Eighteen Days in Solitude
Day 18: 3rd November, 2002; By Venerable U Ñāṇaransi ; The translator: Ven. Uttamo
Today is arriving to the last day. Let me give you the 5 precepts today. Because after arrive back home and you can take your dinner. So it’s not the observance day precepts (i.e., the 8 precepts). It’s the last day and the mind becomes restless. You may think I would not realize it. Even this state of mind was arising yesterday to some yogis. If I don’t get it this time and next time I’ll do it again. This is wrong thinking. The period you have from the morning until mid-day is very important. You only don’t know about it but the Dhamma develops regularly by itself. Here the point is, it still not arriving to the level it should be or turning point. In Mogok Sayadaw’s talks anubodha nyan was like this or that nature when it arrives to this level. These kinds of knowledge talk by teachers. (There are 2 knowledges, anubodha nyan and pativeda nyan or insight knowledges and the Path Knowledge.) Without listening Dhamma talks you can’t do the practice. People want to practice at my centre have to listen or study my Dhamma lectures on Dependent Origination (Paticcasamupada). These were 7 days lectures. The knowledge comes from these are called nata-parinna – fundamental knowledge with full understanding. (These are; knowledge about mind and matter, and the knowledge of cause and effect. In vipassana practice there are 3 stages of full understanding. 1. Nata-parinna – knowing their natural characteristics – sabhava lakkhanas. 2. Tirana-parinna – understanding with one’s own decision. Knowing with 3 characteristics, as insight knowledges: sammasana nyan and udayabbaya nyan. 3. Pahana-parinna – knowing with gradual abandoning, as insight knowledges: from bhanga nyan onwards.) All these lectures explained what was Dependent Origination, what were khandhas – groups of aggregates, ayatana – sense bases, etc. Talks were giving in details for 7 days with 14 talks. (For all Buddhists to have these intellectual knowledge are important as a true Buddhist, if not just in names only. Mogok Sayadaw used it as sunnata dhammas.) With these talks khandha paticcasamupada processes are in the yogis’ minds. Mogok Meditation Centres are also teaching these things. But here I talk more widely and in details. Here, we have to use these knowledges. First, dispelling ditthi by listening to Dhamma talks. After that during the practice to use them here. (This point is even more important for someone without a teacher or stay away from a teacher during the practice.)
First, working with to get the sacca nyan. This is called anubodha nyan. It’s practicing with the knowledge gain from a teacher. I had been a teacher in the university before. In university there are curriculums, different course of study which are directions and how to do it with them in each level. There are 3 parts, here in our practice. The first part is satipatthana – to develop a strong mindfulness (sati). We had been worked for 7 days with Samadhi. What happened among the yogis? Some not practiced properly that not arrived to the level it needed. They didn’t arrive to the levels of upacara and ekaggata samadhi (access and one-pointedness of samadhi). After 7 days, we have to change for the development of insight. I have laid down the programme in this way; after this and that etc. If the yogis within the 7 days not attaining the Samadhi by practicing loosely, then only wasting times without Samadhi. These yogis will encounter difficulties in the practice onward. For a meditation retreat the yogis should prepare himself for it. Someone came here with other encouragement and practiced without the yogi standard couldn’t realize the Dhamma. This point is very important. Yogi must behave like a yogi. Therefore the yogi took it as not important and practiced loosely. Yogi has to live alone with one mind. Must live alone without companions and looking for a quiet place. Where can you find it in Rangoon? Therefore don’t talk with others. In the past ages hermits and sages renounced the world for this purpose. The yogi must practice with the supreme effort (sammappathana) and with the spirit of without giving up. I was thinking about the differences between someone could attain the Dhamma and someone not. I found out a significant point. The one could realize Dhamma put his mind in the practice for the whole time. Every time if he had problems, came and asked me. It was seriousness in the practice. He had the desire (chanda) of using his whole mind and body in the practice. They had very strong interest in the practice. Therefore they were easy to realize the Dhamma.
In this retreat I have strong expectation, because seeing some yogis with their mature spiritual faculties. Yesterday already one person had appeared for the goal. This is the first time organized retreat in Rangoon. I have been worried that it wouldn’t go well. Yesterday with the success of a yogi and it was worthy for it. Now, the time still we have is valuable. It doesn’t need a lot of time for the Path and Fruit Knowledge to arise. If the time is right and instantly within a second. Only we don’t know when it’ll arise that have to practice continuously. We must practice with anubodha nyan. You must follow exactly what the teacher has said. Must have strong faith (confident in the Dhamma) and good health. With the practice we found out that yogis’ healths were becoming better. (Buddhists had many records on these cases. Because of the bojjhanga – factors of enlightenment or purification of the mind, the body illness come from the mind or kammic illness can be cured.) We didn’t find people became unhealthy. Practicing with straightforward mind is also important. You shouldn’t lie yourself and others. Don’t say which is not happening as it happens. During the interviews not deceive the teacher (most importantly for oneself). Practicing diligently all days and nights and the mind has to be in the practice. With these factors will discern impermanence. (Mogok Sayadaw made it as some Dhamma verses for yogis. He said if a yogi developed these 5 factors would realize Dhamma.) Within 10 days you’ll discern impermanence. (Maybe this is one of the reason Sayagyi UBa Khin started the 10 days retreat at his centre.) And then a female devotee (upasika) came and asked me; “Ven. Could we discern impermanence?” I told her; “I promise, you can do it. But I can’t promise you for the disenchantment of impermanence and its ending.” (i.e., nibbida nyan and the Path Knowledge.) Discerning impermanence is call cula-sotapanna. The doors to woeful planes are closed for one life time. This is a state of a 3 rooted person. (Born with 3 wholesome roots – non-greed, non-hatred and non-delusion.) Before I had arranged 10 days retreats and only found one yogi had the attainment. After the yogis were discerning impermanence, 10 days had come to an end. They didn’t have the chances and times to follow for disenchantment and its ending. Then we’ll try for 18 days (such as now here). If we can’t have the results and then for 27 days. With the arrangements for 18 days and found 2 or 3 yogis had the results. At one time even found 15 yogis at my centre in Taunggnoo. Someone with sharp knowledge (wisdom faculty) and can be practiced like a genuine yogi will realize it. It’s impossible for all the yogis.
For yogis still not get the results this time is very important. With the maturity of the anubodha nyan and pativeda nyan arises. The yogis have to practice like rubbing 2 pieces of bamboos. What are the differences between anubodha and pativeda nyans? Anubodha nyan has 2 points. In theory there are a lot to say. This khandha is inconstant. You have to discern impermanence. This is not me and mine. What did the engineer who came yesterday and said to me? He said to me; “I’m contemplating but don’t believe in impermanence, inconstant anicca.” This is the nature of someone couldn’t realize Dhamma. He was growing up all the times with the stable constant nicca. And then I gave him an example; “Today you’re getting older than yesterday.” “Are they the same, between the khandha of today and the khandha of yesterday?” He answered that it couldn’t be the same. If, it was not the same, then there were a lot of impermanence arising and passing away between yesterday and today. During the practice he couldn’t see it. But thinking with knowledge he could see it. I asked him again; “Now, you’re sitting here. What happen to the floor and the khandha? Are they at a stand-still?” He answered that they were at a standstill. I told him; “they are not in a standstill and moving with the earth. Can’t you see it?” “Yes, I am” “But you couldn’t see it with the eyes. So look at it with knowledge. Which one is more right?” He answered that looking with knowledge is more right. These are the things blocking your way. Climbing up to the 2nd level is dukkha sacca (the truth of dukkha). In the khandha only dukkha exists. I had seen yogis oppressed by air element (vayo dhatu). You only see the movements of the air element and not as oppression by them. In the khandha, there are stiffness, tension, pain, etc. Many kinds of oppression arise. Is it suffering or happiness? It’s suffering. Do you see it? No! I don’t see it. Why don’t you see it? It’s good to ask this question. You had been taught to live with dukkha in your life. There are a lot of economic difficulties and problems in Burma (i.e., from 1962 onward). But still you know how to live with it. Because you had been taught about dukkha sacca. Therefore with these attachments, even encounter with dukkha and don’t know to resist it. Khandha only shows you one thing. Whatever arises is dukkha.
The lay man U Myint Htoo, his under feet were like cutting open with razor blades. Every time he practiced and it happened to him. Who knows! What he had been done in his past lives? Is it good to feel it? Is it not suffering? Sometimes a yogi’s head was hitting the floor with bang! bang! by the air element. It was oppressing the yogi. The oppressive dhamma is its original nature. Having it and you have been oppressed by it. We don’t have yogis with water element here (apo dhatu). There was a Shan woman practicing with standing meditation and all the urines fell out. Her whole body was wet with sweats. All the liquid came out from the body. (Shan State is in N.E of Burma and known as Thai Yai in Thailand.) Khandha only shows you one thing which is dukkha. It’s impermanent, dukkha and not self (anicca, dukkha and anatta), actually they are one. How does anubodha nyan change into pativeda nyan? There is knowing it with penetration. How to know it with penetration? Making a decision with your own knowledge as truly dukkha and completely believe in it. During the practice you feel pains and aches and may think it as dukkha. After you take it off and not think in that way anymore. So you have been like this before and now (also in the future). Never convince you that it’s dukkha. At the time you penetrate it as truly dukkha and ceases with a blip! Why the Path Knowledge not arises? because anubodha nyan is not mature yet. First, factors of enlightenment arise (i.e., bojjhanga dhammas). And then the spiritual faculties (indriya) become mature. After that it becomes powers (bala). We have to make it strong for leading to the Path Knowledge. Early before your knowledge came from the teacher. Now, you know it by yourself. You’re still wanting because not disenchanting with it. The reason is you don’t believe in dukkha. If you have confidence in it as truly dukkha, then ditthi falls off and the Path Knowledge arises. Why you have been so long in samsara? Because you’re concerning for the khandha. Whatever you’re feeding the khandha and at last it becomes useless. This mouth is wasting the money which you have been earned. (The Ven. told the story of Mandalay U Gyaw and an old beggar. U Gyaw was a rich man in Mandalay and a contemporary of Ledi Sayadaw. His name was mentioned in Ledi Sayadaw’s biography. One day an old beggar was passing by his house. He invited him in and served with delicious foods. After finished and asked him how he felt about the foods. The old beggar’s answer was; “I don’t know it’s good or not. But what I know is whatever good or bad, become excrements are the same.” Human beings are wasting their times, energies and natural resources for sensual pleasures. The outcomes are natural disasters and many problems in societies.)
- Content of "Eighteen Days In Solitude"