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11/06/07
The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata-Bee gathering nectar {sage} -Upacala
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Posted by: @ 7:09 pm

The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata

Bee gathering nectar {sage} stock photo : little bee collecting honey

The man immersed in
gathering blossoms,
his mind distracted:
death sweeps him away —
as a great flood,
a village asleep.
	
The man immersed in
gathering blossoms,
his mind distracted,
insatiable in sensual pleasures:
the End-Maker holds him
under his sway.

honey_bee.jpg

 

 

 

 

Honey Bee Man

Doctrine-True Practice of The Path Shown by The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata-Samatha (Calm) Meditation
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Posted by: @ 7:04 pm

Doctrine-True Practice of The Path Shown by The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata

Please visit:

http://www.sunderland.ac.uk/buddhist/

http://here-and-now.org/wwwArticles/stray.html

http://here-and-now.org/VSI/Articles/TheoryMed/theoryHow.htm

http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Program/1432/writing/meditation.html

http://mandalathangka.blogspot.com/

concentration

Samatha (Calm) Meditation

Our practice of Samatha is like this: We establish the practice of mindfulness on the in-and out-breath, for example, as a foundation or means of controlling the mind. By having the mind follow the flow of the breath it becomes steadfast, calm and still. This practice of calming the mind is called Samatha Meditation. It’s necessary to do a lot of this kind of practice because the mind is full of many disturbances. It’s very confused. We can’t say how many years or how many lives it’s been this way. If we sit and contemplate we’ll see that there’s a lot that doesn’t conduce to peace and calm and a lot that leads to confusion!

For this reason the Buddha taught that we must find a meditation subject which is suitable to our particular tendencies, a way of practice which is right for our character. For example, going over and over the parts of the body: hair of the head, hair of the body, nails, teeth and skin, can be very calming. The mind can become very peaceful from this practice. If contemplating these five things leads to calm, it’s because they are appropriate objects for contemplation according to our tendencies. Whatever we find to be appropriate in this way, we can consider to be our practice and use it to subdue the defilements.

Another example is recollection of death. For those who still have strong greed, aversion and delusion and find them difficult to contain, it’s useful to take this subject of personal death as a meditation. We’ll come to see that everybody has to die, whether rich or poor. We’ll see both good and evil people die. Everybody must die! Developing this practice we find that an attitude of dispassion arises. The more we practice the easier our sitting produces calm. This is because it’s a suitable and appropriate practice for us. If this practice of Calm Meditation is not agreeable to our particular tendencies, it won’t produce this attitude of dispassion. If the object is truly suited to us then we’ll find it arising regularly, without great difficulty, and we’ll find ourselves thinking about it often.

Regarding this we can see an example in our everyday lives. When laypeople bring trays of many different types of food to offer the monks, we taste them all to see which we like. When we have tried each one we can tell which is most agreeable to us. This is just an example. That which we find agreeable to our taste we’ll eat, we find most suitable. We won’t bother about the other various dishes.

The practice of concentrating our attention on the in-and out-breath is an example of a type of meditation which is suitable for us all. It seems that when we go around doing various different practices, we don’t feel so good. But as soon as we sit and observe our breath we have a good feeling, we can see it clearly. There’s no need to go looking far away, we can use what is close to us and this will be better for us. Just watch the breath. It goes out and comes in, out and in — we watch it like this. For a long time we keep watching our breathing in and out and slowly our mind settles. Other activity will arise but we feel like it is distant from us. Just like when we live apart from each other and don’t feel so close anymore. We don’t have the same strong contact anymore or perhaps no contact at all.

When we have a feeling for this practice of mindfulness of breathing, it becomes easier. If we keep on with this practice we gain experience and become skilled at knowing the nature of the breath. We’ll know what it’s like when it’s long and what it’s like when it’s short.

Looking at it one way we can talk about the food of the breath. While sitting or walking we breathe, while sleeping we breathe, while awake we breathe. If we don’t breathe then we die. If we think about it we see that we exist only with the help of food. If we don’t eat ordinary food for ten minutes, an hour or even a day, it doesn’t matter. This is a course kind of food. However, if we don’t breathe for even a short time we’ll die. If we don’t breathe for five or ten minutes we would be dead. Try it!

One who is practicing mindfulness of breathing should have this kind of understanding. The knowledge that comes from this practice is indeed wonderful. If we don’t contemplate then we won’t see the breath as food, but actually we are “eating” air all the time, in, out, in, out… all the time. Also you’ll find that the more you contemplate in this way, the greater the benefits derived from the practice and the more delicate the breath becomes. It may even happen that the breath stops. It appears as if we aren’t breathing at all. Actually, the breath is passing through the pores of the skin. This is called the “delicate breath.” When our mind is perfectly calm, normal breathing can cease in this way. We need not be at all startled or afraid. If there’s no breathing what should we do? Just know it! Know that there is no breathing, that’s all. This is the right practice here.

Here we are talking about the way of Samatha practice, the practice of developing calm. If the object which we are using is right and appropriate for us, it will lead to this kind of experience. This is the beginning, but there is enough in this practice to take us all the way, or at least to where we can see clearly and continue in strong faith. If we keep on with contemplation in this manner, energy will come to us. This is similar to the water in an urn. We put in water and keep it topped up. We keep on filling the urn with water and thereby the insects which live in the water don’t die. Making effort and doing our everyday practice is just like this. It all comes back to practice. We feel very good and peaceful.

This peacefulness comes from our one-pointed state of mind. This one-pointed state of mind, however, can be very troublesome, since we don’t want other mental states to disturb us. Actually, other mental states do come and, if we think about it, that in itself can be the one-pointed state of mind. It’s like when we see various men and women, but we don’t have the same feeling about them as we do about our mother and father. In reality all men are male just like our father and all women are female just like our mother, but we don’t have the same feeling about them. We feel that our parents are more important. They hold greater value for us.

This is how it should be with our one-pointed state of mind. We should have the same attitude towards it as we would have towards our own mother and father. All other activity which arises we appreciate in the same way as we feel towards men and women in general. We don’t stop seeing them, we simply acknowledge their presence and don’t ascribe to them the same value as our parents.

Opened Stupa

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Spiritual Community of The Followers of The Path Shown by The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata -The serious pursuit of happiness
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Posted by: @ 6:33 pm

Spiritual Community of The Followers of The Path Shown by The Blessed,Noble,Awakened One-The Tathagata

The serious pursuit of happiness

Buddhism is sometimes naïvely criticized as a “negative” or “pessimistic” religion and philosophy. Surely life is not all misery and disappointment: it offers many kinds of happiness and sublime joy. Why then this dreary Buddhist obsession with unsatisfactoriness and suffering?

The Buddha based his teachings on a frank assessment of our plight as humans: there is unsatisfactoriness and suffering in the world. No one can argue this fact. Dukkha lurks behind even the highest forms of worldly pleasure and joy, for, sooner or later, as surely as night follows day, that happiness must come to an end. Were the Buddha’s teachings to stop there, we might indeed regard them as pessimistic and life as utterly hopeless. But, like a doctor who prescribes a remedy for an illness,

To Sunakkhatta

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Vesali in the Great Forest, at the Peaked Pavilion. Now at that time a large number of monks had declared final gnosis in the Blessed One’s presence: “We discern that ‘Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for the sake of this world.’”

Sunakkhatta the Licchavin heard that “A large number of monks, it seems, have declared final gnosis in the Blessed One’s presence: ‘We discern that “Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for the sake of this world.”‘” Then Sunakkhatta the Licchavin went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: “I have heard, lord, that a large number of monks have declared final gnosis in the Blessed One’s presence: ‘We discern that “Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for the sake of this world.”‘ Now, have they rightly declared final gnosis, or is it the case that some of them have declared final gnosis out of over-estimation?”

“Sunakkhatta, of the monks who have declared final gnosis in my presence… it is the case that some have rightly declared final gnosis, whereas others have declared final gnosis out of over-estimation. As for those who have rightly declared final gnosis, that is their truth. As for those who have declared final gnosis out of over-estimation, the thought occurs to the Tathagata, ‘I will teach them the Dhamma.’ Yet there are cases when the thought has occurred to the Tathagata, ‘I will teach them the Dhamma,’ but there are worthless men who come to him having formulated question after question, so that his thought, ‘I will teach them the Dhamma,’ changes into something else.”

“Now is the time, O Blessed One. Now is the time, O One Well-Gone, for the Blessed One to teach the Dhamma. Having heard the Blessed One, the monks will remember it.”

“Then in that case, Sunakkhatta, listen & pay close attention. I will speak.”

“As you say, lord,” Sunakkhatta the Licchavin responded to the Blessed One.

The Blessed One said: “Sunakkhatta, there are these five strings of sensuality. Which five? Forms cognizable via the eye — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. Sounds cognizable via the ear… Aromas cognizable via the nose… Flavors cognizable via the tongue… Tactile sensations cognizable the body — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. These are the five strings of sensuality.

“Now there’s the possible case where a certain person is intent on the baits of the world. When a person is intent on the baits of the world, that sort of talk interests him, his thinking & evaluating follow along those lines, he feels at home with that sort of person, and his mind gets along with that sort of person. But when talk concerning the imperturbable [the fourth jhana and the spheres of the infinitude of space & the infinitude of consciousness] is going on, he does not listen, does not lend ear, and does not exert his mind to know. He does not get along with that sort of person; his mind does not feel at home with him.

Suppose that there were a man who had left his home village or town a long time ago. And he were to meet with a man who had left the village or town only a short time ago. He would ask if the people in the village or town were secure, well-fed, & free of disease, and the second man would tell him if they were secure, well-fed, & free of disease. Now, what do you think, Sunakkhatta. Would the first man listen to the second man, lend ear, and exert his mind to know? Would he get along with the second man; would his mind feel at home with him?”

“Yes, lord.”

“In the same way, it is possible that there is the case where a certain person is intent on the baits of the world. When a person is intent on the baits of the world, that sort of talk interests him, his thinking & evaluating follow along those lines, he feels at home with that sort of person, and his mind gets along with that sort of person. But when talk concerning the imperturbable [the fourth jhana and the spheres of the infinitude of space and the infinitude of consciousness] is going on, he does not listen, does not lend ear, and does not exert his mind to know. He does not get along with that sort of person; his mind does not feel at home with him. This is how it can be known that ‘This person is intent on the baits of the world.’

“Now, there’s the possible case where a certain person is intent on the imperturbable. When a person is intent on the imperturbable, that sort of talk interests him, his thinking & evaluating follow along those lines, he feels at home with that sort of person, and his mind gets along with that sort of person. But when talk concerning the baits of the world is going on, he does not listen, does not lend ear, and does not exert his mind to know. He does not get along with that sort of person; his mind does not feel at home with him.

Just as a yellow leaf released from its stem is incapable of ever again becoming green, in the same way, when a person is intent on the imperturbable, he is released from the fetter of the baits of the world. This is how it can be known that ‘This person, disjoined from the fetter of the baits of the world, is intent on the imperturbable.’

“Now, there’s the possible case where a certain person is intent on the dimension of nothingness. When a person is intent on the dimension of nothingness, that sort of talk interests him, his thinking & evaluating follow along those lines, he feels at home with that sort of person, and his mind gets along with that sort of person. But when talk concerning the imperturbable is going on, he does not listen, does not lend ear, and does not exert his mind to know. He does not get along with that sort of person; his mind does not feel at home with him.

Just as a thick rock broken in two cannot be put back together again, in the same way, when a person is intent on the dimension of nothingness, he has broken the fetter of the imperturbable. This is how it can be known that ‘This person, disjoined from the fetter of the imperturbable, is intent on the dimension of nothingness.’

“Now, there’s the possible case where a certain person is intent on the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception. When a person is intent on the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, that sort of talk interests him, his thinking & evaluating follow along those lines, he feels at home with that sort of person, and his mind gets along with that sort of person. But when talk concerning the dimension of nothingness is going on, he does not listen, does not lend ear, and does not exert his mind to know. He does not get along with that sort of person; his mind does not feel at home with him.

“Sunakkhatta, suppose that a person, having eaten some delicious food, were to vomit it up. What do you think — would he have any desire for that food?”

“No, lord. Why is that? Because he would consider that food to be disgusting.”

“In the same way, when a person is intent on the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, he has vomited up the fetter of the dimension of nothingness. This is how it can be known that ‘This person, disjoined from the fetter of the dimension of nothingness, is intent on the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception.’

“Now, there’s the possible case where a certain person is rightly intent on Unbinding. When a person is rightly intent on Unbinding, that sort of talk interests him, his thinking & evaluating follow along those lines, he feels at home with that sort of person, and his mind gets along with that sort of person. But when talk concerning the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception is going on, he does not listen, does not lend ear, and does not exert his mind to know. He does not get along with that sort of person; his mind does not feel at home with him.

Just as a palm tree with its top cut off is incapable of further growth, in the same way, when a person is rightly intent on Unbinding, he has destroyed the fetter of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, has destroyed it by the root, like an uprooted palm tree deprived of the conditions of existence, not destined for future arising. This is how it can be known that ‘This person, disjoined from the fetter of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, is intent on Unbinding.’

“Now, there’s the possible case where a certain monk thinks, ‘Craving is said by the Contemplative [the Buddha] to be an arrow. The poison of ignorance spreads its toxin through desire, passion, & ill will. I have abandoned the arrow. I have expelled the poison of ignorance. I am rightly intent on Unbinding.’ Because this is not true of him, he might pursue those things that are unsuitable for a person rightly intent on Unbinding. He might pursue unsuitable forms & sights with the eye. He might pursue unsuitable sounds with the ear… unsuitable aromas with the nose… unsuitable flavors with the tongue… unsuitable tactile sensations with the body. He might pursue unsuitable ideas with the intellect. When he pursues unsuitable forms & sights with the eye… pursue unsuitable ideas with the intellect, lust invades the mind. With his mind invaded by lust, he incurs death or death-like suffering.

Suppose that a man were wounded with an arrow thickly smeared with poison. His friends & companions, kinsmen & relatives would provide him with a surgeon. The surgeon would cut around the opening of the wound with a knife and then would probe for the arrow with a probe. He then would pull out the arrow and extract the poison, leaving a residue behind. Knowing that a residue was left behind, he would say, ‘My good man, your arrow has been pulled out. The poison has been extracted, with a residue left behind, but it is not enough to do you harm. Eat suitable food. Don’t eat unsuitable food, or else the wound will fester. Wash the wound frequently, smear it with an ointment frequently, so that blood & pus don’t fill the opening of the wound. Don’t walk around in the wind & sun, or else dust & dirt may contaminate the opening of the wound. Keep looking after the wound, my good man, and work for its healing.’

“The thought would occur to the man: ‘My arrow has been pulled out. The poison has been extracted, with a residue left behind, but it is not enough to do me harm.’ He would eat unsuitable food, so the wound would fester. He wouldn’t wash the wound or smear it with an ointment frequently, so blood & pus would fill the opening of the wound. He would walk around in the wind & sun, so dust & dirt would contaminate the opening of the wound. He wouldn’t keep looking after the wound or work for its healing. Now, both because of these unsuitable actions of his and because of the residue of the dirty poison left behind, the wound would swell. With the swelling of the wound he would incur death or death-like suffering.

“In the same way, there’s the possible case where a certain monk thinks, ‘Craving is said by the Contemplative to be an arrow. The poison of ignorance spreads its toxin through desire, passion, & ill will. I have abandoned the arrow. I have expelled the poison of ignorance. I am rightly intent on Unbinding.’ Because this is not true of him, he might pursue those things that are unsuitable for a person rightly intent on Unbinding. He might pursue unsuitable forms & sights with the eye. He might pursue unsuitable sounds with the ear… unsuitable aromas with the nose… unsuitable flavors with the tongue… unsuitable tactile sensations with the body. He might pursue unsuitable ideas with the intellect. When he pursues unsuitable forms & sights with the eye… pursue unsuitable ideas with the intellect, lust invades the mind. With his mind invaded by lust, he incurs death or death-like suffering. For this is death in the discipline of the noble ones: when one renounces the training and returns to the lower life. And this is death-like suffering: when one commits a defiled offense.

“Now, there’s the possible case where a certain monk thinks, ‘Craving is said by the Contemplative to be an arrow. The poison of ignorance spreads its toxin through desire, passion, & ill will. I have abandoned the arrow. I have expelled the poison of ignorance. I am rightly intent on Unbinding.’ Because he is rightly intent on Unbinding, he wouldn’t pursue those things that are unsuitable for a person rightly intent on Unbinding. He wouldn’t pursue unsuitable forms & sights with the eye. He wouldn’t pursue unsuitable sounds with the ear… unsuitable aromas with the nose… unsuitable flavors with the tongue… unsuitable tactile sensations with the body. He wouldn’t pursue unsuitable ideas with the intellect. When he doesn’t pursue unsuitable forms & sights with the eye… doesn’t pursue unsuitable ideas with the intellect, lust doesn’t invade the mind. With his mind not invaded by lust, he doesn’t incur death or death-like suffering.

Suppose that a man were wounded with an arrow thickly smeared with poison. His friends & companions, kinsmen & relatives would provide him with a surgeon. The surgeon would cut around the opening of the wound with a knife and then would probe for the arrow with a probe. He then would pull out the arrow and extract the poison, leaving no residue behind. Knowing that no residue was left behind, he would say, ‘My good man, your arrow has been pulled out. The poison has been extracted, with no residue left behind, so it is not enough to do you harm. Eat suitable food. Don’t eat unsuitable food, or else the wound will fester. Wash the wound frequently, smear it with an ointment frequently, so that blood & pus don’t fill the opening of the wound. Don’t walk around in the wind & sun, or else dust & dirt may contaminate the opening of the wound. Keep looking after the wound, my good man, and work for its healing.’

“The thought would occur to the man: ‘My arrow has been pulled out. The poison has been extracted with no residue left behind, so it is not enough to do me harm.’ He would eat suitable food, so the wound wouldn’t fester. He would wash the wound and smear it with an ointment frequently, so blood & pus wouldn’t fill the opening of the wound. He would not walk around in the wind & sun, so dust & dirt wouldn’t contaminate the opening of the wound. He would keep looking after the wound and would work for its healing. Now, both because of these suitable actions of his and because of there being no residue of the poison left behind, the wound would heal. With the healing of the wound and its being covered with skin, he wouldn’t incur death or death-like suffering.

“In the same way, there’s the possible case where a certain monk thinks, ‘Craving is said by the Contemplative to be an arrow. The poison of ignorance spreads its toxin through desire, passion, & ill will. I have abandoned the arrow. I have expelled the poison of ignorance. I am rightly intent on Unbinding.’ Because he is rightly intent on Unbinding, he wouldn’t pursue those things that are unsuitable for a person rightly intent on Unbinding. He wouldn’t pursue unsuitable forms & sights with the eye. He wouldn’t pursue unsuitable sounds with the ear… unsuitable aromas with the nose… unsuitable flavors with the tongue… unsuitable tactile sensations with the body. He wouldn’t pursue unsuitable ideas with the intellect. When he doesn’t pursue unsuitable forms & sights with the eye… doesn’t pursue unsuitable ideas with the intellect, lust doesn’t invade the mind. With his mind not invaded by lust, he doesn’t incur death or death-like suffering.

“I have given this simile to convey a meaning. The meaning is this: the wound stands for the six internal sense media; the poison, for ignorance; the arrow, for craving; the probe, for mindfulness; the knife, for noble discernment; the surgeon, for the Tathagata, worthy & rightly self-awakened.

“Now, when a monk — maintaining restraint over the six spheres of contact, knowing that ‘Acquisition is the root of stress’ — is free from acquisition, released in the total ending of acquisition, it’s not possible that, with regard to acquisition, he would stir his body or arouse his mind.

Suppose there were a beverage in a bronze cup — consummate in its color, smell, & flavor — but mixed with poison. And suppose a man were to come along, wanting to live, not wanting to die, desiring pleasure, & abhorring pain. What do you think, Sunakkhatta — would he drink the beverage in the bronze cup knowing that ‘Having drunk this, I will incur death or death-like suffering’?”

“No, lord.”

“In the same way, when a monk — maintaining restraint over the six spheres of contact, knowing that ‘Acquisition is the root of stress’ — is free from acquisition, released in the total ending of acquisition, it’s not possible that, with regard to acquisition, he would stir his body or arouse his mind.

Suppose there were a deadly poisonous viper, and a man were to come along, wanting to live, not wanting to die, desiring pleasure, & abhorring pain. What do you think, Sunakkhatta — would he give his hand or finger to the snake knowing that ‘Having been bitten by this, I will incur death or death-like suffering’?”

“No, lord.”

“In the same way, when a monk — maintaining restraint over the six spheres of contact, knowing that ‘Acquisition is the root of stress’ — is free from acquisition, released in the total ending of acquisition, it’s not possible that, with regard to acquisition, he would stir his body or arouse his mind.”

That is what the Blessed One said. Gratified, Sunakkhatta the Licchavin delighted in the Blessed One’s words.