- A Mogok teacher:
- Taw-Ku Sayadawgyi
- Tha-thom Min-goon Sayadawgyi (Mahāsi Sayadaw’s teacher)
- Sa-gaing Taung Mahāgandhāyon Sayadaw U Uttara (1858— 1919)
- On Samādhi
- Some Explanations On the Practice
- Some Dhamma Reflections
Here I want to include some teachers’ teachings on samādhi and pain related to sitting meditation. It can be a wide subject if includes many teachers. Here is only just for a few to reflect. Whoever is a samatha-yānika yogi or vipassanā-yānika yogi, in practice, he/she has to encounter pain and learn how to deal with it. Actually, pleasure is more harmful than pain. Because sukha vedanā is deceitful and people get lost in it (see today’s world situations). Dukkha vedanā is straightforward and people have the chance to overcome or escape them. How to deal with pain there is no fixed rule about it. Teachers have their own views, and sometimes they are opposite to each other. For example, one teacher said that in samatha or samādhi practice, when pain occurs while sitting, one cannot change or correct the posture, but in insight (vipassanā) practice, one must change or correct it; another teacher said the opposite.
We can develop our meditation only by practice and experiment, not copying from others. We must learn from other teachers and do the experiments they teach with them as well. For most people in the beginning of practice, sitting for a long period is impossible and because of pain can give up meditation very easily. It is better to increase the time period little by little with the practice going on. The best way is making the practice become the way of life—i.e., mindful exercises in daily life. The Mahāsi meditation system is good for this.
Actually, the four noble truths or dependent co-arising are intertwined with our daily life, and only we don’t know about them. Someone has mindfulness in daily life, practicing the four noble truths in accordance with the 12 links of D. A. process. But for common people they are creating the two truths of dukkha and samudaya in daily life for wandering in saṁsāra on and on.
Only by direct practice and experiment can we understand pain and find a way out to overcome them. One of the beneficial ways in daily life practice is using the Dhamma, especially the teaching of paṭiccasamuppāda with contemplation in daily life experiences There are many Buddhists in Burma to study or listen the teachings of Mogok Sayadawji’s talks (on D. A. process and practices) or some of the teachers who taught in his style and system have great benefits. Some people understand it very clearly and using the teachings in their lives change their behaviors and overcome problems and difficulties.
(I get this information from Ven. Ādiccaramsī’s talks. He had given a lot of D. A. lectures in the whole Burma and I met many Buddhists who really changed their lives for the better. It was like the education of the Chinese sages who changed people’s lives, who really put into practice in societies. We can change people’s life only with wholesome education and noble education).
Another key point in understanding of D.A. teaching is through reflection that we can let go of our egoic views or selfishness, and so temporarily reduce much of the suffering we experience. With the self view or unwise attention, it’ll create or make the problems or suffering greater. With the right view and thinking, sitting meditation becomes easier and good for dealing with pain. If we take pain or view them with self, it becomes more unbearable or increases the mental suffering. We view and contemplate pains or unpleasant feelings as not-self (anatta), empty of essence (suñña) and stranger or alien (parajana) and become sati and paññā. There were some who didn’t know anything about dependent co-origination before and practiced with the wrong view. Even though they were tough, people couldn’t bear the pain. After they had the right view and let go of the self and selfishness, they could contemplate pains as separate from the mind and see them as alien. They discerned pains as something in front of them.
In one of Mogok Sayadaw’s talks on dukkha vedanā—he said if dukkha vedanā starts arising, contemplate it as quickly as possible, and it becomes less severe.
Actually, pain is not bad as most people think, only we identify it with oneself and fear that it creates a lot of suffering to the mind.
A Mahāsi teacher: During the samatha practice with pains, aches and tiredness can change and correct the postures. In vipassanā practice, you can’t change it. Contemplate it with patience and endurance. In this way, you can understand the nature of the khandha. At Taw-ku meditation center (in southern Burma, Mon State) at least yogis have to sit for three hours. Some elder female yogis could sit for five or six hours
(we also see elder female yogis in Thai forest monasteries on the uposatha days, they came to the monasteries and practice for 24 hours even without sleep. Sometimes they sat there for many hours. Therefore, Thae Inn Gu Sayadawgyi had said that there were many women in heavens and more women were attaining Dhamma than men. More women than men also listen to Dhamma talks and make merits. Where will the men go?)
Practicing with patience and endurance to overcome dukkha vedanā; overcoming vedanā does not mean there is no vedanā. From dukkha vedanā it changes into sukha vedanā or upekkhā vedanā. The yogis are not afraid of dukkha vedanā if knowing its nature. Later, yogis could sit longer and overcame vedanā and learned about them. Thae Inn Gu Sayadaw said in his talks that it was practicing for dying. Experienced yogis do not fear death when dying.
Should not contemplate dukkha vedanā with the desire of wanting it to go away or disappear. This includes desire (lobha). Another way is contemplating with dosa to totally extinguish it. Yogis have to abandon both extremes. Then, how to contemplate it? Contemplate to know its nature—this is feeling or experiencing nature, not a being nor a self nature. One yogi asked this question. In one book it was mentioned that contemplating vedanā as painful, painful or pain, pain or aching, aching and dying at the moment, one will fall into apāyas (i.e., the four woeful existences).
Therefore, how to contemplate it? Not listening to the Dhamma (i.e., suññatā dhamma, paṭiccasamuppāda dhamma, etc.), not having any knowledge of the Dhamma, and dying with only concepts or wrong views and thoughts, one will be oppressed by dukkha vedanā at the time of death and look at one's body in great pain. This is unwise attention with diṭṭhi and taṇhā. At that time, there is body pain and mental pain. If you die like this, you will fall into apāyas. The yogi’s contemplation is not including bodily concepts such as head, body, hands and feet and should not pay attention to them. He pays attention only to its intrinsic nature of paramatā dhamma. Noting the pain of object as pain is sati and knowing of its nature is paññā. Therefore, noting with sati and paññā, and he will not fall into apāyas at the moment of death.
[ It seems that this is not simple, because the mind's response to pain is the focus. If the mind with aversion, irritation, etc., it’s not easy to overcome it. Instead of the physical pain, it is better to contemplate the mental pain (feeling); as Thae-inn Gu Sayadaw says, it is better to do so. See Sayadaw’s teachings and instructions. ]
A Mogok teacher:
The importance of vedanā—many yogis are stuck at dukkha vedanā. Their practice did not develop because they did not understand vedanā or contemplated it in the wrong way. This is reacting to vedanā wrongly with unwise attention. One also cannot overcome it with wrong views. Should not contemplate dukkha vedanā in an unbearable way. There are four faults dealing with dukkha vedanā unbearably. These are: (1) Dukkha vedanā becomes stronger (2) Samādhi falls down (3) Wanting it to disappear (4) Vedanā covering the mind and delusion comes in, and does not know one’s situation.
There are two kinds of khandhas: (1) The original khandha, i.e., the physical body and can see with the fleshy eyes (2) The arising khandha, this can only be known with the mind eye. They can be called conceptual khandha (paññatti) and intrinsic khandha (paramatā). The yogi has to contemplate the arising khandha. If one does not overcome the pain when dukkha vedanā arises, the mind also becomes painful because of the mix-up of the two khandhas. We see pains with normal eyes—this is seeing with self-view (attato-anupassati). Have to contemplate the arising khandha with knowledge eye (ñāṇa eye). When discerning anicca, only the body is in pain and not affecting the mind. The mind can bear pain.
1 If you desire great happiness, you must have patience with small dukkha. With dukkha only you attain great happiness.
2 The main point of sitting for a longer period is to be patient with it. Therefore, during the contemplation, you must be patient with endurance.
3 Don’t be afraid of dukkha vedanā. With patient contemplating of dukkha vedanā, I will develop mature samādhi quickly and not very long, I will experience strong coolness. In this way, refresh and uplift your mind and contemplate with persistence. After overcoming of dukkha vedanā, I will encounter happiness.
4 In Dhamma practice, you have to practice with patience and don’t change the body very often from this side to the other side, like roasting a moke-lay-puay.
(moke-lay-puay is a kind of Burmese cheap sweet food made with rice flour and sugar in a thin slice. This slice of sweet food has to be roasted on a charcoal stove and has to turn both sides very often, and then it expands.)
Sayadaw himself is a very good example of patience and endurance with pains in sitting meditation. He taught what he himself had practiced. All Mahāsi centers only sit for an hour with walking meditation. At Sayadaw’s center, yogis have to sit for at least three hours.
Tha-thom Min-goon Sayadawgyi (Mahāsi Sayadaw’s teacher)
Don’t make it arise or vanish, but know it arises and vanishes. Making it arises is lobha or making it vanishes is dosa. Not knowing the arising and vanishing is moha. Contemplate with patience the unbearable and different kinds of dukkha vedanā until their end without changing the posture. At that time, you should not relax your noting or contemplating. Giving up your khandha and life for changing with Dhamma and with persistence and courage you have to note or contemplate them. Only you discern dukkha sacca that you will see the path of extinction of dukkha. Kilesa has the nature of burning like fire.
Because of this burning kilesa that suffering (dukkha) arises, and we experience dukkha vedanā. At the time of battling with kilesa enemies which are testing the yogis’ courage and persistence of effort. Vipassanā practice is long term practice. Our age (era) is also neyya period or neyya-puggala (in our time most people take some time to practice for realization of Dhamma, and need a lot of effort). So the main point is contemplating the vanishing of mind and body (form). To contemplate all the time is the duty of yogis. Only with continuous contemplation knowledge (ñāṇa) develops to the top and when encounter a suitable situation, it will arise instantly.
Sa-gaing Taung Mahāgandhāyon Sayadaw U Uttara (1858— 1919)
Before the dangers of sickness and death come first practicing the Dhamma. If you fear the great sufferings of apāyas (woeful existences) and try to be patient with small sufferings. If you desire the great happiness of Nibbāna and try to abandon small happiness.
Here I include on samādhi by two teachers—a Thai forest ajahn and a Chinese Chan (Zen) master. These are only in gist, if people are interested in their teachings they can search on the internet. The Thai ajahn was Loong Por Tate Desaramsi—a senior disciple of Loong Por Mun. There was an autobiography by him and translated into English as—An Autobiography of a Forest Monk. The Chinese Chan Master was Master Hsuan Hua—City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. There was a biography about his early life in Mainland China and Hong Kong. Compiled and written by his western disciples in two volumes.
On samādhi by Loong Por Tate is taken from a small booklet called “Buddho” translated by Ajahn Ṭhānissaro, Buddho mantra meditation. The Buddho mantra is quite well known in the Thai forest tradition and is used by many famous ajahns, e.g., Ajahn Mun. Once, when he was living in a forest in Northern Thailand, he taught some hill tribesmen to recite it, and achieved good results. Using it with breath meditation (ānāpāna) is also very good. Its meaning also reminds us that we must always be awake. So it is a good meditation object that combines the Buddhist mantra Buddho with the breath in daily life. Also, it is very easy to practice by all, even for children.
In Chinese Mahāyana tradition—the mantra Ami-to-fo or Amitabha is quite a common practice. They have many records on Chinese practicers from a long time ago. One of the Chinese monks who became adept in Amitabha mantra was Guang Ching old monk. He was quite skilled in samādhi and could stay in samādhi for many days. At the age of 95, one day he was sitting on a cane chair and said to his monks and nuns as follows: “No coming and no going; no more business” and closed his eyes in samādhi and passed away very peacefully. No-one knows the time of his death because he was used to sitting in samādhi like We-bu Sayadaw. There are many similarities between them. Both of them were sitter practicers for their whole life, very few words and quiet, adept in samādhi, attained psychic ability, etc. We-bu Sayadaw’s practice was also very simple with ānāpāna in all postures—one dhamma (eko-dhammo). Once Sāriputta asked a female wanderer a simple question—“What is the one dhamma to Nibbāna?”
She could not answer, so Sāriputta gave her the answer—“With vedanā can arrive at Nibbāna.”
There are many of one dhamma to Nibbāna. Some even think without the knowledge of abhidhamma it’s not enough for realization. If this is true, there would be no realization in the Thai forest tradition. Nor would there be a 7-year-old novice arahant in the suttas. One of the well known Mahāsi meditation teachers mentioned the stories of some children who practiced the Mahāsi system. They told their direct experiences in a very simple way without any knowledge of books. They could enter phala samāpatti (fruition state) after testing by teachers. Some Buddhists, they have strong desire for coming and going in saṁsāra to save all living beings. But they do not know that they are deceived by kilesa māra of bhava-taṇhā. It was like the coolies at the sea-port. They are carrying heavy rice bags coming and going for sensual pleasures.
They prefer to carry more and more rice bags on their backs than put it down. Likewise, they took dukkha as happiness. Even the Buddha could not help everyone, don’t talk about saving them. Buddha is not a Savior. You have to save yourself. So don't be confused, otherwise, it will become empty words.
Loong Por Tate’s “Buddho”
Before practice meditation, you should first learn the differences between the heart and the mind (in Thai: Jy or Jai and Jit, in Pāḷi: mano or citta and viññāṇa) They are not the same thing. The mind is what thinks and forms perceptions and ideas about all sorts of things. Jy is what simply stays still and knows that it’s still, without forming any further thoughts at all. Their difference is like that between a river and waves on the river. When the waves are still, all that is left is the clear bright water of the river. All sciences and defilement are able to arise because the mind thinks and forms ideas and strays out in search of them. You’ll be able to see these things clearly with our own heart once the mind becomes still and reaches the heart.
Water is something clean and clear by its very nature. If someone puts dye into the water, it will change in line with the dye. But once the water is filtered and distilled, it will become clean and clear as before. This is an analogy for the heart and the mind. Actually, the Buddha taught that the mind is identical with the heart. If there is no Jy and there is no Jit. Jit is a condition. The heart itself has no condition. In meditation practice, no matter what the teacher or method, if it’s corrected, it will have penetrated into Jy. When you reach the Jy, you’ll see all your defilement, because the mind gathers all defilements into itself. If you don’t understand the relationship between Jy and Jit, you don’t know where or how to practice concentration.
Every man or animal has a Jy and Jit, they have different duties. Jit thinks, wanders and forms ideas of all sorts, in line with where the defilements lead it. As for the Jy, it simply what knows. It doesn’t form any ideas at all. It’s neutral in the middle with regard to everything. The awareness which is neutral. That is the Jy.
Jy doesn’t have a body. It’s a mental phenomenon. It’s simply awareness. You can place it anywhere at all. It doesn’t lie inside or outside the body. If you want to understand what the Jy is, you can try an experiment. Breathe deeply and hold your breath for a moment.
At that point, there won’t be anything at all, except for one thing: the neutral awareness. That is Jy or “WHAT KNOW.”
Loong Por Tate talked about Jit & Jy
(This is from a talk given by Ajahn Jayasaro)
By Jy, he means the sense of equanimity, the clarity of knowing; Jit refers to thinking, feeling, perceiving. This is his way of talking. He gave a very simple means of understanding what he is talking about. He gave a very simple means of understanding what he is talking about. He says to hold your breath for a few moments. Your thinking stops. That is Jy. Start breathing again and as the thinking re-appears, that is jit.
And he talks about getting more and more in contact with Jy, and as the mind becomes calm in meditation. He doesn’t talk about samādhi nimitta or a mental counterpart to the breath. He talked about turning towards the one who knows the breath. Therefore, as the breath becomes more and more refined, so the sense of knowing the breath becomes more and more prominent. He says-then to turn away from the breath and go into the one who knows the breath. That will take you into appanā-samādhi (absorption samādhi).
Note: For more teachings and on Dhamma about the Thai forest tradition are available on the internet at www.accesstoinsight.org; www.mettaforest.org; dhammatalks.org.
Recommendation for reading: “The Craft of the Heart” by Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo, translated by Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu.
Chan Master Hsuan Hua’s on Samādhi
“Concentration is a very important strength. If you don’t have concentration, where will your discernment get any strength? The discernment of insight meditation is not something that can be fashioned into being by arrangement. Instead, it arises from concentration which has been mastered until it’s good and solid.”
“Samādhi power comes from patience. You should be patient with pain, suffering and difficulties. After maintaining samādhi for a long time, you’ll spontaneously have wisdom. So sitting in dhyāna (Pāḷi—jhāna, Chinese—chan) is extremely important. It’s just teaching you to bear what can’t be borne, to be patient with what is impossible to bear. That’s samādhi power.”
“Sitting a long time we will gain chan (jhāna)”
“To gain freedom from birth and death, you must practice without fear of death. You must not be afraid of pain, difficulty, suffering or anything else.”
“We must learn to look upon all matters as being trifles and should not be attached to anything. Endure suffering and pain. It’s only by enduring a moment of pain that we can achieve everlasting happiness. All of you should be courageous and vigorous and cultivate diligently. In this way, you’ll be able to overcome all obstacles.”
“Truly recognize your own faults. And don’t discuss the faults of others. Others’ faults are just my own. Being of one substance with all is called great compassion.”
(In the Theravada view—“being of one substance with all” means all beings are saṃsāric dukkha travelers in round of existence. If we really understand or penetrate Dukkha only develop true great compassion and not otherwise, because true wisdom and true compassion can’t separate.
Some Explanations On the Practice
Here I want to clarify two points mentioned in Sayadaw U Candima’s talks. These are: mahāpallaṅka (in Burmese—mahāpallin) and “the three levels of samādhi” (bhavaṅgas or the three stages of purification of the mind) or three bhavaṅgas. U Candima’s usage of mahāpallin means full-lotus posture meditation. Actually, full-lotus is a yoga posture. Therefore, I translate it as Diamond meditation.
Here “the three levels of samādhi” or “three bhavaṅgas” is more important. Without these three stages of samādhi, full insight is impossible (see his bio-talk).
To understand them clearer, I recommend the readers to read his book “Theravada Meditation Art and Methodology” on www.amazon.com, e-book.
Another important sutta in his practice is:
MN 148 Chachakka Sutta (The six sets of six, Majjhima-nikāya)
The six sets of six are:
A yogi must know these three six sets of six directly in the practice. If not, the practice is still not right yet (see his bio-talk.)
But The-inn Gu Sayadaw and his way of practices are not the same. U Candima himself mentioned this point in his talk.
There can be many ways of practice to realize Dhamma. I also encourage readers to read the practices of the famous Thai forest tradition.
Some Dhamma Reflections
A Buddhist View:
The following story is from Sitagu Sayādawgyi's talk on the Lump of Foam, Pheṇapiṇḍūpama Sutta (SN 22. 95, Khandha saṁyutta). Near Shew-bo area in upper Burma, some yogis were using suññatā as meditation (Kammaṭṭhāna). They reflected as—no fathers, no mothers, no wives, no sons, etc. to all external objects with concepts and their body shape and form disappeared. For example—the head of the body disappeared, the lower part disappeared, and then they thought if we continued to contemplate it could be wholly disappeared without me. They became frightened and afraid. (Sayadaw’s story ended here)
(My reflection)—The suññatā-vāda (doctrine of emptiness) of some Buddhists also might be like this. They thought: “I don’t want to be disappeared”, so they were scratching their heads and thinking of ways to solve the problem. Therefore, a popular view of Buddhism arose. This was coming and going to save everyone in saṁsāra until it was empty. The problem is that coming and going again and again are endless and feeding craving for becoming (bhavataṇhā). Taṇhā never has contentment, it’s always in discontent and asking for more and more. As a diṭṭhi character they have eternalism (sassata). They are difficult to help and liberate, and playing hide and seek games in saṃsāra hide away from the Buddha and noble disciples.
Why did Buddha Dhamma disappear in India?
Some years ago, I read an article by the Indian writer Rāhula Samkicca on why Buddhism disappeared on Indian soil. It was in the Maha Bodhi Journal Number 81, September, 1973 issue. [Sankrityayan, R. (1973) “The Rise and the Decline of Buddhism in India”, Maha Bodhi Journal, Calcutta, Vol. 81, pp. 328-349]. Here I don’t want to mention anything the writer had said in it. I am quite sure there is already research, books, articles and essays on this subject. This thing is also mentioned by the Buddha in some suttas.
Buddhist monks are the protectors of the Dhamma, and if they keep the original teachings, do not change or add to them, and put them into practice, it will last much longer. There are two sāsanas: the internal and the external. The internal sāsana is to put the Dhamma into practice and become one’s own. The external sāsana is the records of the true Dhamma in accordance with what the Buddha had really taught without changing and adding. Both sāsanas are important but the most important of the two is internal sāsana. Both of these sāsanas are now still available. So we should not miss this chance. Combining all the Buddhist traditions, there are two ways for practice. The noble eight-fold path, which the Buddha taught, and the bodhisatta ideal by later monks. For these two teachings and practices, an analogy is appeared to me as follows—
In the middle of the ocean, a ship was wrecked with people on it. After sometime, another ship with a captain and sailors came to rescue these people who were struggling and swimming in the dangerous water with sharks and harmful sea creatures. Not all the shipwrecked people wanted to climb on the ship. Some refused to go with it, and the captain asked them what was the reason? They answered; “We don’t need your help. We’ll find our own way to cross the ocean and reach the other shore.” So instead of going with the ship. they left behind in the dangerous water. The people who followed the rescue boat reached the other side and were safe forever. I don’t know what happened to the people who were struggling in the dangerous sea.
The analogies in this story are—
There is a big question that arises. What happened to the people leaving behind who were very stubborn with taṇhā, māna and diṭṭhi by swimming to cross over the sea? Maybe they were sunk to the bottom of the sea forever—who knows? Why? Future is uncertain or not sure, the past is a memory, the future is unknown, now is the knowing.
A wrecked ship—dāna, sīla, samatha practices without right views.
Sometimes it’s amazing to know people—even they don’t have common sense. If people have common sense, the situations and their lives can get better. It's even better if people have wisdom. We don’t appreciate or understand Dukkha that we cling to the self view, sensual pleasures and becoming (bhava-taṇhā—coming and going forever) like a dog clung to its dry bone. We don’t need western philosophers to teach us what Dukkha is? I don't know how many of them (in the past) became, are or will become Buddhists. Maybe they can teach you how to become a hedonist and hedonism. Today, world situations confirm this point.
To see, to understand, to penetrate Dukkha, the sutta teachings are enough. Actually, we are always living and experiencing these two noble truths—the cause and result (samudaya and dukkha) all the time. If we have sati and paññā—mindfulness, observation, observation and reflection will experience the four noble truths. Instead, we’re like blind people have eyes but can’t see. It was also like living with our minds all the time and never separated, but we don’t know about it.
Also, the four meanings of Dukkha are close to us in daily life—these are: oppressive, conditioned, burning and afflicting (pīḷanāṭṭha, saṅkhatāṭṭha, santāpāṭṭha, vipariṇāmaṭṭha). Here oppressive means—mind and form oppress, torture and torment the owner who attaches them. Conditioned means—mind and form are conditioned by taṇhā and oppressed by it. Burning means—burning with taṇhā fire. Changing means—changing with dukkha, oppress and torture by changing from aging, sickness and death. There is no dukkha greater than that, and all are included. So asking for more khandhas or uncountable khandhas is too extreme and only a nutty person can do it. There are opposite things in nature. With a teacher there are also students, with men there are women, vice versa, etc. This is common sense. When things get extreme and cause problems. Like the following true story told by Sitagu Sayadaw:
[More women than men:
A few years ago, Sitagu Sayadaw did some teachings in Germany. In each teaching, he saw more women than men in attendance. He was curious about it and asked them the reason on this matter. The answer was—during the second world war, many men died and left behind more women. This is the main cause of women population increases and men population decreases. Sayadaw also heard a true story which happened after the war. There was a passenger bus carrying women on a line with only a male driver on it and no male passenger. So the women forced this poor guy and drove the bus to somewhere. Sayadaw did not mention what happen to him later. What a poor man? Therefore when things are becoming extremes it becomes ugly and problematic. Without the middle way, humans are always in dangers. We see a lot of these things in today’s world.
Buddhas are teachers who need students. If everyone becomes Buddha, where are the students. If everyone wants to be man and where are the women. It seems to me sometime human beings even don’t have common sense. Go against the natural law! ]
Here, I would like to bring up two stories of taking the Bodhisattva Vow in Myanmar. These are true and humorous stories mentioned in the biography of Mogok Sayadaw.
You have to look for another one:
One day, U Tha Oo who appreciated bodhisatta’s way said; “In the world there were very few Buddhas. It needs more Buddhas to appear. There are many living beings to be liberated. Therefore, it’s good to open classes for bodhisatta lectures.” (Here we can see U Tha Oo was more intelligent than Mahayana philosophers).
But his wife Daw Chit Oo listened to the teachings of Mogok Sayadaw that she did not like longer existence. She held the view that it was better if existence could be cut off now.
U Tha Oo has made a bodhisatta vow. So he encouraged his wife to become his bhava-partner following him in the rounds of existence by helping him to fulfill the pāramitās (i.e., it was like princess Yasodharā to prince Siddhattha). Daw Chit Oo’s response was; “No! I don’t want to follow you. Your way (bodhisatta path) is so long.” So U Tha Oo went to see the village monk Phontawgyi U Nandiya for help. Sayadaw U Nandiya also went to see Daw Chit Oo and persuade her, but she rejected.
The village monk said to U Tha Oo; “Dakargyi! I can’t teach her, you have to look for another one.”
Buddhists also should know—what the Buddha had taught and what he did not taught (see the Pāḷi Nikāyas) in his life as a Buddha, what he only taught was Dukkha and the end of Dukkha (all other Buddhas also the same way). This is a true ideal of any Buddha.
Khin-gyi Pauk Became Disappointed
In the old days, Burmese monks were called as—Ah-shin-ghy, Tha-khin-gyi later using a short form—Khin-gyi (from Tha-khin-gyi). Even the monks had Pāḷi names, they were known with their lay names. In front of their lay names, they were added with Khin-gyi, e.g., Khin-gyi Pauk mentions here. Khin-gyi Pauk means Master Pauk (similar to Master Dogen), Pauk was a lay-name U Pauk. In the British colonial time, lay people called the British officers as masters, i.e. Tha-khin-gyi.
In a village monastery, Khin-gyi Pauk was staying as an abbot. He learned in Buddhist texts, completed with general knowledge and with pure sīla. He had vowed as a bodhisatta. The alcoholics were passing his monastery when they went to the toddy field for toddy liquor. One day two alcoholics were very drunk, and they passed near his monastery and both chanting loudly together as followed—
The meanings of these verses are: immature ones are 500 numbers among the future of bodhisattas, and the matured ones are ten numbers (the ten matured bodhisattas are mentioned in the commentary on the future Buddha Metteyya). There are also 80,000 bodhisattas who already had the predictions from the past Buddhas. So 80,510 Buddhas will arise in the future. After these Buddhas, two alcoholics will become Buddhas. After them, the time will come when Khin-gyi Pauk will become a Buddha.
Thought arose in Khin-gyi Pauk “My brothers are even now still drunk, in craziness, and in bad shape. But for me, I am in strong desire to become a Buddha quickly and fulfill the pāramitās by doing dānas and looking after the sīla.” With thinking and grumbling, Khin-gyi Pauk became disappointed.
In this way, people having expectations for the future can never finish and never end with uncertainty.
In the Dhamma talk on bodhisatta and 24 Buddhas by Sayadaw Dr. Nandamalarbhi-vamsa had more information on bodhisattas. Our Buddha Gotama as bodhisatta met 24 Buddhas. Before he was born as Sumedha hermit (that was the time he met Buddha Dīpaṅkara and got the prediction from him) he had been followed the bodhisatta path a very, very long time ago. He was thinking about the bodhisatta path for seven incalculable aeons (asaṅkheyya-kappa) and making vows and prayers for nine incalculable aeons. So to become a true bodhisatta for 16 incalculable aeons. Adding with to fulfill the ten pāramitās four incalculable aeons, totally become 20 incalculable aeons. There are three types of bodhisatta according to their characters.
Faith character has to fulfill pāramīs for 16 incalculable aeons as true bodhisatta.
Viriya character has to fulfill pāramīs for eight incalculable aeons as true bodhisatta.
Wisdom character has to fulfill pāramīs for four incalculable aeons as true bodhisatta.
One incalculable aeon is equal to 10140 (adding 140 zeros behind one)
Some Buddhists think bodhisattas are staying in some Buddha Lands and heavenly paradises, coming and going to save beings. Jataka stories on bodhisatta were the opposite, a bodhisatta still could fall into woeful existences (apāyabhūmi) because of sakkāya diṭṭhi. How can a bodhisatta fulfills his 10 paramis by staying only in heavens and Buddha Lands?
Human IQ. could be divided into five kinds (this is my reflection): fool, intelligent, intelligent fool, wise and intelligent wise. Who are the intelligent fools? With the modern world, many can be mentioned; for example, some politicians, some leaders, some economists, some businessmen, some scientists and some technologists (e.g., misuse of AI technology.) Why are these people intelligent fools? They misuse their intelligence harmful to societies and nature. The wise and intelligent wise are—the ancient sages and Buddha with noble disciples. If we follow the wise and intelligent wise, we’ll never go wrong, otherwise in great disasters.
In the Bhaddekaratta Sutta (Majjhima Nikāya, Sutta No. 131) the Buddha taught as followed: (translation by Ajahn Ṭhānissaro)
You shouldn’t chase after the past, Or place expectations on the future. What is past Is left behind. The future is as yet unreached. Whatever quality is present You clearly see right there, right there. Not taken in, Unshaken, That’s how you develop the heart. Ardently doing your duty today, for—who knows?—tomorrow death may come. There is no bargaining with Death and his mighty horde. Whoever lives thus ardently, Relentlessly Both day and night, has truly had an auspicious day; So says the Peaceful Sage.
This is what every Buddhists should follow.
Sabbe sattā sukhitā hontu!
revised on 2022-12-28
- Content of "Two Sides of A Coin" (Dhamma Talks by Sayadaw U Ukkaṭṭha)
- Content of "A Noble Search" (Dhamma Talks by Sayadaw U Candima)
- Content of Dhamma Talks by Sayadaw U Ukkaṭṭha and Sayadaw U Candima
- Content of Publications of Bhikkhu Uttamo
According to the translator—Bhikkhu Uttamo's words, this is strictly for free distribution only, as a gift of Dhamma—Dhamma Dāna. You may re-format, reprint, translate, and redistribute this work in any medium.