Day 3: 19th October, 2002 (Eighteen Days In Solitude-- Instructional Dhamma Talks in Retreat)

revised on 2019-12-05

The first thing yogis have to be mindful is days are not waiting for us. Each day has been gone very quickly. The effectiveness and success of the practice must measure with sati. In Mogok Sayadaw’s talks mentioned the importance of sati. For all matters without sati is impossible. For mundane and supramundane matters and in everyday life, sati is important. Only by knowing these things, the yogis want to work hard with body and mind. Without sati and everything can be went wrong. Life is encircling with enemies. We’re moving around among every kinds of danger. Before crossing the motor way, you have to be mindful; in the beginning observing the left side, and in the middle of the road, then observing the right side. It could lead to death on crossing without observing. If you read the everyday newspaper, out of mindfulness that people encounter with death and dangers. (He talked about the 2002, Bali bombing in Indonesia.)

What happen in the surroundings? People are thinking and planning in many different ways to kill, torture and harm each other. (He also mentioned newsletter, booklets, etc, which were not allowed in Burma by the government of that time.) Someone took them to the tea shop without knowing it as illegal. And then he was arrested by military intelligence (M.I). These things happen in many countries (He talked about another example of 9/11, 2001 in USA). No one thought airplane could become a Bomb. In the world whenever hatred dhamma exists, killing and extermination are going on and on. If you don’t have sati and going on the way to death. You must have sati if you want to be free from the path of death.

[He gave another incident in China. A man put pesticides for rats in to the foods of a shop closed to his own shop with jealousy and killing some of the students because this shop attracted more students than his. Later he was arrested and put to death. This tragedy came from envy and selfishness (issā and macchariya) which the Buddha answered to Sakka (the God King) as the fetters led beings in hostility, violence, rivalry and ill will.] )

Hatred dhamma exists among people. And human lives are never in safety. (For example, nowadays terrorism at many parts of Middle East, some African countries, etc.) All these sufferings and problems are made by human beings. So, we need for practice to be with sati in daily life. (The above mentioned things were not only sati, but also including clearly comprehending – Sampajāna. See sati / sampajāna in the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta.)

Clocks are invented for having sati. The clocks are reminding us. Usually I get up at 3:30 a.m. For this I made ready for the alarm. But today the clock is not making sound. This monk is also out of sati. Today I was arriving there late and lay people were waiting for the toilets. A lack of mindfulness and inconvenience happened. Therefore the inconveniences and deaths are the cause of heedlessness. There is no realization if you can’t overcome it. You can’t arrive to the destination if you don’t practice with care. You can’t work with careless. You come here and practice for the sake of path and fruit. You become a person having sati in everything if you work hard for seven days. Every morning I come here for talk is reminding you. It needs to accept it. If not, even with the giving and attain nothing.

It's like the unconscious person if the sitting posture is not right. Yesterday I came and observe people and still in the same postures. Why it happens like this? Humans have habit patterns. We’re behaving in these ways. With warning, it only becomes temporary; and then going back to usual patterns. For example, a scorpion was drifting in a stream. A hermit was also nearby. He was looking for a stick near him and could find none. So, he took it with the hand. The holy man was doing the holy job. But the scorpion stung him instantly. Do you want to say that the scorpion had no gratitude? Its habit was with the touching and came the stinging. But the hermit also knew about that. If a being was in danger and wanting to help was his habit. This was the holy mind. Scorpion also had the scorpion mind. Therefore it fell back into the water. The hermit didn’t have the nature of wanting it to die. So, he saved it again.

No sati is also a habit. It uses to do this thing and just to do like this. In learning computer and typewriter, in the beginning, press the keys with sati and care. And you have to practice in this way. After that, no need careful sati (effortless sati). This is called conditioning. You should practice to become a habitual tendency. It's no need to do with difficulty and purpose if becoming a habitual tendency. With the observation of the yogis, some having experiences before can sit calmly for an hour. Some without experiences are changing this side to that side.

Now, it seems tiresome and difficult. And after used to it and become easy. People are 99% doing things without mindfulness. Now we have to do with sati that it does not become easy because we have made the habit of heedlessness. Insight practice and the life style of worldlings are opposite. In worldly life, we have been taught to live without sati. If we are skillful in the practice and it becomes natural. So, it was right what the Buddha taught as without sati was going towards death. Wanting to arrive to the deathless of Nibbāna, it does not need to do the special things. Only it needs how to have sati with the practice.

Today we’re ascending to the level of pīti (joy). You will know whether arriving to this level or not during the practice. Before dukkha, vedanā (painful sensations) were arising. Now they are reducing. Before, the body was heavy; and now it becomes light. In the eyes light appears as bright sparks. These are signs of Samādhi. Suddenly gooseflesh arises and wants to cry. Yesterday some were already happening with these things. Here wanting to cry is not the cause of sadness (dosa), but the cause of joy. If become sadness and gladness tears also come out. If these things happening and arrive to the third level (i.e., pīti). For these things to happen, you must contemplate in more details; before I asked you to contemplate the touching and the knowing. Let’s stop the breathing, and what happen to you? Wanting to breathe in arises. After breathing in and stop the breathing, and then what happen? Wanting to breathe out arises. Before, we didn’t know that wanting to breathe and breathing arose. Now, we know that with the wanting to breathe and it breathes. The yogi must contemplate to see this mind.

Before, it was with the breathing and knowing. Now, it wants to breathe and the breathing. So, there are two points here, know it with more in detail. More objects of contemplation make it become strong sati. These are the working of the wanting mind to breathe and the breath (rūpa). In eating It's also the same: wanting to eat mind and eating form (rūpa) process, wanting to handle the spoon and handling, etc. Before, at home, if you wanted to eat and just took the foods (i.e., without any contemplation. He also talked about wise reflection on consuming foods.) Here we don’t eat without contemplation. Contemplate to see the wanting mind. And contemplate to see the moving form (rūpa). By put food into the mouth and don’t you know the touching? There are totally six points: Wanting to breathe in and the breath coming in, wanting to breathe out and the breath going out, touching and knowing. With more noting and the mind doesn’t go out. In the beginning it’s difficult because we’re doing things without aware them.

At walking meditation, for example, if you start with the left foot. Wanting to lift the foot arises and then the lifting of the foot; wanting to step and step the foot. Wanting to put down the foot and then putting down the foot. It’s not reciting it with the lips. To know with notice of the mind wanting to lift the foot and the lifting of the form (rūpa) arise together. Before we only notice the touching. Now, put down the foot and also notice the knowing of the touching. Here are totally eight points. (i.e., wanting to lift and lifting; wanting to step and the stepping; wanting to put down and the putting down; touching and knowing = 2 * 4 = 8 points.)

In the breathing, there are six points and walking eight points respectively. Before, in the walking, we only note the touching and knowing. Now, all these activities are the works of kamma (actions) and not vipassanā. The reason for doing satipaṭṭhāna is, later there are levels like climbing up the mountain. For these, it needs the strength. Therefore it’s collecting strength and power. It’s important to have strong interest for doing it. This is seriousness. Can doing like this you must have faith (saddhā). The khandha also will show you. Today joy arises. The khandha becomes light and fresh. For two days, we didn’t do a lot of noting. And today it becomes more. Noting is samatha and knowing is paññā. Noting is to be mindful and become knowing is paññā.

(Sayadaw helped the yogis to make the preliminary duties for practice – parikamma. These are:

Offering the body and mind to the triple gems – Buddha, Dhamma and Saṅgha.

Asking forgiveness to the Buddha, Dhamma, Saṅgha, teachers, parents and other living beings for one had done anything wrong to them.

Pervading loving friendliness – metta to all living beings, etc.)

revised on 2019-12-05; cited from (posted on 2018-12-14)

  • Content of "Eighteen Days in Solitude"

  • Content of Publications of Ven. Uttamo

According to the translator— Ven. 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.

據英譯者—鄔達摩比丘交待,此譯文僅能免費與大眾結緣,作為法的禮物(Dhamma Dāna)。你可以在任何媒體上重新編製、重印、翻譯和重新發布這部作品。