Meditation must not be a deception

The world is full of suffering. Although we face pain and suffering we should try to gather something to take away with us.  Meditation is the only way of developing one’s mind. Though you engage in meritorious activities like giving (dana), seela (cultivate morals) that is insufficient without meditation. Once you listen to the dhamma you can not probably understand the Ti lakkhana or meaning of Anicca (impermanence)  dhukka (suffering), anatta (eagolessness). No matter how many times you listen to the dhamma to understand you have to develop your mind and meditate through the samsara. To understand and realize the Ti lakkhana (anicca,dhukka, anatta) meditation is a must. Ti lakkhana must be realized through the meditation intuitively.  Anicca is changing of things. Dhukka is suffering due to that changing process. Anatta is nonself, egolesness. To understand this one has to develop meditation.

Initially  one  can  make a habit of listening to dhamma sermons. Read dhamma books regularly. Make friends with noble people who have eradicated or uprooted all evil wicked thoughts. When you have noble sincere friends you will be a person who does meritorial deeds and cultivate good qualities and virtues. Being a virtuous person and indulge meditation will lead to gain concentration.   Once the individual keep virtues and moral qualities and indulge meditation one will achieve wisdom intuitively.

Therefore we will try to gain wisdom and the  step of being wiser is to be a moral person. Person has to concentrate and all the good thoughts and purposes should contemplate as anicca, dhukka, anatta and this will finally lead to sotapanna (‘stream-winner),sakadagami (the ‘once-returner’) anagami (the non-returner) arahathood respectively. This effort and determination will help to develop the meditation and cessation of suffering in samsara.

Arahathood could not be achieved suddenly. Also it is not the status that one can achieve by in two or three weeks. Even though we pray regularly to attain nibbana, is not that something, which is easy to accomplish but determining to obtain nibbana from today onwards would be a great help. Any person should not waste time and dertermine to obtain nibbana in Gauthama Buddha sasana. Although your efforts are not being paid, being disappointed can be a barrier to nibbana.  To gain nibbana one has to continuously work on it by using right effort and courage.

For example let’s think that there are 50 students in a class room. Can all the 50 students have the same knowledge, though the teacher teaches them equally? Some students can not study although they try hard. Some students take a long time to understand.  Just like that, though we try hard we cannot enlighten our mind or can not gain nibbana over night or with in one week due to weaknesses in our minds. If you have a good determination and effort then you will be able to stop the journey of samsara.

We all have some knowledge that we have taken from samara. This knowledge is based on what we do. During this life we all try to develop that knowledge. If your intellectual levels are low, it is difficult to see bliss of nibbana though you have a right effort and determination. It is not to be disappointed and must not be given up.

Some people avoid all attachments for a certain period and meditate in hope to attain nibbana. But as time goes by they can not even attain status of Sotapanna (‘Stream-winner’).  Then they will get more entangled with troubles and trials than before. Finally they can end up even without food or shelter. Therefore do not hurry to conclusions. Always understand the capacity of your knowledge and proceed.

Presently some people in society make their life a misery as they go to the extreme of meditation. It is actually not a problem with meditation but a problem in understanding one’s own mind.  Meditation can be a deception for some people. If that happens you will deceive yourself and the world as well. Thereby you and the persons you associate will also be deserted.

Five precepts are the foundation of purified life. That is the life philosophy of a person, who is following the path to status of sotapanna. However the five precepts are not enough to achieve sotapanna status. If one can not attain sotapanna status just because they think that it’s not me and myself or I do not have a teacher other than the Supreme Buddha. Just because a person thinks like that it is impossible not to have unwholesome deeds like killing beings and cravings or attachments.  Reality is one might still have this kind of thoughts. If someone attain sotapanna that kind of unwholesome thoughts can not emerge. Therefore observing sotapanna status would be a deception. Supreme Enlightened One did not preach that one has to give up everything you possess  and try to attain nibbana.

One day Ven. Arhat Nun Uthpalawanna went to see the Supreme One to offere dana. After placing the dana in the usual place she started her journey off.  At this moment Ven. Udayi spoke to Ven. Arahat Nun Uthpalawanna and said that he did not have any robe and he asked Ven. Nun to give him one robe out of the five robes own by the Nun. Then Ven. Nun replied and explained to Ven. Udayi, as a Ven. Nun she needs the five robes to wear as she got only this one. Hence it is difficult to offer one robe to Ven. Udayi. If Ven. Nun received another robe she will offer one to Ven. Udayi.

It is true that the Ven. Nun has given up everything but she did not offer one robe to Ven.Udayi. was that there Sakkaya Ditthi (personality-belief) , me or mine?. Did she cling to the robe? When some one has one robe if she did not offer it to others,  is it craving?  We will see these factors in an intellectual aspect.  Buddha sasana is a sasana of wise people and it is an ocean of wisdom.  Hence not giving a robe by the Nun is not craving or Sakkaya Ditthi (personality belief).  Therefore this decision was to live.  We also must take wise decisions.  You will be disappointed in life if you make wrong decisions.

You should give dana out of what you have. One has to be wise when he give dana from the possessions he has to sustain his life. One has to be patient till he will train his mind to be a noble person.

Think about the dhamma in a deep way. Buddhist philosophy is based on the middle path. You can be satisfied if you learn the dhamma properly and lead a peaceful life.

If the Supreme One summarized the path to nibbana the Satipattana Sutta (way of mindfulness) will be the only discourse. The Lord Buddha preached Satipattana Sutta in ‘’Kuru Rata’’ (Town of Kuru).  According to history ‘Kuru’  is where intellectual people lived. The Satipattana Sutta or mindfulness of behavior is deep meaning dhamma discourse. Listen to Satipattan Sutta and chant it regularly. When you gradually understand the Satipattana Sutta (mindfulness of behavior) try to practice as a meditation. If you feel like that you can not gain concentration through the Satipattana Sutta then do not stop it. Try to read and understand the Satipattana Suttaa again and again. If it is still hard to concentrate try to practice a simple meditation. Then you can gain concentration over simple meditation and comeback to practicing Satipattan Sutta again. If you want to attain nibbana you must practice mindfulness of behavior or Satipattan Sutta. If you can not see the result of the meditation today this will help to achieve results one day. Therefore do not give up meditation and continuously practice it.

If one cannot concentrate on the good qualities of Buddha, dhamma, and Sanga they can at least concentrate on their daily chores as a meditation. We can meditate and develop our mind and cultivate concentration, which will accumulate meritorious deeds to journey of samsara.   Person who practices meditation will never be born in the samsara as a mentally retarded an uneducated person or a lunatic. He will be an intellectual person regardless his race or caste. Such a person will be like a lotus grown in a mud pool. Then you will have a peaceful present life as well as peaceful next birth too. 

We must meditate to strengthen our minds in order to face any problem. Then we can liberate our lives from the journey of samsara. Buddha’s teaching is to have strong character and earn something for the next existence. Therefore keep on meditating so that it will help to transfer your life to a pure and moral one.

Above article was prepared on the essence of the  Dhamma sermon delivered by Most Ven. Dr. Kolonnawe  Siri  Sumangala  Thero.
Divayina Budumaga Magazine (Page 6,   25th July 2010).

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