Those who have come on board, though, are the various stages
of those who have been able to escape, as mentioned in the four
types of individuals, beginning with the ugghatitaññu,
vipacitaññu and neyya. These are the ones who have
come on board. How high or low they are able to go depends on
their individual capabilities. There are those who escape
completely — those free of defilement; there are those on the
verge of escape — the nonreturners (anagami); those in
the middle — the once-returners (sakidagami); and then
(sotapanna); and finally ordinary good people. Here we're
referring to the Buddha's ship in its general sense. He uses it
to salvage living beings, beginning from the day of his
Awakening until the point when the teachings of the religion
have no more meaning in the world's sensibilities. That's the
final point. Those who remain are the diseased who can find no
medicine or physician to treat their illnesses and are simply
awaiting their day to die.
So now we are swimming and struggling toward the Buddha's
large ship by making the effort of the practice. In particular,
now that we have ordained in the Buddha's religion and have
developed a feel for his teaching, this makes us even more
moved, even more convinced of all the truths that he taught
rightly about good and evil, right and wrong, hell, heaven, the
Brahma worlds, and nibbana,
all of which are realities that actually exist.
We have followed the principles of the Buddha's Dhamma, and
in particular the practice of meditation. Try to build up your
strength and ability without flagging, so as to resist and
remove all the things that coerce or exert a gravitational pull
on the heart. Don't let yourself become accustomed to their
pull. They pull you to disaster, not to anything else.
They're not forces that will pull you to what is auspicious.
They'll pull you to what's inauspicious, step by step, depending
on how much you believe, give in, and are overcome by their
pull. Suffering will then appear in proportion to how much you
unconsciously agree, give in, and are overcome by their pull.
Even though there are the teachings of the religion to pull you
back, the mind tends to take the lower path more than the path
of the religion, which is why it is set adrift. But we're not
the type to be set adrift. We're the type who are swimming to
release using the full power of our intelligence and abilities.
Wherever you are, whatever you do, always be on the alert
with mindfulness. Don't regard the effort of the practice as
tiring, as something wearisome, difficult to do, difficult to
get right, difficult to contend with. Struggle and effort: These
are the path for those who are to gain release from all stress
and danger, not the path of those headed downward to the depths
of hell, blind and in the dark by day and by night, their minds
consumed by all things lowly and vile.
The Noble Ones in the time of the Buddha practiced in
earnest. With the words, 'I go to the Buddha for refuge,' or 'I
go to the Sangha for refuge,' we should reflect on their Dhamma,
investigating and unraveling it so as to see the profundity and
subtlety of their practice. At the same time, we should take
their realizations into our hearts as good examples to follow,
so that we can conduct ourselves in the footsteps of their
practices and realizations.
'I go to the Buddha for refuge.' We all know how difficult it
was for him to become the Buddha. We should engrave it in our
hearts. Our Teacher was the first pioneer in our age to the good
destination for the sake of all living beings. Things were never
made easy for him. From the day of his renunciation to the day
of his Awakening, it was as if he were in hell — there's no need
to compare it to being in prison — because he had been very
delicately brought up in his royal home. When he renounced the
household life, he faced great difficulties in terms of the four
necessities. In addition, there were many, many defilements in
his heart related to his treasury and to the nation filled with
his royal subjects. It weighed heavily on his heart at all times
that he had to leave these things behind. He found no comfort or
peace at all, except when he was sound asleep.
As for us, we don't have a following, don't have subjects,
have never been kings. We became ordained far more easily than
the Buddha. And when we make the effort of the practice, we have
his teachings, correct in their every aspect, as our guide. Our
practice isn't really difficult like that of the Buddha, who had
to struggle on his own with no one to guide him. On this point,
we're very different. We have a much lighter burden in the
effort of the practice than the Buddha, who was of royal birth.
Food, wherever we go, is full to overflowing, thanks to the
faith of those who are already convinced of the Buddha's
teachings and are not lacking in interest and faith for those
who practice rightly. For this reason, monks — wherever they go
— are not lacking in the four necessities of life, which is very
different from the case of the Buddha.
All of the Noble Disciples who followed in the Buddha's
footsteps were second to him in terms of the difficulties they
faced. They had a much easier time as regards the four
necessities of life, because people by and large had already
begun to have faith and conviction in the teachings. But even
so, the disciples didn't take pleasure in the four necessities
more than in the Dhamma, in making the single-minded effort to
gain release from suffering and stress. This is something very
pleasing, something very worthy to be taken as an example. They
gave their hearts, their lives — every part of themselves — in
homage to the Buddha and Dhamma, to the point where they all
became homage to the Sangha within themselves. In doing so, they
all encountered difficulties, every one of them.
Because the Dhamma is something superior and superlative,
whoever meets it has to develop and prosper through its power
day by day, step by step, to a state of superlative excellence.
As for the defilements, there is no type of defilement that can
take anyone to peace, security, or excellence of any kind.
The defilements know this. They know that the Dhamma far
excels them, so they disguise themselves thoroughly to keep us
from knowing their tricks and deceits. In everything we do, they
have to lie behind the scenes, showing only their tactics and
strategies, which are nothing but means of fooling living beings
into falling for them and staying attached to them. This is very
ingenious on their part.
For this reason, those who make the effort of the practice
are constantly bending under their gravitational pull. Whether
we are doing sitting meditation, walking meditation — whatever
our posture — we keep bending and leaning under their pull. They
pull us toward laziness and lethargy. They pull us toward
discouragement and weakness. They pull us into believing that
our mindfulness and discernment are too meager for the teachings
of the religion. They pull us into believing that our capacities
are too meager to deserve the Dhamma, to deserve the paths,
fruitions, and nibbana,
or to deserve the Buddha's teachings. All of these things are
the tactics of the pull of defilement to draw us solely into
failure, away from the Dhamma. If we don't practice the Dhamma
so as to get above these things, we won't have any sense at all
that they are all deceits of defilement. When we have practiced
so as to get beyond them step by step, though, they won't be
able to remain hidden. No matter how sharp and ingenious the
various kinds of defilement may be, they don't lie beyond the
power of mindfulness and discernment. This is why the Buddha saw
causes and effects, benefits and harm, in a way that went
straight to his heart, because of his intelligence that
For this reason, when he taught the Dhamma to the world, he
did so with full compassion so that living beings could truly
escape from danger, from the depths of the world so full of
suffering. He wanted the beings of the world to see the
marvelousness, the awesomeness of the Dhamma that had had such
an impact within his heart, so that they too would actually see
as he did. This is why his proclamation of the Dhamma was done
in full measure, for it was based on his benevolence. He didn't
proclaim it with empty pronouncements or as empty ceremony. That
sort of thing didn't exist in the Buddha. Instead, he was truly
filled with benevolence for the living beings of the world.
His activities as Buddha — the five duties of the Buddha we
are always hearing about — he never abandoned, except for the
few times he occasionally set them aside in line with events.
But even though he set them aside, it wasn't because he had
set his benevolence aside. He set them aside in keeping with
events and circumstances. For example, when he spent the rains
alone in the Prileyya Forest, he had no following, and none of
the monks entered the forest to receive instruction from him,
which meant that this activity was set aside. Other than that,
though, he performed his duties to the full because of his
benevolence, with nothing lacking in any way.
This is a matter of his having seen things clearly in his
heart: the harm of all things dangerous, and the benefits of all
things beneficial. The Buddha had touched and known them in
every way, which is why he had nothing to doubt. His teaching of
the Dhamma regarding harms and benefits was thus done in full
measure. He analyzed harm into all its branches. He analyzed
benefits into all their branches and completely revealed the
differing degrees of benefits they gave. The beings of the world
who had lived drearily with suffering and stress for untold
aeons and were capable of learning of the excellence of the
Dhamma from the Buddha: How could they remain complacent? Once
they had heard the teachings of the religion truly resonating in
their very own ears and hearts — because of the truth, the
honesty, the genuine compassion of the Buddha — they had to wake
up. The beings of the world had to wake up. They had to accept
That truth is of two kinds. The truth on the side of harm is
one kind of truth: It really is stressful, and the origin of
stress really creates stress to burn the hearts of living
beings. As for the path, it really creates ease and happiness
for living beings. Those who listened to these truths, listened
with all their hearts. This being the case, the strength of will
they developed, their conviction, and their clear vision of both
harm and benefits all gathered to become a strength permeating
the one heart of each person. So why shouldn't these things
reveal their full strength and manifest themselves as
persistence, effort, earnestness, and determination in every
activity for the sake of gaining release from all dangers and
adversity by means of the Dhamma?
This is why the disciples who heard the Dhamma from the
Buddha, from the mouth of the foremost Teacher, felt inspired
and convinced. Many of them even came to see the Dhamma and gain
release from suffering and stress, step by step to the point of
absolute release, right there in the Buddha's presence. As we've
seen the texts say: When the Buddha was explaining the Dhamma
for the sake of those who could be taught, his followers — such
as the monks — attained the Dhamma to ultimate release,
nibbana, in no small numbers.
This is what happens when truth meets with truth. They
fit together easily with no difficulty at all. Those who
listened did so by really seeing the benefits and harm, really
convinced by the reasons of the Dhamma taught by the Buddha,
which is why they gained clear results right then and there.
The Dhamma — both the harm and benefits that the Buddha
explained in his day and age, and that existed in the hearts of
his listeners in that day and age: In what way is it different
from the truths existing in our hearts at present? They're all
the same nature of truth, the same Noble Truths. They don't lie
beyond the four Noble Truths, either in the Buddha's time or in
The Buddha's instructions were the truth of the path,
teaching people to have virtue, concentration, and discernment
so that they could truly understand the affairs of stress
straight to the heart and remove the cause of stress, which is a
thorn or a spear stabbing the heart of living beings, creating
suffering and stress that go straight to the heart as well. The
truth of stress exists in our bodies and minds. The truth of the
origin of stress reveals itself blatantly in our hearts in our
every activity. What can reveal itself only intermittently, or
not at all, is the path — even though we are listening to it
What is the path? Mindfulness and discernment. Right View
and Right Attitude: These things refer to the levels of
discernment. If we add Right Mindfulness, then when we
have these three qualities nourishing the heart, Right
Concentration will arise because of our right activities.
Right Activity, for those who are to extricate themselves
from stress, refers primarily to the work of removing defilement
— for example, the work of sitting and walking meditation, the
work of guarding the heart with mindfulness, using mindfulness
and discernment continually to investigate and contemplate the
different kinds of good and bad things making contact with us at
all times. This is called building the path within the heart.
When we bring the path out to contend with our adversary —
the origin of stress — what facet is the adversary displaying?
The facet of love? What does it love? What exactly is the object
it loves? Here we focus mindfulness and discernment in on
unraveling the object that's loved. What is the object in
Unravel it so as to see it through and through, being really
intent in line with the principles of mindfulness and
discernment. Reflect back and forth, again and again, so as to
see it clearly. The object that's loved or lovable will fade
away of its own accord because of our discernment. Mindfulness
and discernment wash away all the artifice, all that is
counterfeit in that so-called love step by step until it is all
gone. This is the discernment we build up in the heart to wash
away all the artifices, all the filth with which the defilements
plaster things inside and out.
Outside, they plaster these things on sights, sounds, smells,
tastes, and tactile sensations. Inside, they plaster them on
sañña — that go out our eyes... They plaster things
beginning with our eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and body, stage by
stage. There's nothing but the plaster of defilement. When we
meet with these things, seeing them or hearing them, sañña
— labels and interpretations — and sankhara —
thought-formations — appear in the mind. These continue
plastering layer on layer.
For this reason, we must use discernment to investigate.
Whatever is plastered outside, wash that plastering away. Then
turn around to wash away the plastering inside. When we have
seen these things clearly with discernment, how can discernment
help but turn to find the important culprit, the deceiver
inside? It has to turn inside. In using mindfulness and
discernment, this is how we must use them. When we investigate,
this is how we investigate — and we do it earnestly. This is
Right Activity in the area of the practice.
Right Speech: As I've said before, we speak in line
with the ten topics of effacement (sallekha-dhamma). We
don't bring matters of the world, politics, commerce, matters of
women and men, matters of defilement and craving to converse
among ourselves so as to become distracted and conceited, piling
on more defilement and stress, in line with the things we
discuss. With the topics of effacement — that's what the Buddha
called them — we speak of things that will strengthen our will
to make persistent effort, making us convinced and inspired with
the Dhamma. At the same time, these topics are warnings against
heedlessness and means of washing away the various kinds of
defilement when we hear them from one another. This is Right
Speech in the area of the practice.
Right Livelihood: Feed your heart with Dhamma. Don't
bring in poison — greed, anger, delusion, or lust — to feed the
heart, for these things will be toxic, burning the heart and
making it far more troubled than any poisonous substances could.
Try to guard your heart well with mindfulness and discernment.
The savor of the Dhamma, beginning with concentration as its
basis, will appear as peace and calm within the heart in
proportion to the levels of concentration. Then use discernment
to unravel the various things that the mind labels and
interprets, so as to see them clearly step by step. This is
called Right Livelihood — guarding the heart rightly, feeding it
correctly with the nourishment of the Dhamma, and not with the
various kinds of defilement, craving, and mental effluents that
are like poisons burning the heart. Reduce matters to these
terms, meditators. This is called Right Livelihood in the
practice of meditation.
Right Effort, as I've said before, means persistence
in abandoning all forms of evil. This covers everything we've
said so far. The Buddha defines this as persistence in four
areas, or of four sorts,
4 but since I've
already explained this many times, I'll pass over it here.
Right Mindfulness: What does the Buddha have us keep
in mind? All the things that will remove defilement. For
example, he has us keep the four frames of reference in mind:
being mindful as we investigate the body; being mindful as we
investigate feelings; being mindful as we investigate the mind;
being mindful as we investigate phenomena that involve the mind,
arise in the mind, arise and then vanish, vanish and then arise,
matters of past and future appearing in the present all the
time. We keep investigating in this way. If we investigate so as
to make the mind progress in tranquillity meditation, Right
Mindfulness means using mindfulness to supervise our mental
repetition. From there it turns into Right Concentration
within the heart. This is called building the Dhamma, building
tools for clearing our way, loosening the things that bind and
constrict the heart so that we can make easy progress, so that
we aren't obstructed and blocked by the force of the things I
Only the religion, or only the Dhamma, can remove and scatter
all the things that have bound us for countless aeons, clearing
them away so that we can make easy progress. When the mind is
centered in concentration, then confusion and turmoil are far
away. The mind is still and dwells in comfort and ease. When the
mind develops discernment from investigating and contemplating
the things that obstruct it, it makes easy progress. The sharper
its discernment, the wider the path it can clear for itself. Its
going is smooth. Easy. It advances by seeing and knowing the
truth, without being deluded or deceiving itself. Genuine
discernment doesn't deceive itself, but instead makes smooth
progress. It unravels all the things that obstruct it — our
various attachments and misconstruings — so as to see them
thoroughly, as if it were slashing away the obstacles in its
path so that it can progress step by step as I've already
explained to you.
The most important basis for its investigation is the body.
Bodies outside or the body inside, investigate them carefully
and thoroughly, for they're all Noble Truths. They're all the
path, both inside and out. Investigate and unravel them so as to
see them clearly — and while you're investigating them, don't
concern yourself with any other work more than with the work of
investigation. Use discernment to investigate in order really to
know, really to see these things
as they are, and uproot the counterfeit labels and
assumptions that say that they're pretty and beautiful, lovely
and attractive. Investigate so as to penetrate to the truth that
there is nothing at all beautiful or attractive about them.
They're thoroughly filthy and repulsive: your body and the
bodies of others, all without exception. They're all filled with
filthy and repulsive things. If you look in line with the
principles of the truth, that's how they are. Discernment
investigates, peering inward so as to see clear through — from
the skin outside on into the inside, which is putrid with all
kinds of filth — for the sake of seeing clearly exactly what is
pretty, what is beautiful, what is lovely and attractive.
There's nothing of the sort in any body. There are only the
lying defilements that have planted these notions there.
When we have really investigated on in, we see that these
notions are all false. The genuine truth is that these bodies
aren't pretty or beautiful. They're nothing but repulsive. When
they fall apart, what are they? When they fall apart, earth is
earth — because earth is what it already was when it was still
in the body. The properties of water, wind, and fire were
already water, wind, and fire when they were in the body. When
the body falls apart, where do these things ever become gods and
Brahmas, heaven and nibbana?
They have to be earth, water, wind, and fire in line with their
nature. This is how discernment investigates and analyzes so as
to see clearly. This is how we use clear-seeing discernment to
clear away the things obstructing and distorting our vision. Now
there's no more such thing as being constricted or blocked. Our
discernment, if we use it, has to be discernment all the day
Wherever discernment penetrates, it sees clearly, clears away
its doubts, and lets go, step by step, until it lets go once
and for all from having known thoroughly. Once it has
investigated blatant things so as to know them clearly, where
will the mind then go? Once it has investigated blatant things
and known them clearly, it's as if it has completely uprooted
the blatant defilements that have planted thorns in different
objects, such as our own body. So now where will the defilements
go? Will they fly away? They can only shrink inward to find a
hiding place when they are chased inside and attacked by
mindfulness and discernment.
Feelings, labels, thought-formations, and cognizance: These
are simply individual conditions by their nature, but they are
under the control of defilement. Defilement is the basis from
which they spring, so it has to regard itself as being in
charge. It uses labels to make them defilement. It forms
thought-formations so as to make them defilement. It cognizes
and takes note so as to make these things defilement. However
many feelings arise, it makes them all defilement. Defilement
can't make things into Dhamma. It has to be defilement all the
day long. This is how it builds itself in its various branches.
So. Investigate on in. Slash on in. Feelings of pleasure and
pain: They exist both in the body and in the mind. Feeling isn't
defilement. If we look in line with the principles of nature,
it's simply a reality. The assumption that 'I'm pained' or
'I'm pleased' — delusion with pain, delusion with pleasure,
delusion with feelings of indifference in the body and mind:
things are defilement. The assumptions and delusions are
defilement. When we really investigate inward, the various
feelings aren't defilement; these four mental phenomena aren't
Once we've spotted our assumptions and construings, they
retreat inward. The feelings that still exist in the body and
mind, even though they aren't yet thoroughly understood, are
still greatly lightened. We begin to gain an inkling of their
ways, step by step. We're not deluded to the point of complete
blindness as we were before we investigated. Whichever aspects
of feeling are blatant and associated with the body, we know
clearly. We can let go of bodily feelings. We can understand
them. As for feelings remaining in the mind, for the most part
they're refined feelings of pleasure. We know and let go of them
in the same way when the path gains power. These feelings of
pleasure are like fish in a trap: No matter what, there's no way
they can escape getting cooked. They can't swim down into large
ponds and lakes as they used to. They can only sit waiting for
their dying day. The same holds true for the refined feeling of
pleasure — which is a conventional reality — within the heart.
It can only wait for the day it will be disbanded as a
convention when the ultimate ease, which is not a convention,
comes to rule the heart through the complete penetration of
mindfulness and discernment. So investigate on in until you
understand, reaching the point of letting go with no more
What is sañña labeling? Labeling this, labeling that,
making assumptions about this and that: These are all affairs of
defilement using sañña. When cognizance (viññana)
takes note, it too is turned into defilement. So we investigate
these things, using discernment in the same way as when we
investigate feelings. We then understand. When we understand,
these things become simply cognizance taking note, simply
sañña labeling, without labeling so as to be defilement,
without taking note so as to be defilement. Defilement then
retreats further and further inward.
Ultimately, these five issues — namely, the physical
khandha, our body; the vedana khandha, feelings in
the body (as for feelings in the mind, let's save those for the
moment); the sañña khandha, the sankhara khandha,
viññana khandha — are all clearly known in the heart,
with no more doubts. The defilements gather inward, converge
inward. They can't go out roaming, because they'll get slashed
to bits by mindfulness and discernment. So they have to withdraw
inward to find a hiding place. This, in actuality, is what the
investigation is like, and not otherwise.
In our investigation as meditators, when discernment reaches
any particular level, we'll know for ourselves, step by step.
Both defilement and discernment: We'll know both sides at the
same time. When discernment is very strong, defilement grows
weaker. Mindfulness and discernment become even more courageous
and unflinching. The words laziness and lethargy, which are
affairs of defilement, disappear. We keep moving in with
persistence day and night. This is the way it is when the path
gains strength. As meditators you should take note of this and
practice so as to know it and see it, so as to make it your own
treasure arising in your heart. Your doubts will then be ended
in every way.
We now take this atomic mindfulness and discernment and shoot
it into the central point of conventional reality, the point
that causes living beings to founder in the wheel of the cycle
so that they can't find their way out, don't know the way out,
don't know the ways of birth, don't know who has been born as
what, where they have died, what burdens of suffering and stress
they have carried. Mindfulness and discernment go crashing down
into that point until it is scattered to pieces. And so now how
can we not know what it is that has caused us to take birth and
die? There is only defilement that is the important seed causing
us to take birth and die, causing us to suffer pain and stress.
The true Dhamma hasn't caused us to suffer. It has brought us
nothing but pleasure and ease in line with its levels, in line
with the levels of what is noble and good. The things that give
rise to major and minor sufferings are all affairs of
defilement. We can see this clearly. We can know this clearly.
Especially when defilement has been completely scattered from
the heart, it's as if the earth and sky collapse. How can this
not send a tremor through the three levels of the cosmos? —
because this thing is what has wandered throughout the three
levels of the cosmos. When it has been made to collapse within
the heart, what is the heart like now? How does the outer space
of the Dhamma differ from the outer space of the world? Now we
know clearly. The outer space of this purified mind: Is it
annihilation? The outer space of the world isn't annihilation.
If it were annihilation, they wouldn't call it outer space. It's
a nature that exists in line with the principles of its nature
as outer space.
The outer space of the mind released from all forms of
gravitational pull, i.e., conventional reality: What is it like?
Even though we've never known it before, when we come to know
it, we won't have any doubts. Even though we've never seen it
before, when we come to see it, we won't have any doubts. Even
though we've never experienced it before, when we come to
experience it, we won't have any doubts. We won't have to search
for witnesses to confirm it, the way we do with conventions in
general. It's sanditthiko — immediately apparent — and
only this fits perfectly with our heart and that outer space
This is what we referred to at the beginning when we talked
about the outer space of the world and the outer space of the
mind. The outer space of the mind — the mind of nibbana —
is like that. Just where is it annihilated? Who experiences the
outer space of the mind? If it were annihilation, who could
experience it? As for where it will or won't be reborn, we
already know that there's no way for it to be reborn. We know
this clearly. We've removed every defilement or conventional
reality that would lead to rebirth. Conventional reality is the
same thing as defilement. All things — no matter how subtle —
that have been dangers to the heart for such a long time have
been completely destroyed. All that remains is the pure outer
space of the mind: the mind that is pure. You can call it outer
space, you can call it anything at all, because the world has
its conventions, so we have to make differentiations to use in
line with the conventions of the world so as not to conflict.
When we reach the level of the outer space mind, how does it
feel for the mind to have been coerced, oppressed, and subject
to the pull of all things base and vile, full of stress and
great sufferings for aeons and aeons? We don't have to reflect
on how many lifetimes it's been. We can take the principle of
the present as our evidence. Now the mind is released. We've
seen how much suffering there has been and now we've abandoned
it once and for all. We've absolutely destroyed its seeds,
beginning with 'avijja-paccaya sankhara' — 'With
unawareness as condition there occur mental formations.' All
that remains is 'avijjayatveva asesa-viraga-nirodha'
sankhara-nirodho' — 'Simply with the disbanding of
unawareness, with no remaining passion, thought-formations
disband.' That's the outer space of the mind.
The mind released from all gravitational forces: Even though
it's still alive and directing the khandhas, there's
nothing to bar its thoughts, its vision, its knowledge. There's
nothing to obstruct it, nothing to make it worried or relieved,
nothing to make it brave, nothing to make it afraid. It is
simply its own nature by itself, always independent in that way.
For this reason, knowledge of all truths has to be completely
open to this unobstructed and unoppressed mind. It can know and
see. If we speak of matters related to the body and khandhas,
we can speak in every way without faltering, because there's
nothing to hinder us. Only the defilements are what kept us from
seeing what we saw and from describing the things we should have
been able to describe, because we didn't know, we didn't see.
What we knew was bits and pieces. We didn't know the full truth
of these various things. When this was the case, how could we
know clearly? How could we speak clearly? All we knew was
bits and pieces, so when we spoke, it had to be bits and pieces
But once we've shed these things, everything is wide open.
The mind is free, vast, and empty, without limits, without
bounds. There's nothing to enclose or obscure it. When we know,
we really know the truth. When we see, we really see the truth.
When we speak, we can speak the truth. You can call the mind
brave or not-brave as you like, because we speak in line with
what we experience, what we know and see, so why can't we speak?
We can know, we can see, so why can't we speak? — for these
things exist as they have from the beginning. When the Buddha
proclaimed the Dhamma to the world, he took the things that
existed and that he saw in line with what he had known —
everything of every sort — and proclaimed them to the world.
Think of how broad it was, the knowledge of the Buddha, how
subtle and profound — because nothing was concealed or
mysterious to him. Everything was completely opened to him. This
is why he's called lokavidu — one who knows the world
clearly — through the vastness of his mind that had nothing to
enclose or conceal it at all.
Aloko udapadi: 'Brightness arose.' His mind was bright
toward the truth both by day and by night. This is how the
Buddha knew. The Noble Disciples all knew in the same way,
except that his range and theirs differed in breadth. But as for
knowing the truth, it was the same for them all.
Here we've described both the benefits and the harm of the
things involved with the mind — in other words, both the Dhamma
and the defilements — for you as meditators to listen to and
contemplate in earnestness.
So. Let's try to develop our minds so as to shoot out beyond
this world of conventional realities to see what it's like. Then
we won't have to ask where the Buddha is, how many Buddhas there
have been, whether the Noble Disciples really exist or how many
they are — because the one truth that we know and see clearly
in our hearts resonates to all the Buddhas, all the Noble
Disciples, and all the Dhamma that exists. We won't have any
doubts, because the nature that knows and exists within us
contains them all: all the Buddhas, the community of Noble
Disciples, and all the Dhamma that exists. It's a nature just
right in its every aspect, with nothing for us to doubt.
This is the place — if we speak in terms of place — where we
run out of doubts about everything of every sort. We oversee the
khandhas, which are simply conventions of the world, just as
all the Noble Disciples do while they are still living. As for
the mind, it has gained release and remains released in that
way. As we have said, even though it remains in the midst of the
world of conventions, this nature is its own nature, and those
other things are their own affairs. Each is a separate reality
that doesn't mingle, join, or have an effect on the others. When
we say release from the world, this is what we mean.
All of the Dhammas I have mentioned here: When do they exist?
And when don't they exist? The Dhamma exists at all times and in
all places. It's akaliko, timeless. So I ask that you
penetrate into the Dhamma of these four Noble Truths. You'll be
right on target with the results of the Buddha and the Noble
Disciples; and there's no doubt but that you'll be right on
target with the results of the Buddha's and the Noble Disciples'
work. Their workplace is in these four Noble Truths, and the
results that come from the work are the paths, fruitions, and
nibbana. They arise right here. They're located right here.
When we have practiced and reached them fully and completely,
there will be nothing for us to question.
This is why there won't be any reason to doubt the time of
the Buddha as compared to our own time, as to whether the Dhamma
of the Buddha was different because the defilements are now
different from what they were then. The defilements then and
now are all of the same sort. The Dhamma is all of the same
sort. If we cure defilement in the same way, we're bound to
gain release in the same way. There is no other way to gain
release, no matter what the day and age. There is only this one
way: following the way of the path, beginning with virtue,
concentration, and discernment, to eliminate defilement, the
cause of stress — in particular, craving for sensuality, craving
for becoming, and craving for no becoming — completely from the
heart. As for nirodha,
the cessation of stress: When defilement is disbanded, from
where will any more suffering or stress arise? When defilement
and stress are disbanded for good, that's the outer space of the
mind. As for the Noble Truths, they're activities, or our
workplace. The result that comes from these four Noble Truths is
something else entirely. As I've always been telling you: What
is it that knows that stress and the cause of stress disband?
When the path has performed its duties to the full and has
completely wiped out the cause of stress, then nirodha —
the cessation of stress — appears in full measure, after which
it disbands as well, because it too is a conventional reality.
As for the one who knows that the cause of stress has disbanded
by being eradicated through the path so as to give rise to the
cessation of stress: The one who knows this is the pure one
— the outer space of the mind — and that's the end of the
So investigate carefully. Listen carefully when you listen to
the Dhamma while putting it to use. When we work, we can't let
go of our tools. For instance, if we're working with an ax, the
ax has to be at hand. If we're working with a knife, the knife
has to be at hand. If we're working with a chisel, the chisel
has to be at hand. But when we've finished our work, we let go
of our chisel, we let go of our various tools. So here the
virtue, concentration, and discernment that are called the path
are our tools in the work of eliminating defilement. We have to
keep them right at hand while we are working. When we have
eliminated defilement until it's completely defeated and nothing
is left, these tools are phenomena that let go of themselves of
their own accord, without our having to force them.
As I've always been saying, the teachings on inconstancy,
stress, and not-self are our path. We can't let go of them. We
have to investigate things with mindfulness and discernment so
as to see them clearly in line with the principles of
inconstancy, stress, and not-self. Once we're ready and we've
run the full course, we let go of these principles in line with
the truth. We don't call anything not-self. Each thing is a
separate reality, with no quarreling. This is the Dhamma: It has
many stages, many levels, so those who listen have to make
distinctions, because in this talk I've discussed many stages on
many levels, back and forth, so as to make things plain for
To summarize: The marketplace of the paths, fruitions, and
nibbana is located in the Noble Truths. It isn't located
anywhere else. So, whatever else, make sure that you attain
them. Accelerate your efforts to the full extent of your
ability. Use all the mindfulness and discernment you have to
contemplate and investigate things in order to see them clearly.
See what it's like to set them spinning as a wheel of Dhamma,
which the Buddha has described as super-mindfulness and
super-discernment. When we start out practicing, how can they
immediately become super-mindfulness and super-discernment? When
children are born, they don't immediately become adults. They
have to be nourished and guarded and cared for. Think of how
much it takes, how much it costs, for each child to become an
adult as we all have. Mindfulness and discernment need to be
nourished and guarded in just the same way. When we nourish and
guard them unceasingly, unflaggingly, they grow bold and capable
until they become super-mindfulness and super-discernment. Then
they attack the defilements — no matter what the sort — until
the defilements are slashed to pieces with nothing left, so that
we attain purity — release and nibbana — within our own
heart, which will then have the highest value. Whether or not
anyone else confers titles on it, we ourselves don't confer
titles. We've reached sufficiency, so what is there to gain by
conferring titles? All that's left is the gentleness and
tenderness of purity, blended into one with benevolence. The
entire mind is filled with benevolence.
The Buddha taught the beings of the world through his
benevolence. His mind was completely gentle toward every living
being in the three levels of the cosmos. He didn't exalt or
demean any of them at all. 'Sabbe satta' — 'May all
living beings who are fellows in suffering, birth, aging,
illness, and death' —
'avera hontu' — 'be free from enmity'... all the way to
'sukhi attanam pariharantu' — 'may they maintain themselves
5 That was his
benevolence. He gave equality to all living beings. He didn't
lean, because his mind didn't have anything to lean. It didn't
have any defilements infiltrating it that could make it lean.
The things leaning this way and that are all affairs of
defilement. When there's pure Dhamma, the mind keeps its balance
with pure fairness, so there's no leaning. It's a principle of
nature that stays as it is.
So I ask that you all take this and earnestly put it into
practice. Gain release so as to see it clearly in your heart.
How do they compare: this heart as it's currently coerced and
oppressed, and the heart when it has attained release from
coercion and oppression. How do they differ in value? Come to
see this clearly in your own heart. You won't see it anywhere
else. Sanditthiko: It's immediately apparent within the
person who practices.
So then. This seems to be enough explanation for now.
To Be an Inner Millionaire
September 10, 1962
The search for inner wealth is much the same as the search
for outer wealth. In searching for outer wealth, intelligent
people have no problems: They can find it easily. But stupid
people have lots of difficulties. Look around and you'll see
that poor people are many, while rich people are few. This shows
that stupid people are many, while intelligent people are few,
which is why there are more poor people than rich people.
In the search for inner wealth — virtue and goodness — the
same holds true: It depends more on ingenuity than on any other
factor. If we're stupid, then even if we sit right at the hem of
the Buddha's robe or the robe of one of his Noble Disciples, the
only result we'll get will be our own stupidity. To gain
ingenuity or virtue from the Buddha or his Noble Disciples is
very difficult for a stupid person, because inner wealth depends
on ingenuity and intelligence. If we have no ingenuity, we won't
be able to find any inner wealth to provide happiness and ease
for the heart.
External wealth is something we're all familiar with. Money,
material goods, living things, and things without life: All of
these things are counted as wealth. They are said to belong to
whoever has rights over them. The same holds true with the
virtue and goodness we call merit. If unintelligent people
search for merit and try to develop virtue and goodness like the
people around them, the results will depend on their ingenuity
and stupidity. If they have little ingenuity, they'll gain
As for those of us who have ordained in the Buddha's
religion, our aim is to develop ourselves so as to gain release
from suffering and stress, just like a person who aims
single-mindedly at being a millionaire.
People in the world have basically three sorts of attitudes.
The first sort: Some people are born in the midst of poverty and
deprivation because their parents are ignorant, with no wealth
at their disposal. They make their living by begging. When they
wake up in the morning, they go begging from house to house,
street to street, sometimes getting enough to eat, sometimes
not. Their children fall into the same 'kamma current'.
That's the kind of potential they've developed, so they have to
be born to impoverished parents of that sort. They just don't
have it in them to think of being millionaires like those in the
world of the wealthy. The parents to whom they are born act as a
mould, so they are lazy and ignorant like their parents. They
live in suffering with their parents and go out begging with
them, sometimes eating their fill, sometimes not.
But this is still better than other sorts of people. Some
parents are not only poor, but also earn their living by
thievery and robbery. Whatever they get to feed their children,
they tell their children what it is and where it came from. The
children get this sort of education from their parents and grow
up nourished by impure things — things gained through
dishonesty, thievery, and robbery — so when they grow up, they
don't have to think of looking for work or for any education at
the age when they should be looking for learning, because
they've already received their education from their parents:
education in stealing, cheating, thievery and robbery, laziness
and crookedness. This is because their parents have acted as
blackboards covered with writing: their actions and the manners
of their every movement. Every child born to them receives
training in how to act, to speak, and to think. Everything is
thus an education from the parents, because the writing and
teachings are all there on the blackboard of the parents.
Laziness, dishonesty, deceit, thievery: Every branch of evil is
there in the writing on the blackboard. The children learn to
read, to draw, to write, all from their parents, and fill
themselves with the sort of knowledge that has the world up in
flames. As they begin to grow up, they take over their parents'
duties by pilfering this and that, until they gradually become
hoodlums, creating trouble for society at large. This is one of
the major fires burning away at society without stop. The
reasons that people can be so destructive on a large scale like
this can come either from their parents, from their own innate
character, or from associating with evil, dishonest people. This
is the sort of attitude found in people of one sort.
The second sort of people have the attitude that even though
they won't be millionaires, they will still have enough to eat
and to use like people in general, and that they will be good
citizens like the rest of society so that they can maintain a
decent reputation. People of this sort are relatively
hard-working and rarely lazy. They have enough possessions to
get by on a level with the general run of good citizens. When
they have children, the children take their parents as examples,
as writing on the blackboard from which they learn their work,
their behavior, and all their manners. Once they gain this
knowledge from their parents, they put it to use and become good
citizens themselves, with enough wealth to get by without
hardships, able to keep up with the world so that they don't
lose face or cause their families any shame. They can relate to
the rest of society with confidence and without being a disgrace
to their relatives or to society in general. They behave in line
with their ideals until they become good citizens with enough
wealth to keep themselves out of poverty. These are the
attitudes of the second sort of people.
The third sort of people have attitudes that differ from
those of the first two sorts in that they're determined, no
matter what, to possess more wealth than anyone else in the
world. They are headed in this direction from the very beginning
because they have earned the opportunity to be born in families
rich in virtue and material wealth. They learn ingenuity and
industriousness from their parents, because their parents work
hard at commerce and devote themselves fully to all their
business activities. Whatever the parents do, the children will
have to see. Whatever the parents say with regard to their work
inside or outside the home, near or far, the children — who are
students by nature — will have to listen and take it to heart,
because the children are not only students, but also their
parents' closest and most trusted helpers. The parents can't
overlook them. Eventually they become the supervisors of the
parents' workers inside and outside the home and in all the
businesses set up by their parents. In all of the activities for
which the parents are responsible, the children will have to be
students and workers, at the same time keeping an eye and an ear
out to observe and contemplate what is going on around them. All
activities, whether in the area of the world, such as commerce,
or in the area of the Dhamma — such as maintaining the precepts,
chanting, and meditating — are things the children will have to
study and pick up from their parents.
Thus parents shouldn't be complacent in their good and bad
activities, acting as they like and thinking that the children
won't be able to pick things up from them. This sort of attitude
is not at all fitting, because the way people treat and mistreat
the religion and the nation's institutions comes from what they
learn as children. Don't think that it comes from anywhere else,
for no one has ever put old people in school.
We should thus realize that children begin learning the
principles of nature step by step from the day they are born
until their parents send them for formal schooling. The
principles of nature are everywhere, so that anyone who is
interested — child or adult — can study them at any time, unlike
formal studies and book learning, which come into being at some
times and change or disappear at others. For this reason,
parents are the most influential mould for their children in the
way they look after them, give them love and affection, and
provide their education, both in the principles of nature and in
the basic subjects that the children should pick up from them.
This is because all children come ready to learn from the adults
and the other children around them. Whether they will be good
children or bad depends on the knowledge they pick up from
around them. When this is stored up in their hearts, it will
exert pressure on their behavior, making it good or bad, as we
see all around us. This comes mainly from what they learn of the
principles of nature, which are rarely taught in school, but
which people pick up more quickly than anything that
Thus parents and teachers should give special attention to
every child for whom they are responsible. Even when parents put
their children to work, helping with the buying and selling at
home, the children are learning the livelihood of buying and
selling from their parents — picking up, along the way, their
parents' strong and weak points. We can see this from the way
children pick up the parents' religion. However good or bad,
right or wrong the religion may be — even if it's worshipping
spirits — the children are bound to pick up their parents'
beliefs and practices. If the parents cherish moral virtue, the
children will follow their example, cherishing moral virtue and
following the practices of their parents.
This third sort of person is thus very industrious and
hard-working, and so reaps better and more outstanding results
than the other two sorts.
When we classify people in this way, we can see that people
of the first sort are the laziest and most ignorant. At the same
time, they make themselves disreputable and objects of the scorn
of good people in general. People of the second sort are fairly
hard-working and fairly well-off, while those of the third sort
are determined to be wealthier than the rest of the world and at
the same time are very hard-working because, since they have set
their sights high, they can't just sit around doing nothing.
They are very persevering and very persistent in their work,
going all out to find ways to earn wealth, devoting themselves
to their efforts and to being ingenious, circumspect, and
uncomplacent in all their activities. People of this sort, even
if they don't become millionaires, are important and deserve to
be set up as good examples for the people of the nation at
We monks fall into the same three sorts. The first sort
includes those who are ordained only in name, only as a
ceremony, who don't aim for the Dhamma, for reasonability, or
for what's good or right. They aim simply at living an easy life
because they don't have to work hard like lay people. Once
ordained, they become very lazy and very well-known for
quarreling with their fellow monks. Instead of gaining merit
from being ordained, as most people might think, they end up
filling themselves and those around them with suffering and
The second sort of monk aims at what is reasonable. If he can
manage to gain release from suffering, that's what he wants. He
believes that there is merit and so he wants it. He believes
that there is evil, so he wants really to understand good and
evil. He is fairly hard-working and intelligent. He follows the
teachings of the Dhamma and Vinaya well and so doesn't offend
his fellow monks. He is interested in studying and diligently
practicing the threefold training of virtue, concentration, and
discernment. He takes instruction easily, has faith in the
principles of the Dhamma and Vinaya, is intent on his duties,
and believes in what is reasonable.
The third sort of monk becomes ordained out of a true sense
of faith and conviction. Even if he may not have had much of an
education from any teachers in the beginning, once he has become
ordained and gains instruction from his teachers or from the
texts that give a variety of reasons showing how to act so as to
head toward evil and how to strive so as to head toward the
good, he immediately takes it as a lesson for training himself.
The more he studies from his teachers, the stronger his faith
and conviction grow, to the point where he develops a firm,
single-minded determination to gain release from suffering and
stress. Whether sitting, standing, walking, or lying down, he
doesn't flag in his determination. He is always firmly intent on
gaining release from suffering and stress. He's very persistent
and hard-working. Whatever he does, he does with his full heart,
aiming at reason, aiming at the Dhamma.
This third sort of monk is the uncomplacent sort. He observes
the precepts for the sake of real purity and observes them with
great care. He is uncomplacent both in training his mind in
concentration and in giving rise to discernment. He is intent on
training the basic mindfulness and discernment he already has as
an ordinary run-of-the-mill person, so that they become more and
more capable, step by step, making them the sort of mindfulness
and discernment that can keep abreast of his every action until
they become super-mindfulness and super-discernment, capable of
shedding all defilements and mental effluents from the heart. He
thus becomes one of the amazing people of the religion, earning
the homage and respect of people at large.
In the area of the world there are three sorts of people, and
in the area of the Dhamma there are three sorts of monks. Which
of the three are we going to choose to be? When we come right
down to it, each of these three types refers to each of us,
because we can make ourselves into any of them, making them
appear within us — because these three types are simply for the
purpose of comparison. When we refer them to ourselves, we can
be any of the three. We can be the type who makes himself vile
and lazy, with no interest in the practice of the Dhamma, with
no value at all; or we can make ourselves into the second or
third sort. It all depends on how our likes and desires will
affect our attitudes in our thoughts, words, and deeds.
Whichever type we want to be, we should adapt our thoughts,
words, and deeds to fit the type. The affairs of that sort of
person will then become our own affairs, because none of these
sorts lies beyond us. We can change our behavior to fit in with
any of the three. If we are going to be the third sort of
person, then no matter what, we are sure to release ourselves
from suffering and stress someday in the future or in this very
So be uncomplacent in all your activities, mindful of your
efforts and actions, and discerning with regard to your affairs
at all times. Don't let the activities of your thoughts, words,
and deeds go straying down the wrong path. Try to train your
mindfulness and discernment to stay involved with your
activities at all times. To safeguard these sorts of things
isn't as difficult as safeguarding external wealth, because
inner wealth stays with us, which makes it possible to safeguard
As a monk, you have only one duty. When sitting, be aware
that you're sitting. Whatever issue you think about, know that
you're thinking. Don't assume that any issue comes from anywhere
other than from a lapse of mindfulness in your own heart, which
makes wrong issues — from minor ones to major ones — start
spreading to your own detriment. All of this comes from your own
lack of watchfulness and restraint. It doesn't come from
anything else. If you want to gain release from suffering and
stress in this lifetime, then see the dangers of your own
errors, your complacency, and your lack of mindfulness. See them
as your enemies. If, in your eyes, the currents of the mind that
spin to give rise to the cravings and mental effluents termed
the origin of stress are something good, then you're sure to go
under. Be quick to shed these things immediately. Don't let them
lie fermenting in your heart.
Those who see danger in the round of rebirth must see the
danger as lying in the accumulation of defilement. Your duties
in the practice are like the fence and walls of a house that
protect you stage by stage from danger. In performing your
duties that constitute the effort of the practice, you have to
keep your mindfulness with those duties and not let it lapse.
Nourish your mindfulness and discernment so that they are always
circumspect in all your affairs. Don't let them flow away on the
habitual urges of the heart. You can then be sure that the
affairs of the mind will not in any way lie beyond the power of
your effort and control.
So I ask that each of you be mindful — and don't let your
mindfulness conjecture ahead or behind with thoughts of the past
or future. Always keep it aware of your activities, and you will
be able to go beyond this mass of suffering and stress. Even if
your mind hasn't yet attained stillness, it will begin to be
still through the power of mindfulness. There is no need to
doubt this, for the mind can't lie beyond the power of
mindfulness and discernment coupled with persistent effort.
Of the famous meditation masters of our present era, Ven.
Acariya Mun is the one I admire and respect the most. In my
opinion, he is the most outstanding teacher of our day and age.
Living and studying with him, I never saw him act in any way at
odds with the Dhamma and Vinaya. His behavior was in such
harmony with the Dhamma and Vinaya that it was never a cause for
doubt among those who studied with him. From my experience in
living with him, I'd say that he was right in line with the path
of those who practice rightly, straightly, methodically, and
nobly. He never strayed from this path at all.
When he would tell us about the beginning stages of his
practice, he'd talk about how he had tried to develop
mindfulness. He liked to live alone. If others were living with
him, they would get in the way of his meditation. If he could
get away on his own, he'd find that mindfulness and discernment
were coupled with his efforts at all times. He would stay with
his efforts both day and night. It was as if his hand was never
free from its work. Mindfulness converged with his mind so that
they were never willing to leave their endeavors.
He had resolved never to return to this world of continual
death and rebirth. No matter what, he would have to gain release
from suffering and stress in this lifetime and never ask to be
reborn again. Even being born into this present lifetime had him
disgusted enough, but when he also saw the birth, aging,
illness, and death of human beings and living beings in general,
day and night, together with the blatant sufferings caused by
the oppression and cruelties of the strong over the weak, it
made him feel even greater dismay, which is why he asked not to
be reborn ever again. The way he asked not to be reborn was to
take the effort of the practice as the witness within his heart.
Wherever he lived, he asked to live with the effort of the
practice. He didn't want anything else that would delay his
release from suffering. This is what he would tell us when the
Whatever knowledge or understanding he had gained in the
various places he had lived, he wouldn't keep from us. When he
lived there, his mind was like that; when he lived here, his
mind was like this. He even told us about the time his mind
realized the land of its hopes.
The way each person's mind progresses is purely an individual
matter. It's not something we can imitate from one another. Even
the various realizations we have and the means of expression we
use in teaching ourselves, our fellow meditators, and people in
general, have to be a matter of our own individual wealth, in
line with our habits and capabilities, just as a millionaire
with lots of wealth uses his own millionaire's wealth, while a
poor person with little wealth makes use of his own
wealth. Each person, no matter how rich or poor, makes use of
the wealth he or she has been able to accumulate.
In the area of habits and capabilities, how much we may
possess depends entirely on ourselves. These aren't things we
can borrow from one another. We have to depend on the
capabilities we develop from within. This is why our habits,
manners, and conversation, our knowledge and intelligence, our
shallowness and depth differ from person to person in line with
our capabilities. Even though I studied with Ven. Acariya Mun
for a long time, I can't guarantee that I could take his
Dhamma as my own and teach it to others.
All I can say is that I depend on however much my own knowledge
and capabilities may be, in line with my own strengths, which is
just right for me and doesn't overstep the bounds of what is
fitting for me.
As for Ven. Acariya Mun, he was very astute at teaching. For
example, he wouldn't talk about the major points. He'd talk
only about how to get there. As soon as he'd get to the
major points, he'd detour around them and reappear further on
ahead. This is the way it would be every time. He was never
willing to open up about the major points. At first I didn't
understand what his intentions were in acting this way, and it
was only later that I understood. Whether I'm right or wrong, I
have to ask your forgiveness, for he was very astute, in keeping
with the fact that he had taught so many students.
There were two reasons why he wouldn't open up about the
major points. One is that those who weren't really intent on the
Dhamma would take his teachings as a shield, claiming them to be
their own as a way of advertising themselves and making a
living. The other reason is that the Dhamma that was a principle
of nature he had known and might describe was not something
that could be conjectured about in advance. Once those who
were strongly intent on the Dhamma reached those points in their
investigation, if they had heard him describe those points
beforehand, would be sure to have subtle assumptions or
presuppositions infiltrating their minds at that moment, and so
they would assume that they understood that level of Dhamma
when actually those assumptions would be a cause for
self-delusion without their even realizing it.
As far as these two considerations are concerned, I must
admit that I'm very foolish because of my good intentions toward
those who come intent on studying with me. I'm not the least bit
secretive. I've revealed everything all along, without holding
anything back, not even the things that should be held back.
I've been open to the full extent of my ability, which has
turned into a kind of foolishness without my being aware of it.
This has caused those who are really intent on studying with me
to misunderstand, latching onto these things as assumptions that
turn into their enemies, concealing the true Dhamma, all because
I may lack some circumspection with regard to this second
Ven. Acariya Mun was very astute both in external and in
internal matters. On the external level, he wouldn't be willing
to disclose things too readily. Sometimes, after listening to
him, you'd have to take two or three days to figure out what he
meant. This, at least, was the way things were for me. Whether
or not this was the way they were for my fellow students, I
never had the chance to find out. But as for me, I'd use all my
strength to ponder anything he might say that seemed to suggest
an approach to the practice, and sometimes after three days of
pondering the riddle of his words I still couldn't make heads or
tails of it. I'd have to go and tell him, 'What you said the
other day: I've been pondering it for three days and still can't
understand what you meant. I don't know where to grab hold of it
so that I can put it to use, or how much meaning your words
He'd smile a bit and say, 'Oh? So there's someone actually
pondering what I say?'
So I'd answer, 'I'm pondering, but pondering out of
stupidity, not with any intelligence.'
He'd then respond a little by saying, 'We all have to start
out by being stupid. No one has ever brought intelligence or
wealth along at birth. Only after we set our mind on learning
and pondering things persistently can we become intelligent and
astute to the point where we can gain wealth and status, and can
have other people depend on us. The same holds true with the
Dhamma. No one has ever been a millionaire in the Dhamma or an
arahant at birth.'
That's all he would say. He wouldn't disclose what the right
way would be to interpret the teaching that had preoccupied me
for two or three days running. It was only later that I realized
why he wouldn't disclose this. If he had disclosed it, he
would have been encouraging my stupidity. If we get used
simply to having things handed to us ready-made from other
people, without producing anything with our own intelligence,
then when the time comes where we're in a tight spot and can't
depend on anything ready-made from other people, we're sure to
go under if we can't think of a way to help ourselves. This is
probably what he was thinking, which is why he wouldn't solve
this sort of problem when I'd ask him.
Studying with him wasn't simply a matter of studying
teachings about the Dhamma. You had to adapt and accustom
yourself to the practices he followed until they were firmly
impressed in your own thoughts, words, and deeds. Living with
him a long time was the way to observe his habits, practices,
virtues, and understanding, bit by bit, day by day, until they
were solid within you. There was a lot of safety in living with
him. By and large, people who studied with him have received a
great deal of trust and respect, because he himself was all
Dhamma. Those who lived with him were bound to pick up that
Dhamma in line with their abilities. At the same time, staying
with him made you accustomed to being watchful and restrained.
If you left him, and were intent on the Dhamma, you'd be able to
take care of yourself using the various approaches you had
gained from him.
When you'd stay with him, it was as if the paths, fruitions,
and nibbana were right within reach. Everything you did
was solid and got results step by step. But when you left him,
it wouldn't be that way at all. It would turn into the other
side of the world: If the mind didn't yet have a firm basis,
that's the way it would usually be. But if the mind had a firm
basis — in other words, if it had concentration and discernment
looking after it — then you could benefit from living anywhere.
If any doubts arose that you couldn't handle yourself, you'd
have to go running back to him for advice. Once he'd suggest a
solution, the problem would usually disappear in an instant, as
if he had cut it away for you. For me, at least, that's the way
it would be. Sometimes I would have left him for only five or
six days when a problem started bothering me, and I couldn't
stand to wait another two or three days. If I couldn't solve
this sort of problem the moment it arose, then the next morning
I'd have to head right back to him, because some of these
problems could be very critical. Once they arose, and I couldn't
solve them myself, I'd have to hurry back to him for advice. But
other problems aren't especially critical. Even when they arise,
you can wait. Problems of this sort are like diseases. When some
diseases arise, there's no need to hurry for a doctor. But with
other diseases, if we can't get the doctor to come, we have to
go to the doctor ourselves. Otherwise our life will be in
When these critical sorts of problems arise, if we can't
handle them ourselves, we have to hurry to find a teacher. We
can't just leave them alone, hoping that they'll go away on
The results that can come from these problems that we don't take
to our teachers to solve: At the very least, we can become
disoriented, deluded, or unbalanced; at worst, we can go crazy.
When they say that a person's meditation 'crashes,' it usually
comes from this sort of problem that he or she doesn't know how
to solve — isn't willing to solve — and simply lets fester until
one of these two sorts of results appear. I myself have had
these sorts of problems with my mind, which is why I'm telling
you about them so that you can know how to deal with them.
The day Ven. Acariya Mun died, I was filled with a strong
sense of despair from the feeling that I had lost a mainstay for
my heart, because at the time there was still a lot of unsettled
business in my heart, and it was the sort of knowledge that
wasn't willing to submit easily to anyone's approaches if they
weren't right on target — the way Ven. Acariya Mun had been, and
that had given results — with the spots where I was stuck and
that I was pondering. At the same time, it was a period in which
I was accelerating my efforts at full speed. So when Ven.
Acariya Mun died, I couldn't stand staying with my fellow
students. My only thought was that I wanted to live alone. So I
tried to find a place where I could stay by myself. I was
determined that I would stay alone until every sort of problem
in my heart had been completely resolved. Only then would I stay
with others and accept students as the occasion arose.
After Ven. Acariya Mun's death, I went to bow down at his
feet and then sat there reflecting with dismay for almost two
hours, my tears flowing into a pool at his feet. At the same
time, I was pondering in my heart the Dhamma and the teachings
he had been so kind to give me during the eight years I had
lived with him. Living together for such a long time as this,
even a husband and wife or parents and children who love one
another deeply are bound to have some problems or resentments
from time to time. But between Ven. Acariya Mun and the students
who had come to depend on his sheltering influence for such a
long time, there had never been any issues at all. The longer I
had stayed with him, the more I had felt an unlimited love and
respect for him. And now he had left me and all my
well-intentioned fellow students. Anicca vata sankhara:
Formations — how inconstant they are! His body lay still,
looking noble and more precious than my life, which I would have
readily given up for his sake out of my love for him. My body
was also still as I sat there, but my mind was in agitation from
a sense of despair and my loss of his sheltering influence. Both
bodies were subject to the same principle of the Dhamma —
inconstancy — and followed the teaching that says,
Having been born, they are bound to die. There's no other way it
But as for Ven. Acariya Mun, he had taken a path different
from that of conventional reality, in line with the teaching,
'tesam vupasamo sukho': In their stilling is ease. He had
died in this lifetime, lying still for just this brief span of
time so that his students could reflect with resignation on the
Dhamma, but from now on he would never be reborn to be a source
for his students' tears again. His mind had now separated from
becoming and birth in the same way that a rock split into two
pieces can never be truly rejoined.
So I sat there, reflecting with despair. The problems in my
heart that I had once unburdened with him: With whom would I
unburden them now? There was no longer anyone who could unburden
and erase my problems the way he had. I was left to fend for
myself. It was as if he had been a doctor who had cured my
illnesses countless times and who was the one person with whom I
had entrusted my life — and now the doctor who had given me life
was gone. I'd have to become a beast of the forest, for I had no
more medicine to treat my inner diseases.
While I was sitting there, reminiscing sadly about him with
love, respect, and despair, I came to a number of realizations.
How had he taught me while he was still alive? Those were the
points I'd have to take as my teachers. What was the point he
had stressed repeatedly? 'Don't ever stray from your
foundation, namely "what knows" within the heart. Whenever
the mind comes to any unusual knowledge or realizations that
could become detrimental,
if you aren't able to investigate your way past that sort of
knowledge, then turn the mind back within itself and, no matter
what, no damage will be done.' That was what he had taught,
so I took hold of that point and continued to apply it in my own
practice to the full extent of my ability.
To be a senior monk comes from being a junior monk, as we see
all around us and will all experience. We all meet with
difficulties, whether we're junior or senior. This is the path
we all must take. We must follow the path of difficulty that is
the path toward progress, both in the area of the world and in
the area of the Dhamma. No one has ever become a millionaire by
being lazy or by lying around doing nothing. To be a millionaire
has to come from being persevering, which in turn has to take
the path of difficulty — difficulty for the sake of our proper
aims. This is the path wealthy and astute people always follow.
Even in the area of the Dhamma, we should realize that
difficulty is the path of sages on every level, beginning with
the Buddha himself. The Dhamma affirms this:
Dukkhassanantaram sukham — people gain ease by following the
path of difficulty. As for the path to suffering,
sukhassanantaram dukkham — people gain difficulties by
following the path of ease. Whoever is diligent and doesn't
regard difficulty as an obstacle, whoever explores without
ceasing the conditions of nature all around him, will become
that third sort of person: the sort who doesn't ask to be reborn
in this world, the sort who tesam vupasamo sukho —
eradicates the seeds for the rebirth of any sort of formation,
experiencing an ease undisturbed by worldly baits, an ease that
is genuinely satisfying.
So. I ask that all of you as meditators keep these three
sorts of people in mind and choose for yourselves which of the
three is the most outstanding within you right now — because we
can all make ourselves outstanding, with no need to fear that it
will kill us. The effort to gain release from suffering and
stress in the Lord Buddha's footsteps isn't an executioner
waiting to behead the person who strives in the right direction.
Be brave in freeing yourself from your bonds and entanglements.
The stress and difficulties that come as a shadow of the
khandhas are things that everyone has to bear as a burden.
We can't lie to one another about this. Each person has to
suffer from worries and stress because of his or her own
khandhas. Know that the entire world has to suffer in the
same way you do with the khandhas you are overseeing
Don't let yourself be content to cycle through birth, aging,
illness, and death. Be uncomplacent at all times. You
shouldn't have any doubts about birth, because the Buddha has
already told us that birth and death are out-and-out suffering.
Don't let yourself wonder if they are flowers or sweets or any
sort of food you can eat to your satisfaction. Actually, they
are nothing but poison. They are things that have deceived us
all in our stupidity to be born and to die in heaps in this
world of suffering and stress. If we die in a state of humanity,
there's some hope for us because of the openings for rebirth we
have made for ourselves through the power of our good deeds. But
there are not just a few people out there who are foolish and
deluded, and who thus have no way of knowing what sorts of
openings for rebirth their kamma will lead them to.
So for this reason, see the danger in repeated birth and
death that can give no guarantees as to the state in which
you'll take birth and die. If it's a human state, as we see and
are at present, you can breathe easily to some extent, but
there's always the fear that you'll slip away to be reborn as a
common animal for people to kill or beat until you're all
battered and bruised. Now that's
really something to worry about. If you die, you die; if you
survive, you live and breathe in fear and trembling, dreading
death with every moment. How many animals are dragged into the
slaughter-houses every day? This is something we don't have to
explain in detail. It's simply one example I mention to remind
you of the sufferings of the living beings of the world. And
where is there any shelter that can give a sure sense of
security to the heart of each person overseeing his or her heap
As meditators we should calculate the profits and losses, the
benefits and drawbacks that come from the khandhas in
each 24 hour period of day and night. The discontent we feel
from being constantly worried: Isn't it caused by the
khandhas? What makes us burdened and worried? We sit, stand,
walk, and lie down for the sake of the khandhas. We eat
for the sake of the
khandhas. Our every movement is simply for the sake of
the khandhas. If we don't do these things, the khandhas
will have to break apart under the stress of suffering. All we
can do is relieve things a little bit. When they can no longer
take it, the khandhas will break apart.
bhara have pañcakkhandha:
khandhas are really a heavy burden.
Even though the earth, rocks, and mountains may be heavy,
they stay to themselves. They've never weighed us down or
oppressed us with difficulties. Only these five khandhas
have burdened and oppressed us with difficulties with their
every movement. Right from the day the khandhas begin to
form, we have to be troubled with scurrying around for their
sake. They wield tremendous power, making the entire world bend
under their sway until the day they fall apart. We could say
that we are slaves to the khandhas
from the day we're born to the day we die. In short, what it all
comes down to is that the source of all worries, the source of
all issues lies in the khandhas. They are the supreme
commanders, making us see things in line with their wants. This
being the case, how can anything wonderful come from them? Even
we will take on as a burden in our next birth will be the same
sort of taking-birth-and-dying khandhas, lording it over
us and making us suffer all over again.
So investigate these things until you can see them clearly
with discernment. Of all the countless lifetimes you may have
been through over the aeons, take this present lifetime before
you as your evidence in reviewing them all. Those who aren't
complacent will come to know that khandhas in the past
and khandhas that will appear in the future all have the
same characteristics as the
khandhas that exist with us in the present. All I ask is
that you force your mind to stay in the frame of the three
(ti-lakkhana), which are present throughout the body and
mind at all times. No matter how wild and resistant the mind may
be, it can't withstand the strength of mindfulness and
discernment backed up by persistent effort.
As long as mindfulness and discernment aren't yet agile, you
have to force them; but as soon as they gain enough strength to
stand on their own, they'll be like a fire and its light that
always appear together. Once mindfulness and discernment have
been trained to be authoritative, then wherever you are, you're
mindful and discerning. It's not the case that you will always
have to force them. They're like a child: When it's first born,
it doesn't have the strength and intelligence to care for
itself, so its parents have to take on the duty of caring for it
in every way until it matures and becomes able to survive on its
own. The parents who used to look after it are then no longer
burdened with that duty. The same holds true with mindfulness
and discernment. They gain strength step by step from being
trained without ceasing, without letting them slide. They
develop day by day until they become super-mindfulness and
super-discernment at the stage where they perform their duties
automatically. Then every sort of thing that used to be an enemy
of the heart will be slain by super-mindfulness and
super-discernment until nothing remains. All that remains is a
heart entirely 'buddho,'
'Dhammo' will become a marvel at that very same moment
through the power of super-mindfulness and super-discernment.
So I ask that all of you as meditators make the effort. See
the burden of birth, aging, illness, and death that lies ahead
of you as being at least equal to the burden of birth, aging,
illness, and death present in living beings and formations all
around you. It may even be more — who knows how much more? For
this reason, you should make sure that you gain release from it
in this lifetime in a way clear to your own heart. Then wherever
you live, you'll be at your ease — with no need to bother
with any more problems of birth or death anywhere at all —
simply aware of this heart that is pure.
I ask that you all contemplate this and strive with bravery
in the threefold training of virtue, concentration, and
discernment. The goal you set for yourself in that third sort of
person will one day be you. There's no need to doubt this.
That's enough for now, so I'll ask to stop here.
Every Grain of Sand
Excerpts from a talk given April 10, 1982
...When we investigate, we have to investigate over and over,
time and time again, many, many times until we understand and
are fully sure. The mind will then let go of its own accord.
There's no way we can try to force it to let go as long as we
haven't investigated enough. It's like eating: If we haven't
reached the point where we're full, we're not full. There's no
way we can try to make ourselves full with just one or two
spoonfuls. We have to keep on eating, and then when we're full
we stop of our own accord. We've had enough.
The same holds true with investigating. When we reach the
stage where we fully know, we let go of our own accord: all our
attachments to the body, feelings, labels, thought-formations,
cognizance, step by step until we finally penetrate with our
discernment into the mind itself — the genuine revolving wheel,
the revolving mind — until it is smashed to pieces with nothing
left. That's the point — that's the point where we end
our problems in fighting with defilement. That's where they end
— and our desire to go to nibbana ends right there as
The desire to go to nibbana is part of the path. It's
not a craving. The desire to gain release from suffering and
stress is part of the path. It's not a craving. Desire has two
sorts: desire in the area of the world and desire in the area of
the Dhamma. Desire in the area of the world is craving. Desire
in the area of the Dhamma is part of the path. The desire to
gain release from suffering, to go to nibbana,
strengthens the Dhamma within us. Effort is the path.
Persistence is the path. Endurance is the path. Perseverance in
every way for the sake of release is the path. Once we have
fully come into our own, the desire will disappear — and at that
point, who would ask after nibbana?
Once the revolving wheel, the revolving mind has been smashed
once and for all, there is no one among any of those who have
smashed that revolving mind from their hearts who wants to go to
or who asks where nibbana lies. The word 'nibbana'
is simply a name, that's all. Once we have known and seen, once
we have attained the genuine article within ourselves, what is
there to question?
This is what it means to develop the mind. We've developed it
from the basic stages to the ultimate stage of development. So.
Now, no matter where we live, we are sufficient unto ourselves.
The mind has built a full sufficiency for itself, so it can be
at its ease anywhere at all. If the body is ill — aching,
feverish, hungry, or thirsty — we are aware of it simply as an
affair of the body that lies under the laws of inconstancy,
stress, and lack of self. It's bound to keep shifting and
changing in line with its nature at all times — but we're not
deluded by it. The
khandhas are khandhas. The pure mind is a pure
mind by its nature, with no need to force it to know or to be
deluded. Once it's fully true from every angle, everything is
true. We don't praise or criticize anything at all, because each
thing is its own separate reality — so why is there any reason
to clash? If one side is true and the other isn't, that's when
things clash and fight all the time — because one side is
genuine and the other side false. But when each has its own
separate reality, there's no problem.
Contemplate the mind so as to reach this stage, the stage
where each thing has its own separate reality.
the knowledge and vision of things as they are. The mind knows
and sees things as they are, within and without, through and
through, and then stays put with purity. If you were to say that
it stays put, it stays put with purity. Whatever it thinks, it
simply thinks. All the khandhas are khandhas pure
and simple, without a single defilement to order their thinking,
labeling, and interpreting any more. There are simply the
khandhas pure and simple — the khandhas without
defilements, or in other words, the
khandhas of an arahant, of one who is free from
defilement like the Lord Buddha and all his Noble Disciples. The
body is simply a body. Feelings, labels, thought-formations, and
cognizance are each simply passing conditions that we use until
their time is up. When they no longer have the strength to keep
going, we let them go in line with their reality. But as for the
utterly true nature of our purity, there is no problem at all...
...Those who have reached full release from conventional
realities of every sort, you know, don't assume themselves to be
more special or worse than anyone else. For this reason, they
don't demean even the tiniest of creatures. They regard them all
as friends in suffering, birth, aging, illness, and death,
because the Dhamma is something tender and gentle. Any mind in
which it is found is completely gentle and can sympathize with
every grain of sand, with living beings of every sort. There's
nothing rigid or unyielding about it. Only the defilements are
rigid and unyielding. Proud. Conceited. Haughty and vain. Once
there's Dhamma, there are none of these things. There's only the
unvarying gentleness and tenderness of mercy and benevolence for
the world at all times.
Acariya: Teacher; mentor.
Anagami: Nonreturner. A person who has
abandoned the five lower fetters that bind the mind to the cycle
of rebirth (see sanyojana), and who after death will
appear in one of the Brahma worlds called the Pure Abodes, there
to attain nibbana,
never again to return to this world.
Anatta: Not-self; ownerless.
Anicca: Inconstant; unsteady;
Anupadisesa-nibbana: Nibbana with
no fuel remaining (the analogy is to an extinguished fire whose
embers are cold) — the nibbana of the arahant after his
Apaya-mukha: Way to deprivation —
extra-marital sexual relations; indulgence in intoxicants;
indulgence in gambling; associating with bad people.
Arahant: A person who has abandoned all
ten of the fetters that bind the mind to the cycle of rebirth
sanyojana), whose heart is free of mental effluents (see
asava), and who is thus not destined for future rebirth.
An epithet for the Buddha and the highest level of his Noble
Ariya-sacca: Noble Truth. The word
(noble) can also mean ideal or standard, and in this context
means 'objective' or 'universal' truth. There are four: stress,
the origin of stress, the disbanding of stress, and the path of
practice leading to the disbanding of stress.
Asava: Mental effluent or pollutant —
sensuality, becoming, views, and unawareness.
Avijja: Unawareness; ignorance; obscured
awareness; delusion about the nature of the mind.
Ayatana: Sense medium. The inner sense
media are the sense organs — eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and
mind. The outer sense media are their respective objects.
Bodhi-pakkhiya-dhamma: 'Wings to
Awakening' — seven sets of principles that are conducive to
Awakening and that, according to the Buddha, form the heart of
his teaching:  the four frames of reference (see
satipatthana);  four right exertions (sammappadhana)
— the effort to prevent evil from arising in the mind, to
abandon whatever evil has already arisen, to give rise to the
good, and to maintain the good that has arisen;  four bases
of success (iddhipada) — desire, persistence, intentness,
circumspection;  five dominant factors (indriya) —
conviction, persistence, mindfulness, concentration,
discernment;  five strengths (bala) — identical with
;  seven factors for Awakening (bojjhanga) —
mindfulness, investigation of phenomena, persistence, rapture,
serenity, concentration, equanimity; and  the eightfold path
(magga) — Right View, Right Attitude, Right Speech, Right
Activity, Right Livelihoood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness,
Brahma: 'Great One' — an inhabitant of
the heavens of form or formlessness.
Buddho (buddha): Awake; enlightened.
Deva: 'Shining One' — an inhabitant of
the heavens of sensual bliss.
Devadatta: A cousin of the Buddha who
tried to effect a schism in the Sangha and who has since become
emblematic for all Buddhists who work knowingly or unknowingly
to undermine the religion from within.
Dhamma (dharma): Phenomenon; event; the
way things are in and of themselves; their inherent qualities;
the basic principles that underlie their behavior. Also,
principles of behavior that human beings ought to follow so as
to fit in with the right natural order of things; qualities of
mind they should develop so as to realize the inherent quality
of the mind in and of itself. By extension, 'Dhamma' is used
also to refer to any doctrine that teaches such things. Thus the
Dhamma of the Buddha refers both to his teachings and to the
direct experience of nibbana, the quality to which those
Dhatu: Property; element; impersonal
condition. The four physical properties or elements are earth
(solidity), water (liquidity), wind (motion), and fire (heat).
The six properties include the above four plus space and
Dhutanga: Ascetic practices that monks
may choose to undertake if and when they see fitting. There are
thirteen, and they include, in addition to the practices
mentioned in the body of this book, the practice of using only
one set of three robes, the practice of not by-passing any
donors on one's alms path, the practice of eating no more than
one meal a day, and the practice of living under the open sky.
Dukkha: Stress; suffering; pain;
Evam: Thus; in this way. This term is
used in Thailand as a formal closing to a sermon.
Kamma (karma): Intentional acts that
result in becoming and birth.
Khandha: Heap; group; aggregate. Physical
and mental components of the personality and of sensory
experience in general (see rupa, vedana, sañña,
Kilesa: Defilement — passion, aversion,
and delusion in their various forms, which include such things
as greed, malevolence, anger, rancor, hypocrisy, arrogance,
envy, miserliness, dishonesty, boastfulness, obstinacy,
violence, pride, conceit, intoxication, and complacency.
Magga: Path. Specifically, the path to
the disbanding of stress. The four transcendent paths — or
rather, one path with four levels of refinement — are the path
to stream-entry (entering the stream to nibbana, which
ensures that one will be reborn at most only seven more times),
the path to once-returning, the path to nonreturning, and the
path to arahantship.
Majjhima: Middle; appropriate; just
Nibbana (nirvana): Liberation; the
unbinding of the mind from mental effluents, defilements, and
the fetters that bind it to the round of rebirth (see asava,
and sanyojana). As this term is used to refer also to the
extinguishing of fire, it carries the connotations of stilling,
cooling, and peace. (According to the physics taught at the time
of the Buddha, a burning fire seizes or adheres to its fuel;
when extinguished, it is unbound.)
Nirodha: Cessation; disbanding; stopping.
Pañña: Discernment; insight; wisdom;
intelligence; common sense; ingenuity.
Phala: Fruition. Specifically, the
fruition of any of the four transcendent paths (see magga).
Rupa: Body; physical phenomenon; sense
Sabhava dhamma: Condition of nature; any
phenomenon, event, property, or quality as experienced directly
in and of itself.
Sakidagami: Once-returner. A person who
has abandoned the first three of the fetters that bind the mind
to the cycle of rebirth (see sanyojana), has weakened the
fetters of sensual passion and irritation, and who after death
is destined to be reborn in this world only once more.
Sakya-putta: Son of the Sakyan. An
epithet for Buddhist monks, the Buddha having been a native of
the Sakyan Republic.
Sallekha-dhamma: Topic of effacement
(effacing defilement) — having few wants, being content with
what one has, seclusion, uninvolvement in companionship,
persistence, virtue, concentration, discernment, release, and
the direct knowing and seeing of release.
Samadhi: Concentration; the practice of
centering the mind in a single sensation or preoccupation.
Sammati: Conventional reality;
convention; relative truth; anything conjured into being by the
Sampajañña: Self-awareness; presence of
mind; clear comprehension.
Sanditthiko: Self-evident; immediately
apparent; visible here and now.
Sangha: The community of the Buddha's
disciples. On the conventional level, this refers to the
Buddhist monkhood. On the ideal level, it refers to those of the
Buddha's followers, whether lay or ordained, who have attained
at least the first of the transcendent paths (see magga)
culminating in nibbana.
Sañña: Label; allusion; perception; act
of memory or recognition; interpretation.
Sanyojana: Fetter that binds the mind to
the cycle of rebirth (see vatta) — self-identification
views, uncertainty, grasping at precepts and practices; sensual
passion, irritation; passion for form, passion for formless
phenomena, conceit, restlessness, and unawareness.
Sati: Mindfulness; alertness;
self-collectedness; powers of reference and retention.
Satipatthana: Frame of reference;
foundation of mindfulness — body, feelings, mind, and phenomena,
viewed in and of themselves as they occur.
Sotapanna: Stream winner. A person who
has abandoned the first three of the fetters that bind the mind
to the cycle of rebirth (see sanyojana) and has thus
entered the 'stream' flowing inexorably to nibbana, which
ensures that one will be reborn at most only seven more times.
Tanha: Craving — the cause of stress —
which takes three forms: craving for sensuality, for becoming,
and for no becoming.
Tapas: The purifying 'heat' of meditative
Tathagata: One who has become true. A
title for the Buddha.
Ti-lakkhana: Three characteristics
inherent in all conditioned phenomena — being inconstant,
stressful, and not-self.
Ugghatitaññu: Of swift understanding.
After the Buddha attained Awakening and was considering whether
or not to teach the Dhamma, he perceived that there were four
categories of beings: those of swift understanding, who would
gain Awakening after a short explanation of the Dhamma, those
who would gain Awakening only after a lengthy explanation
(vipacitaññu); those who would gain Awakening only after
being led through the practice
(neyya); and those who, instead of gaining Awakening,
would at best gain only a verbal understanding of the Dhamma
Vassa: Rains Retreat. A period from July
to October, corresponding roughly to the rainy season, in which
each monk is required to live settled in a single place and not
wander freely about.
Vatta: The cycle of death and rebirth.
This refers both to the death and rebirth of living beings and
to the death and rebirth of defilement in the mind.
Vedana: Feeling — pleasure (ease), pain
(stress), or neither pleasure nor pain.
Vinaya: The disciplinary rules of the
monastic order. The Buddha's own name for the religion he
founded was 'this
dhamma-vinaya' — this doctrine and discipline.
Viññana: Cognizance; consciousness;
Vipassana: Clear intuitive insight into
physical and mental phenomena as they arise and disappear,
seeing them as they are in terms of the three characteristics
and the four Noble Truths (see ti-lakkhana and
If anything in this translation is inaccurate or
misleading, I ask forgiveness of the author and reader for
having unwittingly stood in their way. As for whatever may be
accurate, I hope the reader will make the best use of it,
translating it a few steps further, into the heart, so as to
attain the truth to which it points.
— The translator
A small umbrella-like tent used by meditating monks.
The Dhamma learned from practice, and not from the study of
The tallest mountain in Thailand.
Making the effort (1) to prevent evil from arising, (2) to
abandon evil that has arisen, (3) to give rise to the good, and
(4) to maintain and perfect the good that has arisen.
The full passage: Sabbe satta sukhita hontu, avera hontu,
abyapajjha hontu, anigha hontu, sukhi attanam pariharantu:
May all living beings be happy, free from enmity, free from
affliction free from anxiety. May they maintain themselves with
Source: Copyright © 1988 Venerable Acariya Maha
Boowa Ñanasampanno. .First Edition 1988; revised 1994;
revised 1996. Reproduced and reformatted from Access to
Insight edition © 1996 For free distribution. This work
may be republished, reformatted, reprinted, and
redistributed in any medium. It is the author's wish,
however, that any such republication and redistribution
be made available to the public on a free and
unrestricted basis and that translations and other
derivative works be clearly marked as such. This book
is a free gift of Dhamma and may not be offered for
sale, for as the Venerable Acariya Maha Boowa has said,
"Dhamma has a value beyond all wealth and should not be
sold like goods in a market place." Inquiries concerning
this book may be addressed to: Wat Pa Baan Taad, c/o
Songserm Service, 89 Posri Road, Udorn Thani 41000