Chapter 19: Accept Things as they are

Phra Ra-jsuddhi¬a-nฺamongkol

May all Buddhists observe and perform all these three
things : Da – na (giving); Si -la (morality ) ; and Bha-vana- (mental
– development). Even though here you are not giving any
material requisites to monks, you are currently undergoing this
mental – development, called meditation training, which is of
equal significance as the giving of Da-na. As to the observation
of Si -la or morality, normally it is automatically included in the
practice of Bha-vana-, since most people who take up meditation
are regular observers of those moral precepts ; they usually
undertake at least five precepts before starting to meditate.
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– satipatฺtฺha-na or Mindfulness as regards
the body means to increase merit through the body, that is, to
exercise restraint over our body so that moral virtues may arise
from the practice. The eyes, the ears, the nose, the tongue, the
body and the heart (mind) all need to be restrained in a proper
manner. When the body is rightly restrained, then there will
be mindfulness enough to generate keen awareness or
consciousness. Practise walking meditation with great
concentration in the mind, then you will have attained much
merit from your efforts. A well – restrained person is in themself
a reflection of good discipline. Mindfulness is the foundation
for the emergence of wisdom, which leads you to the
understanding of causes and effects of events or phenomena.
The constant practice of the Four Foundations of Mindfulness
will only benefit you yourself. It helps you to understand your
own self and it enables you to realise the underlying factors of
your own wrong doing – “Avijja-” or ignorance : “Lobha” or
greed ; “Dosa” or hatred ; and “Moha” or delusion.
Ka-ya-nupassana- – satipatฺtฺha-na helps us to refrain from
physically breaking the precepts or committing bad deeds. The
mindfulness acts as a controlling centre alerting us not to apply
our hands or legs or mouth in committing abusive or destructive
Thus, it can be seen that the training of the mind is of
vital significance because it is the mind that can exert effective
control over our feelings and emotions, which arise by way of
our eyes, ears and other sense organs. If an offensive smell comes
into contact with your nose which functions as a detector of
smells and if you are obsessed with your dislike for that smell
and cannot get over it, your reaction will be that of disgust and
anger, and these negative feelings may lead to, perhaps, more
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unexpected problems or troubles. Thus, you need to have the
mindfulness necessary to put reason and sense into your
disturbed and displeased mind so that you will not over –react
or behave in an offensive or unreasonable way. When food is
distasteful to you, you may be beseiged by a sense of
dissatisfaction and get into a disagreeable mood. You allow your
heart, not your reasoning mind, to rule over you. That spells
trouble. You are in suffering. You feel miserable about the food
and your misery may turn into anger. Anger may drive you to
some crazy and senseless action. If you were to have enough of
mindfulness, which would help to force some sense and reason
to your agitate mind, you would just take the food as it is,
knowing that it helps to sustain life and that you eat to live, not
live to eat. Hence, you are not likely to make a fuss about the
whole thing and get upset by so trifling a matter.
People with wisdom utter words of meritorious nature
and implication. They will not say things to spark the breaking
out of anger, chaos, and violence. Such people have learned to
master their hearts (feelings). No amount of abusive words,
insults, and name calling would induce them to raise a finger
against another.
However, for most people, that is not something easy to
do. When seized by anger, they tend to react impulsively or
retaliate in a violent way. Such people have never learned to
discipline their mind and hence, emotions. However, it does
not necessarily mean that they are people who care not about
religion. On the contrary, they might be the kind of people
who like such form of merit-making like giving “Da-na” or
material requisites to monks. Their merit – making is external,
with emphasis on giving of material things. What they need to
do is to develop mindfulness through meditation practice.
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When someone is angry with you, they may yell at you
with abusive word, or they may raise their eyebrows, hand or
leg as though they want to hit you or kick you. Whatever they
do, you should try to look upon them with some genuine feeling
of compassion and pity. If their state of mind were normal,
they would not behave like a mad person, but now they are is
seized by fury and they are about to lose or have already lost
their mind, sense of decency, and civility. They are a victim of
their own anger or hatred (Dosa). Thus, you have a clear picture
of what and how they are. What then is the use of getting carried
away by their angry words of reprimand, which are, after all,
words uttered in anger and often carry no sense except
provocation? If you can forgive them for their undignified
conduct, then it is as good as making merit. Your wisdom has
restrained you and that saves you from a lot of unnecessary
troubles. An angry person often behaves like a person gone
crazy. You may say that a very angry person is fifty per cent
mad, but if they provoke you to the extent that you become
much more angry than they are, then you are perhaps one
hundred per cent mad – fifty per cent more mad than they are.
When you are faced with adversities of life, you should
not succumb to grief, sorrow, or anger. When your heart is
filled with pain, anguish, anger, and sorrow, try to keep cool,
be calm, and control your confused mind with reason. Be
mindful of each step you take and think about the possible
consequences. Have no bias with regard to other people. Do
not take sides, even your own side. Be neutral and fair in your
judgement or decision – making. Then you will have a clear
Do bear in mind one thing – karma. Our deeds or actions
always bring about consequences of some sort. It is just like a
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shadow following us everywhere. Do not feel hurt when you
do something good and yet you are not being rewarded or even
appreciated for your good intention and efforts. In fact, there
is something good to be learned from your disappointing
experience: that is, in the future you need to learn to be wiser.
Aging is a process we all have to experience or undergo.
Medical science has not yet come up with a way to curb or stop
the inevitable process of aging. Thus, as years go by, wrinkles
will start appearing on our once youthful faces. The hair will
turn grey, the teeth may fall off, and the eyes become blurry
and teary. Be reconciled to this inevitable fact of life – that we
will grow old and head towards death. No youthfulness is ever
lasting. We all grow old without being very much conscious
about it. By the time we realize that we are already old, there is
nothing we can do about it. Gone are those happy, eventful,
and youthful days! Now is the twilight of our lives, and there
may be a lot of troubles waiting
for us too: loneliness,
sicknesses, poverty, etc. It is at
this stage of our lives that we
may truly realise the truth
about the impermanence of
life and that all things are
transient. There is suffering
everywhere. Hunger is
suffering. Thirst is suffering.
The heat of the day and the
cold of the night can bring
suffering too. Lingering illness
is also suffering. So, learn all
these unpleasant facts of life.
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Be prepared to face them all.
When you become so ill that you cannot take food in
the normal way, special liquid food has to be prepared and
passed through a tube to your stomach. You are said to be
critically ill. You may still have the chance to recover. But if
your illness worsens and you know somehow you will not live
for many more days, then let not the fear for death arise in
your heart. Accept the fact that you are heading towards the
final stop of the journey of life. Prepare yourself for the ending.
Grieve not and moan not. Even if you happen to be alone on
your death bed, do not feel sad about it. When you were born,
you were born naked. You brought nothing with you from your
mother’s womb. Now you are about to die, and you also cannot
take anything or anybody along with you to your grave. You
simply have to leave everything behind. This is a fact that you
have to accept. So, be ready for the final hour of your life. After
all, being Buddhists, you know very well that all living beings
are subject to Aniccam . – impermanence, Dukkham . – suffering,
and Anatta-
– non – self, the Three Characteristics of Existence.
So, why mourn? Why be depressed? Why all the fears?
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