This Dhamma sermon given to the devotees as an introduction to meditation was delivered in December 2014 at the Sri Lankarama Mahaviharaya of Brisbane Australia by the Most Ven. Wattegama Dhammawasa Nayaka Maha Thero.
During the rainy season, (Wassana season) we discussed about the thirty seven Factors of Enlightenment, (Saththis Bodhipaakshika Dhamma). We continuously analysed and discussed about (sathara sathipattaana), the four ways of training mind-fullness and about how to practice mindfulness. In meditation the expectation is to cultivate our mind and practise mindfulness along with the thirty seven Factors of Enlightenment. Developing the mind means developing these 37 Factors of Enlightenment.
We have heard about the qualities of Dhamma;
‘Swakkatho Bhagawatho dhammo’, The Budhdha has wisely preached and explained what Dhamma is. ‘Adi kalayanang, Madhya kalyanang, Pariyosana kalyanang’- It means; the beginning, middle, and the end, very clear in a way that any follower could understand.
Swakkatho Bhagawatho Dhammo Sandhittiko’ It says Dhamma can be listened to, understood and experienced here and now, at this very moment. You have to experience it now itself. ‘Akaliko,’ no fixed time. It was preached about 2500 years ago, still retains its original force and freshness and no one can complain that it does not suit the present day.
'Ehi passiko’ any person can go into it and see it at any time – it is not closed or covered; it is open to each and every one to come and discover what Dhamma is. The Buddha advised not to accept anything merely on the authority of another, but to exercise their own reasoning and judge for themselves whether any of it is right or wrong. Further more that there are no secrets in it. Dhamma is clearly preached.
'Pachchaththang wedhithabbo’ you have to realise it and you yourself have to experience it. No one can do it for you. No one can decide for your-self. ‘Wigngnuheehi’, you have to understand and realise it from your own wisdom. These two points have been appreciated and highly commented by the wise or men of wisdom.
There are four main ways to realise Dhamma
1. You have to associate noble friends. ‘Kalyana mithra sewanaya’. When you are with noble friends you will always hear Dhamma.
2.‘Sath dhamma’ should be heard often, as much as possible.
3. ‘Dhammanu dhamma patipada’, you have to live your life according to Dhamma. You should practice and follow Dhamma correctly.
4. ‘Yoniso manasikaraya’ (wise attention or reflection) is the fourth thing and that has to be done mindfully.
When you complete these 4 things you understand with confident, ‘pachchththang wedithabbo’; you will understand exactly what Dhamma is. That is why The Buddha taught that, “No others can decide for us. We should realise it ourselves individually. When we follow the Buddha as our Master or teacher, Dhamma could be seen and realised.
Meditation develops Thirty Seven Enlightenment Factors (Saththis Bodipakshika Dhamma)
Therefore worthy devotees, by meditation you develop ‘saththis bodhi paakshika Dhamma’. 37 ways of Supreme Enlightenment. You have to understand it from your own mind. You have to see it from your own mind. You have to observe it carefully. You have to study it and explore it. You don’t have to discover from others. You have to discover yourself. Practice and develop your mind. Therefore we have to evaluate our mind; time to time, to see whether it has been developed. It is a kind of meditation. It is a way of developing your mind. But you have to do this with a peaceful mind, quietly; analysing your state of mind. Now you all have a better knowledge of ‘saththis Bodhi Paakshika Dhamma’ and let us now move on to see what Four Great Efforts (Sathara Samyak Pradhana Dhamma) are.
The Four Great Efforts - Sathara Samayak Pradhana Weeryaya
This means, ‘uppannanang kusalanang dhammanang’; which is explained as to develop wholesome deeds or ‘kusal’ that is already in your mind, allow your mind to let unattended wholesome thoughts to be born and allow your mind to develop those ‘kusal’ or wholesome thoughts. You have to observe and explore and you have to keep your mind on an even keel. We need take on that responsibility for ourselves rather than turning it over to somebody else. Have a strong sense of the observer, the part of mind that’s simply watching what’s going on and identify as much as you can with that.
‘anuppanang akusalanang paapakanan dhammanang anuuppadaya chandhang janieethi wayathi weeriyang aarawathi padganhati pajjathi’
You have to watch whether this state of mind is developing within you. And investigate how your mind reacts when not allowing unborn demerits to be born. This particular state of mind should be observed by your self – not in someone else’s mind. You should be aware of your own mind and be an observer.
The right Path of a Noble Disciple of Buddha
The Buddha preached that the follower who is following the right path of Dhamma should be mindful always; in order to not give a chance for unborn demerits to be born in your mind. There should be willingness, a repeated willingness in your mind. ‘chandang’ means there should be a liking as well along with persistence. (paggahani pajjathi). Being alert and mindful to what’s going on in your mind is very important. You have to observe whether it’s really happening in your mind.
Therefore worthy devotees, we will inquire about this further and learn to be aware of the states of our mind and see it our- self.
Protect your virtue or morality (silwath bhawaya)
The Buddha taught us how to work on and not to allow unborn demerits to be born in your mind. ‘seela sampanno hothi, prathimokkha sanwara viharathi’. It reflects that you have to practice endurance by not allowing unborn demerits to be born or to get in to your mind, at any cost.
How can you protect your virtue?
Now here, the Buddha explains, ‘prathimokkha sanwara sanwatho wiharathi’ means that there are two hundred and twenty seven precepts for the bhikkhus. These precepts should be followed by them. Likewise 5 precepts (panchaseelaya) for laities spending a homely life or may be ‘ajeewa ashtamaka seelaya’ – 8 precepts. These precepts should be followed and protected. This does not mean to say that you observe the precepts and break your precepts after a while. This is not something like that. You need to see it mindfully with your wise attention making them very definite in our consciousness. You have to think again and again with ‘yoniso manasikara’ (wise attention) sensitivly all the time mindfully whether you have done any harm to others unintentionally or not refrained from stealing, and not to misuse sexuality. ‘Musawada veramani’ refraining from lies. Refraining from intoxicants such as alcohols, drugs – all harmful and deluding to the human mind. However we have to distract our selves through sensory pleasures so that we can observe and reflect. Each one of the precepts is a resolution which should be in your mind when you are tempted to act on the impulses you might be experiencing. You have to be mindful always, each and every moment, and then you will not do any thing bad unintentionally. Avoiding bad deeds is called ‘Virathi seela’. If we break the precepts it means that we are allowing unborn demerits to be born in our mind. Therefore we have to be careful and concentrate our minds not to be involved in worldly attractions.
Sila is described in two main ways.
These are things that should come within one-self. If someone thinks that following these precepts alone will complete every thing, it is a wrong attitude or thinking.
Worthy devotees, the Buddha’s teaching was,
“waththang na paripurantho Silang na paripurathi.”
“If one does not fulfil or perform one’s duties well; one does not complete Sila.”
We think that we are doing a good deed and it is a duty and simultaneously doing our duty is doing a good deed. But if it doesn’t happen accordingly it means that Sila is not totally completed. Some people say that doing bad deeds or good deeds are not good. When you do good deeds the ‘Samsara’ will continue, and even by bad deeds the same results will occur. If you think or work according to this mentality you will never complete Sila. We have to understand clearly that observing Sila and completing Sila is doing our duty. Bhikku’s have rules or duties which are called, ‘Waththakkandha’. It means to do the duties to the Buddha ‘Buduwatha.’ Therefore Bhikkhus have to perform their duties accordingly.
Doing your duty belongs to Sila
‘Buduwatha’ or duties should be performed for the Buddha as if he is still living or as to a living Buddha. If not, how can one develop faith/devotion? If not how will the Dhamma exist? No existence then. If these duties were not performed properly the Buddha’s teachings or Dhamma would not have existed for more than 2500 years. Therefore we have to precisely understand that performing duties are completing Sila.
Duties should be completed for your teachers (Acharya Watha)
Acharya Watha, There are procedures and duties to perform by the students, when living together. Bhikkhus/Nuns have their own teachers or senior monks or nuns when living with them. Student Bhikkhus/Nuns have to perform duties for their teachers. It is like some code of conduct or discipline. ‘Upadhdhyaya Watha’ is another set of duties. ‘Sabrahma chari Watha’ is also there to complete their duties avoiding physical desires. If there are any sick monks/nuns, Bhikkhus/Nuns have to take care of them. Likewise they have to look after old aged monastics who are feeble. If Bhikkhus are just selfish and self-centered, it is not the right way of their behaviour. It shows their low qualities.
There is another duty for visitors or strangers. ‘Aganthuka Watha’ When a Bhikkhu is concentrating on meditation if any stranger or a visitor (a monastic) comes to that place, without continuing his/her meditation he/she has to welcome the visitor and provide facilities available. Bhikkhus /Nuns have to provide tea or soft drinks and show where the wash rooms and accommodation are. All these duties have to be fulfilled accordingly, otherwise it is incomplete.
Sila (precepts) not complete if the good deeds are not done.
‘Sila’ (precepts) not completed if the good deeds are not done. We have to analyse it clearly. If we need to attain enlightenment so we need to continue these good deeds. No second word about it. When you attend to good deeds the result will be definitely good in the end. We have to follow these duties to be continued to attain Nibbana or enlightenment. We need comforts in our life. To come to the temple from home you need a good vehicle. You can’t walk the whole distance. And if it is not a good vehicle, you will have problems on your way. You have to change tyres, if it is boiling you have to stop the car and open the bonnet to put some water to make it cool etc. Therefore we need a good vehicle to reach our destination. Yes. Our destination is Nibbana, enlightenment and this is the perfect and best path to attain it.
If we decide not to do or perform our duties and just concentrate on ‘Sila’ then it will become a vision (Drushti). That is Sila Dhrushti, Vision of Precepts. But to complete and follow precepts; duties have to be performed carefully. Both together will complete and take you to loving kindness and compassion. This exercise will help you to develop Four Divine Abodes (Sathara Brahma Viharana). But if you don’t practice precepts along with duties allocated, you will not be able to develop ‘sathara brahma viharana’. 4 sublime states of mind.
Therefore worthy devotees, these are the 37 key methods to achieve Nibbana or enlightenment and for that purpose you should have ‘Sila’ or discipline within your self for not to allow unborn bad deeds to be born in your mind. To reach that state you have to follow and protect the precepts perfectly. “Sila sampanno hoti” In order to be virtues, the virtues need to be practiced.
Your senses should always be protected and restrained
Next the Buddha teachers about “ Indriya sanwara sanwatho viharathi kathamancha indriyo samuthwaro viharathi.” One should always restrain one’s senses in order to get rid of unwholesome thoughts that has not already arisen in them. Here the sense restraint means “ Ariya sawako chakunag rupang diswa na nimiththaggahi hoti” The senses should be well guarded and protected by different sensory impressions we come into contact with. Similarly one should restrain from taking sense impingements that come through their ears, nose, tongue and body.
We tend to look at form (rupa) through our eyes and enjoy what we see. We can’t stop it. We hear from our ears and we can’t stop that as it happens automatically. We taste through our tongue, we smell through our nose and we experience tactile sense through our body. We make contact with these sense organs to please us. This is the usual way. But if we take sensory impressions as “this is nice,” or “this is good” very soon you will experience lustful feelings. As soon as we get these sensory impressions, we must always be mindful and act wisely not to get caught. Therefore what do you think would happen if we tend to take these unnecessary impressions? Unborn unwholesome thoughts would arise in you. How does this happen? When we see an object through our eyes there develops eye consciousness. Because of meeting all the above three contact arises. Because of that contact feelings arise in you. This feeling can be a pleasurable feeling, pleasurable feeling or a neutral feeling. What happens after feeling arises? Craving arises. When there is craving there is clinging. Because of this attachment to clinging we continue life and death in samsara.
When your eye catches an abject (form) learn to see the impermanent nature of it:
Now see, when we look at an object we get attached to it and unwittingly
We get caught to unrisen unwholesome states to arise. Therefore when we perceive form (rupa) through our sense faculties, we need to realise that our eyes are impermanent. Similarly realise that the rupa (form) we see through those eyes are also impermanent. We need to realise that, if there is impermanence in the eyes we see and in the form we perceive, the eye consciousness that arises through this activity is also impermanent. Learn to see that the contact that was formed through the meeting of the eyes form and eye consciousness is also impermanent. The feeling that has risen because of this contact should also be seen as impermanent. This impermanent feeling that gave rise to attachment or craving also should be seen as impermanent.
The attachments we create through our five faculties belong to Mara
When we begin to see the reality of the working of the sense faculties in this manner, the unraised unwholesome states of mind would not come to be. Therefore dear devotees, this is why the Buddha explained that the clinging with the eye - form, ear- sound, together with these five sense faculties are like getting caught to Mara. The Dhamma teaches that all the above activities belong to Mara. This is explained below through a nice simile.
The simile of the Tortoise
A tortoise’s head is in front of him and the legs are parted on the four sides. When he is relaxed all his parts are scattered outward and can be seen. Now a Fox staying far away sees this and runs into the tortoise to break at least one of his limbs. The tortoise draws his limbs inwards. The fox waits till the tortoise puts his limbs out.
This is exactly the same when we expose our senses. They are caught by the Mara. Caught up by Mara means we are caught up and tied to the bonding of samsara. This does not mean that not to look at all forms, hear sounds, etc. How the Buddha taught was to use our “wise attention” “Skilful attention” (yonisomanasikaraya) into them.
When the eye impinges an object we tend to get attached to it.
That is natural. When we see a nice object we get attached to it. We get carried away with it. Before we get carried away with it we must see the impermanent nature of that activity. We need to see it through our wise attention. When we see it that way “Ditte dittamattang” It ends there itself. But if you perceive it as “I like it” or I want it” with feelings then we get carried away by that and get attached to it. Then the unrisen unwholesome states of mind can arise.
Always see and listen in the way the Buddha taught to Daruchiriya
The way the Buddha taught Daruchiriya was “Ditte dittamattang, Sutesutamattang.” “When you see something stop thinking about it. Let go of it as soon as you see it.” Do not perceive it further. When you hear a thing, sometimes we think about it further and further. This action encourages unwholesome states to grow. In this way one can restrain from all five sensual desires that arise in the mind. This is what is called “Indriya sanwaraya” protection and discipline with your senses. This eye, this ear, this nose, this tongue – these are the food that is always perceived by the body. With form, sound, smell, taste and tactile sense, we always get carried away and get attracted by them and get attached to them. When this happens realise the state of your mind see it with wise attention (yonisomanasikara). If we don’t have the discipline to protect our senses the unrisen unwholesome states of mind can arise at this stage.
In the Discourse of “Adittapariyaya Sutta” the Buddha explained that it is better to press your eyes with a hot iron, rather than going after form (rupa) and get attached to it. The reason is the pain will stop after a while but the pain you suffer and face after going through sensual pleasures can give far more suffering to a person and one cannot predict the duration of that suffering.
This state of mind should be developed through Meditation
This state of mind which is susceptible to sensual desires should be and can be disciplined, guarded and protected and seen by every individual. Therefore this Four Great Strivings are useful in the disciplining of the senses and not to let the unrisen unwholesome states to occur.
Now watch cautiously and see how my eyes, my ears, my faculties perceive with outside world when they are met in the day to day life. We need to self- analyse all these activities ourselves. Therefore the disciplining one’s sensual faculties assist us to get rid of the unwholesome states that have not arisen in our mind. The undisciplined nature of one’s sense faculties and how they work should be seen by each individual. No other can tell you. This state of mind should be developed with meditation practice.
Breaking Rest (Jagariyanu Yougaya)
Next the Buddha emphasised to employ the method of Jagariyanu Yoga (the ability to break rest) which is another important factor for the unrisen unwholesome states of mind to rise. Hear devotees, this sleep is recognised in the Dhamma as a hindrance.
There are four different positions to Sleep
Therefore sensual desires always increase in a person who over sleeps and over eats. Therefore sleep should be kept to a minimum. We have a great desire for sleep. Therefore we need to be mindful about sleep. If we desire to sleep more, sensual desires can arise in us. The Sutras show four ways of sleeping positions.
1. One is called Preta Saiyawa. This is sleeping with face upwards
2. Next is the Kama Seiyawa, sleeping with face backwards
3.Next is the Sinha seiyawa, the left foot rests on the right when sleeping on side way. This position is suitable for the Noble disciples.
4.Next is Thathagata Seiyawa This position was the Buddha’s way of positioning and resting after going into any of the four ecstasies (Jhanas).
The Buddha has always rested and slept for a short period of time within the day, very close to two hours per day. The rest of the time he spent on helping the people.
The sleep induces the unrisen unwholesome thoughts to arise.
Therefore if we don’t use the sleep in a sensible manner the unrisen unwholesome thoughts can arise in one. The person who limits one’s sleep, spends time on walking and sitting meditation. This Ariya Srawaka, a Noble disciple always spends his/her time on meditation, he/she would practice and follow the Dhamma and always spends his/her full time on the practice.
One should also be mindful about the Four Foundations of Mindfulness and optimise the full time for practice. There are some people who sleep during the day. Some people think that monks sleep during the day and ask us whether we do so.
A limited sleep is needed in our life. Heavy sleep is an obstacle to eradicate the unrisen unwholesome thoughts. Sleep should be used to a required amount. If you have a physical illness then one may need to sleep according to the physical conditions of that person. But in normal life we tend to develop bad habits. The Dhamma teaches us that we need to wake before the sun rises. All disciples of the Buddha have been taught to wake up before the sun rises. This action is a kind of virtue. This is what we call Watha, or duties. Some people keep awake throughout the night and sleep during the day. This kind of behaviour tends to increase the unrisen unwholesome thoughts to rise.
I always advice our young monks to go to sleep early and wakeup early. Some may work throughout the night and sleep during the day. This has no use. Everything should be done at the right time and when we attend to things on time, we can get done many things as possible during the day. Therefore the concept of sleep is also a state that can increase sensual desire and lust. Therefore sleep will contribute the unrisen unwholesome thoughts to arise if we don’t use sleep appropriately.
When we don’t have faith or confidence of the Triple Gem we will contribute the unrisen unwholesome thoughts to arise. A low state of confidence towards the Triple Gem tends to influence a person’s unrisen unwholesome states to rise.
Loss of moral shame and moral fear induces unrisen unwholesome states to arise
Similarly we call moral shame and moral fear as administrators of the world. If one does not have this moral shame and moral fear the unrisen unwholesome states can arise at any given moment. Therefore these two called moral shame and moral fear are the Dhamma protectors of the world. For that reason the fear and the shame to do unwholesome actions should always be with us. The Buddha Spoke in the “Chakkawarthi Sinhanada Sutta” that the normal age of a person will decline to 10 years over a period of time. During this time the people will have no moral values. There will be no Dhamma to listen to or to practice. The people will live like cats and dogs. The moral shame will disappear with no discipline over their sensual desires. The life span of a person will be limited to ten years. The Dhamma also will disappear and animal like behaviour will be seen in people. Therefore The Buddha has explained to us that through the loss of this moral shame and moral fear, the unrisen unwholesome states can rise at any given moment.
Develop Metta to stop the arising of unwholesome states
When you develop metta and act according to loving kindness in your daily life, it is easy to stop the rising of the unrisen unwholesome states. The unrisen unwholesome states can easily arise in a person who does not practice metta. Anger can arise in one’s mind at any moment. Sometimes one may have anger with someone and a bitterness is kept in one’s mind. But one may not be aware that one is accumulating, unwholesome karma through the generated anger of that person.
Five ways to Develop Metta when one is angry
Ven. Sariputta Thero has explained in the “Agata Pativinaya Sutta” how to promote and reflect loving-kindness in five different ways.
1. There is a person whose physical actions are good. Mental actions are also good. But his/her verbal actions are not good. This person tells lies, uses abusive speech, talks back and insults others and has no discipline in her/his speech. But this person’s bodily actions are good. Mental actions are also good. Sometimes this person may say things to hurt you. At this stage, you should think that even though this person’s words are abusive and not good, at least this person’s bodily actions are good and does not perform mental actions that are volitional or karma forming. In this way one can get rid of anger created by him. When that person runs you down then think of that person in this way and develop metta to that person.
If one gets angry it will stand for one’s own disadvantage
(Ven. Sariputta Thero using a simile describes how to get rid of anger)
If a person scolds or annoys someone the disadvantage is not for you but to the person who scolded. So when one keeps a feeling of bitterness in one’s mind it is for one’s disadvantage because this provides conditions to the unattended unwholesome states to rise. Ven. Sariputta Thero shows a simile to match this condition. Once a monk who was going on alms round found a pansakula cloth thrown out that didn’t belong to anyone. That was a cloth that has been used to cover a copse. One side of the cloth was very dirty while the other side was fairly clean. At this time the monk held this cloth with his first finger and the middle finger of his right foot and tore it apart with his left first and the middle finger of that foot and got rid of the dirty part of the cloth. He made use of the good material to make a robe. Just like that if one has short comings in one’s speech, because his bodily and mental actions are good you need to think twice about those good actions and develop loving-kindness towards that person.
2nd Simile shown by Ven. Sariputta Thero
Sometimes a person’s verbal and physical actions are not so good, but from time to time, this person thinks of good thoughts. When you meet such a person whose verbal and physical actions are wrong, -think at least that this person’s thoughts are good and develop loving-kindness towards this person.
3rd Simile shown by Ven. Sariputta Thero
The third simile mentions that, during the drought a man who is very thirsty finally finds a pond to have a drink. The top layer of the water is fully covered with green moss. He moves the moss to and fro from his hand and drinks the water to his satisfaction. Think just like that and get rid of the anger that has arisen in you by developing metta.
4th Simile shown by Ven. Sariputta Thero
If a person mentally and physically attends to unwholesome actions, have sympathy and metta on that person. In which way? A person travelling during a drought who cannot find water to drink finally finds a little bit of water in a space like the footmark left by a cow (gavara Kuraka). You can’t use buckets to draw water. One must kneel down and get rid of the thirst. Just like that get rid of anger in you and develop loving-kindness towards that person in your mind.
Finally Ven. Sariputta Thero teaches how to develop Loving-Kindness
5th Simile shown by Ven. Sariputta Thero
A hungry person who is getting ready to travel in the desert definitely knows that if he travels without food he would suffer and die. Similarly if a person does wrong actions through mind, body and speech, have great compassion to him thinking that this person will fall into a great difficulty, that this person will face a great disaster and face much suffering. Think like this and do not get angry, but have great compassion towards that person and help him to show the right path.
Ven. Sariputta explained about developing loving-kindness in this manner. At the same time when a person can perform all good mental, physical and bodily actions, he will develop loving-kindness with ease.
Develop loving –kindness to all
One must develop loving –kindness to a great extent within one’s mind in order to get rid of the unrisen unwholesome states of mind. Therefore we need to see this happening in real life situations. If you take one person, that person is not one hundred precent right. That is why there is a saying that a person is like the two sides of the mountain. A very good person attends to meritorious deeds and later can produce unwholesome deeds as well. On account of that we need to develop this loving-kindness in our heart. This loving-kindness mind helps us to get rid of the unrisen unwholesome thoughts. Therefore our mind should always be guarded with these loving thoughts.
The Buddha advised us to contemplate on the following five factors
The Buddha had explained five factors to contemplate on according to “Pahana Sutta,”
Jara- Old Age;
“Jara Dhammohi Jara anathithoti, abhinnag pachcha wekki tabban”
This body is subject to old age and decay. When one contemplates on this, one can get rid of the attachment to self (one’s body). When one practices in this manner, the unrisen unwholesome states of mind could not rise. If one can contemplate that this form (rupa) is subject to old age and decay, then the unrisen unwholesome states of mind would not arise.
“Vyadhi Dhammehi Vyadin anatithothi, abhinnag pachcha wekki thabban”
This body of mine, at any moment can be affected by any kind of illness. This body is a favourable home for illness. This body is not an attractive and valuable one. This is the nature of the body. The suttas mention about 98 kinds of illnesses. Hunger is also a part of illness and eating food is a kind of treatment to that illness. We think that eating a good meal makes us feel comfortable. We think that we had a good meal. But what do we do? We treat the illness. After a while what happens? This illness becomes worse and worse. When we look from there onwards we can see that there is a chain of illnesses. How much effort do we put in to maintain and balance this system? If we neglect any of the important factors, then we don’t know what kind of hardship we will have to face. Even though we try to maintain this body with food and exercise, manner, how long can we do it? We cannot avoid illness. Very quickly and unexpectedly an illness can arise and this can put us down. This is why the Buddha said “ Viyadi dhammomhi Vyadi anathithothi abhinnan pachcha wekki tabban.” “This wellbeing or good health ends up in diseases. When one contemplates in this way, “Anuppanan akusalann dammanan anuppadaya,” The unrisen unwholesome mental states would not arise in one.
Similarly, “Marana dhammomhi maranan anathithothi abhinnan pachcha wekki tabban,” This life of mine can end at any time. I cannot predict it. This is just like the dew drop seen at the end of a grass blade. We imagine that this body is such a great thing, but see how many people die each day instantly? This is like a water bubble. We don’t know when this bubble will burst.
Next the Buddha says “this is like the sun that will rise tomorrow.” Without our knowledge, it fades away in the evening and in the same way we don’t know when death is nearing. Death comes very suddenly. “Marana dhammomhi maranan anathithothi,”
This means, “I am subject to death at any time,” If one can reflect on this and contemplate on death, the unrisen unwholesome states of mind would not occur. “Anuppanan akusalanan dhammanang.”
All pleasing and appealing things are subject to change
“Piyehim manapehi nana bhavo vinabhavo”
All things that are attractive and pleasurable to us are subject to change. They keep on changing. Even our body keeps changing. All pleasing things keep changing. If one can see this change and contemplate on these phenomena, one such person can control the unrisen unwholesome actions from arising.
What we are now is due to our past Kamma
“Kammassa komhi kamma dayado kamma yoni kamma bandu kamma patisarana. Yankamman karissami kalyananva papakan va tassa dayado bhavissamithi.”
We have inherited our own kamma, kamma has become our own friend. This has to be reflected and contemplated very often. If one contemplates in this manner, one such person can get rid of the unrisen unwholesome states from arising. Now see, when one doesn’t reflect on the old age and sickness, such a person is very susceptible to develop the unrisen unwholesome thoughts. This is why it is said that the person who does not reflect and is ignorant about old age and sickness, there is a name for it. It is called Jeevihta Madaya.” Life longing. Again there is one called “arogya madaya” health longing and this happens due to ill health. Again because of adolescent stage, there is something called “Yauwana madaya. ” All these conditions can be calmed down and unraised unwholesome mind could not arise if one is able to contemplate the above mentioned conditions.
The unraised unwholesome mind would not occur if one is able to contemplate the above mentioned conditions. Therefore the Buddha always emphasised to employ the Four Great Strivings in order to get rid of the unwholesome thoughts that arise in one’s mind. In order to do it “anuppadan akusalanang dammanang anuppadaya chandang danithi, “ one must have a good liking to it. One should have a great enthusiasm for it. One should put a great effort into it. One should have a mind that is focused to it. We should adopt this kind of attitude in our frame of mind.
Through the help of meditation, the unwholesome states of mind should be eliminated and replaced with wholesome thoughts
The unwholesome states of mind should be eliminated and wholesome thoughts should be replaced instead, through the help of Meditation. Through meditation one develops wholesome thoughts. They should be installed and grown in one’s mind. On account of that loving-kindness would be developed in one’s mind. The techniques on various contemplations explained earlier, should be installed in one’s mind. Another factor is the growth of morality or virtues in you. A good control and discipline of the sense faculties are important. The ability to break rest too is important. The faith and being confident of the Triple Gem is very important and the development of loving-kindness need to grow in your heart. When all these conditions are established then the unrisen unwholesome states of mind will cease to be.
Be a guide to yourself
Therefore dear devotees, be a guide to yourself. Do a self-inquiry. Check whether these qualities are growing in your heart. Through wise attention at each stage check these states of mind carefully. When you have a self- inquiring mind using wise attention, you will realise that the 37 Factors of Enlightenment have grown within you. This realisation or understanding is what we call, “pachchattan veditabbo,” inquire your-self and acquire knowledge by realising it yourself. Therefore I wish that the Dhamma topics we discussed tonight will assist you in the realisation of the Four Noble Truths!