Chapter 07: Reduce Five Gaps – Set up Five Joints
Speech delivered at the Puttamonthon Auditorium 1987
From the first to the eight King of the Rattanakosin Period or even since Sukhothai was our Capital City, there were only two kings who had long life. There was King Chulalongkorn and His Majesty King Bhumipol Adulyadej the Great. During the reign of His Majesty, he has made this country peaceful and a happy place to live. He has always been cherished by the Thai people and has always brought them good turn. When Buddhist laity intends to transfer merit from meditation practice to His Majesty, you should know the background, what kind of king His Majesty is.
His Majesty has followed in the footsteps of the Buddha. He radiates his kindness notwithstanding his own exhaustion and fatigue. He helps all his subjects. He is also a Buddhist. It is written clearly in the Constitution that the King of Thailand has to be a Buddhist. He is also the patron of Buddhism. His Majesty delivered his inaugural speech on his Coronation Day that he will rule with Dhamma.
In 1987, the campaign ‘Dhamma Land – Golden Land’ was organized. We have a lot of activities in every province. Many provinces have completed the programme. Patrons in the Buddhist laity who want to reciprocate His Majesty’s kindness have to do more good, not only just coming to sit with eyes closed, but you also have to improve your quality and make value of your life. You have to make your life fruitful. There will be good things as a result of your work. Talking of Dhamma Land, where we can live happily, we have to make our lives valuable by morality. This is the great valued asset. Let all of us have ‘traffic rules’ in life, with excellent thoughts. If His Majesty can be compared to the country’s father, the country ’s mother can be compared to Her Majesty the Queen. If all children or the people live happily and peacefully with kindness towards each other and not quarreling with each other as aforesaid, the parents will be glad.
Now people may think that they live happily in Thailand. As a matter of fact, there is turmoil. When turmoil occurs, some may misunderstand that it is because people are poor, that the economy is not good has caused confusion. That is not quite the fact. I have fairly considered this and concluded that it is not because of poverty but because of lack of unity and kindness to each other. People are full of jealousy and vengeance toward each other. It is a pity and sad since we are Buddhist. To say that poverty causes turmoil is not the case. Thai people with high moral principles cannot be poor, definitely. It is a pity that the new generation of Thai people nowadays, is confused because they live with jealousy and vengeance. Even political parties have split. Is this living with happiness and kindness? Not at all! This is why there is confusion in our society. Moral principles no longer mean anything. When the price of rice has gone down, the government has helped. When the economy is slow, they have improved quite a lot. But what do we do when the price of man has gone down? Where will the value be? Sometime people come to be ordained as Buddhist monks, hoping to make merit to repay their parents good turn. How can they repay it when they are just monks like that, without educating themselves in the scriptures or meditation practice at all? After they disrobe in the morning, they are drunk in the evening. Are these Buddhists? They lack moral principles because they have not practiced the dhamma at all. This means a lot.
Buddhist laity please know that practicing dhamma in order to transfer merit to His Majesty in return for his kindness is well meant. But the merit that you can transfer has to be the profit of merit made. That means you have to make merit until you obtain good results for yourself first. Then you can transfer the extra to His Majesty. This is like a vendor. If you want to do anything, you have to make profit first. Then you transfer the profit to others, which is called radiating lovingkindness. People nowadays cannot radiate a lot of loving-kindness because their minds contract. They are in despair. So, how can they radiate loving-kindness to each other? It’s impossible. They can only radiate jealousy and vengeance, lacking loving-kindness, which is the high ethical code for Buddhists. But Buddhists lack this moral principle because they have not practiced the dhamma. Therefore, transference of merit is the same. You have to have the funds, which is merit, before you can transfer it.
What does “funds” mean? It means that it has to be increased. It does not mean donating money to build beautiful temples without any upkeep. People with faith can still be found. But the users do not look after the donated item well. This is how Buddhists are. It is a real pity nowadays.
Therefore, today is my turn to explain and reinforce moral principles in the mind of all of us here. In dhamma practice, before transferring merit to His Majesty we have to join forces in establishing the funds first. The fund is knowledge. What kind of knowledge is it? It is the knowledge about correct principles of Buddhism, not just knowing. Any knowledge cannot do. We have to enter a joint-venture first. Then we join the thoughts, the innovation, the creativity and lives. Set up five joints. Reduce five gaps.
What is the reduction of five gaps? Do not go around with an empty brain. Do not leave a gap between people, such as children and adults. Ancient folks said, “Do not be idle. Do not be far from seniors because we can easily go astray.” This saying has a lot of meaning. Nowadays, many go around with an empty brain. There is a gap between people. People do not greet or bid each other farewell. They do not mind each other and are not well mannered anymore. The younger generation has a higher education but worse ethical conduct. They almost step on the seniors’ heads or bump into the monks. This is the gap that we have to help reduce.
So, we have to reduce five gaps and set up five joints first. Then we can put our funds together and use the funds as capital to trade. Then transfer merit to His Majesty, using the profit made from this trade. That is the correct way. It is not coming to sit with closed eyes and transfer merit. How can you transfer? Have you gain any capital funds yet? I’m not talking about monetary capital because money is not an asset of life. What did you have when you came out of your mother’s womb? You only wore the birthday attire without any piece of cloth or any watch on. The midwife can tell if you are a boy or girl. But we’ve come to look for the establishment of good habits as our capital fund. So, we have to make merit to reduce five gaps and set up five joints in our mind. Then we can combine forces so as to establish loving-kindness power in our minds first. Do it correctly by practicing Insight Meditation, not reciting Buddho…Buddho without Mindfulness and Clear-Consciousness or lack of the four postures.
A person lives with postures like standing, walking, sitting, lying down, left – right turning, bending or stretching legs for example. These postures have many meanings, as explained in the Foundations of Mindfulness Discourse – or what we call The Only Way. It enables us to attain knowledge and wisdom, not just coming to sit with closed eyes. If you close your eyes to practice meditation, but your mind does not develop, you are lazy and do not want to work. The mind of this kind of person is not developed. They do not have Mindfulness, Clear Consciousness or meditation practice. So, all righteous people, we are important. We have to reduce five gaps and set up five commonalities first. When we have things in common, we can enter a joint-venture.
Today I am pleased. No matter how many of you are there, you have to be trained to reduce five gaps and establish five joints. Do not come to sit with eyes closed, knowing nothing about the principle of the Foundations of Mindfulness. If you do not have Mindfulness and Clear-Consciousness, how can you obtain the funds. Where are the funds? It is not something you can buy. You cannot buy your path to heaven or Nibbana like buying votes in the election for 500 baht each. It’ s not like that. You cannot buy anything concerning merit. You have to have some special, good qualities. I would like to explain to all patrons how we should reduce five gaps.
1. Do not leave the brain empty. Old people at 70 – 80 years of age leave the brain empty without thinking. They do not know if they have eaten or not. They are absent-minded enough to keep nagging at their children and remember nothing. The Buddha taught us to get rid of defilements, not the brain. We have to think, read, write, learn and set up in life with work to do. Once you have a family, make it a united and loving family. Love the person who loves you. Do not love the person who does not love you. If you have no loving-kindness you cannot have a happy family. The Buddha taught thus. All relatives please note. Do not leave the brain empty.
2. Gap between people. Do not leave a gap between one another. Go to visit and help each other with kindness. The Buddha taught not to be idle or far from seniors because you can easily go astray. Nowadays parents do not bring up their children well. They leave their children idle. That is why many children have been bad. Now children are separated from seniors and parents. How can they be good? Do not come to sit with eyes closed thinking that I’m going to heaven or Nibbana. Impossible! It is clearly visible that you cannot. It is not possible to buy merit or a ticket to heaven or to Nibbana. You have to start off with the quality of being human first. We have to reduce the gap between people by often visiting each other, paying respect to seniors and being complete with the six reverences.
There is a large gap between people nowadays. The young do not respect the old anymore. They almost step on their seniors’ heads. They no longer greet them when they arrive or bid them farewell when they leave. The higher they are educated, the lower their moral level is. People in the old days did not have a very high level of education, but their ethic level was high. They did what they said. This younger generation does not deliver what they speak. It’s a pity to see them loitering about in the street. Why is this so? I can answer that. It is because they are separated from the temple and code of conduct. They do not recognize the temple, the conduct, the older or the younger.
I would like to set up the basic knowledge for you to keep in mind. First, do not sit without knowing how to practice. Second, we have to reduce the gap between people. Old folks always visit each other. Seeing one another often, they understand each other and wish the other well. Wishing the other well, they take turns visiting each other. In the Sukhothai period, Thailand’s boundary was as far as Kelantan, Kedah and Singapore. At the time we had only a population of four million. Now it has increased to 50 million. People’s minds begin to narrow. Houses begin to narrow down. It has become a rat race. Is this the present day Buddhist? It’s a pity that people’s moral standard is lower despite their higher level of education. They lack a code of conduct. This is when the gap between people occurs. People do not visit parents or relatives anymore. Do not let this gap occur. Visit your native town often. When a person practices dhamma, they will understand this point. They will not leave a gap between people. They return to their native town and visit parents and relatives often. They do not forget the institutes where they have been educated, trained for good quality or trained to be meritorious.
Nowadays there is a gap between the new, highly-educated generation and their relatives. Sometimes they think that older relatives are stupid because those people have not been to school. Then a gap occurs between them. Many have been bad because of this lack of visiting and co-ordination.
3. Do not leave a gap in resources of life. Being idle, lazy, good for nothing, shirking or being unethical is classified as the gap in resources of life. It is an error in life to let time go be uselessly because life follows time. Do not forget that the gap between people and the gap in resources of life are, actually, a person’s life.
4. Do not leave a time gap. Do not let time go by uselessly by doing nothing except eating, sleeping and loitering. The benefit that should be gained from the golden minutes in life is the value of time spent. Do not leave any gap here. Do not forget the word “time gap”. It’s a pity to have it.
5. Do not leave a gap in leadership. Parents have never led their children. The monks have never led anybody. Nowadays people look for so many other things to lead them. It’s a pity and sorrowful. There is a gap in leadership, too. No one leads another. The Mind does not lead. Mindfulness does not lead the Mind. When we do not have Mindfulness, where would the Mind be. It will be disorderly, leaning toward defilement. People nowadays are short of leaders. Yet they cannot lead themselves since they have to depend on Mindfulness to lead the Mind. When the Mind is untidy it is like a strong flush of water. What do we do then? We have to use our Mindfulness to lead and bar it from being disordered. So, we have to practice the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, which is the Only Way that the Buddha taught on every occasion. This Only Way is a one-way street, which is life’s traffic rule; preventing us from doing wrong.
What did the Buddha teach? He taught educational development, economic development, making a career and setting up a happy family. In conclusion, he developed the society to live together with kindness, not living with differences or never smiling at anyone. A person with dhamma smiles happily, pays attention to the discussion, speaks politely and is helpful. People nowadays do not have dhamma. They never smile. If you do not have moral qualifications, how can you practice meditation? What will you use as your principle? If you do not know someone you do not greet him or converse in a friendly manner at all. The person with dhamma smiles inside and outside surely.
The meaning is here. You have to have Mindfulness and Wisdom, not just coming to sit with eyes closed thinking of going to heaven and Nibbana. How can you go? You still nag your children. Your house is still dirty and untidy. Are you going to heaven? You are lazy even to sweep the floor. Your eating place is not clean. Your excreting place is not convenient. You are still dirty in your practice. Oh! I’m going to heaven. Maybe I can buy my way. Going to heaven is not the election ballot by which you can buy the Minister’s seat. It cannot be that way. You have to set up moral qualifications.
All patrons please know that a person with dhamma smiles inside and outside. Gold and money keep flowing to them. But a person without dhamma is good for nothing. Gold and money do not flow to them because the trading door is blocked. The trading door to a person without dhamma is always blocked because they do not smile or greet others genially. A person with dhamma always smiles. Although they look like they are frowning, the kind heart always reveals itself. The point is here. It is not like coming to sit with eyes closed thinking of going to Nibbha-na, which is the supreme happiness. What happiness is it? Does your heart feel happy? Are you still sulky when you return home? Is this dhamma? How can we transfer merit to His Majesty then? When you contemplate in order to transfer the merit, the Mind disperses this way and that. It does not have enough power to transfer any merit then.
Everybody please know that you have to make merit first. The meaning is in that point. Reduce five gaps first. Then come to establish five commonalities. Then join forces to trade – not profiteering. Just make reasonable profit. Do not be like certain monks and patrons. A patron profiteers. He donates one baht and prays for 12 million. A monk over blesses because certain patrons have donated a lot of money, for example. It is beyond the ability of both.
I have come to explain the logic. You have the option to believe or not. Bring my words to your attention and consider. Do not just come to sit with closed eyes thinking of going to Nibba-na or being an angel or deity. Can you, really? Your house is still so dirty. God Indra can spot down and realize that your house is still dirty. May you not get to heaven at all. If building just one hall makes a person become God Indra, the whole country can become God Indra. You have to take an examination, too. You have to have moral qualifications for 10 existences. If you want to be an angel, you have to have Hiri and Ottappa (moral shame and moral dread). Are you ashamed, inside and outside, afraid of sin and dishonesty – openly and discreetly?
Going to heaven and Nibba-na is not easy. I think it is difficult. Even I have not been anywhere yet. I still walk on the ground and still am human or not human. Sometimes I am an ogre. Sometimes I stamp my feet on the ground and bare fangs with a red face. An ogre has a red face. A monkey’s face is not red. The monkey is Hanuman, referring to the Mind that always offers service. A monkey does not wear any shoes, but an ogre does. Look at them at the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. You will see that the ogres wear shoes and have red faces. Why do they have red faces? They do because they represent anger. When they are angry, their faces turn red and they stamp their feet, bare their fangs. Is there any ogre here? No, there isn’ t any in sight. But there is still a monkey – that is me. All monkeys have the moving minds. The big monkey’s name is Hanuman. He is always agape and a servant for all his life because of the Mind. Do you agree? It does not matter if you do not. You may be the boss now. But I’m still a servant, which means that the mind has to always offer service. You have to learn this when you look at the monkey. This is development of the mind.
We have to know where the mind is so that we can develop at the correct point. If we don’t know where it is, can we develop it? Some say that the mind is at the heart. That is not the mind. When we don’t know where to find it, there is chaos in our society these days. That is because we do not know where the mind comes from. Where exactly are the greed, the anger and the ignorance? Then we can develop in the correct manner. This is why we have to start with reducing five gaps and setting up five joints, in order to raise funds. But ‘raising funds’ in this case does not refer to donations.
An old lady had been to a temple to observe the Eight Precepts. She had 3,000 baht in her pocket. By the time she returned home, she had not enough money for her bus fare. One monk after another came to deliver sermons. At the same time, they also solicited donations, telling the patrons about aniccam (impermanence) dukkham (suffering) and anatta (selflessness). One cannot take the wealth to the next existence. The old lady then donated until she had donated the entire 3,000 baht. She could not return home for lack of bus fare. I witnessed this because I had been invited as an instructor. So, I had to give her 200 baht as bus fare to Tapanhin District, Uttaradit Province. Is this a tranquil mind? I’m just giving you an example. There’s no need to relate this story outside. Do you agree? If you are a sage, you will agree with me. If you are not a sage, you will not agree. Do you see the point of observing the Eight Precepts to make merit? When she returned home, the granddaughter asked if the money was enough. “Enough, dear! I used it up a few days ago. I had to borrow 50 baht from someone.” This means a lot. Consider it with your wisdom. I will never solicit donations from anybody. You are invited to visit the temple. The Sangha also offers you a meal.
Making merit does not cost anything if you are serious about it. Patrons can give the upper level donation. When parents or grandparents pass away you can give the upper level donation without using money. Can you do that? Use no money to make merit in order to transfer it to the deceased parents. Go back and teach your children not to borrow money for the funeral ceremony. It’s a sin. You can give a donation without using money by giving the upper level donation. For example, it you used to drink alcohol, drop the habit. If you used to gamble or be dissolute, drop the habit. Set your mind forth to drop bad habits as merit making in order to transfer it to the deceased. How is the situation nowadays? In some places, people like to have funerals very much. Why? The host does not have to do anything. There is a group of organizers who offer a turn-key arrangement. They set up gambling games in the funeral and collect fees from the winner. This is a sin. One who goes out to make merit must be able to abandon the sin. One who goes out to do good must be able to abandon the bad. Coming to make merit here, can you abandon the sin yet? If not, do not make merit because there is no room for merit to enter. The sin blocks it. I leave this with all Buddhist laity. In an ordination ceremony at our temple, there is no drinking. Guests have to be composed when they enter the temple ground. When they circle around the Uposatha Hall, they have to chant the virtues of the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha.
So, we have to understand this point before we can go on upholding the royal honour. Make merit to transfer to His Majesty, not drinking in his honour. What do the government office say? Take a glass and toast to offer well wishes. What is the correlated logic between drinking and well wishing? Such activities still exist in many provinces which I have seen with my own eyes. I asked what glass it was. They said it was for toasting to His Majesty’s health. Is this done in his honour? It’s not right. If you have children, teach them now not to toast with alcoholic drinks. Toast with merit instead. Make donations. Observe Precepts. Meditate. Make merit by working harder. If you are a student, wake up at 4 am in the morning to study your lessons. Do not wake up at 8 am and be satisfied with just a pass in your exam. As the saying goes, “Late rising, tired of working, despising a small amount and waiting for good fortune.” Is this transference of merit? We have to perceive it clearly. It’s not coming to sit with closed eyes and thinking that you have done something good as an offering to His Majesty making him happy now. Then upon returning home we are still in trouble, with robbery and theft. We still drink and gamble. Is this transference of merit?
Please do not blame me for saying so. I can do what I say. There is none of these things at our temple. I can tell you. You can go and see for yourself. There is no theft in our neighbourhood. No one comes to the temple while drinking. Where there is a funeral, I host the ceremony. There is nothing to pay for, not only for the electricity but for the beverages also. The funeral ceremony is the first activity where we should help each other. The second activity is visiting the ill. When you accomplish the doctrine, you have to do so as well. It is not just smiling and making money. That is not the path to the doctrine at all. In order to be classified as honouring His Majesty and transferring the merit to him, we have to help each other. If the people live happily, His Majesty will be very happy. If the people are not happy at all, suffering all kinds of troubles, quarrelling, thefts and crimes all over the country, how can His Majesty be happy? So, his subjects have to be happy. As far as the government officers are concerned, you are supposed to be His Majesty’s ears and eyes. You can transfer the merit to him by being continuously honest, hardworking, economize and turn your back on the path to ruin. If you are a government officer you have to do so. The Buddhist laity have to make merit according to their duty as well. I would like to make sure you understand the point first. Otherwise you will come to sit with eyes closed without knowing what you are doing. It is like ‘Li-Ke’ (traditional Thai burlesque performance). At the beginning you have to inform the audience about the story and the actors. Today I, Phra Gru Bhavanavisuddhi, will perform for you. Some of you may have to conduct the play. Some may want to play hero or heroine or villain of the story. Just decide on the role among yourselves. But according to ‘Li-Ke’ everyone says that he is the hero. Is there any actor in the ‘Li-Ke’ who comes out to inform the audience that he is a villain? Normally, they say, “I’m a hero”. You have to see for yourself when they perform. Then you realize that this person’s dialect indicates his mother tongue. His mannerism indicate his family background. This is the same in real life. If you want to know a person, look at his face. If you want to know the cloth, look at the texture. If you want to know the mat, look at the woven pattern. If you want to know a man, look at his father. As for female laity, there is also a saying. “If you want to know the elephant, look at its tail. If you want to know a woman, look at her mother”. This is how people in the old days observe things. Now, when a man sees that a woman is pretty, it is O.K. with him. That is why many couples get married in the evening and become divorced the morning after, so to speak. Is this a person with dhamma? Of course not. It was difficult for people in the old days to love each other. They took their time going out with each other to learn about the habits, the lifestyle and the career before they got married. Now people fall in love easily and desert each other easily. Do the male laity agree with me, that it was difficult to love each other in the old days? How about your generation? Does it take long before a girl accepts you? Ask the older generation how it was. Have you asked any girl to run away with you? Nowadays, girls elope. I have several girl pupils who have eloped as well.
If you can meditate for the whole night without sleeping, it can be recognized as transference of merit. Can I abstain from eating and from sleeping for two days? Can you join me on that? Who will join me on that? While I was practicing, I abstained from sleeping for a long time. During this lent, I teach 70 monks at the temple from three in the morning. Today I have taught the monks already. Yesterday I went to the Third Army Division, at King Naret the Great Hospital. All doctors were dressed in white and meditated. Those on duty continued to be on duty. Those who were not on duty meditated. Practicing the Four Foundations of Mindfulness provides 3 good results:- 1. Recollecting past existences. 2. Knowing the Law of Karma from one’s own deed. 3. Learning the reason for being pardoned. These are more than enough for a person. It took me a two-anda-half hour drive to King Naret the Great Hospital and King Ekadasaroth Hospital in Pitsanulok. There is a meditation session on every Buddhist holy day in the hospital’s main auditorium. Doctors who are not on duty usually attend.
It is my personal rule not to go out on Buddhist holy day except to teach or for a religious purpose. It is not for me to go sightseeing in the market place. On Buddhist holy day, I have to be in, so that the Buddhist laity can come to make merit. The Buddhism Society recommended a day off on Buddhist holy day. Why should the government take a day off on Buddhist holy day? Why should all patrons do so? Is it for going to the temple? If so, and the monk is not in, not ready or no where to be found, then why should you? You can go any day. I feel so sorry. The temple is not ready at all. If the temples are not ready how can they perform their duty. I have come to talk to you about logic, supported by facts. It is not just going to make merit and offering alms in order to obtain enough merit to go to heaven. Is there any such thing? You have to have a complete set of qualifications as I have explained.
Let us combine effort to establish five commonalities and be united. How do we do this? We have to join effort in being mindful in the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. Contemplate on our common Object of Concentration. You have congregated here today as a form of contribution because you have had to sacrifice your activities at home. It is like accumulating your funds. If you have no sacrifice you cannot transfer merit. A person has to donate the upper level donation, like sacrificing home activities for example. If you cannot sacrifice, you would not have come here. The same applies to me. I have left more than 200 trainees at the temple. Tomorrow and the day after, more will come, by the hundreds. The expenses are 40,000 baht a month, 20,000 for electricity and 20,000 for meals. I don’t need to solicit donations. Do I have money? No! How does the money come then? I only have one thing – dhamma. Then when I think of money it floods. When I think of gold, it flows in. God Indra sends me money through Angel Vasuthep. I deposit money at the bank in every house. There is no need to deposit it at Bangkok Bank or Krung Thai Bank. When it is time, they come to pay regardless of whether it is Saturday, Sunday, dark or light. They pay even after death. My worldly bank does not have to be with Bangkok Bank, Krung Thai or Kasikorn Bank at all. It can be withdrawn all the time like the power of merit that stays with those who have a meritorious mind. This is food for thought.
We come to combine the funds. This means donating the high level donations like your household activities, transportation fees and time. Combining the funds like this results in huge benefit. So, let us combine our creative and initiative thinking, about activities of our own lives. Then you can read yourself, command yourself, employ yourself and see yourself dead. That reduces your egotism. Then you can make merit and have the results of your work as proof. Combine thinking does not refer to the intention to take other’s money. Rather, think of qualifications in your life. Contemplate your own objects of concentration. This is how we establish common thinking. What do we combine effort for? For production! Patron, remember this. In industry, they join effort to produce merchandise. Contemplate various objects of concentration in order to make money and gold to stream in. Then we join effort in selling. In other words, (having contemplated until you get results) express and explain it methodically through proper behavior. Do you agree with me on this? I have now explained how we get started before we come to sit with eyes closed and know nothing.
In order to contribute to the funds, you must have to have funds to chip in. If you don’t have the funds, that is, a good foundation, you cannot come here. Today I have made my own resolution, that I would teach even if I have only one person in the audience. If no one comes, I intend to meditate the whole night through. We intend to transfer the merit to His Majesty. So do it. We have to make a resolution in order to get the job done. If not, we cannot get the job done.
In the Buddhist teaching, if we do not build up our intention, what we do does not result as the deed. When all patrons come here, I notice that you have made a resolution. Some have come to stay for a few days already. Remember this, the Buddha taught us to reduce five gaps and establish five commonalities before we start working. Otherwise do not start working because we have nothing in ourselves. There is no fund. Do understand this. Once we have joined the fund, we have to think in common. What do we think about? We think about meditation and reading the emotion. It is the nature of the Mind to think of the emotion and record the emotion like a tape recorder. When we think in common, think of looking at our own emotion. Do we have the Mindfulness at that moment? Look at our Object of Concentration. How have we been? Do not look at others. What do we look at then? Look at the Object of Concentration to see if we are sages now. Are we delinquents now? Do not look at others to see if they are good or bad. Look at ourselves to see if we are sages or not.
Sometime we are delinquents. Being in association with ruffians, they lead us to wrong doing. Associate with the sage, they lead us to fruitful results. Associate with evil, you put yourself into the corner. Associate with good, you receive the good result till death. Now we’ve come to associate with the good already. Have a look and point out the good and the bad. You will find them in a moment. They are in your own self and your own mind. There is no need to look at others and identify that this person as bad or that person as bad. His daughter is useless. Her daughter is not useful. Only my daughter is good. This kind of thought is not common thinking. We have to think in common properly, following the Precepts. Is there anybody observing the Precepts now? Are your body and mind normal? Do you have mindfulness? We have to practice mindfulness so that when you grow older you can recollect the previous existences. When you die you will know where will you be reborn. The mindfulness will follow you. I remember a few days ago, there was a person at just 50 years of age who was absent-minded. She said she hadn’ t eaten anything after just having had a meal. She scolded her children and grandchildren. She had forgotten many things because she had not used enough of her brain. She had left her brain empty. Do you have children? Do not let them be idle. Rich people in Bangkok employ servants to look after their children. When the servants are bad, they set a bad example for the children. Do you see this clearly? So, we combine our effort to look at our emotion. When the emotion is bad do not associate with it at that moment.
The Buddha taught not to believe him. He concluded that a person should believe in reason and facts. Do not believe parents. If parents teach their children to be robbers, do not believe them. Take note. Do not believe anyone. Do not believe husband or wife. Excuse me! I would sincerely like to ask if you believe your husband? Eh! Not at all! Well, that’s not quite correct. If the husband is good, believe him. If he is not good, do not believe him. In the old days when I was a layman, I used to wash my wife’s clothes. This is supposition. I even cleaned the house and hand-fed her. But I could not keep her satisfied so I had to become a monk. You see? If the husband is good, believe him. If not, do not believe him. The same applies to the wife. If she is good, believe her. The Buddha is great, you see? You can only realize this when you have mindfulness. There are two kinds of friends as well. If it’s a good friend, believe him. If it’s a friend that leads you to ruin, do not believe him.
What is the worst belief in the world? Patrons can answer with a little reluctance. I will answer this question for you. The worst belief in the world is belief in your own mind while you are angry, ignorant and greedy. Is this true? Believing your own mind like this is the worst. I’ve seen this a few days ago. A husband came home asking his wife if she had cooked the dish he asked for. The wife made it a little too sweet. He asked if she could make it a little more bitter. She got mad at him and hurled the electric rice cooker down to the ground floor. I happened to be in a parked car at that moment. Bang! What was it? I told the chauffeur to get out at once. What kind of house was it? They believe in their mind all that much. Is it a bad thing to do? It is very bad, patrons. Do remember. If you believe your own mind while you are greedy, angry and ignorant, you will suffer.
So, you have to be mindful prior to believing. There is a reason in this. So, let’s come to join forces in producing the results in the life of those who have wisdom, loving-kindness, compassion, altruistic joy and neutrality. You have to practice the Four Foundations of Mindfulness in order to know. Practice by standing, walking, sitting, lying down, turning left – right, bending and stretching your legs. Walking meditation does not mean reciting ‘Buddho’ with each step. Do not associate ‘Buddho’ with your footstep. The Buddha taught us to be mindful while standing and stretching your legs. That’s all! Can you do it? Be well restrained with precepts while you walk. What is morality and where is it? It is correct to say that being restrained is morality. But morality has to be on its home base, which is mindfulness. Only then can our body and mind be restrained. If we lack mindfulness, morality cannot come. With carelessness, one cannot be restrained. Morality is inherent in faculties (Indriya). But the meaning of the word ‘ si-la’ (morality) is normal, corporeally and verbally.
Then we have another problem. How can we be normal? Without mindfulness and clear comprehension, a person becomes insane. It all boils down to that. So, we have to have mindfulness as a home base for morality to stay. Then we are normal corporeally and verbally. If being normal corporeally and verbally is not enough, since our mind still wanders around, we then have to have concentrated mind. So, we have to use the Four Foundations of Mindfulness as the principle of our practice in order to have normal mindfulness. A person without mindfulness does not have hope in life any longer. We have to come to our sense, be alert inside and outside. Do not slip, overlook things or be careless at all. It is all in one thing – mindfulness. If we miss this point, we have no where to go. Even if we try the ‘Buddho’ method, we will just sit there. If mindfulness does not improve, mind does not improve. You cannot initiate a new job. So, you have to have mindfulness in order to put your mind on the job. Do not place all tasks aside. This is one thing. Another thing is that when mindfulness combines with clearconsciousness in the meditation wisdom results. So, it is the nature of the mind to realize the emotion over a long period of time like a tape recorder.
When I come to this point I would like to ask the nun from which way the mind arise. Correct! The nun has given the correct answer. So, the mind is not the heart. The heart pumps the blood to feed the body. But the mind arises from sense-base and faculties (Indriya). When the eyes see the form, mind arises. When the ears hear the sound, mind arises. When the nose smells the odour, mind arises. The tongue receives sour, sweet, nutty or salty taste; mind arises at the tongue. The body contacts hot, cold, soft or hard while sitting down; mind arises at the body. Now we know the origins of mind. So, we can develop them. When you see form, what will it be when you like it? When you like it, it is called greed. If you like the form you’ve seen without considering it with mindfulness, what will it be? We have to develop this point, not just sitting with eyes closed alone. When your ears hear sound, ask yourself if you like the scolding sound. What is it then? It boils down to this point. You have to be mindful, not insane. Suppose you do not have mindfulness while listening, what is it called? Right! If you are greedy when you are dying, what will you be? You will be a hungry ghost. Being angry, what will you be? You will go to hell, receiving light or heavy punishment according to your own karma. Lacking mindfulness and wisdom while dying, you will be reborn as an animal.
When you are certain that mind arises from sense-base, we have to develop at that point. How do you contemplate when the ears hear sound? ‘Sound…knowing’ Let you realize it. If you do not realize and are satisfied with the object, your mind inclines toward greed. If you die at that moment, you will surely be a hungry ghost. So, you have to develop this point. What will you do if you are angry? Do not forget the control point of your breathing at the xiphoid. Remember! If a person wants to accomplish wisdom, contemplate the line between the nose and the navel. Look at the long breath. If you happen to be angry wherever you are, take a long breath from nose to navel. Set your mindfulness at the xiphoid, which is called ‘Heart of the Mind’ or Cetasika. Contemplate ‘ angry…angry ’ at the xiphoid. I can assure you that your anger will end and you will no longer be angry. It ends completely without any kindling left. This is Nibba-na. If we die outside the noose, we do not have to be concerned about anyone. If we still die in the noose or we are still concerned with offspring, how can we go to Nibbana? You cannot go. It is all here, not very difficult.
But we have to practise walking meditation or the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. I would like to inform you about Ka-ya-nupassana- satipat.t.hana. Be mindful when your body is standing, walking, sitting, lying down, left or right turning, bending or stretching. Be subtle in the mindfulness of your postures, so that you know how many steps there are when you bend or stretch your legs. How is the state within your body. Do not look at others to see if they are beautiful or not, pretty or not. That is not the way. We have to look at our own body. Be able to read your body. Be able to command it. Be able to employ it. So, you can see yourself dead. That way your ego will be reduced and you will have the right intention to make merit with fruitful results as proof. If you practise the Four Foundations of Mindfulness like this, you do not die all that easily. While practise walking meditation, place the mindfulness of your in and out breath at your stomach.
I practised the ‘Buddho’ method for 10 years, contemplating ‘Bud…’ while breathing in, contemplating ‘dho…’ while breathing out. I did this for ten years. Later, I practise the Four Foundations of Mindfulness at the navel. When I broke my neck, if I practised ‘Buddho’ I surely would have died. But why could I still breathe? Where? I could still breathe at the navel. Do not forget that a person who is able to breathe at the navel has to have experience to do so. If you want to know whether a person can really breathe at the navel, try to break your own neck in a car accident. My kind of broken neck my head could be twisted completely around. I could really breathe. That is a real example. What I’ve spoken is true. Otherwise, I could not speak to you. It is a sin to boast about super-human qualities. But that is a true story. I experienced it myself.
We realize the navel since we are in our mother’s womb. When we were in our mothers’ wombs, we breathed and ate with our mothers through the navel. Does the monk breathe when the monk enters Nirodhasamapatti? We say he does not breathe. As a matter of fact, he breathes through the body hair, the same channel through which a person perspires. By this way, monks in Nirodhasamapatti (Meditative attainment of extinction) can live for 7 days. You have to really know, otherwise you will not understand. You have to concentrate at the stomach to realize the rising and falling. For the ‘Buddho’ method, you have to concentrate until your breath is so refined that you can no longer realize it. But both methods ‘Buddho’ and ‘Rising…falling’ are the same a-na-pa-nasati (mindfulness on breathing) method. The difference is on what we use as an Object of Concentration. If we use Form, Name and the Five Aggregates as Objects of Concentration, it is Insight Meditation. If we use the designation as Object of Concentration, it is Tranquility Meditation. There is a short reason for this.
Now we do the walking meditation. The Buddha taught in Satipat.t.hanasutta (The Discourse of the Foundations of Mindfulness) that walking meditation is walking with mindfulness. Being mindful while treading. Realize on the present moment, using Form, Name and the Five Aggregates as Objects of Concentration. You will realize how you should walk. This is Ka-ya-nupassana- satipat.t.ha-na (mindfulness as regards the body). I explain this first. But I understand that some patrons sitting here have practiced this before, or may be not. It is necessary that I demonstrate it to you. That is why I have organized the programme today. If you have practised this, it is good. You can refresh your memory. If you have not, memorize it so as to comprehend the Four Foundations of Mindfulness later. This is the body. Realize when the body stands and walks, wholesomely. Realize the outer body and inner body. Realize the inner body. When you are mindful, you can realize the inner body. How it moves. How well restrained it is. How proper its manner is. You will realize this in your own mind. It is “ pacattam. veditabbo vi๑๑u-hi – realize it personally by oneself alone.”
What does Vedana-nupassana- satipat.t.ha-na (contemplation on feeling) mean? Vedana (Feeling) means unbearable or uncontrollable. It occurs naturally. Sukha vedana- (pleasant feeling) is being happy bodily and mentally. Dukkha vedana- (unpleasant feeling) is being unhappy bodily and mentally. Then you have Upekkha- vedana- (neutral feeling). How do we deal with them? When we have a pleasant feeling – being glad or happy – be mindful. If we are not mindful, we can be careless and are bound to be sad later. When the pleasantness is not the correct one, i.e., not being rid of suffering, there is always unpleasantness in mind. So, do not be careless. Be mindful. Contemplate at the solar plexus, noting ‘being happy…being glad”.
A person who is too joyful can die or go insane. It cannot be cured. A person with a Master’s Degree who was very glad and was disappointed later had to be hospitalized. He still cannot work. This was why the Buddha taught in detail. You have to have Mindfulness and Clear Consciousness by contemplating on your mind. Do not be absent minded. The unpleasantness can be body suffering. It can be painful all over the body, unable to withstand it any longer. Set your mindfulness on it. Contemplate on ‘aching…aching’. The mind arises, exists and ceases. Vedana- (Feeling) is then separated. You will not feel pain at all if you can separate the vedana (feeling) and keep it separately in a confined area. The status of Form and Name tells you clearly. This is a simple practice method, not difficult at all. But we have mixed it with this and that. So we do not really know.
How do we practice this? We can practice it all the time. Where do we feel sorry? Either being in a car, on a ship, in a coffee shop, at home, at the office or at the workplace, take a long breath from your nose to your navel. Set your mindfulness at the solar plexus, contemplate ‘being sorry’. Take a long breath, noting ‘being sorry’. Take a real long breath. Then there will be wisdom telling us that if we are sorry about this, we have to do that. This can be solved. If we are sorry about this, we have to solve it this way and it will produce the result that way. It has to be like this, not just sitting with closed eyes and waiting to solve it tomorrow. We have to solve it in the present moment.
What did the Buddha teach? Mouth, not to be quick. Mind, not to be easily led. Old stories, not to be revived. Irrelevant cases, not to be thought of. Why don’t you concentrate in the present moment? Act in the present moment. Take Form, Name and the five Aggregates as Objects of Concentration. If you keep talking about old stories, you will always be sorry. At the same time you cannot always be glad. There will be sorrow in between. I would like to leave this with you. This is a very important point. You have to contemplate on the present and it will go away. When the ear hears the scolding voice, contemplate on ‘sound’. You can do it anywhere. It is not necessary to sit here. “‘Sound’. Oh! They scold me”. The voice and the ears are ‘Form’. The Mind realizing that they scold is the ‘Name’. Then we are mindful and have clear consciousness. Wisdom will tell us not to listen to it. It is a waste of time. If they scold us it will return to them. The voice and the ears are different. Why do we have to be angry? It goes like this. You tell yourself. There is no need to let others tell you. If we can do this I can assure you that you will see the natural state which is specifically yours.
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