KUSHINARA NIBBANA BHUMI PAGODA -PATH TO ATTAIN ETERNAL BLISS AS FINAL GOAL
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10/18/07
SARVAJAN HITAYA SARVAJAN SUKHAYA-FOR THE GAIN OF THE MANY AND FOR THE WELFARE OF THE MANY-Eight Cabinet Ministers and two Ministers of State administered oath -AMU institutes international award in memory of Sir Syed
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SARVAJAN HITAYA SARVAJAN SUKHAYA-FOR THE GAIN OF THE MANY AND FOR THE WELFARE OF THE MANY

Eight Cabinet Ministers and two Ministers of State administered oath

Lucknow: October 17, 2007 In a brief expansion of State Cabinet,the Uttar Pradesh Governor, Mr.T.V. Rajeswar administered oath of office and secrecy to eight Cabinet Ministers and two Ministers of State (Independent charge) in a simple programme organized here today at Raj Bhawan. The Cabinet Ministers are –Mr.Badshah Singh, Mr. Rangnath Mishra, Mr.Nand Gopal Gupta’Nandi’, Mr. Kamla Kant Gautam, Mr. Chandra Dev Ram Yadav and Mr. Ashok Kumar,besides the new Ministers of State, Mr. Bhagwati Prasad Sagar and Mr. Jaiveer Singh. Mr.Badshah Singh (Small Scale Industries and Export Promotion), Mr. Rangnath Mishra (Rural Engineering Services),Mr.Anant Kumar Mishra(Medical and Health) were working as Ministers of State (Independent charge) and Mr. Abdul Mannan (Agriculture Foreign Trade and Agriculture Export) was the Minister of the State. All these four Ministers were promoted as Cabinet Ministers. Mr. Bhagwati Prasad Sagar and Mr. Jaiveer Singh took the oath as the Ministers of the State (Independent charge). Mr.Nand Gopal Gupta’Nandi’, Mr. Kamla Kant Gautam, Mr. Chandra Dev Ram Yadav and Ashok Kumar have been included for the first time in the Cabinet. The Cabinet Secretary Mr. Shashank Shekhar Singh conducted the programme of oath taking ceremony. On this occasion, the Chief Minister Km. Mayawati, Cabinet Ministers Mr. S.C. Mishra, Mr. Naseemuddin Siddqui, Mr. Babu Singh Kushwaha including other Ministers, party office bearers, MPs, MLAs, were present besides senior officers and eminent citizens. ********


Online edition of India’s National Newspaper
Thursday, Oct 18, 2007

AMU institutes international award in memory of Sir Syed

ALIGARH: Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) has instituted an international award for communal harmony in memory of its founder, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan.

A Sir Syed Chair will also be created at the university, Vice-Chancellor P. K. Abdul Azis said while addressing the 190th birth anniversary of the educationist.

He emphasised the relevance of Sir Syed’s thoughts for the larger society and outlined AMU’s contribution to the ideals of quality education and peaceful co-existence which the Muslim reformist professed and practised.

Cash prize

The Sir Syed Award, carrying a cash prize of Rs.5 lakh, will be selected by a national jury, said a university release quoting Mr. Azis.

The university will organise cultural festivals of various states so that a cultural rapport can be stitched among students from across the country, an idea cherished by Sir Syed, he said.

On the occasion, the first biography of Sir Syed in Bangla, authored by the chairman of the Department of Modern Indian Languages, T. B. Chakraborty, was released. An exhibition on Sir Syed’s writings and books was also inaugurated at the Sir Syed Academy.

 

Later Mr. Azis distributed prizes to the winners of an all-India essay writing competition on Sir Syed, his life and contributions.

- PTI

 

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THE BLESSED NOBLE AWAKENED ONE - THE TATHAGATA-King Pasenadi Goes on a Diet-The Shorter Instructions to Malunkya
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THE BLESSED NOBLE AWAKENED ONE - THE TATHAGATA

King Pasenadi Goes on a Diet

Once when the Buddha was living at Savatthi, King Pasenadi of Kosala ate a whole bucketful of food, and then approached the Buddha, engorged and panting, and sat down to one side. The Buddha, discerning that King Pasenadi was engorged and panting, took the occasion to utter this verse:

When a person is constantly mindful,
And knows when enough food has been taken,
All their afflictions become more slender
 — They age more gradually, protecting their lives.

Now at that time the brahman youth Sudassana was standing nearby, and King Pasenadi of Kosala addressed him: “Come now, my dear Sudassana, and having thoroughly mastered this verse in the presence of the Buddha, recite it whenever food is brought to me. And I will set up for you a permanent offering of a hundred kahaapanas every day.” “So be it, your majesty,” the brahman youth Sudassana replied to the king.

Then King Pasenadi of Kosala gradually settled down to [eating] no more than a cup-full of rice. At a later time, when his body had become quite slim, King Pasenadi stroked his limbs with his hand and took the occasion to utter this utterance:

Indeed the Buddha has shown me
Compassion in two different ways:
For my welfare right here and now,
and also for in the future.



Translator’s note

Who would have thought weight-loss could be so easy! In this brief exchange the Buddha is suggesting that over-eating is the root of obesity, which hastens the aging process and threatens one’s life, and that this only occurs when mindfulness is weak or absent. If we eat slowly and with a great deal of attention, it can more easily become apparent (if we are truthful with ourselves) when an adequate amount of food has been consumed. Interestingly, he seems to be saying that wisdom will provide what is needed to refrain from further eating, rather than the modern conventional view that it requires will-power or self restraint.

Always one to play on words, the Buddha says that all our afflictions (literally, all our unpleasant feelings), and not just our bodies, will “become more slender.” Perhaps this is what Pasenadi is referring to when he says the Buddha’s teaching has not only helped him slim down his body (the immediate benefit), but the general increase of mindfulness and diminishing of greed will help with all aspects of the spiritual life (and thus with his rebirth in the future).

The commentary to this text informs us that the king did not engage Sudassana to utter the verse throughout the entire meal, but only once he had started eating. The idea is not to cultivate an aversion to food, for food itself is not an evil. As with so much else in the Buddha’s teaching, it is a matter of understanding cause and effect, and of using food skillfully as a tool for awakening rather than allowing oneself to be caught by the latent tendencies of attachment, aversion and confusion that might be evoked by our relationship to food.

Notice the language of the last line of the Buddha’s verse. The word for life (aayu) is the same one as in the Indian medical tradition of Ayurveda (=knowledge of life), and is regarded as something that can be squandered or carefully guarded. When approached with care, the preservation of life also slows down the aging process. The image is not one of conquering illness or death (for this comes only from full awakening), but of treating the precious resource of one’s own vitality with wisdom.

The Shorter Instructions to Malunkya

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Savatthi at Jeta’s Grove, Anathapindika’s monastery. Then, as Ven. Malunkyaputta was alone in seclusion, this train of thought arose in his awareness: “These positions that are undeclared, set aside, discarded by the Blessed One — ‘The cosmos is eternal,’ ‘The cosmos is not eternal,’ ‘The cosmos is finite,’ ‘The cosmos is infinite,’ ‘The soul & the body are the same,’ ‘The soul is one thing and the body another,’ ‘After death a Tathagata exists,’ ‘After death a Tathagata does not exist,’ ‘After death a Tathagata both exists & does not exist,’ ‘After death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist’ — I don’t approve, I don’t accept that the Blessed One has not declared them to me. I’ll go ask the Blessed One about this matter. If he declares to me that ‘The cosmos is eternal,’ that ‘The cosmos is not eternal,’ that ‘The cosmos is finite,’ that ‘The cosmos is infinite,’ that ‘The soul & the body are the same,’ that ‘The soul is one thing and the body another,’ that ‘After death a Tathagata exists,’ that ‘After death a Tathagata does not exist,’ that ‘After death a Tathagata both exists & does not exist,’ or that ‘After death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist,’ then I will live the holy life under him. If he does not declare to me that ‘The cosmos is eternal,’… or that ‘After death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist,’ then I will renounce the training and return to the lower life.”

Then, when it was evening, Ven. Malunkyaputta arose from seclusion and went to the Blessed One. On arrival, having bowed down, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One, “Lord, just now, as I was alone in seclusion, this train of thought arose in my awareness: ‘These positions that are undeclared, set aside, discarded by the Blessed One… I don’t approve, I don’t accept that the Blessed One has not declared them to me. I’ll go ask the Blessed One about this matter. If he declares to me that “The cosmos is eternal,”… or that “After death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist,” then I will live the holy life under him. If he does not declare to me that “The cosmos is eternal,”… or that “After death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist,” then I will renounce the training and return to the lower life.’

“Lord, if the Blessed One knows that ‘The cosmos is eternal,’ then may he declare to me that ‘The cosmos is eternal.’ If he knows that ‘The cosmos is not eternal,’ then may he declare to me that ‘The cosmos is not eternal.’ But if he doesn’t know or see whether the cosmos is eternal or not eternal, then, in one who is unknowing & unseeing, the straightforward thing is to admit, ‘I don’t know. I don’t see.’… If he doesn’t know or see whether after death a Tathagata exists… does not exist… both exists & does not exist… neither exists nor does not exist,’ then, in one who is unknowing & unseeing, the straightforward thing is to admit, ‘I don’t know. I don’t see.’”

“Malunkyaputta, did I ever say to you, ‘Come, Malunkyaputta, live the holy life under me, and I will declare to you that ‘The cosmos is eternal,’ or ‘The cosmos is not eternal,’ or ‘The cosmos is finite,’ or ‘The cosmos is infinite,’ or ‘The soul & the body are the same,’ or ‘The soul is one thing and the body another,’ or ‘After death a Tathagata exists,’ or ‘After death a Tathagata does not exist,’ or ‘After death a Tathagata both exists & does not exist,’ or ‘After death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist’?”

“No, lord.”

“And did you ever say to me, ‘Lord, I will live the holy life under the Blessed One and [in return] he will declare to me that ‘The cosmos is eternal,’ or ‘The cosmos is not eternal,’ or ‘The cosmos is finite,’ or ‘The cosmos is infinite,’ or ‘The soul & the body are the same,’ or ‘The soul is one thing and the body another,’ or ‘After death a Tathagata exists,’ or ‘After death a Tathagata does not exist,’ or ‘After death a Tathagata both exists & does not exist,’ or ‘After death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist’?”

“No, lord.”

“Then that being the case, foolish man, who are you to be claiming grievances/making demands of anyone?

“Malunkyaputta, if anyone were to say, ‘I won’t live the holy life under the Blessed One as long as he does not declare to me that “The cosmos is eternal,”… or that “After death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist,”‘ the man would die and those things would still remain undeclared by the Tathagata.

“It’s just as if a man were wounded with an arrow thickly smeared with poison. His friends & companions, kinsmen & relatives would provide him with a surgeon, and the man would say, ‘I won’t have this arrow removed until I know whether the man who wounded me was a noble warrior, a priest, a merchant, or a worker.’ He would say, ‘I won’t have this arrow removed until I know the given name & clan name of the man who wounded me… until I know whether he was tall, medium, or short… until I know whether he was dark, ruddy-brown, or golden-colored… until I know his home village, town, or city… until I know whether the bow with which I was wounded was a long bow or a crossbow… until I know whether the bowstring with which I was wounded was fiber, bamboo threads, sinew, hemp, or bark… until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was wild or cultivated… until I know whether the feathers of the shaft with which I was wounded were those of a vulture, a stork, a hawk, a peacock, or another bird… until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was bound with the sinew of an ox, a water buffalo, a langur, or a monkey.’ He would say, ‘I won’t have this arrow removed until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was that of a common arrow, a curved arrow, a barbed, a calf-toothed, or an oleander arrow.’ The man would die and those things would still remain unknown to him.

“In the same way, if anyone were to say, ‘I won’t live the holy life under the Blessed One as long as he does not declare to me that ‘The cosmos is eternal,’… or that ‘After death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist,’ the man would die and those things would still remain undeclared by the Tathagata.

“Malunkyaputta, it’s not the case that when there is the view, ‘The cosmos is eternal,’ there is the living of the holy life. And it’s not the case that when there is the view, ‘The cosmos is not eternal,’ there is the living of the holy life. When there is the view, ‘The cosmos is eternal,’ and when there is the view, ‘The cosmos is not eternal,’ there is still the birth, there is the aging, there is the death, there is the sorrow, lamentation, pain, despair, & distress whose destruction I make known right in the here & now.

“It’s not the case that when there is the view, ‘The cosmos is finite,’ there is the living of the holy life. And it’s not the case that when there is the view, ‘The cosmos is infinite,’ there is the living of the holy life. When there is the view, ‘The cosmos is finite,’ and when there is the view, ‘The cosmos is infinite,’ there is still the birth, there is the aging, there is the death, there is the sorrow, lamentation, pain, despair, & distress whose destruction I make known right in the here & now.

“It’s not the case that when there is the view, ‘The soul & the body are the same,’ there is the living of the holy life. And it’s not the case that when there is the view, ‘The soul is one thing and the body another,’ there is the living of the holy life. When there is the view, ‘The soul & the body are the same,’ and when there is the view, ‘The soul is one thing and the body another,’ there is still the birth, there is the aging, there is the death, there is the sorrow, lamentation, pain, despair, & distress whose destruction I make known right in the here & now.

“It’s not the case that when there is the view, ‘After death a Tathagata exists,’ there is the living of the holy life. And it’s not the case that when there is the view, ‘After death a Tathagata does not exist,’ there is the living of the holy life. And it’s not the case that when there is the view, ‘After death a Tathagata both exists & does not exist,’ there is the living of the holy life. And it’s not the case that when there is the view, ‘After death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist’ there is the living of the holy life. When there is the view, ‘After death a Tathagata exists’… ‘After death a Tathagata does not exist’… ‘After death a Tathagata both exists & does not exist’… ‘After death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist,’ there is still the birth, there is the aging, there is the death, there is the sorrow, lamentation, pain, despair, & distress whose destruction I make known right in the here & now.

“So, Malunkyaputta, remember what is undeclared by me as undeclared, and what is declared by me as declared. And what is undeclared by me? ‘The cosmos is eternal,’ is undeclared by me. ‘The cosmos is not eternal,’ is undeclared by me. ‘The cosmos is finite’… ‘The cosmos is infinite’… ‘The soul & the body are the same’… ‘The soul is one thing and the body another’… ‘After death a Tathagata exists’… ‘After death a Tathagata does not exist’… ‘After death a Tathagata both exists & does not exist’… ‘After death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist,’ is undeclared by me.

“And why are they undeclared by me? Because they are not connected with the goal, are not fundamental to the holy life. They do not lead to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation, calming, direct knowledge, self-awakening, Unbinding. That’s why they are undeclared by me.

“And what is declared by me? ‘This is stress,’ is declared by me. ‘This is the origination of stress,’ is declared by me. ‘This is the cessation of stress,’ is declared by me. ‘This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress,’ is declared by me. And why are they declared by me? Because they are connected with the goal, are fundamental to the holy life. They lead to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation, calming, direct knowledge, self-awakening, Unbinding. That’s why they are declared by me.

“So, Malunkyaputta, remember what is undeclared by me as undeclared, and what is declared by me as declared.”

That is what the Blessed One said. Gratified, Ven. Malunkyaputta delighted in the Blessed One’s words.

DOCTRINE-TRUE PRACTICE OF THE PATH SHOWN BY THE BLESSED NOBLE AWAKENED ONE - THE TATHAGATA-A Gift of Dhamma
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DOCTRINE-TRUE PRACTICE OF THE PATH SHOWN BY THE BLESSED NOBLE AWAKENED ONE - THE TATHAGATA

A Gift of Dhamma

(A Discourse delivered to the assembly of Western Monks, Novices and Lay-disciples at Bung Wai Forest Monastery, Ubon, on 10th October, 1977. This Discourse was offered to the parents of one of the monks on the occasion of their visit from France.)

I am happy that you have taken this opportunity to come and visit Wat Pah Pong, and to see your son who is a monk here, however I’m sorry I have no gift to offer you. France already has so many material things, but of Dhamma there’s very little. Having been there and seen for myself, there isn’t really any Dhamma there which could lead to peace and tranquillity. There are only things which continually make one’s mind confused and troubled.

France is already materially prosperous, it has so many things to offer which are sensually enticing — sights, sounds, smells, tastes and textures. However, people ignorant of Dhamma only become confused by them. So today I will offer you some Dhamma to take back to France as a gift from Wat Pah Pong and Wat Pah Nanachat.

What is Dhamma? Dhamma is that which can cut through the problems and difficulties of mankind, gradually reducing them to nothing. That’s what is called Dhamma and that’s what should be studied throughout our daily lives so that when some mental impression arises in us, we’ll be able to deal with it and go beyond it.

Problems are common to us all whether living here in Thailand or in other countries. If we don’t know how to solve them, we’ll always be subject to suffering and distress. That which solves problems is wisdom and to have wisdom we must develop and train the mind.

The subject of practice isn’t far away at all, it’s right here in our body and mind. Westerners and Thais are the same, they both have a body and mind. A confused body and mind means a confused person and a peaceful body and mind, a peaceful person.

Actually, the mind, like rain water, is pure in its natural state. If we were to drop green coloring into clear rain water, however, it would turn green. If yellow coloring it would turn yellow.

The mind reacts similarly. When a comfortable mental impression “drops” into the mind, the mind is comfortable. When the mental impression is uncomfortable, the mind is uncomfortable. The mind becomes “cloudy” just like the colored water.

When clear water contacts yellow, it turns yellow. When it contacts green, it turns green. It will change color every time. Actually, that water which is green or yellow is naturally clean and clear. This is also the natural state of the mind, clean and pure and unconfused. It becomes confused only because it pursues mental impressions; it gets lost in its moods!

Let me explain more clearly. Right now we are sitting in a peaceful forest. Here, if there’s no wind, a leaf remains still. When a wind blows it flaps and flutters. The mind is similar to that leaf. When it contacts a mental impression, it, too, “flaps and flutters” according to the nature of that mental impression. And the less we know of Dhamma, the more the mind will continually pursue mental impressions. Feeling happy, it succumbs to happiness. Feeling suffering, it succumbs to suffering. It’s constant confusion!

In the end people become neurotic. Why? Because they don’t know! They just follow their moods and don’t know how to look after their own minds. When the mind has no one to look after it, it’s like a child without a mother or father to take care of him. An orphan has no refuge and, without a refuge, he’s very insecure.

Likewise, if the mind is not looked after, if there is no training or maturation of character with right understanding, it’s really troublesome.

The method of training the mind which I will give you today is Kammatthana. “Kamma” means “action” and “thana” means “base.” In Buddhism it is the method of making the mind peaceful and tranquil. It’s for you to use in training the mind and with the trained mind investigate the body.

Our being is composed of two parts: one is the body, the other, the mind. There are only these two parts. What is called “the body,” is that which can be seen with our physical eyes. “The mind,” on the other hand, has no physical aspect. The mind can only be seen with the “internal eye” or the “eye of the mind.” These two things, body and mind, are in a constant state of turmoil.

What is the mind? The mind isn’t really any “thing.” Conventionally speaking, it’s that which feels or senses. That which senses, receives and experiences all mental impressions is called “mind.” Right at this moment there is mind. As I am speaking to you, the mind acknowledges what I am saying. Sounds enter through the ear and you know what is being said. That which experiences this is called “mind.”

This mind doesn’t have any self or substance. It doesn’t have any form. It just experiences mental activities, that’s all! If we teach this mind to have right view, this mind won’t have any problems. It will be at ease.

The mind is mind. Mental objects are mental objects. Mental objects are not the mind, the mind is not mental objects. In order to clearly understand our minds and the mental objects in our minds, we say that the mind is that which receives the mental objects which pop into it.

When these two things, mind and its object, come into contact with each other, they give rise to feelings. Some are good, some bad, some cold, some hot, all kinds! Without wisdom to deal with these feelings, however, the mind will be troubled.

Meditation is the way of developing the mind so that it may be a base for the arising of wisdom. Here the breath is a physical foundation. We call it Anapanasati or “mindfulness of breathing.” Here we make breathing our mental object. We take this object of meditation because it’s the simplest and because it has been the heart of meditation since ancient times.

When a good occasion arises to do sitting meditation, sit cross-legged: right leg on top of the left leg, right hand on top of the left hand. Keep your back straight and erect. Say to yourself, “Now I will let go of all my burdens and concerns.” You don’t want anything that will cause you worry. Let go of all concerns for the time being.

Now fix your attention on the breath. Then breathe in and breathe out. In developing awareness of breathing, don’t intentionally make the breath long or short. Neither make it strong or weak. Just let it flow normally and naturally. Mindfulness and self-awareness, arising from the mind, will know the in-breath and the out-breath.

Be at ease. Don’t think about anything. No need to think of this or that. The only thing you have to do is fix your attention on the breathing in and breathing out. You have nothing else to do but that! Keep your mindfulness fixed on the in-and out-breaths as they occur. Be aware of the beginning, middle and end of each breath. On inhalation, the beginning of the breath is at the nose tip, the middle at the heart, and the end in the abdomen. On exhalation, it’s just the reverse: the beginning of the breath is in the abdomen, the middle at the heart, and the end at the nose tip. Develop the awareness of the breath: 1, at the nose tip; 2, at the heart; 3, in the abdomen. Then in reverse: 1, in the abdomen; 2, at the heart; and 3, at the nose tip.

Focusing the attention on these three points will relieve all worries. Just don’t think of anything else! Keep your attention on the breath. Perhaps other thoughts will enter the mind. It will take up other themes and distract you. Don’t be concerned. Just take up the breathing again as your object of attention. The mind may get caught up in judging and investigating your moods, but continue to practice, being constantly aware of the beginning, middle and the end of each breath.

Eventually, the mind will be aware of the breath at these three points all the time. When you do this practice for some time, the mind and body will get accustomed to the work. Fatigue will disappear. The body will feel lighter and the breath will become more and more refined. Mindfulness and self-awareness will protect the mind and watch over it.

We practice like this until the mind is peaceful and calm, until it is one. One means that the mind will be completely absorbed in the breathing, that it doesn’t separate from the breath. The mind will be unconfused and at ease. It will know the beginning, middle and end of the breath and remain steadily fixed on it.

Then when the mind is peaceful, we fix our attention on the in-breath and out-breath at the nose tip only. We don’t have to follow it up and down to the abdomen and back. Just concentrate on the tip of the nose where the breath comes in and goes out.

This is called “calming the mind,” making it relaxed and peaceful. When tranquillity arises, the mind stops; it stops with its single object, the breath. This is what’s known as making the mind peaceful so that wisdom may arise.

This is the beginning, the foundation of our practice. You should try to practice this every single day, wherever you may be. Whether at home, in a car, lying or sitting down, you should be mindfully aware and watch over the mind constantly.

This is called mental training which should be practiced in all the four postures. Not just sitting, but standing, walking and lying as well. The point is that we should know what the state of the mind is at each moment, and, to be able to do this, we must be constantly mindful and aware. Is the mind happy or suffering? Is it confused? Is it peaceful? Getting to know the mind in this manner allows it to become tranquil, and when it does become tranquil, wisdom will arise.

With the tranquil mind investigate the meditation subject which is the body, from the top of the head to the soles of the feet, then back to the head. Do this over and over again. Look at and see the hair of the head, hair of the body, the nails, teeth and skin. In this meditation we will see that this whole body is composed of four “elements’: earth, water, fire and wind.

The hard and solid parts of our body make up the earth element; the liquid and flowing parts, the water element. Winds that pass up and down our body make up the wind element, and the heat in our body, the fire element.

Taken together, they compose what we call a “human being.” However, when the body is broken down into its component parts, only these four elements remain. The Buddha taught that there is no “being” per se, no human, no Thai, no Westerner, no person, but that ultimately, there are only these four elements — that’s all! We assume that there is a person or a “being” but, in reality, there isn’t anything of the sort.

Whether taken separately as earth, water, fire and wind, or taken together labelling what they form a “human being,” they’re all impermanent, subject to suffering and not-self. They are all unstable, uncertain and in a state of constant change — not stable for a single moment!

Our body is unstable, altering and changing constantly. Hair changes, nails change, teeth change, skin changes — everything changes, completely!

Our mind, too, is always changing. It isn’t a self or substance. It isn’t really “us,” not really “them,” although it may think so. Maybe it will think about killing itself. Maybe it will think of happiness or of suffering — all sorts of things! It’s unstable. If we don’t have wisdom and we believe this mind of ours, it’ll lie to us continually. And we alternately suffer and be happy.

This mind is an uncertain thing. This body is uncertain. Together they are impermanent. Together they are a source of suffering. Together they are devoid of self. These, the Buddha pointed out, are neither a being, nor a person, nor a self, nor a soul, nor us, nor they. They are merely elements: earth, water, fire and wind. Elements only!

When the mind sees this, it will rid itself of attachment which holds that “I” am beautiful, “I” am good, “I” am evil, “I” am suffering, “I” have, “I” this or “I” that. You will experience a state of unity, for you’ll have seen that all of mankind is basically the same. There is no “I.” There are only elements.

When you contemplate and see impermanence, suffering and not-self, there will no longer be clinging to a self, a being, I or he or she. The mind which sees this will give rise to Nibbida, world-weariness and dispassion. It will see all things as only impermanent, suffering and not-self.

The mind then stops. The mind is Dhamma. Greed, hatred and delusion will then diminish and recede little by little until finally there is only mind — just the pure mind. This is called “practicing meditation.”

Thus, I ask you to receive this gift of Dhamma which I offer you to study and contemplate in your daily lives. Please accept this Dhamma Teaching from Wat Pah Pong and Wat Pah Nanachat as an inheritance handed down to you. All of the monks here, including your son, and all the Teachers, make you an offering of this Dhamma to take back to France with you. It will show you the way to peace of mind, it will render your mind calm and unconfused. Your body may be in turmoil, but your mind will not. Those in the world may be confused, but you will not. Even though there is confusion in your country, you will not be confused because the mind will have seen, the mind is Dhamma. This is the right path, the proper way.

May you remember this Teaching in the future.

May you be well and happy.

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SPIRITUAL COMMUNITY OF THE TRUE FOLLOWERS OF THE PATH SHOWN BY THE BLESSED NOBLE AWAKENED ONE -THE TATHAGATA-5. The Fifth Precept: Abstinence from Intoxicating Drinks and Drugs
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SPIRITUAL COMMUNITY OF THE TRUE FOLLOWERS OF THE PATH SHOWN BY THE BLESSED NOBLE AWAKENED ONE -THE TATHAGATA

5. The Fifth Precept: Abstinence from Intoxicating Drinks and Drugs

The fifth precept reads: Suramerayamajjapamadatthana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami, “I undertake the training rule to abstain from fermented and distilled intoxicants which are the basis for heedlessness.” The word meraya means fermented liquors, sura liquors which have been distilled to increase their strength and flavor. The world majja, meaning an intoxicant, can be related to the rest of the passage either as qualified by surameraya or as additional to them. In the former case the whole phrase means fermented and distilled liquors which are intoxicants, in the latter it means fermented and distilled liquors and other intoxicants. If this second reading is adopted the precept would explicitly include intoxicating drugs used non-medicinally, such as the opiates, hemp, and psychedelics. But even on the first reading the precept implicitly proscribes these drugs by way of its guiding purpose, which is to prevent heedlessness caused by the taking of intoxicating substances.

The taking of intoxicants is defined as the volition leading to the bodily act of ingesting distilled or fermented intoxicants.10 It can be committed only by one’s own person (not by command to others) and only occurs through the bodily door. For the precept to be violated four factors are required: (1) the intoxicant; (2) the intention of taking it; (3) the activity of ingesting it; and (4) the actual ingestion of the intoxicant. The motivating factor of the violation is greed coupled with delusion. No gradations of moral weight are given. In taking medicines containing alcohol or intoxicating drugs for medical reasons no breach of the precept is committed. There is also no violation in taking food containing a negligible amount of alcohol added as a flavoring.

This fifth precept differs from the preceding four in that the others directly involve a man’s relation to his fellow beings while this precept ostensibly deals solely with a person’s relation to himself — to his own body and mind. Thus whereas the first four precepts clearly belong to the moral sphere, a question may arise whether this precept is really ethical in character or merely hygienic. The answer is that it is ethical, for the reason that what a person does to his own body and mind can have a decisive effect on his relations to his fellow men. Taking intoxicants can influence the ways in which a man interacts with others, leading to the violation of all five precepts. Under the influence of intoxicants a man who might otherwise be restrained can lose self-control, become heedless, and engage in killing, stealing, adultery, and lying. Abstinence from intoxicants is prescribed on the grounds that it is essential to the self-protection of the individual and for establishing the well-being of family and society. The precept thus prevents the misfortunes that result from the use of intoxicants: loss of wealth, quarrels and crimes, bodily disease, loss of reputation, shameless conduct, negligence, and madness.

The precept, it must be stressed, does not prohibit merely intoxication but the very use of intoxicating substances. Though occasional indulgences may not be immediately harmful in isolation, the seductive and addictive properties of intoxicants are well known. The strongest safeguard against the lure is to avoid them altogether.

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