Chapter 12: Moral Lessons and Meditation
May the blessing be with Buddhist communion longing for dhamma, both the ordained and the laity.
Today is Dhammasavana day (Buddhist holy day), the eighth waxing moon of the fifth month, in the year of the pig. The fifth month is the first month according to ancient ritual. Time flies quickly. Life inevitably passes by according to time.
Young people do not be careless, thinking that you will live for a long time. When time goes by, life also goes by. But the problem is goodness and sin are not equal.
This hour, we have come to create goodness by practising meditation. But another friend, in the same hour, may take to committing a sin by wasting time in being merry. His life then has no value. His time is useless.
But our lives are valuable, definitely. We have to protect our lives to be meritorious, like the salt keeping its taste.
All righteous people, men and women are born as entire human all the same. Difference is the time that a person makes merit or commits a sin. So, each person’s merit gained cannot be equal.
Men are born with different fortune, wealth, wisdom and status. How can goodness be the same? Merit and karma dress people up. Merit and demerit will give result to a person who has done useful or usless deeds. Men are different according to their deeds.
Time is useful for the sage but useless for delinquent with sinful trait. So, men are different by the law of karma or the actions of their own.
All righteous men and women, please consider this point as the doctrine analysis topic of the day. You will realize that your life is valuable, cannot be compared with anything. Protect your lives since all of us are afraid of dying just the same. Why don’t we keep our lives valuable? If you can assess the value of your life, you will know that its price is high. Then your time is money and useful. If a person has no value, lack of reasoning, time will have no use to him at all.
All dear righteous people, please think of this point over and over. You will realize that being men and women are all the same. The Buddha explained clearly that Buddha is neither man nor woman. Either man or woman can be ariyapuggala (a noble individual) because you have minds just the same. Difference is the gender.
Male or female gathers at one point, which is the point of goodness or sin. All men gather at one point, i.e., shadow of merit or sin, just the same.
If you want to create merit for happiness, the shadow of merit follows you to enable convenience, well‐being, safety in life and asset. You will have refuge for your mind in the future.
If the shadow of sin appears to you, your mind will be wicked and demeritorious. The fruit of your sin follows you like a shadow, causing ruin and trouble.
This does not mean that the shadow is the one that ruins you. You are the one who have done the deed. If you have done good deed, the shadow of goodness appears. If you have done bad deed, the shadow of evil follows you. Wherever you go, you will be bad. The shadow of evil will follow to control the situation that will cause you trouble.
If you have happiness and prosperity in your mind through meditation practice, set your mindfulness firmly, abide by morality, meditation and wisdom, then the shadow of merit follows you. You will be happy wherever you are.
All righteous people please think of this way of life. If your minds have no happiness or goodness, if your minds only have sadness and bitter suffering, you take the suffering with you no matter how far you go. Although you stay in gorgeous house you cannot find happiness.
Take an example of Sangkh Tong (hero of a Thai folk tale). He disguised as an aborigine pretending to be dumb. A person with wisdom rarely speaks, like this aborigine. Rojana (heroine of the same tale) is happy even if she has to stay in a shanty at the remote end of the field. Why? Sangkh Tong is spelled as in the word sangkha (conch shell – used only in ceremony, according to Thai customs). This sangkha implies to auspices in life. This aborigine is recognized as not speaking. So, if your mouth does not speak, your mind does not think, just concentrate on meditation, then you are like Sangkh Tong. There is natural gold in you. This does not mean real gold for making necklace with.
Gold, in this case means melting your mind with mindfulness and clear‐consciousness in order to have concentration in meditation. Such person will only have wisdom. This wisdom is compared to the aborigine in the tale who does not speak. So, he is gold inside the aborigine suit. A person who speaks and thinks a lot is not a person with wisdom.
Today I will give you moral lessons from meditation. Please carry on listening to see what lesson you will get, if and how the lesson will be with you according to your foundation.
All dear brothers please pay attention. Associate your mind with firm belief, because the Buddha’s religion is the religion of firm belief. It requires faith and willingness. If you do not have both, do not come to meditate at all. You will not get anything but the sin to take home with you pitifully.
I would like to start the session of meditation practice here by asking for your pardon. It is not at all convenient here. Please forgive each other because the genteel who has wisdom will be Abhayamani (hero of another story. Abhaya means to forgive. Mani means gem. ‐ translator) Mani is the gem. If your mind is like a clean and clear gem, you will always forgive others wherever you go.
People nowadays do not forgive each other. I would say that you cannot attain the Path because you do not have ‘the all wish gem’ in your mind. When the mind is opaque, there will only be vengeance of anger, jealousy and lack of unity. How can you be uplifted to peace? Happiness and prosperity will not be in you.
Dear men and women, we have come to practise nekkhamma (renunciation). Nekkhamma can mean living together with wisdom. Nekkhamma means giving up sensual pleasure. Nekkhamma means an operation as clean as a gem. When a clear gem is in the mind of anyone, he will be forgiving. He will not be angry with others.
Intellectual person look at things deeply and always optimistically because his mind is clear. When the mind is clean, you will not look at bad points of people at all. That is why it is called the gem, like the clean and clear gem in Phra Abhayamani story. You will always be forgiving. You blow the pipe which is dhamma.
Dhamma verses are like Abhayamani’s pipe. A good, intellectual person will have faith, having heard it. But the ogress will hate Abhaya’s pipe. This is like some people at home. Upon hearing the preaching on the television, they cannot bear it as if their chests are bursting. They switch to watch soap opera on another channel hurriedly.
A person with pure mind is Suvanamali (heroine of the same story). She creates merit for Abhaya. Sinsamudra, son of the ogress helped his father –Abhayamani escape from his ogress mother because he could not bear it any longer. Thus, all righteous people, minds are different. The mind with hidden misappropriation will not be brave in dhamma or perform the duty right. How can you create goodness when your label is clear?
When you come to meditate, I would like you to take the gem with you. Have you got it? Gem in your mind is useful. It is the law of your daily life assigned to your mind. It is a system. When the clear gem is with any one, that person will have a system. He works methodically, full of discipline. Whatever he does is eminent and admirable.
A lot of people, young and old, go to observe the Eight Precepts. Yet they argue with each other while crowded in the Hall, listening to the preaching. They offered donation for the preaching to every monk, sometimes five monks a day. Although the preaching is nice to hear, principles may not be obtained. It is not peaceful. If you are not in peace, you will not find the gem.
If your mind is peaceful and quiet, you will have wisdom to see the gem in your mind. You will see how turbid your mind is. What good you have done in the past few years. The gem will shine for wisdom. The aborigine story is not non‐sense. The aborigine does not speak but he has Sangkh Tong inside.
I would like to give a moral lesson for you to remember. When mouth does not speak and mind does not think it is meditation. If the mouth still speaks and the mind still thinks of this and that, reviving old stories, then you cannot have meditation. I have been talking about this for so long. No one infers according to this method.
Wherever you go, do not have a quick mouth. Do not be easily led. Do not revive an old story. Do not think of other’s business. Do what is right. The fish swims up stream, not down stream like us. It is easy to paddle the boat down stream. This is like following your own mind and emotion. Such person will not earn merit because he does not force himself against his will at all.
Thirty years ago, I went to practise meditation on top of a hill. It rained for seven days and nights. I did not have any meal during the time. It rained so heavy that the fish went up to the hill top. So, I got a moral lesson that the fish swam up stream. The more the water flushed down, the higher the fish swam up. This is like our emotion. If it is strong, force against it more so that it can calm down.
I leave this with you all. If you cannot force against your will when you come to meditate, you cannot be successful. You will not find the gem. You will only find morosity to take with you. What will you look for that can be of use to you in the future.
I would like to inform further that if you can really meditate anything you touch will turn to be money and gold. Money streams in and gold flushes because you have the gem called ‘the all wish gem’.
If ‘ma – a – u’ or morality, meditation and wisdom are in anyone, money will flush and gold stream in when he wishes for it.
A person without wisdom can be compared to unpolished glass. His thought is not deep. He just thinks superficially, not scrutinize. When he steps he has no place to lay hold of. When he holds he has no place to save. So, he cannot keep hold of goodness. How can his life be clean and clear?
Everybody who has just been born has a sparkling pure mind. The mind is clean and clear when he comes out. When he grows up, he tarnishes it by looking for defilement. His mind then is not sparkling pure like when he has first come out of his mother’s womb. The mind has to be purified in order to reduce egotism in one’s innate character.
If you are in a good mood, it is like having a gem. Bad mood does not contain any gem. You will not get what you wish for.
A moody person breaks a glass once he gets hold of it. If the bad mood from the night before remains until morning, a person works badly when he goes to the office. Good mood, full of wisdom, mindfulness and clear‐ consciousness are meditation. It is difficult to achieve a stable emotion. It changes many times a day. What is life then? From morning till now, how many times have you changed your thoughts? And whom have you thought of? I leave it to you that this is very confused.
Life is confused. Man’s life means messy, untangled. If you come to practise meditation by way of the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, you will be able to tidy it. Your life will not be confused. You will know the start and the end.
Coming to practise meditation does not mean going to heaven or attaining Nibba-na. You cannot go yet because you do not even have the clean and clear gem in mind which is man’s asset. If mindfulness cannot control the mind, mind will be messy, careless and unreliable. How can that person get a correct well‐established job? Life is work. It is meditation. What you have come to sit here, is not closing your eyes in order to go to heaven or attain Nibba-na or upgrade the insight level. It is a real pity.
Dear relatives and patrons, when you are in a good mood, at ease, create goodness between husband and wife, then gauge your mind at that moment. It is likely that you have the Four Foundations of Mindfulness as objects of consciousness. When body, feelings, mind and mental‐state contemplations are in the mind of anyone, he will always be joyous. If he has any ailment, it can be cured. When he sets up a company, it sells well. He will be happy and prosperous.
If bad mood replaces good mood, it will come out clearly.
Noble‐minded person becomes vile.
Kind‐hearted person becomes mean.
Benevolent person becomes promiscuous.
Reliable person becomes unreliable.
Charming person becomes hateful.
A person with sweet words becomes a person with bad vocabulary.
I would like to inform that every one has to experience this. If your anger from quarelling remains for 60% in the morning after, you will make an error in your job. This is a case for every body on earth.
So, meditation practice is there for the good mood, good work result, each of your child, who is like an apple in your eyes, is good. If you are the son or daughter, you can reciprocate your parents’ gratitude.
If your mind is clean and clear you will know what is mother’s and father’s good feeling. You will know that your mother’s lap is warm and nothing is more refreshing than your mother’s milk. It will be shown in your way of life.
So, you will not forget your parents, people who have done you good turn, the gratitude of motherland, teachers and places that is the source of your good character. You will not forget even the tools that parents have provided or office equipments that enable convenience in your duty. You will not forget yourself and the death. And you will not forget two hands, two feet and one brain as your daily refuge. It will come out this way.
If you practise meditation incorrectly, you will have to think of such error until death. The hope of going to heaven and attaining Nibba‐na will be disappointed. You have failed an examination for just being human because you are not a perfect human. Meditation practice gives human assets, manner and disposition to govern yourself as well as the Four Foundations of Mindfulness.
1.Ka-ya-nupassana- satipattha-na (Body contemplation). There is a good conduct assigned to every posture whether the body stands, walks, sits, lies down, turns left, looks right, curls or stretches. When there is mindfulness controlling the body, celestial body will arise. Because mindfulness and mind are together, it reveals celestial body. The power of celestial body causes power in physical body and power of speech. There is patience and endurance to make merit for oneself. That is ka-ya-nupassana- satipattha-na (body contemplation).
When you are about to turn left, look right, curls, or stretch your legs, use mindfulness to contemplate. This contemplation is not what you use to force your mind. It is the awareness. Whatever you are about to do, be aware of it so as to be on a firm base. Do not be careless, non‐sense or worthless. Your mind will be bright because it has mindfulness to control.
This mindfulness controls the mind in order that the light or wisdom arises. Clear‐consciousness controls so that we know the properness of time and place. It makes us know if we are junior or senior, know our status and our duty. It makes us responsible for our own eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind.
Eyes see thus. If you see with wisdom, you can control it. When the eyes see a person walking toward you, they may just recognize if it is a man or a woman. But when you see with wisdom, it will occur to you why this couple of man and woman come and how is their manner or disposition. The third ‘perceiving…thus’ will tell you that they have bad habit. When you set mindfulness on the contact, the mind will arise. You will get ‘the all wish gem’ called ‘perceiving…thus’. But relatives and patrons never follow this instruction you just throw it away.
Perceiving with wisdom is done with your intrinsic eyes not physical eyes. Intrinsic eyes will inform you through wisdom, which is actually the gem. The gem makes us think of all things, such as think what this person comes for. He wants to invest in your company’s share. He is not good to associate with. This ‘perceiving…thus’ is useful for your business.
Kammattha-na (meditation) can mean being responsible for duty and work by reasoning. It refers to positioning oneself in the right place, being proper by all means. If you do not practice seriously as I have explained, you will not know that you are good or bad. You will not know what your manner is like. You will not understand yourself yet try to understand others. You can define others but not yourself because you are too vile to define. That is why we have to contemplate ‘knowing…thus’, ‘knowing…thus’ at the chest bone so as to restrain ourselves that we know our status. Do we have mindfulness and wisdom to think and restrain ourselves? It will be shown clearly.
This is the reasoning of kammattha-na (meditation). But you throw it away. You just blab away, revive old stories and take other’s business into your thought. You will not find the gem at all. If the mind is calm it is powerful, shining bright as the moonshine. Obscure gem cannot reflect the light. It is like firefly cannot compare to moonshine.
All righteous people, no matter how poor and distressful you are, just keep on practising meditation. You can be called rich and create goodness for the society. Father and mother are poor, yet many sons of such family have become officers of General rank. Parents are important businessmen, yet many sons of such family have become shophouse traders. There are plenty of such cases in this society.
2.Vedana-nupassana- satipat.t.ha-na (Feelings contemplation). When there is aching feeling all over the body, set the mindfulness because vedana- (feeling) cannot be controlled. It arises naturally when sam.kha-ra (formation) dresses it. When you depend on the form to be born, you are bound to have feelings. It is like this for all.
When you are glad, contemplate. When you are sad, also contemplate. Set the mindfulness ready for future situation so that you will not be careless. Having mindfulness can solve the problems.
Contemplate on aching thus and the pain will be gone. But if you stop at the critical moment how can you achieve the level. This is substandard goodness, not pushing till the end. It cannot create goodness. So, nothing happens.
When you are sad you have to contemplate because sadness tarnishes your mind. The gem is obscured. You have to clean it. Contemplate ‘sorry…thus’, ‘sorry…thus’, ‘sorry…thus’. The truth will arise why you are sorry. It will reveal clearly and you will no longer be sorry. This is the article of meditation. But you rarely do it.
You do not contemplate when you have headache, are uneasy or are angry with someone. Leaving the anger in your mind overnight, you remain moody the morning after. How can you be good? This is a clear workshop for the effect of vedana (feeling).
Upekkha- vedana- means not being happy or sad. The mind is afloat and cannot find a place to lay hold of. So, you have to contemplate on knowing thus. After five, ten, twenty knowings the computer in your mind will report, ‘Ah! That’s it!’ the truth then reveals itself because your mind is clear as a crystal. You will see clearly.
If the mind is tarnished, not bright, you will not see clearly. You will see vaguely, some time from your own side. You cannot reduce selfishness. So, you continue to be selfish because egotism has not been reduced. If you have mindfulness enough to hold the doctrine firmly, being brave in duty, you will realize what is good and what is bad, accept your own reason, know what you are – egoistic or selfish. You will know for yourself by just contemplate. When you have mindfulness and clear‐consciousness, you will do only what is right.
3.Citta-nupassana- satipat.t.ha-na (Mind contemplation). The mind is very important. It is a nature for the mind to think of objects of consciousness. It records the objects of consciousness like a tape recorder. It has no form and cannot be felt by hand. It can be compared to electricity, which requires contact, wire and bulb.
The mind has contact as eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind. Mind is energy like electricity. You can send telepathy radiate loving‐kindness in the air. Anyone who has the contact can receive it. Loving‐kindness is well‐wish that enters that house. If any house has no loving‐kindness toward the sender, it is like having no contact. Loving‐kindness enters the houses of those who require. This is one law of karma. Because it is a nature of the mind like this, that it has no form and cannot be detained, whatever you think set your mindfulness at your chest bone. That will keep your mindfulness with the mind, which is like having auspicious of life in your mind.
Do not talk about old times. Concentrate on the present. The past is a dream. The present belongs to you. The future is not yours at all because it is not certain. It changes according to the law of karma and appropriateness. Status can be changed. Do not hold firm that it will be this and that. Actually, it can be changed from the law of karma, good and bad deeds.
Nothing is certain. Just create goodness only. So, the result of goodness will follow you to the future and next existence.
4.Dhamma-nupassana- satipat.t.ha-na (Mind‐objects contemplation). This is the practising principle if we do it correctly or not. Contemplate on knowing thus. Consider which mind‐objects are meritorious and which is demeritorious. If you want to know if the mental state is good or bad just contemplate on knowing thus. Not before long the computer in your mind will process the result if you are correct or not. It tells you automatically. This is pacattam. veditabbo vin~n~u-hi. You know for yourself because you are the one who practise. How can others know your mind?
All relatives and patrons, even brothers and sisters of the same parents are different. Bamboo tree has different segments. Brothers and sisters have different minds. Parents can bring up children physically, not mentally. They can go where they have minds to. This point is personal only to that person. Each has to make his own merit in order to get the result of it.
Relatives and patrons, whatever you do, do it with faith, intention, respect, peaceful mind and righteousness.
1. Do things with faith and intention. It is applicable to secular and religious matter.
2. Do things with respect. When meditation practice is good, there will be 2.1. Respect for oneself. You will do what you say. You will not break your words so as not to let other disparage you.
2.2. Respect for one’s parents.
2.3. Respect for the place. Wherever you go, respect the government of that place. 2.4. Respect for the law. Have respect for the customs and traditions of the place you visit.
3. Do things with peaceful mind by practice of meditation.
4. Do things with righteousness. The result of peaceful mind will come out with righteousness.
If you practise meditation, it will certainly fall into this principle. Whatever you do, you will do it with righteousness. Before doing with righteousness, you will do it with peace. When the mind is peaceful, not confused, the mind will be clean and clear like ‘the all wish gem’. Your wish will come true. Everything will come out with righteousness because your mind is peaceful.
Natthi santi param. sukham.. No other happiness excels peace. If you are still in chaos, living day by day, nothing will be good.
I would like to conclude that you have come to practise meditation at Wat Ambavana because you want this point, do you not? Although the accommodation is not convenient, please excuse us. We cannot provide thorough service. Yet we certainly try to look after you either in term of accommodation or food or lesson and other favourable conditions. We have tried so hard to enable you to attain the Path, to achieve foundations and to perform your duty with righteousness.
All relatives and patron, you plant the rice this year so that you can eat rice from this crop next year. It cannot grow in time to eat this year. Trading today is for eating in the future because you cannot book the account in time. If you eat all today, profit and capital will be gone. That is useless. Likewise, when you create goodness now your mind accomplishes it now and it will bear fruits for us in future occasion.
Compare to creating goodness. Suppose you grow five mango trees. Just water them and hoe the earth around them. Keep doing good first. Not before long, the trees will grow enough to blossom and bear fruits for you to eat. It is better than other thing. At least you are glad that you have planted mango trees.
You have come to practise mediatition. You have created goodness now. So, you will receive goodness from now on. Honour the tenure that you have resolved to do from the beginning, whether it is three or seven days. At least you have basic foundation to take with you. You can go back to practise more at home. Stay in every posture with mindfulness and clear‐consciousness and meditate relentlessly.
Finally, I would like to leave the moral lessons used for meditation that we always have to set mindfulness. Contemplate when you are angry, sorry or painful any where. Set the mindfulness ‘sound…thus’. Do not take other’s reproach in your mind so as to waste your brain. That is not useful for the sage at all.
Use your wisdom to see, to listen and to think. Then your thought will be good. As a result all you do is good. It will not be damaged at all.
I would like to give you homework to train your children and grandchildren, so that they will be obedient. They will pay obeisance to the monk or give way to the seniors. They will be mindful without being told.
Unruly child comes from bad parents who have never taught them to chant and pay homage to the Buddha image. How can the child be well‐behaved when parents are not methodical? The parents are not good leaders and never follow up on the behaviour of their child. Bad work result of the parents is presented through the child.
Good parents with wisdom have good children. If parents are unreasonable, children are all bad. May be they are drug addicted. Please look after your children.
Those of you who still are college students, please pay attention to your study. Get academic knowledge for yourself to start with. If you have good mindfulness and clear‐consciousness as well as good meditation, you will always want to learn without going astray. And you will be hard working, finish your study on time. There will be no omission or excuse at all. Academic knowledge will flow to the mind and brain. You will be able to solve academic problem according to what you have learned. So that you can make good of yourself, be useful to family, parents and country in the future.
I would like to rejoice with the merit you have made by coming to create goodness for yourself, which is difficult. It is easier to make merit by assisting others. But do not overlook the support of yourself by making merit in your own mind. Some people are happy to go to donate at this or that temple as a form of making merit. That is not a real happiness.
Certain, lasting happiness is merit in your mind. Do pay attention to the meditation practice. Do not mind each other. Reduce your egotism. Try to let go of the hindrance worry at home or at work. Then your duty on the meditation practice will produce good result. You can then apply it in your office or other duty later. It will be useful in the future.
Finally, I would like to end the Moral Lessons and Meditation that I have explained for a suitable period of time. May happiness and prosperity be with every one of you. May all of you be prosper in age, complexion, happiness, energy, wit and wealth. May all of your wish come true.
Credit: eBooks. Wat Amphawan.