Chapter 13: Assa‐sa : Passa‐sa (In‐and‐out‐Breathing)
Dear followers, now I would like to give you a lesson on practice of walking meditation. While you are practising walking meditation, you should do it very slowly, as slowly as you can. When you lift up your right foot, note ‘right goes thus’ while moving your right foot slowly forward, then stop and take a breath. Next, lift your left foot and note ‘left goes thus’ while moving your left foot slowly forward, then stop and take a breath. When you lift up your left foot, the weight will fall on the right one and the pressure will be on the right too. You will feel taut and your mind will be in a wholesome state. If you are mindful while practising walking meditation, your mind will not be distracted. The mind will balance with your tiptoe and your organs will be normal.
The practice of walking meditation is the eminent principle where the Buddha teaches in the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. If we walk mindfully and consciously, our organs will be in normal state. The abdomen will rise and fall normally when we breathe in and out. The abdomen is the navel center, the central area where the abdomen works. The slow walking will make a balance of the organs. The abdomen will work well and the four elements will be normal. Try to walk as slowly as you can. It will make your mind not wander. The mind will rest at the tiptoe. Then stop and note ‘standing’ five times.
It is true that I have talked about the method of practising for a long time. The so-called borderline between in-and-out-breathing (Assa-sa – Passa-sa) is here in the mind. What does it mean? It means that when you practise “standing”, again concentrate from the feet up to the hair while noting “standing”. You must try to do so. If you breathe in and out deeply and slowly, your mind will not be distracted. This is Assa-sa – Passa-sa.
I have spoken about Assa-sa – Passa-sa for a long time. But when I asked you, you couldn’t answer me. Why? Because you couldn’t do what I have taught. This is really essential. “Standing” you should be mindful from the head down to the feet. This is the same method which is used by magicians. It is also called “wind rhythm”.
Wind rhythm is very significant because it is the state of concentration which is called Assa-sa – Passa-sa. Moreover, it is the same method which the Buddha used to practise. However, some teachers who cannot do this but teach their students without true understanding. If you breathe in deeply from the crown of the head down to the feet and breathe out deeply from the feet up to the crown of the head, then your mind will be wholesome. Those who used to be irritable will become calm. Their minds won’t be unfocussed and their illness will decrease. This is the tacapa๑cakakammat ฺt ฺha-na which the Buddha taught. It is the basic practice and also the basis of life.
At the time when I was learning to make the magic oil taught by Luang Poh Chong of Wat Na-tang-nok, Changwat Ayudhya, I spent one month without success because there was no manifestation of magic. I then had to say good bye to Luang Poh Chong. In fact, the incantation of making magic oil was nothing but the recitation of the 108 virtues of the Buddha and the Bahum. Maha-ka- or to recite the nine virtues of the Buddha and of OM in abbreviation, A. Sam. Vi. Su. Lo. Pu. Sa. Bu. Bha. Ma. A. U. U. A. Ma. A. Ma. U., which I later knew was the same method as Assa-sa – Passa-sa.
When I understood the method, I tried again that night and finally succeeded. I practised Assa-sa – Passa-sa, which was the wind rhythm, then I concentrated in that state, which was really powerful which I just comprehended that moment.
Thus, from now on you must pay attention to your practice, then you will get benefit. Your illness will be cured. A person who can do this is Chao Khun Upa-li of Wat Boromnivas who is now about to pass away. So please pay attention to this practice. Whoever used to be easily cry, be touchy, sad or oversensitive, will abandon these by breathing long and deeply. I told you to breathe long but you seem not to understand. From now on I will emphasize more upon this principle. Please don’t talk too much, but practice. You must be able to succeed by this method.
It has taken me ten years to practise “Standing”. It took me a long time before I understood what my preceptor taught me to recite, “kesa-, loma-, nakha-, danta-, taco, taco, danta-, nakha-, loma-, kesa-” which is the same as “standing” five times.
I used to ask many meditation teachers how to practise Assa-sa – Passa-sa. they answered me that holding one’s breath was called Assa-sa – Passa-sa, which is truly wind rhythm, not holding one’s breath. Those who cannot practise cannot answer correctly.
I learned from Luang Poh Lee how to unlock the lock. It has taken me quite a long time before I could understand. He asked me, “Do you want to learn how to unlock the lock by blowing it?” I said I wanted to. He then told me that I should use my mind to unlock the lock. It is the same when you have problems. You should use your mind to solve them, like you use your mind to unlock the lock. What is the key? The key is mindfulness. If you are mindful, then you can succeed in solving problems. Don’t go to ask a fortune-teller. Those who go to ask a fortune-teller are very stupid. The more you go to ask a fortune-teller, the more your problems increase.
Try to succeed in practising Assa-sa – Passa-sa; then you can obtain telepathy. Many meditation teachers cannot do this. They only teach theoretical knowledge, without true understanding. So they fail to get benefit from the practice. You should try to practise ‘standing’. If you can practise ‘standing’, then you can do anything. If your mind is blocked, or when you feel sad, are confused, you must sit down and breathe out deeply from the navel to the nose. It is easier than ‘standing’. Focus your mind at the bottom of the breastbone (the xiphisternum) and note “Thinking” or “Being sad”; then your mind will be unlocked and you will know how to solve the problem.
This is wind rhythm, which is very high-powered. You can get a lot of benefits from it. If you think of Mr.A or Mrs.B and want to know where they are, close your eyes and focus your mind on them. Your Assa-sa – Passa-sa will directly ejaculate to them. Wish them happiness, then it will be effective and your mind will be wholesome. This is the technique. Keep on practising ‘standing’. Do it slowly with long breathing in as well as long breathing out.
What I have recommended to you may be difficult. It is like learning how to ride a bicycle and doing it very slowly. You feel like you may fall. But if you have tried and mastered the more difficult, to cycle quickly is a small matter.
“Rising and Falling” or Assa-sa – Passa-sa is the same as ‘standing’. If you can do it, it will help reduce your sickness. Your sickness comes from your abdomen, the organs do not remain balanced. I don’t want to give you a profound explanation but you can see when westerners want to prepare a dead body. They will open the abdomen to clean the intestines and fill them with antiseptic, then staple the body closed. This is the method to maintain the corpse. The part of the body that gets rotten is the abdomen. One in whom the four elements are unbalanced will have a manifestation in the body. If the abdomen is normal, you will have a proper ‘rising and falling’. The abdomen area is very essential.
Hence, if you want to consecrate something, you must use Assa-sa – Passa-sa. It’s very meaningful. It is possible that we can change brackish water into potable water without consecrating it but by using Assa-sa – Passa-sa instead.
You can try another way. Bring three betelvine leaves and breathe-in-and- out with As-Pas and concentrate your breath on the three betelvine leaves, then you can change its flavor from hot into sour. And if you have higher concentration, it will change into sweet. This ability comes from the practice.
In ancient times, they use As-Pas as an incantation. When you recite As-Pas and press your tongue agginst your hard palate firmly, they say bullets cannot harm you. But if your mind is not concentrated, ten thousand incantations are still meaningless.
Venerable Khruba Srivichai was really expert in this method. But now I myself stop speaking about this. It’s better to emphasize only the way leading to the cessation of suffering. It’s not necessary to use incantations. Use only wholesome mind to extend loving-kindness to all beings. This is the better way. See the case of Luang Poh Mee for an example. He was going to pass away. I thought, “I must help him. If he has to die, he will die with mindfulness.” I then went to visit him at the hospital where he was in I.C.U. I used As-Pas and extended loving-kindness to him. He opened his eyes immediately. When night fell, his lay supporter, who was at the monastery, dreamt that I went to see Luang Poh Mee at the hospital and massaged him. Later Luang Poh Mee recovered. He is now 84 years of age.
This is the method you should use. If your children live far away, you can contact them by telepathy. It is meaningful. You should make an effort to do so.
Assa-sa – Passa-sa: in-breathing ; inhale and out-breathing; exhale
Tacapa๑cakakammat ฺt ฺha-na: Contemplation of the five constituents of the body ending with the skin: kesa–hair of the head; loma–hair of the body; nakha–nails; danta–teeth; taco-skin.
Bahum. – Mahaka: the beginning Pa-li Word of the Halo’d Triumph Chant;
Maha-ka-run ฺiko: the beginning Pa-li Word of the Triumph and Weal Chant
Nine virtues of the Buddha:
(1) A. = Araham. -holy; worthy; accomplished;
(2) Sam = Sammasambuddho- fully self-enlightened;
(3) Vi = Vijja-caranฺa-sampanno-perfect in knowledge and conduct;
(4) Su = Sugato-well-gone; well-fared; sublime;
(5) Lo = Lokavidu-knower of the worlds;
(6) Pu = (Anuttaro) purisadammasa-rathi- the incomparable leader of man to be tamed;
(7) Sa = Sattha-devamanussanam. -the teacher of gods and men;
(8) Bu = Buddho-awakened;
(9) Bha = Bhagava– blessed; Analyst.
Ma.A.U.: an abbreviation of the word “OM”. AU = O Ma = M
OM : The sacred word of Brahmanism which must be articulated first before expressing the mantra
Four elements : elements in the human body, which are earth, water, fire and wind