Eighteen Days in Solitude
Day 14: 30th October, 2002; By Venerable U Ñāṇaransi ; The translator: Ven. Uttamo
According to the purification process, today is reaching to the top of the mountain. Therefore we have to practice up to the level of the path knowledge of the stream entrance (sotapatti magga). This week the progress of the yogis is in the satisfied level. We’re now arriving to the section of seeing a lot of anicca and become disenchanting. This level is purification of the way – patipadananadassanavisudhi, and becoming a noble disciple (ariyasavaka). You’re on the straight path and can’t stray away from it. If you continue with the practice and it becomes the path knowledge. Nanadassanavisudhi – purification by knowledge and vision is called sotapatti magga – the knowledge of the stream entrance. You’re arriving at the distance of one armed length of it. You have to be careful for one thing. Even though it’s sure for arriving there, still can encounter disturbances and become low spirited. The path is straight now but it needs to walk straightly. The main factor is the mind power. Importance of practicing with patience, endurance and perseverance. The main necessity is sati. Except seeing all the arising phenomena with the 3 universal characteristics and not let other sense objects to come in. Especially it needs to be careful not let other thoughts and imaginations to come in. When the khandha is changing and it shows you extraordinary things which never seen before. If you think it as happening in my body or coming from outside and you’re straying away from it. It’s quite clear that you’re not contemplating what happen in the present moment khandha. This is one way of sticking with ditthi. Whatever arising is impermanent khandha. It’s the arising of the khandha nature. It shows its own nature. All the arising are sankhara dhammas (conditioned phenomena). After arising and it has to be vanished. Observe with knowledge and seeing it as dukkha. So it’s dukkha arising. Why is that? There are 2 reasons for it. First, it’s not stable. And second, it’s oppressive. It has the nature of oppression without any pity. Iron is destroyed by rust. In the same way the phenomena oppress oneself are in the khandha. Greed, hatred and delusion are the dhammas pushing you down the cliff. These are clear for the yogis themselves. It makes them unbearable. (Advanced yogis experience the oppressive nature of the 4 great elements.) We must change the way of contemplation.
Now we’re in the section of how to react to impermanence. Let your body pains and not the mind. These words are not for good listening. It’s talking about how to practice. Isn’t it painful when the dhamma arises to oppress the khandha? It’ll, but don’t let the mind pains. I’ll ask you. Whose mind is painful if the body pains? You’ll answer me as I am the one who pains. This is a worldling without knowledge – asutava puthujjana. A worldling without knowledge will take it this way. But a disciple of a noble one with the knowledge (sutava ariyasavak) sees the khandha as not me and not mine. Someone after seeing anicca becomes a disciple of the noble one. He has the support and comfort in the Buddha’s sasana (dispensation of the Buddha). It’s like a drowned person, after his feet touching the bottom and then exposes his head above the water. And free from the danger of painful destination for one life. If you encounter with oppressive nature and it’s important how to practice with insight. If the yogi doesn’t has the preparation of how to contemplate with insight, when the body pains and the mind also. You’ll say, I can’t bear it and change the posture. This is the mind pains with the body. This matter is very important in near death when oppress by illness. To prepare for these things it needs the strength of the mind power. It needs a lot of sati and stable resolution. All difficulties must overcome with resolution / determination. In the world everyone is afraid of death (for common people). Here let me die. I am not afraid. With the khandha exists and never free from dukkha. Therefore I must practice to free from dukkha. I’m daring to say for you. You’ll not die. Must have the courage for adventure. It’s better for dying with practice than dying with stupidity. What can be happened if you continue to climb up? The yogis becomes very tired and world say I can’t climb up the mount. And then wanting to put down the burden and the practice to continue. Even some came and told me, “If I can’t get the Path Knowledge, let it be.” They had changed their minds in this matter but in the wrong way. Some saw the faults of the khandha. But there are 2 ways about it; totally giving up the practice or continue the practice to the end. The right way is I must free from myself from this khandha. If not I’ll drift away and sink in the ocean of samsara. So I can’t give it up. I must practice to overcome it. Have to reflect in this way.
After you transcend it and arrive to the knowledge of reflecting contemplation – patisankhananam. What’ll happen after making the decision and practice? You discern the phenomena not very clear and disappointed with it. Before you encounter the strong experiences and now mild phenomena arise. However, still all of them are dukkha arising and dukkha changing. It’s showing its own nature. If you contemplate on form (rupa) and seeing the form nature. Form shows its nature and don’t take it as my arising. Leaving it as a stranger and don’t take yourself in it. Let the body pains and not the mind, are only possible if you contemplate it as stranger. It means put down wrong view (i.e., not identify with it as me and mine). Your discernment becomes not clear and don’t take it as become easier. It’s like from the mount to climb up another higher point and you can’t jump up from here. You have to go down again and climb up again. In climbing down is comfortable. The phenomena are reinforcing to strike you down. You have to know about this point. Don’t think that contemplation is not good. This means you are going in and feeling with it. The phenomena strike down on you and by giving up can’t achieve the goal. When it come to you and must be in ready for it. It’s nothing to do with me and happen by its way. During the contemplation don’t react with resistance. With the contemplation of separation and there is no resistance. Observing like someone with ease at nearby. This is equanimity towards the conditioned phenomena. Let it be and do what it wants with the oppression. This time I must separate you forever with the practice (i.e., the khandha – the oppressor). It’s the knowledge of equanimity towards the formations – sankharupakkhananam. The slogan here is, “Don’t be in concerns; if concern and out of balance.” You can’t be out of balance even for once; and with it becomes fruitless. Can’t make any mistakes. Whatever happening is dukkha sacca. It’s nothing to do with me. Let it happens and dies.
I’ll tell you how to continue with the practice. Let go of your mind for comfort. Don’t sit with usual posture, but with a difficult posture. (as e.g., from a Burmese posture to half lotus or full lotus postures.) And then practice with equanimity towards whatever is arising. Now it’s only 4 days left. We’re now arriving to the very good level and can’t practice in an easy way. Like a tiger holding and biting its prey without letting go to climb the highest point. Mind power with persistence is very important. Making a determination, for e.g., for one hour and one hour. If it’s not ending and you have to follow it to the end. However severe the pain is have to follow it to the end. You need the strength of mind. You have to fight it until you win. We’re now climbing up to the highest point of the mountain. You can’t make decision by yourself for what’s happening. Experiencing of something which is strange and don’t make the conclusion as the Dhamma (i.e., Nibbana). You must inform me what you’re experiencing. I also not mention these things to you beforehand. If I tell you and will come and inform me that same thing. A lay man experienced a cold bar of energy came to the head. It was very cold and suddenly he fell down. But the cold bar of energy was still there. In a shock and thought it was attainment. And making the conclusion as the Path Knowledge. The ending of impermanence means doesn’t have anything to contemplate. In a blip everything has ceased. If you still have something for contemplation and not the Path Knowledge. So you have to continue with the contemplation. Inform me only what you have seen. Today contemplation is let the body pain but not the mind.
- Content of "Eighteen Days In Solitude"