[ This instructional talk was given in 2008 at a 9 days retreat to yogis. It was related to bhavaṅga meditation. U Candima taught three ways of developing of samādhi—i.e., ānāpāna, scales like samādhi and bhavaṅga methods…]
This is on the 5th day of retreat. Here are 106 yogis. You have done the practice of from dukkha vedanā to cut off taṇhā. You sat for three hours in each section. There was no-one moving himself or herself because of unbearable dukkha vedanā. Among the yogis, 51 yogis saw skeleton; with dhātu kammaṭṭhāna (i.e., the four great elements), 32 yogis; with 32 part of the body, three yogis and with the loathsomeness (asubha), three yogis; so totally 89 yogis.
(Here Sayadaw did not mention on the seventeen yogis. It was possible that they continued with the contemplation of the mind.)
The skeleton will not arise by itself. If you want it to appear, you must incline the mind toward the skeleton inside the body. At first, we contemplate the mind (i.e., the bhavaṅga meditation in lying down posture). This is because taṇhā can come in and stick with the mind. We contemplate the mind to know it as not mine (i.e., as anatta). After some time, the khandha house (i.e., physical body) afflicted with pain and aches. Taṇhā possesses the mind and desire to move.
Do you follow its desire or abandon it? At the time of abandoning it, the lying posture is not easy to make give and take (i.e., for taṇhā). And it is also easy to abandon it (it is not easy in sitting posture). I have been told you that taṇhā is anatta and this body form (rūpa) also anatta. So when taṇhā mind is asking for it, and you don’t allow it by contemplating with abandonment. So in the process of the following mind, taṇhā can’t stick with it. Therefor, taṇhā is cut off from the process of the mind. Taṇhā nirodho nibbānaṃ—the cessation of taṇhā is Nibbāna. The mind has no suffering that dukkha ceases. Even though it has taken three hours long sitting or lying down, the mind doesn’t want to move the body. This is because free from clinging with diṭṭhi to this khandha (body) as my body. So it frees from taṇhā, mana and diṭṭhi. The mind becomes purified. It falls into bhavaṅga (i.e., samādhi) and the mind and body stay by its own (i.e., not mix-up together). Don’t take it as the mind and body are separate. Don't look at the body and the mind as separate. Originally, they are this way (i.e., by its nature). Connecting the mind and the body is the nature of taṇhā. Now they are on their own and not mixing up. This khandha was built by taṇhā that when causes are there it will ask for it. The khandha is built by him(taṇhā), so the owner appears.
Therefore, taṇhā is anatta. Knowing it as not atta-diṭṭhi and become sammā-diṭṭhi. This is the path mind (magga-citta). The path knowledge (magga-ñāṇa) is contemplating with analytically or discerning. The functional knowledge (kicca-ñāṇa) of truth of the cessation (nirodha-sacca) is if taṇhā arises and abandons it.
The truth of cessation—nibbāna exists. The mind was suffered before by sticking with diṭṭhi-taṇhā. It’s free from taṇhā by abandoning of clinging taṇhā. No suffering with cessation of taṇhā is nirodha sacca. Before is taking it as me. Before it was treated as me. Diṭṭhi me or I-ness falls off by seeing taṇhā. Taṇhā can’t stick with it.
Free from taṇhā is nibbāna. If taṇhā exists and become dukkha khandha.
If no taṇhā exists and dukkha khandha ceases. This is nirodha sacca. These four noble truths arise. Do you kill it by following it? Or seeing rightly?
You know that the four elements of the khandha are afflicted, but there is no dukkha, and dukkha is stopped. Before, it was you who wanted to struggle, move and correct it.
That was taṇhā went and combined with diṭṭhi. It was covered with delusion (moha) and followed by sorrow, lamentation, pain and grief. Asking for change was taṇhā and taking it as me was diṭṭhi. You were happy for a moment by changing it. This is the happiness of worldling, and it’ll never end. It needs to be conditioned forever. If no taṇhā and the mind is left by its own. There is no fire of dukkha. You sat for three hours, and did the teacher torture you? This is exposing of the taṇhā and contemplating of taṇhā with the path factors (maggaṅga).
(There are a lot of dhamma reflections here. We are fear of pains and attachment to pleasure that will never free from taṇhā and dukkha forever. This is running away from pains which is hatred (dosa) and chasing for pleasures which is greed (lobha). So we are playing hide and seek game all the time with the two extremes of kilesa enemies and becoming a real lunatic. Some of the great lunatics are those world leaders, politicians, some rich people and economists, etc.
During the ānāpāna practice when taṇhā comes and grasps the mood and without giving it, instead you send the mind towards the tip of the nostril. It frees from taṇhā and gains happiness. At scales like samādhi you stick the mind with sati to free from such and dukkha that taṇhā can’t stick to it. Now, you contemplate directly on taṇhā which comes and pulling the mind (i.e., bhavaṅga method). This way you see the taṇhā which is the builder of the khandha house. Vipassanā yānika (i.e., insight based yogis) must see taṇhā first.
(This may be the reason in vipassanā practice, when dukkha vedanā arises, it’s not allowed to change or correct the body, otherwise, yogi don’t know about taṇhā; whereas samatha yānika (samatha based yogis) can change it because of not dealing with taṇhā directly. We can see this point in the following talk. U Candima’s three ways of practice are vipassanā-yānika methods.)
When taṇhā and dosa can’t stick to the mind, it becomes purity of the mind. After that, you see the khandha (i.e., paramatā khandha). This is after seeing taṇhā and will see the khandha (with the polluted mind can’t see the real khandha). Now the yogis have seen the 32 parts of the body, skeleton and the elements.
Could you contemplate anicca, dukkha and anatta with taṇhā mind? Even if you can do it only temporarily. When dukkha vedanā arises, it becomes moving and changing again. So taṇhā comes back again. The contemplation is wrong because it doesn’t free from taṇhā.
(Here we have to know that some systems, e.g., the Mahāsi system, yogi with sati, contemplates whatever distinct at the present moment arising, it is developing samādhi to overcome the hindrances and not vipassanā yet.)
Now here the yogis sat for three hours with no desire for changing or moving the body.
That is no diṭṭhi and taṇhā. With the desire mind of corrections to kill taṇhā, it’ll never end. Now diṭṭhi and taṇhā are fallen away. Taṇhā is abandoned by itself, if you are chasing to kill it, it will become atta-diṭṭhi. It comes according to your desire.
Here now there is no chasing and killing of taṇhā. You have to contemplate to see it by discerning or analytically. If the following mind follows the desire of the preceding mind (i.e., taṇhā mind) and it falls into taṇhā hand. Now taṇhā can’t stay at the khandha house built by him. The khandha house with no taṇhā is happiness.
You stay with the happy mind (worldlings are the opposite, with taṇhā crazy for dukkha) staying with the happy mind is fruition (phala). The path (magga) is seeing taṇhā.
The following mind (i.e., contemplate mind) abandons the preceding mind (taṇhā mind) is equanimity of mind toward formation (saṅkhāra-upekkhā, here refers to taṇhā). The cessation of suffering is nirodha sacca. Staying with the happy mind is fruition (phala). Fruition is the result. The process is saṅkhāra-upekkhā, gotrabhū, magga and phala.
Vipassanā-yānika has to proceed in this manner (way). That have to be abandoned first of the coarser taṇhā related to the habit of the worldlings. It’s the explosive kilesa which sends beings to painful existences (apāyas).
Not all the diṭṭhi fall away yet. The way of insight practice appears to yogis.
Before, in the ānāpāna practice you sent the mind to the tip of the nostril and dukkha vedanā from below pulling it down there. That made the yogis think that dukkha existed in the physical form (body). When it stayed at the nostril, it became happy. Now you know that suffering exists in the mind (when attaining jhāna).
The mind by itself is not taṇhā. Mental factor (cetasika) of greed is only taṇhā. (The only function of the mind is simply to know.) Taṇhā goes and combines with khandha. (Taṇhā is the creator and worship by man everywhere. The world will never be in peace and harmony. See today's world problems.) Now, the yogis contemplate the preceding mind with the following mind of maggaṅga that taṇhā can’t associate with the khandha. It abandons by itself and taṇhā not arise. Is there any dissolution? What kind of rise and fall have ended? The rise and fall of taṇhā must be ended.
[ Here is different from the Mogok system of contemplation. U Candima’s way is directly to contemplate taṇhā. Even in one of Sayadawji’s talks, it mentioned that directly contemplate taṇhā is better. It seems to me that it may be more difficult. Others are contemplation of khandhas; so taṇhā not arise. Thae-inn Gu Sayadaw contemplate vedanā (mental feelings), so do not connect to taṇhā. ]
It stays with magga and phala minds. [at first, it appears with path mind once and then fruition (phala) minds continue.] The mind is not finished. You can’t make the mind into ending (If the mind stops, one will die. The khandha process of this life will continue until the kammic result of the past kamma is finished.) It has been said that it seems similar to let the rise and fall of the mind come to an end. Khandha must exist. This khandha’s rise and fall still exist. The mind arises in this khandha no taṇhā exists. The rise and fall of taṇhā-diṭṭhi must end. This is practicing the ending of rise and fall of taṇhā-diṭṭhi. This is not a practice to end the anicca of this khandha. Buddha and arrant still have khandhas but no taṇhā-diṭṭhi.
(To understand this point clear, I refer to study Mogok Sayadawji’s talks on Paṭiccasamuppāda Dhamma).
(Sayadaw asked one of the yogis who was discerning of the skeleton to get up.)
All who have seen the skeleton looking at me with the minds as before you discerned the skeletons. Open your eyes and look at me. You have to objectify with knowledge (ñāṇa) to reach the internal skeleton. (The yogi—a man who was standing, said that he discerned it.) could you objectify it as man or woman? (No ! It doesn’t exist. I only see the bones.) Do bones have life and soul? (It doesn’t have.) Do you have any lustful mind on the bones? (I don’t have it.) Do you have any anger after seeing it? (No! I don’t.) You have seen your khandha as bones. Likewise, you also see the external as bones. Are there any two things? (It doesn’t exist.)
It only has one kind that becomes one mind. On the seeing object man and woman, taṇhā, mana, diṭṭhi and all the eleven kinds of fire ceased. It stops at just seeing. Not seeing the skeleton and by seeing the external form with conceptual attention as man and woman wrong view arises and taṇhā, mana, diṭṭhi kilesa appear.
Instead of seeing the skeleton and seeing it as a man, a woman with beauty; kilesa arises. Do you have to chase and kill the kilesa? Kilesa’s mind is the result and wrong view is the cause. If you want to extinguish the result, you have to kill the cause.
Before, you see it as a man, a woman; lobha, dosa and moha arise, because of wrong seeing. If not seeing as a man, a woman; lobha, dosa kāma do not arise. Only seeing as skeleton and defilement of lust (kāma-kilesa) and diṭṭhi cease from behind. This is not chasing and killing them. Contemplate with "insight knowledge" to the internal nature of the object of attention (i.e., skeleton) that makes the wrong seeing of diṭṭhi—taṇhā cease (i.e., man or woman). Because of the object (ārammaṇa) and wrong attention, kilesa arises. The way of practising for Dhamma appears. Diṭṭhi-taṇhā end is the ending of rise and fall.
The ending of rise and fall is Nibbāna.
According to the dependent co-arising, it stops as just seeing. Dhamma already exists in the khandha. Before, you didn’t see it as a skeleton. It was also a skeleton before. Do they have some mind? People can’t see the different minds. Ariyans can see the worldlings. In practising Dhamma Diṭṭhi has to be fallen off first, and taṇhā also falls together. Some said that after killing diṭṭhi and to kill taṇhā.
(That is also true. According to the Buddha and Mogok Sayadaw, the first path (magga) is exterminated diṭṭhi, but with this diṭṭhi—the coarser taṇhā which leads beings to fall into apāyas also eradicated. For example, from 100% of taṇhā, ¼ (25%) of it is eradicated.)
If delusion (moha or ignorance) sticks with us, lobha, dosa, diṭṭhi, mana and 11 kinds of fire are with it. You don’t need to kill them one by one (wholesome and unwholesome are in groups). The mind is purified when it frees from anger, imitation of toad (Vammika Sutta) and the poison of four vipers (Āsīvisopama Sutta) (āsīvisopama sutta, SN 35.238 and vammika sutta, MN 23). It’s also correct in accordance with the suttas.
Continue to dig or demolish the ant-hill and find a forked path (In Vammika Sutta). This forked path is related to the ways of samatha-yānika and vipassanā-yānika. The yogi has to walk on one of these paths.
(Sayadaw continued to speak to the yogi who discerned the skeleton)
I give you contemplation on the body—kāyānupassanā. Does the skeleton have kilesa for you? It doesn’t have kilesa. It’s calming down the kilesa that called as samatha.
The skeleton has the nature of hardness, it’s not me and not him. It’s the calcium element of stone. Discerning with the contemplation rightly as there is no atta (self) or belonging to self is insight—vipassanā. Contemplating it as unstable with dissolution is anicca-vipassanā. Contemplating it as no essence is anatta-vipassanā. You can’t attain it by making it happen. It’s like a cup with water in it. Can you get water with no cup? (No! I don’t).
Some say that samatha and vipassanā are separated. It was like the cup and water can’t separate. (Here samatha refers to jhāna samādhi and not include khaṇika samādhi.)
[ Some reflection on jhāna samādhi and khaṇika samādhi:
There are a lot of differences and arguments among scholars and meditation teachers on how much samādhi power is necessary for vipassanā. In Suttas the Buddha refers to sammā-samādhi as the four jhānas. The commentary also accepts the khaṇika-samādhi, and upacāra-samādhi. The Burmese tradition relies a lot more on the commentary (including suttas) than the Thai tradition—especially the Thai forest tradition. I have never heard a Thai forest teacher mention khaṇika-samādhi. So they took the dry-insight system as thinking without samādhi. Here also Sayadaw U Candima has the same idea and view.
Ajahn Lee Dhammadaro, a disciple of Ajahn Mun was very skilled in samādhi and had psychic ability. He was the one who stayed for a very short period with Ajahn Mun, and was allowed by his teacher to practise by himself in the forest. He also accepted the three types of samādhi for vipassanā (see: “The Heart of the Craft”).
On ānāpāna sati even many people have different views and practices. The Buddha Dhamma is profound and extensive, not easy to penetrate or justify. In the suttas, the Buddha mentioned two important points in samādhi and vipassanā practice, i.e., overcome the five hindrances and develop the factors of enlightenment or the path factors. If the suttas and commentary have differences, always take the suttas teaching as standard. The Buddhist path is not an easy path, and it needs a lot of practice with perseverance, patience, endurance with pains, aches and difficulties. Thae-inn Gu Sayadaw and U Candima are very good examples. Some people have perfections in their past lives, and even without a good teacher to guide them, they can find their own way and succeed. A very good example is Guang Ching Old Monk who was illiterate like Soon Loon Sayadaw. Sayadaw U Candima is also a good example.
Guang Ching Old Monk (1891-1986) - Born in a poor family in Fujian Province, China. When he was four or five years old, his parents needed money and sold him to a childless couple as an adopted son. His adoptive parents passed away when he was 14 years old. His parents’ relatives sent him away, and he had to work for his life at a young age. He was ordained in a Chan (Zen) monastery at the age of 20. He was illiterate that his teacher only taught him reciting Amitabha mantra. Stayed in a cave in a forest for 13 years. After the 2nd world war, he came to Taiwan and lived as a wandering monk for some time. In 1986, he put down his burdened khandha forever—eternal peace. Before he passed away said these words to his pupils—
“No coming and no going, No more business”
For most Mahāyanists, they like to come and go and have strong bhava-taṇhā. Venerable Master had found the Pure Land and Amitabha in the Heart, but for most people they are looking for it outside, which is saṃsāra and will never end.
Some of his short teachings: On ascetic practices; On women; Living in a cave; Importance of transcending dukkha by practice; How to transcend self view; The problem of self; on the Diamond Sutra; Importance of right mindfulness (kyant nian); Mentioning many times on Arahants (most Mahāyanists don’t want to talk about).
Mentioning western knowledge as wrong knowledge; (It’s quite true, see all the internal and external pollution around the world which can bring the world into destruction. Mogok Sayadawji also mentioned this important point in some of his talks.);
The differences between Taoist adepts and arahant; Human world is the main station to other realms of existence; On western education and knowledge; Experience of reciting mantra; Absorption in sound (mantra); A Buddhist practitioner born into other religion and what happened to his practice; Where is pure land? Master: “In the mind (heart).” The Sixth Patriarch Hui-Neng also gave the same answer, but most people were looking outside, like the Rohitassa Hermit (i.e., as a hermit by psychic power and died, but never reached the end of the world. Later he was born as a deity with the same name.). They will only find saṃsāra and dukkha outside the world. Humans are like worms in the pit toilet, clung to unclean worldly pleasures.
Born as humans for only practice to transcend dukkha and not for sensual pleasure; Mind is the creator of 31 realms of existence; The purpose of becoming an ordained person; Differences between mind and body seclusion; How to use one’s own practice in daily life (e.g., like sharpening a razor); On near his death, on illness and how to deal with it; On Master Xu-Yun’s life; How to deal with pain?
If we look at these lists, the practice of the Old Master does not look like bodhisattava path, but is more inclined to Theravada way or the Buddha’s way. Therefore, he knew how to end dukkha without a teacher. He had pāramī and skilled in samādhi. ]
Contemplation on the skeleton will become arahant or at least anāgāmi. This was what the Buddha said in the sutta. Some say that this is samatha and not vipassanā.
(Thai forest tradition also use skeleton and 32 part of the body for vipassanā contemplation. They do not distinguish between concept and reality because the Burmese concept and reality are not directly mentioned in the scriptures (suttas). Some of U Candima’s view is similar to the Thai forest.)
The wrong view of “Man and woman” falls away by discerning the skeleton, but not forever. Both diṭṭhi and taṇhā have fallen, and the doubt of seeing whether the skeleton is a man or a woman has ceased (vicikicchā).
Contemplating many times on the one dhamma (eka-dhamma) of the skeleton could become up to arahantship. The Buddha asked the monks to discern the skeleton all the time was to develop the samatha object (ārammaṇa). After a while no development is needed, only seeing the skeleton (in the mind eye). Could taṇhā arise by seeing a skeleton? (No!) This is the cessation of taṇhā.
(We should not be confused by the way of U Candima’s explanation. He uses the four truths to explain sīla, samādhi and paññā according to its level—from coarse, middle and refined kilesas respectively.)
Do you have to kill it by action? (only with right view—knowledge by seeing its true nature). In this way, vipassanā bhāvanā increases. The clinging falls away. Now you have arrived on the path—the cause to the cessation of taṇhā mana and diṭṭhi. You die in this way at the time of death. If you die like this, the mind will not tire, and you know how to die. Bad mental signs or images (nimittas) can’t arise by having the skeleton meditation object (i.e., the moment of dying). You all have the kammas (and kammic results) with your from continual saṁsāra. It’s not sure what kinds of kamma will arise. You cannot feel safe with these kammas (good, bad or mixed kammas).
Now you get this knowledge sign (ñāṇa nimitta—i.e., skeleton) that closes the destination sign (gati-nimitta).
[ On living, dying and rebirth:
The matters above are very important for every human being on earth. Most people do not know and understand the Buddha Dhamma; they do not even know how to live in their present life. So it is more difficult for them to understand how to die. Never mind that they don't know how to die, they don't even want to hear about death, and they are not interested in it. They polluted their minds with worldly knowledge and unwholesome education from many kinds of media. Without the Buddha’s Noble Education, we don’t know about the right living, dying, death and rebirth. Therefore, Dhamma Education is very important for everyone.
For most people, dying is also very difficult because very few die smoothly, peacefully without pains and aches. If we check our minds in everyday life with the 12 links of Paṭiccasamuppāda process, most of our minds associated with the fools of lobha, dosa and moha. Therefore, the Buddha said the frequent homes of the beings are the four painful destinations.
With the negative mental states at death, one will get painful rebirths as a result. At dying the mind is easily playing tricks even to a practising yogi. Sayadaw U Candima mentioned his father’s story in a talk as follows:
After two years as monk, his father passed away with illness, i.e., in 1977. It seems to me his father did the practice under his guidance. He also knew his future birth after death and the time of his death. The last time before his death when he met his father, he said his prediction of the time of death was wrong. His father said that it was not wrong because he tried to find out if he could postpone the time for death. Sayadaw asked him to let go, and the next morning he passed away. After some time, his father came to see him as a tree spirit (rukkha-devatā). Sayadaw said to him, he thought that he was reborn in the Tusita Heaven. The reason he became a tree spirit was his mind was inclining toward Sayadaw during the moment of death, and missed the meditative object. Sayadaw’s mother was unlucky, she did not do the practice and after death took rebirth as a SNAKE.
Sayadaw’s past life was a practising monk who seemed to be quite mature in his practice. At the time of death, he was not in the jhānic state of mind, so he was born again as a human being. In this talk, Sayadaw mentioned that at near death died with skeleton nimitta. In Mogok Sayadaw’s talks mentioned with impermanence of sign and near death could realize Nibbāna. If not possible die with impermanence that’s taking rebirth in heaven will enter the stream there (this was mentioned by the Buddha)
Here, dying with vipassanā knowledge is better than samatha sign. There are a few suttas the Buddha gave instructions to sick or dying monks on vipassanā teachings. Therefore, Dhamma practice is the only effective way at dying.]
If you want Nibbāna you have to abandon taṇhā in the mind. How to abandon it? You must contemplate to discern taṇhā. Before you abandoned taṇhā with sīla and samādhi (i.e., ānāpāna, scales like samādhi and bhavaṅga meditations).
Now you are using vipassanā abandoning of taṇhā. So two kinds of abandonment of taṇhā appear to yogis. You get the good method for the cessation of diṭṭhi-taṇhā. Continue forward of the practice is your job or task (there is no more for the teacher's duty). With the many contemplations (bhāvetabba) taṇhā becomes thinner and thinner and at last it’ll cut off (this is the same as in Thai forest tradition). You’ll know it by yourself and no need to ask anyone.
On Samādhi and Vipassanā:
[This is a short talk in connection with the above talk. Here, I just take out the points.] Without overcoming (strip off) dukkha vedanā, you can’t practice vipassanā. Samatha-based yogi (samatha-yānika) is like someone who strips off all the skin of a mango and eats the whole fruit. Insight-based yogi (vipassanā-yānika) is like someone who takes off the skin bit by bit and eats the mango bit by bit. Another example is like cutting a log bit by bit and finishing it.
Bhavaṅga meditation is suppressing taṇhā for longer period (vikkhambhanaṃ). It’s only for temporary and will arise back again (i.e., samatha practice). Therefore, you have to continue and practise the diamond meditation (Mahāpallaṅka).
Another way of practice is after attaining samādhi with the bhavaṅga method, continue to contemplate the arising minds (i.e., cittānupassanā). If you’re success in bhavaṅga meditation and you know about the nature of taṇhā. Continue with the Diamond meditation is pulling out the taṇhā Root and destroy it. After the path knowledge (magga-ñāṇa) and when fruition mind arises (phala-citta) bhavaṅga vibrates, and it becomes cool and clear. After you get up from the sitting, it continues for some time (most scholars-especially westerners can’t accept the view of after the path and fruition minds arise. Only yogis who have experience know about it.)
In everyday life, when encounter with difficulties and problems by concentrating at the bhavaṅga it becomes cool.
(This is not mentioned by any of the other teachers. They only mention how to check what you think you have already achieved in the "path knowledge" and how to enter the "fruit knowledge" state.)
This happens because the fruition mind looks after the yogi by forbidding the rough body and mind state to arise (In this talk, Sayadaw mentioned this experience of some of his students. Sayadaw encourages yogis practise Diamond Method because it exposes taṇhā and the best way to dealing with it, but it was tough and the yogi needs courage, patience, endurance and determination.
Differences between Samatha-yānika and vipassanā-yānika
In gist, there are two ways to vipassanā process, samatha based and vipassanā based yogis. Samatha means to make the mind calm and peaceful. It’s using the objects of peacefulness and calmness for the practice (e.g., colour discs). Whatever way samatha or vipassanā-yānikas according to the Vammika Sutta the yogi has to put aside dosa (anger and irritation) which is the toad. With the continuing digging, find two paths. Only after suppressing dosa toad, the yogi has to walk on one of the paths.
Without suppressing dosa, the yogi can’t do samatha or insight (vipassanā).
According to Āsīvisopama Sutta (SN 35.238) the yogi also has to run away to be freed from the four vipers. Samatha means the objects which calm the mind down. Why must the yogi take this object? Before the mind calms down in every sitting, the yogi is oppressed by dukkha vedanā from below. It’s not peaceful because of dosa mind. What does samatha look like? As an example, you’re fighting with an enemy. Before you meet him, exercise your body strength by weight lifting, and then you get strength. You’re not meeting him yet, but it’s for sure. Before you meet him, you have to develop your strength. Again, you practise martial arts (e.g., kung-fu). When you meet the enemy, you are not afraid or terrified. And then you find the enemy and kill him, and you win in the battle (i.e., taṇhā the enemy, but modern people worship it).
The purpose of practising samatha is taṇhā enemy can’t be won directly because it pulls the mind toward dukkha vedanā. Thus, it avoids the taṇhā, develops strength, and then resolves with the taṇhā face to face. For example, the object of earth disc (paṭhavī kasiṇa) may free from kilesa hindrances, and it’s a peaceful object. Stick the mind on this object is called samatha object (ārammaṇa). During the sitting meditation with the earth disk when dukkha vedanā is arising and can’t contemplate it. So the yogi has to correct the posture or adjust it and continue the practice. In this way, with contemplation and adjustment of the posture develop samādhi.
(Teachers have different views and opinions on practice. Some teachers said that the samādhi—i.e., jhāna practice can correct the posture when pain arises and is unbearable, but in vipassanā should not be correct. Here is U Candima’s view. Some teachers said that in vipassanā if it becomes unbearable, correct the body with mindfulness.)
If the yogi becomes tired from sitting, then do walking meditation with mindfulness.
(This way of practice is related to the Thai forest monks. Ajahn Mun and some of his disciples had done a lot of walking meditation.)
The yogi has to exercise all the times and not letting the mind goes outward with sati sticks to the mind (object). This is exercising the mind to have strength. This is the way of samatha based yogi. He has to exercise all the times to make the mind has sati and strength.
[ The main point here is samatha based yogi can change the postures Here also making an important point by him is samatha based yogi should not stay in the cities or in societies for jhāna practices, he needs bodily seclusion, sights and sound are great hindrances for jhāna development. Even these hindrances can affect the mind, which attains jhānas and psychic powers. There are many stories from the Buddha’s time to present.
In Loong Por Tate's auto-bio, he mentioned the following story. He stayed in a forest retreat with a small group of monks. He was the most senior one among them. There were two monks who could read or know other minds—Ajahn Chorp and Tan (Phra) Khuen. Loong Por Chorp was very skilled in samādhi. One time he was traveling in a forest alone at night (to the Burmese border—if my memory is right) with a small candle light. At one place he met a tiger and instantly went into samādhi by standing there. Tan Khuen also had good samādhi, and he said that when walking it seemed his feet were not touching the ground. After some time, some more monks left the area, leaving Ajahn Tate and Tan Khuen behind. One day Ajahn Tate left Tan Khuen alone in the forest, went up to the hill and did his own seclusion.
One day a woman and two or three men from a village came to the place, and she flirted with the men. Tan Khuen saw the incident and lost his samādhi. When Ajahn Tate came down from the hill, he told him wanting to disrobe. Loong Por persuaded him in many ways and encouraged him to develop samādhi again. He left him and later returned to lay life.]
With sati in stability and strength, jhānic factors arise. Some take themselves as vipassanā yānikas and noting with sati in all postures. Is this vipassanā yānika? Noting with sati in four postures is samatha yānika.
(l don't know where U Candima got his idea and view. The Mahāsi system is called vipassanā yānika, which seems to come from the commentary.)
If you practice ānāpāna noting the air at the nostril but don’t correct the posture with lifting, moving, etc. l want you to contemplate on the primary object (mūla- kammaṭṭhāna, here ānāpāna).
If dukkha vedanā arises and moving away from it and contemplate the primary object. For examples—a monk was eaten by a tiger and the monk Tissa who broke his legs with a rock. Both of them did not pay attention to dukkha vedanā. Must keep the mind stable on the basic object (i.e., vipassanā yānika). If samatha yānika can't overcome pain, he has to correct his posture.
With a lot of practice, sati becomes stable in the mind which has strength, and jhānic factors arise. If the mind becomes happy, it doesn't leave the object. (the power of pīti and sukha). Therefore, the mind is not inclining toward pain down there. Samatha-yānika has to practice in this way.
[Here it is good to compare the two strengths of jhāna and ñāṇa (absorption and insight knowledge).
A disciple of Mahākassapa—the power of the 4th rūpa-jhāna
A disciple of Mahākassapa attained the 4th rūpa-jhāna. One day he went alms round and met a woman in his uncle's home. He had lust on this woman and lost his jhāna attainment. He disrobed and stayed with his uncle. Furthermore, he was a lazy person that his uncle threw him out, and met with bad guys and became a thief.
One day, he was arrested, and the king ordered him to be executed. He was taken to the cemetery for execution and on the way, he met his teacher Mahākassapa, who reminded him to develop his jhāna. He attained jhāna before the execution. Likewise, he was put on the wooden cross and speared by the executioner.
Not only that, but he did not have any fear and pain that amazed the public who came and watched the execution. And he was hit with a sword again, but did not die. Therefore, he was sent back to the king, who took him to the Buddha. The Buddha gave a discourse, and he entered the stream. Later he was ordained again and became an arahant.
Novice Uttara—the disciple of Sāriputta: the power of knowledge
The youth Uttara was a brahmin and had many good qualities; therefore, well known and praised by people. His news was heard by the minister and also a judge called Vassakāra of Rājagaha. He came to Uttara and made an inquiry. The news was true, so he directly made a proposal to Uttara for his daughter’s hands. But Uttara's pāramī was quite mature, and he told him about his intention for living a homeless life to end dukkha. So Vassakāra had left with displeasure.
Later, Uttara met Sāriputta and was ordained by him as a Novice at 19-years-old. One day Sāriputta became ill and Uttara went out in the early morning for alms round to look for medicine for his teacher. On the way he found a lake, put down his alms-bowl and washed his face. At that time, some thieves with stolen packages ran for their lives and were followed behind by people. They arrived at the place and threw down the stolen things into his alms-bowl. The people following behind arrived at the place and found the things in his alms-bowl. They accused him as a thief and sent him to the judge Vassakāra. He had a grudge on Uttara and ordered him to death with no inquiry. The Buddha knew all these things, but he could not do anything instantly, so he had to wait for the time being. This outcome came from Uttara's past life evil deed—the kammic result. He was put to death on the cross and suffered with pain.
The Buddha came to him and touched his head with his hand, and then asked him to forgive the executioners, the judge and the owners because all these things happened by his past kamma. The Buddha was instructing him to cut-off attachment to this body and turning his mind toward Nibbāna which was the ending of dukkha khandha.
With contemplation, the mind had strong pīti and entered samādhi, contemplating the khandha with samādhi power developed insight step by step became arahant with six abhiññā. From there he flew back to the monastery by air. The monks asked him how he managed to overcome the pain. He answered that before he had already discerned anicca. Therefore, it was not difficult for him to neglect the pains concentrating on the anicca khandha.
From these two stories, we know how the monks above, eaten by a tiger and with the broken legs, overcome dukkha vedanā. The Buddha always gave instructions on insight practice to gravely ill monks. Sometimes jhāna is not very reliable, and it is easy to lose its power because of the pain of being close to death. See the monks Godhika (SN 4.23 Godhikasuttaṃ) and Assaji (SN 22.88 Assajisuttaṃ) in Saṃyutta Nikāya.]
Without getting any jhānas by doing anicca, dukkha, anatta is not samatha nor vipassanā. If you're still moving and correcting, the body has not attained jhāna yet. If you want to cultivate jhānas, you can't stay at a monastery and village, you have to go to the forest to develop it. You can practice it only freeing from disturbances of sight, sound, etc. This is the way of the samatha yānika's practice. (see the beginning period of Ajahn Mun and his disciples’ lifestyle in their biographies.)
So, here I'll show you the vipassanā yānika way some of you attain jhāna with ānāpāna (And then Sayadaw continued to talk about samatha-yānika)
Samatha yānika practice must be complete with jhānic factors, and without it, you can’t do the following contemplation of anicca dukkha, anatta. Even after attaining the first jhāna, you have to exercise to become skilled for 4, 5, 6 months.
( He talked about five ways of exercising for mastery
① reflect on the jhāna factors
② could enter jhāna at any time
③ come out at anytime
④ determine to time span
⑤ mastery in reviewing )
Only that the first jhāna can be stable. Only the mind has stability on the jhāna factors, freeing the mind from samādhi. This is called the equanimity of samādhi—samādhi-uppekkha. This is equanimity again on samādhi. (i.e., come out from jhāna) Strip off from dukkha vedanā is jhānupekkha (it seems to me this is referred to vipassanā yānika teaching in his center) Coming out from first jhāna samādhi and contemplate mind and body, not enjoying in jhāna pleasure. Contemplate the jhāna mental states or jhānic minds is insight (vipassanā).
If contemplating the internal khandha, it is also insight. This is samatha yānika. It's not easy to strip off (come out) from pīti and sukha. You didn't have that before and don't know about it. The body flesh is like the smoke and wool of clouds rising up by rapture (pīti). It's not easy to control the extreme pīti pleasure.
You need the mind and body strength to control this samādhi. For example, if you use a new engine in an old car, it won't hold up. The physical body can't bear the strength of samādhi.
People nowadays are very weak and cannot establish this samadhi for the elderly. Therefore, it is not easy for people nowadays to develop this samadhi. (Sayadaw talked about how to develop jhānas in stages). From the first jhāna, abandon connecting and sustaining (vitakka and vicāra), and then continue to stay with rapture and pleasure (pīti and sukha), it is jhānupekkha (i.e., the second jhāna), have to develop by stages in this way.
To overcome delusion(moha), we have to develop sati. Therefore, the Buddha had to teach the four establishments of mindfulness. Our true refuge is Sati. To attain jhāna is also sati. To overcome lobha dosa and moha is also sati. Absence (void) of sati humans will suffer. Sati can overcome eleven kinds of fire. After sati the other strength is effort or perseverance(viriya). They are like a sword with its handle. Only then it can strike and cut (sati = sword, viriya = handle). Another strength is faith (saddhā). If you have these three qualities or strengths, you'll never suffer and fall into painful (apāya) existences.
(In the seven groups of the wings to awakening (bodhi-pakkhiya-dhamma); viriya is 9 times, sati=8 times, paññā=5 times, samādhi=4 times, saddhā= 2 times, the others are one time each. From viriya to saddhā related to the five spiritual faculties, hence its importance.)
If no lobha, dosa, moha in the mind, the mind is purified and is called citta-visuddhi. You can't contemplate insight if the mind is not purified. Even if you attain the first jhāna, the mind does not move. It doesn't think about the past and future.
The mind contemplates vipassanā is not thinking about the past and future. It is free from dukkha and sukha. The mind with rapture and pleasure has no lethargy, and the yogi can sit for a long time.
[In gist of this talk: Vipassanā yānika does not establish samatha alone, but together they develop sīla, samādhi, paññā, and the four truths. But the yogi develops the level of samādhi which overcomes pain (dukkha vedanā) and doing vipassanā. So Thae-inn Gu and U Candima Sayadaws’ teaching are vipassanā yānika way. Therefore, nearly all the Burmese systems are this way—according to U Candima’s view.
Samatha yānika way is after mastering the jhānas as samādhi-upekkha strip off from pīti and sukha (so the fourth jhāna is the best way) and contemplate insight to the jhānic minds or to the internal khandhas.]
On self-mortification and the spirits of the ancient monks
[ Here l gave a short outline on self-mortification and the spirits of the ancient monks from two of his short talks. ]
Some scholar and practicing monks criticized Thae-inn system on dealing with dukkha vedanā as self-mortification. Sayadaw said it was wrong because it was directly face to face battling with taṇhā kilesa.
He called it as four right striving (sammappadhāna). If it was the right way or practice to Nibbāna, one must even give up one's own life. Nibbāna can't attain by easy way and comfort (it's very interesting, Thae-inn Sayadaw and U Candima don't have teachers to guide them, their patience, endurance, determination and effort dealing with pains and difficulties led to quick success.
Nowadays, U Candima's success as a good teacher is his instruction of how to overcome dukkha vedanā.) If you're following the comfortable way of correcting and lifting (or) changing the body, it becomes the wrong path (miccha-maggaṅga)
In the world there are wrong path (miccha-maggaṅga) and the Buddha Dhamma of right path (sammā-maggaṅga)
[In this sense, all worldly knowledge are wrong paths which never lead to true happiness and peace or transcend all dukkhas.]
Killing the coarser kilesas is practicing Dhamma, i.e., temporary abandonment (tadaṅga). With the attainment of jhāna, samādhi is suppressing it (vikkhambhana). After that, complete abandonment is the path (magga).
Vipassanā yānika is practising sīla, samādhi, maggaṅga and the four truths at the same time. (This is the reason why he explained samādhi practice with the four truths. Similar to this kind of explanation can be seen in Mogok Sayadaw's Dhamma talks.)
Any practice which is not in accordance with the noble eightfold path is self-mortification. In worldly life, the search for money with pain; and exhaustion for sensual pleasure are two extreme ways of self-mortification and indulgence in pleasure. (This point is good for reflection—all worldly searches are ignoble search.)
Some criticized Thae-inn way as rough and tough. It does not like samatha practice nor vipassanā practice (i.e., doesn't have clear distinction). No-one shuns away from feeling (here main emphasis is pains and aches). One kind of feelings is always with us (pleasant, painful and neutral). The physical body (rūpa) is disturbed, afflicted, deformed, changed so that we are not able to shun away from it. Even though we can shun away from it by correcting and changing at near death is impossible.
He tells about some ancient monks and their noble spirits—such as monk Tissa with the broken legs, a monk eaten by tiger, a monk bitten by a poisonous snake during the talk, etc.; with patience and endurance, they continued their practice without any concern for the body. He also mentioned the modern yogis who come to the centre to practice and give themselves much comfort by bringing many things with them.
In this talk, Sayadaw also talked about his father’s death. This was after two years he became a monk. His father became ill, and he told him the day of his death.
On the predicted day Sayadaw stayed with him, but on that day his father did not die. So, the next day, he asked his father about this matter. His father wanted to know if he could postpone his death. But Sayadaw urged him to let go of the desire. On the same day, his father passed away (it could be possible because of his practice and strong desire). After death, he became a tree spirit and came to see Sayadaw.
Sayadaw thought he would take rebirth in Tusita heaven. According to the spirit, while approaching death, his mind flashed toward his son and missed the object of meditation by about one second. (If no practice, he may become a ghost or animal like the mother.) Therefore, at near death, our mind states are very important. If it is possible, a person should not die in a hospital. This person needs a quite and peaceful surroundings with no disturbances. If we do not practise before we die, it is very difficult to have a good rebirth.
Therefore, strive on ceaselessly,
Discerning and alert!
For information on Sayadaw U Candima's teaching and retreat:
Sayadaw U Candima wrote about his meditation teaching in Burmese called “The Way to Stream Entery”. This book was translated into English as “Theravada Meditation Art and Methodology”. The readers can find it on www.amazon.com as e-book: https://www.amazon.com/Ashin-Sandimar-AungLan-Sayadaw-ebook/dp/B07WK7D2QZ/ref=monarch_sidesheet
Note: If there are mistakes and misunderstandings, it is all my fault. I ask everyone's forgiveness. I hope the lives and practices of these two noble warriors inspire people to end their Dukkha in this present life.
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
According to the translator—Bhikkhu Uttamo's words, this is strictly for free distribution only, as a gift of Dhamma—Dhamma Dāna. You may re-format, reprint, translate, and redistribute this work in any medium.