and it is not in time again because his abdomen has already risen.
How do we deal with this? You may divide the rhythm in half, so that you catch up with the “rising” and “falling” of your abdomen. If you still cannot do it, you may change the method. You may say “rise” as it rises and “ing” as it falls. It will not take long before you get the rhythm. It is quite normal to have some difficulties at the beginning.
If you cannot feel the rising of your abdomen when you sit, you can lie down on your back. Put your hands together on your navel. Take a deep in-breath, recite “rising” as your hands rise with your abdomen, and “falling” as your hands fall. Do it until you are fluent. Then, you practice walking meditation again and then sit. Now you can clearly acknowledge “rising” and “falling”. This method helps you to get the proper rhythm. It is a very important step.
If you are angry, you should acknowledge the feeling at once. If you want something or feel hate for someone, you should also acknowledge those feeling at once. Acknowledge your present feeling. This is how you can solve your anger problem.
If you feel hate for someone and want revenge, you must acknowledge that at once. Do not let the feeling go on over night or let it go deep into your mind. Do not let the thief go inside your room and rob you without a fight.
Are you angry? You must resolve it by acknowledging it at once. Do not postpone it to tomorrow. Keeping the anger will make your mind sad. If you are sad over night and cannot sleep and eat, you will lose too much time. Therefore, you must correct it now.
Set your mind at your solar plexus, concentrate your mindfulness and acknowledge “angry”, “angry”. Soon, your computer will give the answer. Why do you have to be angry? Your mind, mindfulness and wisdom will give you the reason. We can realize things because of our wisdom. It is better to tell yourself than let others tell you.
It is better to teach yourself than being taught by others. We can better realize things this way.
If vedana happens during sitting meditation, you must stop acknowledging “rising” and “falling”. Concentrate your mind at the painful position, know how painful it is. Acknowledge “pain”. The pain will not disappear, because we have not reached vipassana status. It is “tranquil status” and it is what we calling “clinging”. So, it holds on to vedana.
When you have fever or pain, you set your mind at fever and it becomes sick. You should know that as long as you cannot differentiate between corporeality and mentality, you cannot separate vedana.
As we hold on to “pain”, we feel that the pain becomes worse until we cannot bear it. We are going to burst. Our bottom is as hot as if it were on fire.
You should go on acknowledging. Fight it with all your might. If you are going to die, so be it. Keep your concentration and maintain good mindfulness. Vedana can cease. It will suddenly disappear. This is, how you can separate vedana. That is you can differentiate corporeality and mentality. At the beginning, it is very painful because you do not know how to differentiate the two. When corporeality and mentality cling together, you feel the pain. You should be patient and practice this object of consciousness until you can do it. It is very useful when you get sick. You can separate your mind from physical sickness. You will be all right when your mind does not get sick. On the other hand, if your mind becomes sick, then you are sick physically and mentally. You will despair. So, this practice is very important. You must be able to acknowledge as I have taught you.
The next problem is drowsiness during meditation. What should you do when your are very drowsy? It you just say “drowsy”, “drowsy”. I guarantee that you will not be drowsy anymore. It is important to set your mind at a correct position. It will not work if you just say or mouth some words without being aware.
Sometimes we cannot sleep. For some reason, you cannot sleep when you have good concentration. Here is what you should do. Lie down and take a deep breath, concentrate your mind at your Adam’s apple and take a deep breath while maintaining mindfulness. You will sleep within a minute, provided that you have accumulated enough credits in practicing vipassana meditation. You will sleep with mindfulness, that is you will know every time you turn during your sleep.
You can practice, vipassana meditation in any deportment, standing, walking, sitting and lying down. To practice while you are lying down, it is important that you do no sleep. You have to acknowledge “rising” and “falling” of your abdomen. If you have good mindfulness and concentration, wisdom will arise. You must know the moment you sleep, whether it is during “rising” or “falling” of your abdomen. This is sleeping with mindfulness. You will know every time you turn during your sleep. You can also wake up at anytime you want to.
If you want to wake up at 4 a.m., you will automatically wake up at 4 a.m. Whether you get up or not, is another story. It can be a problem, if you continue to sleep because you get used to not getting up after you are awake.
May I ask that the vipassana meditation instructors teach the meditation correctly. We must set our mind at a correct position. We can know others’ habits from acknowledging “perceiving” provided that we can acknowledge “standing” five times. Acknowledging “standing” from hair to toes and from toes to hair. We know our senseobject.
In order to know another’s habit, we radiate or mind power from the position between our eyebrows and look at that person. We can see with wisdom, that is, se see corporeality and mentality. When a person walks towards us, our computer will give the answer: what kind of people they are. For example, whether this guy has bad habit, and cannot be trusted. Mindfulness makes us understand. Consciousness make us aware. This is wisdom.
It is wisdom that guides our computer to give us the answer. This man wants to borrow money. Do not give it to him. He has been smiling since he entered our house. He will be very friendly when he wants to borrow money, but will enemy when we ask him to pay his debt. It is better he is angry today than angry forever. This is the advantage of acknowleding “perceiving”.
There are many meditators who do not practice correctly, so they do not really understand. Some nod from drowsiness and sway to and for, right and left, while they are practicing sitting meditation. They have good concentration but not sufficient mindfulness. This is incorrect. If you dose off or sway, you should acknowledge “knowing” in order to tell yourself that you know your are swaying. Then, you will stop swaying.
Sometimes you can see people asleep in a car or bus and their heads swaying. If they have good mindfulness, they will not sway. They can’t sleep soundly without swaying. This is an example of lack of mindfulness.
What should we do to stop swaying? You should acknowledge it, “swaying” or “knowing”. If it does not disappear, set your mind firmly at the position two inches below your navel and acknowledge “knowing”. Soon you will not sway. This is the correct position for correcting this sway problem.
Some instructors will know how to monitor the progress and sense-object of their students. The instructor must not teach incorrectly or practice the wrong points. It will not work.
I can explain it by comparing it to a computer. Walking meditation and sitting meditation are the way to input data into a computer. This is to review the object of the consciousness or the sense-object of the mind. When there is enough data, your computer can function and solve your problem. Each person has his own “computer”.
Walking meditation can be compared to feeding data in your computer. It gathers the scattered mysterious information, identifies and accumulates it into the memory.
We do not know whether wisdom arises from walking meditation or sitting meditation. But it acts the same way as accumulating data into a computer. When there is sufficient data, it can give a resolution when we punch the key. The correct key that we punch is the key to success.
When you have difficulties or you are suffering, your inside computer will automatically run without acknowledging. When you have made enough merit and your mind reaches a fruitful status, the computer will automatically tell you what to do or which way to go in order to resolve the difficulties.
For example, your computer will tell you that you should be careful because there will be a problem confronting you. Then, we can be very careful. If something happens during the journey, it will not be serious because we are well prepared. This is one advantage of vipassana meditation.
Some instructors may teach differently from me. I teach my students to practice the following method. Concentrate your mind at the point between your eyebrows when you look at a person and acknowledge “perceiving”. You must not imagine how you see a person. When you see a person, you must acknowledge as soon as you see him.
It is incorrect to acknowledge “beautiful” or “rich”. You must acknowledge the present status or Dhamma status. Do not worry about the past or the future. Acknowledging the present moment is the correct way to accumulate data into your computer. When you have complete input in your computer, that is mindfulness and consciousness, it will give correct results when you hit the proper key. If you have complete mindfulness and consciousness, ;you will get right and effective results. On the other hand, if ;you feed wrong data from your foul meed, the result will also be wrong. Do not blame your computer.
Your computer is natural. It is up to what kind of data you put into it. Therefore, the outcome can be a waste or a disaster or complete success.
I would like to ask the meditators to pay attention and practice vipassana meditation earnestly. Do not talk to each other. Do not read. You must practice so that you clearly understand for yourself. This understanding arises naturally, and it is called “Bhavana”. When it naturally occurs to you, it is what you clearly understand.
Our mind will be free from wrong view (Ditthi) because we understand what happens with mind. This is wisdom.
Do not analyze or access anything while you are meditating. If you are too concerned about academic reason, you will not have successful results in vipassana meditation. Do n ot be too smart. Put your academic books on the bookshelf. Here you have to study from your mind. Actually, your mind has been neglected and out of control for a long time.
It is quite difficult to take care of our mind because it has been scattered and undisciplined for so long. To control it with consciousness for five minutes is difficult. When you do not have mindfulness, wisdom cannot arise.
Blessing to the meditators who have morality. I ask you to practice vipassana meditation earnestly as I teach. I guarantee that you will have wisdom. The wise are diligent and work hard. One without wisdom is not diligent and does not work.
The reason why you need to work hard is because vipassana meditation requires a lot of practice, especially in acknowledging whatever happens to you. With a lot of acknowledging, your mindfulness becomes fluent and effective. You will be able to tell people apart. You will know what kind of person someone is. It is because our senseobject gets used to contacting another’s sense-object. This person has this kind of sense-object. That person has that kind of sense-object. You will be able to know what kind of person you are, acknowledging it yourself and accept it, know how to behave properly, accept and fact of death, will be free from wrong view. (Ditthi), have moral thought, act rightteously action and gain indifinite advantages. They are important evidence. You get if from practicing not from reading, though we have to study academic knowledge in order to learn and have knowledge.
First practice then read, and you will thoroughly understand and can apply the knowledge.
I have explained many practical principles. Now I ask that the meditators behave properly. Eat little, sleep little, speak little, but practice hard. You will get true knowledge. Do not by lazy and desire to have an easy practice. You will get false knowledge. True knowledge is hard to get, so people do not like to practice. You have to be patient and practice very hard. Learn and know true knowledge from vipassana meditation. Live a true life from now on.
We are very comfortable at home. You should realize that it is a false thing that obscures your eyes. Comfort and convenience ar false, but hardship and suffering are real.
Happiness comes from sufferings. Diligence comes from laziness. Rich and beauty come from poverty. We can build up these things. So we can be rich, beautiful and wise.
Dear fellows, this is it. The meaning of Dhamma is Dukkha (suffering), not happiness. There is no such thing as permanent happiness. Only the Final Goal, this is the cessation of all defilements is real happiness. At the happiness in this world in not real. It is mixed up with falseness and deception.
When we practice vipassana meditation, we are dealing with real things. Everything shows is its real status. It is up to us whether we can put up with this fact.
Finally, may all of the meditators be happy and prosperous. May all of you quicken your travel across all difficulties and reach the shore of success. The Final Goal is Nibbana, that is, the cessation of all defilements. May everybody reach success from this day onward.
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