Dhamma ganga,career changes in your 30s kitchen,victoria secret 2014 guest star - Review

18.08.2013
It has been rightly stated that it is relatively easier for man to feel compassion or friendliness in situations which demand them, than to cherish a spontaneous feeling of shared joy, outside a narrow circle of one’s family and friends.
Admittedly, the negative impulses in man, like aggression, envy, jealousy, etc., are much more in evidence than his positive tendencies towards communal service, mutual aid, unselfish joy, generous appreciation of the good qualities of his fellow-men, etc.
We know very well how envy and jealousy (the chief opponents of unselfish joy) can poison a man’s character as well as the social relationships on many levels of his life. In him who gives and helps, the joy he finds in such action will enhance the blessings imparted by these wholesome deeds: unselfishness will become more and more natural to him, and such ethical unselfishness will help him towards a better appreciation and the final realisation of the Buddha’s central doctrine of No-self (anatta).
Nowadays, moral exhortations fall increasingly on deaf ears, whether they are motivated theologically or otherwise. It was also with this situation in view, that the preceding observations have stressed the fact that a virtue like unselfish and altruistic joy has its natural roots in the human heart and can be of immediate benefit to the individual and society. In this troubled world of ours, there are plenty of opportunities for thoughts and deeds of compassion; but there seem to be all too few for sharing in others’ joy.
Der Lotus wurde in vielen Lehren des Buddhismus verwendet, um die wahre Natur der gesamten Menschheit zu repräsentieren. Dharma Chakra oder Dhamma Chakka bezeichnet und wird oft verwendet, um Buddha selbst darzustellen.
For most people the conditioned is all they ever really relate to, the unconditioned remains a kind of metaphysical belief, or some abstraction they might accept. We are all very involved with the realm of mortality and what is conditioned is mortal, subject to death, or cessation. The tendency of Western materialism is to emphasize the importance of the death-bound conditions, even though we wouldn’t put it like that, would we? And yet, from the primitive to the present sophisticated forms of humanity, there has always been a sense outside of the senses, or an intuition that there is something beyond, something transcen­dent. If human beings are not encouraged to realize this truth for themselves, they either go to some authority, or expert on the subject, and accept what they say, or they simply dismiss the whole thing as being totally irrelevant to their lives.
Now the Buddha was a sage who tried to convey a particular teaching that would encourage the realization of ultimate reality.
This symbol of the Buddha, then, — the knower, the ability of a human being to know the truth, — is most significant for us at this time.
When people ask me why I became a Buddhist, I tell them it was because of this oppor­tunity. Now, admittedly, gnostic forms can be quite dangerous because in some ways anybody can believe almost anything. In the Buddhist convention, we take our own direct experiences and weigh them against the teachings of the Buddha; we measure experiences through the conventions we have.
Now, this is sometimes baffling because many people feel that Buddhists are not enlightened any more because they never say so. When the Buddha was sitting under the bodhi tree and realized truth, he knew he was enlightened.
He left Bodh Gaya, where the bodhi tree is, and on his way to the Deer Park near Benares, happened to meet another ascetic who recognized his aura of purity. There are five mental constituents which are chiefly representative of the first meditative absorption, and are therefore called the factors of absorption (jhananga).
Not only the meditative absorptions but also lesser degrees of mental concentration are impeded by these five hindrances. This widespread harmful influence of the five hindrances shows the urgent necessity of breaking down their power by constant effort.
Sloth and torpor and restlessness are eradicated on the path of Arahatship (arahatta-magga). Hence the reward of the fight against the hindrances is not only the limited one of making possible a shorter or longer spell of meditation, but every step in weakening these hindrances takes us nearer to the stages of sanctity where deliverance from these hindrances is unshakable. Though most of the following texts, translated from the Discourses of the Buddha and the commentaries, are addressed to monks, they are likewise valid for those living the worldly life.
Sensual desire is an impediment and hindrance, an overgrowth of the mind that stultifies insight. Without having overcome these five, it is impossible for a monk whose insight thus lacks strength and power, to know his own true good, the good of others, and the good of both; nor will he be capable of realizing that superhuman state of distinctive achievement, the knowledge and vision enabling the attainment of sanctity. But if a monk has overcome these five impediments and hindrances, these overgrowths of the mind that stultify insight, then it is possible that, with his strong insight, he can know his own true good, the good of others, and the good of both; and he will be capable of realizing that superhuman state of distinctive achievement, the knowledge and vision enabling the attainment of sanctity. One whose heart is overwhelmed by unrestrained covetousness will do what he should not do and neglect what he ought to do. But if a noble disciple has seen these five as defilements of the mind, he will give them up. There are five impurities of gold impaired by which it is not pliant and wieldy, lacks radiance, is brittle and cannot be wrought well. But if the gold has been freed from these five impurities, then it will be plaint and wieldy, radiant and firm, and can be wrought well. Similarly, there are five impurities of the mind impaired by which the mind is not pliant and wieldy, lacks radiant lucidity and firmness, and cannot concentrate well upon the eradication of the taints (asava). But if the mind is freed of these five impurities, it will be pliant and wieldy, will have radiant lucidity and firmness, and will concentrate well upon the eradication of the taints. How does a monk practice mind-object contemplation on the mental objects of the five hindrances?
To note mindfully, and immediately, the arising of one of the hindrances, as recommended in the preceding text, is a simple but very effective method of countering these and any other defilements of the mind. Just as, monks, this body lives on nourishment, lives dependent on nourishment, does not live without nourishment — in the same way, monks, the five hindrances live on nourishment, depend on nourishment, do not live without nourishment. There are beautiful objects; frequently giving unwise attention to them — this is the nourishment for the arising of sensual desire that has not arisen, and the nourishment for the increase and strengthening of sensual desire that has already arisen. There are impure objects (used for meditation); frequently giving wise attention to them — this is the denourishing of the arising of sensual desire that has not yet arisen, and the denourishing of the increase and strengthening of sensual desire that has already arisen. In him who is devoted to the meditation about impure objects, repulsion towards beautiful objects is firmly established. Sense objects give little enjoyment, but much pain and much despair; the danger in them prevails.
The unpleasant overwhelms a thoughtless man in the guise of the pleasant, the disagreeable overwhelms him in the guise of the agreeable, the painful in the guise of pleasure. There are forms perceptible by the eye, which are desirable, lovely, pleasing, agreeable, associated with desire, arousing lust. Reference is here, in particular, to such friends who have experience and can be a model and help in overcoming sensual desire, especially in meditating on impurity. Reference is here in particular to conversation about the overcoming of sensual desire, especially about meditating on impurity. If there is water in a pot mixed with red, yellow, blue or orange color, a man with a normal faculty of sight, looking into it, could not properly recognize and see the image of his own face. There are objects causing aversion; frequently giving unwise attention to them — this is the nourishment for the arising of ill-will that has not yet arisen, and for the increase and strengthening of ill-will that has already arisen. There is the liberation of the heart by loving-kindness; frequently giving wise attention to it — this is the denourishing of the arising of ill-will that has not yet arisen, and the decrease and weakening of ill-will that has already arisen. If there is a pot of water heated on the fire, the water seething and boiling, a man with a normal faculty of sight, looking into it, could not properly recognize and see the image of his own face. There arises listlessness, lassitude, lazy stretching of the body, drowsiness after meals, mental sluggishness; frequently giving unwise attention to it — this is the nourishment for the arising of sloth and torpor that have not yet arisen and for the increase and strengthening of sloth and torpor that have already arisen. In a monk who is accustomed to see the suffering in impermanence and who is frequently engaged in this contemplation, there will be established in him such a keen sense of the danger of laziness, idleness, lassitude, indolence and thoughtlessness, as if he were threatened by a murderer with drawn sword.
Once the Exalted One spoke to the Venerable Maha-Moggallana thus: „Are you drowsy, Moggallana? If, monks, a monk perceives these five threatening dangers, it is enough for him to live heedful, zealous, with a heart resolute to achieve the unachieved, to attain the unattained, to realize the unrealized.
When the mind is sluggish, it is not the proper time for cultivating the following factors of enlightenment: tranquillity, concentration and equanimity, because a sluggish mind can hardly be aroused by them. When the mind is sluggish, it is the proper time for cultivating the following factors of enlightenment: investigation of reality, energy and rapture, because a sluggish mind can easily be aroused by them.
If there is a pot of water, covered with moss and water plants, then a man with a normal faculty of sight looking into it could not properly recognize and see the image of his own face. There is unrest of mind; frequently giving unwise attention to it — that is the nourishment for the arising of restlessness and remorse that have not yet arisen, and for the increase and strengthening of restlessness and remorse that have already arisen. There is quietude of mind; frequently giving wise attention to it — that is the denourishing of the arising of restlessness and remorse that have not yet arisen, and of the increase and strengthening of restlessness and remorse that have already arisen. When the mind is restless it is not the proper time for cultivating the following factors of enlightenment: investigation of the doctrine, energy and rapture, because an agitated mind can hardly be quietened by them. When the mind is restless, it is the proper time for cultivating the following factors of enlightenment: tranquillity, concentration and equanimity, because an agitated mind can easily be quietened by them.
If there is water in a pot, stirred by the wind, agitated, swaying and producing waves, a man with a normal faculty of sight could not properly recognize and see the image of his own face.
There are things causing doubt; frequently giving unwise attention to them — that is the nourishment for the arising of doubt that has not yet arisen, and for the increase and strengthening of doubt that has already arisen. There are things which are wholesome or unwholesome, blameless or blameworthy, noble or low, and (other) contrasts of dark and bright; frequently giving wise attention to them — that is the denourishing of the arising of doubt that has not yet arisen, and of the increase and strengthening of doubt that has already arisen. Of the six things conducive to the abandonment of doubt, the first three and the last two are identical with those given for restlessness and remorse. If there is a pot of water which is turbid, stirred up and muddy, and this pot is put into a dark place, then a man with a normal faculty of sight could not properly recognize and see the image of his own face. Being endowed with noble mindfulness and clear comprehension, and endowed with noble contentedness, the monk resorts to a lonely place: to a forest, the foot of a tree, a mountain, a cleft, a rock cave, a cemetery, a jungle, an open space, a heap of straw. Just as when a man taking a loan, engages in a trade, and his trade succeeds, he now not only disposes of his old debt but he has also, beyond that, a surplus for maintaining a wife. Just as when a man is sick and in pain, suffering from a grave disease, his food does not agree with him, and he has no strength left in his body. Just as when a man has been thrown into prison, but some time later he is released from prison; he is safe and without fears, and he did not suffer any loss of property. Just as when a man is a slave, not independent, but dependent on others, unable to go where he likes, but some time later he is set free from slavery, is now independent, no longer dependent on others, a freeman who can go where he wants. Just as when a man, rich and prosperous, travels through a wilderness where there is no food and much danger, but some time later he has crossed the desert, and gradually reaches safely the vicinity of a village, a place of safety, free from danger. Similarly, so long as these five hindrances are not abandoned in him, a monk considers himself as indebted, as ailing, as imprisoned, as enslaved, as traveling in a wilderness. But when these five hindrances are abandoned, he considers himself as free from debt, rid of illness, emancipated from the prison’s bondage, as a free man, and as one arrived at a place of safety.
Then detached from sensual desires, detached from unwholesome states, he enters into and dwells in the first absorption which is accompanied by applied thought and reflection, born of detachment, and filled with joy and rapture.
Hereby the Blessed One shows the unabandoned hindrance of sensual desire as similar to being in debt; and the other hindrances as similar to being ill, and so on.
In the same way, if a man is filled with sensual desire for a certain person, he will, full of craving for that object of his desire, be attached to it. In the same way, if one of angry temperament is admonished even slightly by his teacher or preceptor who wishes his best, he does not accept their advice. A person has been kept in jail during a festival day, and so could see neither the beginning nor the middle nor the end of the festivities. Similarly, even if a very eloquent sermon on the Dhamma is going on, a monk overcome by sloth and torpor will not know the beginning, middle or end. A slave who wants to enjoy himself at a festival is told by his master: „Go quickly to such and such a place!
Similarly it is with a monk not well versed in the Vinaya (the Disciplinary Code), who has gone to the forest for the sake of solitude. It is similar with one in whom doubt has arisen in regard to one of the eight objects of doubt.[4] Doubting whether the Master is an Enlightened One or not, he cannot accept it in confidence, as a matter of trust. Similarly a monk, perceiving that sloth and torpor do great harm, develops the six things opposed to them, and so removes the hindrance of sloth and torpor. Therefore the Blessed One spoke of the abandonment of sloth and torpor as being comparable to release from imprisonment.
There is a slave who, with the help of a friend, pays money to his master, becomes a free man, and is henceforth able to do what he likes.
Therefore the Blessed One declared the abandonment of restlessness and remorse as being similar to winning freedom from slavery. There is a strong man who, with his luggage in hand and well armed, travels through a wilderness in company. They are, according to the Vibhanga: doubt in regard to the Buddha, the Dhamma, the Sangha, the (threefold) training, the past, the future, both past and future, and the conditionality of phenomena dependently arisen.
When you go to study meditation with any group or teacher who is experienced in a particular form of meditation, you should first make your heart confident that your teacher is fully experienced in that form of meditation, and be confident that the form of meditation he teaches is the right path for sure.
Teachers in the past used to require a dedication ceremony as a means of inspiring confidence before you were to study meditation.
Only after you have inspired confidence in your heart as already mentioned should you go to the teacher experienced in that form of meditation. If you go to a teacher experienced in meditating on the rising and falling of the abdomen, he’ll have you meditate on rising and falling, and focus your mind on the different motions of the body. If you go to a teacher experienced in psychic powers, he’ll have you repeat na ma ba dha, na ma ba dha, and focus the mind on a single object until it takes you to see heaven and hell, deities and brahmas of all sorts, to the point where you get carried away with your visions. If you go to a teacher experienced in breath meditation, he’ll have you focus on your in-and-out breath, and have you keep your mind firmly preoccupied with nothing but the in-and-out breath. Before practicing meditation on the word buddho, you should start out with the preliminary steps.
Now, sit in meditation, your right leg on top of left, your hands palm-up in your lap, your right hand on top of your left. When you enter into concentration, the mind may go so blank that you don’t even know how long you are sitting. Before you practice meditation, you should first learn the difference between the heart and the mind, for they aren’t the same thing. All sciences and all defilements are able to arise because the mind thinks and forms ideas and strays out in search of them.
When you reach the heart, you will see all your defilements, because the mind gathers all defilements into itself. When doctors are going to cure a disease, they first have to find the cause of the disease. As we start meditating longer and longer, repeating buddho, buddho, buddho, the mind will gradually let go of its distractions and restlessness, and gather in to stay with buddho. Once in the Buddha’s time there was a monk sitting in meditation near a pond who saw a heron diving down to catch fish and eat them. When the mind is intent on staying within the bounds of its meditation word buddho, with mindfulness in control, it’s sure to grow out of its rebelliousness.
After a moment, the mind will go straying out again, this time to your family — your children, your wife or husband: How are they getting along? Or if you’re still young and single, you think about having fun with your friends — the places you used to go together, the good times you had, the things you used to do — to the point where you actually say something or laugh out loud.


If you hold buddho close to the heart, and use your mindfulness to keep the mind with nothing but buddho, no dangers will come your way. At that moment you’ll feel as if you are in another world (the world of the mind), with a sense of ease and solitude to which nothing else in the world can compare. Everyone born — human or animal — has a heart and mind, but the heart and mind have different duties.
When people in general talk about the heart of something, they’re referring to its center.
Once you realize that the heart and mind have different duties and characteristics like this, you’ll find it easier to train the mind.
Once the mind has been fully trained by using mindfulness to keep it with buddho as its only preoccupation, it won’t go straying after different things, and instead will gather into oneness.
In addition, if you’ve developed a lot of potential in previous lifetimes, all sorts of amazing things can happen.
The Buddha taught that whether his teachings will flourish or degenerate depends on those who practice them. Those who make the religion flourish are those who speak about things that are useful and true.
The Buddha taught that people who make the effort to abandon defilement have to act like old-time warriors. When your concentration is solid and steady to the point where you can enter and leave it at will, you’ll be able to stay with it long and contemplate the body in terms of its unattractiveness or in terms of its physical elements. Once the mind is fully centered, then no matter whether you are sitting, standing, walking, or lying down, the mind will be centered at all times. This is like the water in a lake that has been muddy for hundreds and hundreds of years suddenly becoming clear so that you can see all the things lying along the lake-bottom — things you never dreamed were there before. Forcing the mind to be still can make it let go of defilement, but it lets go in the same way a person cuts grass, cutting just the part above ground, without digging up the roots.
If you want to uproot your defilements, then when you see that defilement springs from the six senses — for instance, the eye sees a visual object or the ear hears a sound, contact is made that causes you to be pleased or displeased, happy or sad, and then you grab onto it as your preoccupation, making the mind murky, disturbed, and upset, sometimes to the point where you can’t eat or sleep, and can even commit suicide — when you see this clearly, make your concentration firm and then focus your mind exclusively on examining that particular preoccupation. When you turn to examine the eye that sees the visual object, you find that the eye goes looking for objects and, as soon as it finds one, light gets reflected into the optic nerves so that all kinds of visible forms appear.
As for the other senses and their objects, attractive or unattractive, they should be examined in just the same way. When you contemplate in this way, you’ll see clearly that all the things in the world that become objects of defilement do so because of these six senses.
The world seems broad because the mind isn’t centered and is left free to wander among the objects of the six senses.
When your concentration is fully solid and strong, you’ll be able to contemplate this world of the mind, which gives rise to sensory contact, perceptions, preoccupations, and all defilements. But as for the mind, which is a mental phenomenon, Buddhism teaches that it continues to exist and can take birth again.
The Buddha teaches that although the nature of a person (this world) is to fall apart and die, the mind — the overseer of this world — must come back to be reborn as long as it still has defilements. Long time I am trying to find a copy from Dhamma in practice by Ajahn Thate, published by WAVE in 1975.
It mostly requires a deliberate effort to identify oneself with the joys and successes of others. Yet, as all these positive features are definitely found in man (though rarely developed), it is quite realistic to appeal to them, and activate and develop that potential by whatever means we can, in our personal relationships, in education, etc.
When unselfish joy grows, many noxious weeds in the human heart will die a natural death (or will, at least, shrink): jealousy and envy, ill will in various degrees and manifestations, cold-heartedness, miserliness (also in one’s concern for others), and so forth.
They can paralyse the productivity of society, on governmental, professional, industrial, and commercial levels. While compassion (karuna) is, or should be, the inspiration for it, unselfish joy should be its boon companion. He will also find it confirmed that he who is joyful in his heart will gain easier the serenity of a concentrated mind.
In other words, the approach to a modern presentation of Buddhist ethics should be pragmatic and contemporary, enlivened by a genuine and warm-hearted human concern.
Hence it is necessary for us to create new opportunities for unselfish joy, by the active practise of loving kindness (metta) and compassion (karuna), in deeds, words, and meditative thought. Das Banner des Sieges wird benutzt, um die Leute daran zu errinern, dass sie ihren Stolz, ihre Lust und ihre Leidenschaft besiegen müssen, um Erleuchtung zu erreichen. We also identify with the conditioning of our minds, the ways in which we have been trained to think and feel, with values, with habits acquired in our lifetimes, and so on. At the end of our lives, we shall all inevitably experience death when the body stops functioning, when the heat element dies out and the body disintegrates. And this is often speculated about, or believed in; we form metaphysical doctrines about, say, a realm after death, or transcendent truth, or the immortal, or the eternal, the infinite.
And the teaching of the Buddha sometimes baffles modern humanity because it does seem somewhat strange to our way of thinking; we are used to regarding religion from the point of view of being told something. This particular way of knowing, or Gnosticism, was, it seems, all destroyed at one time in Western civilization. I felt that if there was God, or an ultimate transcen­dent reality, or an immortal, it could be known directly. Back in the seventies Westerners used to go round Thailand looking for enlightened masters. After a while he thought, ‘This is too subtle; there’s no one I can possibly think of who’s going to understand what I’ve realized.
Here, deliverance means: the freeing of the mind from all limitations, fetters, and bonds that tie it to the Wheel of Suffering, to the Circle of Rebirth. According to the Buddhist teachings, spiritual development is twofold: through tranquillity (samatha-bhavana) and through insight (vipassana-bhavana). For each of these there is, according to Buddhist commentarial tradition, one of the five hindrances that is specifically harmful for it and excludes its higher development and refinement to the degree required for jhana; and on the other hand, the cultivation of these five factors beyond their average level will be an antidote against the hindrances, preparing the road to jhana.
One should not believe it sufficient to turn one’s attention to the hindrances only at the moment when one sits down for meditation. And doing so, he is regarded as one of great wisdom, of abundant wisdom, clear-visioned, well endowed with wisdom. Whatever ornaments one wishes to make from it, be it a diadem, earrings, a necklace or a golden chain, it will serve that purpose.
Whatever state realizable by the higher mental faculties one may direct the mind to, one will in each case acquire the capacity of realization, if the (other) conditions are fulfilled. By doing so, a brake is applied against the uninhibited continuance of unwholesome thoughts, and the watchfulness of mind against their recurrence is strengthened.
Herein, a monk, having seen a form, does not seize upon its (delusive) appearance as a whole, nor on its details. If the monk does not delight in them, is not attached to them, does not welcome them, then in him thus not delighting in them, not being attached to them and not welcoming them, delight (in these forms) ceases; if delight is absent, there is no bondage. Of a monk, Ananda, who has a noble friend, a noble companion, a noble associate, it is to be expected that he will cultivate and practice the Noble Eightfold Path. But it applies also to every conversation which is suitable to advance one’s progress on the path. If due to slowness in the application of wisdom or due to non-attainment of the happiness of tranquillity, one’s mind is dull, then one should rouse it through reflecting on the eight stirring objects.
After the meal, having returned from the alms-round, he sits down, crosslegged, keeping his body erect and his mindfulness alert. But some time later he recovers from that sickness; he can again digest his food, and he regains his strength.
Now, if his creditors, when telling him to pay back the debt, speak roughly to him or harass and beat him, he is unable to retaliate but has to bear it all. If after the sermon, he hears it praised: „How pleasant was it to listen to the Dhamma! Stopping more frequently than walking, only with toil and difficulty will he reach a place of safety, or he may not even reach it. Just as one who has freed himself of debt no longer feels fear or anxiety when meeting his former creditors, so one who has given up sensual desire is no longer attached and bound to the object of his desire; even if he sees divine forms, passions will not assail him. Just as the cured patient partaking of honey and sugar appreciates the taste, so also this monk receives with reverence the rules of training, and observes them with appreciation (of their value). Similarly a monk, perceiving the great obstruction caused by restlessness and remorse, cultivates the six things opposed to them, and thus gives up restlessness and remorse. They would have you make an offering of five pairs of beeswax candles and five pairs of white flowers — this was called the five khandha — or eight pairs of beeswax candles and eight pairs of white flowers — this was called the eight khandha — or one pair of beeswax candles each weighing 15 grams and an equal number of white flowers. If he is experienced in repeating samma araham, he will teach you to repeat samma araham, samma araham, samma araham.
You’ll be able to see these things clearly with your own heart once the mind becomes still and reaches the heart. It will stay firm, with buddho its sole preoccupation, until you see that the state of mind that says buddho is identical with the mind itself at all times, regardless of whether you’re sitting, standing, walking, or lying down. We have to train and restrain it, because we’re looking for peace and contentment for the mind. It’s the path for giving rise to peace and contentment — the only path that will release us from the suffering and stress in this world. No matter what their meditation subject, these sorts of defilements are sure to interfere, because these defilements form the basis of the world and of the mind.
You’re simply intent on keeping mindfulness firmly focused on one object — and the power of a mind focused firmly on one object is what will bring you to a state of concentration.
The mind thinks, wanders, and forms ideas of all sorts, in line with where the defilements lead it.
Abhidhamma experts, however, speak in terms of the mind: the mind in a wholesome state, the mind in an unwholesome state, the mind in a neutral state, the mind on the level of form, the mind on the formless level, the mind on the transcendent level, and so on, but none of them know what the real heart and mind are like. The meditation word will disappear without your being aware of it, and you’ll feel a sense of peace and ease that nothing else can equal.
The teachings degenerate when meditators get just a little bit of knowledge and then go bragging to other people, talking about external matters with no substance at all, instead of explaining the basic principles of meditation. The next time around, they want it to happen again, and so it doesn’t happen again. When a good or a bad mood strikes you, you have to be able to enter concentration immediately. You don’t have to go clearing away this or that defilement, telling yourself that this or that defilement has to be removed with this or that teaching or this or that method. In the past, they’d have to build a fortress with strong walls, moats, gates, and towers to protect themselves from enemy attack. Or, if you like, you can contemplate the people of the world until you see them all as skeletons. For instance, if the eye sees an attractive visual object that makes you feel pleased, focus on examining just that sense of pleasure, to find out whether it arises from the eye or from the visual object. The eye doesn’t try to persuade you to be pleased or displeased, to love or to hate anything. The world will narrow down when the mind has been trained in concentration so that it lies under your control and can contemplate the six senses exclusively within it.
The mind is what thinks, forming perceptions and preoccupations to the point of latching on, holding them to itself. It’s simply a set of muscles and valves for pumping blood throughout the body to keep it alive. This mental phenomenon will stop only when insight discerns its causal factors and uproots their underlying causes.
Thus he teaches us to practice concentration, which is an affair exclusively of the mind.
If not for Devadatta, the Bodhisattva wouldn’t have been able to bring his character to full perfection. Yet the capacity of doing so has psychological roots in man’s nature which may be even deeper that his compassionate responses. Unselfish joy can, indeed, act as a powerful agent in releasing dormant forces of the Good in the human heart.
Mudita will prevent compassionate action from being marred by a condescending and patronising attitude which often repels or hurts the recipient. These are, indeed, great blessings which the cultivation of joy with others’ happiness can bestow! Yet, in a world that can never be without disappointments and failures, we must also arm ourselves with the equanimity (upekkha) to protect us from discouragement and feelings of frustration, should we encounter difficulties in our efforts to expand the realm of unselfish joy. But, beyond the conditioned realm is the unconditioned, the unborn, the uncreated, something without form, quality, or quantity.
Instead, we get involved in other important social, economic and political issues that we devote our lives to. A sage, or philosopher, or some prophet tells us something, and we either agree with it or not; or maybe we are like the agnostic — not quite sure. An attempt was made to destroy every bit of Gnostic literature, except it kind of keeps creeping in, doesn’t it?
And we need to have a way of pointing to this direct knowing, a way of talking about it that isn’t just subjective.
Finally, they would say, ‘There aren’t any!’ That was because nobody proclaimed himself to be such.
Tranquillity is gained by complete concentration of the mind during the meditative absorptions (jhana).
The relationship between these two groups of five is indicated in this anthology, under the heading of the respective hindrance.
Likewise excluded by the presence of the hindrances is the momentary concentration (khanikasamadhi) which has the strength of neighborhood concentration and is required for mature insight (vipassana).
Such last-minute effort in suppressing the hindrances will rarely be successful unless helped by previous endeavor during one’s ordinary life.
They are: sensual desire, ill-will, sloth and torpor, restlessness and remorse, and sceptical doubt. If his sense of sight were uncontrolled, covetousness, grief and other evil, unwholesome states would flow into him. The same twofold explanation holds true also for the other hindrances, with due alterations.
Have you not come to your present state by your own actions, and will also go hence according to your own actions?
Having given up covetousness (= sensual desire) with regard to the world, he dwells with a heart free of covetousness, he cleanses his mind from covetousness. Just as the bilious person does not enjoy the flavor of honey and sugar, so one who has the disease of anger will not enjoy the taste of the Buddha’s Dispensation consisting in the happiness of the meditative absorptions, etc.
How interesting was the topic and how good the similes!“ he will not be able to say a word.
Thus he will not be able to enjoy the happiness of solitude because of his being overcome by restlessness and remorse.


Thus, as the traveler in the desert is uncertain whether robbers are there or not, he produces in his mind, again and again, a state of wavering and vacillation, a lack of decision, a state of anxiety; and thus he creates in himself an obstacle for reaching the safe ground of sanctity (ariya-bhumi). After that he neither sends a messenger nor a letter to his creditors; and even if he meets them it depends on his wish whether he will get up from his seat to greet them, or not. Crossing safely the wilderness and reaching a place of safety, he will rejoice in his safe arrival. Then he’ll have you visualize a bright, clear jewel two inches above your navel, and tell you to focus your mind right there as you continue your repetition, without letting your mind slip away from the jewel. For this reason, you shouldn’t fix a time limit for yourself when sitting in meditation. The heart is what simply stays still and knows that it’s still, without forming any further thoughts at all. They scatter the seed, plow, harrow, plant the seedlings, step by step, without skipping any of the steps. Your fear of death can whisper to you in all sorts of way, all of which are simply instances of you yourself scaring yourself. You won’t be thinking at all that concentration will be like this or like that, or that you want it to be like this or like that.
Simply remember them as something to use for the sake of comparison after your meditation has begun to progress. Actually, the heart doesn’t lie in any particular place at all — as I have already explained — although it lies right in the center of everything. Those who have never experienced this ease before, when they first experience it, won’t be able to describe it, because no one else in the world has ever experienced that kind of peace and ease. People who like to brag will take the old things they used to see and talk about them in glowing terms.
Whether or not the mind is going to attain concentration, you’ve meditated on buddho in the past, so you just keep meditating on buddho. The various preoccupations of the mind will lessen or may even disappear, which is better than not having any foundation to hold to at all. When their meditation deteriorates, they’ll be able to use it as something to hold to.
When an intelligent warrior went out to battle and saw that he was no match for the enemy, he would retreat into his fortress and defend it so that the enemy couldn’t destroy it. The discernment of insight meditation isn’t something that can be fashioned into being by arrangement. In other words, you do see the harm of the preoccupations that arise from the six senses, but as soon as you see it, you retreat into stillness without contemplating those preoccupations as carefully as you do when the mind is in concentration. It’s simply a visual object that appears and then disappears in line with its own nature.
On the contrary: Insight and discernment will arise instead, all because of these same six senses. In other words, when the mind is fully concentrated, the outer senses — the eye seeing forms, the ear hearing sounds, and so on — won’t appear at all.
When it sees the suffering, harm, and stress that come from holding onto all the defilements, it will go and withdraw from all preoccupations and defilements. Once we have practiced concentration, we will feel every sensory contact inside, just at the mind.
If it has a lot of impact, that shows that your mindfulness is weak and your foundation is still shaky.
Once his character had been fully perfected, he was able to gain Awakening and become the Buddha. There is firstly the fact that people do like to feel happy (with—or without—good reason) and would prefer it to the shared sadness of compassion.
Also, when active compassion and unselfish joy go together, it will be less likely that works of service turn into dead routine performed indifferently. But there are ample indications that this may, more or less, happen also in the Buddhist countries of the East where ethics is still taught and preached in the old hortatory style and mostly in a rather stereotype and unimaginative way, with little reference to present-day moral and social problems. So, we give God attributes; we give God all kinds of qualities which are, of course, conditioned.
How we live is also considered to be important; we feel we should be free to do what we want, to develop and have all kinds of rights, privileges and experiences. We have no way of holding it up, of capturing it, preserving it, or proving it to anyone else. They keep finding things, like the Gnostic gospel, in old clay pots in caves that have been overlooked all these years! Maybe there is no agreed way of talking about it, or maybe the ability to use perception is never the same; after all, it is something that each one must realize.
Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis were totally forbidden to talk about their insights from a subjective place. If a Buddhist monk claims he is enlightened, we have to beware of him because he is not a proper monk! I’ll do that.’ Then he thought, ‘Who do I know who will understand?’ And he considered his previous teachers, but by the power of his own intuition, immediately knew that they had both died. For achieving these absorptions, the overcoming of the five hindrances, at least temporarily, is a preliminary condition. But apart from these higher stages of mental development, any earnest attempt at clear thinking and pure living will be seriously affected by the presence of these five hindrances. Therefore he practices for the sake of its control, he watches over the sense of sight, he enters upon its control.
Anger towards another is just as if someone wishing to hit another person takes hold of glowing coals, or a heated iron-rod, or of excrement.
Having given up the blemish of ill-will, he dwells without ill-will; friendly and compassionate towards all living beings, he cleanses his mind from the blemish of ill-will. Just as no one can forcibly stop a free man from doing what he likes, so can restlessness and remorse no longer stop that monk from walking the happy path of renunciation (sukhanekkhamma-patipada).
Similarly a monk, seeing that sceptical doubt is a cause of great harm, cultivates the six things that are its antidote, and gives up doubt. You make up your mind to be careful and alert to keep the mind in that state and… Oops.
When we make this sort of commitment, the mind will drop straight into one-pointedness and enter concentration.
The mind will simply have a separate calm and peace that isn’t in this world or another world or anything of the sort. The heart has nothing to do with any of the six senses, which is why it’s called the heart. Even though you didn’t intend to know these things, when the mind attains concentration it can know on its own in a very amazing way.
Avid listeners really love to listen to this sort of thing, but avid meditators are unimpressed — because true meditators like to listen only to things that are present and true.
Your confidence is what will make the mind firm and unwavering, able to let go of all its doubts and uncertainties. The meditation word buddho, or whatever it is that may have been bothering or perplexing you, will vanish in the flash of an eye. When you finish your contemplation, the mind is back in its original state and hasn’t gained anything at all. All that will appear are the forms and sounds that are mental phenomena present exclusively in that concentration.
In the first stage, it teaches you to acquaint yourself with your body, to see how it’s made up of various things (the 32 parts) put together, and what their duties are. If it has only a little impact, or no impact at all, that shows that your mindfulness is strong and you’re fully able to care for yourself. Before gaining Awakening, he had to withstand the massive armies of temptation; and right after his Awakening, the three daughters of temptation came to test him once more. Indifference, listlessness, boredom (all nuances of the Pali term arati) are said to be the ’distant enemies’ of mudita. By speaking in this way, however, we still create images of the conditioned and unconditioned! In other words, each human being is quite capable of realizing ultimate reality, immortal truth, and yet not one of us is capable of proving it to anyone else. Now, the word ‘gnosis’ is related to the Pali word ‘nyana’, which means ‘inside knowledge’, ‘direct knowledge’; it’s not abstract knowledge, it’s not knowledge about something, it’s direct knowing. When one does realize it, then one tends to describe it with the particular perceptions one has, whether they be Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, or whatever; one uses what one has, to describe ultimate reality. There is no way we can let a monk say, ‘I am an enlightened person,’ or ‘I have realized ultimate truth.’ Such statements are forbidden. Then he decided that maybe the five disciples who had deserted him just before his enlightenment might understand. Buddha wasn’t lying, or bragging, or trying to make false claims; he was just saying in the most direct form what was true. It is especially in the context of achieving the absorptions that the Buddha often mentions the five hindrances in his discourses. Having given up sloth and torpor, he dwells free from sloth and torpor, in the perception of light; mindful and clearly comprehending, he cleanses his mind from sloth and torpor.
Just as that strong man, armed and in company, taking as little account of the robbers as of the grass on the ground, will safely come out of the wilderness to a safe place; similarly a monk, having crossed the wilderness of evil conduct, will finally reach the state of highest security, the deathless realm of Nibbana.
Don’t be in a hurry to want to see this or be that — because desire is the most serious obstacle to the concentrated mind. The mind will gather in on its meditation word, and mindfulness will keep it solely with buddho at all times. Make the mind neutral and even, let the breath flow gently, and use mindfulness to focus the mind on buddho and nothing else. On top of that, if someone comes along and says something that goes against the way you see things, you start disagreeing violently, like a burning fire into which someone pours kerosene. We’ll head for a good or a bad destination in the next life because of the way we use them.
As a result, the people of the world have praised him ever since for having conquered defilement in this world once and for all.
There is also in man (and in some animals) not only an aggressive impulse, but also a natural bent towards mutual aid and co-operative action. In fact within the frame of the Buddhist teachings which do not rely on the authoritarian commandments of God and church, but on man’s innate capacity for self-purification, such conventionalized presentation of ethics which chiefly relies on over-worked scriptural references, must appear quite incongruous and will prove increasingly ineffective for young and old alike. We are thrown back on ourselves, and this is the Buddhist way; it is the way of looking at ourselves, of developing mindfulness, rather than of going around trying to find out whether someone else is enlightened, or not. In some cases, subjects of meditation have been added which will be helpful in overcoming the respective hindrances. Having given up restlessness and remorse, he dwells without restlessness; his mind being calmed within, he cleanses it from restlessness and remorse. Therefore the Blessed One compared the abandonment of sceptical doubt to reaching a place of safety.
If more and more people practice this way, there will be peace and happiness all over the world. Once desire arises, your concentration will immediately deteriorate, because the basis of your concentration — buddho — isn’t solid. As for any results apart from that, they all depend on each person’s individual potential and capabilities. In the texts they are analyzed into the six faculties, the six elements, the six forms of contact, and all sorts of other things, but all these things lie within the six senses. If you try to describe it to others, you have to use similes and analogies before they’ll understand you.
Whether you sit, stand, walk, lie down, or whatever work you do, mindfulness will be alert to nothing but buddho. It teaches you to acquaint yourself with this world (the world of a human being), which is made up of suffering and stress, and which will ultimately have to fall apart by its very nature.
Furthermore, there is the fact that happiness is infectious and an unselfish joy can easily grow out of it. Being involved in breathing, consciousness and feeling, until the body dies, is a lifetime, a human life span.
He too has come to his present state by his own actions and will go hence according to his own actions.
Having given up sceptical doubt, he dwells as one who has passed beyond doubt; being free from uncertainty about salutary things, he cleanses his mind from sceptical doubt. As for the body, we can train it to be peaceful only as long as the mind is in full control.
When this happens, you can’t grab hold of any foundation at all, and you get really upset. The conventional realities of the world won’t appear there, and so no insight of any sort will arise in there at all. If your mindfulness is still weak, and your techniques still few, you have to hold on to buddho as your foundation.
Even the human heart, which is a mental phenomenon, we say lies in the center of the chest. Children readily respond by their own smiles and happy mood to smiling faces and happiness around them. The statements were said in the way of ‘there is’, rather than ‘I have realized and understood’. All you can think of is the state of concentration in which you used to be calm and happy, and this makes the mind even more agitated. If it were something you could arrange, all the people in the world would have become arahants long ago. Though children can be quite jealous and envious at times, they also can visibly enjoy it when they have made a playmate happy by a little gift and they are then quite pleased with themselves. By the time you realize that buddho has disappeared, it’s already too late — which is why they say that the mind is restless, slippery, and hard to control, like a monkey that can never sit still. Try focusing your attention on any part of the body and you’ll feel the awareness of that spot. The Buddhist way is never from this position of ‘I have realized,’ or ‘I have experienced this insight.’ We use the formula ‘there is’.
Then this seed will quite naturally grow into a strong plant in the adolescent and the adult, maturing from impulsive and simple manifestations into the sublime state of unselfish joy (mudita-brahmavihara). This can be aided by acquainting the child with examples of selfless lives and actions for his joyful admiration of them (and these, of course, should not be limited to Buddhist history). This feature should not be absent in Buddhist youth literature and schoolbooks, throughout all age groups.



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