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11/20/07
Right Action
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 11:39 pm

Right Action

Buddhist Webring

http://sophanse.blogspot.com/2006_03_24_sophanse_archive.html

Right Action (samma kammanta)

Right action means refraining from unwholesome deeds that occur with the body as their natural means of expression. The pivotal element in this path factor is the mental factor of abstinence, but because this abstinence applies to actions performed through the body, it is called “right action.” The Buddha mentions three components of right action: abstaining from taking life, abstaining from taking what is not given, and abstaining from sexual misconduct. These we will briefly discuss in order.

(1) Abstaining from the taking of life (panatipata veramani)

Herein someone avoids the taking of life and abstains from it. Without stick or sword, conscientious, full of sympathy, he is desirous of the welfare of all sentient beings.28

“Abstaining from taking life” has a wider application than simply refraining from killing other human beings. The precept enjoins abstaining from killing any sentient being. A “sentient being” (pani, satta) is a living being endowed with mind or consciousness; for practical purposes, this means human beings, animals, and insects. Plants are not considered to be sentient beings; though they exhibit some degree of sensitivity, they lack full-fledged consciousness, the defining attribute of a sentient being.

The “taking of life” that is to be avoided is intentional killing, the deliberate destruction of life of a being endowed with consciousness. The principle is grounded in the consideration that all beings love life and fear death, that all seek happiness and are averse to pain. The essential determinant of transgression is the volition to kill, issuing in an action that deprives a being of life. Suicide is also generally regarded as a violation, but not accidental killing as the intention to destroy life is absent. The abstinence may be taken to apply to two kinds of action, the primary and the secondary. The primary is the actual destruction of life; the secondary is deliberately harming or torturing another being without killing it.

While the Buddha’s statement on non-injury is quite simple and straightforward, later commentaries give a detailed analysis of the principle. A treatise from Thailand, written by an erudite Thai patriarch, collates a mass of earlier material into an especially thorough treatment, which we shall briefly summarize here.29 The treatise points out that the taking of life may have varying degrees of moral weight entailing different consequences. The three primary variables governing moral weight are the object, the motive, and the effort. With regard to the object there is a difference in seriousness between killing a human being and killing an animal, the former being kammically heavier since man has a more highly developed moral sense and greater spiritual potential than animals. Among human beings, the degree of kammic weight depends on the qualities of the person killed and his relation to the killer; thus killing a person of superior spiritual qualities or a personal benefactor, such as a parent or a teacher, is an especially grave act.

The motive for killing also influences moral weight. Acts of killing can be driven by greed, hatred, or delusion. Of the three, killing motivated by hatred is the most serious, and the weight increases to the degree that the killing is premeditated. The force of effort involved also contributes, the unwholesome kamma being proportional to the force and the strength of the defilements.

The positive counterpart to abstaining from taking life, as the Buddha indicates, is the development of kindness and compassion for other beings. The disciple not only avoids destroying life; he dwells with a heart full of sympathy, desiring the welfare of all beings. The commitment to non-injury and concern for the welfare of others represent the practical application of the second path factor, right intention, in the form of good will and harmlessness.

(2) Abstaining from taking what is not given (adinnadana veramani)

He avoids taking what is not given and abstains from it; what another person possesses of goods and chattel in the village or in the wood, that he does not take away with thievish intent.30

“Taking what is not given” means appropriating the rightful belongings of others with thievish intent. If one takes something that has no owner, such as unclaimed stones, wood, or even gems extracted from the earth, the act does not count as a violation even though these objects have not been given. But also implied as a transgression, though not expressly stated, is withholding from others what should rightfully be given to them.

Commentaries mention a number of ways in which “taking what is not given” can be committed. Some of the most common may be enumerated:

(1) stealing: taking the belongings of others secretly, as in housebreaking, pickpocketing, etc.;

(2) robbery: taking what belongs to others openly by force or threats;

(3) snatching: suddenly pulling away another’s possession before he has time to resist;

(4) fraudulence: gaining possession of another’s belongings by falsely claiming them as one’s own;

(5) deceitfulness: using false weights and measures to cheat customers.31

The degree of moral weight that attaches to the action is determined by three factors: the value of the object taken; the qualities of the victim of the theft; and the subjective state of the thief. Regarding the first, moral weight is directly proportional to the value of the object. Regarding the second, the weight varies according to the moral qualities of the deprived individual. Regarding the third, acts of theft may be motivated either by greed or hatred. While greed is the most common cause, hatred may also be responsible as when one person deprives another of his belongings not so much because he wants them for himself as because he wants to harm the latter. Between the two, acts motivated by hatred are kammically heavier than acts motivated by sheer greed.

The positive counterpart to abstaining from stealing is honesty, which implies respect for the belongings of others and for their right to use their belongings as they wish. Another related virtue is contentment, being satisfied with what one has without being inclined to increase one’s wealth by unscrupulous means. The most eminent opposite virtue is generosity, giving away one’s own wealth and possessions in order to benefit others.

(3) Abstaining from sexual misconduct (kamesu miccha-cara veramani)

He avoids sexual misconduct and abstains from it. He has no intercourse with such persons as are still under the protection of father, mother, brother, sister or relatives, nor with married women, nor with female convicts, nor lastly, with betrothed girls.32

The guiding purposes of this precept, from the ethical standpoint, are to protect marital relations from outside disruption and to promote trust and fidelity within the marital union. From the spiritual standpoint it helps curb the expansive tendency of sexual desire and thus is a step in the direction of renunciation, which reaches its consummation in the observance of celibacy (brahmacariya) binding on monks and nuns. But for laypeople the precept enjoins abstaining from sexual relations with an illicit partner. The primary transgression is entering into full sexual union, but all other sexual involvements of a less complete kind may be considered secondary infringements.

The main question raised by the precept concerns who is to count as an illicit partner. The Buddha’s statement defines the illicit partner from the perspective of the man, but later treatises elaborate the matter for both sexes.33

For a man, three kinds of women are considered illicit partners:

(1) A woman who is married to another man. This includes, besides a woman already married to a man, a woman who is not his legal wife but is generally recognized as his consort, who lives with him or is kept by him or is in some way acknowledged as his partner. All these women are illicit partners for men other than their own husbands. This class would also include a woman engaged to another man. But a widow or divorced woman is not out of bounds, provided she is not excluded for other reasons.

(2) A woman still under protection. This is a girl or woman who is under the protection of her mother, father, relatives, or others rightfully entitled to be her guardians. This provision rules out elopements or secret marriages contrary to the wishes of the protecting party.

(3) A woman prohibited by convention. This includes close female relatives forbidden as partners by social tradition, nuns and other women under a vow of celibacy, and those prohibited as partners by the law of the land.

From the standpoint of a woman, two kinds of men are considered illicit partners:

(1) For a married woman any man other than her husband is out of bounds. Thus a married woman violates the precept if she breaks her vow of fidelity to her husband. But a widow or divorcee is free to remarry.

(2) For any woman any man forbidden by convention, such as close relatives and those under a vow of celibacy, is an illicit partner.

Besides these, any case of forced, violent, or coercive sexual union constitutes a transgression. But in such a case the violation falls only on the offender, not on the one compelled to submit.

The positive virtue corresponding to the abstinence is, for laypeople, marital fidelity. Husband and wife should each be faithful and devoted to the other, content with the relationship, and should not risk a breakup to the union by seeking outside partners. The principle does not, however, confine sexual relations to the marital union. It is flexible enough to allow for variations depending on social convention. The essential purpose, as was said, is to prevent sexual relations which are hurtful to others. When mature independent people, though unmarried, enter into a sexual relationship through free consent, so long as no other person is intentionally harmed, no breach of the training factor is involved.

Ordained monks and nuns, including men and women who have undertaken the eight or ten precepts, are obliged to observe celibacy. They must abstain not only from sexual misconduct, but from all sexual involvements, at least during the period of their vows. The holy life at its highest aims at complete purity in thought, word, and deed, and this requires turning back the tide of sexual desire.

 

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Stream-enterer
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 11:24 pm

 Stream-enterer

 

I spoke of stream entry yesterday. Basically it’s the first seeming hurdle (seeming as I, as many do, get stuck in terms of thinking of cause-and-effect linear stepwise) on the seeming path to Awakenment. In other words, there is no path to what you already are.

Buddha: “What do you think, Subhuti? Does a Stream-Enterer think, ‘I have attained the fruit of stream-entry.’?”

Subhuti replied, “No, World-Honored One. Why? Stream-Enterer means to enter the stream, but in fact there is no stream to enter. One does not enter a stream that is form, nor a stream that is sound, smell, taste, touch, or object of mind. That is what we mean when we say entering a stream.” - The Diamond Sutra

Yep, and now there’s no turning back either…

According to Buddhism, a stream-enterer “gains its name from the fact that a person who has attained this level has entered the “stream” flowing inevitably to nibbana. He/she is guaranteed to achieve full awakening within seven lifetimes at most, and in the interim will not be reborn in any of the lower realms.”

David Hawkins’ new book also mentions that a level of consciousness of “unconditional love”, or 540 on (the, again, seemingly linear) scale 1 to 1000 as achievable by anyone and everyone that commits to it. He’s a bit more skeptical of full enlightenment in one lifetime…but what if you’ve lost track of how many lifetimes you’ve been at this? ;-)

In accounts of the life of the Buddha, there are many examples of people immediately understanding his teaching and breaking the first three ‘fetters’ that hinder people from seeing Reality. These fetters are: having a fixed view of oneself; doubt; and being attached to rites and rituals as ends in themselves. Such people become ‘stream entrants’ — because they have entered the stream that draws them irresistibly towards Enlightenment.

Over the centuries there has been a tendency to emphasise the difficulty of making such a breakthrough [this blog will emphasize the ease!], and some Buddhist schools teach that it may take many lifetimes, or even that it’s no longer possible. Sangharakshita has a different understanding. He suggests that all sincere, committed and effective Dharma practitioners, who have supportive conditions and enough time, could reasonably expect to make substantial progress and even gain Stream Entry in this lifetime. - Friends of the Western Buddhist Order

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Once-returner
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 11:15 pm

 Once-returner

The Magnification off a pre-Streamwinner being incalculable and immeasurable, what can be said of that off a Once-Returner?

Bear Hug Flowers! Thank You!

abbreviation  Ariya,  Sanskrit  Arya-pudgala,   in Theravada Buddhism, a person who has attained one of the four levels of holiness. A first type of holy person, called a sotapanna-puggala (“stream-winner”), is one who will attain Nirvana (the supreme goal of Buddhist thought and practice) after no more than seven rebirths. Another type of holy person is termed a sakadagamin (“once-returner”), or one who is destined to be reborn

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Non-returner-
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 10:48 pm

 Non-returner

 

The third of the four stages of Hinayana awakenment. The fourth and highest stage is the stage of arhat. The stage of the non-returner is the stage in which one has eliminated the desires and delusions of the world of desire. At this stage, one will not be reborn in the world of desire; hence the term “non-returner.” Instead one will be reborn in the world of form or the world of formlessness. The anagamin means not coming, not arriving, or not subject to returning.

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Arahant-State of an Arahant after passing away
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 10:45 pm

 Arahant

State of an Arahant after passing away

What is the state of the Arahant after death? Is it a state of annihilation, of non existence, or a state of eternal existence in some other form. The Buddha rejects both these alternatives, declaring that this question is inapplicable.

The question, “What is the state of the Arahant after death?” arises because of the subtle clinging to the idea that an Arahant has a self. But since the Arahant has no self, he does not enter into any state of eternal existence in some heavenly world or as a universal self in some impersonalized form. Also final Nibbana is not a state of annihilation, since there is no self to be annihilated or extinguished. What we call the Arahant is a dependently arisen process of becoming, and the attainment of final Nibbana is cessation of this process of becoming. To try to speak about what lies beyond the ending of this process is to venture outside the boundaries of conceptualization, outside the boundaries of language.

The Buddha says;

“In so far only is there a pathway for words, a pathway for language, a pathway for concepts, a sphere of understanding, that is, when there is consciousness together with mind and body. When there is no remainder of consciousness and the mind-body process, then there is no pathway for words, no pathway for language, no pathway for concepts.”

So from this we see that concepts cannot conceive the ‘inconceivable’ and the mind cannot measure the ‘immeasurable’.

The Buddha illustrates this with the example of a fire. Suppose there is a fire, burning in dependence on fuel, the sticks and logs. Now if the fire does not get any further fuel, when it uses up the old fuel, then it goes out. Suppose we ask, when the fire goes out; where did it go? Did it go to the North? To the South? To the East? To the West? The answer to this is that none of these questions apply. All of these are inapplicable. The fire has simply gone out.

 

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Question and Answers-MAHA BODHI SOCIETY-Questionnaire No 9 and Answers of First Year Diploma Course conducted by Mahabodhi Academy for Pali and Buddhist Studies
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 4:56 pm

Question and Answers

 

Answer to Question No 10 of Questionnaire 8

 

10.              Describe all the historic events, one after another, following the defeat of Maara, between a) the first watch between 6pm to 10pm? B)the middle watch between 10pm to 2am? Give details of these attainments.

Siddhattha - Life as a Prince and Renunciation - with meditation teachers - Practice of severe austerities - his meditation before Awakenment - the Three Knowledges - inspired verses after  Awakenment- who to teach? The five ascetics - Añña Kondaññā, the first Arahant.

Prince Siddhattha, heir to the throne of the Sākiyan kingdom, saw, in spite of his father’s endeavours, old age, disease and death; and also a religious wanderer in yellow robes who was calm and peaceful. When he had seen these things, withheld from him until his early manhood, he was shocked by the sight of the first three realising that he also must suffer them, but he was inspired by the fourth and understood that this was the way to go beyond the troubles, and sufferings of existence. Though his beautiful wife, Yasodharā presented him with a son who was called Rāhula, he was no longer attracted to worldly life. His mind was set upon renunciation of the sense pleasures and uprooting the desires, which underlay them.

So at night he left behind his luxurious life and going off with a single retainer, reached the Sākiyan frontiers. There he dismounted from his horse, took off his princely ornaments and cut off his hair and beard with his sword. Then he changed into yellowish-brown patched robes and so transformed himself into a Bhikkhu or wandering monk. The horse and valuables he told his retainer to take back with the news that he had renounced pleasures and gone forth from home to homelessness.

At first he went to various meditation teachers but he was not satisfied with their teachings when he became aware that they could not show him the way out of all suffering. Their attainments, which he equalled, were like temporary halts on a long journey, they were not its end. They led only to birth in some heaven where life, however long, was nevertheless impermanent. So he decided to find his own way by bodily mortification. This he practised for six years in every conceivable way, going to extremes, which other ascetics would be fearful to try. Finally, on the edge of life and death, he perceived the futility of bodily torment and remembered from boyhood a meditation experience of great peace and joy. Thinking that this was the way, he gave up troubling his body, and took food again to restore his strength. So in his life he had known two extremes, one of luxury and pleasure when a prince, the second of fearful austerity, but both he advised his first Bhikkhu disciples, should be avoided.[1]

Having restored his strength, he sat down to meditate under a great pipal tree, later known as the Bodhi (Enlightenment) Tree. His mind passed quickly into four states of deep meditation called jhāna. In these, the mind is perfectly one-pointed and there is no disturbance or distraction. No words, no thoughts and no pictures, only steady and brilliant mindfulness. Some mental application and inspection is present at first along with physical rapture and mental bliss. But these factors disappear in the process of refinement until in the fourth jhāna only equanimity, mindfulness and great purity are left. On the bases of these profound meditation states certain knowledge arose in his mind.  

These knowledge, which when they appear to a meditator are quite different from things which are learnt or thought about, were described by him in various ways. It is as though a person standing at various points on a track, which is roughly circular, should describe different views of the same landscape; in the same way the Buddha described his Bodhi or awakening experience. Some parts of this experience would be of little or no use to others in their training so these facts he did not teach. What he did teach was about dukkha or suffering, how it arises and how to get beyond it. One of the most frequent views into this ‘landscape of Awakenment’ is the Three Knowledges: of past lives, of kamma and its results, and of the destruction of the mental pollution.

The wisdom of knowing his own past lives, hundreds of thousands of them, an infinite number of them, having no beginning - all in detail with his names and occupations, the human, super-human and sub-human ones, showed him the futility of searching for sense-pleasures again and again. He saw as well that the wheel of birth and death kept in motion by desires for pleasure and existence would go on spinning for ever producing more and more of existence bound up with unsatisfactory conditions. Contemplating this stream of lives he passed the first watch of the night under the Bodhi Tree.

The wisdom pertaining to kamma[2] and its results means that he surveyed with the divine interior eye all sorts of beings, human and otherwise and saw how their past kammas gave rise to present results and how their present kammas will fruit in future results. Wholesome kammas, developing one’s mind and leading to the happiness of others, fruit for their doer as happiness of body and mind, while unwholesome kammas which lead to deterioration in one’s own mind and suffering for others, result for the doer of them in mental and physical suffering. The second watch of the night passed contemplating this wisdom.

In the last watch he saw how the pollution, the deepest layer of defilement and distortion, arise and pass away conditionally. With craving and ignorance present, the whole mass of sufferings, gross and subtle, physical and mental - all that is called dukkha, come into existence; but when they are abandoned then this burden of dukkha, which weighs down all beings and causes them to drag through myriad lives, is cut off and can never arise again. This is called the knowledge of the destruction of the pollutions: desires and pleasures, existence and ignorance, so that craving connected with these things is extinct.

When he penetrated to this profound truth, the arising and passing away conditionally of all experience and thus of all dukkha, he was the Buddha, Enlightened, Awakened. Dukkha he had known thoroughly in all its most subtle forms and he discerned the causes for it’s arising - principally - craving. Then he experienced its cessation when its roots of craving had been abandoned, this cessation of dukkha also called Nibbāna, the Bliss Supreme. And he investigated and developed the Way leading to the cessation of dukkha, which is called the Noble Eightfold Path. This Path is divided into three parts: of wisdom - Right View and Right Thought; of moral conduct - Right Speech, Right Action and Right Livelihood; of mind development - Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Collectedness. It has been described many times in detail.[3]

We are told that to the Buddha experiencing the bliss supreme of Enlightenment the following two verses occurred:

            „Through many births in the wandering-on
            I ran seeking but finding not
            the maker of this house -
            dukkha is birth again, again.
 
            O house maker, you are seen!
            You shall not make a house again;
            all your beams are broken up,
            rafters of the ridge destroyed:
            the mind gone to the Unconditioned,
            to craving’s destruction it has come“.
                                    (Dhammapada, verses 153-154)  

Now that he had come to the end of craving and desire, a thing, so difficult to do, and after reviewing his freedom from the round of birth and death, he concluded that no one in the world would understand this teaching. Men are blinded by their desires, he thought and his mind inclined towards not teaching the Dhamma. Then with the divine eye he saw that there were a few beings „with little dust in their eyes“ and who would understand. First he thought of the two teachers he had gone to and then left dissatisfied but both had died and been reborn in the planes of the formless deities having immense life spans. They would not be able to understand about ‘arising and passing away’. Then he considered the whereabouts of the five ascetics who had served him while he practised severe bodily austerities. The knowledge came to him that they were near Benares, in the Deer-sanctuary at Isipatana; so he walked there by slow stages. So he began the life of a travelling Bhikkhu, the hard life that he was to lead out of compassion for suffering beings for the next forty-five years.

When the Buddha taught these five ascetics he addressed them as ‘Bhikkhus’. This is the word now used only for Buddhist monks but at that time applied to other religious wanderers. Literally, it means ‘one who begs’ (though Bhikkhus are not allowed to beg from people, they accept silently whatever is given. See Chapter VI). At the end of the Buddha’s first discourse[4], Kondaññā[5] the leader of those Bhikkhus, penetrated to the truth of the Dhamma. Knowing that he had experienced a moment of Enlightenment - Stream-winning as it is called, the Buddha was inspired to say, „Kondaññā truly knows indeed Kondaññā truly knows!“ Thus he came to be known as Añña-Kondaññā - Kondaññā who knows as it really is.

MAHA BODHI SOCIETY-Questionnaire No 9 and Answers of First Year Diploma Course conducted by Mahabodhi Academy for Pali and Buddhist Studies

 

1.                 

What did Buddha do after his Supreme Awakenment?

He uttered a Paean of Joy (Udana)


-
Thro’many a birth in Samsara wandered I,
- Seeking, but not finding, the builderr of this house.
- Sorrowful is repeated birth.
- O house-builder ! Thou art seen.
- All thy rafters are broken thy ridgeppole is shattered.
- The mind attains the unconditioned.< ?XML:NAMESPACE PREFIX = OO />
- Achieved is the end of craving.*

*Udana in Pali :


Anekajàti samsàram sandhavissam anibbisam Gahàkarakam bavesanto dukkhà jàti punapunam Gahakàraka dittho’ si puna geham na kàhasi Sabbà te phàsuka bhagga gahakùtam visamkhitam Vesamkhàragatam cittam tanhanam khayamajjhagà.

The Buddha fasted for seven weeks.

He was enjoying Nibbanic bliss.

The Awakened One was then faced with a choice. He could enter nibbana: literally, the cessation, of mental turnings, vritti; the undisturbed condition of supreme consciousness. Or, renouncing personal deliverance for the moment, he could preach the law. Mara urged one course, Brahma the other, and it was to the great god’s entreaties on behalf of all created things the Buddha yielded. He began to travel and teach, founding a monastic order as well as preparing the framework for the Buddhist era of Indian civilization. One day a little child wanted to make him an offering, but had no worldly possessions. Innocently the boy presented for blessing a pile of dust, which the Buddha accepted with a smile. This child is reputed to have been reborn as King Asoka, who reigned from 272 to 232 BC. Not only did this monarch establish throughout his realm countless monasteries and have constructed 80,000 stupas, or reliquary shrines, but his Buddhist missionaries were dispatched even to Syria and Egypt.

Tibetan carving of the Buddha
Tibetan carving of the Buddha

2.                  What happened during the first week?

Throughout the first week He sat under the Bodhi Tree enjoying the Bliss of Freedom.

What did He do on the seventh day ?

He meditated on the “Wheel of Life”.

 

3.                  What happened during the second week?

 

He stood at a certain distance gazing at the Bodhi Tree with motionless eyes.

*On the spot where the Buddha stood a Cetiya has been erected by King Dharmasoka. This was named Animisalocana Cetiya and is still to be seen.

Why did He do so ?
He did so as a mark of gratitude to the tree.

 In what way was the Bodhi Tree helpful to the Buddha ?
The Tree only gave Him shelter during His struggle for Buddhahood.

What was the first lesson the Buddha taught to the world ?
The great lesson of Gratitude.

4.                  What happened during the third week?

 

He walked up and down a jewelled promenade (Ratana Camkamana).

 

5.                  What happened during the fourth week?

 

Sitting in a chamber, He meditated on the Higher Dhamma (Abhidhamma).

6.                  What happened during the fifth week?

 

He sat under the Ajapala Banyan tree.

Who came to tempt him at this time ?
Thee daughters of Mara came to tempt Him.

 Mention their names.
Tanha, Arati and Raga.

Could they be passioned ?
They cannot be passioned because this happened after the Awakenment.

7.                  What happened during the sixth week?

 

Under the Mucalinda tree.

What happened during this week ?


It rained heavily and a serpent king sheltered Him.

8.                  What happened during the seventh week?

 

What happened on the 50th day ?

 

Two merchants named Tapassu and Bhallika offered Him dried flour and honey.

What did they do after the Dana ?
They sought refuge in the Buddha and The Dhamma.

How did they seek refuge ?
By reciting Buddham saranam gacchami, Dhammam saranam gacchami.

Why didn’t they seek refuge in the Sangha ?
Because there was no Sangha then.

Did they want anything from the Buddha ?
Yes, they wanted something to worship.

What did the Buddha give them ?
The Buddha touched His head and gave them some hair relic.

Where are they enshrined now  ?
They are enshrined in the Shve Dagon Pagoda in Rangoon.

Who were the first Upasakas of the Buddha ?
Tapassu and Bhallika were the first Upasakas.

Who is an Upasaka ?
An Upasaka is a lay follower of the Buddha


 

9.                  Write down the text of Paticca Samppada both in Pali and English in forward and forward orders.

Kindly visit:

http://www.buddhanet.net/audio-chant.htm for Paticca Samppada both in Pali and English

 

10.              Write an essay of twelve factors of dependent origination. What does the dependent origination portray?

Paticca-Samuppada: Dependent Origination

It is rather with some hesitation that I dare to speak to you on that profoundest of all Buddhist doctrines, paticca-samuppada, “dependent origination,” that is to say, the conditional arising of all those mental and physical phenomena generally summed up by the conventional names “living being,” or “individual,” or “person.” Thus, being well aware of the great difficulty of speaking on this most intricate subject before an audience perhaps only little acquainted with Buddhist philosophy, I shall try my utmost to avoid, as far as possible, all the highly technical or confusing details. I shall use very plain and simple language, so that any one of you may be able to follow my explanations. At the same time I shall not lose sight of the real goal and purpose for which the Buddha taught this doctrine to the world. Thus I would beg you to listen carefully and give my words full and undivided attention. And I further beg you to try to retain in mind those very few technical terms in Pali and English which in the course of my talk I shall be repeatedly using.

You may not be aware that, up to this day, the real significance and purpose of paticca-samuppada are practically unknown to Western scholars. By this, however, I do not mean to say that nobody in the West has ever written or spoken on this doctrine. No, quite the contrary is the case. For there is no other Buddhist doctrine about which Western scholars, and would-be scholars, have written and discussed so much — but understood so little — as just this doctrine of paticca-samuppada. If you wish to get a fair idea of those mostly absurd and immature speculations and fanciful interpretations, often based on mere imagination, you may read the Appendix to my Guide through the Abhidhamma Pitaka.1 It seems that scarcely one of those Western authors and lecturers has ever put to himself the question, for what earthly reason the Buddha ever should have thought it necessary to teach such a doctrine. It was surely not for the sake of mental gymnastics and dialectics. No, quite to the contrary! For paticca-samuppada shows the causes and conditions of all the suffering in the world; and how, through the removal of these conditions, suffering may rise no more in the future. P.S. in fact shows that our present existence, with all its woe and suffering, is conditioned, or more exactly said caused, by the life-affirming volitions or kamma in a former life, and that again our future life depends on the present life-affirming volitions or kamma; and that without these life-affirming volitions, no more future rebirth will take place; and that thereby deliverance will have been found from the round of rebirths, from the restless cycle of Samsara. And this is the final goal and purpose of the Buddha’s message, namely, deliverance from rebirth and suffering.

I think that after what you have heard just now, it will not be necessary to tell you that P.S. is not intended, as various scholars in the West have imagined, as an explanation of the primary beginning of all things; and that its first link, avijja or ignorance, is not to be considered the causeless first principle out of which, in the course of time, all physical and conscious life has evolved. P.S. simply teaches the conditionality, or dependent nature, of all the manifold mental and physical phenomena of existence; of everything that happens, be it in the realm of the physical or the mental. P.S. shows that the sum of mental and physical phenomena known by the conventional name “person” or “individual” is not at all the mere play of blind chance; but that each phenomenon in this process of existence is entirely dependent upon other phenomena as conditions; and that therefore with the removal of those phenomena that form the conditions for rebirth and suffering, rebirth and therewith all suffering will necessarily cease and come to an end. And this, as already stated, is the vital point and goal of the Buddha’s teaching: deliverance from the cycle of rebirth with all its woe and suffering. Thus P.S. serves in the elucidation of the second and third noble truths about the origin and extinction of suffering, by explaining these two truths from their very foundations upwards, and giving them a fixed philosophical form.2

In the discourses of the Buddha, P.S. is usually expounded by way of twelve links arranged in eleven propositions. They are as follows:

  1. Avijjapaccaya sankhara: “Through ignorance the rebirth-producing volitions, or kamma-formations, are conditioned.”
  2. Sankhara-paccaya viññanam:“Through the kamma-formations (in the past life, the present) consciousness is conditioned.”
  3. Viññana-paccaya nama-rupam:“Through consciousness the mental and physical phenomena (which make up our so-called individual existence) are conditioned.”
  4. Nama-rupa-paccaya salayatanam:“Through the mental and physical phenomena the six bases (of mental life, i.e. the five physical sense-organs and consciousness as the sixth) are conditioned.”
  5. Salayatana-paccaya phasso:“Through the six bases the (sensory and mental) impression is conditioned.”
  6. Phassa-paccaya vedana: “Through (the sensory or mental) impression feeling is conditioned.”
  7. Vedana-paccaya tanha: “Through feeling craving is conditioned.”
  8. Tanha-paccaya upadanam:“Through craving clinging is conditioned.”
  9. Upadana-paccaya bhavo:“Through clinging the process of becoming (consisting of the active and the passive life-process, that is to say, the rebirth-producing kammic process, and as its result, the rebirth-process) is conditioned.”
  10. Bhava-paccaya jati:“Through the (rebirth-producing kammic) process of becoming rebirth is conditioned.”
  11. Jati-paccaya jaramaranam, etc.: “Through rebirth, decay and death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair are conditioned. Thus arises this whole mass of suffering (in the future).”

This is in brief the whole P.S. or dependent origination. Now let us carefully examine the eleven propositions one by one.



1

Our first proposition was: Avijja-paccaya sankhara: “Through ignorance the kamma-formations are conditioned.”

Avijja,3 also called moha, is delusion, infatuation: regarding fleeting things as permanent, miserable things as enjoyment, and egoless things as a self or ego. Avijja is ignorance, not understanding that all our existence is merely an ever-changing process of mental and physical phenomena; it is not understanding that these phenomena, in the ultimate sense, do not form any real permanent entity, or person, or ego; and that there does not exist any permanent entity in, or behind, these fleeting physical and mental phenomena; that therefore what we call “I,” or “you,” or “he,” or “person,” or “Buddha,” etc., does not, in the ultimate sense (paramattha), possess any reality apart from these ever-changing physical and mental phenomena of existence. Avijja, or moha, is the primary root-condition underlying all moral defilement and depravity. In avijja are rooted all the greed, hatred, conceit, envy and misery in the world. And the overcoming and extinction of avijja, and therewith of all evil and misery, is the final aim of the Buddha’s teaching, the ideal for any true Buddhist. And it is for these reasons that avijja is mentioned first in the formula of P.S.

By sankhara, lit. “formations,” are here meant the rebirth-producing, kammically unwholesome or wholesome volitions (cetana), or volitional activities. Let us therefore remember sankhara as kamma-formations, or simply as kamma.4

Now, all such evil volitions manifested by body, speech or mind, as above alluded to, are called akusala or unwholesome kamma-formations, as they bring unhappy results, here and in the after-life. Kusala or wholesome kamma-formations, however, are such volitions, or cetana, as will bring happy and pleasant results, here and in the after-life. But even these wholesome kamma-formations are still conditioned and influenced by avijja, as otherwise they would not produce future rebirth. And there is only one individual who no longer performs any wholesome or unwholesome kamma-formation, any life-affirming kamma. It is the Arahant, the holy and fully enlightened disciple of the Buddha. For through deep insight into the true nature of this empty and evanescent process of existence, he has become utterly detached from life; and he is forever freed from ignorance together with all its evil consequences, freed from any further rebirth.

Avijja is to all unwholesome kamma-formations, or volitional activities, an indispensable condition by way of its presence and simultaneous arising. For example, whenever an evil manifestation of will, an evil kamma-formation, arises, at that very same moment its arising is conditioned through the simultaneous arising and presence of avijja. Without the co-arising of avijja, there is no evil kamma-formation. When, for example, an infatuated man, filled with greed or anger, commits various evil deeds by body, speech or mind, at that time these evil kamma-formations are all entirely conditioned through the co-arising and presence of avijja, or ignorance. Thus if there is no avijja, there are no evil kamma-formations. Therefore it is said that avijja is to its associated kamma-formations a condition by way of co-nascence, or simultaneous arising (sahajata). Further, as there is no evil kamma-formation without the presence of avijja, and no avijja without the presence of evil kamma-formations, therefore both are at any time, and under all circumstances, also mutual conditions to each other (aññam-añña-paccaya); and thus avijja and the evil kamma-formations are inseparable. In so far as avijja is an ever-present root of all evil kamma-formations, we say that avijja is to the unwholesome kamma-formations an indispensable condition by way of root (hetu).

But there is still another and entirely different way in which avijja may be a condition to unwholesome kamma-formations, that is, as inducement. For example, if a man, being filled with greed or anger, is induced by his infatuation and delusive thoughts to commit various crimes, such as murder, theft, adultery, etc., in that case avijja is the direct inducement and driving power for the subsequent arising of all those bad manifestations of will, i.e. of all those unwholesome kamma-formations. In other words, those bad unwholesome kamma-formations are conditioned by a preceding state of avijja as a direct inducement (pakat’ upanissaya-paccaya).

There is still another way in which avijja may become an inducement to unwholesome kamma-formations, namely, as object of thinking. Suppose somebody remembers some evil and foolish pleasure once enjoyed by him; and while he is pondering over that former foolish state, he finds delight in it and becomes again filled with infatuation and greed for it; or he becomes sad and despondent that he cannot enjoy it any more. In consequence of wrongly brooding over such a foolish object, over such a state of ignorance, many evil, unwholesome states arise in his mind. In such a way, avijja may be to unwholesome kamma-formations a condition by way of inducement as object (aramman’upanissaya-paccaya).

Here I have to point out that for a detailed understanding of P.S., we should have to know at least something about those twenty-four different modes in which mental or physical phenomena may be the condition to other mental and physical phenomena. The entire Patthana, the last book of the Abhidhamma Pitaka, which fills six bulky volumes, treats exclusively of these twenty-four conditions, or paccaya, which it first describes and then applies to all the innumerable mental and physical phenomena of existence.5 Here we shall consider only those most prominent ones, which we have already alluded to and applied to avijja, namely: hetu-paccaya, root condition; sahajata-paccaya, condition by way of co-nascence, i.e. co-arising; aññam-añña-paccaya, condition by way of mutuality; upanissaya-paccaya, condition by way of either direct inducement (pakat’ upanissaya), or inducement through object (aramman’ upanissaya). Here, it may be mentioned that all these translations of technical Pali terms are only very inadequate makeshifts, and should be taken as such. I am therefore giving those technical terms repeatedly in both languages, in English as well as in Pali.

The Patthana Commentary compares the hetu-paccaya, or root condition, to the root of a tree. The tree rests on its roots; and it has life only as long as these roots are not destroyed. In the same way, all kammically wholesome and unwholesome kamma-formations are at any time conditioned through the presence and co-nascence, or simultaneity, of their respective wholesome or unwholesome roots. The three unwholesome roots are lobha, dosa, moha, i.e. greed, hate and delusion. The three wholesome roots are alobha, adosa, amoha, i.e. non-greed, or unselfishness; non-hate, or kindness; non-delusion, or knowledge.

Let us now consider sahajata-paccaya, the condition by way of co-nascence. Sahajata, literally means: “arisen together” or “arising together,” hence our term “co-nascence,” or simultaneous arising. This condition of co-nascence applies, above all, to consciousness and its concomitant mental phenomena, such as feeling, perception, volition, sense-impression, attention, etc. For consciousness and all these mental phenomena are mutually conditioned through their simultaneous arising. One cannot arise or exist without the other. All are inseparably associated. Thus if we say that feeling is to consciousness a condition by way of co-nascence, we mean to say that without the simultaneous arising of feeling, consciousness will never be able to arise. In exactly the same way it is with all the other mental phenomena.

Once a well-known Buddhist author, in a discussion with me, to my greatest surprise positively declared that there may be painful feeling without consciousness, for example during a painful operation whilst being under chloroform. This indeed is a most extraordinary blunder. How will it ever be possible to feel pain without being conscious of it? Painful feeling is a mental phenomenon and as such inseparable from consciousness and the other mental phenomena. If we do not perceive pain, and are not conscious of pain, how can we feel pain? Thus consciousness, feeling, perception and all the other mental phenomena are mutually conditioned by way of co-nascence.

Now let us consider upanissaya-paccaya, the condition by way of inducement. This condition is of various kinds, and it forms combinations with certain other conditions.6 It applies to a very wide field, in fact to anything whatsoever. We shall treat this condition here only in a very general way, without making any distinctions. Anything past or future, physical or mental, real or imaginary, may become an inducement to the arising of mental phenomena, or of actions, or occurrences.

So, for example, the Buddha and his Dhamma had been a condition for my coming to the East. So were the Pali scholars whose translations I had read. So was the first Buddhist lecture I had heard in Germany in 1899. Or Nibbana, as object of our thinking, may become an inducement to our joining the Order, or living a pure life, etc. Also all those past thinkers, scientists and artists were by their works and activities an inducement to the developed culture of later generations. Money, as object of our desire, may become an inducement to our making the necessary exertions to get it; or it also may become an inducement to theft and robbery. Faith, knowledge, mental concentration, etc., may be a direct inducement to various noble and unselfish actions. Good or bad friends may be a direct inducement to good or bad conduct. Suitable or unsuitable climate, food, dwelling, etc., may be an inducement to physical health or ill-health; physical health or ill-health to mental health or ill-health. Thus all these things are conditioned through other things by way of inducement.

Now we shall consider arammana-paccaya, the condition by way of object. The object may be either one of the five sense-objects, as visible object, sound, smell, taste, or bodily impression; or it may be any object of the mind. Anything whatever may become the object of mind, be it physical or mental, past, present or future, real or imaginary. Thus the visible object, consisting in differences of color, light and dark, is called the object-condition to eye-consciousness, or the visual sense. Similar it is with the four other senses. Without a physical sense-object no sense-consciousness ever will arise. Further, past evil deeds, through being the object of our thinking, may, as we already have seen, become an inducement, or upanissaya, to repeat the same evil deeds; or they may arouse our disgust or repentance. Thus past evil deeds, by wrong thinking about them, may become an inducement to an immoral life by way of object; and by right thinking about them, the same past evil deeds may become an inducement to a moral life. In a similar way, good deeds, by right thinking about them, may become an inducement to further noble deeds; but by wrong thinking about one’s own good deeds, they may become an inducement to self-conceit and vanity, and many other unwholesome states.7

Hence, also such an immoral thing as avijja may become a condition to noble and wholesome kamma-formations. To show this, let us return to our first proposition: “Through avijja are conditioned the kamma-formations.” How may such an evil state as avijja become a condition to noble and wholesome kamma-formations? It may become so in two ways, either by way of direct inducement, or inducement as mental object. I shall illustrate this statement by an example. At the Buddha’s time many a heretic, induced by mere vanity and delusion, went to the Buddha and tried by dialectics to defeat the Master. However, after a short controversy he was converted: he became a virtuous follower and life-long supporter of the Blessed One, or even attained Arahantship. Here, all these virtuous actions, even the attainment of Arahantship of the new convert, were conditioned by his former avijja as an inducement; had this delusive idea of defeating the Buddha not arisen in his mind, he perhaps might have never in his life even visited the Blessed One. Thus avijja was to his noble and wholesome kamma-formations a condition by way of direct inducement (pakat’-upanissaya). Further, suppose we take avijja as object of our contemplation, considering it as something evil and rejectable, as the root-cause of all misery in the world, then we thereby may produce many noble and wholesome kamma-formations. In this case, avijja is to these wholesome kamma-formations a condition by way of inducement as object (aramman’ upanissaya).8

Before proceeding to the second proposition, I wish to call your attention to the fact that avijja, or ignorance, though the main condition for kamma-formations, is in no way the only condition for them; and so are the kamma-formations to consciousness, etc. Each of the conditionally arising phenomena of P.S. is dependent on various conditions besides those given in the formula, and all may be interrelated and interdependent in manifold ways.

You may have noticed that nearly always I speak only of conditions, and rarely have I used the word “cause.” This word “cause” is often used in a very vague or wrong sense. “Cause” refers really to that thing which — if all the necessary conditions are present — by inner necessity is in time followed by another thing as its “result,” so that already in the cause the future result is lying latent, as it were, just as in the mango seed the future mango tree lies latent.

And just as from the mango seed only a mango tree may result, never an apple tree nor any other tree, just so may a cause result only in just one single thing of a similar character, never in various things nor in things of a different character. If, for example, a man grows furious on being scolded, people generally would say that the scolding man was the cause of the fury. But this is a very vague statement. The cause of the man’s fury really lies in himself, in his own character, not in the person scolding him. The scolder’s words were merely an inducement to the manifestation of his latent fury. The word “cause” signifies only one of the many kinds of conditions, and it should, in Buddhist philosophy, be reserved for kamma, i.e. the rebirth-producing volitional activities bound up with wholesome or unwholesome roots (hetu), constituting the cause of rebirth, and resulting in rebirth as their effect, or vipaka.



2

Herewith we come to the second proposition: Sankhara-paccaya viññanam: “Through the kamma-formations consciousness is conditioned.” In other words: through kamma, or the volitional activities, in the past birth, the conscious life in this present birth is conditioned.

Here the following has to be stated: The five links — consciousness, mental and physical phenomena, the six bases of mental life, impression, and feeling (viññana, nama-rupa, salayatana, phassa, vedana) — refer here only to kamma-resultant (vipaka), neutral phenomena, thus representing the “passive” side of life. However, the five links — ignorance, kamma-formations, craving, clinging, and kammical life-process (avijja, sankhara, tanha, upadana, kamma-bhava) — constitute kamma, thus representing the “active” side of life.9 Hence the five passive links, as consciousness, etc., are to be considered the five results (vipaka), and the five active links, as avijja, etc., the five causes. Thus the life-affirming will, or volition (cetana), manifested in these five kammic causes, is the seed from which all life has sprung, and from which it will spring again in the future. Our second proposition therefore shows that our present conscious life is the result of our kamma-formations produced in the past life, and that without these prenatal kamma-formations as the necessary cause, no conscious life would ever have sprung up in our mother’s womb.

Hence, the kamma-formations are to the rebirth-consciousness of the embryonic being, at its conception in the mother’s womb, a condition by way of kamma, or cause. And so are the kamma-formations to all the morally neutral elements of consciousness. Hence, also the five kinds of sense-consciousness with desirable and agreeable objects are the result, or vipaka, of the prenatal wholesome kamma-formations; and those with undesirable and disagreeable objects are the result of unwholesome kamma-formations.10



3

Now we come to the third proposition, namely: Viññana-paccaya nama-rupam: “Through consciousness the mental and physical phenomena are conditioned.” The meaning of this proposition can be inferred from the Mahanidana Sutta (DN 15), where it is said: “If consciousness (viññana) were not to appear in the mother’s womb, would the mental and physical phenomena (nama-rupa) arise?”11

The mental phenomena (nama) refer here to those seven universal mental phenomena inseparably bound up with all kamma-resultant consciousness, even with the five kinds of sense-consciousness. These seven inseparable universal mental phenomena are: feeling, perception, impression, volition, vitality, attention, concentration; in kamma-resultant mind-consciousness they are increased by three or four further phenomena. The physical phenomena (rupa) refer to this body and its various organs, faculties and functions.12

Now, how are the mental phenomena, or nama, conditioned through consciousness? And how the physical phenomena, or rupa?

Any state of consciousness, as already explained, is to its concomitant mental phenomena, such as feeling, etc., a condition by way of co-nascence, or simultaneous arising (sahajata-paccaya). Consciousness cannot arise and exist without feeling, nor feeling without consciousness; and also all the other mental phenomena which belong to the same state of consciousness are inseparably bound up with it into a single unit, and have no independent existence. These mental phenomena are, as it were, only the different aspects of those units of consciousness which, like lightning, every moment flash up and immediately thereafter disappear forever.

But how may consciousness (viññana) be a condition for the various physical (rupa) phenomena?

In planes of existence where both matter and mind exist, e.g. in the human realm, at the moment of conception consciousness is an absolutely necessary condition for the arising of organic physical phenomena; it is a condition by way of co-nascence. If there is no consciousness, no conception takes place, and no organic material phenomena appear. During life-continuity, however, consciousness (viññana) is to the already arisen physical phenomena (rupa) a condition by way of post-nascence, or later-arising (pacchajata-paccaya), and also by way of nutriment (ahara), because consciousness forms a prop and support for the upkeep of the body. Just as the feeling of hunger is a condition for the feeding and upkeep of this already arisen body, just so is consciousness to this already arisen body a condition and support by its post-nascence, or later arising. If consciousness would rise no more, the physical organs would gradually cease their functioning, lose their faculties, and the body would die. In this way we have to understand the proposition: viññana-paccaya nama-rupam: “Through consciousness the mental and physical phenomena are conditioned.”



4

Now, we come to the fourth proposition: Nama-rupa-paccaya salayatanam: “Through the mental and physical phenomena the six bases of mental life are conditioned.” The first five of these bases are the five physical sense-organs, eye, ear, nose, tongue, body; the sixth base, the mind base (manayatana), is a collective term for the many different classes of consciousness, i.e. for the five kinds of sense-consciousness and the many kinds of mind-consciousness. Hence five bases are physical phenomena, namely, eye, ear, etc., and the sixth base is identical with consciousness.

In which way, now, are the mental and physical phenomena a condition for the five physical bases, or sense-organs, and how for the sixth base, or consciousness? Here we really get four chief questions:

The first question is: How are the mental phenomena (nama) a condition for the five physical bases (ayatana), or sense-organs? The seven inseparable mental phenomena associated with sense-consciousness, such as feeling, perception, etc., are to the five physical bases, or sense-organs, a condition by way of post-nascence, and in other ways. The mental activity during life, namely, is a necessary support to the five physical bases, or sense organs, already produced at birth, as explained before.

The second question is: How are mental phenomena a condition to the mind-base (manayatana) or consciousness? The mental phenomena, as feeling, perception, volition, etc., are at any time to the mind-base, or consciousness, a condition by way of simultaneous arising, or co-nascence (sahajata-paccaya).

You will remember that I repeatedly said that consciousness cannot arise without the co-arising of feeling and the other phenomena, because consciousness and all its mental concomitants are inseparably bound up together, and mutually dependent upon one another. Thus I have shown how the mental phenomena are a condition to the five physical bases or sense-organs, as well as to the mind-base or consciousness (manayatana).

Now we come to the third question: How are the physical (rupa) phenomena a condition for the five physical bases (ayatana), or sense-organs? The four primary physical elements, i.e. the solid, fluid, heat, and motion, are to any of the five physical bases, or sense-organs, at the very moment of their first coming into existence, a condition by way of simultaneous arising (sahajata-paccaya); but during life these four physical elements are to the five bases, or sense-organs, a condition by way of foundation (nissaya) on which the sense-organs are entirely dependent. Further, the physical phenomenon “vitality” (rupa-jivit’ indriya) is to the five bases, or sense-organs, a condition by way of presence (atthi-paccaya), etc.; in other words, the five bases, or sense-organs, depend on the presence of physical life, without which the five sense organs could not exist.

The physical phenomenon “nutrition” (ahara) is to the five physical bases a condition by way of presence, because the five sense-organs can only exist as long as they get their necessary nutriment. Thus I have shown how the physical phenomena, or rupa, are a condition for the five physical bases, or ayatana.

There remains only the fourth question: How are the physical phenomena (rupa) a condition for the mind-base (manayatana), or consciousness? The five physical phenomena, as eye, ear, nose, etc., are to the five kinds of sense-consciousness, i.e. to seeing, hearing, etc., a condition by way of foundation (nissaya) and by way of pre-nascence, presence, etc. These five kinds of sense-consciousness, during life, cannot arise without the pre-arising (purejata) of the five physical sense-organs as their foundation (nissaya); therefore without the pre-arising and presence of the eye, no seeing; without the pre-arising and presence of the ear, no hearing, etc.; so that, if these five sense-organs are destroyed, no corresponding sense-consciousness can arise any longer.

In a similar way is the physical organ of mind the condition for the various stages of mind-consciousness.13 In the canonical books no special physical organ is mentioned by name as the physical foundation of the mind-consciousness, neither the brain nor the heart, though the heart is taught as such by all the commentaries, as well as by the general Buddhist tradition. I think it is my Burmese friend Shwe Zan Aung who first made this fact known in his Compendium of Philosophy.14 For the Buddhist it matters little whether it is the heart or the brain or any other organ that constitutes the physical base of mind.

Thus we have seen how the physical (rupa) phenomena are a condition to the mind-base (manayatana), or consciousness. And herewith we have settled the meaning of the proposition: “Through the mental and physical phenomena the six bases of mental life are conditioned.”



5

Now we come to the fifth propostion: Salayatana-paccaya phasso: “Through the six bases sense-impression is conditioned.”15 In other words: Conditioned through the physical eye is visual impression, conditioned through the ear sound impression, conditioned through the nose smell impression, conditioned through the tongue taste impression, conditioned through the body bodily impression, conditioned through the mind-base or consciousness (manayatana) mental impression.

The five physical bases (ayatana) are to their corresponding sense-impressions (phassa) a condition by way of foundation (nissaya) and by way of pre-nascence (purejata) and in other ways besides. The five sense-organs are not only the foundation for consciousness, as we have seen, but also for all its mental concomitants, hence also for sense-impression. And as these five bases, or sense-organs, have already come into existence at birth, they are called a pre-nascent condition (purejata-paccaya) to the later arising five sense-impressions.

The mind-base or consciousness is at any time to its concomitant sensory or mental impression a condition by way of simultaneous arising or co-nascence, etc. In other words, eye-consciousness arises simultaneously with visual impression, ear-consciousness with sound impression, etc., and mind-consciousness with mental impression.

Also the external physical bases — the five sense-objects, as the visual object, sound, smell, etc. — these too are an indispensable condition to the arising of sense-impression. So visual impression could never arise without the pre-arising of the visible object, sound impression never without the pre-arising of the sound-object, etc. Hence the arising of the five sense-impressions (phassa) depends on the pre-arising of the visual object, the sound-object, etc. Therefore the arising of the five sense-impressions depends just as much on the pre-arising and presence of the five physical sense-objects as on the pre-arising of the five sense-organs, as already stated. Thus sense-impression is also conditioned through the five external physical bases, i.e. through the five sense-objects.

Further, as all the physical sense-objects may also become objects of mind-consciousness, therefore they are also a condition for mind-consciousness as well as for its concomitant phenomena, such as mental impression (phassa), etc. Thus without physical sense-organ and physical sense-object there is no sense-impression; and without mind and mind-object no mental impression. Therefore it is said: “Through the six sense bases sense-impression is conditioned.”



6

Thereafter follows the sixth proposition: Phassa-paccaya vedana: “Through impression feeling is conditioned.” There are six kinds of feeling: feeling associated with visual impression, feeling associated with sound impression, feeling associated with smell impression, feeling associated with taste impression, feeling associated with bodily impression, and feeling associated with mental impression. Bodily feeling may be either agreeable or disagreeable, according to whether it is the result of wholesome or unwholesome kamma. Mental feeling may be either agreeable, i.e. joy, or disagreeable, i.e. sadness; or it may be indifferent. The feelings associated with visual, sound, smell and taste impression, are, as such, always indifferent, but they may have either desirable or undesirable objects, according to the kamma in a previous life. Whatever the feeling may be — pleasant or painful, happy or unhappy or indifferent, whether feeling of body or of mind — any feeling is conditioned either through one of the five sense-impressions or through mental impression. And these impressions (phassa) are a condition to their associated feeling (vedana) by way of co-nascence or simultaneous arising, and in many other ways.

Here you will again remember that all the mental phenomena in one and the same state of consciousness, hence also impression (phassa) and feeling (vedana), are necessarily dependent one upon another by their simultaneous arising, their presence, their association, etc. But to any feeling associated with the different stages of mind-consciousness following upon a sense-impression, the preceding visual or other sense-impression is an inducement by way of proximity (anantar’ upanissaya-paccaya). In other words, the preceding sense-impression is a decisive support, or inducement, to any feeling bound up with the succeeding mind-consciousness.

Thus we have seen how through sensory and mental impression, or phassa, feeling, or vedana, is conditioned.



7

Now comes the seventh proposition: Vedana-paccaya tanha: “Through feeling craving is conditioned.”

Corresponding to the six senses, there are six kinds of craving (tanha), namely: craving for visible objects, craving for sounds, craving for odors, craving for tastes, craving for bodily impressions, craving for mind-objects. If the craving for any of these objects is connected with the desire for sensual enjoyment, it is called “sensuous craving” (kama-tanha). If connected with the belief in eternal personal existence (sassata-ditthi), it is called “craving for existence” (bhava-tanha). If connected with the belief in self-annihilation (uccheda-ditthi) at death, it is called “craving for self-annihilation” (vibhava-tanha).

Any (kamma-resultant and morally) neutral feeling (vedana), whether agreeable, disagreeable or indifferent, whether happy or unhappy feeling, may be to the subsequent craving (tanha) a condition either by way of simple inducement, or of inducement as object. For example, conditioned through pleasurable feeling due to the beautiful appearance of persons or things, there may arise craving for such visible objects. Or conditioned through pleasurable feeling due to pleasant food, craving for tastes may arise. Or thinking of those feelings of pleasure and enjoyment procurable by money, people may become filled with craving for money and pleasure. Or pondering over past pleasures and feelings of happiness, people may again become filled with craving and longing for such pleasures. Or thinking of heavenly bliss and joy, people may become filled with craving for rebirth in such heavenly worlds. In all these cases pleasant feeling (vedana) is to craving (tanha) either a condition by way of simple inducement, or inducement as object of thinking.

But not only agreeable and happy feeling, but even disagreeable and unhappy feeling may become a condition for craving. For example, to a man being tormented with bodily pain or oppressed in mind, the craving may arise to be released from such misery. Thus, through feeling unhappy and dissatisfied with his miserable lot, a poor man, or a beggar, or an outcast, or a sick man, or a prisoner, may become filled with longing and craving for release from such a condition. In all these cases unpleasant and miserable feeling (vedana) of body and mind forms for craving (tanha) a condition by way of inducement, without which such craving might never have arisen. Even expected future feeling of happiness may, by thinking about it, become a mighty incentive, or inducement, to craving. Thus, whatever craving arises depends in some way or other on feeling, be it past, present, or even future feeling. Therefore it is said: Vedana-paccaya tanha: “Through feeling craving is conditioned.”



8

Now we have reached the eighth proposition: Tanha-paccaya upadanam: “Through craving clinging is conditioned.” Upadana, or clinging, is said to be a name for developed or intensified craving. In the texts we find four kinds of clinging: sensuous clinging, clinging to wrong views, clinging to faith in the moral efficacy of mere outward rules and rituals, and clinging to the belief in either an eternal or a temporary ego-entity.16 The first one, sensuous clinging, refers to objects of sensuous enjoyment, while the three other kinds of clinging are connected with wrong views.

Whenever clinging to views or rituals arises, at that very moment also craving must arise; without the simultaneous arising of craving, there would be no such attachments to these views and rituals. Hence craving, or tanha, is for these kinds of clinging, or upadana, a condition by way of co-nascence (sahajata-paccaya). But besides this, craving may be to such kind of clinging also a condition by way of inducement (upanissaya-paccaya). Suppose a fool, who is craving for rebirth in heaven, thinks that by following certain outward moral rules, or by mere belief in a creator, he will attain the object of his desire. So he firmly attaches himself to the practice of mere outward rules and rituals, or to the belief in a creator. In this case, craving is for such kind of clinging a condition by way of inducement, or upanissaya-paccaya.

To sensuous clinging, or kamupadana, however, craving may only be a condition by way of direct inducement. The craving for sense-objects itself gradually develops and turns into strong sensuous clinging and attachment, or kamupadana. For example, craving and desire for objects of sensual enjoyment, for money, food, gambling, drinking, etc. may gradually grow into a strong habit, into a firm attachment and clinging.

Thus I have shown how craving is the condition for clinging. As it is said: Tanha-paccaya upadanam: “Through craving clinging is conditioned.”



9

Next we come to the ninth proposition: Upadana-paccaya bhavo:“Through clinging the process of becoming is conditioned.” Now this process of becoming or existence really consists of two processes: (1) the kamma-process (kamma-bhava), i.e. the kammically active side of life; and (2) the kamma-resultant rebirth-process (upapatti-bhava), i.e. the kammically passive and morally neutral side of life. The kammically active side of this life-process is, as we have seen, represented by five links, namely: ignorance, kamma-formations, craving, clinging, kamma-process (avijja, sankhara, tanha, upadana, kamma-bhava). The passive side of life is represented by five links, namely: consciousness, mental and physical phenomena, the six bases, impression, feeling (viññana, nama-rupa, salayatana, phassa, vedana). Thus the five passive links, as consciousness, etc., refer here only to kamma-resultant phenomena, and not to such as are associated with active kamma. The five active links, as ignorance, etc., are the causes of the five passive links of the future, as kamma-resultant consciousness, etc.; and thus these five passive links are the results of the five active links. In that way, the P.S. may be represented by twenty links: five causes in the past life, and five results in the present one; five causes in the present life, and five results in the future one.17

As it is said in the Visuddhimagga (Chap. XVII):

Five causes were there in the past,
Five fruits are found in present life;
Five causes which are now produced,
Five fruits are reaped in future life.

Let me here recall to you my definition of the term “cause” as “that which by inner necessity is followed in time by its result.” There are twenty-four modes of conditioning, but only one of them should be called cause, namely, kamma.

Though this kammic cause is in time followed by its result, it nevertheless may depend on (but not be produced by) a preceding kamma-result as its inducement condition. Thus for example, feeling, within the P.S., is a kamma-result; but still, at the same time, it is an inducement-condition to the subsequent arising of craving, which latter is a kamma cause.

Now, let us return to our proposition: upadana-paccaya bhavo:“Through clinging the process of becoming is conditioned,” that is, (1) the kamma-process (kamma-bhava), and thereafter, in the next life, (2) the kamma-resultant rebirth-process (upapatti-bhava). The kamma-process (kamma-bhava) in this ninth proposition is, correctly speaking, a collective name for rebirth-producing volition (cetana) together with all the mental phenomena associated therewith; while the second link, “kamma-formations” (sankhara), designates as such merely rebirth-producing volition. But in reality both links amount to one and the same thing, namely kamma.

Clinging, or upadana, may be an inducement to all kinds of evil and unwholesome kamma. Sensuous clinging, or attachment to sense-objects and sensual enjoyment, may be a direct inducement to murder, robbery, theft, adultery, to envy, hatred, revenge; to many evil actions of body, speech and mind. Clinging to the blind belief in mere outward rules and rituals may lead to self-complacency, mental torpor and stagnation, to contempt of others, presumption, intolerance, fanaticism and cruelty. In all these cases, clinging (upadana) is to the kamma-process (kamma-bhava) a condition by way of inducement, and is a direct inducement to evil volitional activities of body, speech or mind. Moreover, clinging is to any evil kamma-process also a condition by way of simultaneous arising.

Thus I have shown how clinging (upadana) is the condition of the kamma-process (kamma-bhava). Now I shall show how the kamma-process (kamma-bhava) is the condition for the kamma-resultant rebirth-process (upapatti-bhava). Here we come to the tenth proposition.



10

Bhava-paccaya jati:“Through the process of becoming (here kamma-process) rebirth is conditioned.” That means: the kamma-process dominated by the life-affirming volitions (cetana) is the cause of rebirth. Rebirth includes here the entire embryonic process which in the human world begins with conception in the mother’s womb and ends with parturition. Thus kamma volition is the seed from which all life germinates, just as from the mango seed germinates the little mango plant, which in the course of time turns into a mighty mango tree. But how does one know that the kamma-process, or kamma volition, is really the cause of rebirth? The Visuddhimagga (XVII) gives the following answer:

Though the outward conditions at the birth of beings may be absolutely the same, there still can be seen a difference in beings with regard to their character, as wretched or noble, etc. Even though the outward conditions, such as sperm, or blood of father and mother, may be the same, there still can be seen that difference between beings, even if they be twins. This difference cannot be without reason, as it can be noticed at any time, and in any being. It can have no other cause than the pre-natal kamma-process. As also for the life of those beings which have been reborn, no other reason can be found, therefore that difference must be due to the pre-natal kamma-process. Kamma, or volition, indeed, is the cause for the difference among beings with regard to their character, as high, low, etc. Therefore the Buddha has said: “kamma divides beings into high and low.” In this way we should understand that the kammic process is the cause of rebirth.

Thus, according to Buddhism, the present rebirth is the result of the craving, clinging and kamma volitions in the past birth. And the craving, clinging and kamma volitions in this present birth are the cause of future rebirth. But just as in this ever-changing mental and physical process of existence nothing can be found that passes even from one moment to the next, just so no abiding element can be found, no entity, no ego, that would pass from one birth to the next. In this ever repeated process of rebirth, in the absolute sense, no ego-entity is to be found besides these conditionally arising and passing phenomena. Thus, correctly speaking, it is not myself and not my person that is reborn; nor is it another person that is reborn. All such terms as “person” or “individual” or “man” or “I” or “you” or “mine,” etc., do not refer to any real entity; they are merely terms used for convenience sake, in Pali vohara-vacana, “conventional terms”; and there is really nothing to be found beside these conditionally arising and passing mental and physical phenomena. Therefore the Buddha has said:

To believe that the doer of the deed will be the same, as the one who experiences its result (in the next life): this is the one extreme. To believe that the doer of the deed, and the one who experiences its result, are two different persons: this is the other extreme. Both these extremes the Perfect One has avoided and taught the truth that lies in the middle of both, that is: Through ignorance the kamma-formations are conditioned; through the kamma-formations, consciousness (in the subsequent birth); through consciousness, the mental and physical phenomena; through the mental and physical phenomena, the six bases; through the six bases, impression; through impression, feeling; through feeling, craving; through craving, clinging; through clinging, the life-process; through the (kammic) life-process, rebirth; through rebirth, decay and death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair. Thus arises this whole mass of suffering.

This phenomenality and egolessness of existence has been beautifully expressed in two verses of the Visuddhimagga:

No doer of the deeds is found,
No one who ever reaps their fruits.
Empty phenomena roll on.
This only is the correct view.
No god nor Brahma can be called
The maker of this wheel of life:
Empty phenomena roll on,
Dependent on conditions all.

In hearing that Buddhism teaches that everything is determined by conditions, someone might come to the conclusion that Buddhism teaches some sort of fatalism, or that man has no free will, or that will is not free. Now, with regard to the two questions: (1) “Has man a free will?” and (2) “Is will free?” the Buddhist will say that both these questions are to be rejected for being wrongly put, and therefore unanswerable.

The first question “Has man a free will?” is to be rejected for the reason that, beside these ever-changing mental and physical phenomena, in the absolute sense no such thing or entity can be found that we could call “man,” so that “man” as such is merely a name without any reality.

The second question “Is will free?” is to be rejected for the reason that “will” is only a momentary mental phenomenon, just like feeling, consciousness, etc., and thus does not yet exist before it arises, and that therefore of a non-existent thing — of a thing which is not — one could, properly speaking, not ask whether it is free or unfree. The only admissible question would be: “Is the arising of will independent of conditions, or is it conditioned?” But the same question would equally apply also to all the other mental phenomena, as well as to all the physical phenomena, in other words, to everything and every occurrence whatever. And the answer would be: Be it “will,” or “feeling,” or any other mental or physical phenomenon, the arising of anything whatsoever depends on conditions; and without these conditions, nothing can ever arise or enter into existence.

According to Buddhism, everything mental and physical happens in accordance with laws and conditions; and if it were otherwise, chaos and blind chance would reign. But such a thing is impossible and contradicts all laws of thinking.



11

Now we have reached the eleventh and last proposition: Jati-paccaya jara-maranam: “Through rebirth decay and death are conditioned.” Without birth there cannot be decay and death. If we had not been born, we would not have to die, and would not be exposed to all sorts of misery. Thus rebirth is a necessary condition for decay and death, and for all other forms of misery. Hence it was said: “Through rebirth decay and death are conditioned.”

Herewith the explanation of the eleven propositions of the paticca-samuppada formula has been brought to a close. From my explanations you will have seen that the twelve links of the formula are distributed over three successive lives, and that they may be applied to our past, present and future lives. The first two links, avijja and kamma-formations, represent the kamma causes in the past life; the next five links, consciousness, etc., represent the kamma-results in the present life; the following three links, craving, clinging and kamma-process, represent the kammic causes in the present life; and the two last links, rebirth, and decay and death, represent the kamma-results in the future life.

You ought, however, to remember that the full kammic causes are five, namely: ignorance, kamma-formations, craving, clinging, kamma-process existence, and that thus we really get five causes in the past and five results in the present; five causes in the present and five results in the future. Therefore it was said:

Five causes were there in the past,
Five fruits are found in present life.
Five causes which are now produced,
Five fruits are reaped in future life.

Now, if there had been no ignorance and no kamma-formations or life-affirming volitions in the past life, no consciousness and new life would have sprung up in our mother’s womb, and our present birth would not have taken place. However, if by deep penetration and deep insight into the evanescent nature and the egolessness of all existence, one becomes fully detached from all forms of existence, and freed from all ignorance, craving and clinging to existence, freed from all those selfish kamma-formations or volitions, then no further rebirth will follow, and the goal taught by the Buddha will have been realized, namely, deliverance from rebirth and suffering.


The following diagram show at a glance the relationship of dependence between three successive lives.

Dependent Origination
3 periods 12 Factors 20 Modes &
4 Groups
Past 1. Ignorance
2. Kamma-formations
Past causes
1, 2, 8, 9, 10
Present 3. Consciousness
4 Mentality-&-corporeality
5. Six sense bases
6. Impression
7. Feeling
Present effects 5:
3-7
8. Craving
9. Clinging
10.Existence
Present causes 5:
8, 9, 10, 1, 2
Future 11. Rebirth
12. Decay-&-death
Future effects 5:
3-7

Three Connections

  1. Past causes with present effects (between 2 & 3)
  2. Present effects with present causes (between 7 & 8)
  3. Present causes with future effects (between 10 & 11)
Three Rounds:

  1. Round of defilements: 1, 8, 9
  2. Round of kamma: 2, 10 (part)
  3. Round of results: 3-7, 10 (part), 11, 12
Two Roots:

  1. Ignorance: from past to present
  2. Craving: from present to future


Notes

1. Published by the BPS (1983).

2. For a detailed exposition of the Four Noble Truths, see Nyanatiloka, The Word of the Buddha (BPS, 1981).

3. Literally “not-knowing.”

4. Thus the Pali word kamma (Sanskrit: karma) designates in Buddhist philosophy only rebirth-producing or rebirth-influencing wholesome or unwholesome action, i.e. volition (cetana) manifested by body, speech, or mind. In no way, however, does kamma ever signify the result of action (kamma-vipaka), as the Theosophists and many Western Buddhists wish this term to be understood.

5. Of this gigantic and very important, but most complicated of all the Abhidhamma works, not a single line had hitherto been translated into any of the modern languages. Even of the Pali text, only one sixth, partly in form of an abstract, has been published by the PTS, London. Mrs. Rhys Davids in her preface to the Patthana text says: “… the text remains very difficult and obscure to the uninitiated Western mind and I am far from pretending to solve any one of its problems.” For a full synopsis of it see my Guide through the Abhidhamma Pitaka, VII. (Ed.: Two volumes of the Patthana have since been published by the PTS in English translation under the title Conditional Relations.)

6. The three classes of upanissaya-paccaya are: (1) pakat’ upanissaya, simple or direct inducement; (2) aramman’ upanissaya, inducement by way of object; (3) anantar’ upanissaya, inducement by way of proximity. About the latter see Guide through the Abhidhamma Pitaka, 2nd ed., pp. 119, 131, 139.

7. In the Guide (p. 137) are given the following examples of how “a wholesome phenomenon may be to an unwholesome phenomenon a condition by way of object.” This happens e.g., if after having given alms, etc., one indulges and delights in this act, and thereby arises greed, evil views, doubt, restlessness, or sadness (”either to oneself, or to others” says the Comy.). Or, if one indulges and delights in good deeds done formerly, and thereby arises greed, etc. Or, if after rising from the jhanas, one indulges and delights in this attainment, and thereby arises conceit, etc. Or if, while regretting that the jhana (which one had attained) has vanished, sadness springs up.

8. For details of the twenty-four conditions, see Nyanatiloka, Buddhist Dictionary (BPS, 1988): paccaya.

9. Cf. diagram p. 57.

10. It is really the quality of the five sense-objects allotted to each being that, in the main, decides the degree of his worldly happiness or unhappiness.

11. All such translations of nama-rupa as “name and form,” etc., are totally out of place. Nama-rupa = namañ ca rupañ ca (Majjh. Nik. No. 9), i.e. “the mental and the physical,” apart from its application in the paticca-samuppada, is a name for the five groups of existence, namely: the four nama-kkhandhas or mental groups (feeling, perception, mental formations, consciousness), and the rupa-kkhandha, or corporeality group. Here, in the paticca-samuppada, nama stands only for the three mental groups: feeling, perception, mental formations, whilst consciousness is singled out, in order to show that all mental and physical life of beings is dependent on it.

12. In the canonical texts only twenty-seven physical phenomena are mentioned, whilst in the commentaries this number is increased by the physical seat of mind (lit. ‘heart-base’; see pp. 45-46).

13. Mano-viññana, or mind-consciousness, does not depend upon the simultaneous function of any of the five physical sense-organs, although visible objects, sounds, etc. may nevertheless reappear as mental objects therein. Of this fact, dream-consciousness furnishes a vivid illustration.

14. Shwe Zan Aung, Compendium of Philosophy (London, 1910), pp. 277f.

15. The literal and usual translation of phassa as “contact” is very ambiguous and misleading. Phassa does not denote a physiological function, but a purely mental phenomenon. It is heading the list of those fifty phenomena which in Buddhist classification are summed up in the group of mental formations (sankhara-kkhandha). See Nyanatiloka, Buddhist Dictionary (BPS, 1988), Table II: The Formations Group.

16. Kamupadana; ditthupadana; silabbatupadana; attavadupadana.

17. The past kamma-process (1-2) and the present kamma-process (8-10), though here represented by different links, are nevertheless throughout identical, and both therefore include the five kammic causes. In the same way, the two links (11-12) represent the five kamma-results (3-7). See diagram on p. 57.

 

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For The Gain of the Many and For the Welfare of the Many-MOU to be signed between NTPC and Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam on November, 21st -C.M. inaugurates U.P. Pavilion at International Trade Fair -Jesus trail in India Lucknow prison overcrowded with terrorists-’Muslims only in India have enjoyed 60 years of democracy’ -Uttar Pradesh initiates law to end ‘jungle rule’-Chambal:from bandit country to tourist haven-’Puris’ banned in mid-day meals in Uttar Pradesh-Maya favours quotas for poor upper caste
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For The Gain of the Many and For the Welfare of the Many

MOU to be signed between NTPC and Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam on November, 21st

Lucknow: November 20, 2007 With a view to bridge the gap between demand and supply of electricity, a memorandum of understanding for setting up 1320 MW Power Project is to be signed in the presence of U.P. Chief Minister Km. Mayawati between NTPC Ltd. and U.P. Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Ltd. at 5, Kalidas Marg, Lucknow tomorrow at 4 P.M. The NTPC Ltd. is setting up 2 units of 660 MW each at Meza in Allahabad district.

C.M. inaugurates U.P. Pavilion at International Trade Fair

Lucknow : November 20, 2007 The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Km. Mayawati while addressing the media on the occasion of “U.P. Day” at the International Trade Fair organised under the auspices of India Trade Promotion Organisation, said that U.P. being an agricultural state, there were limitless opportunities for the development of food processing and agro-based industries in the State. These industries had the capacity of creating employment opportunities besides export possibilities, she added. She also said that the State Government expected co-operation from the private sector for taking the full benefit of these possibilities. The Chief Minister was inaugurating the Uttar Pradesh Pavilion and the exhibition organised by the U.P. Government at the International Trade Fair at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi today. She said that her government was committed for encouraging food processing industries besides the small, cottage, traditional and handicraft industries. The State Government had also made budgetary provisions for the purpose besides increasing the financial assistance being given to entrepreneurs under different heads to encourage export, she added. It may be mentioned that the theme of International Trade Fair-2007 this year is “Processed Food and Agro Industries”. Km. Mayawati said that her government had implementing the single table system for providing facilities to entrepreneurs and making the procedure fully transparent, besides implementing the E-tendering and E-procurement system. As a result, six thousand entrepreneurs and industrialists had filed their memorandum on-line for setting up their industries this year. She said that capital investment was not possible in the absence of proper law and order and infrastructure facilities. She said that her government had given top priority to maintaining proper law and order, increasing power generation, besides strengthening transport facilities and road network. The Chief Minister said that since the State Government could not develop the required infrastructure on its own due to its limited resources, it had decided to take the co-operation of private sector, where the government would play the role of facilitator. She said that due to this decision proposals for new projects from private investors were coming under Public Private Partnership policy for the development in the state. Km. Mayawati said that her government had taken the decision for construction of 8-lane Taj Express Way from Greater Noida to Agra, besides the 1000 km. long Ganga Express Way up to Ballia. The implementation of ambitious and historical project of Ganga-Express Way was being ensured after its sanction in principle. This multipurpose link express way project which would connect the big cities of the state would be developed on the basis of private investment. This would also ensure the development of backward areas lying on the left bank of Ganga river and checking the menace of floods providing permanent solution to it. The Chief Minister said that the present government in the state had doubled the budget for energy reforms making it Rs. 9,209 crore and arranged for setting up of projects for generating additional 7000 MW electricity so far. The target had been fixed for ensuring additional power generation of 1,225 MW till March, 2008, she added. The Chief Minister said that with a view to removing regional imbalances and unemployment, her government had demanded from the Government of India Rs. 80,000 crore as Special Area Incentive package for the development of Bundelkhand and Purvanchal regions. It also included the demands of special exemptions for industries. Km. Mayawati said that the government was following the policy of “Sarvajan Hitai, Sarvajan Sukhai” to bring the poor, the exploited, the backwards and the economically weaker sections in the mainstream of development. Initiative had been taken for 10 per cent reservation for SC, 10 per cent for OBC which includes the backwards of religious minorities, and 10 per cent for the poor people belonging to upper castes on voluntary basis in private sector getting special government facilities, so that these sections could also get the benefit of the new employment opportunities. It may be mentioned that Uttar Pradesh remained the front line state in implementing the provisions of Medium, Small and Micro Industries Development Act, 2006 under which work has been started by setting up of Facilitation Council. The Chief Minister said that in Uttar Pradesh a full fledge department of Food Processing Industries was working and the state was ready to take the benefit of International Trade Fair-2007 theme “Processed Food and Agro Industries”. In Uttar Pradesh 34,000 food processing units were working with an investment of Rs. 2600 crore and 2.68 lakh people were employed in them. The State had received the benefit of Rs. 1,500 crore through this industry from export in the previous year, she added. It may be recalled that the plan outlay has been increased from Rs. 08 crore to Rs. 33.38 crore this year for the development of small, cottage, traditional and handicraft industries in the state. Cluster development scheme had been implemented for solving the problems of traditional industries in the state. During the last 3-4 months, 58 clusters have been developed with the expenditure of Rs. 1.20 crore. ************ Some Important steps taken for Infrastructure Development 1- For the identification and development of Infrastructure projects a new “Infrastructure Development Department” has been set up. The department will coordinate with concerning departments for the development of projects on the basis of Public Private Partnership. 2- A transparent procedure has been adopted for setting up of projects on the basis of Public Private Partnership for which consultant is being selected and for the implementation of the project private investors are being selected on the directive of the Government of India. For bridge the budgetary gap transparent procedure has been prepared for disinvestment of public enterprises running into losses. 3- The construction of Ganga Express Way is proposed on the basis of public private partnership from Greater Noida to Ballia on the left banks of river Ganga connecting embankments for increasing transport facilities. It would also check the menace of floods besides the industrial and tourism development in the state. 4- Work is under progress for searching the technical and financial viability for the implementation of link express way projects, under the proposed project the World level controlled entry roads laying network in the state on the basis of public private partnership:- · From the West to the North border of the state; from Ghaziabad via Sharanpur to near Mohand, Yammuna or Hindon river bank (Uttrakhand- U.P. border). · From the South to the East border of the state; Jhansi-Kanpur-Gorakhpur (including Betwa and Ghaghra banks) and Lucknow-Barabanki-Nanpara link. · From Agra to Kanpur (including Yammuna river bank). · Bijnour-Moradabad to Fatehgarh (including the banks of Ram Ganga). 5- Decision taken for MOU with Union Government for participation in Asian Development Bank’s Technical Assistance Project for the technical development for Infrastructure facilities in the state on the basis of public private partnership. This MOU has been sent to the Government of India for his consent. 6- New policy issued after amending SEZ policy under which the selection of the developer would be made on basis of transparency and competition. As a result the land of farmers would not be acquired forcibly. 7- The State Government has sent five special economic zones (SEZ) proposals, four in Noida and one proposal of IT sector at Greater Noida to the Government of India for its approval, out of which the Union Government has sanctioned one proposal of IT SEZ. *********


Online edition of India’s National Newspaper
Tuesday, Nov 20, 2007

Jesus trail in India

Randeep Ramesh

Film to cover the years left out of the New Testament




Coming up in 2009: The Aquarian Gospel

Action adventure account of Jesus’ life




New Delhi: Hollywood is to fill in Jesus’ “missing years” in the Bible with a story about him as a wandering mystic who travelled across India, living in Buddhist monasteries and speaking out against the caste system.The Original Inhabitants of Jambudvipa that is The Great Prabuddha Bharath, irrespect of their religion started returning back to their own home ‘Ghar waapassee’.

Film producers have delvedinto revisionist scholarship to piece together what they say was Jesus’ life between the ages of 13 and 30, a period untouched by the gospels.

The result is The Aquarian Gospel, a $20-million movie which portrays Jesus as a holy man and teacher inspired by a myriad of eastern religions in India. The movie takes its name from a century-old book that examined Christianity’s eastern roots and is in its 53rd reprint.

Casting begins

The film’s producers say the movie will be shot using actors and computer animation like 300, the retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae, and will follow the travels of Yeshua, believed to be the name for Jesus in Aramaic, from West Asia to India. Casting for Bollywood and Hollywood actors has begun.

“The Bible devotes just seven words to the most formative years of Yeshua’s life saying: ‘The boy grew in wisdom and stature’. The [film] will follow Christ’s journey to the east where he encounters other traditions, and discovers the principles that are the bedrock of all the world’s great religions,” said Drew Heriot, the director, whose credits include the cult hit The Secret.

The film, due for release in 2009, sets out to be a fantasy action adventure account of Jesus’ life with the three wise men as his mentors. Although the producers say the film will feature a “young and beautiful” princess, it is not clear whether Jesus in the movie is to have a love interest.

The producers say they are hoping for commercial and spiritual gains. “We think that Indian religions and Buddhism, especially with the idea of meditation, played a big part in Christ’s thinking. In the film we are looking beyond the canonised gospels to the ‘lost’ gospels,” said William Sees Keenan, the producer, who is currently making Lindsay Lohan’s Poor Things. “We are looking at new themes. In our story Jesus was loyal to the untouchables and he defended them with his life by saying that everyone could read the Vedas,” said Mr. Keenan.

Earlier book

The theory that Jesus’ teachings had roots in Indian traditions has been around for more than a century. In 1894, a Russian doctor, Nicholas Notovitch, published a book The Unknown Life of Christ, in which he claimed that while recovering from a broken leg in a Tibetan monastery in the Ladakh region, close to Kashmir, he had been shown evidence of Christ’s Indian wanderings. He said he was shown a scroll recording a visit by Jesus to India and to the Tibetan region as a young man. Indian experts claim that documentary proof remains of this visit.

“I have seen the scrolls which show Buddhist monks talking about Jesus’ visits. There are also coins from that period which show Yuzu or have the legend Issa on them, referring to Jesus from that period,” said Fida Hassnain, former director of archaeology at the University of Srinagar.

Mr. Hassnain, who has written books on the legend of Jesus in India, says there was extensive traffic between the Mediterranean and India around the time of Jesus’ life. The academic pointed out that in Srinagar a tomb of Issa is still venerated. “It is the Catholic Church which has closed its mind on the subject. Historians have not.”

More dramatic are the claims that Buddhism had prompted the move from the “eye for an eye” ideology of the Old Testament to “love thy neighbour” in the New Testament.

In 1995 a German religious expert, Holger Kersten, claimed that Jesus had been schooled by Buddhist monks to believe in non-violence and to challenge the priesthood. Mr. Kersten’s book is a bestseller in India.

Church’s view

The Catholic Church in India dismisses the film as just “Hollywood filmmakers in search of a new audience rather than the truth.” Aware that religious passions are easily inflamed, after the Da Vinci Code film sparked protests among Indian Christians, its spokesman said that a movie about Jesus in India was “fantasy and fiction.”

“I have personally investigated many of these claims and they remain what they first seem: fiction,” said John Dayal, president of the All India Catholic Union. — © Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2007

  

         

Lucknow prison overcrowded with terrorists

With as many as 22 terrorists imprisoned in the Lucknow district jail, local authorities are on the verge of declaring a ‘house full’ for ultras. Police officials said the special high security barrack, which is meant to house 20 hardened criminals in independent cells, has become overcrowded for the first time in many decades.

The presence of such a large number of terrorists — described as the highest in any single jail in Uttar Pradesh — is posing a serious security threat to jail authorities who are working on a plan to substantially beef up security systems.

Another reason why authorities are on tenterhooks is because of the recent revelations about clandestine use of cell phones by dreaded outlaws in prisons.

Only last month, jail authorities had discovered use of cell phones by a Dawood Ibrahim aide, Noora, who was gunned down just outside the prison gates after he attempted to escape from police custody while being taken to a court.

What had sent alarm bells ringing in top police circles was that Noora had been using cell phones barely two months after a simultaneous raid on all Uttar Pradesh jails that had led to startling revelations including use of cell phones by jail inmates.

The arrival of three Jaish-e-Mohammad militants who were arrested by the state’s Special Task Force (STF) here last week is now giving sleepless nights to jail authorities.

District Magistrate Chandra Bhanu told IANS: “While enhancing the security in and around the Lucknow district jail, we are also working out a plan to ensure more frequent monitoring of each of the cells in the high-security barrack.

“We have taken a decision to carry out periodical personal physical verification of each of the cells in the barrack that houses the 22 dreaded terrorists a dozen times a day.”

He added: “Three independent teams, each comprising three officials including a deputy jailor and two head wardens, are being formed to carry out two-hourly inspections of each of these cells.

“The three-member teams will have to personally visit each of the 20 cells in the high security barrack every two hours and log their report in a register.”

While most of the terrorists under trial are lodged in independent cells, a few are housing two inmates as the jail is overcrowded.

IANS

‘Muslims only in India have enjoyed 60 years of democracy’
Written by
Aroonim Bhuyan
Muslims in India are the only Muslims in the world who have enjoyed 60 years of uninterrupted democracy, according to eminent journalist and author M.J. Akbar.

“Indian Muslims are the only Muslims in the world who have enjoyed six decades of uninterrupted democracy,” Akbar said, delivering a speech on ‘India and the Strength of its Diversity’ at the Indian Consulate General here Sunday.

The speech was part of a series of programmes being organised by the Indian mission here to mark 60 years of India’s independence.

Delving into the issue of Muslims being a minority in India, Akbar said, “In demographic terms, Indian Muslims have always been a minority, whether historically they were in power or not. When the Mughals were in power or when the Nizams ruled Hyderabad, did the Muslims of India think of themselves as a minority?”

According to him, the issue of minority and majority in India is not about numbers but about empowerment.

“That is why, the Indian Muslims’ struggle for empowerment is very justified,” he said before an audience of around 200 Indian diaspora in this Gulf metropolis.

He said the real minorities in India were the Dalits and the untouchables.

“And this is why the rise of Mayawati (to power in Uttar Pradesh) is a triumph of Indian democracy. What has happened to Dalit activism in the last 50 years eventually must happen to the Muslim political consciousness,” he said, adding that Indian Muslims are getting a new assertion today, which was a healthy sign.

According to Akbar, the answer to the problem of minority and majority is equality.

Describing the strength of Indian democracy in this context, he said, “The Brahmin has always been less than one percent (in demographic terms) since the time of Brahma. But have they (the Brahmins) ever thought of themselves as a minority?

“What our constitution has done is to put the Dalits and the Muslims on equal footing with the Brahmins.”

On the flip side of this equality and multiculturalism, Akbar said, India is the only country in the world where every religion, except Buddhism, has produced a terrorist.

“However, the good consequence of that is that despite all the deaths, despite all the violence, we do not use terms like ‘Islamic fascism’ or blame a faith for the killings.”

According to the editor of the Asian Age and the Deccan Chronicle, India changed when it managed to overcome the Sikh violence in Punjab.

“Who thought that the Sikh would try to separate from India? Other such events in Kashmir and the northeast were predictable. But nobody expected what happened in Punjab. Yet, India had this ability to reabsorb the Sikhs and turn those events into a bad memory,” he said, pointing out this inherent strength of India’s multiculturalism.

m&c

India News

Uttar Pradesh initiates law to end ‘jungle rule’

Oct 31, 2007, 15:08 GMT


Shortly after tabling the UP Control of Organised Crime Bill (UPCOCA) at the state assembly, Mayawati told a press conference that a special law was required for \’curbing, controlling and trampling organised crime in the state\’.

She termed the proposed law as a fulfilment of her commitment to bringing an end to prevailing \’rule of the jungle\’ in the country\’s most populous state.

The chief minister said: \’The new law is aimed at pinning down contract killers, kidnappers, economic offenders including hawala traders, producers of spurious drugs, illicit liquor, drug smugglers and even gun-toting contractors.\’ The proposed enactment also curbs display of arms at public places.

Similar special laws were in force in half a dozen other Indian states including Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Delhi.

\’The proposed Act would curb the tendency among people to make a loud display of weapons with the intent of intimidating others,\’ Mayawati said.

Referring to the misuse of state security services by outlaws, she said: \’Government security to persons with criminal antecedents would be history once the new law comes into force.\’

According to the chief minister, \’the new law would also be able to curb grabbing of government contracts through use of force and pressure by organised crime gang-lords.\’

She said: \’If any contractor approaching a particular government organisation for submitting his tender is found to be accompanied by gun-toting supporters, he will be liable to be prosecuted under the new law.\’

The bill proposes setting up of a state level organised crime control authority under the chairmanship of the principal home secretary, with powers to cancel contracts grabbed by force.

The proposed law will also bring much-needed respite to the old and the infirm whose property was often grabbed by force or through fraudulent means.

The law will help get a grip over criminals fleeing the country after committing a crime.

Unlike existing laws where penalties are mild and easily affordable, heavy fines have been proposed under the new law. \’Besides a minimum fine of Rs.500,000 together with life imprisonment, even capital punishment has been proposed along with a fine of Rs.1 million against hardened habitual offenders,\’ the chief minister pointed out.

A provision has been made for hearing all UPCOCA cases by a special court on a day-to-day basis.

However, in order to prevent misuse of the law, prior permission of the divisional commissioner and deputy inspector general of police has been made mandatory. The police will lodge a report under the proposed act only after receiving permission.

A state-level tribunal to be headed by a retired high court judge will hear appeals against invocation of the act. The three-member tribunal will include a director general of police and an officer of the rank of principal secretary to the state government.

© 2007 Indo-Asian News Service‘;
PrintArticle();//–>

Lucknow, Oct 31 (IANS) Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati formally initiated enactment of a new anti-crime law Wednesday with the stated aim of ridding the state of ‘organised crime’ that has seriously impeded its overall growth,

Shortly after tabling the UP Control of Organised Crime Bill (UPCOCA) at the state assembly, Mayawati told a press conference that a special law was required for ‘curbing, controlling and trampling organised crime in the state’.

She termed the proposed law as a fulfilment of her commitment to bringing an end to prevailing ‘rule of the jungle’ in the country’s most populous state.

The chief minister said: ‘The new law is aimed at pinning down contract killers, kidnappers, economic offenders including hawala traders, producers of spurious drugs, illicit liquor, drug smugglers and even gun-toting contractors.’ The proposed enactment also curbs display of arms at public places.

Similar special laws were in force in half a dozen other Indian states including Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Delhi.

‘The proposed Act would curb the tendency among people to make a loud display of weapons with the intent of intimidating others,’ Mayawati said.

Referring to the misuse of state security services by outlaws, she said: ‘Government security to persons with criminal antecedents would be history once the new law comes into force.’

According to the chief minister, ‘the new law would also be able to curb grabbing of government contracts through use of force and pressure by organised crime gang-lords.’

She said: ‘If any contractor approaching a particular government organisation for submitting his tender is found to be accompanied by gun-toting supporters, he will be liable to be prosecuted under the new law.’

The bill proposes setting up of a state level organised crime control authority under the chairmanship of the principal home secretary, with powers to cancel contracts grabbed by force.

The proposed law will also bring much-needed respite to the old and the infirm whose property was often grabbed by force or through fraudulent means.

The law will help get a grip over criminals fleeing the country after committing a crime.

Unlike existing laws where penalties are mild and easily affordable, heavy fines have been proposed under the new law. ‘Besides a minimum fine of Rs.500,000 together with life imprisonment, even capital punishment has been proposed along with a fine of Rs.1 million against hardened habitual offenders,’ the chief minister pointed out.

A provision has been made for hearing all UPCOCA cases by a special court on a day-to-day basis.

However, in order to prevent misuse of the law, prior permission of the divisional commissioner and deputy inspector general of police has been made mandatory. The police will lodge a report under the proposed act only after receiving permission.

A state-level tribunal to be headed by a retired high court judge will hear appeals against invocation of the act. The three-member tribunal will include a director general of police and an officer of the rank of principal secretary to the state government.

© 2007 Indo-Asian News Service

Chambal: From bandit country to tourist haven
Last updated : Tuesday, 20 November , 2007, 11:10

Agra: The Chambal forests of central India that once used to be a hideout for notorious bandits are now the latest destinations for nature lovers, especially those who want to see gharials (Gavialias gangeticus, a thin-snouted crocodile variety found in the Ganga, Mahanadi and Brahmaputra river systems) in the wild.

A Lucknow-based hatchery recently released 80 captive-bred gharials, in the Chambal river to further develop the area for adventure tourism and conservation of the critically endangered species.

“We plan to release at least 270 more,” said an official, adding that by December-end there should be close to 400 gharials in the river.

The river, which criss-crosses the forest, especially between Kota in Rajasthan and Etawah in Uttar Pradesh, was once home to thousands of crocodiles and alligators, but over the years their population drastically declined due to widespread hunting for their meat and hide.

But the new initiative by conservation organisations and government officials in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan — the three States the river passes through — is now helping the gharial population bounce back.

The 100-km stretch of the Chambal river between Etawah to Bah, about 70 km from Agra, is fast becoming a favourite destination for nature lovers.

Thanks to the lack of developmental activities, the wilderness along the river is still intact, taking care of the region’s biodiversity. Declared a sanctuary in 1979, its stature has continued to grow and wildlife tourism has shown a boom.

Every year, bird watchers from all over India converge along the river, mainly at Pinahat, Nangavan, and Kaijara Ghat to see different varieties of birds that swoop down on fish in the shallow, transparent waters.

Dozens of gharials can be seen basking under the sun on the river islands.

The sanctuary is also home to a large variety of fauna such as deer, neelgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus, an antelope which is one of the most commonly seen wild animals in northern India), wild boars, wolves and smaller animals like rabbits and porcupines.

“Gangetic dolphins continue to remain a hot favourite at the Chambal,” says Gopal Pasricha who annually organises a safari.

The Chambal Foundation has been instrumental in promoting adventure tourism, transporting bird watchers and nature lovers from Agra to the Chambal valley.

“Groups of European and American bird watchers camp in the area for weeks in winter to get a glimpse of these birds, which are so rare,” says Singh.

In the 1970s while travelling to Bah, one wouldn’t be surprised if a co-passenger turned out to be a dacoit giving you company. But now things have changed. It’s safe. And it’s adventure time!

‘Puris’ banned in mid-day meals in Uttar Pradesh

November 02, 2007  |  RSS   |  Tell a friend  |  Printable Version



'Puris' banned in mid-day meals in Uttar Pradesh


Lucknow: ‘Puris’ have been banned with immediate effect in mid-day meals served in schools across Uttar Pradesh.

This follows a preliminary study that revealed that the bulk of the 600-odd children who fell ill in the current academic session had consumed ‘puris’ during their mid-day meals in government-run primary schools in the state.

“The bulk of the cases occurred after consumption of meals on Thursdays when ‘puris’ are served as a matter of routine. We have reasons to suspect that the cooking medium used for making ‘puris’ was sub-standard. As such we have banned ‘puris’ with immediate effect,” Uttar Pradesh principal secretary for basic education Rohit Nandan told IANS.

“We had already taken measures to disallow use of loose oil as the cooking medium,” he said. “In place of ‘puris’ children will now get ‘rotis’ or ‘dalia’ (wheat porridge).”

Nearly 23 million children are covered under the daily mid-day meal scheme in the state.

While taking note of recurrence of illness among children after consumption of mid-day meal in the Uttar Pradesh schools, Chief Minister Mayawati shot off a letter a week ago to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh suggesting drastic changes in the entire mid-day meal exercise carried out by the central government. IANS

Maya favours quotas for poor upper caste
19 Nov, 2007, 0021 hrs IST, PTI

JAMMU: The Bahujan Samaj Party on Sunday asked the UPA government at the Centre to amend the Constitution to provide reservation to the poor among upper castes.

“I have written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the need to amend the Constitution to provide reservation to the poor among upper castes,” BSP supremo Mayawati told a rally here. “We are still waiting for a response from him,” the Uttar Pradesh CM said.

Mayawati recalled she had also met the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee over the same issue. She said her party was never against the upper castes and was concerned over the plight of the poor among them. “We will continue to fight for their rights and will strive hard to improve their lot,” Mayawati said.

Mayawati said the UPA government had also not responded to her letter demanding reservation for SCs and STs in the private sector. “In UP, we have have already announced 10 per cent reservation in private sector jobs for SCs and the poor among upper castes,” she said. Mayawati said her party would provide reservation to the poor among upper castes if it was voted to power at the Centre.

Urging people to vote her party to power in Jammu and Kashmir and at the Centre, she said: “It is high time we all should join hands to install a BSP government at the Centre.”



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Right View
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 10:41 am

Noble Eightfold Path

Mental Development

 Right View

Right Understanding. Right understanding means to understand the Laws of Cause and Effect and the Four Noble Truths.

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Noble Eightfold Path-Mental Development-Right Speech
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 10:38 am

Noble Eightfold Path

Mental Development

 Right Speech

Samma Vacha - Right Speech. Right speech means to avoid lying, tale bearing, harsh speech and idle talk.

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Right Mindfulness
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Posted by: @ 10:37 am

Noble Eightfold Path

Mental Development

Right Mindfulness

 

Samma Sathi - Right Mind. Right mind means to always be aware and cautious of things.

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Right Livelyhood
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Posted by: @ 10:35 am

 Right Livelyhood

http://www.buddhivihara.org/kidscorner.htm

Samma Vayama - Right Livelyhood. Right livelyhood means to avoid any occupation that bring harm to oneself and others.

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T H E E I G H T F O L D P A T H - Right Intention
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 10:30 am

 Right Intention

In our study of right view we saw that our view of the world - especially our self view - results from our perception and that this perception is conditioned - it is not fixed, it is evolving. We can choose our actions (kamma) in ways that bring greater accuracy to the way we receive and evaluate our experience and thus (re)form our views. This ability to choose arises directly through the second path factor “Samma Sankappa” - right intention.
Another translation is ‘right thought.’ Let’s consider the difference between…
conative thought [process tending toward activity or change; appears as intention, and striving] and
cognitive thought [process by which knowledge is acquired]
…and see that sankappa is primarily conative thought. Hence the preferred translation of ‘intention.’ However the two functions work together. Our intention (conation) is formed on the basis of our knowledge (cognition) and cognition is in fact both a verb [the process by which…] and a noun [the knowledge resulting from the process].

So, we acquire knowledge (cognise) and then think about it (conate) and then make some intention. It is this ability to investigate, to acquire knowledge, to learn - outside the limited boundaries of our existing world view - that is the key to freedom. Intention joins with view to form the wisdom group of the path. It is the crucial link to the following three factors, the morality group. Without intention these three (basically, our actions) would be impossible to contol and would remain at the whim of external conditions. There would be no possibility of changing our self-perspective.
“Intention, I tell you, is kamma. Intending, one does kamma by way of body, speech, & mind.”
          Anguttara VI.63

From right view - arises right intention.

I renounce
facial nudity
Right intention is threefold:
the intention of renunciation
the intention of good will
the intention of harmlessness
These three are opposed to three parallel kinds of wrong intention: intention led by desire, by ill will and by harmfulness.
Just prior to the Buddha’s enlightenment he reflected that his thoughts could be seperated into these two distinct groups (right & wrong). When those of the second kind arose he saw that they brought distress to himself or to others - or to both. They obstructed wisdom and led away from freedom. But whenever those of the first kind arose they were clearly beneficial, conducive to the growth of wisdom and an aid to the attainment of Nibbana. Thus he strengthened those thoughts (intentions) and brought them to completion. [paraphrase from Majjhima 19]

There is another inter-locking of the Truths and the Path . . .
Right view is - right view of the Four Noble Truths.
Right intention arises from right view.
The first item of right intention is that of renunciation, a direct extension of the third truth:
“…the complete and passionless cessation of that craving; giving it up, abandoning it, being released and detached from it.”
This is renunciation. These two factors, view & intention, form the wisdom group of the 8-fold path and are the dynamic bridge between the Four Truths - doctrine (dhamma), and the Path - practice (vinaya).

Renunciation:
It is important to see that renunciation is not denial or suppression. In the Dhamma Cakka sutta the Buddha makes clear that dukkha “is to be fully understood” and that tanha (craving) “is to be abandoned.” Renunciation is this abandonment and it develops through understanding - through right view. This understanding arises through clearly seeing the relationship between suffering and desire - this can be quite a radical shift in perception. Having begun our spiritual journey our attention is now concerned less with what is pleasant and more with what is true. True happiness always lies on the side of truth, not on the side of comfort. It is from this perspective that we establish our intentions - as regards our actions. We see the entangling, harmful areas of our attachments, our bad habits, our addictions, and we make an intention to change. First comes the intention - then the change. It takes patience, determination and effort but the (power of) intention-of-renunciation eventually replaces the intention-of-desire.
The practice of generosity is an excellent balance for the grasping mind [ § ]


easy loving
Good will:
The intention-of-good will, as in the case of renunciation, is working with desire. Specifically it looks at the desire to get rid of - commonly met as anger, aversion, hatred, etc. Expressing ill will does offer some release but in the long term it produces resentment, retaliation and enmity - there is no real resolution here. Supression or denial is not the answer either as this only leads to inner tension, depression, self-loathing, frustration etc.
Ill will arises due to certain perceptions that we have [see views  § ]. These in turn produce ‘negative’ states of mind or heart. We need to modify the mind’s view - we need to introduce new ‘data’; new energy, information, images, etc into the mind to balance existing views. The most common technique, especially when the subject is a person, is the practice of loving-kindness [see metta  § ]. Initially we (intentionally) bring to mind the image of someone that we love. Their memory creates an associative link with the actual feeling of love. Even the smallest amount of this positive ‘energy’ dilutes the energy of ill will. Gradually we develop a deeper understanding of the quality of metta (loving-kindness) and are able to bring it to mind without the need for this association. Like most practices it takes time.


no harm
Harmlessness:
There are similarities between harming and ill will in that they both stem from unwholesome perceptions; in this case leading to the intention to harm - particularly the intention to harm another being - or oneself. A common response is to blame someone else as the cause of my suffering. The next thought is that they should be punished, harmed - or got rid of. They need to see that they are imperfect and that they must change. Sometimes this gets directed to oneself. Harming (when coming from wrong view) never has a good outcome. As with ill will we need to introduce balance, and the traditional technique is the practice of compassion [see karuna  § ].
I reflect that I am suffering - and have compassion for that.
A lot of my suffering is the result of my own past actions.
I reflect that those around me are also suffering, are ‘imperfect’ like me. [see 1st Truth  § ]
Some of their suffering is the result of my actions.
> > > > NO_ONE is directly to blame.
All beings suffer.
All beings want to be free of suffering.
Compassion: from Latin; compassio = fellow feeling; compat = to suffer with
We are all in this together.

Intention is a movement of the mind and as such we can observe it. We can practice working with intention.
ALL action is preceded by intention. Try (right now) lifting your right arm. It requires intention to do that. Can you see the intention to lift the arm? It is quite subtle but practicing in this way - pressing a key, opening a door, opening the mouth to speak - noticing the intention - strengthens our ability. One, to catch intention before it turns to (unskilful) action. Two, to initiate Right Intention once unskilful action has commenced.

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Right Effort-(Samma Vayama)
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 10:25 am

 

Right Effort
(Samma Vayama)

The purification of conduct established by the prior three factors serves as the basis for the next division of the path, the division of concentration (samadhikkhandha). This present phase of practice, which advances from moral restraint to direct mental training, comprises the three factors of right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration. It gains its name from the goal to which it aspires, the power of sustained concentration, itself required as the support for insight-wisdom. Wisdom is the primary tool for deliverance, but the penetrating vision it yields can only open up when the mind has been composed and collected. Right concentration brings the requisite stillness to the mind by unifying it with undistracted focus on a suitable object. To do so, however, the factor of concentration needs the aid of effort and mindfulness. Right effort provides the energy demanded by the task, right mindfulness the steadying points for awareness.

The commentators illustrate the interdependence of the three factors within the concentration group with a simple simile. Three boys go to a park to play. While walking along they see a tree with flowering tops and decide they want to gather the flowers. But the flowers are beyond the reach even of the tallest boy. Then one friend bends down and offers his back. The tall boy climbs up, but still hesitates to reach for the flowers from fear of falling. So the third boy comes over and offers his shoulder for support. The first boy, standing on the back of the second boy, then leans on the shoulder of the third boy, reaches up, and gathers the flowers.36

In this simile the tall boy who picks the flowers represents concentration with its function of unifying the mind. But to unify the mind concentration needs support: the energy provided by right effort, which is like the boy who offers his back. It also requires the stabilizing awareness provided by mindfulness, which is like the boy who offers his shoulder. When right concentration receives this support, then empowered by right effort and balanced by right mindfulness it can draw in the scattered strands of thought and fix the mind firmly on its object.

Energy (viriya), the mental factor behind right effort, can appear in either wholesome or unwholesome forms. The same factor fuels desire, aggression, violence, and ambition on the one hand, and generosity, self-discipline, kindness, concentration, and understanding on the other. The exertion involved in right effort is a wholesome form of energy, but it is something more specific, namely, the energy in wholesome states of consciousness directed to liberation from suffering. This last qualifying phrase is especially important. For wholesome energy to become a contributor to the path it has to be guided by right view and right intention, and to work in association with the other path factors. Otherwise, as the energy in ordinary wholesome states of mind, it merely engenders an accumulation of merit that ripens within the round of birth and death; it does not issue in liberation from the round.

Time and again the Buddha has stressed the need for effort, for diligence, exertion, and unflagging perseverance. The reason why effort is so crucial is that each person has to work out his or her own deliverance. The Buddha does what he can by pointing out the path to liberation; the rest involves putting the path into practice, a task that demands energy. This energy is to be applied to the cultivation of the mind, which forms the focus of the entire path. The starting point is the defiled mind, afflicted and deluded; the goal is the liberated mind, purified and illuminated by wisdom. What comes in between is the unremitting effort to transform the defiled mind into the liberated mind. The work of self-cultivation is not easy — there is no one who can do it for us but ourselves — but it is not impossible. The Buddha himself and his accomplished disciples provide the living proof that the task is not beyond our reach. They assure us, too, that anyone who follows the path can accomplish the same goal. But what is needed is effort, the work of practice taken up with the determination: “I shall not give up my efforts until I have attained whatever is attainable by manly perseverance, energy, and endeavor.”37

The nature of the mental process effects a division of right effort into four “great endeavors”:

  1. to prevent the arising of unarisen unwholesome states;
  2. to abandon unwholesome states that have already arisen;
  3. to arouse wholesome states that have not yet arisen;
  4. to maintain and perfect wholesome states already arisen.

The unwholesome states (akusala dhamma) are the defilements, and the thoughts, emotions, and intentions derived from them, whether breaking forth into action or remaining confined within. The wholesome states (kusala dhamma) are states of mind untainted by defilements, especially those conducing to deliverance. Each of the two kinds of mental states imposes a double task. The unwholesome side requires that the defilements lying dormant be prevented from erupting and that the active defilements already present be expelled. The wholesome side requires that the undeveloped liberating factors first be brought into being, then persistently developed to the point of full maturity. Now we will examine each of these four divisions of right effort, giving special attention to their most fertile field of application, the cultivation of the mind through meditation.

(1) To prevent the arising of unarisen unwholesome states

Herein the disciple rouses his will to avoid the arising of evil, unwholesome states that have not yet arisen; and he makes effort, stirs up his energy, exerts his mind and strives.38

The first side of right effort aims at overcoming unwholesome states, states of mind tainted by defilements. Insofar as they impede concentration the defilements are usually presented in a fivefold set called the “five hindrances” (pañcanivarana): sensual desire, ill will, dullness and drowsiness, restlessness and worry, and doubt.39 They receive the name “hindrances” because they block the path to liberation; they grow up and over the mind preventing calm and insight, the primary instruments for progress. The first two hindrances, sensual desire and ill will, are the strongest of the set, the most formidable barriers to meditative growth, representing, respectively, the unwholesome roots of greed and aversion. The other three hindrances, less toxic but still obstructive, are offshoots of delusion, usually in association with other defilements.

Sensual desire is interpreted in two ways. Sometimes it is understood in a narrow sense as lust for the “five strands of sense pleasure,” i.e., agreeable sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touches; sometimes a broader interpretation is given, by which the term becomes inclusive of craving in all its modes, whether for sense pleasures, wealth, power, position, fame, or anything else it can settle upon. The second hindrance, ill will, is a synonym for aversion. It comprises hatred, anger, resentment, repulsion of every shade, whether directed towards other people, towards oneself, towards objects, or towards situations. The third hindrance, dullness and drowsiness, is a compound of two factors linked together by their common feature of mental unwieldiness. One is dullness (thina), manifest as mental inertia; the other is drowsiness (middha), seen in mental sinking, heaviness of mind, or excessive inclination to sleep. At the opposite extreme is the fourth hindrance, restlessness and worry. This too is a compound with its two members linked by their common feature of disquietude. Restlessness (uddhacca) is agitation or excitement, which drives the mind from thought to thought with speed and frenzy; worry (kukkucca) is remorse over past mistakes and anxiety about their possible undesired consequences. The fifth hindrance, doubt, signifies a chronic indecisiveness and lack of resolution: not the probing of critical intelligence, an attitude encouraged by the Buddha, but a persistent inability to commit oneself to the course of spiritual training due to lingering doubts concerning the Buddha, his doctrine, and his path.

The first effort to be made regarding the hindrances is the effort to prevent the unarisen hindrances from arising; this is also called the endeavor to restrain (samvarappadhana). The effort to hold the hindrances in check is imperative both at the start of meditative training and throughout the course of its development. For when the hindrances arise, they disperse attention and darken the quality of awareness, to the detriment of calm and clarity. The hindrances do not come from outside the mind but from within. They appear through the activation of certain tendencies constantly lying dormant in the deep recesses of the mental continuum, awaiting the opportunity to surface.

Generally what sparks the hindrances into activity is the input afforded by sense experience. The physical organism is equipped with five sense faculties each receptive to its own specific kind of data — the eye to forms, the ear to sounds, the nose to smells, the tongue to tastes, the body to tangibles. Sense objects continuously impinge on the senses, which relay the information they receive to the mind, where it is processed, evaluated, and accorded an appropriate response. But the mind can deal with the impressions it receives in different ways, governed in the first place by the manner in which it attends to them. When the mind adverts to the incoming data carelessly, with unwise consideration (ayoniso manasikara), the sense objects tend to stir up unwholesome states. They do this either directly, through their immediate impact, or else indirectly by depositing memory traces which later may swell up as the objects of defiled thoughts, images, and fantasies. As a general rule the defilement that is activated corresponds to the object: attractive objects provoke desire, disagreeable objects provoke ill will, and indeterminate objects provoke the defilements connected with delusion.

Since an uncontrolled response to the sensory input stimulates the latent defilements, what is evidently needed to prevent them from arising is control over the senses. Thus the Buddha teaches, as the discipline for keeping the hindrances in check, an exercise called the restraint of the sense faculties (indriya-samvara):

When he perceives a form with the eye, a sound with the ear, an odor with the nose, a taste with the tongue, an impression with the body, or an object with the mind, he apprehends neither the sign nor the particulars. And he strives to ward off that through which evil and unwholesome states, greed and sorrow, would arise, if he remained with unguarded senses; and he watches over his senses, restrains his senses.40

Restraint of the senses does not mean denial of the senses, retreating into a total withdrawal from the sensory world. This is impossible, and even if it could be achieved, the real problem would still not be solved; for the defilements lie in the mind, not in the sense organs or objects. The key to sense control is indicated by the phrase “not apprehending the sign or the particulars.” The “sign” (nimitta) is the object’s general appearance insofar as this appearance is grasped as the basis for defiled thoughts; the “particulars” (anubyanjana) are its less conspicuous features. If sense control is lacking, the mind roams recklessly over the sense fields. First it grasps the sign, which sets the defilements into motion, then it explores the particulars, which permits them to multiply and thrive.

To restrain the senses requires that mindfulness and clear understanding be applied to the encounter with the sense fields. Sense consciousness occurs in a series, as a sequence of momentary cognitive acts each having its own special task. The initial stages in the series occur as automatic functions: first the mind adverts to the object, then apprehends it, then admits the percept, examines it, and identifies it. Immediately following the identification a space opens up in which there occurs a free evaluation of the object leading to the choice of a response. When mindfulness is absent the latent defilements, pushing for an opportunity to emerge, will motivate a wrong consideration. One will grasp the sign of the object, explore its details, and thereby give the defilements their opportunity: on account of greed one will become fascinated by an agreeable object, on account of aversion one will be repelled by a disagreeable object. But when one applies mindfulness to the sensory encounter, one nips the cognitive process in the bud before it can evolve into the stages that stimulate the dormant taints. Mindfulness holds the hindrances in check by keeping the mind at the level of what is sensed. It rivets awareness on the given, preventing the mind from embellishing the datum with ideas born of greed, aversion, and delusion. Then, with this lucent awareness as a guide, the mind can proceed to comprehend the object as it is, without being led astray.

(2) To abandon the arisen unwholesome states

Herein the disciple rouses his will to overcome the evil, unwholesome states that have already arisen and he makes effort, stirs up his energy, exerts his mind and strives.41

Despite the effort at sense control the defilements may still surface. They swell up from the depths of the mental continuum, from the buried strata of past accumulations, to congeal into unwholesome thoughts and emotions. When this happens a new kind of effort becomes necessary, the effort to abandon arisen unwholesome states, called for short the endeavor to abandon (pahanappadhana):

He does not retain any thought of sensual lust, ill will, or harmfulness, or any other evil and unwholesome states that may have arisen; he abandons them, dispels them, destroys them, causes them to disappear.42

Just as a skilled physician has different medicines for different ailments, so the Buddha has different antidotes for the different hindrances, some equally applicable to all, some geared to a particular hindrance. In an important discourse the Buddha explains five techniques for expelling distracting thoughts.43 The first is to expel the defiled thought with a wholesome thought which is its exact opposite, analogous to the way a carpenter might use a new peg to drive out an old one. For each of the five hindrances there is a specific remedy, a line of meditation designed expressly to deflate it and destroy it. This remedy can be applied intermittently, when a hindrance springs up and disrupts meditation on the primary subject; or it can be taken as a primary subject itself, used to counter a defilement repeatedly seen to be a persistent obstacle to one’s practice. But for the antidote to become effective in the first role, as a temporary expedient required by the upsurge of a hindrance, it is best to gain some familiarity with it by making it a primary object, at least for short periods.

For desire a remedy of general application is the meditation on impermanence, which knocks away the underlying prop of clinging, the implicit assumption that the objects clung to are stable and durable. For desire in the specific form of sensual lust the most potent antidote is the contemplation of the unattractive nature of the body, to be dealt with at greater length in the next chapter. Ill will meets its proper remedy in the meditation on loving-kindness (metta), which banishes all traces of hatred and anger through the methodical radiation of the altruistic wish that all beings be well and happy. The dispelling of dullness and drowsiness calls for a special effort to arouse energy, for which several methods are suggested: the visualization of a brilliant ball of light, getting up and doing a period of brisk walking meditation, reflection on death, or simply making a firm determination to continue striving. Restlessness and worry are most effectively countered by turning the mind to a simple object that tends to calm it down; the method usually recommended is mindfulness of breathing, attention to the in-and-out flow of the breath. In the case of doubt the special remedy is investigation: to make inquiries, ask questions, and study the teachings until the obscure points become clear.44

Whereas this first of the five methods for expelling the hindrances involves a one-to-one alignment between a hindrance and its remedy, the other four utilize general approaches. The second marshals the forces of shame (hiri) and moral dread (ottappa) to abandon the unwanted thought: one reflects on the thought as vile and ignoble or considers its undesirable consequences until an inner revulsion sets in which drives the thought away. The third method involves a deliberate diversion of attention. When an unwholesome thought arises and clamours to be noticed, instead of indulging it one simply shuts it out by redirecting one’s attention elsewhere, as if closing one’s eyes or looking away to avoid an unpleasant sight. The fourth method uses the opposite approach. Instead of turning away from the unwanted thought, one confronts it directly as an object, scrutinizes its features, and investigates its source. When this is done the thought quiets down and eventually disappears. For an unwholesome thought is like a thief: it only creates trouble when its operation is concealed, but put under observation it becomes tame. The fifth method, to be used only as a last resort, is suppression — vigorously restraining the unwholesome thought with the power of the will in the way a strong man might throw a weaker man to the ground and keep him pinned there with his weight.

By applying these five methods with skill and discretion, the Buddha says, one becomes a master of all the pathways of thought. One is no longer the subject of the mind but its master. Whatever thought one wants to think, that one will think. Whatever thought one does not want to think, that one will not think. Even if unwholesome thoughts occasionally arise, one can dispel them immediately, just as quickly as a red-hot pan will turn to steam a few chance drops of water.

(3) To arouse unarisen wholesome states

Herein the disciple rouses his will to arouse wholesome states that have not yet arisen; and he makes effort, stirs up his energy, exerts his mind and strives.45

Simultaneously with the removal of defilements, right effort also imposes the task of cultivating wholesome states of mind. This involves two divisions: the arousing of wholesome states not yet arisen and the maturation of wholesome states already arisen.

The first of the two divisions is also known as the endeavor to develop (bhavanappadhana). Though the wholesome states to be developed can be grouped in various ways — serenity and insight, the four foundations of mindfulness, the eight factors of the path, etc. — the Buddha lays special stress on a set called the seven factors of enlightenment (satta bojjhanga): mindfulness, investigation of phenomena, energy, rapture, tranquillity, concentration, and equanimity.

Thus he develops the factors of enlightenment, based on solitude, on detachment, on cessation, and ending in deliverance, namely: the enlightenment factors of mindfulness, investigation of phenomena, energy, rapture, tranquillity, concentration, and equanimity.46

The seven states are grouped together as “enlightenment factors” both because they lead to enlightenment and because they constitute enlightenment. In the preliminary stages of the path they prepare the way for the great realization; in the end they remain as its components. The experience of enlightenment, perfect and complete understanding, is just these seven components working in unison to break all shackles and bring final release from sorrow.

The way to enlightenment starts with mindfulness. Mindfulness clears the ground for insight into the nature of things by bringing to light phenomena in the now, the present moment, stripped of all subjective commentary, interpretations, and projections. Then, when mindfulness has brought the bare phenomena into focus, the factor of investigation steps in to search out their characteristics, conditions, and consequences. Whereas mindfulness is basically receptive, investigation is an active factor which unflinchingly probes, analyzes, and dissects phenomena to uncover their fundamental structures.

The work of investigation requires energy, the third factor of enlightenment, which mounts in three stages. The first, inceptive energy, shakes off lethargy and arouses initial enthusiasm. As the work of contemplation advances, energy gathers momentum and enters the second stage, perseverance, wherein it propels the practice without slackening. Finally, at the peak, energy reaches the third stage, invincibility, where it drives contemplation forward leaving the hindrances powerless to stop it.

As energy increases, the fourth factor of enlightenment is quickened. This is rapture, a pleasurable interest in the object. Rapture gradually builds up, ascending to ecstatic heights: waves of bliss run through the body, the mind glows with joy, fervor and confidence intensify. But these experiences, as encouraging as they are, still contain a flaw: they create an excitation verging on restlessness. With further practice, however, rapture subsides and a tone of quietness sets in signalling the rise of the fifth factor, tranquillity. Rapture remains present, but it is now subdued, and the work of contemplation proceeds with self-possessed serenity.

Tranquillity brings to ripeness concentration, the sixth factor, one-pointed unification of mind. Then, with the deepening of concentration, the last enlightenment factor comes into dominance. This is equanimity, inward poise and balance free from the two defects of excitement and inertia. When inertia prevails, energy must be aroused; when excitement prevails, it is necessary to exercise restraint. But when both defects have been vanquished the practice can unfold evenly without need for concern. The mind of equanimity is compared to the driver of a chariot when the horses are moving at a steady pace: he neither has to urge them forward nor to hold them back, but can just sit comfortably and watch the scenery go by. Equanimity has the same “on-looking” quality. When the other factors are balanced the mind remains poised watching the play of phenomena.

(4) To maintain arisen wholesome states

Herein the disciple rouses his will to maintain the wholesome things that have already arisen, and not to allow them to disappear, but to bring them to growth, to maturity, and to the full perfection of development; and he makes effort, stirs up his energy, exerts his mind and strives.47

This last of the four right efforts aims at maintaining the arisen wholesome factors and bringing them to maturity. Called the “endeavor to maintain” (anurakkhanappadhana), it is explained as the effort to “keep firmly in the mind a favorable object of concentration that has arisen.”48 The work of guarding the object causes the seven enlightenment factors to gain stability and gradually increase in strength until they issue in the liberating realization. This marks the culmination of right effort, the goal in which the countless individual acts of exertion finally reach fulfillment.

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The Noble Eightfold Path: Right Concentration
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Posted by: @ 10:20 am

The Noble Eightfold Path: Right Concentration

The eighth and final factor of the Noble Eightfold Path is Right Concentration. This special form of ‘concentration’ - which in its perfection is known as samadhi - is when the mind achieves complete one-pointedness. In this state nothing can distract the individual from the object of contemplation, whatever that may be.

Objects for this type of meditation are various. Breathing meditation is one particular method. Another is by preparing a colored disc - about the size of a dinner plate - and concentrating on this. Another is to use a mantra, a word or phrase repeated over and over again.

Concentration leads to deeper meditative states known as jhanas. These are states of rapture and joy, deeply pleasurable experiences but beyond those of a sensory kind. The Buddha referred to them as: ‘the rapture and pleasure that are apart from sensual pleasures, apart from unwholesome states’.

The word jhana derives from the Sanskrit word dhyana meaning meditation.

According to scriptural accounts, these states are possible when the mind withdraws itself from sense-objects and when the five hindrances - sensual desire, ill will, sloth and torpor, restlessness and worry, and skeptical doubt - are absent.

The Five Hindrances

Sensual desire includes craving for what is pleasant to the five senses. Ill-will refers to feelings of irritation, anger, aggression and malice directed towards others. Sloth and torpor is when one’s practice is sluggish or half-hearted, a failure to arouse the necessary energy to concentrate the mind. Restlessness and worry refer to the inability to calm the mind, to think unduly of the past and/or future rather than staying with the moment.

When the five hindrances are present, it is difficult to see things as they really are. The mind becomes unstable, distracted and unfocused. The Buddha uses the following analogy to explain this. The mind is like a pond. The hindrances are aspects of the pond that prevent us from seeing our reflection clearly. Our sense desires are like pollutants in the pond that make it cloudy. Similarly, ill-will makes the pond cloudy because the mud at the bottom has been churned up. The weeds and grasses that may overwhelm a pond are akin to sloth and torpor The wind on the surface of the lake is like restlessness and worry. Finally, a pond filled with mud is like the mind filled with skeptical doubt.

The Four Jhanas

Once these hindrances subside, the jhanas can be realized. Although there are eight jhanas described in the scriptures, it is more usual to focus on the first four.

In the first jhana conceptual and discursive thinking are present but there is also rapture and joy. This rapture and joy ’saturates and imbues, permeates and pervades this body so that not a single spot of his entire body remains unpervaded by the rapture and joy born of detachment’. The process is likened by the Buddha to soap powder which, when mixed with water, becomes ‘a ball of soapy lather…full of moisture’.

In the second jhana conceptual and discursive thinking are no longer present but the meditator continues to be filled with rapture and joy. This is likened to a lake that has ’spring water welling up from within… so that not a single spot of the lake remains unpervaded by the cool spring water’.

In the third jhana the rapture fades to be replaced by equanimity, mindfulness and clarity of awareness. This is likened to lotuses ‘born in water, grown in water, nurtured in submersion…from the tip to the roots saturated and imbued, permeated and pervaded by the cool water’.

In the fourth jhana the meditator experiences a state beyond pleasure and pain, and the mind becomes totally pure and lucid. It is likened to a man who wraps himself from head to toe in a white cloth so that he is completely covered.

In each case the Buddha promises that he who lives ‘earnest, ardent and resolute’ will lose desire for worldly matters and will develop a mind that is ‘firm’, ‘calm’, ‘harmonious’ and ‘concentrated’.

 

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The Noble Eightfold Path:Right Action
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Posted by: @ 10:16 am

 

The Noble Eightfold Path: Right Action

Right Action

The fourth factor of the Noble Eightfold Path is Right Action. This consists of abstaining from killing, abstaining from stealing and abstaining from unlawful sexual intercourse.

Abstaining from Killing

Abstaining from killing encompasses human beings, animals and insects. Implicit is a respect for the life of all beings and a desire for their welfare: ‘Without stick or sword, conscientious, full of sympathy, he is desirous of the welfare of all living beings’. To kill is to bring suffering to another, but ultimately to bring suffering to oneself too. In one of the early scriptures killing is said to lead to ‘acute pain, disaster, bodily injury, or even grievous sickness, or loss of mind’ and, on death, rebirth in one of the Buddhist hells.

The Buddha urges us to recognize that life is precious to all: ‘comparing others with oneself, one should neither kill not cause to kill’.

Moreover, ‘whoever seeking his own happiness, harms with rod pleasure-loving beings gets no happiness hereafter.’ In short, there is nothing to be gained from killing.

Abstaining from Stealing

Similarly, stealing leads to the suffering of others and also oneself. Whilst Buddhism sees little value in materialistic acquisition for its own sake, at the same time it urge us to respect the property and possessions of others. Instead of stealing, the Buddha urges us to be liberal with our wealth, to use it for the good of others and to give generously.

Abstaining from Unlawful Sexual Intercourse

Abstaining from unlawful sexual intercourse is described in the scriptures as follows: ‘He has no intercourse with such persons as are still under the protection of father, mother, brother, sister or relatives, nor with married women, nor female convicts, nor lastly, with betrothed girls.’ Most of these apply in the modern context. Sex with minors, for example, is forbidden, as is sex with those who are engaged or married or already in relationships. Faithfulness and respect for the feelings of others are key features of the Buddhist approach to sexual relationships.

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Stream-enterer-Study the Way
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Posted by: @ 10:11 am

 Stream-enterer

Stream-Enterer
Study the Way

Stream-Enterer

            The Eightfold Path consists of four stages—the stream-enterer, the once-returner, the never-returner, and the worthy one, the arhat (see the Shambala Dictionary of Buddhism and Zen for more detail).  You, dear reader, may be in the first stage or a later stage, depending on your sincerity.

            The stream-enterer (shrota-apanna)is just beginning to explore the original frontier.  An ancient Greek philosopher noted that one can never step into the same stream twice.  Native Americans often followed a streambed in order not to be tracked by the enemy.  Similarly, the stream-enterer enters into an ever-changing reality (no one ever steps into the same stream twice, as some spiritual wag pointed out), and begins to “leave no traces”—no attachment to ego-centered opinions and objectives—as in the past. 

            There are an unknown number of rebirths awaiting the stream-enterer, depending on what transpires in this lifetime.  This could be the last birth, but that is an eventuality not much to be desired.  Meanwhile, the rest of us face countless rebirths, possibly even into a lower position in the Six Worlds, backsliding and starting from square one again.

Study the Way

< ?xml:namespace prefix = st2 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Master Dogen, in the Genjo Koan fascicle of Shobogenzo, formulated four transitions in the practice of the Zen Buddhist way:

            To study the way is to study the self

            To study the self is to forget the self

            To forget the self is to be awakened by all things

            To be enlightened by all things is to remove the barrier between self and other

            And go on in traceless awakenment forever 

“To study the way is to study the self.”  Of course, the Buddhist way cannot be objectified, separated from the self.  But Zen is not simply a navel-gazing exercise.  What begins with an intensive focus on the question of the existence of the self, which Buddha denied in his doctrine of annata, initially engages our inner circle of personality traits and habits, activities, family and friends, and expands ever outward to include others, enemies and all, and finally to embrace the entirety of existence we casually call Universe.

The solitary practice of zazen is central to this process, and does not end when we join a sangha and begin a more formal social practice.  In fact, what better way to study the self than in the context of  others?  In the sangha, the foothills of the original frontier, we confront the self in all its glory, through its relationship to others.  It’s not always a pretty picture, but somebody has to do it.  In Zen, you are that somebody.

You are the person entering the original frontier.  However, you are not alone.  The entire worldwide Zen Buddhist sangha is there, exploring the foothills of uncharted territory along with you.  

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Once-returner-Emancipation from the world
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 Once-returner

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Vipassana meditation is mental training aimed at  raising the mind to such a level that it is no longer subject to suffering. The mind breaks free from suffering by virtue of the clear knowledge that nothing is worth grasping at or clinging to. This knowledge deprives worldly things of their ability to lead the mind into further thoughtless liking or disliking. Having this knowledge, the mind transcends the worldly condition and attains the level known as the Supramundane Plane (Lokuttara-bhumi).

In order to comprehend clearly the supramundane plane, we have to know first about its opposite, the mundane plane (Lokiyabhumi). The mundane plane comprises those levels at which the things of the world have control over the mind. Very briefly, three levels are recognized in the mundane plane, namely: the sensual level (Kamavacara-bhumi), or the level of a mind still content with pleasures of every kind; the level of forms (Rupavacara-bhumi), the condition of a mind uninterested in sensual objects, but finding satisfaction in the various stages of concentration on forms as objects; and lastly the formless level (Arupavacara-bhumi), the yet higher level of a mind finding satisfaction in the bliss and peace of concentration on objects other than forms. These three levels in the worldly plane are the mental levels of beings in general. Regardless of whether we presume to call them human beings, celestial beings, gods, beasts, or denizens of hell, they are all included within the three worldly levels. The mind of a worldling can at any particular time exist in any one of these three. It is not impossible. It is quite normal. As a rule, though, it will tend to fall back naturally to the unconcentrated sensual level; the human mind normally falls under the influence of the delightful in colors and shapes, sounds, odors, tastes and tactile objects. Only on certain occasions is it able to escape from the influence of these seductive things and experience the tranquillity and bliss which comes from practicing concentration on forms or other objects. It all depends on concentration.

At certain times, then, a person’s mind may be located in any of these levels of concentration. In India at the time of the Buddha this must have been fairly common, because people who had gone in search of the tranquillity and bliss associated with the various levels of concentration were to be found living in forests all over the country. At the present time such people are few, but it is nevertheless possible for the ordinary man to attain these levels. If someone in this world is in the process of experiencing the bliss of full concentration on a form, then for him “the world” consists of just that form, because he is aware of nothing else. At that time and for that person, “the world” is equivalent to just that one form, and it remains so until such time as his mental condition changes.

Even though a person dwelling in any of these three levels may have gained such bliss and calm tranquillity that he has come to resemble a rock, a lump of earth, or a log of wood, yet grasping and clinging to selfhood are still present. Also present are various kinds of desire, albeit of the finest and most tenuous sort, such as dissatisfaction with the state in which he finds himself, which prompts him to go in search of a new state. That desire for change constitutes karma, so such a person has not yet transcended the worldly state. He is not yet in the supramundane plane.

A mind dwelling in the supramundane plane has transcended the world. It views the worldly state as devoid of essence, self, or substance, and will have nothing of it. Dwellers in this supramundane plane can be further classified into grades. There are four levels of Path and Fruit, namely the levels of the Stream - enterer (Sotapanna), the Once - returner(Skidagami), the Never - returner (Anagami), and the completely Perfected individual or Arahant. The condition of these four kinds of noble individuals or Aryians is the supramundane condition. “Supramundane” means “above the world,” and refers to the mind, not the body. The body can be anywhere at all as long as living conditions are adequate. “Supramundane” simply describes a mind dwelling above the world. As for the nether worlds such as hell, purgatory, or the places of suffering, torment and bondage, these are out of the question for the Aryians.

The criteria for recognizing these four levels in the supramundane plane are the various mental impurities which are in the course of being eliminated. The Buddha divided the impurities in this group into ten kinds. He called them the Fetters (Samyojana). These ten fetters bind man and all beings to the world, keeping people in the mundane plane. If a person starts to cut through these fetters and break loose, his mind gradually and progressively becomes freed from the worldly condition; and when he manages to cut through them completely, his mind becomes completely free, transcends the world for good and comes to dwell permanently in the supramundane plane.

Of these ten kinds of subtle mental impurities that bind us, the first is the Self belief (Sakkaya-ditthi), the view that the body and mind is “my self.” It is a misunderstanding or misconception based on clinging to the idea “I am.” Because the average person is not aware of the true nature of the body and the mind, he unthinkingly regards these two as his “self.” He assumes that body and mind is his “self,” his “I.” This instinctive idea that there is an “I” and a “mine” is so firmly ingrained that normally nobody ever doubts their existence. True, the self instinct is what makes life possible, being the basis of self preservation, the search for food and propagation of the species, but in this case, what we are calling the self belief is to be taken only in its most basic sense as the root cause of selfishness. This is considered to be the first of the fetters, to be done away with before anything else.

The second fetter is Doubt (Vicikiccha), the cause of wavering and uncertainty. Most importantly it is doubt concerning the practice leading to liberation from suffering-doubt due to inadequate knowledge, doubt as to what this subject is really all about, doubt as to whether this practice for breaking free from suffering is really the right thing for one, whether one is really capable of carrying it through, whether it is really better than other things, whether or not it really does any good, whether the Buddha really did attain enlightenment, whether he really did achieve liberation from suffering, whether the Buddha’s teaching and the practical method based on his teaching really do lead to liberation from suffering, whether it is really possible for a bhikkhu in the Sangha to attain liberation from suffering.

The root cause of hesitancy is ignorance. A fish that has always lived in the water, if told about life on dry land, would be sure to believe none of it, or at most only half of it. We, immersed as we are in sensuality, are as habituated to sensuality as is the fish to water, so that when someone speaks of transcending sensuality, transcending the world, we can’t under stand. And that which we can understand to some extent we are hesitant about. It is natural for us to think on this lower level; to think on the high level produces a new picture. The conflict between the high level thinking and the low level thinking is what constitutes wavering. If mental energy is insufficient, the low level thinking will triumph. Doubt and wavering with regard to goodness is something chronically present in everyone right from birth. In a person who has been brought up wrongly, it may be a very common complaint. We have to introspect and note the bad consequences of this wavering, which is present to such an extent in our work and our everyday living that we become skeptical about goodness, truth and liberation from suffering.

The third fetter is Superstition (Silabbatapraramasa) or attachment to rules and rituals based on a misunderstanding of their real purpose. Essentially it is a misguided attachment to certain things one does. Usually it has to do with doctrines and ceremonies. An example of this is belief in magic and magical practices, which is blatantly just superstition and occurs even among Buddhists. Practice based on the belief that it will produce magical abilities, psychic powers and protective forces is founded on false hopes and is irrational. Another example is the undertaking of moral precepts (Five Precepts, etc.) or virtuous conduct. The real purpose of this is to eliminate mental defilements; but if we believe that it will give rise to miraculous powers which we shall then be able to use to eradicate the defilements, we are in fact grasping and clinging, and so defeating our original purpose. The practice is quite correct in itself, but if we misunderstand it and cling to it irrationally, regarding it as something magical or sacred, then it becomes pure superstition. Even taking upon oneself the moral precepts, if done in the belief that it will lead to rebirth as a celestial being, is without a doubt an example of attachment to rules and rituals and goes contrary to Buddhist aims. Such beliefs contaminate otherwise virtuous conduct. The objective of the Buddhist discipline is the elimination of the cruder defilements of body and speech as a foundation for the progressive development of concentration and insight. The objective is not rebirth in heaven. To have such false motives is to soil and contaminate one’s own morals with grasping and clinging, with false ideas. Charity, or adherence to moral precepts, or meditation practice, if carried out with a mistaken idea of their true objective, inevitably will stray from the Buddhist path.

Do understand that even Buddhist practice associated with misunderstanding because craving has come in and taken over, bringing the expectation of mystical powers, becomes superstition instead. This applies to even the very small and trivial things that most of us like to indulge in, such as ritual chanting, merit making and the like. The ceremony of placing rice and trays of sweets before the Buddha’s image, if performed in the belief that it is an offering to the Buddha’s “spirit” and that he will be able to partake of it, is 100 percent certain to produce effects precisely the opposite of what the devotee is hoping for. Behavior that defeats its own true purpose is generally quite common in Buddhist circles. It is foolish and irrational and results in practices originally worthwhile and attractive becoming contaminated with the stupidity and ignorance of the people performing them. This is what is meant by superstition. As we can see, this defilement has its origins in delusion and misunderstanding. Most of us have our own ingrown beliefs in mystical powers as a result of having been misinformed and led astray by others. We need not go into any more detail here; but though it may be rather disturbing, everyone ought to do some critical self-examination along these lines.

When these first three defilements, namely self belief, doubt and superstition, have been completely given up, one is said to have attained the lowest level in the supramundane plane, that is, to have become a Stream enterer. To give up completely these three defilements is not difficult at all, because they are just primitive qualities possessed by primitive, under-developed people. In anyone who has studied well and made progress, these three elements should not be present; and if they are, then that person’s mind should be considered still primitive. Anyone ought to be able to give up these three defilements and become an Aryian. If he can’t he is still a foolish and deluded person, or, to use the best term, a worldling (Puthujjana), someone with a thick blindfold covering the eye of insight . When any individual has managed to give up these defilements, his mind is freed from bondage to the world. These three are ignorance and delusion obscuring the truth and are fetters binding the mind to the world. Giving them up is like rendering ineffective three kinds of bondage or three blind folds, then slipping free and rising above and beyond the world, into the first supramundane level. This is what it is to become an Aryian of the first degree, to attain the first level in the supramundane plane. Such an individual is called a “Stream - enterer,” one who has attained for the first time the Stream that flows on to Nirvana. In other words an individual at this stage is certain to attain Nirvana at some time in the future. What he has attained is only the Stream of Nirvana, not Nirvana itself. This Stream is a course that flows right on to Nirvana, inclining towards Nirvana just as the water-course of a river slopes down towards the sea. Though it may still take some time, a mind which has once entered the Stream is certain to achieve Nirvana eventually. Attaining the second level in the supramundane plane implies giving up the three fetters just mentioned, and further, being able to attenuate certain types of craving, aversion and delusion to such a degree that the mind becomes elevated and only very feebly attached to sensuality. It is traditionally held that an individual who achieves this level will return to this world at most only once more, hence he is known as a “Once - returner.” A Once returner is closer to Nirvana than a Stream - enterer, there remaining in him no more than a trace of worldliness. Should he return to the sensual human world, he will do so not more than once, because craving, aversion and delusion, though not completely eliminated, have become exceedingly attenuated.

The third stage is that of the Never - returner. This grade of Aryian, besides having succeeded in giving up the defilements to the extent necessary for becoming a Once returner, has also managed to give up the fourth and fifth fetters. The Fourth fetter is sensual desire and the fifth is ill will. Neither the Stream - enterer nor the Once - returner has completely given up sensual desire. In both of them there is still a remnant of satisfaction in alluring and desirable objects. Even though they have managed to give up self belief, doubt and superstition, they are still unable to relinquish completely their attachment to sensuality of which some traces remain. But an Aryian at the third stage, a Never - returner, has succeeded in giving it up completely, so that not a trace remains. The defilement called ill will, which includes all feelings of anger or resentment, has been washed out to a large extent by the Once - returner so that there remains only a trace of ill humor to obstruct his mind; but the Never - returner has got rid of it altogether. Thus the Never - returner has thrown off both sensual desire and ill will.

This sensual desire or attachment to and satisfaction in sensuality was explained adequately in the section on sensual attachment. It is a chronic defilement, firmly fixed in the mind as if it were a very part of it, of the same substance. For the ordinary man, it is hard to understand and hard to eradicate. Anything at all can serve as an object for desire: colors and shapes, sounds, odors, tastes and tactile objects of any sort, kind and description. These are sensual objects (Kama), and the state of mental attachment which takes the form of satisfaction in these desirable objects is sensual desire (Kama - raga).

What we call ill will is the reaction of a mind that feels dissatisfaction. If there is satisfaction, there is sensual desire; if dissatisfaction, ill will. Most people’s minds are subject to these two states. There may arise ill will towards even inanimate objects, and what is more, one can even be dissatisfied with the things one has produced oneself, the things that arise in one’s own mind. Where there is actual hatred and anger towards an object, ill will has become too fierce. An Aryian at a stage below the Non - returnee has given it up to a degree appropriate to his station. The ill will that remains for the third grade of Aryian to relinquish is just a mental reaction so subtle that possibly no outward evidence of it appears. It is an inner perturbation not revealed by any facial expression, yet present inwardly as dissatisfaction, as irritation or annoyance at some person or thing that does not conform to expectation. Imagine a person completely devoid of every form of ill will: consider what a very exceptional individual he would be, and how worthy of respect.

The five defilements we have just been discussing were grouped together by the Buddha as the first to be given up. Self belief, doubt, superstition, sensual desire and ill will have all been given up by an Aryian at the third level. Because there remains no sensual desire, this grade of Aryian never again returns to the sensual state of existence. This is why he gets the name “Never - returner,” one who will never come back. For him there is only movement  forward and upward to Arahantship and Nirvana, in a state having nothing to do with sensuality, a supreme, divine condition. As for the five remaining defilements, these only the Arahant, the fourth grade of Aryian, succeeds in relinquishing completely.

The next defilement, the sixth of the fetters, is desire for the bliss associated with the various stages of concentration on forms (rupa - raga). The first three grades of Aryian are still not capable of giving up attachment to the bliss and tranquillity obtainable by concentrating deeply on forms, but they will succeed in doing so when they move up to the last stage, that of the Arahant. The fully concentrated state has a captivating flavor, which can be described as a foretaste of Nirvana. Though it differs from real Nirvana, it has more or less the same flavor. While one is fully concentrated, the defilements are dormant; but they have not evaporated away entirely, and will reappear as soon as concentration is lost. As long as they are dormant, however, the mind is empty, clear, free, and knows the flavor of real Nirvana. Consequently this state can also become a cause of attachment.

The seventh subtle defilement is desire for the bliss associated with full concentration on objects other than forms (arupa - raga). It resembles the sixth fetter, but is one degree more subtle and attenuated. Concentration on an object such as space or emptiness yields a tranquillity and quiescence more profound than concentration on a form, with the result that one becomes attached to that state. No Arahant could ever become fascinated by any state of pleasant feeling whatsoever, regardless of where it originated, because an Arahant is automatically aware of the impermanence, unsatisfactoriness and nonselfhood of every state of feeling. Other hermits and mystics practicing concentration in the forest do not perceive the hidden danger in these blissful states and so become fascinated by and attached to the flavor of them just as immature people become attached to the flavor of sensual objects. For this reason the Buddha used the same word “desire” for both cases. If you think this subject over and really come to understand it, you will be full of admiration and respect for these individuals called Aryians.

The eighth fetter binding a man to the world is awareness of superiority or inferiority (mana). It is the delusion of having this or that status relative to another. It consists in the thought: “I am not as good as he is. I am just as good as he is. I am better or higher than he is.” Thinking “I am not as good as…,” one feels inferior; thinking “I am better than…,” one feels puffed up; and thinking “I am just as good as…,” one thinks along competitive lines or in terms of getting ahead of the other fellow. It is not pride or conceit. Not to think automatically of oneself as better or worse than the other fellow in this fashion is bound to be very difficult. The placing of this defilement as number eight is probably meant to indicate that it is hard to give up and so belongs near the end of the list. Only the highest grade of Aryian can relinquish it. The likes of us naturally can’t give it up. This idea that one is better than, or on a par with, or not as good as the other fellow, comes from a certain kind of attachment. As long as the mind is still involved in good and bad, the awareness of inferiority, superiority, or equality with respect to others remains to disturb it; but when it has completely transcended good and bad, such ideas cannot exist. As long as such ideas do remain, real bliss and tranquillity are lacking.

The ninth fetter is Agitation (Uddhacca), that is, mental unrest, distraction, lack of peace and quiet. This is the feeling of agitation that arises when something interesting comes by. We all have certain chronic wishes, particularly a desire to get, to be, not to get, or not to be, one thing or another. When something comes by, via the eye, ear, nose, tongue, or body, which fits in with one of our tendencies, there is likely to come about the mental reaction, pro or con, which we call interest. If we see something new and strange, wavering and curiosity are bound to arise, because there are still things that we want and things that we fear and mistrust. So the mind cannot resist, it has to be interested in the various things that come by- at least that is how it is with an ordinary person. If the object in question happens to coincide with a desire of his, he finds it hard to resist. He is likely to become interested to the point of becoming involved, pleased to the point of forgetting himself. If it is an undesirable object, the mind becomes depressed so that his gratification comes to an end. This is the nature of Agitation.

The first three grades of Aryian still have curiosity and inquisitiveness about things, but the Arahant has none at all. His mind has abolished all desire for anything whatsoever: it has abolished fear and hatred, worry and anxiety, mistrust and doubt, and all desire to know about and see things. His mind is free. Nothing can provoke or lure him, and arouse inquisitiveness or curiosity, simply because he has abolished partiality. It should be realized that the existence or arising of agitation in any situation is a consequence of some form of desire, even including the desire for knowledge. When desire has been done away with through realizing the impermanence, worthlessness, and nonselfhood of all things, nothing is any longer seen as worth getting or being, and so there is no curiosity about anything. If a bolt of lightning were to strike right beside an Arahant, he would not be interested, because he has no fear of death, or craving for continued existence, or anything of that sort. Even if something dangerous came along, or if something brand new were discovered in the world, he would know no inquisitiveness or curiosity, because such things have no significance for him. He has no wish to know about anything from the point of view of what it may have to offer him. Because there is nothing that he longs for, he has no curiosity of any kind, and his mind has a purity, a tranquillity such as we ordinary folk have never attained.

The tenth and last defilement is Ignorance. This covers every kind of defilement not yet mentioned. The word “ignorance” refers to a condition of lack of knowledge, and in this case “knowledge” means real knowledge, correct knowledge. Naturally no creature can exist without having some knowledge, but if that knowledge is false, it has the same value as no knowledge. Most people suffer from chronic ignorance or false knowledge; most of us are benighted. The most important questions for human beings are those that ask: “What is suffering, really?,” “What is the real cause of the arising of suffering?,” “What is real freedom from suffering?” and “What is the real way to attain freedom from suffering?” If some individual has real knowledge, if he is free of ignorance, he is reckoned as enlightened. The totality of human knowledge is of untold extent, but the Buddha classed most of it as not essential. The Buddha’s enlightenment encompassed only what need be known. The Buddha knew all that need be known. The word “omniscient” or “all - knowing” means knowing just as much as need be known: it does not include anything non-essential.

Ignorance causes people to misidentify suffering as pleasure, to such an extent that they just swim around in circles in a sea of suffering. It also causes them to misidentify the cause of suffering, so that they go blaming the wrong things, spirits, celestial beings, or anything at all as the cause of their pain and misfortune, instead of rectifying the situation by the right means. The making of vows to these spirits and celestial beings is a manifestation of the lowest level of ignorance regarding the complete elimination of suffering by means of eliminating the craving which is its direct cause. The mistaken assumption that the bliss and tranquillity or unawareness brought about by deep concentration is the complete extinction of suffering was common in the Buddha’s time, and is still promoted in the present day. Certain schools of thought have even come to regard sensuality as an instrument for extinguishing suffering, so that sects with shameful, obscene practices have arisen right in the temples. They firmly believe that sensuality is something quite essential, a kind of vital nourishment. Not content with just the four necessities of life, namely food, clothing, shelter and medicine, they add an extra one, sensuality, making five necessities.

A person ignorant about the Path that leads to the extinction of suffering is liable to act foolishly and be motivated by his own desires, for instance naively relying on physical things, or on spirits and celestial beings, just as if he had no religion at all. Such a person, though he may be a Buddhist by birth, is able to go to such foolish lengths simply because the power of ignorance prevents his being content with extinguishing suffering by way of the Noble Eightfold Path. Instead he goes about extinguishing suffering by lighting incense and candles, and making pledges to supposedly supernatural things.

Every normal person wishes to gain knowledge; but if the “knowledge” he gains is false, then the more he “knows,” the more deluded he becomes. Thus more kinds of knowledge can blind the eyes. We have to be careful with this word “enlightenment.” The “Light” may be the glare of ignorance, which blinds and deludes the eye and gives rise to overconfidence. Blinded by the glare of ignorance, we are unable to think straight and so are in no position to defeat suffering. We waste our time with trivialities, nonessential things unworthy of our respect. We become infatuated with sensuality, taking it to be something excellent and essential for human beings, something which every man ought to get his share of before he dies, and making the excuse that we are doing it for the sake of some quite different ideal. The hope for rebirth in heaven is founded on sensuality. Attachment to anything whatsoever, particularly sensuality comes about because ignorance has enveloped the mind cutting off all means of escape. At several places in the Texts, ignorance is compared to a thick shell covering the whole world and preventing people from seeing the real light.

The Buddha placed ignorance last in the list of the ten fetters. When a person becomes an Arahant, the highest grade of Aryian, he completely eliminates the five remaining fetters or defilements. He eliminates desire for forms, desire for objects other than forms, status consciousness, agitation, and ignorance. The four kinds of Aryian, Stream - enterer, Once - returner, Never - returner and Arahant, dwell in the Supra mundane plane. The Supramundane can be recognized as having nine aspects. The condition of the Stream enterer while he is in the process of cutting out the defilements is called the Path of Stream entry, and that when he has succeeded in cutting them out is called the Fruit of Stream entry. Likewise there are the following pairs: Path and Fruit of Once returning, Path and Fruit of Never returning and Path and Fruit of Arahantship, in all four pairs. These together with Nirvana make up the nine aspects of the Supramundane. For an individual in the supramundane plane, suffering is diminished in accordance with his status until ultimately he is completely free of it. When a person once succeeds in attaining unobscured and perfect insight into the true nature of things so that he is able to stop desiring anything whatsoever, he has attained the supramundane plane, his mind has transcended the worldly condition. And when he has completely and utterly relinquished all the mental defilements, his mind is rendered permanently free of all those worldly things which formerly it liked and disliked.

Nirvana is a condition not in any way comparable to any other. It is unlike any worldly condition. In fact, it is the very negation of the worldly condition. Given all the characteristics of the worldly condition, of phenomenal existence, the result of completely canceling out all those characteristics is Nirvana. That is to say, Nirvana is that which is in every respect precisely the opposite of the worldly condition. Nirvana neither creates nor is created, being the cessation of all creating. Speaking in terms of benefits, Nirvana is complete freedom from hellfire, scourging, torture, bondage, subjection and thralldom, because the attainment of Nirvana presupposes the complete elimination of the defilements, which are the cause of all unsatisfactory mental states. Nirvana lies beyond the limitations of space and time. It is unique, unlike anything in the world. Rather it is the extinction of the worldly condition. Speaking metaphorically, the Buddha called it the realm where all conditional things cease to be (Sankhara- samatho). Hence it is the condition of freedom, of freedom from fetters. It is the end of torment and buffeting, stabbing and chafing, from any source whatsoever. This is the nature of the Supramundane, the ultimate. It is the Buddhist goal and destination. It is the final fruit of Buddhist practice.

In the foregoing pages we have explained systematically the principles of Buddhism. We have presented it as an organized practical system designed to bring knowledge of the true nature of things. In reality things are impermanent, unsatisfactory and not selves; but all creatures are attracted by things and become attached to them simply through misunderstanding. The Buddhist practice, based on Morality (Sila), Concentration (Samadhi), and Insight (Panna), is a tool to be used for completely cutting out grasping and clinging. The objects of our clinging are the five aggregates: body, feeling, perception, active thinking and consciousness. When we have come to know the true nature of the five aggregates, we understand all things so well that desire gives way to disenchantment, and we no longer cling to any of them.

What we have to do is lead the kind of life described as Right Living (Samma Vihareyyum), and be full day and night with the joy that arises out of conduct that is consistently good, beautiful and right. This limits aimless wandering of the thoughts and makes it possible to concentrate and to have clear insight at all times. Then if conditions are right, the result is disenchantment, struggle to break loose, slipping free, or even complete Nirvana. If we wish to hurry and gain quick results, then there is the line of practice called Vipassana, which begins with moral purity and mental purity and carries right through to perfect and unobscured intuitive insight. By this means we can completely cut through the fetters that bind us fast to this world, and attain the final Fruit of the Path.

This is a brief account of the whole of Buddha-Dhamma from beginning to end, including both theoretical and practical principles, and covering the entire subject right from the first steps to the final Fruit. The whole story ends with Nirvana. As the Buddha said: “All Buddhas recognize Nirvana as the highest good.” So it behooves us to practice in order to realize and attain that which should be realized and attained. Doing this, we shall deserve to be called Buddhists; we shall gain insight and penetrate to the real essence of BuddhaDhamma. If we don’t practice Buddha-Dhamma, we shall only know about it and shall lack any true insight. It rests with each of us to practice introspection, observe and understand his own imperfections, and then try to root them out completely. Even if one is only half successful, some clear understanding will result. As the defilements are progressively eliminated, their place is taken by purity, insight and peace.

So I advise and beseech you to approach the subject in this fashion. You may then succeed in penetrating to the real Buddha-Dhamma. Don’t waste the advantages of having been born a human being and having encountered the Buddha’s teaching. Don’t miss this chance to be a perfect human being.

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Non-returner-The Long Discourse about the Ways of Attending to Mindfulness-The Advantages of Developing Attention to Mindfulness
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Non-returner

The Long Discourse about the
Ways of Attending to Mindfulness

The Advantages of Developing Attention to Mindfulness

Whoever, monks, should develop these four ways of attending to mindfulness in this way for seven years for him, out of two results, a particular result is to be expected: final knowledge in this very life; or, there being some attachment remaining, the state of non-returner.

Let alone seven years, monks, whoever should develop these four ways of attending to mindfulness in this way for six years for him, out of two results, a particular result is to be expected final knowledge in this very life; or, there being some attachment remaining, the state of non-returner.

Let alone six years, monks, whoever should develop these four ways of attending to mindfulness in this way for five years for him, out of two results, a particular result is to be expected final knowledge in this very life; or, there being some attachment remaining, the state of non-returner.

Let alone five years, monks, whoever should develop these four ways of attending to mindfulness in this way for four years for him, out of two results, a particular result is to be expected final knowledge in this very life; or, there being some attachment remaining, the state of non-returner.

Let alone four years, monks, whoever should develop these four ways of attending to mindfulness in this way for three years for him, out of two results, a particular result is to be expected final knowledge in this very life; or, there being some attachment remaining, the state of non-returner.

Let alone three years, monks, whoever should develop these four ways of attending to mindfulness in this way for two years for him, out of two results, a particular result is to be expected final knowledge in this very life; or, there being some attachment remaining, the state of non-returner.

Let alone two years, monks, whoever should develop these four ways of attending to mindfulness in this way for one year for him, out of two results, a particular result is to be expected final knowledge in this very life; or, there being some attachment remaining, the state of non-returner.

 

Let alone one year, monks, whoever should develop these four ways of attending to mindfulness in this way for seven months for him, out of two results, a particular result is to be expected final knowledge in this very life; or, there being some attachment remaining, the state of non-returner.

Let alone seven months, monks, whoever should develop these four ways of attending to mindfulness in this way for six months for him, out of two results, a particular result is to be expected final knowledge in this very life; or, there being some attachment remaining, the state of non-returner.

Let alone six months, monks, whoever should develop these four ways of attending to mindfulness in this way for five months or him, out of two results, a particular result is to be expected final knowledge in this very life; or, there being some attachment remaining, the state of non-returner.

Let alone five months, monks, whoever should develop these four ways of attending to mindfulness in this way for four months for him, out of two results, a particular result is to be expected final knowledge in this very life; or, there being some attachment remaining, the state of non-returner.

Let alone four months, monks, whoever should develop these four ways of attending to mindfulness in this way for three months for him, out of two results, a particular result is to be expected final knowledge in this very life; or, there being some attachment remaining, the state of non-returner.

Let alone three months, monks, whoever should develop these four ways of attending to mindfulness in this way for two months for him, out of two results, a particular result is to be expected final knowledge in this very life; or, there being some attachment remaining, the state of non-returner.

Let alone two months, monks, whoever should develop these four ways of attending to mindfulness in this way for one month for him, out of two results, a particular result is to be expected final knowledge in this very life; or, there being some attachment remaining, the state of non-returner.

Let alone a month, monks, whoever should develop these four ways of attending to mindfulness in this way for half a month for him, out of two results, a particular result is to be expected final knowledge in this very life; or, there being some attachment remaining, the state of non-returner.

Let alone half a month, monks, whoever should develop these four ways of attending to mindfulness in this way for seven days for him, out of two results, a particular result is to be expected final knowledge in this very life; or, there being some attachment remaining, the state of non-returner.

This is a one-way path, monks, for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of grief and lamentation, for the extinction of pain and sorrow, for attaining the right way, for the direct realisation of Nibbàna, that is to say, the four ways of attending to mindfulness.

Thus whatever was said, it is for this reason it was said.û

The Gracious One said this,

and those monks were uplifted and greatly rejoiced in what was said by the Gracious One.

The Advantages of Developing Attention to Mindfulness is Finished

The Long Discourse about Attention to Mindfulness is Finished

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BANNER OF THE ARAHANTS-The Buddha: Unsurpassed Perfect Awakenment
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Posted by: @ 9:44 am

 

BANNER OF THE ARAHANTS

Chapter I

The Buddha: Unsurpassed Perfect Awakenment

Siddhattha - Life as a Prince and Renunciation - with meditation teachers - Practice of severe austerities - his meditation before Awakenment - the Three Knowledges - inspired verses after  Awakenment- who to teach? The five ascetics - Añña Kondaññā, the first Arahant.  

Prince Siddhattha, heir to the throne of the Sākiyan kingdom, saw, in spite of his father’s endeavours, old age, disease and death; and also a religious wanderer in yellow robes who was calm and peaceful. When he had seen these things, withheld from him until his early manhood, he was shocked by the sight of the first three realising that he also must suffer them, but he was inspired by the fourth and understood that this was the way to go beyond the troubles, and sufferings of existence. Though his beautiful wife, Yasodharā presented him with a son who was called Rāhula, he was no longer attracted to worldly life. His mind was set upon renunciation of the sense pleasures and uprooting the desires, which underlay them.

So at night he left behind his luxurious life and going off with a single retainer, reached the Sākiyan frontiers. There he dismounted from his horse, took off his princely ornaments and cut off his hair and beard with his sword. Then he changed into yellowish-brown patched robes and so transformed himself into a Bhikkhu or wandering monk. The horse and valuables he told his retainer to take back with the news that he had renounced pleasures and gone forth from home to homelessness.

At first he went to various meditation teachers but he was not satisfied with their teachings when he became aware that they could not show him the way out of all suffering. Their attainments, which he equalled, were like temporary halts on a long journey, they were not its end. They led only to birth in some heaven where life, however long, was nevertheless impermanent. So he decided to find his own way by bodily mortification. This he practised for six years in every conceivable way, going to extremes, which other ascetics would be fearful to try. Finally, on the edge of life and death, he perceived the futility of bodily torment and remembered from boyhood a meditation experience of great peace and joy. Thinking that this was the way, he gave up troubling his body, and took food again to restore his strength. So in his life he had known two extremes, one of luxury and pleasure when a prince, the second of fearful austerity, but both he advised his first Bhikkhu disciples, should be avoided.[1]

Having restored his strength, he sat down to meditate under a great pipal tree, later known as the Bodhi (Enlightenment) Tree. His mind passed quickly into four states of deep meditation called jhāna. In these, the mind is perfectly one-pointed and there is no disturbance or distraction. No words, no thoughts and no pictures, only steady and brilliant mindfulness. Some mental application and inspection is present at first along with physical rapture and mental bliss. But these factors disappear in the process of refinement until in the fourth jhāna only equanimity, mindfulness and great purity are left. On the bases of these profound meditation states certain knowledge arose in his mind.

These knowledge, which when they appear to a meditator are quite different from things which are learnt or thought about, were described by him in various ways. It is as though a person standing at various points on a track, which is roughly circular, should describe different views of the same landscape; in the same way the Buddha described his Bodhi or awakening experience. Some parts of this experience would be of little or no use to others in their training so these facts he did not teach. What he did teach was about dukkha or suffering, how it arises and how to get beyond it. One of the most frequent views into this ‘landscape of Awakenment’ is the Three Knowledges: of past lives, of kamma and its results, and of the destruction of the mental pollution.

The wisdom of knowing his own past lives, hundreds of thousands of them, an infinite number of them, having no beginning - all in detail with his names and occupations, the human, super-human and sub-human ones, showed him the futility of searching for sense-pleasures again and again. He saw as well that the wheel of birth and death kept in motion by desires for pleasure and existence would go on spinning for ever producing more and more of existence bound up with unsatisfactory conditions. Contemplating this stream of lives he passed the first watch of the night under the Bodhi Tree.

The wisdom pertaining to kamma[2] and its results means that he surveyed with the divine interior eye all sorts of beings, human and otherwise and saw how their past kammas gave rise to present results and how their present kammas will fruit in future results. Wholesome kammas, developing one’s mind and leading to the happiness of others, fruit for their doer as happiness of body and mind, while unwholesome kammas which lead to deterioration in one’s own mind and suffering for others, result for the doer of them in mental and physical suffering. The second watch of the night passed contemplating this wisdom.

In the last watch he saw how the pollution, the deepest layer of defilement and distortion, arise and pass away conditionally. With craving and ignorance present, the whole mass of sufferings, gross and subtle, physical and mental - all that is called dukkha, come into existence; but when they are abandoned then this burden of dukkha, which weighs down all beings and causes them to drag through myriad lives, is cut off and can never arise again. This is called the knowledge of the destruction of the pollutions: desires and pleasures, existence and ignorance, so that craving connected with these things is extinct.

When he penetrated to this profound truth, the arising and passing away conditionally of all experience and thus of all dukkha, he was the Buddha, Enlightened, Awakened. Dukkha he had known thoroughly in all its most subtle forms and he discerned the causes for it’s arising - principally - craving. Then he experienced its cessation when its roots of craving had been abandoned, this cessation of dukkha also called Nibbāna, the Bliss Supreme. And he investigated and developed the Way leading to the cessation of dukkha, which is called the Noble Eightfold Path. This Path is divided into three parts: of wisdom - Right View and Right Thought; of moral conduct - Right Speech, Right Action and Right Livelihood; of mind development - Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Collectedness. It has been described many times in detail.[3]

We are told that to the Buddha experiencing the bliss supreme of Enlightenment the following two verses occurred:

 

            „Through many births in the wandering-on
            I ran seeking but finding not
            the maker of this house -
            dukkha is birth again, again.
 
            O house maker, you are seen!
            You shall not make a house again;
            all your beams are broken up,
            rafters of the ridge destroyed:
            the mind gone to the Unconditioned,
            to craving’s destruction it has come“.
                                    (Dhammapada, verses 153-154)

 

Now that he had come to the end of craving and desire, a thing, so difficult to do, and after reviewing his freedom from the round of birth and death, he concluded that no one in the world would understand this teaching. Men are blinded by their desires, he thought and his mind inclined towards not teaching the Dhamma. Then with the divine eye he saw that there were a few beings „with little dust in their eyes“ and who would understand. First he thought of the two teachers he had gone to and then left dissatisfied but both had died and been reborn in the planes of the formless deities having immense life spans. They would not be able to understand about ‘arising and passing away’. Then he considered the whereabouts of the five ascetics who had served him while he practised severe bodily austerities. The knowledge came to him that they were near Benares, in the Deer-sanctuary at Isipatana; so he walked there by slow stages. So he began the life of a travelling Bhikkhu, the hard life that he was to lead out of compassion for suffering beings for the next forty-five years.

 

When the Buddha taught these five ascetics he addressed them as ‘Bhikkhus’. This is the word now used only for Buddhist monks but at that time applied to other religious wanderers. Literally, it means ‘one who begs’ (though Bhikkhus are not allowed to beg from people, they accept silently whatever is given. See Chapter VI). At the end of the Buddha’s first discourse[4], Kondaññā[5] the leader of those Bhikkhus, penetrated to the truth of the Dhamma. Knowing that he had experienced a moment of Enlightenment - Stream-winning as it is called, the Buddha was inspired to say, „Kondaññā truly knows indeed Kondaññā truly knows!“ Thus he came to be known as Añña-Kondaññā - Kondaññā who knows as it really is.

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Question and Answers-MAHA BODHI SOCIETY-Questionnaire No 8 and Answers of First Year Diploma Course conducted by Mahabodhi Academy for Pali and Buddhist Studies
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Question and Answers

MAHA BODHI SOCIETY-Questionnaire No 8 and Answers of First Year Diploma Course conducted by Mahabodhi Academy for Pali and Buddhist Studies

1.                  Write an essay on the dream of the Bodhisatta on the night prior to Awakenment.

The serene figure of Buddha in meditation-a still surface conceals the inner turmoil raging below. This is the point just prior to enlightenment, a moment of supreme tension when Shakyamuni, about to become a Buddha, must gather all his strength and knowledge to defeat Mara and the powerful forces of illusion. The knowledge and discoveries resulting from this great effort literally changed the world.

2.                  Write an essay on Sujaataa’s offering of payaasa to the Bodhisatta. Describe fully the procedure.

sujataalms.jpg
Sujata offers the Milk Rice to Siddhatta before his Enlightenment

sujata3.jpg
Lady Sujata Offers Milk Rice to Siddhatta Bodhisatta

Lady SUJATA

Offers

The First Milk Rice Porridge to Siddhatta before his Enlightenment

Introduction: After a long six years of austerities practices, Buddha ended his extreme austerities practices. Buddha started on his middle path. Then after a lapse of 49 days between meals, he sat under a banyan tree. Jutaja was the first lady who offered him food just before he attain the enlightenment. It was the tradition in Theravada Pali that said, each and every Buddha in the past had accepted rice milk porridge from a designated lady and the designated lady was – Sujata.

Sujata offered the first choicest food for his nourishment and thereafter Buddha attained the awakenment.

Sujata, offered the Milk Rice Portridge to Buddha

Pali tradition believes that every Buddha was offered milk-rice from a maiden just before his Awakenment:

Early on the full moon day of Kason (April) in the year 103 of the Great Era, i.e. 2551 years ago, counting back from the year 1324 of the Burmese Era, the now emaciated prince sat down under the Bo Tree (Bodhi Tree) near the big village of Senanigãma awaiting the hour of going for alms food. At that time, Sujãtã, the daughter of a rich man from the village, was making preparations to give an offering to the tree-spirit of the Bo tree. She sent her maid ahead to tidy up the area under the spread of the holy tree. At the sight of the starving man seated under the tree, the maid thought the deity had made himself visible to receive their offering in person. She ran back in great excitement to inform her mistress.

Sujãtã put the milk rice which she had cooked early in the morning in a golden bowl worth a hundred thousand pieces of money. She covered the same with another golden bowl. She then proceeded with the bowls to the foot of the banyan tree where the prince remained seated and put the bowls in the hand of the soon to be Great Bodhisattva, saying, “May your wishes prosper like mine have.” So saying, she departed.

Sujãtã, on becoming a maiden, had made a prayer at the banyan tree: “If I get a husband of equal rank and same caste with myself and my first born is a son, I will make an offering.” Her prayer had been fulfilled and her offering of milk rice that day was intended for the tree deity in fulfillment of her pledge. However, later when she learned that the Bodhisattva had overcome the powers of Mara and gained Awakenment after taking the milk rice offered by her, she was overjoyed with the thought that she had made a noble deed to the greatest merit.

Before the day she was to cook the rice, Sujata had some of her servants lead the herd of 1,000 cows to a forest of licorice grass so that the cows could eat their fill. Then she divided them into two herds of 500 head each, and milked the 500 cows of one herd and fed that milk to the 500 cows of the other herd. She then continued to divide that herd and feed half on the milk of the other half until there were only eight cows left. She then took the milk from those eight cows to make her milk rice.

When the rice was cooked, Sujata sent a servant girl to clean up the area around the banyan tree. The servant girl came back to Sujata with a report that the deity [deva] who was to receive the offerings had materialized, and was already sitting at the foot of the banyan tree. Excited, Sujata lifted the tray of milk rice to her head and carried it to the banyan tree, together with her servant girl. Seeing that it was as her servant had told her, she came forward and proffered the tray of milk rice. The Great Being received it and looked at Sujata. She understood from his look that he had no bowl or any other dish with which to eat the food, and so she made an offering of both the rice and the dish.

Having offered the rice, she walked back to her house, full of happiness, believing that she had made offerings to a deva.

3.                  What is the significance underlying the fourfold resolution he made before engaging in the battle with Maara.

4.                  Who is Maara?

5.                  What was Maara’s demand and why did Siddhattha refuse to yield to Maara’s demand?


MARA


 


Shakyamuni being tested by the Daughters and Children
of Mara under the Bodhi tree.


 


PRESENTED BY:
the Wanderling


 



Centuries ago the coming Buddha sat under the Bodhi-tree and vowed not to move until he learned to eradicate suffering, unfolding

Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi, the Consumation of Incomparable Awakenment. But Mara, the personification of evil, tried to usurp his plans by sending his three daughters Tanha (desire), Raga (lust), and Arati (aversion), to seduce him and break his concentration. However, the coming Buddha was too strong for Mara. (source)



In Buddhism Mara is the lord of misfortune, sin, destruction and Death. Mara is the ruler of desire and death, the two evils that chain man to the wheel of ceaseless rebirth. Mara reviles man, blinds him, guides him toward sensuous desires; once man is in his bondage, Mara is free to destroy him.

Buddhist tradition holds that Buddha encountered Mara on several occasions. When he abandoned the traditional ascetic practices of Hinduism, Mara reproached him for straying from the path of purity. Mara later reappeared as a Brahmin, criticising him for neglecting the techniques of the yogins. At another time, Mara persuades householders in a village to refuse to give alms to the Buddha. Mara also accuses Buddha of sleeping too much, and not keeping busy like the villagers.

In a famous incident similar to the temptation of Jesus in the Christian religion, Mara urges Buddha to become a universal king and establish a great empire in which men can live in peace. He reminds Buddha that he can turn the Himalayas into gold if he but wishes so that all men will become rich. Buddha replies that a single man’s wants are so insatiable that even two such golden mountains would fail to satisfy him.”

While Mara is unable to subjugate Buddha, he is more successful with Buddha’s followers, even approaching the Buddha’s own brother, Ananda. As the source of evil, he causes misunderstanding between teachers and pupils, casts doubt on the value of Buddha’s sayings by calling them nothing but poetry, or encourages monks to waste their time on abstruse speculations. Worse, he appears in the guise of a monk, nun, relative or prominent Brahmin, bringing false news that a disciple is destined to be a new Buddha. If the disciple succumbs to the temptation, he will be filled with sinful pride. Mara could even appear in the form of Gautama Buddha in order to confuse Buddhists or lead them astray.

Mara is lord of all men who are bound by sense desires. His origin, according to Theravada commentators, was as a rebellious prince who seized control of our world from the supreme god of the highest heaven. As prince of this world, Mara can boast of possessing great majesty and influence. Though he has only a spirit body, he is endowed with the five modes of sensual pleasure, has plenty to eat and drink, and lives to amuse himself.

Many Buddhist scholars imply that Buddha’s references to Mara are mere figures of of speech (1); but the Buddhist texts do not necessarily imply anything of the sort. In Theravada countries, veneration of good spirits, the placation of evil spirits, and Consulting Mediums are characteristic Buddhist practices. For example, the Burmese hang a coconut tied with a bit of red cloth near their home altars as an offering to the spirits. Special dances are also performed during the winter harvest season, during which a participant becomes “possessed” by spirits in order to bless the crops, while some participate in diviniation by Casting Bones Even so, the following should be remembered:


The Buddha said that neither the repetition of scriptures, nor self-torture, nor sleeping on the ground, nor the repetition of prayers, penances, hymns, charms, mantras, incantations and invocations can bring the real happiness of Nirvana. Instead the Buddha emphasized the importance of making individual effort in order to achieve spiritual goals.(source)


Buddhist texts, through inference, may suggest the possibility of a specific, living prince of evil; but Budhist writers take pains to point out it has no Adam and Eve story and no doctrine of original sin. Yet for Buddhists, the present state of human existence is “fallen” in that men are caught in a web of illusion, and long for liberation. Even though, according to Buddhist theory, men have not inherited the guilt flowing from an original sin, they are still trapped in a present state of suffering as result of evil committed in numerous past lives. Buddhism and Christianity agree that man is far from what he should be and his world is subject to the control of a malicious spirit, a powerful king of desire.

In India, prior to the advent of Buddhism, Mara was a God of Love in Vedic mythology. His name is in the language of Sanskrit and literally means death. He is a God of both Sex and Death. It is the act of love that brings a person into the world and death terminates a person. Thus, this god of death and love could be interpreted as a symbol for samsara, the cycle of birth, death and rebirth. By conquering Mara the Buddha is in effect conquering samsara. Occasionally, he is refered to as the Prince of Darkness in Buddhism. See also Kali Ma as well as the Shaman spiritual entity and sometime foe similar to Mara to the Buddha called the Ally.


One could interpret Mara as representing an ‘Anti-Buddha’ — as the opposite of everything the Buddha represents, “the enemy of the Good Law.” Buddhism advocates the Middle Path in between indulgence and asceticism, while Mara is a representative of the carnal pleasures. The Buddha stands for the end of death while Mara is death. Mara is violent. Sakyamuni Buddha is peaceful.

Early on the full moon day of Kason (April) in the year 103 of the Great Era, that is, some 2551 plus years ago, the now emaciated prince sat beneath the Bodhi Tree near the big village of Senanigãma. Around the same time, Sujãtã, the daughter of a rich man from the village, was making preparations to give an offering to the tree-spirit of the Bo tree. She had sent her maid ahead to tidy up the area around the spread of the holy tree, but at the sight of the starving man seated beneath the tree the maid thought the deity had made himself visible to receive their offering in person. She ran back in great excitement to inform her mistress. Sujãtã went to the tree and gave the prince nourishment in the form of a rice-milk gruel (Madhupayasa), inturn from which, the future Buddha regained his strength and health.

Prince Siddhartha began to eat the food beneath the shadow of the tree, sitting in a meditative mood underneath the tree from early morning to sunset, with a fiery determination and an iron resolve: “Let me die. Let my body perish. Let my flesh dry up. I will not get up from this seat till I get full illumination”. He plunged himself into deep meditation. At night he entered into Deep Samadhi.

The to-be Buddha’s encounter with Mara begins with that meditation. The possibility of Siddhartha becoming a Buddha and being liberated from the Earthly realm was not something that Mara desired. Mara decided to lure Shakyamuni away from his quest for Awakenment. He beseeched the Prince to follow his duties of father, ruler and husband and to abandon the quest for liberation from the material world. It is not proper for a king to renounce the world that he rules. The best life, Mara claimed, is to “subdue the world both with arrows and with sacrifices, and from the world obtain the world of Vsava.” Mara threatened the Prince with his bow and arrow stating that he spares those who indulge in carnal pleasures. Even when the arrow was shot, Sakyamuni stirred not. After failing to lead Gautama to the path of sensual gratification Mara utilized fear in his attempt to make Sakyamuni run away from the search for liberation. Mara gathered his fiendish minions from the deepest pits to wage war with Prince Siddhartha. The ten chief Sins, the Daughters of Mara first, then the remaining children of Mara, were sent into the fray:

  • Sakkaya-ditthi is translated as “personality belief”. Conceit, arrogance, pride.
  • Vicikiccha means “skeptical doubt’ about the Buddha, the Dhamma, the Sangha.
  • Silabbataparamasa means “adherence to wrongful rites, rituals and ceremonies.” The Dark Sorceress.
  • Kama-raga means temptation, “sensual desire,” Tanha, one of the three daughters of Mara. One of The Three Poisons.
  • Patigha: ill will, including feelings of hatred, anger, resentment, revulsion, dissatisfaction, aversion, annoyance, disappointment. Arati, one of the three daughters of Mara. As hatred, another of The Three Poisons.
  • Rupa-raga is “attachment to the form realms,” binding ourselves to Samsara; Raga, lust, one of the three daughters of Mara.
  • Arupa-raga is “attachment to the formless realms.”
  • Mana “conceit, arrogance, self-assertion or pride, feeling oneself to be superior to others.
  • Uddhacca, self-righteousness, “restlessness,” agitation of the heart, turmoil of mind.
  • Avijja is translated as ignorance and delusion, especially of the Four Noble Truths. As ignorance, the last of The Three Poisons.


After each Sin failed in subverting Shakyamuni, Mara sent forth the Lords of Hell from a thousand Limbos. The weather was turbulent, the power of Chaos, Hun-tun, mirroring the anarchic behaviour of the demons and the turmoil of the conflict. See also The Ten Fetters of Buddhism.

 

Mara (demon)Mara's assault on the Buddha (aniconic representation: the Buddha is only symbolized by his throne), 2nd century CE, Amaravati (India).

For other uses see Mara.

In Buddhism, Mara is the demon who tempted Gautama Buddha by trying to seduce him with the vision of beautiful women who, in various legends, are often said to be his daughters. In Buddhist cosmology, Mara personifies unskillfulness, the “death” of the spiritual life. He is a tempter, distracting humans from practicing the spiritual life by making the mundane alluring or the negative seem positive.

The early Buddhists, however, rather than seeing Mara as a demonic, virtually all-powerful Lord of Evil, regarded him as more of a nuisance. Many episodes concerning his interactions with the Buddha have a decidedly humorous air to them.

In traditional Buddhism four senses of the word “mara” are given.

  • Klesa-mara, or Mara as the embodiment of all unskilful emotions.
  • Mrtyu-mara, or Mara as death, in the sense of the ceaseless round of birth and death.
  • Skandha-mara, or Mara as metaphor for the entirety of conditioned existence.
  • Devaputra-mara, or Mara the son of a deva (god), that is, Mara as an objectively existent being rather than as a metaphor.

Early Buddhism acknowledged both a literal and “psychological” interpretation of Mara. Mara is described both as an entity having a literal existence, just as the various deities of the Vedic pantheon are shown existing around the Buddha, and also is described as a primarily psychological force - a metaphor for various processes of doubt and temptation that obstruct religious practice.

“Buddha defying Mara” is a common pose of Buddha sculptures. The Buddha is shown with his left hand in his lap, palm facing upwards and his right hand on his right knee. The fingers of his right hand touch the earth, to call the earth as his witness for defying Mara and achieving enlightenment. This posture is also referred to as the ‘earth-touching’ mudra.

6.                  Describe the battle with all the weapons Maara used.

The Bodhisatta takes his seat upon the “bodhi seat” of grass; at night Mara brings his army to drive him from his quest

The event depicted in this picture is called “Mara’s challenge.” It occurred on the day of the full moon of the sixth lunar month, not many hours before the Buddha’s enlightenment. The sun was just setting behind the trees. The four-legged creature making as if to gore the Great Being is known as Naragirimekhala, the elephant of King Vassadi Mara, the commander of the army. The woman who is squeezing her hair is “Mother Earth,” Sundharivanida.

Mara had already confronted the Great Being once before, when he was just leaving the city gates on his great going forth, but this time the confrontation was the greatest of all Mara’s attempts to overthrow the Buddha. The army assembled by Mara on this occasion was of such size that the entire earth and sky were darkened by it. It came in from the sky, from across the earth and from beneath the earth, and was so fearsome that the devas that were guarding the Great Being all fled in terror to their palaces.

The Pathamasambodhi described the scene of Mara’s army thus: “… some of the beings had red faces and green bodies, some had green faces and red bodies; some of them manifested as white bodies with yellow faces … some of them had striped bodies and black faces … some of them had serpent lower bodies and human upper bodies …”

As for Mara, he appeared with a thousand arms on each side, each arm brandishing a different weapon-swords, spears, bows and arrows, javelins, wheel blades, hooks, maces, rocks, spikes, hatchets, axes, tridents, and more.

The reason that Mara confronted the Great Being on many occasions was that he hated to see anyone excelling him. Thus, since the Great Being was making efforts to be the “best” person in the world, he opposed him. But he always lost. On this occasion, he was defeated in the first round, so he tried some trickery, accusing the Great Being of usurping his seat, the “bodhi” seat, which he claimed to be his. Mara named as witnesses members of his own entourage. On his part, the Great Being could find no witnesses to support him, the devas having all fled, so he stretched out his right hand from under his robe and pointed his finger to the earth, upon which Mother Earth rose up to be his witness.

All of the above is an allegorical account. Its meaning will be given in the next chapter.

7.                  What is the spiritual significance of this battle?

Mother Earth squeezes her hair, making a great ocean which sweeps away Mara’s armies

The place at which the Great Being sat in order to carry out his training of the mind and seek enlightenment, the foot of the bodhi tree, is called the “Throne of Awakenment.” Mara tried to claim that it was his own, but the Great Being countered that it had arisen as a result of the accumulated perfections of his previous lives, for which he called Mother Earth to witness.

The Pathamasambodhi states: “The great earth was incapable of remaining inactive … It sprang up from the earth in the form of a young maiden…” and served as witness for the Bodhisatta. Thereupon, [the maiden] squeezed water from her hair. That water is referred to as daksinodaka, which is all the water that the Great Being had used to consecrate the vows made in his previous lives, which Mother Earth had kept in her hair. When she squeezed her hair, all that water flowed out.

The Pathamasambodhi states: “It was a great flow that flooded all the land, like a great ocean…. The armies of Mara were powerless to stop it and were swept away and entirely carried off by the current. As for Girimekhala, Vassavadi Mara’s elephant, it was swept off its feet and, unable to maintain its balance, was carried off to the ocean. …Thus Mara was eventually defeated.”

Now I will explain the meaning of this allegory. Mara is the defilements within people; they are what opposes the mindfulness and understanding that lead to knowledge of good, evil, benefit and harm. Defilements take delight in misdeeds, so that when a person is going to do something good the defilements try to interfere. Before the Great Being was enlightened as the Buddha, he still had defilements, but they were in the process of falling from his mind. His defilements were the fondness and attachment for his royal treasures and the country he had left behind, but he was able to defeat them due to the great perfections [paramita] he had accumulated.

A perfection is goodness. The Great Being reflected that the lives, hearts and eyes he had sacrificed to others as wholesome deeds of charity, if gathered together, would be greater than the fruits in the forest and greater than the number of stars in the sky.

Good deeds do not disappear: even if no one sees them, the sky and the earth, Mother Earth, see them

8.                  What weapon did the Bodhisatta use with devastating effect against the infinitely superior forces of Maara?

9.                  Describe the scene of victory of the Bodhisatta, with the gods assembling from around and proclaiming his victory and defeat of Maara.

Devas from all the celestial realms convene to invite the Bodhisatta to take rebirth in order to become awakened as the Buddha B_hist1_.JPG (27580 bytes)

When the Bodhisatta Vessantara passed away he was reborn, just a little before the birth of the Buddha, in the Dusita deva realm. Devas of the many different realms convened to discuss who would become the awakened Buddha. They all agreed that the Bodhisatta residing in the Dusita heaven would be so awakened, and accordingly invited him to leave (cuti) the deva world and take birth [in the human realm] in keeping with his vow, in accordance with which all the perfections he had developed throughout countless lifetimes were for no other purpose than the attainment of Buddhahood.

The Buddha is awakened at dawn; the devas dance in his honor

By the time the Bodhisatta had conquered Mara, the sun was setting and night was falling. The Great Being sat motionless on his bodhi seat underneath the bodhi tree. He began to make his mind concentrated through the method known as jhana, absorption concentration, and attained nana.

Jhana is a method of concentrating the mind, making it one-pointed, not thinking restlessly of this and that as people ordinarily do. Nana is gnosis, clear realization. It may be simply illustrated thus: the still light of a candle in a windless room is like jhana, while the illumination from the candle is gnosis (nana).

The Great Being attained the first realization (nana) in the first watch of the night (about nine PM). The first nana is called “pubbenivasanusatinana,” meaning clear realization of the past lives of both oneself and others. During the middle watch of the night (about midnight) he attained the second nana, known as cutupapatanana, meaning, clear realization of the passing away and arising of beings in the world, and their differences due to kamma. In the last watch of the night (after midnight), he attained the third nana, known as asavakkhayanana, meaning clear realization of the extinction of defilements and the Four Noble Truths: suffering, the cause of suffering, the cessation of suffering and the way leading to the cessation of suffering.

The Great Being’s attainment of these three nana is known as his enlightenment as the Buddha, which occurred on the full moon night of the sixth lunar month. From this point on, the names “Siddhattha” and “Bodhisatta,” and the term “Great Being” newly coined before his enlightenment, all become things of the past, because from this point on he is known as arahantasammasambuddha, one who has on his own become enlightened and transcended all defilements.

This event is thus a great miracle. The poet has allegorized the episode in the Buddha’s honor by stating that at that time all animals, people, and devas throughout ten thousand world systems were relieved of their suffering, sorrow, despair and danger, and all beings were imbued with goodwill to each other, free of enmity and hatred.

All the devas played music, danced and sang the Buddha’s praises as an act of reverence and honor to the Buddha’s virtues.

Mara in the Buddhist tradition can be best understood as Satan, who always tried to dissuade the Buddha or any one from the righteous path. He is also called ‘Namuchi’ as none can escape him (Namuci iti Maro); and ‘Vasavatti’ as he rules all (Maro nama Vassavati sabbesam upari vasam vattati).< ?XML:NAMESPACE PREFIX = O />

When Gotama renounced the world and passed through the city gates on his horse Kanthaka,  Mara appeared before him and tempted him by the offer to make him a universal monarch in seven days, if he was to change his mind. Siddhattha, however, did not pay any attention to him.

Mara and his army attacking the Buddha  

Mara riding on his elephant Girimekhala to attack the Buddha with his army

The origin of the legend of Mara is first noticeable in the Padhana Sutta (See Samyutta Nikaya vs.425-49). His ten-fold army is Lust; Aversion; Hunger; Thirst; Craving; Stoth and Torpor; Cowardice; Doubt; Hypocrisy and Stupidity; False Glory; and Conceit. He has three daughters, Tanha, Arati and Raga representing the three out of the ten forces of Mara’s army. These daughters were employed to tempt the Buddha after his Enlightenment; and they could assume numerous forms of varying age and charm.

The Buddhavamsa Commentary and Nidanakatha of the Jataka commentary, particularly in the Singhalese versions, unfold a very lively and detailed account of the Mara’s visit to the Buddha just before his Enlghtenment, when he was sitting under the Bodhi tree. Seeing Gotama seated with a firm resolve to become a Buddha, he summoned all his forces to attack Sakyamuni. The forces extended twelve leagues in front and back; and nine leagues on right and left. Mara himself with thousand arms riding on his elephant Girimekhala, attacked Gotama. His followers armed with deadly weapons and assuming various frightening forms joined him in his attack. The Devas, Nagas, and others who had gathered round Gotama to pay him homage and sing his praises then fled at the sight of the frightening army of Mara. The Bodhisatta then called the ten paramis, which he had perfected in various births, for his defense. Each of the ten divisions of Mara’s army was then defeated and routed by one parami. Eventually, Mara’s army had to flee. Vanquished Mara then hurled his last weapon – the chakkavudha (disc), which stood over the Bodhisatta’s head like a canopy of flowers. Still Mara tried to dissuade Gotama from the path of the Buddhahood by falsely claiming the Gotama’s seat as his own; and by asking him to prove his right to the seat on which he was sitting. All the Mara’s followers then testified Mara’s claim by shouting that the seat actually belonged to Mara. As the Bodhisatta had no other witness to bear testimony on his behalf he asked the Earth to speak for him by touching the ground with his middle finger. The Earth then roared in response and bore the testimony for the Bodhisatta by thundering, “I stand his witness”. Thus, the Mara’s defeat was final; and he and his followers had to flee. The Devas and other celestial beings then besieged him and celebrated his victory.

The Buddha and the Mara’s army and his three daughters

The Buddha touches the ground with his fingers (bhumi-sparshan mudra) to ask the earth to bear 

testimony for him to refute the Mara’s claim

10.              Describe all the historic events, one after another, following the defeat of Maara, between a) the first watch between 6pm to 10pm? B)the middle watch between 10pm to 2am? Give details of these attainments.

Siddhattha - Life as a Prince and Renunciation - with meditation teachers - Practice of severe austerities - his meditation before Awakenment - the Three Knowledges - inspired verses after  Awakenment- who to teach? The five ascetics - Añña Kondaññā, the first Arahant.

Prince Siddhattha, heir to the throne of the Sākiyan kingdom, saw, in spite of his father’s endeavours, old age, disease and death; and also a religious wanderer in yellow robes who was calm and peaceful. When he had seen these things, withheld from him until his early manhood, he was shocked by the sight of the first three realising that he also must suffer them, but he was inspired by the fourth and understood that this was the way to go beyond the troubles, and sufferings of existence. Though his beautiful wife, Yasodharā presented him with a son who was called Rāhula, he was no longer attracted to worldly life. His mind was set upon renunciation of the sense pleasures and uprooting the desires, which underlay them.

So at night he left behind his luxurious life and going off with a single retainer, reached the Sākiyan frontiers. There he dismounted from his horse, took off his princely ornaments and cut off his hair and beard with his sword. Then he changed into yellowish-brown patched robes and so transformed himself into a Bhikkhu or wandering monk. The horse and valuables he told his retainer to take back with the news that he had renounced pleasures and gone forth from home to homelessness.

At first he went to various meditation teachers but he was not satisfied with their teachings when he became aware that they could not show him the way out of all suffering. Their attainments, which he equalled, were like temporary halts on a long journey, they were not its end. They led only to birth in some heaven where life, however long, was nevertheless impermanent. So he decided to find his own way by bodily mortification. This he practised for six years in every conceivable way, going to extremes, which other ascetics would be fearful to try. Finally, on the edge of life and death, he perceived the futility of bodily torment and remembered from boyhood a meditation experience of great peace and joy. Thinking that this was the way, he gave up troubling his body, and took food again to restore his strength. So in his life he had known two extremes, one of luxury and pleasure when a prince, the second of fearful austerity, but both he advised his first Bhikkhu disciples, should be avoided.[1]

Having restored his strength, he sat down to meditate under a great pipal tree, later known as the Bodhi (Enlightenment) Tree. His mind passed quickly into four states of deep meditation called jhāna. In these, the mind is perfectly one-pointed and there is no disturbance or distraction. No words, no thoughts and no pictures, only steady and brilliant mindfulness. Some mental application and inspection is present at first along with physical rapture and mental bliss. But these factors disappear in the process of refinement until in the fourth jhāna only equanimity, mindfulness and great purity are left. On the bases of these profound meditation states certain knowledge arose in his mind.  

These knowledge, which when they appear to a meditator are quite different from things which are learnt or thought about, were described by him in various ways. It is as though a person standing at various points on a track, which is roughly circular, should describe different views of the same landscape; in the same way the Buddha described his Bodhi or awakening experience. Some parts of this experience would be of little or no use to others in their training so these facts he did not teach. What he did teach was about dukkha or suffering, how it arises and how to get beyond it. One of the most frequent views into this ‘landscape of Awakenment’ is the Three Knowledges: of past lives, of kamma and its results, and of the destruction of the mental pollution.

The wisdom of knowing his own past lives, hundreds of thousands of them, an infinite number of them, having no beginning - all in detail with his names and occupations, the human, super-human and sub-human ones, showed him the futility of searching for sense-pleasures again and again. He saw as well that the wheel of birth and death kept in motion by desires for pleasure and existence would go on spinning for ever producing more and more of existence bound up with unsatisfactory conditions. Contemplating this stream of lives he passed the first watch of the night under the Bodhi Tree.

The wisdom pertaining to kamma[2] and its results means that he surveyed with the divine interior eye all sorts of beings, human and otherwise and saw how their past kammas gave rise to present results and how their present kammas will fruit in future results. Wholesome kammas, developing one’s mind and leading to the happiness of others, fruit for their doer as happiness of body and mind, while unwholesome kammas which lead to deterioration in one’s own mind and suffering for others, result for the doer of them in mental and physical suffering. The second watch of the night passed contemplating this wisdom.

In the last watch he saw how the pollution, the deepest layer of defilement and distortion, arise and pass away conditionally. With craving and ignorance present, the whole mass of sufferings, gross and subtle, physical and mental - all that is called dukkha, come into existence; but when they are abandoned then this burden of dukkha, which weighs down all beings and causes them to drag through myriad lives, is cut off and can never arise again. This is called the knowledge of the destruction of the pollutions: desires and pleasures, existence and ignorance, so that craving connected with these things is extinct.

When he penetrated to this profound truth, the arising and passing away conditionally of all experience and thus of all dukkha, he was the Buddha, Enlightened, Awakened. Dukkha he had known thoroughly in all its most subtle forms and he discerned the causes for it’s arising - principally - craving. Then he experienced its cessation when its roots of craving had been abandoned, this cessation of dukkha also called Nibbāna, the Bliss Supreme. And he investigated and developed the Way leading to the cessation of dukkha, which is called the Noble Eightfold Path. This Path is divided into three parts: of wisdom - Right View and Right Thought; of moral conduct - Right Speech, Right Action and Right Livelihood; of mind development - Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Collectedness. It has been described many times in detail.[3]

We are told that to the Buddha experiencing the bliss supreme of Enlightenment the following two verses occurred:

            „Through many births in the wandering-on
            I ran seeking but finding not
            the maker of this house -
            dukkha is birth again, again.
 
            O house maker, you are seen!
            You shall not make a house again;
            all your beams are broken up,
            rafters of the ridge destroyed:
            the mind gone to the Unconditioned,
            to craving’s destruction it has come“.
                                    (Dhammapada, verses 153-154)  

Now that he had come to the end of craving and desire, a thing, so difficult to do, and after reviewing his freedom from the round of birth and death, he concluded that no one in the world would understand this teaching. Men are blinded by their desires, he thought and his mind inclined towards not teaching the Dhamma. Then with the divine eye he saw that there were a few beings „with little dust in their eyes“ and who would understand. First he thought of the two teachers he had gone to and then left dissatisfied but both had died and been reborn in the planes of the formless deities having immense life spans. They would not be able to understand about ‘arising and passing away’. Then he considered the whereabouts of the five ascetics who had served him while he practised severe bodily austerities. The knowledge came to him that they were near Benares, in the Deer-sanctuary at Isipatana; so he walked there by slow stages. So he began the life of a travelling Bhikkhu, the hard life that he was to lead out of compassion for suffering beings for the next forty-five years.

When the Buddha taught these five ascetics he addressed them as ‘Bhikkhus’. This is the word now used only for Buddhist monks but at that time applied to other religious wanderers. Literally, it means ‘one who begs’ (though Bhikkhus are not allowed to beg from people, they accept silently whatever is given. See Chapter VI). At the end of the Buddha’s first discourse[4], Kondaññā[5] the leader of those Bhikkhus, penetrated to the truth of the Dhamma. Knowing that he had experienced a moment of Enlightenment - Stream-winning as it is called, the Buddha was inspired to say, „Kondaññā truly knows indeed Kondaññā truly knows!“ Thus he came to be known as Añña-Kondaññā - Kondaññā who knows as it really is.

 

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