Diamond Meditation [Dhamma Talks by Sayadaw U Candima (Sandima)]

[ This is a two hours sitting meditation talk by Sayadaw. He called this vipassanā practice as bodhisatta kammaṭṭhāna or Mahāpallaṅka method or Diamond Throne method. Bodhisatta Siddhattha sat under a bodhi tree and attained enlightenment in one sitting. Burmese Buddhists give the name to the place where the Buddha’s enlightenment as Mahapallin (Mahāpallaṅka) or Diamond Throne. Sayadaw called it as diamond throne method because with determination or resolution (adhiṭṭhāna) in one sitting kill or abandon taṇhā kilesa. In one of his talks he mentioned it as the only way to expose taṇhā quickly.

I did not transcribe the whole talk, but only the important points. The practice is also quite simple. Yogis who develop samādhi with ānāpāna-sati can do this practice. After the successful purification of the mind (cittavisuddhi) or jhāna samādhi, continuing with Mahāpallaṅka meditation, one can bear dukkha vedanā.

Sitting with the body in relaxation. Without any tension and control to the body. Mind and body are in relaxation. You should not have any concern for the body. The mind has to be at rest and free. Empty the mind out and just pure awareness. Whatever is happening to the mind and body, just be aware of it without any state of intervention. If vedanā arises on the body, don’t go and look at it. The physical body doesn’t have craving (taṇhā) which is happening in the mind. So only look at the mind. Whatever mind state arises, look at them.

Don’t include me and I there. Don’t let I-ness go and disturb it.

Don’t let the inclusion of I-ness there. Be aware and don’t lose sati. If the mind inclines toward the painful body, don’t contemplate vedanā, instead contemplate the minds following behind. Bhavaṅga (vatthu, according to Buddha) is the place of the mind (according to the commentary and the mind base of yogis’ experiences is the heart area). Just pure awareness of whatever mind states arise. The body is moving is because the mind is moving. Don’t follow the desire of the mind, don’t follow taṇhā. There is only one observation of the essence. Sati-paññā only has the work of penetrative knowing. It doesn’t have other things included there. No defiled (kilesa) minds are there. Contemplate nāma lakkhaṇa of the mind

[There are two characteristics (lakkhaṇas) of phenomenon—individual (sabhāva-lakkhaṇa) and universal (sāmañña-lakkhaṇa).]

Don’t follow behind the air at the tip of the nostril, this is not included in our practice process. This is contemplating mind with the mind (i.e., mind objects with the path factors). You have to let go of the mindset of different agreeable desires. Observe with sati. If you lose, sati will get carried away (by the mind). Be aware! Not asking the mind to do the job, only asking you to be aware of the mind. Leaving the body behind like a lifeless object and letting go of the body. Let go yourself from carrying around the body. Be aware of the mind with the mind. The mind is looking for a chance to come and occupy the khandha house. Let the khandha house be like a lifeless thing. With sati and let the khandha by itself and taṇhā can’t come in and disturb the mind. Leading by sati and paññā taṇhā can’t enter the mind. Forget yourself and don’t do thing as asking by taṇhā. Don’t lose your sati. Be patient! If vedanā arise don’t follow behind them. Just observe the mind following behind them (i.e., vedanā).

You must contemplate with an equanimous mind and not react to anything. Only have the task of contemplation. Let the body is there as you originally has left behind (not making any adjustment or correction or any movement and leaving it as before in the beginning) You must let it go on its own (not concern anything) you only have the task of leading by sati and paññā, but must not lose sati. Must have patience with patience and endurance. With patience and endurance will arrive at Nibbāna. This was what was mentioned by the Buddha. Don't expect it to be done quickly, and it becomes restless. Don’t let the mind associate with the body. The body without a mind is like a lifeless thing, and just leave it like that. To be patient with knowledge (nyan—ñāṇa). You have to let go of that much. Don’t give life faculty to the lifeless form (rūpa). Be mindful! Don’t be agreeable with it (i.e., follow the mind or the body). Let it go with your heart. Don’t be lacking in sati. Not to be finished quickly in a rush. In this way, taṇhā will be cut off and defeated. (meditation is battling with taṇhā, but not in action as non-action.) Bhavaṅga will become vibrated. Taṇhā will pull out the kilesa baggage which has been kept. (Enormous baggage for the whole saṁsāra journey without discerning of its beginning.) Let the bhavaṅga mind in a lifeless state. Bhavaṅga vibrates and falls in and fruition of mind will come in. (Now, near the end of the sitting) During these seconds and minutes let go of everything. Let it die and whatever let it be, let the mind rest. Bhavaṅga with a blip become cool and fruition of mind comes in. Bhavaṅga is like a button (of machine). The bhavaṅga mind wants to grasp it. (Sayadaw asked the yogis to make the preparation for coming out from the two hours meditation period).

You adjust your indriya as originally (ending the meditation with equanimity). Here Mahāpallaṅka method is an analogy for the bodhisatta sitting on the seat under the Bodhi-tree—mahāpallaṅka to extinguish kilesa fire.

Some Reflections

With the knowledge of abhidhamma teaching, the mind process in meditation is becoming clear. In Sayadaw’s talks on practice, it is very rare to talk about impermanence only the mind states and their changing process. (It was the same in Thae Inn Gu Sayadaw’s talks). It does not mean that the three universal characteristics are not important. It was mentioned by the Buddha very often in practice. In Mogok Sayadaw’s talks also we find a lot of them. Its importance is we can see very clear if we put it into the 12 links of paṭiccasamuppāda (see many talks by Mogok Sayadawji).

Sayadaw U Candima called this satipaṭṭhāna as cittānupassanā, just contemplate in the mind only, and not concerning for rūpa and vedanā phenomena. In the beginning of the sitting, it doesn’t have any object to observe, and it’s just pure awareness. It does not mean there is no object at all. A mind with no object is impossible, even path and fruition minds have Nibbāna as its object. Why is the observing mind purely aware here? A yogi attains jhāna which is upekkhā samādhi with it only can do this practice. A person is not dead yet, so the mind will always arise. Even the following mind can observe the preceding contemplative mind (path factors mind)

In the Chinese Chan tradition (Japanese—Zen, Korean—Son) there is a school called Tsao Tung (in Japanese—Soto Zen). Their sitting starts with object-less awareness. The monks or yogis are sitting in a row and facing the wall. I don’t know what object-less awareness means. The famous Zen Master Dogen belonged to this tradition.

Mahāpallaṅka kammaṭṭhāna gives us the idea of the mind. The physical body is just a lifeless object. It’s working just for the mind. Mind is the main actor behind all phenomena. This method is the battle between kilesa and the observing mind in a refined way. It describes the importance of equanimity (upekkhā), with patience and endurance, i.e., the middle way. The observing mind stays in the middle with upekkhā and does not follow any side of sukha and dukkha which are the two extremes.

Human beings follow behind these two extremes that all human problems arise—such as arms race with wars, trade wars, all sorts of external pollution, severe climate change, etc.

These three unwholesome roots of greed, hatred and delusion relate to these two extremes which never give humans peace and happiness.

revised on 2022-08-05

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