Day 4: 20th October, 2002 (Eighteen Days In Solitude-- Instructional Dhamma Talks in Retreat)
revised on 2019-12-05
Talking from the process of the practice, today we’re arriving to the level of jhanic factor happiness (sukha). In the five jhāna factors, vitakka is pulling the mind back to the object. Vicāra means the mind staying with the object of meditation. The mind is staying calm with the object. If the mind becomes calm the body also. It becomes free from lobha (greed), dosa (hatred), moha (delusion), restlessness (the mind moving around here and there), laziness, boredom, etc, which are defilements (kilesa), obstructing the path and fruit. This is called purification of the mind (cittavisuddhi). There are seven stages of purification. Now you’re undertaking the eight precepts and during the practice the precepts are pure. Only with the pure sīla (precepts) is not enough. The mind also has to be pure. It can’t do insight practice with the polluted mind (kilesa). Do it with the contemplative knowledge (ñāṇa). This knowledge is establishing with the practice. Normal people don’t have it. What are the factors of this knowledge? You must have right view (sammā-diṭṭhi). Thoughts must be right (sammā-saṅkappa). For right effort (sammā-vāyāma); we’re talking about sitting meditation, but also can practice with walking, lying down and standing. Without effort, we can’t do anything.
Right mindfulness (sammā-sati) is satipaṭṭhāna, which we’re doing now. It regards to everything. Only we have sati and will attain the path and fruit. You must grasp on this point. Control the mind with sati and not letting it going out. It can have calmness of Samādhi only with sati and viriya. With calmness of the mind and knowledge will arise. It’s wisdom (paññā). The mind will follow with them if it is seeing an object or hearing a sound; during eating, also following with the sweet, sour, salty taste, etc. And the mind doesn’t stop there with only knowing. It also enjoys the good or bad tastes. It will like it if prefer sweetness after the feeling; if not prefer and then dislike it. Originally “like” or “dislike” does not exist by itself; it's added by the eater. There are some people enjoying hot chilis and also some don’t. It's nothing to do with the chili for “like” or “dislike” chili. It connects with the eater/enjoyer. He/she has the nature of justification on the objects.
Contemplation on the in and out breaths are not interesting like watching video because it’s not like the objects of defilement. (This is a modern day human problem and serious. We polluted our mind from the media and never were aware of the dangers it brings to human beings.) Therefore the mind is looking for a new object. If hearing a sound, it does not stay at the nostril and following towards the sound. It has interest at the sound with thinking.
Another thing is with the contemplation and the mind instantly forgets the object – seems like unconscious. It’s called falling into the bhavaṅga citta. This is not following other objects. The mind has two types: conscious and unconscious or sub-conscious minds. This unconscious or sub-conscious mind is bhavaṅga citta – life continuum mind. Instantly it forgets the object and changes into bhavaṅga citta. And then thinking and planning things arise. The mind strays away from the object is our past experiences have been recorded in the bhavaṅga (maybe like a recording machine). In normal situations it doesn’t arise. We had been forgotten the things which happened long time ago at young age. These things can arise during the practice. In this way the mind is not staying with the meditation object and following with the new object. With these kinds of obstructing exist and in making the mind to be calmed, it needs great effort. It needs such much effort if you want to arrive to this level.
This yogi seems like climbing a high mountain. Reaching higher up, he / she needs the care of not falling off; like the example of a mountain climber, reaching higher up and being closer to life danger. Out of sati is the cause of death. (He mentioned Mogok Sayadaw’s talk on a prisoner carried a bowl full of oil. He had to protect his life for not spilling even a drop of it. It needs a great care and sati.) The car driver can’t be out of sati because dangers are surrounding with it. Even with sati, it still might have accident. We establish sati for the freedom from saṁsāric dangers coming from repeated existences, and we have to do it with full interest. When night time comes, some yogi’s mind becomes disarray. It’s sure of including tiredness. And it can reduce the effort because of painful sensations. It will be good enough only, always practice with great effort like a new person and mind. Today we must arrive to the level of happiness (sukha). This is the level where the whole body becomes peaceful and happy. If the body is painful with aches and headache, etc. can’t attain happiness.
If I have to tell my experience, I didn’t do vipassanā practice before. It was because of my great vow. Because of this thought, I didn’t do it. [But he did samatha practice and influenced by worldly knowledges (lokiya vijjā) – such as gandhārī, mantra, mandala, etc. So, he was getting lost in these things for sometimes.] After sometimes I made researches and found out that I didn’t have the qualities of a bodhisatta. And had not been met a living Buddha for the future prediction (In some of his past lives he had been made bodhisatta vows). Therefore at the time of doing vipassanā, my whole body was painful, numbed and with aches like you. From the knees downwards were numbed for the whole day and night. Next day was the same. And then on the third day I thought; was it becoming paralyzed? And then I made a decision of letting it happen whatever might be, and continued the effort.
What were the characteristics when arriving to the level of happiness? After the mid-day meal, it was still numbing. I was resting for awhile and took a bath. After the bath, all these numbness disappeared. At 1 p.m. continued the sitting and arrived to the level of happiness. The dhamma was not like what I had thought and developed with the process. If arriving to the level of sukha and the whole body becomes light, the mind is clear and bright. Some have goosefleshes, seeing light like the firefly, sign of cotton wool, cloud, etc. These are signs of samatha. If you’re seeing these things and it means arriving to a certain level in samatha practice. These are learning signs (uggaha-nimitta) and counterpart signs (paṭibhāga nimitta). Arriving to the stages of pīti and sukha, the body becomes light and not heavy. Even it can be found that the lower parts of the body disappear. If it arrives to the stage of onepointedness of mind (ekaggatā), even becomes quiet and seems to be not breathed anymore.
Dhamma is developing in accordance with the process. We’re practicing with the time limit that if moving the body here and there will not arrive to this stage. Separate the practice for 18 days that, each day has to be developed from one stage to another stage. If the below stages are not fulfilling and can’t follow up. So, you can’t take rest and have to be tried with right effort. It’s important to change postures without interrupt the acceleration.
Like rubbing two pieces of bamboos, you’ll never get the fire by rubbing and resting. If you just do the rubbing, when the time comes and fire will come out. Samādhi practice is also in the same way. Noting, contemplating with sati, dhamma will do its job accordingly and Samādhi develops. At that time, it must not think and plan this and that. If you put effort with sati and will find out that in and out breathing are faster. Whatever you are experiencing just binding the mind at the entrance of the nostrils is enough.
Some observe the arising and falling of the abdomen as object of contemplation. Some observe the heart beatings. They are watching at these. And then what problem will arise? A female yogi asked me; “If I don’t pay attention at the nostrils and instead at the chest area (i.e., the heart) or at the abdomen is possible?” Then I answered to her that if you knew it and it will be all right. But it has a difficulty when changing to the next stage of knowledge (i.e., the knowledge of cause and effect relationship.) The beating of the heart is conditioning by the bhavaṅga citta.
It functions with the volitional mind. At the nostrils because of wanting to breathe in and it breathes in, and wanting to breathe out and it breathes out. The wanting mind is the cause. For the beating of the heart, we don’t know the reason. It has the difficulty when analyzing the cause and effect relationship. For today, practice hard and not let the mind goes out for reaching the sukha level. I have reminded yogis not to incline the head downwards. But because of the habit carrying with it, and after sometimes it goes back to usual. You have to be remembered the instruction. Also, it must have the part of checking for one’s practice. Then you can correct your mistakes. Another point is observing the touching and knowing mind with another mind. This is contemplating the knowing mind with another mind and including more knowing.
revised on 2019-12-05; cited from https://oba.org.tw/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=4021&p=35454#p35454 (posted on 2018-12-14)
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