A Noble Search [Dhamma Talks by Sayadaw U Candima (Sandima)]
Sayadaw U Candima (Sandima, 1951- )
I entered the Buddhist order near the end of 1975. I did the practice for over a year, and attained the path of stream entry. Only after 20 years the head monk of Suddhamma Sect Sayadaw, and Thom-pho Sayadaw were questioned on my practice. This happened at Nyaung-don Pariyatti Vihāra during the monk ordination ceremony.
(There are two major Buddhist sects in Burma—the oldest, and largest is the Suddhamma sect, followed by the Shwe-kyin, and other smaller sects.)
I started my Dhamma teaching from there. At that place I gave only one talk there. The 2nd time was at Tonn-tay, Kyauk-pa-daung Pariyatti Vihāra. There I taught the monks and nuns (Burmese as sīla—shin, Thai as mei-chee) for 14 days. Actually it was a ten days retreat, but it took 14 days.
I gave them the teaching because they had the duty to spread the Dhamma. This is the 3rd time here. It's just that after more than 20 years, I've only taught three retreats. The reason I am waiting for so long is I was afraid of people thinking about me as showing my own prestige. Therefore, I was not teaching for a long time. Another reason is I was afraid of having the wrong attention with it.
I know that at this place Paung-ta-le Town the teaching will be developed here. U Zin doesn’t know about the pariyat (learning from texts). As a young man at the age of 24 I did the practice, and learned the path, and fruit of stream entry, which I’ll share with you for your benefit.
Teaching vipassanā is like selling goods. What is the value of such goods? The customer should ask; “How is its usefulness?”
The seller also can give guarantee for the goods. In this way, the seller, and buyer will do well. What it was made of, and how long it will last for use, all these have to be guaranteed. Among the three sāsana (i.e., study, practice, and result) the study of texts (pariyat, pariyatti) is recording the omniscience knowledge (sabbaññutā ñāṇa) of the Buddha in texts. We have to practice them, and only that we have the chance to experience it by oneself. Therefore, patipat (paṭipatti) is the sāsana of practice. The yogi with one's own knowledge analytically penetrates the conditioned dhamma of mind and body, and its reality.
With this, he understands the truths of dukkha, its cause, the ending of dukkha, and the way to ending dukkha (i.e., dukkha, samudaya, nirodha, and magga saccas). This is the attainment of path, and fruit, and Nibbāna which is the result of paṭipatti. Only this kind of person can spread the paṭipatti sāsana. In pariyat sāsana also has its levels, and someone who has the graduate certificate can spread the sāsana. For the teaching practice, someone has to penetrate it by himself, and liberate from dukkha.
Only this person can help the lay followers to liberate themselves from dukkha, and to Nibbāna. I myself don’t know anything about pariyat, but practice hard to arrive at the path, and fruit of stream entry which I offer you for the benefit. How can I have the perfection (pāramī) to practice it successfully? It’s impossible without perfection, and must have pāramī. I’ll talk about my pāramī in gist.
My birthplace is Ta-goon-dine village, Ta-nut-pin town, Pegu district. (i.e., north of Rangoon, and not very far from it). Before I was born, I had two older sisters above me. After my sisters were born, my mother had a strong desire to have a son. After the pregnancy, one night my mother had a dream. From the sky the Buddha, and arahants were coming for alms-foods, and mother went outside to offer foods. After giving foods to the Buddha, she was ready for the first arahant. The arahant opened the bowl lid, and took out a baby inside the bowl, and gave it to her. Mother received it with the shawl from her shoulder, and looking at the child, it was a baby boy. It made her joyful, and then she woke up from sleep. From then onwards until she passed away at the age of 68 she could not eat any smelly meat, and fish. I know about them because my mother told me.
When I was sensible at the age of five or six, I asked my parents to light candles in the shrine room every night, and I was sitting cross-legged in front of the Buddha statue. It gave me satisfaction by doing it. My parents stayed behind my back, and used the tip of the broom touching my ears, and shoulders—to make me itch by teasing me. I was happy with it by sitting like this every night, and not because I knew something about it. (His near past life of habit as a practicing monk carried to this life. Therefore, our everyday actions are very important not only in the present, but also for the future to come.)
Only after doing the sitting did I go to bed. At the age of six or seven, in the village, some villagers were sick, and I heard their crying and groaning. When people were separated from each other (lost loved ones), and hearing their sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair which made me depressed.
Sometimes I saw people looking after the sick person (also the loved one) with low spirits and small faces, which also made me depressed. When I saw all these human sufferings, and asked my mother, “Mother! Are people very often sick and crying, and groaning like this? Would it happen to us like this later? Mother answered me; “My son, being born a human being, must encounter it.” “Can't we get rid of it?” “No! We can’t” I became to be afraid and got goose bumps. I thought—“One day I will have to suffer with dukkha vedanā like this in crying and groaning.” And then sorrow was arising in me.
Even though I was only a child, seeing these things made me unhappy. I was also unhappy by seeing people became sick, and inviting doctors to see the patients, and looked after them. Later someone died, and I went to see it. Near the corpse, family members were crying, heartbreaking, and some were in shock and in a coma. Seeing them, I was unhappy. After back home I asked my mother; “Mother, who is dead now. Do we also die like this?” Mother answered me; “If you become human, you have to die like this.” “Mother! Is anyone free from it.” Mother said; “No one. One day I have to die, and you also have to die.” When I heard them I was afraid, and there was no happiness in me. I became unhappy by thinking about old age, sickness, and death.
[This was a very rare thing that happens between a child, and a parent on questions, and answers of life, and death. We can see that Sayadaw's maturity of mind as a child comes from his past practice. His mother's patience in answering questions about life, and death was also very good. Most parents can stop their young children asking these kinds of questions. According to Sayadaw his mother passed away at the age of 68, and took rebirth as a snake, but he did not say more than that.
At the age of 25 he entered the stream entry, so he had a lot of time to help his parents with Dhamma. His father was lucky, he practiced, and reached certain level, but at dying his mind was inclining toward Sayadaw at the moment of death, and took rebirth as a tree spirit (rukkha-devatā)]
I was thinking about the issues of where there was no ageing, sickness, and death. So I went to ask my mother; “Mother! Please tell me if there is a place where no ageing, sickness and death.” Mother said: “We don’t have this kind of place under here, but it exists on the moon” Mother was making a joke to me. So every night when the moon came out, I went outside, and looked at it. And then with the mind pulled it toward me, and when it arrived near tried to climb on the moon, but it moved away from me. Day by day I was afraid of ageing, sickness, and death, thinking about how to climb on the moon.
What happened to me later was when I was 10 or 11 years old. Inside our sleeping room there was a big clothes cupboard. I went inside and lay down there like a dead person, and contemplated as—one day I have to die like this. The stomach became rising up, bloated, and loathsome. The flesh became brown to black, later bloated, and putrid. My thighs and legs became bloated and a putrid smell came out. The putrid smell was so terrible that I couldn’t bear it anymore, and had to release my mind on it. And then it became normal again. Before it became a corpse bloated, putrid, and smelly, and now it became normal again. What did it mean? I would try it again, and I did myself like a dead person, and contemplated it.
When I concentrated on the stomach, and it was swollen, my chest expanded, legs, and hands were becoming swollen, and expanded. Not before long, it became putrid, and smelly. I couldn’t bear its smell, and relaxed my meditation. I was thinking that one day I would die like this. After death, it would become bloated, putrid, and fallen apart, and the body became useless. I was only thinking about these things, and unhappy with it.
[ At a very young age he was contemplating death, which led to loathsomeness of the body. This incident made me remember one of Ajahn Chah’s disciples, Ajahn T’s experience as a lay man. As a young man, Khun T (Khun similar to Mr.) graduated from business school, and he wanted to continue his further study in the U.S. or give up the further study, and had a family life. So he continued to think about some young women (friends) for his spouse, one by one. All of them were becoming skeletons. At last, he gave up his plan of further study, and had a family life. Later ordained by Ajahn Chah, and became a well known forest monk.
Lust—sexual desire is very strong in humans, and a difficult human problem which relates to all. The majority of monks (Westerners or Asians) who have disrobed were mostly associated with this. ??) The four things that make a monk not shine are: woman (lust), money, alcohol (all sorts of drugs) and wrong livelihood.
I think these also can be related to the lay community. In today modern world we can see lust—sexual desire is a lot worse than before—such as homosexuality, child pornography, man prostitution (never heard before), a lot of abortion around the globe (in this case we humans of today are inferior to animals), the scriptures also mention some wrong sexual practices—such as illicit lust between family members (adhamma raga), etc. Nowadays, there are a lot of human problems connected with lust. Solving these issues are also wrong, sometimes instead of solving the problems even promoting them by laws, and media. What’s a mess? ]
Sometimes in the village there were merit makings (such as Buddhist festivals offering foods, and requisites to saṅgha, etc.), and we invited others from other villages, relatives, and friends. Everyone came with their bullock carts, and we met friends, and relatives together, and were all happy with it. We established temporary pavilions, and preparations for these occasions. After finishing all these merit offerings, all relatives, and friends were leaving, and leaving us behind with separation, and sadness. We all took down all the temporary pavilions, and preparations which I saw made us unhappy—again. Living in the human world was no pleasure, and pleasantness, and no stability at all. Behind all these pleasures, and pleasantness were existing with displeasure, and unpleasantness. People have pāramīs—perfections like thorns which start coming out also pointed. Gladness follows with sadness is a natural phenomenon. If it’s like this, there is no pleasure at all.
Therefore, I wanted to climb on the moon. So I asked my mother; “Mother! I am trying to climb on the moon, but I can’t do it. Is there any other place which frees you from aging, sickness, and death?” Mother said; “There is none, and also can't be on the moon. I was making a joke of you, if you’re on the moon also you can’t free yourself from ageing, sickness, and death. This body is with you.” “Does the Buddha also age, get sick, and die?” “The Buddha would age, become sick, and die only this time, and it would not happen again.” “If this is possible, then I’ll practice his way.” How did the Buddha practice?” And then mother taught me how to use the rosary with reciting of anicca, dukkha, and anatta. “You’ll age, sick, and die for this time only, and never again”
And then I began counting the rosary. At night without doing it I would never sleep. Also father taught me how to use the rosary—such as the qualities of the Buddha (there are nine qualities or attributes of the Buddha, and a very common practice in Burma, mostly for protection, and power.), the three universal characteristics (i.e., anicca, dukkha, and anatta), counting the rosary for the numbers of one’s age (e.g., if you are 50, then counting for 50 times of each one-round of rosary) etc. I was doing this practice every night, and observant days (i.e., four days a month) up to my high school year of 10th standard (i.e., before the entrance of university). Whatever business I had on every uposatha (observant day) I never missed it. I was making the determination that I would practice according to the doctrine of the Buddha, and trying my best not to get this khandha (mind, and body). And then I arrived at the 10th level of high school.
[Here we can see the importance of habitual practice—samatha or vipassanā. Sayadaw’s past life (as a monk also) habitual practices carried on to this life, even at a young age as a small child or boy it never vanished.
There is a Burmese yogi U Kyaw Win who at the age of 28 started to practice samatha with rosary. When he was a little older, and close to retirement age he had the chance to Mandalay city with government duty, and arrived at a meditation center which taught the way of Kanni Sayadawgyi’s method (Kanni Sayadaw 1870-1956). He had the chance to sit two hours with ānāpānasati, and had a good samādhi. Shortly after retired he went two months with retreat at Maw-be (near Rangoon) Ratthapāla Meditation center in 2005 (This is Mye-zin Sayadaw’s center which taught the Kanni Method) He wrote his two months retreat experiences in an essay called Taste of Dhamma (Dhammarasa). It seems to me he was quite successful in the practice. This is the benefit of many years of habitual practice of samatha or vipassanā.
Another example is an Italian yogi named Eduardo, and according to him when he was in Italy everyday he practiced meditation for two hours with ānāpānasati. Later he went to Burma, and looked for a teacher to practice with. He met Ven. Ādiccaramsī (U Sun Lwin) who taught him Mogok Sayadaw’s system, and realized Dhamma. Later he wrote a letter to Ven. Ādiccaramsī said that he was teaching at St. Petersburg in Russia. This is also the outcome of habitual practice. Habitual practice is so important for dying near death. We can see this in Channovāda Sutta, Sutta No. 144, Majjhima. It can be also said as a wisdom perfection—paññā pāramī) for enlightenment.]
At the 9th level of high school, I stayed at my aunt’s home in Saketa town. At the 10th level, my great uncle who was a Buddhist monk said to me that at this level there were many books for study. So asking me not to stay at my aunt’s home, and came to stay at the monastery. Therefore, I moved to the monastery. In the rain season he taught laypeople on the process of dependent arising (paṭiccasamuppāda) with Mogok circular chart on D.A. So I asked him; “Ven. Sir, what is this circular chart for doing?” “I am using this circular chart for teaching people.” “Ven. Sir, do your Dhamma turn circular like this.” He knew that I did not understand it, and did not talk much about it.
“Round of existence (saṃsāra) is turning in this way. If I tell you about ignorance (avijjā), clinging (upādāna), and action (kamma) you’ll know nothing about them. He explained to me only that much (this happens in the morning). In the midday I came down the stairs, my great uncle asked lay people to sit in meditation, and taught them with ānāpānasati. I asked him what they were doing. He told me that it was practicing meditation. I said; “Does Dhamma have two kinds?” “In the morning you taught them with the circular chart, which is not Dhamma?” He said; “The morning Dhamma teaching was showing the round of existence. If you want to come out from the circular saṃsāra you have to sit meditation like this.” I wanted to free from saṃsāra, and asked him; “Ven. Sir, is this one of the ways of the Buddha?” “Yes, it’s.” I said to him; “It can’t be, and must be the counting of the rosary.”
“Did you see the Buddha holding a rosary?” During the school holidays of observant days my uncle (i.e., during his periods in Saketa) sent me with his car to Shwe-dagon ceti for my observance. (We can see the strong pāramī came from his past lives. For most of us young people, let alone practice like he did; they don't even remember most of the observant days. I cannot even remember schools, and government offices having holidays on Buddhist observant days—for full moon, and new moon. In the time of the Buddha, the Buddhists had it. In saṃsāra, it was extremely rare to meet and have this with the Buddha Dhamma in saṃsāra. Therefore, Buddhists should use this rare chance for the practice.)
I had never seen a Buddha statue holding a rosary. Then my great uncle continued; “These rosary practices were the practice of before the Buddha. The practice of Buddha, and arahants is like now we are doing the ānāpānasati. “Then I requested him; “Please give me instruction on this practice.” He gave me the instruction, and said; “At night you should try it.” “Every time the air going in, and going out will touch the entrance of the nostril, and you have to know them. If you continue to know it with mindfulness, the Dhamma will show you.”
At night, after my study, I did my usual rosary practice and then practiced ānāpāna meditation. After five or 10 minutes, my body seemed to be elevated—from the floor about seven inches. Ha! I have become arahant now. What I heard is that a real arahant could fly with jhanic power (It was like the Susima wanderer of the time of the Buddha, and some Buddhists). And then I could go wherever I wanted. So, with joy I continued with the practice. It seemed to me it was rising up more in the air. It was true or not I wanted to know it. So I opened my eyes, looking at it, and seeing my buttocks were still on the mattress. Whatever it was I continued, and it seemed moving one-armed length, when I was opening my eyes again it stuck with the mattress again.
I continued with the practice, it seemed like I was moving up one human’s height. With the continued practice it seemed my head was touching the roof. Continuing with it the roof was opened, and with the brightness the body moved up to the sky like a firework. It was too quick and went up with acceleration. The whole sky could not be seen in any shape, and form with full of light I was in the sky. My mind was peaceful, happy, and clear. It was like riding on the waves of the air. It must be Dhamma happiness.
Could it be Nibbāna? It seemed I attained Nibbāna. I was enjoying absorption with thinking. I fully enjoyed the jhanic pleasure, and came out of it. Furthermore, I went into jhāna at midnight, and came out at four a.m. in the morning (i.e., four hours in absorption). This present physical body did not go up there, but only the upādāna-rūpa—clinging physical form going up there. This loathsome body (asubha body) was staying on the mattress. I knew all these only after practicing Dhamma, and could explain them. At first, I did not know in this way. (He knew the experience but can’t explain it.)
(In one of Mogok Sayadaw’s talks, he said that most people thought the mind could go here, and there. This was a wrong view (sassata) like the view of soul theory, but the mind could incline toward anywhere. We can see this in The-inn Gu Sayadaw’s experience at the time of his realization of anāgāmi. Some wrong views are the outcome of practices, and experiences which were misinterpretations.)
At night after my study I developed ānāpāna samādhi, and went to the sky. I stayed there until my satisfaction, and came down in the morning. These were regular, and I didn’t sleep for seven months. Not sleeping is my own mind. The body down there was asleep (i.e., the body was at rest). I knew that my own mind was not asleep. At school, my face was clear, and I passed my exams. I arrived at the age of 23. My mother was worried about me marrying a city or town girl. So she arranged a country girl for me. Mother made this arrangement with the parents of a girl in our village.
Both sides of the parents were finished with the engagement, and it only needed my consent. My mother said to me; “My son you should not have a family life with a city girl, instead marry a country girl. I have already made an engagement for you.” My response was; “Mother, if you like her, then it is all right. I don’t have the wish of only marrying this one, and not the other one. For a good man, the woman's side will come for the engagement. I have to work for a woman if I don’t get one, and let it be. Mother said; “No, it’s already arranged.” I tell you this matter because it was connected with perfection—pāramī, and this will come later.
When I was thinking about this matter, marrying a woman was like signing the agreement. I didn’t have any love affair with her. It wasn’t like my friends. I must speak to her, so I asked to meet her at night without her parents at home. When I went there at night, she came out, and invited me inside the house. In her room, I was sitting on the bed, and she was a little distance on the floor. When I looked at her, she was like a wooden statue to me (i.e., seemed to be a lifeless object). She did not appear to me as a woman.
(When a sotāpanna sees a woman, it is not a woman to him. I have already mentioned one of Ajahn Chah’s disciple Khun T, when he was thinking about having a family life, and every woman he thought about for his choice all of them appeared to him like skeletons.)
I did not say a word for half an hour, so that she asked me; “Darling, are you not well?” I responded with one words as; “I am well” After 15 minutes passed by “Do you have a lover in Rangoon?” I only responded with; “I don’t have anyone”, and then another 15 or 20 minutes passed. Likewise, I myself don't know what happened to me. She asked me; “Do you see any fault in me?” My response was; “No, you don’t have any fault.” With this response, she was crying. I knew that she was crying, but in my mind she was still a wooden statue for me.
After that, I returned home. Next day I told my sister that last night I went there, and spoke with her, but she was not a human. They all laughed at me. These are related to perfection, because of wholesome perfection I could practice the Dhamma like now.
Even though I had the perfection I did not think about to become a monk, it was never in my head. The reason was I saw village monks sitting there in their monasteries the whole day. When I saw them, I myself became bored. “What are they thinking by sitting there the whole day?”
I thought their lives were too dry and boring, and only they could bear it. Anyhow, I myself now am a monk. When I was continuing my study (maybe in university) one day my elder sister, and uncle, not giving any reason, took me somewhere for ordination (This was arranged by his parents. Sayadaw himself also did not mention very clearly the reason behind the ordination.) They were afraid of me that not telling anything about it to me. My character is never talking, and doing things which are not right. So they were afraid of asking me to ordain by force. From Saketa (the town where his uncle lived) they brought me to Mingaladon (this is the place where the international airport exists, not far from Rangoon, and Maw-be) by car. At Munpye-yanpye Pagoda (it means free from Mara, and enemy) there was a nine days retreat of The-inn Gu meditation for the temporary ordained monks.
(Here the working of kamma was quite interesting. He learned ānāpānasati from his great uncle monk who was a teacher of Mogok tradition. Except samatha practice he did not learn any important Dhammas from him for the Four Noble Truths, paṭiccasamuppāda, vipassanā, etc. He also did not have any interest in Mogok Dhamma. His knowledge of practice was zero, and he encountered many difficulties in his practice. It seemed to me he had a strong kammic link with The-inn Gu Sayadaw. It makes me remember one of Ajahn Chah’s disciples—Ajahn P. He was from Bangkok, and after graduation in Thailand he continued his further study in the U.S. One day in his meditation there he saw a senior monk in his practice, and he did not know who the monk was.
He came back to Thailand, and was looking for this monk. He was looking for him in the well known Thai forest tradition of Ajahn Mun’s senior disciples—such as Ajahn Fung, Ajahn Wen, Ajahn Chop, etc. Later he found Ajahn Chah who was the monk who appeared in his meditation. He became Ajahn Chah’s disciple, and because of his samādhi had a monastery in Bangkok at a noisy area near Don Muang international airport. Therefore, everyone has their own teacher of kammic link.)
So they took me to Kammaṭṭhāna teacher U Siridhamma who was The-inn Gu Sayadaw’s disciple. They did not even tell me a word of the purpose of taking me here. When we arrived there, my parents were waiting for us. There was also a pavilion for monk ordination with new monk robes inside. I was speaking with Sayadaw, and later my mother called me to have my lunch, and to take a bath.
When I was preparing for a bath, my mother told me to wash my head first. When I was sitting with my bowed head, mother poured water on my head, and then cut my head hair with the scissors. After two or three times of cutting, the middle part of the hairs were gone. It made me angry, but to my mother I couldn’t say anything about it, if another person I could kill him. (Here we can see his dosa character which is tough and determined.)
Because I had other plans, and already spent some money on it (not mentioned it). It made me angry and sorrowful, but I let go of the anger and conceit. It was up to my mother’s decision to become a monk. When I was young, I always listened to my parent’s words, and never made them suffered mentally by opposing them.
I did not want to see and make my parents unhappy, and distressed because of me. When my mother became sick, I stayed near her without sleep (as a young boy concerned for her). As a child when l was playing never going far from mother, in case she needed me I could hear her calling.
[Here we can see Sayadaw as a young child even had the instinct of filial obligations, and practices—i.e., in Chinese shao-tao the foundation of all goodness to arise. So he was a filial son—shao-gi when he was young. I want to contemplate more about moral or ethical education or virtues which is the foundation of worldly wholesome dhamma to arise, that again supports spiritual development.
There is much evidence on this in the distant past or present day. Here I want to give two examples from mainland China in short which were extracted from two documentary films. The first one was from Tian-ginn, Ho-pei Province. He was called Mr. Gyauk (i.e., Chinese family name). He was the head of a criminal gang, and a rich person, most of his wealth could come from black money or wrong livelihood. Later he met a group of people who were touring the whole China lecturing on Chinese culture, and moral education which were not from books, but directly from their lives, and experiences—How their characters, and lives were changed? He himself became a changed person, and became a well known philanthropist.
The second person was from southern China Chow-chou district Guang-don Province. He was called Mr. Shel (family name), and seemed to be from the countryside. He was the leader of a small group of thugs in his area, and everyone was afraid of him. Likewise, he gave a lot of trouble to people there. He exploited people by force, and violence. Therefore, many sold their lands (farm lands), and left the place. He got them at a cheap price. Later he had the chance to see some documentary films on moral education, and Buddhism which I have mentioned above. He changed his life in accordance with the teachings of Chinese sages, and the Buddha, and became a totally new person, even his face was changed from unwholesome to wholesome. Later he used the video records on moral education to train people around China in his place. He built a center for this purpose, because he got many lands which are mentioned above. Before he was a violent thug, now an educator on moral education, and also became a practicing Buddhist of Pure Land Buddhism. For their lives can check the following website—www.sxjyggw.org]
When I was young I experienced unhappy things (i.e., human sufferings around him), and in this way became a monk. Before I became a monk, one time when I was crossing the Pegu Stream, and got stuck in the thick mud. I thought to myself—“I must die, and there is no-one to save me. It’s also very far from the village.” I was calling on the Buddha, and not very long the tide water would arise, and except the Buddha no-one could save me.
After some time, the fisherman Ko Aung Din, who was our neighbor returning from fishing saw me, and saved my life. Arrived back home, my mother gave me food. I was thinking that when people encountered dukkha they were calling for the Buddha. In that case, what should I do to be near the Buddha? If I was in dukkha I would be near the Buddha. And then I made the following wish—“In every life let me encounter dukkha!” My whole body was rising up with goose flesh. This is also a pāramī —perfection. Everyone desires, and for the happiness of human, and celestial beings (devata), and making wishes, and prayers for these things. But no-one is making the wish, and prayer of encountering dukkha. This can be said as the spirit of perfection.
After ordaining and doing the nine days retreat, what did my teacher tell me? Only at that time did I hear about vipassanā—insight practice. Sayadaw said that one day we must die, and dukkha vedanā would arise, and it would kill the patient with great suffering. If we practiced ānāpānasati continuously without changing, the body would be freed from ageing, sickness, and death.
After the nine days retreat, the time for disrobing arrived. Others were disrobed, and I was thinking of should I disrobe or not? If I disrobed, and in the world with my wife, and children surrounded with fire of greed, and sorrow. I had to support them with my education. I had to be afraid of the suffering related to them.
Furthermore, I even was afraid that one day my parents passed away. So I didn’t like extra dukkha. After my younger brother was born I said to my mother; “Mother, please do not give birth again, if you do, it will encounter dukkha again.” Mother was laughing at me when she heard what I said. They didn’t have saṁvega like me. I was afraid of encountering the fetters (saṁyojana), and sufferings (dukkha) by increasing one person (a family member). If mother was pregnant, I didn’t let her see me, because I was afraid of the fetters. If I had a family I would meet with the fetter of my wife, and children. I am determined not to let these things happen to me. When I was thinking about the disrobed monk, the reason for their discontinued monkhood were the matters of family members, work duties, etc. They replied to the abbot as they wanted to continue the practice because of other duties that they had to leave.
What I remembered was—men were caught up in traps, but I was free from it was up to me. If I followed them, I would catch up in the trap. So I was afraid of being caught up in a trap.
(Sayadaw had a fiancée, but it did not affect his mind. It was the same as Chao Khun Nor who was temporarily ordained for his deceased master His Majesty King Rama VI, and after disrobing would marry his fiancée. He changed his mind, and continued his practice in a Kuti for 45 years—a noble warrior. Most disrobing cases were related to women. There were also many western monks disrobed by women, and after marriages many divorced again. With my knowledge, westerners died in Thailand by women (disrobed), and died in Sri Lanka by illnesses (disrobed or died by hygienic problems).
There was a story in Thailand related to Luang Por Dun—Atulo's senior disciple. Luang Por Dun was well known, and one of Ajahn Mun’s senior disciples. He was a bit like a Zen Master, and one of his well known teachings is that Citta is Buddha. His senior disciple was 60 or over 60 of age, and an abbot of a monastery. One day he told his monks he would give up his robes. It shocked the monks, and lay followers. The reason he gave up his robes was he wanted to marry a daughter of a faithful follower. No-one could persuade him to stay in robes. Later, the news arrived at Luang Por Dun. Luang Por also stopped him, and tried to change his mind. At last Luang Por became impatient, and scolded him as follows— “You’re not looking at your mind, instead looking at the woman’s…?...”
I requested Sayadaw (his meditation teacher); “Ven. Sir, please show me the way. I want path, and fruit, and Nibbāna (magga, and phala). Could you show me the way to achieve this? Only Sayadaw had attained the magga, phala, and Nibbāna can teach me to attain it. If you’re not unclear in this matter, I’ll also become like you. I don’t want to be in an unclear situation by wearing the robes with a bald head.
If I am in an unclear situation, then I only want to be in lay life. So please give me a guarantee. Sayadaw’s response was; “I am looking for this kind of person. I give my guarantee to you”, and then I did not disrobe.
(Sayadaw talked about his tough, and hard life of school years in the village.)
I had studied a year in Kyauk-tam (i.e., Tham-Lynn town), and from there to Rangoon (already mentioned above). I had my education with difficulties, and a hard life. I was worrying about wasting all these matters, and also I was a young man.
(Here we can see his seriousness in practice, and a monk's life. He must achieve something in Dhamma instead of wasting his life without any result.)
I was thinking about another point: Sāriputta, and Mahāmoggallāna were rich men, and Anuruddha was a prince, even though they could wear robes. I was nothing special about, and why should not I let go of worldly matters. With these thoughts, I uplifted my spirit.
In this way I continued my practice. March and April were very hot, and at these time there were very few people. Sayadaw taught Dhamma only at nighttime (very hot at daytime). In the daytime I went up to Kyauk-wine ceti at Kyauk-galat. I sat in meditation in a cave at the middle platform.
I couldn’t control my mind. Likewise, I tried to establish ānāpānasati, and the mind with sensual pleasure related to young man was arising in me. I sent my mind to the entrance of the nostril, but every time it ran away from it. I became low-spirited. Furthermore, I took the face towel which was on my shoulder, and looked at the white towel and recited as—it’s white, it’s white, etc. With the reciting, the mind went out very often. With a lot of sense objects arose, and I couldn’t control it. In practice the meditation object disappeared, and after 15 days I went to ask Sayadaw to give me a method to control my mind. He told me; “You would not get it this way. With going, and coming has sati. You must have sati when going for alms round, and wearing your robes. From going, stepping etc. have to stick with sati. Your mind and body always have to be stick with sati.”
I wanted to realize the Dhamma, so I was holding things with sati, taking things with sati, going and stepping with sati, etc. If the mind went out, I used sati to come back to the object. In this way I practiced for 15 or 20 days, and my practice was becoming stronger. I went alms round in houses at Taik-koe-lone (Nine Buildings).
One day I went inside a house, and sitting at a place prepared for monks, and a girl came out and put foods inside my bowl. After I put on bowl lid my consciousness stopped, and disappeared.
(i.e., something like in coma, it’s called fall into bhavaṅga—life continuum mind in Abhidhamma. When Luang Por Tate Desaramsi, one of the Ajahn Mun’s senior disciple, was a young monk, he always fell into this state while sitting in samādhi. If someone can’t correct it, it will become a habit and affect the practice.)
The present mind, and body was not sticking with the conceptual object, and ceased or stopped (The object of perception or concept disappeared) that I did know myself, and the normal mind was stopped, and I didn’t know to get up. The girl also had to sit in front of me. After some time my sati came back, and became frightened.
Later, I told Sayadaw; “Ven. Sir, when I was receiving foods, my sati disappeared, and it became a problem. It’s better for me to temporarily stop the house alms round” Sayadaw's response was; “No, don’t stop it. You’re not stealing other people’s properties, and not insulting them. It comes from practice, and no fault at all. Who is blaming you?” “No-one, Ven. Sir” “In this case, you continue the practice.”
After that, I asked Sayadaw’s permission to go back home, and see my parents for a request to spend vassa (rain) here. (Here we can see Sayadaw as a good son or a filial son according to the Chinese culture standard. Actually, he had no need to do it, but his parents did not know about his commitment for a monk life. He would come back home after the nine-days retreat.)
After seeing my parents at home, I returned to the monastery.
Then I met the female followers (upāsikās) again at Taik-koe-lone (Nine Buildings). At present with respect, and over faith (saddhā) became craving (taṇhā). I thought they were extreme, and also didn’t know me before. And then I went to talk to Sayadaw about it (U Chandima did not mention what really happened to him, anyhow he was extremely careful about his practice, and monk life).
After listening to me, he said; “Yes, you can’t continue to stay here. If you continue to stay here there will be danger.” So he sent me to The-inn Gu Meditation Center in Maw-be. At night, when I sat for meditation, and understood the reality behind the incident. In my past life (it seemed the near past life) I had practiced here as a monk. At that time this place was a deep forest (in Thailand at the beginning of the 20th century villages, and forests did not have clear boundaries. Outside the villages were forests.) Every day on alms round I left some extra food for a group of cats’ family in the forest. This group of cats came, and ate these foods. Therefore, I had intimacy with these cats, because of the past fetters (saṁyojana) it continued to this present life. So I didn’t see any faults in them, and went to The-inn Gu Center for my practice.
(In Mae-chi Kaaw Siamlam’s biography mentioned one of her past lives as a mother hen with some chicks were wandering around a monastery, and looking for foods, insects, and rice grains. Nowadays, humans are closer to animals than before or ever. They created more kammic links with all sorts of animals; using animals in many ways with a lot of exploitation on animals, sometimes in very cruel ways. Today men talk a lot about human rights, and also use it wrongly. Do they ever think about animal rights? With animals, humans create a lot of environmental problems around the world.)
I arrived at The-inn Gu, and on 12th of Na-yone (i.e., roughly in June), and I started my practice there, even after a month I didn't have any realization. With breathing in, and breathing out vedanā arose (i.e., dukkha vedanā), and then breathing strongly to overcome dukkha vedanā was becoming a practice. In the instruction when painful feelings arose, and asking the yogi to breathe strongly again. When it was freed from ānāpānasati, the mind returned to dukkha vedanā. When vedanā became unbearable and I had to re-establish ānāpānasati.
Sometimes with good jhāna it was freed from vedanā (Here the language Sayadaw used did not represent the exact meaning. Good jhāna was not the real abortion state, but represented strong samādhi. We can never be free from feeling, one type of three feelings always exists as one of the five khandhas. Freed from vedanā meant I could bear it.) Sometimes it fell back on vedanā (i.e., vedanā pulling the mind down to its place).
What did Sayadawgyi say about it? (i.e., referred to The-inn Gu U Ukkaṭṭha). He taught: “Hot, stiffness, tightness are vedanā, numbness is vedanā, to vedanā noting it as vedanā” (from Sayadaw’s U Ukkatha’s talk). I had to note them as vedanā, but I didn’t know about it. I had listened to other talks also, and didn’t know anything about them. Likewise, I did not know about insight practice (vipassanā).
(Here we know about the importance of study (pariyat or ñāta pariññā). U Chandima didn’t have a good teacher to guide him. He had the chance to study with his great uncle monk who was teaching the Mogok System, but it seemed he had not learnt anything from him when he was in high school. I want to say here the importance of Mogok Sayadaw’s Dhamma talks in practice. It not only helps us to develop wisdom faculties also directs us to the clear direction on the practice).
I only remember one Dhamma, which is whether you want to know if you are enlightened. (i.e., the state of stream entry—sotāpanna)—“with the contact of the eye, and physical form (rūpa) if you know them as seeing a man, and knowing a man seeing a dog, and knowing a dog, etc. These are normal knowing (knowing with concepts), and you don’t have any realization.”
I only understood this one. The other things are the five khandhas, etc. I did not know anything about them. “In the practice, the normal knowing of seeing man, and knowing as man, seeing dog, and knowing as dog; it’s not the realization yet; but if you are seeing man, and not knowing as man, seeing dog, and not knowing as dog is the realization.” I only knew this one, and this was a manual Dhamma for me. Now I have attained the Dhamma with this one as my manual.
The teachers taught the students as—“noting the hotness, stiffness, and tenseness as vedanā, and continue to observe them.” Then I went to ask my teacher; “Ven. Sir, should I note the hotness, stiffness, tenseness as vedanā?” He said to me; “Yes, it’s” Then I noted them as —hotness is vedanā, stiffness is vedanā, vedanā, vedanā, etc. When I checked it I only knew hotness, stiffness, and aches, and pain, but didn’t know vedanā (i.e., get lost in words, and concepts). There was an old nun who looked after me. Her name was Daw Mittara, she herself also was a teacher (it seemed teaching the nuns, and laywomen).
At night, I went to ask her my problem. Then I asked her; “Sayalay, when I practice, note the hotness, stiffness, and tenseness as vedanās, but I don’t know about vedanā. I only know hotness, stiffness, and aches only. How should I practice knowing vedanā?” (Sayadaw did not continue to talk about how the Mae-chee Daw Mittara responded to him. He stopped here. I guess Daw Mittara would answer the same as his teacher had said before. Sayalay is the Burmese word for teacher and is the name given to nuns by monks and lay alike.)
Upāsakas and Upāsikās, you have to listen to this talk with wisdom ear to learn from a person who didn’t know about the practice. I was noting the hotness, stiffness etc., but I didn’t know about vedanā. I myself was a science student before—so— How to practice it?, How to note it?, What is the reason for it?, What cause leads to what result? I could only practice by having references and evidence.
For example, in geometry (a type of mathematics)—two triangles are equal, in this case you have to prove it. I had the genetics of science with me (beja). I myself had the habit of saying and doing things according to the truth. If it means nothing to me; even if it's a step, I won't do it. Now I don't know why the heat, stiffness, etc. are considered "vedanā", which makes me feel unsatisfied. So I asked Sayadaw; “Ven. Sir, I note hotness, stiffness as vedanā, but I don’t know about vedanā. How do I contemplate it?” Sayadaw’s reply was; “Ven. If you have hot, cold, and stiffness, it’s pleasant or unpleasant?” “It’s unpleasant, Ven. Sir” “In this case you have to note it as dukkha.” “Did it happen on its own, or did you do it? “It happens by itself, sir.” “Then you note it as anatta—not-self. Are these natures permanent or impermanent?” “It’s impermanent Sir.” “Then it’s not permanent, you note it as anicca—inconstant.” I thought as I had the method, and practiced it again.
(All these instructions were according to Buddha teachings, but the knowing, and the reality were not in accordance with the Dhamma, so it only became concepts).
Before vedanā arising I practiced ānāpānasati, and when vedanā arose as an example—hotness arising from its nature, and I recited it as anatta, anatta, etc. So my mind became tired. When I looked it back, hotness is only known as hotness. I didn’t know it as anatta, and only the reciting of anatta existed.
The instructor of meditation (kammaṭṭhāna-ācariya) had to give the instruction suitable to the character of the student, and not taking everyone as the same. People had different knowledge (ñāṇa). This was the most important in giving instruction. The teacher must give guidance appropriate to the practitioner's shallow or deep knowledge, and his scope, and perspective. I wanted to know the nature of cause, and effect. The teacher gave me instruction as usual (i.e., fixed formula) that the giver, and the receiver were not in accordance with its nature. It was only reciting as anatta, but I couldn’t bear the pain and aches; because I couldn’t bear the hotness, pain and aches that the mind suffered—So I was reciting it dukkha, dukkha, etc. It was only reciting, and still in suffering. It did not disappear, and also not knowing as vedanā. From hotness, it changed to stiffness, so I noted it as anicca; once noting the stiffness, it also changed. I noted it as anatta, anicca, and recited as dukkha, but I was only knowing of not wanting the pains, and aches.
Anicca, dukkha and anatta knowledges did not arise and only knowing it as unpleasant. For a week I was practicing days and nights, the practice was not developed enough that it made me disappointed. It was also not right. Therefore, I went to ask the meditation teacher U Nandobasa. It was not easy to ask him, because there were many people there. He could shave head hair, so I had to wait until my hair was long enough.
Only shaving the hair, I approached him friendly, and asked my question. “Ven. Sir; I am noting the hotness, stiffness, and tenseness, but don’t know vedanā. To the nature of the element, I know only unpleasantness. How should I practice knowing vedanā, and without unpleasantness?” His answer was ; “Friend, if hotness, stiffness, and tenseness arise, it has to be noted as vedanā”
(Friend is the Pāḷi of āvuso—in Burmese—Kodaw. Here we can see the system or method of practice with no clear explanation about the system. Later we will see when U Chandima became a teacher himself he explained his teaching very clearly about the three trainings of sīla, samādhi and paññā. If we study Mogok Sayadaw’s talks we also understand the importance of the teacher, and ñāta pariññā before the practice.)
“I myself have practiced like this, and noting is useless for me; but I’ll note it again.” So I continued the practice with noting. Noting was one thing, and the experience (i.e., feeling of dukkha vedanā) was another thing, only knowing the unpleasantness, and not led to wisdom (paññā). I was practicing for over a month now, my skin was burning, and my bottom was with injuries.
[ Here we can see the seriousness of his effort in practice, similar to the great yogis of the past. It mentioned the following incident in Tibetan yogi Milaripa’s biography. Once one of his disciples had to leave him, so he sent his disciple on a journey. When it was time to leave and say goodbye, the disciples asked him to give a short teaching. Milaripa turned his back towards him, and bending his body a little, and lifted his sabong (i.e., lower clothes), and showed his bottom to him. It looked like a hard rock dark with hard flesh, and skin—an excellent meditation teaching.
There was also a famous Japanese Zen Master Ban-Kai whose well known teaching was “UNBORN”. One time he stayed in a cave, and did a lot of long sittings that his bottom skin was worn out with blood. (18th or 19th century). Long hours of sitting without a proper samādhi is a difficulty to do. Ajahn Mahā Bua also did long night sitting, from evening to morning without change. His intention was to understand dukkha vedanā, and how much he could bear it. According to him if someone overcomes it however strong dukkha vedanā arises not a problem at all—especially at near death, and dying. Some western Buddhists look down on Mahāsi system of noting method in the satipaṭṭhāna sutta—this is developing vipassanā samādhi. When it is developed, one can bear the dukkha vedanā. In southern Burma, Mon state, Mu-don town there was a well known teacher called Taw-koo Sayadaw, and his teaching was Mahāsi system, but the differences between them was in sitting. He encouraged sitting for long periods of time, and some people could sit for six hours, 8 hours or 12 hours at a time with this noting method. Sayadaw himself was an example, including some of his close disciples. Without strong samādhi and insight, nobody can sit that long. Once I was in a Thai forest monastery a monk named Ajahn Tong after the evening pūja seven to 8 p.m., he went into jhāna state, and came out at four a.m. exactly by himself before the morning bell rung for the morning pūja. ]
From the morning 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. was one sitting, and from midday to 5 p.m. was another long sitting. At 7 p.m., we had to do the evening pūja. I went to see Sayadaw and told him; “Sayadaw I don’t want to attend the pūja. I don’t have enough time for practice.” So Sayadaw designated a place in a sīmā for me to do my practice. He also gave other monks permission if they wanted to do the practice.
From then onwards from midday 12 p.m. to nighttime 7 p.m. I did one sitting. I desired for the Dhamma, and no need to reduce the price like in business. Most people (in most centers) did the sitting for an hour only. They thought that one hour was enough; however, what was the use of just one hour? I was wishing for the Dhamma that I had to sit for to attain it. If you didn’t succeed, then it was only wasting the time with the numbers of sitting. (This reflection is important for young serious yogis—man or woman) “I must practice to attain”, and with the desired mind (chanda) I did my practice.
(In one of Mogok Talks—it mentioned yogis should practice with saṁvega, chanda, and māna for attaining of Dhamma)
The practice and progress did not match, and all that remained was pain and soreness every day. It took me a long time, but I didn't find the way out. I tried to run away from vedanā with only a short time, and fell back into it. Only with ānāpāna practice, I freed myself from it; and without it, I became unpleasant again. I was not freed from dukkha. How should I practice this Dhamma? And then I was praying for the Buddha.
I could not rely on my teacher; so I prayed to the Buddha, but he did not teach me. I was afraid of the four woeful existences (apāya). Fear of ageing, sickness, and death sufferings was also this mind. The female boss Visākhā, and Anāthapiṇḍika boss became stream winners (sotāpanna), and enjoyed the sensual pleasure in havens, they were also in this mind. This mind was changing in various ways to express its nature—which I became understanding of. It was arriving at insight. When doing the practice, I didn’t get what one’s desire was, and thinking as follows.
In the past, arahants attained absorption (jhānas), before I also had attained jhānas. Attaining of jhānas must be arahant. Therefore, I practiced ānāpāna up to jhāna levels, after attaining it I went up to the sky as before, and came down again. I was playing jhāna in different ways, after that I was opening my eyes, and when seeing a nun, and only knowing as a nun. In this case, if seeing man, and knowing as man, seeing dog, and still knowing as dog, then my practice was not attaining the Dhamma Nibbāna) yet. I deviated from it, so what should I do to achieve Dhamma? I didn’t see the trace of the path because I didn’t get the good method and the right way. Therefore, I myself teach you with guarantee with the right method, and right way. I am concerned for you not to happen the same as me. I am teaching you with this kind of saddhā.
I was practicing until my buttocks were like falling apart with the skin falling out. After the sitting, if I got up my buttocks, and robe were sticking together.
I had to use my spittle to separate it. I was practicing without getting up, and also not thinking of getting up. Attaining Jhānas also was not arahant yet.
Was it an arahant by seeing things? (i.e., divine eye). In this case I must establish the vision, and I practiced for it, and attaining the light element (dhātu) or the clear element. With this, I was looking at celestial beings, and their heavenly mansions, forests, mountains, clouds; and on earth, seeing living beings, worms with different shapes and forms. Then I became an arahant and opened my eyes in seeing man, and dog only knowing as man, and dog.
Before the practice when seeing man, and dog it was only knowing as man and dog. After the practice it was not making by oneself only with the internal normal mind, and looking at also still seeing, and knowing man as man, dog as dog. This was still not the Dhamma. Then what were the other ways? I was looking at things which were appeared by itself. With this mind it was purified. I would control the mind to be calm. With a lot of control, the mind became calm down, and ceased in a blip. The life continuum mind (bhavaṅga citta) vibrated, and the clear element went out with light. Its clear element was another kind. The light element came from ānāpānasati was a different kind—which encountered, and seen things randomly. The light element now was appearing with brightness when I wanted to see anything, and it was like looking at things with a torchlight.
Now, I was practicing at Maw-be, and my parents were at Pe-gu. I wanted to look at my father, and mother there, and when I looked there, and also saw them. (the mind did not go there as most people thought, it was only inclining towards that direction).
What were they doing at that time? Father was in the kitchen, and roasting dry fish to eat, and after that he was looking for the oil bottle. I was seeing it as like opening my eyes. He couldn’t find it, so he asked my mother; “Ma Khin Mya! Where is the oil bottle. I heard his voices like using an ear-phone small, and clear voice. Mother replied as; “It’s at the corner of the food cupboard.” Father took the oil bottle from the corner of the food cupboard, and looked inside to see there was only a little bit of oil. He was angry, and scolding mother as; “The oil is near finished, and why don’t you buy, and fill it again?” All these things I saw, and heard from my place.
Now, I knew things which I wanted to know, see and hear, so I thought I was to become an arahant. I still didn’t know about stream enterer, once-returner and non-returner. I thought attainment of Dhamma was arahant, if became arahant must attain Nibbāna (i.e., unborn). When a nun came, and looked at her only knowing as a nun. When looking at a monk, and only knowing as a monk. When looking at man, and only knew as man.
Oh! My view has not changed. My practice seemed to be wrong. You had to destroy these practices. It was very valuable by hearing a sage’s word of Sayadawgyi (i.e., referred to The-inn Gu Sayadaw).
If Sayadawgyi did not mention, I could take pleasure in visions, and hearings (i.e., divine eye and ear), it would be wrong. I would take them as real, and it took me moving with it. Now I have arrived at the top with a noble word of a Sage. I want you all to get this kind of general knowledge.
[The divine eye, knowledge of past lives, jhānas and abhiññā—intuitive power, psychic power, etc., are arguably the highest secular knowledge. If people reach that goal, they mostly get lost in it. Soon Loon Sayadaw acquired these things even while he was still a lay man who practiced ānāpānasati. He mentioned it as follows—
“Loki (i.e., highly worldly knowledge as mentioned above) is very good indeed. I am very lucky that I can cross to the other shore (i.e., Nibbāna), if not I am sinking in these worldly knowledge.”
Here we can see U Chandima’s wisdom character. He easily gave up on them. His search was not these unstable things—a noble search, which was Nibbāna. Nothing is worthy of clinging.]
Which one was Dhamma? (I was in the state of looking for the Dhamma, and still not found it yet. Arahants could separate many bodies. Could it be that the Dhamma is able to separate the body? I was separating the mind from the body. I attained them by creation. In sitting, a body was separated out in a blip, and it went away from me with each step. (This kind of experience is confusing, and misunderstanding people as a soul goes out from a body. Not only scientists believe it, even Buddhist monks. Some Mahayanist interpret it as a soul by seeing someone in a hypnotic state have this kind of experience.)
At that time I was thirsty for water. The mind of wanting to drink water arose, and I must go and drink water, but without getting up to drink it. With a lot of exercises, this body went out step by step slowly. This body opened the lid of the water pot, and held the cup, took the water inside and drank it. Ah! It cooled up my chest. This body (form) returned to the sitting place and ceased, the mind and the sitting body combined again.
[Here, most people treat the body as the atta—self and also the mind (as the atta). If no Buddha had appeared, all living beings would treat it as the same.] How thick and deep is self view in beings? The Buddha gave each analogy to the five khandhas, and for the mind-consciousness as a magician. All beings are playing tricks by this mind. We create all sorts of problems, and sufferings for oneself, and others. We should have disillusionment, and disenchantment for the mind.)
I could separate a body, and it was quite significant. It seemed I became an arahant, so I was opening my eyes to look at people: seeing man and dog still in the level of knowing as man, and dog. It was the same view as before the practice, and not significant at all. In this case, I still have not attained the Dhamma yet. Which one was the best way of practice?
My desire for Dhamma was very strong. A man who was hungry, and tired came back home from a far journey. When he was very tired, and hungry even only had rice, and salt he had the strong desire to eat it. I had a very strong desire for the Dhamma, but I didn’t get the good method and system.
I thought I could get the Dhamma with a normal eye, so I opened my eyes and looked at people in front of me (don’t forget he was in the center), then closed my eyes again, and thought about its form. Opening the eye again, and pulling the form towards me. After three or four days, the forms (human form) appeared in my mind as seeing like a normal eye. This was not only for the people in front of me, but also the people behind me. When with the mind spreading, it was on the whole object of the Dhammasāla (i.e., the whole meditation hall). I was seeing the entire Dhammasāla like a normal eye. I went down from the Dhammasāla staircase, and looked at all the streets and saw all of them. When looking at the full center compound (a large area), I saw all of them. And then I thought I was becoming an arahant now, and opening my eyes and looking at things—seeing nun, man, dog, etc. only knowing them as still as nun, man, dog, etc. the normal knowing was still there, and not disappeared. I was emotionally depressed because I thought I seemed unable to attain the Dhamma.
[Here I want to do some reflection on the divine eye which is mentioned by U Chandima and other sources. In Sayadaw’s practice we know that he mentioned the divine eye two times with the light nimitta, and abhiññā—intuitive knowledge. In Burma there was a system called Kanni method which was taught by Kanni Sayadaw U Sobita (1880-1966), one of his disciples was Mye-zin Sayadaw U Sobita (now passed away). Kanni Sayadaw’s teacher was Lat-pan forest Sayadaw U Ādicca (we don’t know much about his life, and it seemed to be the contemporary of Ledi Sayadaw). Sayadaw U Ādicca learnt it from the Theravadin Tibetan monk Shila-tissa who passed away at Lat-pan forest. It seems to me Ledi Sayadaw also had tried this system before in his commentary on ānāpānasati Sutta can see some traces of this practice. One time Ledi Sayadaw in a retreat developed the divine eye—according to him, he was trying to spread the light nimitta to the whole universe, but it was too extensive that he could not retreat it back to him.
The Kanni System is based on the ānāpānasati Sutta of the first four tetrads to develop samādhi with the light nimitta; it is not the same as in the commentary. They sit in meditation and closed their eyes with cloth that light nimitta easily to arise. So in the first step of the first tetrads, yogi even can have the light nimitta. As a 2nd step they use the light to send it short, and long distances by exercising it; as the 3rd step, send the light inside the body up and down accordingly, knowing the breath in the beginning, in the middle, and in the end (the full breath). Later send it outwardly. When the practice is mature, they can use the light to see wherever they want.
There was an interesting story about Daw Khin Thein, a female yogi from Myanmar. She was the niece of Sayadaw (Mye-zin) became blind at the age of three (not mentioned the cause). At the age of 42 Sayadaw taught her ānāpānasati, and developed the light nimitta. Later, Sayadaw asked her to see the Mahā Ceti in Buddhagayā in India. She said that she could not find the Mahā Bodhi Ceti, but instead she saw a four sided a tall structure which going up become smaller, and smaller (She did not know that what she saw was the Mahā Ceti because she only knew about the shape, and form of the cetis in Burma only). Daw Khin Thein did not possess the vision of a flesh eye, but she possessed the Dhamma Eye—dhamma-cakkhu.]
I re-established the ānāpānasati, but I didn’t do it blindly as before. You all have to know that you can’t do work blindly (He was a good example here). In vipassanā practice there are sacca ñāṇa, kicca ñāṇa, kata ñāṇa, yathābhuta ñāṇa (In simple words—they are: knowledge of study, knowledge of practice, knowledge of result, knowledge of the things as it really is.) We have to analyse and reflect on them. I was doing what the teacher had told me, but I didn’t know why I had to do it. I didn’t know what was necessary for the goal. Why did he ask me to do it? He didn’t explain them to me. The teacher didn’t tell me clearly about the practice. I myself also did not know the differences. If I was like this, I would never attain Dhamma. Why have to establish ānāpānasati? The Buddha became a Buddha with ānāpānasati. Dhamma must exist in ānāpānasati meditation. I was doing ānāpāna in a natural way, mindful of the nature of in-breath and out-breath, and knowing the contact of the nostril with the in, and out breaths. I didn’t do it blindly as before breathing in Shu-shel, Shu-shel, etc., not doing it without any reason, and doing it mindfully.
Carefully with mindfulness I was mindful of the touching nature from the beginning to the end. I was mindful of the breaths touching the nostril, and knowing about them and their vanishing. These did not fit together—I knew it only after it arose, and after it vanished (i.e., not in the present moment). I reduced the quick air into balance with mindfulness. After it was levelled out, knowing them only when it is just arising, and it is just passing away. My desire is to know in these things what made that dhamma exists.
Vīthicitta (consciousness belonging to a cognitive process, or process mind) arose in my knowing of rise and fall. With balanced sati, do not let it be more than necessary and it becomes balanced, and then knowing them just arising and passing away. With the touching, and knowing arising, I was knowing it; when it passed away, and I was knowing it just passing away (i.e., magga fit in with the rise, and fall which very often mentioned in Mogok talks). After that, life continuum mind (bhavaṅga citta) ceased (in Burmese the usage is fallen into bhavaṅga). From (the rise and fall of) touching and knowing, it fall into bhavaṅga. It was like fanning with a fan—bhavaṅga vibration. ??) Dhamma existed in ānāpāna that I let my mind return to the touching point of the nostril. With a vibration bhavaṅga pulled the mind back to it. Oh! What was that? I was looking Dhamma at ānāpāna, but something which I didn’t know was pulling the mind back to bhavaṅga (in Burmese using the short form of bhavam). I returned the mind back to the knowing of touching, and vanishing. Furthermore, I didn’t do it blindly like before.
You all have to be careful is if in practice you encounter something—have to reflect why it happens? What is the result of it?, etc. These kinds of investigating nature, observation nature, and reflective nature is the seed of getting insight knowledge. So don't do it blindly; otherwise, you can't achieve your goal with it. With mindfulness, I knew the arising and passing away of it, observing it with knowledge (ñāṇa), the knowing mind disappeared in a blip. I thought if it didn’t stay where I led, then let it stay where it was going. So my mindfulness stayed at bhavaṅga. Before I didn’t know about bhavaṅga, and its existence. Consciousness arose, vedanā arose, etc. knowing them and its disappearing. When vedanā arose, the mind at bhavaṅga moved to vedanā. Who was this culprit? What did it mean? When I let it on vedanā, it was unbearable. (The above process seems similar to bhavaṅga citta and vitticitta citta arising and vanishing intermittently in the Abhidhamma mind process.)
This was the result dhamma. I wouldn’t let it happen again.
This mind desired for Dhamma, afraid of ghosts, desire for Nibbāna, afraid of saṃsāra, and it wanted to be free from saṃsāra. After it moved to vedanā, and not stayed there, and ran away with fear. The bhavaṅga or chest area became tense. What did that mean? As vedanā increased, more tensions arose. The mind was suffering, and tired of it. Vedanā increasing underneath was nothing to do with the body khandha (i.e., becoming tense at the chest). When I was reflecting on the reason, the mind suffered so that it became tired. This body and this mind were functioning together. If the mind suffered, bhavaṅga became tense (chest, and heart area). If the mind relaxed, bhavaṅga was also relaxed. This mind and this body had a cause and effect relationship.
These are the processes of vipassanā. It’ll be difficult for you all to contemplate, but it has value. If your knowledge is not enough for contemplation, you don’t know what I am talking about. On the path of vipassanā you have to practice in this way to develop it. I am delivering it for you to attain wisdom knowledge. You have to observe and know what it’s about. Before practice, the bhavaṅga was not tense. With practice, vedanā arose so that bhavaṅga became tense. If the mind suffered, bhavaṅga was tense; and if the mind was happy, bhavaṅga relaxed. This mind and bhavaṅga must have cause and effect. I didn’t re-establish ānāpāna again, instead at bhavaṅga, I looked after the mind not to be tensed, and looked after the bhavaṅga not to be tensed either.
When vedanā increased, this mind wanted to move. I was warning it to stay as usual, and not to be chaotic. The body changed as it worked, the mind must do its own work. Even though vedanā was increasing, [practicing with the strength of saddhā, and viriya (faith, and energy)] at last bhavaṅga mind ceased. This mind had no need to look after it and it is separated from the body. It was nothing to do with me, and bhavaṅga became cool, and happy. Previously, with the increase of vedanā, the bhavaṅga became tense and the mind was in pain. Now bhavaṅga was relaxed, and happy. Even vedanā was increasing, yet there was only physical pain, not spiritual pain. The mind was in pain before because I couldn’t bear the tenseness, stiffness, numbness, and aches. I had made the wrong accusation on the body (i.e., taking pain as the cause of the body).
This was dispelling of wrong view, and changing into wisdom knowledge. In common people when they were sick, head, body, hands, etc. in pains and aches, they thought and accused the physical body. They didn’t know the reality (i.e., paramatāā), and only knew the non-existence of concepts (paññatti). They clung to bodily suffering that did not exist, became greedy (taṇhā), and hold on to wrong views (diṭṭhi). Now diṭṭhi was fallen away. Because of this body (rūpa), vedanā were arising which led to wrong views and perceptions. Pain in the thighs and legs is not suffering; suffering and pleasure are in the mind, so knowing the mind as the cause.
Before, clinging to the body, and we made the accusation of it. It was not existing in the body, but in the mind. Before in ānāpāna even vedanā was increasing, when the mind could stay with ānāpāna it was happy. The body was functioning according to its nature. Now the body was changed (disturbed) the mind fallen into bhavaṅga, and the mind freed from it. It made me more uplifted. The body was not the main factor, the pain, and happiness of the mind was the main one. Craving and clinging were falling away. What kind of craving, wrong view, and clinging fell away? The wrong view of unpleasantness with my lap, and leg were in pain, clinging with taṇhā—upādāna to the body, lap, hand, and leg—couldn’t bear the pain of taṇhā fall away.
From sotāpanna to arahant their diṭṭhi, taṇhā, and upādāna were not the same, and their khandhas (i.e., five khandhas) also not the same. Now it was the cessation of cūla-sotāpanna’s diṭṭhi, taṇhā, and upādāna dhammas. Because of this mind that pain and happiness arose, so the increasing of vedanā was the cause. At near death I should not pass away with the cause, only with the cessation of the cause to Nibbāna.
Because of this mind, pain and happiness arose, so I had the desire to know the cause of this mind. This time when vedanā was increasing I didn’t let bhavaṅga fell in. Instead, I contemplated the increasing of vedanā to know its mental factor. Who was the one to experience the increasing of vedanā? It was true that Dhamma existed in the khandha. Search for Dhamma was opening the khandha package, and looking into it. With the increasing of vedanā the mind was moving, and wanting to run away.
It wanted to run towards ānāpāna, and bhavaṅga. No! You had to stay with vedanā, and focused it on vedanā, but it didn’t stay there. Before this mind, and the I-ness mixed-up, and became I was in pain. This was the mind in pain, and stuck with lust (rāga), and defilement (kilesa). What was this mind? Mind and body were the objects of contemplation, and contemplative mind was mindfulness (sati).
If without the differentiation, and mixed up, only I could see the body, I had to contemplate them with separation. There was arising a way to contemplate the mind and form with separation. Before, I had upādāna on the mind. I wanted to know how this mind was related to vedanā? So I let go the mind to vedanā, and it freed from clinging to the mind, and sakkāya diṭṭhi ceased (i.e., identity view). With the cessation of lust (rāga) on vedanā, and this mind ceased in a blip. The mind was clear, and transparent. (This point is mentioned in The-inn Gu Sayadaw’s instruction in vipassanā, when levelling samādhi and paññā and becoming balanced, it starts seeing anicca.)
Vedanā was increasing, but the mind was clear. There was no need to shun away from it, no need to separate from it. There was no need to run away, and simply look after it, then the mind was eased by itself. The mind stopped with clearness. If vedanā was increasing before wanting to change, and move. With the re-establishing of ānāpāna it was freed from vedanā. If falling from ānāpāna, it arrived back to vedanā, and became painful. Now bhavaṅga was ceased, if not it was painful. Now, without one’s correction, it was ceased by itself. If no mindfulness (sati), it reappeared and fell back to vedanā with pain. So I let it stay there on vedanā. I wanted to know about this mind, and I contemplated it, and the mind ceased; then the mind of taṇhā saṅkhāra wanting to free, and escape arose. With their cessation (i.e., taṇhā saṅkhāra) the clear mind freed from clinging (upādāna) arose. So it didn’t need to escape or shun away from it. When I knew this, and paid attention to the clear element, then the body form was disintegrating, and vanishing. The body form (rūpa) became a block of water foam with particles. It was like moving and disintegrating. It's like water foams that disappeared as they moved. When I was looking at the whole body it felt like water foams were arising and vanishing. With the observation, the khandha became a block of water foam. Originally I thought it was a solidified form with shape. Now it was not, and a block of water foam. I continued with the contemplation, and the block of water foam was like arriving at the center of a whirlpool with explosion and disintegration. It was vanishing like a firework, and like the sesame seeds inside the hot iron cauldron exploding, and vanishing. With the vanishing, and became fearful of it. I was looking for the Dhamma, and the khandha became dissolved. I thought it was a good thing, now it was dissolving. It became longer, and with more dissolution. While looking at knees, legs, waist, hands, etc., they're all dissolving; there was no place that did not dissolve; when you looked more, more dissolved. It was like the sesame seeds in the hot cauldron, like mountains were collapsing and disintegrating, like sand storms arising, and like rocks were falling apart. It was frightening like a strong typhoon blowing the trees with violent shaking, and striking with each other, and became noisy. (In one of The-inn Gu Sayadaw’s talks, even he could hear the sound of dissolution).
This khandha body became frightening. Before I thought this body as solid and stable, and now it was not anymore. It was a big block of disintegration in a fearful way. I was seeing the present dissolution nature of ultimate reality (paramatā). It was not noting with concept (saññā), but seeing its own nature. With more time, it was with more dissolution. It was so much dissolved that I became afraid of association with this body. It was dissolving at standing, going, coming etc., even if I couldn't speak and interact with others; it was impossible not to want to know the nature of it. I wanted to run away to a place which was free from this body. With more fear and more running; with more running and more dissolution that I was in trouble, even I couldn’t sleep at night (at the stage of strong insight).
At that time, Bee-linn Sayadaw informed everyone to come to their monks' meeting, and I had to be there. Sayadaw was giving a talk, and asking me; “U Chandima! Do you appreciate my exhortation?” I was responding as; “Ven. Sir, I don’t know about it.” My answer made him displeased. So he said; “Ven! You don’t pay attention to what I exhort you.” My answer was; “No, I don’t Ven. Sir.” It made him angrier, then he asked me why I didn’t pay attention to him. My response was; “Ven. Sir, I don’t have the strength to listen to you. My body is in dissolution, and becoming a block of particles. I became afraid and out of control if this body was like a robe I would take it off, and discard it. Therefore, I am thinking of how to be freed from this body form.”
With this response Sayadaw became quiet, and turning towards the saṅgha, and said; “Venerables! He has the strong insight knowledge, and will become a seven lives time stream enterer.” I didn’t know anything that he said, and I was not taking it seriously. The most important thing was that I was suffering, and how to be free from it. Therefore, I was asking him to give me a way to free myself from dukkha. His response was; “Dhamma will give you, and it doesn’t need me.”
I thought he was leaving me alone and became in low spirits. I was looking at the whole body for where it would be freed, instead it was disintegrating. It was frightening, like the strong wind of a typhoon and a sand storm. I thought: “I have been looking for Dhamma but did not get it; and have only come across dukkha. I didn’t know that it was Dhamma, and Dukkha. Furthermore, I still didn’t know them as knowledge of dissolution, and knowledge of fear (i.e., bhaṅga ñāṇa, and bhaya ñāṇa). Later it was changed into very refined particles. This body had fallen apart like refined particles from a lump of flour. It seemed to me it would be burnt down into ashes by fire that made me in fear.
Without running away from it, I must look for the Dhamma in them. I was making an investigation on why it had to be disintegrated? This was knowledge of exploration coming in (sammasa ñāṇa). I couldn’t find the body, head, hand and feet of my physical body, instead a lump of particles (kalāpa). It was the perished body combined with fog, and dew particles, and my knowledge was changed. The cause dhamma of impermanent characteristic (anicca lakkhaṇa) that received the result of dukkha. This was still in mundane knowledge (lokiya ñāṇa). It was seeing the dissolution that became pain. What was dissolution?—with this inquiry I was concentrating on the particles (kalāpas) the size of a coin on the body. There, heat wave and cold wave were arising; among the particles, hot and cold particles arose intermittently, and the particles were collapsing and vanishing. Clinging to this body as head, hand, and feet, etc. actually it was not in that way. It was arising as hotness, coldness, tightness, stiffness.
It was happening as the four elements were combined. Clinging to the khandha body as mine was changed to insight knowledge of hotness, coldness, stiffness, tightness, etc. Therefore, yogis were saying as seeing the elements (dhātu). I couldn’t order these particles not to change—they were changing into hotness, coldness, etc. Craving(taṇhā) still not died, and not freed from dukkha yet. I was looking at them and wondered if their change would ever come to an end, but it didn't. Did pain exist in dissolution? Dissolution itself was not pain or suffering, and it was functioning according to its nature.
I attained this knowledge. This physical body became a lump of elements that it couldn’t be called as man, woman, etc. I discerned it as a lump of elements doing its duty according to its nature. I attained the knowledge that this was not me, man, woman, etc. With this discernment, I held my hand with the other hand—“This is my hand!”, and opened my eyes, and looked at the hand, but it couldn’t be confirmed as a hand because the hand had disappeared.
I only knew it as—natures of softness, hardness, coldness, etc. With the opened eyes, and looking at physical form only knowing the nature of seeing (not as man, woman, etc.). Holding the hand, and looking at it only seeing the nature of coolness, hardness, etc., but not seeing the hand. No-one taught me about insight knowledge (vipassanā ñāṇa). There was no clinging to the hand, body, leg, head, etc. These were the nature of elements. It was according to its own nature, and not me. With the knowledge of sabhāva form dhamma—natural phenomena of form (rūpa), suffering ceased. With the cessation of suffering, and knowledge (ñāṇa) was left behind it. Firstly, it was the characteristic of elements that it expressed the nature of elements.
Element was element, so the place of the hand was not the hand. Where was my hand gone now? This must be my hand, and making the accusation fervently. These were the differences between concepts of anicca, dukkha, anatta, and the wisdom of anicca, dukkha, anatta. Anatta means the finishing power of the atta. Can’t cling with atta is anatta. Even though I was making the accusation strongly as (it’s) hand, it’s still impossible. Knowledge (ñāṇa) expressed its own nature.
Hardness, softness, hotness, coldness existed as its intrinsic nature.
I was opening the eyes, holding the hand and making the accusation as my hand, but it was not possible that I only knew the hardness, softness, hotness, coldness, etc. The hand was not the hardness, coldness, etc. The concept of the hand, and hard, soft, hot, cold, etc. were no connection. (We can’t think about it with normal experience).
When opening the eyes, and looking at it, I was only seeing the color. This was not the hand. My hand was gone, and I was in low spirits.
Looking at it with the eyes and holding at it with the hand; and it was also impossible making the accusation. I was holding and saying as my robe. No! It was not, and only knowing the color nature (shape, form, image disappeared). I couldn’t make the accusation of it as a robe, and then I was squeezing my calf with the hand, and looking at it, and reciting as—the calf, the calf, etc., but couldn’t find it, instead it stopped at the color. The hand only knew its hardness, softness, hotness, coldness, and couldn’t find the calf of the leg. Back and forth, I was looking for it, and also reciting my mind at the heart. The world became up-side down, and from then on concept, and reality (paññatti, and paramatā) became different. (i.e., not mixing up, and becoming separate). The exposure of color and the concept of calf, were not mixed up. The exposure of hardness, softness, hotness, coldness, and the concept of calf were not mixed-up.
The world (loka) was happening in accordance with the determination of the mind. Loka disappeared. Where was loka? It happened by the mind. The mind saw as a man was determined by the mind on the color of form (rūpa). The mind took it as a man, accused it as a man, knew it as a man. The mind made the decision, and gave the answer. What is happening now? When with the eyes seeing the color of form couldn’t determine it with the concepts. It was stopped at the seeing of color of form (rūpa) which was real (paramatā). The nature of form (rūpa) didn’t tell us as man or woman, it was determined by the seeing mind (i.e., for worldling—puthujjana), now it was separated. This was knowing the real existence (paramatā) of all the sense objects of the five senses of the door (eye, ear…body). Non-existing conceptual objects were stopped. It couldn’t be given the names, and concepts to them. (The Buddha compared the mind-consciousnes with a magician. So, it deceives us all the time.)
Man, woman, dog, etc. were happening in the mind, and not in the outside or external. The world (loka) disappeared. The whole world was stopped. The existence of the world outside was the outcome of the inversions of the mind with wrong perception, wrong knowing, and wrong viewing. If all these distortions (inversion, perversion) ceased, there would be no existence of the world outside. If the mind was not determined as man, and the outside (external) was not man; not as tree, and the external was not tree, etc. These were the intrinsic nature of the elements. It was existing with their own nature, and not arriving to the concepts. It was like the following example—
A man was very poor, and in his dream he found a bag of gold coins on the road. He happily picked up the bag and another man saw it and shouted to him that he should have a share too. The poor man did not want to share with him, and ran with the gold bag, and the other following him behind. Unfortunately, the poor man stumbled down on the uneven road. The poor man woke up suddenly with a shock, and looking at his hand, and no gold bag with him. In the same way, if concept and reality (paññatti and paramatā) were separated the preceding knowledge was paramatā (reality), and the following one was concept. It was stopping at reality, and not knowing the concept. The physical form (rūpa) was not giving the concept, and only the mind giving it. One’s own mind was clinging, and believing in it that the world (loka) appeared. The external sense bases (āyatana) were form (rūpa) dhamma with its own nature. One’s own mind paid attention (manasikāra) to the arising form. Concept was mind dhamma, and reality (paramatā) was form (rūpa) dhamma. Concept and reality were separated, and stopped at paramatā (reality) of form. And then couldn’t see it as man, woman, etc. I opened my eyes looking at people, and not seeing them as nuns, because the mind determining it had ceased. The forms (i.e., nuns) with their own nature (i.e., color) so that nuns disappeared.
If looking at a dog its form (i.e., color) was expressing its own nature, and only the mind determined it that seeing as a dog. The mind making the concept ceased by seeing its stopping at the reality of the color (i.e., visible form paramatā). With the understanding that visible form (i.e., color) was not a dog. I have attained Dhamma now. Sayadawgyi (i.e., The-inn Gu) said that seeing man, and knowing as man, seeing dog, and knowing as dog, etc. was still not attaining the Dhamma yet.
Before, when I saw a man, I knew to regard it as a man. Now the visual form (color) was expressing its element nature, and the mind stopped at the ultimate form (paramatā rūpa).
Mind, and form were separated, and from stayed on its own, giving the concept on it was mind dhamma. Form was not mind, and mind was not form; so mind and form were separate. This was a small stream enterer (cūḷa-sotāpanna). If someone penetrated beyond the concept, and reality became cūḷa-sotāpanna or mahā-sotāpanna. (now here—he was a cūḷa-sotāpanna, the insight process not ending yet).
If seeing and just at seeing; if hearing and just at hearing—on the hearing just knew its element nature, and not as a crow (i.e., the sound of a crow). If hearing the sound of a dog, and just at hearing, and not clung to the dog because knowledge (ñāṇa) preceded it, only knowing the changing nature, and after knowing it vanished.
When walking I put my feet on the ground, not knowing the ground but only the nature of the hardness, hardness and coldness of the visual form (color). It was not hand, and foot only the characteristic of form (rūpa), and element (dhātu). It was only expressing its own nature, just form paramatā.
After that, I took my alms-food. A nun came, and offered me some lemons. I liked the sour taste, so I paid attention to the mind with sour taste. But the mind ceased at paramatā dhamma, and do not arrive at non-existing concepts (i.e., sour taste, sweet, bitter, etc.). It was just knowing only with its expression.
With the preceding knowledge (ñāṇa) the mind making of sour ceased without existing (i.e., the concept of sour ceases without arising. The same as the mind ceased at feeling—vedanā, and not continuing to craving—taṇhā. Sayadaw’s emphasis is not on anicca which most teachers talk about. Instead, he is talking about the mind and mental process analytically). I was only knowing the changing paramatā of form, and not the taste of sour, sweet, etc. which was absent. But I knew all the nature of hardness, coldness, etc. which were shown by them. I didn’t make concepts or naming them. If I was naming them, it was wrong. Giving names to them was the mind and not form (rūpa). Form was not in the mind vice versa. Mind was not me, and also form was not me. They were expressing their nature.
Levels of insight knowledge will start here. I will not mention the levels of insight and only talk about their nature or characteristics.
If seeing the element nature of characteristics, he is a stream enterer. Discerning the concept and reality (paññatti, and paramatā) separately, this is what stream enterer does.
I knew the mind dhamma of saññākkhandha (aggregate of perception)—mind (here consciousness) and form (rūpa). This mind (i.e., consciousness) only knows the paramatā object, but saññā—perception which gave the concepts has ceased.
If hearing sound, and only knowing the hearing, but the mind which gave the concepts has ceased. The whole world was stopped. Man, tree, etc. were stopped, and disappeared. On Sunday buses came to the center, and children were coming in, and making noises. So I looked at the direction of the noises, and did not see humans. I didn’t know what it was? (i.e., overwhelm aniccas), I was dazed. The hearing of sound and the seeing of visual objects (i.e., color) were not mixed-up. It existed as the nature of seeing quality, and the nature of hearing quality. The concept and paramatā were separated.
The ignorance of concepts was ceased (i.e, avijjā paññatti), and became knowledge of perception (vijjā saññā).
It was expressing its form (rūpa) characteristics, with its own nature and changing (anicca). From the ignorant perception (avijjā saññā) it changed into wisdom knowledge (vijjā paññā). Form was changing, and the mind gave the paramatā perception.
It simply changed from avijjā saññā to vijjā paññā. It couldn’t kill the five khandhas yet it was the five khandhas changing into paramatā sense objects. The dhamma of hotness, coldness, etc. which I was talking about by using the concepts in reality it was changing and vanishing. I was not naming it with concepts. If a paramatā dhamma arose, and the mind knew it. And the mind changed. I didn’t give the concept of the form paramatā. Every time form arises, the mind knows it. It was not form, and it must be the mind (i.e., nāma—name) nāma-dhamma, because the mind knowing the paramatā has ceased. Why every time it was arising and knowing it? What was this? The mind was changing in stages. Before, I was seeing the form (rūpa) with the aggregate of perception (saññākkhandha). Knowing that each changing of form was not my knowing and not me. The mind stayed with the element (form) which was arising, on the right knee the form of aches arose.
I had mindfulness on it, from here who was the one changing to another form? What did it mean? I was observing it with the desired knowledge. Every time form arising, I was catching it with mindfulness (i.e., hotness, coldness, tenseness, etc.)
Before, I was contemplating form. When concept and paramatā were separated perception stopped, so there was no form for contemplation. Now, every time form arising, only I knew it. Over two days I was contemplating in this way. My body became tired because I practiced the whole night (i.e., 24 hours) without sleep.
I was over exerted, and maybe I couldn’t attain the Dhamma. I put down my saddhā and conceit. In the world, people are looking for what they desire. Whatever searching with desire is mundane (lokiya). On supramundane Dhamma (lokuttara) we can’t do it with desire. Contemplated with desire is greed (lobha), and not knowing it is delusion (moha). These are sassata (eternal), and uccheda (extinction) two wrong view (diṭṭhi). We must contemplate how to free ourselves from these two extremes. I had the desire to know what kind of mind (nāma) knew this form?
After I put down my conceit (māna); changing was one thing, the mind (nāma) inclining toward the changing was another thing, and the contemplative mind was another. It was separated into three things. Did I see the mind and body? It was not like what you see when you look at the body. For example, with ānāpānasati—on touching and knowing. Does it mean knowing of the touching? Or does it mean knowing of both (i.e., touching, and knowing)? Or does it mean touching is one thing, and knowing is another? It needs to be differentiated. These are the records to check oneself for Dhamma attainment.
Form (rūpa) was changing nature. Mind (nāma) was inclining toward form. I was seeing its inclining nature directly. Sati—mindfulness was watching it. Before I couldn’t differentiate I and mind (nāma) which knew the changing of form. I thought that's how I knew it. Now I knew that it was not my knowing. Changing was form, inclining toward it was not me, and it was mind dhamma. The wrong view of me, and others fell away.
Seeing in a pair of the changing form and the inclining mind is called discerning of mind, and form. Seeing mind, and form directly was called discerning of mind, and form.
Changing was form, and giving the perception was mind, this was one pair.
I have seen two pairs now. I was forcing the mind on the right knee toward the left knee, then my bhavaṅga (i.e., heart area) became tense.
I couldn’t create the inclining mind, it was not-self (anatta) nature. The mind at the right knee ceased, and another mind arose at the left knee. With the cessation of the mind on the right side and another mind was arising on the left side. Not-self (anatta) nature appeared because with the cessation of the preceding mind, a new mind arose. The changing nature was form, the inclining nature was mind; so mind and form—not me, not him, and not a soul. Form changed stage by stage, the mind also changed with inclination stage by stage. Only by knowing these things, one really discerned the five khandhas. Changing was form dhamma, and inclining was mind dhamma, and after inclining what could it do? I had to follow the five khandhas until the path knowledge of stream entry. No-one came and taught me. It was the connection of “cause and effect” with their own nature. What were the things in the khandha? Everything that was there had to come out. These were insight knowledges.
The mind was after its inclining, and feeling with good or bad. The five senses of the door contacted the five sense objects, and phenomena were arising. Then the mind was inclining toward them, and feeling the objects as good or bad (e.g., when seeing, hearing, smelling, etc.). What happens when contemplating the mind of good or bad? Watching with the knowledge (ñāṇa), and when arrived at one pointed samādhi (ekaggatā samādhi) found out the feeling nature of vedanā.
In the 12 links of dependent co-arising (paṭiccasamuppāda) vedanā there is this one, no pleasant or unpleasant (sukha, and dukkha) feelings, and just feel only.
Form was changing, the mind inclining toward it, and feeling it. I couldn’t find a person a being, man and woman there, even with more time of contemplation, and observation it became more, and more clear as not a person, not a being. In the present, the mind and form combine and function together according to their own nature.
What happened by getting this form? It was impossible didn’t want to see, hear, and know, etc. After feeling the object, what other things the mind, and body had? I continued to observe, and it came to an end, and there was nothing to it. It was stopped at vedanā. After feeling, and it was vanishing, I only had this. Could I throw away this feeling? No! I couldn’t. It was like carrying a burdened load. I was becoming in fear of the impermanence of vedanā (i.e., arising, and vanishing). It was—(changing, and feeling it, and then vanishing)—on, and on like this. (i.e., form changing, vedanā feeling it, and then passing away). It was painful seeing its dissolution (dukkha). In regard to vedanā I got the knowledge on dukkha. What did it do after dukkha?
With the observation—it was in dissolution, and ceased. So wrong view (diṭṭhi) fell away on feeling (vedanā). This was not arrived at path knowledge yet (magga ñāṇa).
It was not freed from vedanā that focusing the knowledge (ñāṇa) on the dissolution (i.e., bhaṅga), and at the bhavaṅga (heart or chest area) it was vibrating three times, and ceased.
At the mind door (hadaya vatthu—heart base) found out the element mind of consciousness (i.e., mana viññāṇa-dhātu). I know, I know—what do I know? And how do I know it?
This is important. Mind door was clear, and transparent. Mind consciousness (mana viññāṇa) was knowing. Form (rūpa) also was a clear element. Mind dhamma was knowing.
What did it know? It was not knowing white or black, man or woman, and just only knowing. I was sitting with my closed eyes when the bhavaṅga vibrating three times, and the eyes opened. And then I heard the sound of a crow—arhh! Arhh! The mind was inclining toward the sound. How did it appear in the knowledge (ñāṇa)?
It was appearing in the knowledge as the form dhamma of “arhh!” (i.e., at the ear door), and the knowing “arhh!” of mind dhamma (i.e., at the mana dvāra—mind door). Before, what we were knowing was—seeing is form and knowing is mind; hearing is form and knowing is mind, etc. This is not true. After the three bhavaṅgas ceased, one was able to contemplate mind consciousness (viññāṇa)
(Sometimes, we are using language as not very accurate, e.g., here seeing is form should be—seeing is visual form or object, knowing of visual form or object is mind, etc. Here Sayadaw’s experience supported the teaching in the Abhidhamma. When we see a visual form it appears at two doors—i.e., the eye-door, and mind-door; sound also in the ear-door, and mind-door, etc. If we contemplate a sound, the mind should not go out to the outside where the sound comes from. The mind should be at the ear, if not we are contemplating at the wrong place. As a teaching theory teachers are talking—seeing is visual form, and knowing of visual form is mind, etc. That is also true, not wrong. We can also contemplate them separately, e.g., sound object at the ear, and knowing mind object of the sound at the heart area, etc. Contemplating together as above-mentioned is another thing. This is dependent on the context.)
Arhh! Arhh! was form dhamma and mind dhamma. This was knowing mind, and form. Before was form, and perception (rūpa, and saññā). Now was clear form dhamma (eye, ear, nose, tongue, and body-doors), and clear bhavaṅga form dhamma (i.e., mind-door). The elements of earth (paṭhavī), water (āpo), etc. ceased, and at the clear from of ear arhh! sound, and at the bhavaṅga arhh! Knowing element appeared. [It was quite significant—arhh! was form (sound) and arhh! also the knowing mind.] Both of them were arhh! Before what I heard was hearing is form, and knowing is mind. This is mixing them up.
So in ānāpāna it should be—touching is form, and touching is mind. It is not—touching is form, and knowing is mind. (Here was an interpretation problem—it should be— touching is form, and knowing the touching is mind). These were seeing nature, and knowing the seeing nature. It was not known as body, head, hand, and feet. Touching was form dhamma, and knowing the touching was mind dhamma. So this body was a lump of clear element, and a lump of knowing element.
This was not a person, not a being and not a soul. Looking at wherever there was, knowing exists—these are touching nature, and knowing nature. Carefully observing with mindfulness (sati) it was not knowing the sound coming from there (i.e., external). At hearing the sound with the ear—every time hearing form, and knowing the hearing were arising (i.e., form, and mind), when looking at bhavaṅga, and saw the contact (phassa) was arising.
I don’t know the texts (i.e., suttas), and Thinn-gyo (the Burmese Abhidhamma text of Abhidhammattha Saṅgaha). Fire element was arising when the hand touched the gas lighter. With the vibrations of bhavaṅga, and the mind was inclining toward it.
For example, from outside when the sound of the crow arhh! arising, and didn’t know the outside sound. The sound came, and contacting the clear element of ear was seen with mindfulness by looking at the bhavaṅga. From the outside was one arhh!, at the clear element of the ear was one arhh! And at the clear element of bhavaṅga was one arhh!, so three arhh! Every time mind, and form arising found the contact (phassa) which inclining to the bhavaṅga. There was a current of inclination. At the clear mana element (mind element) a mind, and form arose.
The outside mind and form was not me. The mind and form arising at the clear element of the ear was not me. The mind and form arising at the clear element of bhavaṅga were also not me. I discerned all the five khandhas.
(It is quite interesting. U Chandima’s own explanations of his experiences were confirmed by Abhidhamma which some scholars rejected.)
All of the wrong views were not falling away yet. Before was after the three bhavaṅgas ceased, and the mind arising again, and seeing, hearing, etc. were happening again. And then I re-entered the bhavaṅga (samādhi), and it cut off three times (vibrate three times). Of the three bhavaṅgas I entered the first bhavaṅga first, and observing the clear mana hadaya vatthu (the clear element of mind door at the heart), a feeling (vedanā) arose, and ceased, and then bhavaṅga vibrating came to cease. I tried it not to fall away by controlling the bhavaṅga, and observing the form (rūpa) of how it was functioning.
Vedanās were changing, but the mind was not experiencing of pleasure and pain; contact (phassa) and vedanā ceased. At the first bhavaṅga contact, and feeling ceased, but the perception of hot, stiff, ache, pain, etc. were still there (i.e, the concept of form).
I entered the second bhavaṅga—hot, still, ache, pain, etc. perceptions ceased. (including phassa, and vedanā), but the changing form nature (intrinsic nature of form) was still there. After entered the third bhavaṅga, and it ceased, the two elements of clear form of the mind door (hadaya-vatthu), and the consciousness of knowing were there. Contemplating the mind consciousness (mana-viññāṇa) is possible only after the three bhavaṅgas.
Directly knowing the seeing, knowing the hearing, etc. are not true. I am saying this with guarantee. I say it because I myself have arrived at this stage that I know—“How is the aggregate of perception (saññākkhandha)?”, “How is the aggregate of feeling (vedanākkhandha)?”, “How is contact (phassa)? etc.
[Note—It seems to me there are many ways of practice for realization of Dhamma, from simple to complex ways. As examples—Mahāsi system is simple, and Pha-auk system is complex. Mahāmoggallāna became arahant in one week because his way of practice was simpler than Sāriputta's way, which took two weeks. Because Sāriputta was foremost in wisdom, his contemplation of Dhamma could be in more detail. The Buddha also taught people differently, without a fixed system. Therefore, we cannot justify any system with a fixed view as wrong or right.]
When sound contacted the ears—there were two sounds at the clear element of the ears, and at the clear element of mind door also two sounds (These are two pairs of mind, and form). With the vibrating of bhavaṅga, and the mind inclining toward the clear element of bhavaṅga (mind door). If at that time stopped the bhavaṅga with the mind, and listening to the speech outside (when someone speaks) didn’t know anything, but hearing the sound was not clear. When released the stopping of mind door (bhavaṅga) I could hear the speech. These things were happened by stopping the bhavaṅga with sati, and releasing it with sati. What did this mean?
When the eyes contacted with the visual object, and the ears contacted with the sound with mindfulness (sati) stopped the bhavaṅga, and then released it, and contemplated them. With the stopping the seeing nature, and the hearing nature were stopped. If I released it, I could know the seeing, and the hearing. I was contemplating them again to see what dhamma was knowing the meaning of it.
Perception (saññā), feeling (vedanā), mental formation (saṅkhāra), and consciousness (viññāṇa) the four combined, and staying on the form (rūpa) (i.e., five khandhas working together). It was like a table with four legs, it could be very stable.
The five khandhas were not me, and not others. Every time, mind and form arose, it functioned its own duty. It was becoming more, and more clear as not me. It couldn’t find a person or a being, and I couldn’t contemplate it this way. In seeing was five khandhas, in hearing was five khandhas, etc.
All these five khandhas were arising by depending on sense doors and sense objects. It was not freed from external phenomena. It was freed only by stopping the bhavaṅga. I couldn’t stay in bhavaṅga all the time, if I released it, and contemplated the external of seeing, hearing, etc. that encountered the five khandhas.
The mind clung to the five khandhas as my body, my khandha was in a trembled situation. This mind built by ignorance, and craving (avijjā, and taṇhā) or taṇhā, upādāna, and kamma (craving, clinging, and action) didn’t know where to go. It couldn’t stay at its khandha house, also it had to be ceased that couldn’t separate from it. It wanted to stick with the khandha, but seeing, hearing, etc., were mind and form. This knowledge made him to be not able to stick with the khandha, and left the khandha forever. These are the causes for the path knowledge or the path knowledge of stream entry to arise. There is still work to be done to contemplate the five khandhas. I had to be mindful of whatever rising dhamma. You must with satipaṭṭhāna to search for Dhamma and seeing the five khandhas.
This is searching for Dhamma. Sati had to stay with the five khandhas that diṭṭhi was stuck with sati (i.e., contemplative knowledge— ñāṇa). It became dukkha by observing with sati—it became dukkha sacca. Sati couldn’t stick with the five khandhas that it ceased. It stayed again, and ceased again. It didn’t die forever. Sati was not freed, and it was looking elsewhere to free itself from the five khandhas. It was not freed from eye, ear, etc., and also couldn’t go out to the outside objects. In the loka (the world of mind, and form) only this one khandha existed (for this yogi).
In the external world (loka) person, beings, etc. did not exist, only with the eyes seeing that it existed outside (i.e., visual objects). With the clear element of the ears, that he was knowing the sounds outside, etc. Khandha existed on the clear elements or forms of one’s khandha (body). I couldn’t pay attention to the outside loka. There was only one internal khandha. External loka fell away, leaving with the internal loka. Internal five khandhas arose by depending on the cause, if not paying sati to them the mind was freed, and with sati it was not freed. Therefore, this sati couldn’t go out, and also not freed by contemplating the inside.
The bhavaṅga became tense, and the mind couldn’t stick on the five khandhas.
How does the path knowledge arise? This, I have never heard about it. Wrong view—diṭṭhi is sticking with this sati. You have to stick with sati if you want to attain Dhamma.
Taṇhā lobha arose on sati, the I-ness stuck with it. Sati was only sati, contemplating to know and freeing them was lobha. This is the thought of sotāpanna-to-be when it is closer to the path knowledge. I was seeing the five khandhas, the I-ness was stuck with the mental factor of sati. If contemplating the outside also not freed from the five khandhas. I couldn’t run away from it by contemplating again the five khandhas inside.
The mind couldn’t stick anywhere, and sometimes it was ceased with a blip.
This sati ceased together with the desire of contemplating for freedom. It ceased with the cessation of knowingness. It was arising again, and not freeing from sati that it was painful.
(It was mentioned in the commentary on insight knowledge—between saṅkhārupekkhā-ñāṇa, and magga-ñāṇa there is a bridge called gotrabhū ñāṇa—change of lineage. In The-inn Gu Sayadaw’s talk, he gave a simile of a sea-bird on the mast of a ship. The bird flew out to look at the sea shore. In other places it gave the simile of crossing a trench by jump, running back and forth before jumping. The above-mentioned experience was similar to these similes.)
The mind shouldn't know it, and with knowing it became the dukkha sacca—truth of suffering. This khandha was not with the clinging of knowing as mine I saw, I heard, etc. It was with its own nature of mind and body; when I found out its meaningless kammically indeterminate nature (abyākata sabhāva, avyākata sabhāva), the desire mind of atta-taṇhā didn’t know where to go. It was happening like this. Furthermore, it couldn’t find inside and outside to cling to and it became dukkha sacca, and the mind ceased. I didn’t know it was Nibbāna.
(It seems to me U Chandima explained the above of his experience in gist. In the following he explained it in more detail with some reflections.)
This matter could not be created by oneself. And then my teacher said to me; “Today you don’t sit for quite some time now!” I was practicing to be mindful on the body movements in a moving position, so I missed the sitting meditation. So I sat for meditation. I was breathing strongly with ānāpāna meditation. The breathing was not me, with increased breathing also it was not me. You all listen to it mindfully.
My teacher asked me to increase my breathing, this also was not me. I was getting tired. Before, I was always thinking about it as me. Now breathing was not me, with increased breathing also not me. Then I became seeing it.
Looking at my establishment of ānāpānasati—touching/knowing, touching/knowing, etc., these were original knowing and not me. Which one was my khandha? Touching/knowing was arising on the tip of the nostril, hearing on the ears. Inside the ears was hearing the sound of shu/shel! Shu/shel!, etc. knowing it was another thing, and not me. (?? Inside my ears I hear shu/shel! Shu/shel! etc.; knowing that it is something else, and not me. ??) The expressions of the five khandhas were not me.
These were not of my knowing and my perception, and not my hearing the original mind, and form. It couldn’t go out, and inside was also not me.
In this case, I had nothing to contemplate, and nothing had to run away. There was no place to stand, so I became low-spirited. The sitting came to an end after two hours of resolution (adhiṭṭhāna).
And then I said to my teacher; “You teach us that if we contemplate the five khandhas, the path knowledge will arise, and attain Nibbāna. Now I discern the five khandhas penetratingly. Even seeing in this way diṭṭhi was not fallen away. I’ll never practice your Dhamma again.” My teacher didn’t say anything to me, he got up, and left (to the toilet). I bowed down to the Buddha image, and prepared to go to my room. I was in the squatting position with a cheroot between my fingers, and put down my conceit (māna). Likewise, I had practiced for many months (more than a year). I was very tired and became bony. Even though I was practicing that much, and not attaining it.
The teacher taught me to contemplate the five khandhas, and I practiced it quite analytically. Even practicing that much, diṭṭhi did not fall away, and the path knowledge not arose. So I would never practice it again, and put down my conceit. The mind of wanting to contemplate, to know and to think ceased. This was entering Nibbāna.
Before, I was looking for freedom inside and outside, but it was not freed. This time I would not contemplate, it was the path knowledge making ready for arising or taking acceleration.
(This is not the wanting mind that arises. It was also mentioned this point in some Mogok’s talks.)
Was this khandha me? Did it belong to me? Did it exist inside, and outside? I must check them carefully. If taṇhā, and diṭṭhi not fell away I would not do it again, so I put down my conceit (desire may be the appropriate word)
At that time mind and mental factors ceased—such as wanting to search, to plan, to concern. It was not inclining outside, and inside objects (or nothing to have for inclining) because the mind had to depend on the object, and without object, it came to cessation.
Mind and mental factors ceased, and the body (rūpa) was left behind as an indeterminate object (abyākata, avyākata). This was Nibbāna.
What is Nibbāna? Mind and mental factors cease, and the body is left like a wooden statue. The following is how the mind ceased stage by stage, and entered Nibbāna with the path knowledge arising. The mind and mental factors have ceased, and this is Nibbāna. The mind wants to stay and has to depend on one of the external elements of the sense object. It doesn’t want to take the object of āyatana—sense bases, so the mind can’t stay by itself, and it ceases. The body is left by itself, and the other is Nibbāna.
This is stream enterer’s Nibbāna. Sati is left behind as an ownerless dhamma. Previously, the mind of lobha samudaya (greed or desire) wanted to contemplate and planned to follow with sati. Now, lobha samudaya mind ceases, and sati becomes ownerless. It’s not me, not a person, not a being, and not others. There is no-one who has sati, it stays by itself with the cessation of person, and being. This sati is ready for entering the stream of path knowledge. What I'm explaining it is for you to know it.
If I say—“Now, we’ll search for Dhamma—be mindful!” This is I-ness sticks with sati. Sati cannot stick with the other five khandhas. I don’t want to contemplate, it means I-ness kill itself. Where does the “I” exist? It’s arising in the mind. If one contemplates, the mind arises; if one wants liberation, the mind arises; once the mind arises, “I” also arise. Now the mind has ceased. With the cessation of the mind, I also cease. So there is no person, and being, no doer, nothing for practice, and come to the end of the practice. A person exists that we are practicing Dhamma.
If no person exists, and no need for practice. While mind exists, mental states have to exist. Nibbāna is the cessation of mental states. With the cessation of the mind, eleven kinds of fire cease. The cessation of the eleven types of fire is Nibbāna. The mind, the mental states, the person, and the being all cease, and this is Nibbāna. With the cessation of mind—mental states the active bhavaṅga falls off, and this body is left behind without owner. This sati is not aware by a person or a being, instead, it’s staying by itself, free from the cause of a person and a being.
Sati is the result dhamma. At the time of the cessation of mental states (factors), it enters Nibbāna as a result. Nibbāna cannot be created with one’s desire. The clinging to “I”, and “me” diṭṭhi-taṇhā cease.
I was not entering the steam yet (i.e., sotāpatti magga). It was near of entering the path. My teacher came back from the toilet, and opening the door, it was making the sound of chwee! And I regained my sati. When the mind arose in contact with the sound and the ear, sati cut it off at this moment. This was entering the stream. Before this mind was wanting to contemplate, to know, and to desire. What was sticking with the mind?
The I-ness of diṭṭhi-taṇhā-māna was sticking with the mind. The mind came to overwhelm sati before and it was now in cessation. So this sati was left behind as an object of contemplation. Now this ownerless sati with the cause ceased, and became the resulted anatta sati (not-self mindfulness) which didn’t have a person, a being or me. The mind clinging to the result of the cause as my khandha was arising this loneliness of sati discerned the identity view of atta and craving (diṭṭhi-taṇhā). Here is the cessation of the five khandhas when the object and contemplative mind were freed from atta.
(This talk was the 3rd time he gave to the public after over 20 years of his attainment. So his talk here is not very smooth, also sometimes very fast.
Later his talks were better, and better. Sometimes he was using long sentences, and elaborated his process of experience. So it was difficult to translate. He rarely talked about insight knowledge, only about the state of mind in this process. The-inn Gu Sayadaw also was in the same way.)
When I was seeing the offender, and making this exclamation; “You are the offender. In the whole round of existence (saṃsāra) I have been riding on you.” When you have cars, you all are using it. Without cars, you can’t go anywhere. Now it was the same way. The wanting atta-taṇhā was desiring for Nibbāna. It was afraid of woeful existences (apāyas). It had a desire for the khandha, and also wanting to be freed from it. This mind was happening in various ways. Now it had no place to stay, and came to cessation. Sati was under the power of the mind. Now sati was seeing the mind as atta again, and it has ceased.
This was entering the stream (sotāpatti magga). With the entrance of the path, I had the sense of satisfaction. This moving mind which wanted to contemplate for freedom was seeing by sati, and it couldn’t control the atta khandha (Khandha by itself is not atta, but the mind takes it as atta). The bhavaṅga was vibrating and peaceful like put down a burdened load, and becoming clear. The vibration of bhavaṅga meant in the whole round of existence was carrying this heavy load with wrong perception, wrong knowing, and wrong view to my khandha was fallen away.
(In this full talk, U Chandima was using a lot of Pāḷi words of the suttas, and abhidhamma was unusual. It seems to me it came from his study of some of the suttas, and abhidhamma. According to him before, and during the practice he didn’t know anything about them even the vipassanā practice. Soon Loon Sayadaw’s Dhamma talks were always simple Burmese, and couldn’t use the Pāḷi word.)
Carrying this burden in human life, I could not put it down forever. Now, this heavy load was successfully thrown over the cliff, and became light, and gave me the sense of satisfaction. It would never cling to this khandha as me, and mine again. The heavy burden fell away, and there was happiness. And the bhavaṅga was with vibrations—such as, vibrating with coolness, vibrating with coolness, etc.
This was the experience of fruition states. It was existing as a fruition mind which freed from the fire of sorrow, lamentation, etc. After that I got up from sitting.
[Here again according to U Chandima's experience after the path knowledge, and fruition knowledge arose which was also mentioned by Mogok Sayadaw in some of his talks. Many meditation teachers also mentioned this point.
Path knowledge is the cause, and fruition knowledge is the result, very similar to jhāna. To become mature, skills have to be developed many times.]
When I was getting up from the seat, it wasn’t me. Entering the stream also freed from the four postures (i.e., in squatting position—most Burmese have the habit of squatting more than other cultures). From the squatting I was ready to get up—this was not in sitting, standing, moving, and stretching with the path knowledge arose. After the path knowledge, and fruition mind arose; then I stood up, and I was in a dazed state. Standing up was not me, stepping was not me (i.e., walking). I was moving my hand, it was not me. I was trying to speak, it wasn’t me. Diṭṭhi was fallen away, and it would never stick back again.
Sotāpanna attains one quarter of the four paths of an arahant, and become kāla-vimutti (liberation or freedom from time). This physical body is not me. It’s conditioned body and mind (rūpa, and nāma saṅkhāra). They are doing their own job.
I am free from it for over 20 years now (i.e., from wrong view—diṭṭhi). Before, I went up to the Dhamma seat, it was not me (for this Dhamma talk). I am giving Dhamma which does not include me. I am stretching my limbs, which does not include me. Likewise, I am going and stepping, which does not include I-ness. Only the physical body is walking. If it becomes sotāpanna, it must be so. Don't stop while walking. Is it you during the walk? I watch every action as me, but it is not. It is just the action. (Here he tried every actions to feel it as me but never appeared to him.)
It’s conditioned form, and mind, dhamma body, and dhamma mind, physical action, and mind action (i.e., rūpa saṅkhāra, and nāma saṅkhāra, rūpa dhamma, and nāma dhamma, kiriya-rūpa, and kiriya-nāma)
Some reflection on wrong view:
Here we can see the views of sotāpanna—stream enterer, and puthujjana—worldling. Most worldlings are caught up in wrong views (there are many), and they hold it very tightly, and deeply. Only a Buddha appears in the world we have the chance to know, and have the right view. It is not easy to come by. Except the Buddha, no-one can penetrate these dhammas. At least we can divide the right views roughly into two kinds—mundane, and supramundane.
If we look into our world even most people do not have mundane the right views—believe in the law of kamma. Without belief in Kamma to believe in rebirths, and saṃsāra, and suffering is impossible, and it is pointless. Without believing in Kamma, practicing meditation is wasting time and energy, even it’s difficult to have good rebirths. Only if you believe in Kamma are you an ordinary Buddhist. Other faiths, and western philosophers even cannot know about kamma, and taught them.
To become a genuine Buddhist you must have supramundane the right views—only with these views can practice meditation, and transcend Dukkha. To have this the right view to know, and understand the Four Noble Truths, Dependent Co-arising (Paṭiccasamuppāda), khandhas, āyatanas, dhātus, saccas, etc. We should never mix up the Buddha Dhamma with any other faiths, and philosophies (eastern, and western). Other faiths and philosophies can have similarities, but never with the Dhamma. If we really study the Dhamma in the Pāḷi Nikāyas and compare with other teachings, we will know the differences clearly. You don’t even need a very highly sophisticated mind either. You will never find the suññatā dhammas in any other faiths, and philosophies.
If we observe the Noble Eightfold Path, the arrangement is very systematic, and has profound meanings. The Noble Eightfold Path is: the right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration. In the Noble Eightfold Path, the first one is the right view. Why does it come first? Because with our views, and knowledge, thoughts, and thinking follow. With thoughts, actions follow (i.e., speech, bodily action, and livelihood). Only view and knowledge are right, the other things will be right. We can also see this kind of arrangement in the Maṅgala Sutta—the Blessings. The first blessing there is not to associate or consort with the fools (bāla). If you can’t follow this one, the other blessings are impossible. We can combine all the Buddha Dhamma into sīla, samādhi, and paññā. Maybe we can find sīla, and samādhi in other faiths, and teachings, but there is no paññā. This paññā is Buddha’s paññā or transcendental knowledge or wisdom. Even if we compare the Buddha’s sīla and samādhi with others, there are many differences. The Buddha’s knowledge was more complete and profound than that of others.
One of the important points have to always remember is that the first stage of realization eradicates wrong views—diṭṭhis. If we mix other teachings, views, and philosophies to the Buddha Dhamma become wrong teachings. To understand Buddha Dhamma we don’t need any outside teachings, and views. Dhamma is complete by itself. We only need to study the Pāli-Nikāyas put into practice in our daily life with sincerity. Only the Buddha can teach you to have the right views, and not others. Other traditions even look down on the arahant as not good enough, and not fully purified yet; more needs to be done. So there is no need to think about how they view the stream enterer—even it can be worse. According to the Buddha, sotāpanna will not be reborn for more than seven lifetimes. Now bodhisattvas who are higher than arahant and pacceka-buddha can come and go with their wishes and desires. In my opinion, according to the Dharma, they still have diṭṭhi-taṇhā; therefore, saṃsāra still exists for them.
Recently, I have read about a book by Ajahn Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu on western Buddhists—“Buddhist Romanticism.” Some years ago when I was in Thailand, I read some books written by American Buddhist teachers. At that time I thought their views, and thinking were similar to Mahāyana, and some of Hindu teachings. From Buddhist Romanticism I know more about western Buddhists—they also include some of their culture, views, and thinking. It seems to me that every Buddhists especially those who want to practice transcending Dukkha, should read it—at least the last two chapters; chapter 6—Buddhist Romanticism, and Chapter 7—Unromantic Dhamma. If we not follow the views of the Buddha as mentioned in the Pāḷi Suttas we cannot end Dukkha. Tan Ajahn gave clear comparisons between the Nikāya teachings and other traditions. Even we can designate the later development of Buddhism before the disappearance in India as Buddhist Hinduism or popular Buddhism. We can also see popular Buddhism in Asian countries. We cannot treat wrong views as lightly. It is the most dangerous enemy to all beings. Even we cannot abandon wrong views; to abandon craving for becoming is impossible. The causes for wrong views are eight, and among them, two of them are important—hearing wrong teachings, and unwise attention.
There is a saying in Zen (Chan) tradition—before the practice river is river, and mountain is mountain, during the practice—river is not river, and mountain is not mountain, after the practice—river is river, and mountain is mountain. For a sotāpanna—before river is river, during river is not river, and after river is still not river. The first one means diṭṭhi is still intact as anusaya.
revised on 2022-08-05
- 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
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