This talk is called ‘Establishing the Fundamentals' and is by Thai Forest Meditation master Ajahn Maha Bua Nyanasampanno. This translated talk appeared in the publication Sanditthiko Dhamma which was translated by Steven Towler. Thankfully he made this translation available for free distribution for non-commercial purposes and as such we can present this audio version of the English translation for you on the Forest Path Podcast.
A word of caution before proceeding any further:
- This talk contains a large number of untranslated Pali terms. If you don't have a reasonable familiarity with Pali terminology you may find this talk heavy going.
- Ajahn Maha Bua was known for his uncompromising style and the depth of his teachings. These teachings are mostly aimed at practicing monks, but will also be of benefit to lay people who have been practicing meditation for some time. People who are new to Buddhist teachings may find these teachings hard to understand or even just plain incomprehensible. If you are fairly new to Buddhist teachings or meditation practice then I recommend you go along to the Ajahn Brahm Podcast, or to the Treasure Mountain Podcast as the teachings there are usually more accessible to a general audience.
- If you are an avid fan of deeper Dhamma teachings then please proceed.
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ESTABLISHING THE FUNDAMENTALS
A Dhamma Desana (talk) for Training Monks at Wat Pa Barn Tard
These days I’m becoming more concerned about monks and novices.
I feel that, at present, the monks’ practice of Buddhism is not up to scratch. It’s not normal. So much so it’s quite concerning for both you and I equally. There’s no one to blame for this because the Kilesas are to be found in the hearts of everyone. They coerce us and then display stubbornness right before our eyes because this comes automatically to them. It’s their way of being experienced and skilful; using the Citta as a tool of work in order to impose their life cycle upon the hearts of all sentient beings and, not only that, but to build endless heaps of Dukkha in these hearts.
This is something that the world doesn’t see and this is why I want to speak about it.
What is the spot that’s a danger to the world? In Dhamma-speak it’s called the Kilesa. These are toxic things that dwell in our hearts. They sugar-coat and conceal the heart, which renders them invisible in both gross and subtle amounts. Sentient beings have no time to alert themselves to these things because the sugar-coated medicine of the Kilesas permeates everything. It lets us take satisfaction in all things, however they manifest.
It’s the sugar coating which comes out at the same time that infatuates all beings and deludes them to the extent that they haven’t got a clue what’s going on. Gross Kilesas coat in a gross way. Regular Kilesas coat in a regular way. Fine Kilesas coat in a fine way. No matter how fine they are, they still manage to succeed in applying the coating. There are no kinds of Kilesa that don’t incorporate sugar-coating as a lure in the behaviour that they exhibit. This is something that is very discouraging.
It’s okay for monks who practise in order to achieve Magga Phala Nibbāna to be individual in some respects. The things they ought to understand are the threats that exist inside the heart, the things that the sugar has coated in keeping with the intensity of the Kilesas. The sweetness of the coating which seduces sentient beings belongs to the Kilesas. They are constantly coating, layer after layer. This is a law of nature.
If you monks have never understood this before, then remember this well.
Off into the future, when the Citta is clever and quick-witted, the things I have mentioned will start to emerge as the Sati and Paññā of the practitioner progress through various levels. At first, these things will become apparent in stages and then there will be the first glimpse of their venom and threat.
If there hasn’t been some training of the Citta over the many aeons, the story in a nutshell is that, for oneself, there’s no end to this life cycle of sugar-coating. There will just be a continuation of the status quo. That’s the way it is.
This was something that the Lord Buddha was despondent about because he could see the real dangers but worldlings can’t because the Kilesas’ sugar coating obscures their view. The only contentment the Kilesas give is when their sugar coating comes out. This point is particularly important.
In present times, the Buddhist religion is like an island, the high ground, that is slowly but surely shrinking. It’s already shrunk quite a lot. This is to say, the Kilesas are laying siege and offering their wares all the time. They don’t let you see what’s going on. That is, everywhere you turn these Kilesas offer their wares and we’re not even aware of it. They come from every corner and keep us ignorant. They do this through various objects that become significant devices of deception. These objects that are the Kilesas’ tools of trade come in every shape and size. They are artifices of the Kilesas that come to exterminate Dhamma. They promote themselves and make themselves points of interest for worldlings. Their influence increases daily. Every make, model and type that comes out is distributed. You can’t keep up with the pace.
Ordinary Sati and Paññā on their own can’t keep up with the pace. These things bombard us from every angle, from every corner. There are only the endless throngs of Kilesas inside the heart. And another thing: the Kilesas depend on those external objects that come and seduce us. Their trickery and deception which permeates its way inside is all about the delusion that already exists within our hearts. Delusion welcomes these things with open arms. It makes it easy to be bamboozled by them and difficult to come to understand them. They slot in from all angles.
Every sentient being knows Dukkha. The heart is an expert at “knowing”, so why wouldn’t it know Dukkha? However, nobody realizes the burden associated with it.
Accept that Dukkha is Dukkha. You struggle and strive until you die, which blinds you from seeing where the punishment associated with this Dukkha comes from. This is an important point.
It was for this reason that the Lord Buddha taught about training the Citta, which is the same as observing the heart. The heart is a mega-danger on account of the fact that the super-dangerous Kilesas are buried deep, and I mean deep, in the heart. So much so that there’s almost no chance of seeing them, and this leads you to consider that this is the true nature of heart.
There’s only a heart jam-packed with Kilesas. Whichever corner they appear from, delusion emerges with them. Confidence in these Kilesas also occurs at the same time. This all occurs when the Citta is disposed to thinking, such aswhen Sankhāra starts to imagine things. Whatever scenario is imagined, trust in it arises simultaneously. This prevents you from seeing the real culprit as delusion comes with it.
Whether your thoughts are about animals, people, women, men, or anything whatsoever, good or bad, they are just a cause of attachment. It’s irrelevant whether the thoughts are good or evil, or whether they’re worthy of attachment or not. They are worthy as far as the Kilesas are concerned; these Kilesas that will completely fool and deceive worldlings. So much so that these worldlings won’t know what’s going on.
You see, this is why the Lord Buddha taught about observing the heart, by meditating for example. This is called the real work for the heart. It will clear away those things that are a danger to us. It lets us gradually come to know what’s what, as knowledge steadily expands out into those dangerous things.
It all starts when the heart is passionate and agitated. At this stage it’s incapable of entering Samādhi, that is, the Kilesas are making their presence felt. The Citta is conceited, cocky and brash all the time; it’s never content. This is the story of the Kilesas through and through, forcing us to think and imagine things insatiably. [At this stage, the Citta] has no fear or dread1; there’s just a constant conviction in what it’s doing. It’s impossible for it to be aware of what’s going on.
It’s because of this that the Lord Buddha taught us to observe the Citta with Sati. When this happens, this [point of observation] is the point that you should be aware of. Know it through Sati. Observe the Citta.
For example, those whose meditation hasn’t got very far shouldn’t go doing much thinking. They should focus steadfastly on having the Parikamma stuck like glue to the heart. This should be done through Sati that is also committed and steadfast. They shouldn’t wish for Magga or Phala or anything other than the Parikamma that they are currently reciting with Sati. This is all they need do.
These people will be the ones who constrain conceit and arrogance that are passions which the Kilesas spew out. These people will be the ones that slowly come to understand what’s going on.
Force yourself, no matter how much you desire to think about something. Look upon this desire as being an extreme threat. You have to really want to do it to this extent. If you don’t, there’s no chance you’ll become concentrated. The Citta won’t enter into a peaceful state. It can’t be in any sort of peace and stillness that is Samādhi.
If you can’t do this, use Sati and Paññā to go against the tide and really impose them through Citta Bhāvanā. Employ Sati as a tool to compel the heart to keep the two of them from separating.
This is all about being committed and steadfast so that you can see the value and harm of the Dhamma and the Kilesas that are in the same heart. You must employ restraint, endurance, persistence, strength and defiance of every kind through the application of diligent effort.
For instance, we use some aspect of Dhamma as a Parikamma, such as Buddho. The rules for doing this must be established. Don’t go hoping for Magga or Phala or anything other than Buddho and Sati being in perfect harmony as a result of diligent effort. This is fundamental to the dampening of the Citta’s conceit, arrogance, brashness, and petulance, and is done by the power of enforcing the Parikamma.
Because Sankhāra is familiar with thinking and imagining, it is the Sankhāra of Samudaya and it builds the fire which roasts us. However, the Sankhāra thought process that is associated with a Parikamma such as Buddho is Sankhāra that is on the side of Magga. This will constrain the Sankhāra that is on the side of Samudaya by constantly having Sati as a controller.
This is it. This is where we will see the results. I want all of you to commit this to memory.
I’m old now. I’m concerned about my friends and companions. As for me, I’m fine. I’ve told you before, as far as this world is concerned, I’m simply going through the motions. I’m being straight with you. I’m speaking from the highest authority.
My behaviour is purely for the conventional2 world and follows whatever conventions are acceptable in that world. I practise the behaviour that the world finds acceptable. If I’m wrong, then I admit that I’m wrong. I don’t allow the behaviour that I maintain to be in the wrong. If I’m right, I acknowledge that I’m right. This behaviour continues to follow what is right and proper, something which is habitual to these Khandhas.
The part of my heart that would get involved with all those things has long since completely ceased to be a problem. In this realm of supposition, the conventional world, there’s absolutely nothing that can infiltrate this heart. To say that this heart is entirely beyond the conventional world would not be incorrect. Also, this is absolutely crystal clear in my heart, a heart that really knows that this is true. Just as I have told my companions previously, in 2493B.E. heaven and earth came tumbling down in this heart, which is the same as saying the Kilesas were cast out from my heart.
A heart that’s murky and refuses to see has only the Kilesas for company. When it clears to the extent that it can appreciate, one hundred percent, its detrimental situation, then it will have a degree of brightness but not to its fullest extent. What prevents this from being the fullest extent is, of course, the Kilesas. They prevent us from knowing and seeing by being obstructive and by concealing themselves.
Even if everything in Lokadhātu wasn’t defective, the Citta would still fail to see things for what they are; the Kilesas launder everything. We trust the Kilesas’ laundering and believe that those things are nothing to do with the Kilesas at all. This is a very important point. It’s because of this that worldlings go wrong and why [to them] there are no such words as fear of an insatiable appetite.
Don’t go believing that there’s some point where you’ll be contented with the heart’s thoughts and imagination. There isn’t one. As soon as you wake up you’re already thinking. The engine of the wheel of life is started the moment we wake and continues until we fall asleep. If it wasn’t for sleep humans would die very easily. They wouldn’t get to go anywhere before they fell off the perch.
During sleep thoughts are curbed, that is to say their drive mechanism, the Kilesa, is also restrained. But, the moment we rise, they’re back at work again. It’s like there’s nothing preventing them from doing so. This is the natural state of affairs for the Citta whose work is the wheel of life. It’s automatic for the hearts of beings. This is the way it is for them all.
Now, when we are meticulous and serious about the Dhamma and what can result from it, we must employ strictness, restraint and forbearance as countermeasures. It’s as if we are in a fight in the ring; whoever gives in loses. Fighting or boxing in the ring, each fighter wants to be triumphant.
Right now, the Kilesas are the champions before they’ve even gotten into the ring. It’s because of this that our effort is a joke, even before we step foot in the ring. As soon as we get in there, we are defeated and we let the Kilesas trample all over us. We can’t find any Sati at all. As far as diligent effort is concerned, we haven’t got a clue what it means. For example, Buddho meditation – Sati is nowhere to be found. There is no compulsion. But we welcome with open arms what is convenient and comfortable i.e., the path of the Kilesas. We let the path of the Kilesas be as easy and comfortable as we can but it’s not what it seems – this comfort is the comfort that stokes the fire that consumes us.
It’s not like the comfort of the Dhamma. After the initial suffering and hardship when you force yourself to battle on, comes the result which is bliss. There’s nothing like this in the approach of the Kilesas but there is in Dhamma.
When the battle between diligent effort and the Kilesas takes place, no matter how intense, there will be heavy blows landed by both sides as the Kilesas stand their ground. We force ourselves to stay with Buddho. The Kilesas will drag us away from Buddho. This is them all over. This is very significant and I want you all to remember it.
Don’t feel sorry for the thoughts and emotions that you had in the past. From the time you were born right up to now, what use have they served you? They’re just a case of the Kilesas doing a number on the heart so from where will they get the results that give you goodness, happiness and contentment? All they do is build the wheel that fires our hearts. They build the bonfire that burns our hearts. They create the wheel that has always turned our hearts and always will, endlessly.
You must fight and struggle to break the cycle of Kamma3, through the fundamental power of the Parikamma. You must be severe in preventing those thoughts and emotions. Take hold of Buddho only. There’s no need to aim for anything else.
We can choose whichever Parikamma we like, depending on our character, but the one I tell people to use is Buddho because it’s neutral. The aspect of the Dhamma that best suits the practitioner’s character4 should be upheld as the basis [for their meditation]. You must have Sati latch on to this spot. Don’t let go of it!
Whatever you are doing, always have the Parikamma, the Citta and Sati working together. This is what is meant by someone putting in diligent effort. One day, it is absolutely certain they will achieve stillness. There’s no doubt about it. I just ask that you don’t take a step backwards and that’s all you need do. This is establishing the fundamentals. It’s quite hard to do.
I’ve done these things myself. It’s not like I am teaching you all as if I don’t know what I’m doing. I’ve already done this in a really serious, no-holds- barred manner as I have related previously in the story of my Citta deteriorating for over a year. It deteriorated and then progressed. I carried a load of Dukkha. I shouldered a heap of Dukkha. Phew. There is no greater load of Dukkha than that of a Citta that has made good progress and then lost it. This happened with my heart and got to the stage where I was afraid [of what was going to happen].
It reached a stage where, as I said, when the Citta had established the basis of stillness, I had to commit to dying, saying, “This time, the Citta cannot not slip backwards. If the Citta deteriorates this time, then I must die. It cannot be any other way.”
You see what I mean. It might have happened you know. For someone with my kind of character, this was genuinely absolute and unequivocal.
I make the comparison with the monk Godhika.5 The Venerable Sir killed himself because his Citta slipped backwards. At that time, he related that the state of Jhāna had fallen away. That’s the same as Samādhi falling away. Jhāna – it translates as focusing attention on a single spot, which is the location of stillness. It was this that had deteriorated. So now there was no spot to latch on to, no spot to depend on. There was just loneliness. He missed the happiness that came only from the stillness of Jhāna and nothing could take its place. He said that the peace and tranquillity that he aspired to had gone. It was at this time that the pile of suffering was initiated.
This played out for him five or six times. In the end, he took a razor and slit his own throat.
This is not very clearly explained in the textbooks but I understand. When I’d done some practise, I understood. I really didn’t get the picture when reading the text. There’s a very sombre quality about the story that the Lord Buddha told about Venerable Godhika.
In my practice I was able to grasp this straight away; even to the point where he took the razor, cut his throat and had blood spurting out which gave rise to a fascinating investigation. He was predisposed to this trait and so made this the Dhamma object of his meditation. In that moment, he became enlightened. He had gone forth.
At that time, Māra came searching for Venerable Godhika’s rebirth consciousness because Māra still had room for more greed. It shrouds the hearts of worldlings and keeps their hearts in its clutches. It’s their boss and it’s called Māra.
At that point, the Citta of Venerable Godhika was free from power of Māra and that’s why Māra had to dig and delve with such intensity. It shows in the textbooks that the atmosphere became completely overcast and dark because of the psychic energy of Māra digging and delving; searching for the rebirth consciousness of Venerable Godhika even though it was only one heart.
It got to the stage where the Lord Buddha had to intervene and bring things under control. He said: “You, Māra, you’ve come digging and delving, searching for the rebirth consciousness of the monk Godhika who is a dependant of the Tathāgata. You have no hope of finding it because my charge, the monk Godhika, is free from your authority. He has reached the status of Arahant and has gone well to Nibbāna.”
Whatever the immensity of Māra’s greed was, all sentient beings that lived in the realms of Lokadhātu were covered by its power. There was only one Citta Viññāna of Venerable Godhika so why didn’t Māra want to release it? Why did Māra still want to pursue it and bring in back under control? You see, this is the Kilesas; they are never satisfied.
Now, the thoughts and imagination of our hearts, things which are one aspect of Māra, are a driving force in our hearts. They are the big boss and are called Māra. The Māra Kilesas dominate our hearts. They push and pull, getting us to think and imagine the way they want us to until they succeed; even to the extent that they stand their ground and fight against the Dhamma.
The Māra Kilesas are afraid they will miss thoughts and imagination. They claim that these things are a release from Dukkha and oppression. Because, in the initial stages, training and putting the Citta through ordeals is Dukkha, they feel that letting loose in this way makes things a bit easier. Things are a bit easier alright, easier to bind our minds through the power of the Kilesas’ deception, that’s all. But they’re not actually aware of this.
This is why everyone has to use the big guns at this stage and have a really good crack at it. This is the development of Magga and Phala. They will be developed at this point and that’s for certain.
I’ve given this example for the benefit of you all.
I set myself on this point to the extent that it was do or die. I refused to let go. The deterioration and progression that I had previously been involved with built a load of Dukkha for my heart simultaneously. There wasn’t a day went by that I forgot this; it was buried deeply. There was extreme Dukkha involved in this deterioration of the Citta. There was just the wanting for it to happen, the wanting for it to be like it was. This was futile.
This happened because the foundation for happiness, peace and tranquillity, the foundation for stillness, was not laid correctly. My practice was incorrect. There was only a wish and a casual desire and so these things had to be cut out.
Making progress or slipping backwards, it didn’t matter; wherever it went I had had enough of coming back empty-handed. This time I wouldn’t be attached to it. What I would be attached to would be Buddho with a reflection in my heart saying, “My heart might wander because the Parikamma has gone.”
This was because previously I didn’t use a Parikamma; I just had Sati casually watching what was going on. Maybe I would be off thinking about something in Lokadhātu. As a result, things fell apart before my very eyes. So I turned this around and came up with a new trick. This time I would have Buddho firmly established as my base, saying, “Okay. If it works, it works, if it doesn’t, it doesn’t but I am going to dwell on Buddho.” Come what may, I was going to stick to Buddho and nothing but Buddho. Anything else I would discard. I persisted in the work I was doing in the present for Buddho.
In other words, my heart truly was what I said it would be. I didn’t take things light-heartedly. Once I made my mind up to use Buddho and I established my base as Buddho I never allowed my guard to drop. Even though I would move about during the day, I wouldn’t let inattentiveness creep in. Also, when I first started setting my heart this way, I was living on my own. Tan Ajahn Mun had gone off to attend the cremation of Luang Poo Sao. I stayed on my own at Wat Rahng Kao, Barn Nah See Nuan.
Staying there was very enjoyable; being able to persevere with my meditation around the clock. I was fixed on Buddho all the time until it became really clear to me. When the Citta was truly refined, the Parikamma disappeared completely. I can disclose this as it is about my own heart. The Parikamma Buddho was right there but, when it got to the most subtle stage, there was no thinking about Buddho. It wouldn’t appear. All that was left was knowingness6, through and through.
I amazed myself. “Ay, now, what have you done?” I thought.
Before, I depended on the Parikamma Buddho being engaged by Sati; both being together. Now the Parikamma that I had been concentrating on no longer appeared. If your concentration is on Buddho and it disappears, what do you do? No problem, when it disappears, focus on the knowingness. Fix Sati on the knowingness. That’s all you need to do. Don’t let go of that point. When this separation occurs, there is no Buddho. So let yourself stay with this knowingness that I have mentioned and there will be harmony and one- pointedness. The Parikamma won’t appear. I want you to stay with this while observing and not letting Sati wane.
Now, when the time is right, this state will unwind and you will come out of it. As soon as this happens, you can return to the Parikamma; get stuck into the Parikamma again.
Later on, I got the knack of this. “Oh yes, when the Citta is truly subtle, the Parikamma disappears completely.”
I knew this unmistakably. I had come to know and understand how to practise. When the Parikamma disappeared I was to stay with the knowingness.
See. When you know, let yourself stay with this knowingness. As soon as this state unwinds, get stuck into the Parikamma immediately.
Sati was my constant companion both with and without the Parikamma. Sati couldn’t be broken. Here was somewhere I could establish a base. Gradually it became more and more refined. I no longer got involved in hurly-burly due to the power of compelling the Citta to focus on nothing else but the Parikamma. It was coercion. I had drawn my line in the sand.
By nature I am a very serious person. I’m being honest. I am not half-hearted. Whatever I do I’m fully committed. If I say something, then that’s the way it is. I’m very intense.
So, this was how I established my base.
As time passed, my practice gradually became tighter and more stable. As it reached the stage where it might well have deteriorated after two or three days in this stage I said, “Okay, if it slips backwards, then so be it. I’m not going to concern myself with this.”
This was because I had hoped for better things before but to no avail. “Okay, if progress is made then so be it but I am not going to release Buddho.”
I really latched on to this. Progress or deterioration didn’t even enter my mind. This was because I’d held on to them for long enough. They’d caused me enough Dukkha as it was. I was going to stick with Buddho as my meditation increasingly became tighter and more stable.
When I got to the stage where progress ought to have dropped off (normally, after two or three days, progress would evaporate right before my eyes, leaving nothing behind but a worthless wretch beyond hope, building Dukkha for himself) I let go of all this but I wouldn’t let go of the Parikamma. In the end, [my practice] didn’t deteriorate. It became steadier and steadier. It became subtler and subtler as I slowly fastened on to that spot.
I thought, “Oh, I slipped backwards because I lacked a Parikamma. This was the cause all along.”
Now, I wasn’t going to slip backwards. From that point on, step by step, [my meditation] got stronger until I fought with all my might. My energy was the Samādhi that occurred in my heart in a most outstanding way. Wherever I went, the knowingness was prominent. Sati was stuck to it. Even without the Parikamma I let Sati stick there. I took the knowingness in place of the Parikamma. There was no Parikamma. This spot was the place of Sati; being the spot that I latched on to. Progress increased consistently.
What I’m speaking about now is training at the elementary level. It’s really intense, you know, for the Citta. My heart was an inferno at that time. If there is no Samatha Dhamma –that is, calmness and tranquillity – occasionally intervening, there is no place for us monks to rest.
Some may say that to be called a monk is higher than a Devaputra Devatā. However, the Avīci hell still burns monks even though it’s been said that they are Devaputra Devatās. This is because the Kilesas fear nothing, nothing but the Dhamma that is. If Sati Dhamma takes command, they will yield.
Make a resolution.
This is a very important point. It lets us establish the base for the fundamentals.
I have no doubts about the guidance that I am giving you, my companions. I’ve already been down this path myself and experienced the results, step by step. Right up to the present, all came from the A for Apple, B for Boat that I’ve said is Buddho. Don’t let go of this.
As soon as the Citta was still and calm, the frenzied hurly-burly [of my normal state of mind], which used to agitate me and drag me off into the outside [world], abated. Drinking Samatha Dhamma has a delicious taste for the heart and makes it content. So now there was a course to follow.
In the case of various mental objects7 that previously spewed out thoughts about all sorts of forms, sounds, smells and tastes which heated up the heart, they gradually faded away. In the end I had no interest in them. Stillness increased in strength. I stayed with the stillness. When there is contentment, nothing will disturb the heart. A single piercing thought arising is a disturbance to the heart.
When I reached the full extent of my stillness, thoughts were nothing but a disturbance to the heart. I didn’t want to think.
This is what they call being addicted to Samādhi, that is, a piercing thought arising disturbs the heart and there’s an uncompromised addiction to the knowingness all the time. During both day and night I had no interest in light and dark. Not at any time at all. There was only the pleasure derived from the knowingness which was always calm and firm. Nothing happened to cause a disturbance.
This is called the food of the heart. Even when the heart gets only this amount of food, it’s enough to sustain it. It’s for this reason that those who practise Samādhi become enchanted by the effort they put into developing it. They don’t want to break out and explore with Paññā. They’re quite happy to stagnate where they are.
I stagnated like this for five years. Tan Ajahn Mun, he hauled me out of this and I haven’t forgotten what he did.
When I eventually came out of this, I made some strides in the direction of Paññā. Now, I was really buzzing because this was done in conjunction with Samādhi. Samādhi was the support for Paññā. The two went side by side but Samādhi wouldn’t lead to using Paññā. It’s not capable of doing so.
After I started to use the Paññā that Ajahn Mun had dragged out of me, I gradually saw the results.
“Oh, now I understand.” And off I went.
Once the realisation happened, that was it, I was off. Once I saw the results, diligent effort and a fascination with the effort involved with Paññā became self-perpetuating. From there on, I was engrossed with Paññā, so much so that I neglected to rest in Samādhi. Rightly or wrongly, I accused Samādhi of being too passive. I couldn’t see that it had much use. On the other hand, Paññā was the slayer of the Kilesas. Samādhi didn’t destroy the Kilesas, it just trimmed them back for the sole purpose of calmness and stillness of the heart. However, the slaying of the Kilesas was done with Paññā. I could see the effects of destroying the Kilesas with Paññā and I was enthralled by this. Oh, and I neglected to rest in Samādhi.
I wasn’t satisfied. My personality is such that I am really adventurous. This was something Ajahn Mun had to restrain in regards to applying Paññā so that I didn’t get ahead of myself. He brought me under control. He said that I misunderstood Sankhāra. Sankhāra that doesn’t know its limitations can be Samudaya. This is what he meant.
Sankhāra is Paññā but, if it is used in a way that doesn’t know its limitations, Sankhāra associated with Samudaya can infiltrate. Sankhāra then transforms into Samudaya, which is unaware of what is real and important. For this reason Ajahn Mun had me show restraint by entering Samādhi.
As soon as the Citta had received its fill of stillness, it was off down the path of Paññā again. So, one follows the other, around and around. As soon as the Citta was tired and fatigued and knew its energy was wanning, it went off to rest in Samādhi. This is the appropriate and proper way for a practitioner to practise. It’s very appropriate.
In the scholarly approach the Lord Buddha did explain this but I wasn’t too interested in the scholarly approach. It gets your head spinning through being deeply absorbed in it. When you are truly at death’s door, you just go and rest in Samādhi.
Improving the Citta in the first instance is difficult. You must be committed and steadfast. You can’t be lackadaisical.
Don’t look upon any kind of work as being something wonderful. On the contrary, worldly work is pitiful and work in the revolving wheel of life is the work that burns the heart. Don’t be influenced by those who are on the treadmill, who, throughout time, let the fire burn. All the realms of Lokadhātu are full of those subjugated to the round of birth and death. They are turning in the endless cycle.
The Dhamma is freedom from the cycle [wheel] of life8. Let the Dhamma be your anchor. Let it be your damper through the application of diligent effort. Easy or hard, never stop the fight. Fight for the sake of happiness. The Dukkha associated with diligent effort is Dukkha for the sake of happiness. Dukkha associated with the power of the Kilesas is Dukkha for the sake of paramount Dukkha.
If you can separate them out this way you’ll have progress in your heart.
This is enough for Paññā to make some advances. Now, things will be burst wide open. This isn’t the same as Samādhi. Samādhi is like having a glass full of water. When it’s at its highest status, it’s like a full glass of water. There is no way to do better than that. This is its upper limit.
I’ve experienced this for myself. Whatever I did, I was firmly focused on one particular spot. In the end, I got to reckoning that the knowingness was Nibbāna. I made a wild guess that this was Nibbāna with a knowingness that was stupid. The foolish knowingness is Samādhi’s dilemma.
Tan Ajahn Mun dragged me out of this and down the path of Paññā. After I set off down the path of Paññā, things started to improve. Wherever I saw things distinctly, they simply let go of their own accord.
“Oh yes, this is how you exterminate the Kilesas,” I’d say to myself, and I’d be completely engrossed in this all the time.
Enjoying and being engrossed in the way of Paññā is enjoyment for the purpose of liberation from suffering, enjoyment through truly seeing the real dangers. Enjoyment of this kind already has awareness. It’s abuzz and whirrs away. Diligent effort knows no day, no night, no month, no year and no posture. Lying down brings no sleep. It works away of its own accord via automatic Sati/Paññā9. It’s for this reason that the Citta has to be forced to rest in the peace and quiet of Samādhi.
When the Citta has rested sufficiently, it withdraws and proceeds with Paññā. There’s no need to fret about Samādhi; when progress is being made with Paññā, there is no need to worry about Samādhi. You can go for broke. As soon as Paññā starts to flag and goes off into Samādhi for a rest, there’s no need to be concerned about Paññā. Just let them do their work at different times.
When in Samādhi, don’t give Paññā a second thought. Discharge it all. No matter how calm the Citta becomes, just let it be still. Let them do their jobs at different times.
Now, as peacefulness strengthens, the Citta becomes more energised. It’s like removing a splinter or a thorn. When the discomfort abates, you feel completely fine. This is the potency of resting in Samādhi. It’s the appropriate partner for the various activities of Paññā.
From there it’s off down the track of Paññā and the same has to be said: there is no need to fret about Samādhi.
This is the way to go. You needn’t doubt that this is the right and proper way to proceed. Paññā will appear constantly. It will continually expand. It will become more and more refined and meticulous. This is because the Kilesas become subtler and subtler. Sati/Paññā, which is their opponent, their adversary, drives itself relentlessly.
When you’re very excited and daring, Kāma Kilesa and Kāma Tanhā become extremely bold. Apply Paññā and use the investigation of the body. Examine every part, every component of the body. This will depend on which aspect of the body suits you, such as: hair of the head, hair of the body, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, sinews, bones, liver, kidneys, entrails, etcetera. Inside here is the Noble Truth of Samudaya whose sole purpose is to bind and inter us. Then improve your investigation of this using the Magga Noble Truth, which is Paññā.
When your investigation is better and you understand things, you’ll slowly extricate yourself. Your Upādāna will diminish. This is Paññā. It destroys the Kilesas. This is seen clearly by the heart. From this point, gains will be exhaustive.
If you get to the stage where Sati and Paññā are on automatic, then, whatever happens, freedom from Dukkha is a certainty. It’s as if the time of Nibbāna reaches out to you. This can cause your persistence and effort to be excessive and then you rush things. At this, you’ve reached the time to take a rest in Samādhi. So, you see, Samādhi is extremely important.
You’ve arrived at the time to rest. It has to be that working and resting go hand in hand. They have equal necessity. Don’t go thinking that working yields results and resting doesn’t. Resting accumulates energy which makes it the ideal partner for doing any kind of work. So why wouldn’t it produce results? The benefits of resting are one thing. The benefits of working are another. They encourage each other.
Now, when the time arrives to behave this way, then do as I’ve said. After that, gradually and extensively lay bare, know and understand things that you have never known or understood before. There’s no need to go and look this up in a textbook.
As I’ve said before, Sādhu.
I have previously studied from textbooks. When Paññā based on memory comes up against Paññā based on truth, well, Paññā based on memory has some shortcomings I can tell you. Paññā based on truth brings out the real thing. It unravels things. It brings about investigation which takes things apart, detaches from them, destroys them and slashes them down, and all this is seen distinctly by the heart. However, what I remember from my studies is just that, a memory. It doesn’t provide alleviation from the Kilesas.
Passing examinations on the Ti-Pitaka doesn’t remove the Kilesas. If study isn’t turned into practice for the sake of removing the Kilesas, then they won’t budge. I’ve seen this clearly for myself; within my own heart.
At this point, study is quite superficial. It’s lightweight, it’s a veneer in comparison. Not only that, it’s quite specific. Scholarly study isn’t that extensive.
The Lord Buddha only gave the bare essentials in the Ti-Pitaka. He didn’t go into great detail. We say that it’s as if the Ti-Pitaka dominates Lokadhātu but it doesn’t. If it were in practical terms, it would be much more extensive and profound; so much so, you can’t guess the extent.
Apart from the practical side, I did study and it was like that. Through practise I came to know the truth. It’s because of this that [I know] that recollection and truth are quite different.
In the case of recalling the lessons, it doesn’t matter how much you can recollect, they are just memories. Doubt thus creeps in, in an unyielding way. This is the Kilesas; it’s nothing but following the Kilesas and it reaches the level where even Nibbāna is doubted.
This is what happens with perceived and memorised knowledge. It doesn’t remove a single Kilesa.
As soon as you encounter the truth coming in from any direction (beginning with the Citta entering Samādhi and becoming calm), you have realisations such as, “Oh, being calm is like this.” See what I mean? This is how you see things. “There are a number of levels of calmness that increase in subtlety.”
You realise these things clearly by means of what’s true and doubt gradually disappears. This goes on until Samādhi attains its highest level and you know this is its highest level. But what you don’t know is that this is suitable for applying to your practice further down the track or that you can become obsessed with Samādhi. Someone who knows more than you can drag you out from this; just as Tan Ajahn Mun did with me. He was more advanced than I was. I moved forward following in his footsteps. As soon as I went off down the path of Paññā, I understood what both harm and merit were through the application of that Paññā. At that point I made steady progress. This is called Bhāvanā Maya Paññā10.
Previously, I learned from the textbooks that the Lord Buddha said Bhāvanā Maya Paññā meant that this Paññā is born entirely out of meditation. This confused me. I didn’t have a clue what this meant. Even though I was also doing some meditation, this type of Paññā never arose.
I practised during the whole time that I studied the text. I was never lackadaisical about meditation but this type of Paññā never occurred and that’s why I was confused. As soon as I reached the stage where this kind of Paññā arose I thought, “Hmm, did you notice that? Bhāvanā Maya Paññā. Paññā has arisen entirely out of meditation. It doesn’t depend on sensual contact, such as sight, sound, smell, taste or bodily contact. It doesn’t matter whether or not sense objects make contact so as to arouse the Citta and give rise to the Sati/Paññāwhich fathoms them out; even if these objects cause disturbances, Sati/Paññā will continually exist in its own right. This is what is meant by Bhāvanā Maya Paññā. It is Paññā that arises purely out of meditation.”
Whether or not contact was made with any sense objects, Sati/Paññā would develop by itself and would battle the Kilesas, step by step, inside. There was no need to depend on viewing or hearing these objects prior to commencing investigation; this is not necessary if Sati/Paññā is sufficiently developed.
The moment any object did make contact, Sati/Paññā would nestle right in alongside it immediately. If no objects made contact, Sati/Paññā would seek out other approaches because the Kilesas dwell inside the heart. When the Kilesas mustered themselves, Sati/Paññā would be aware of them at various levels. This is Bhāvanā Maya Paññā.
It was as clear-cut as this and that’s why I dare speak about it. Even if I had completed my studies I wouldn’t have dared to go so far. I would have been groping around, not knowing much about anything. The moment this knowledge arose in my heart, all doubt vanished. My heart was bold and triumphant. I didn’t need confirmation from anyone. It was self-evident. This is what’s called the truth.
Progress accelerated to Mahā Sati and Mahā Paññā. Bhāvanā Maya Paññā, Mahā Sati and Mahā Paññā were bonded together.
When Bhāvanā Maya Paññā became proficient, it amalgamated with Mahā Sati and Mahā Paññā. At this time, they had reached a stage where they were deeply ingrained. Mahā Sati and Mahā Paññā is the level at which Sati/Paññā is deep-seated. They steadily permeated [the Citta], becoming more and more refined. The Kilesas were also subtle.
Mahā Sati and Mahā Paññā were like blowtorches burning through the Kilesas, burning away constantly by themselves until there was nowhere for the Kilesas to go. They expelled the Kilesas from every avenue including the eyes, ears, nose, tongue and body. These are the highways for obtaining sights, sounds, smells, tastes and bodily contacts, in accordance with the way [the Kilesas] gather them in.
From the beginning – since the investigation of Asubha, Dukkhaṃ, Aniccāṃ and Anattā; investigating my corporeality, the corporeality of others, the corporeality of women, the corporeality of men, the corporeality of animals, and the corporeality of people as being Asubha, Aniccāṃ Dukkhaṃ Anattā – I hit out against garnering these things. When [Mahā Sati and Mahā Paññā] understood about these things, they recoiled from them because the eyes, ears, nose, tongue and body are the highways the Kilesas and Avijjā cruise to make their living.
When Sati/Paññā struck at the garnering of these [sense objects] and, little by little, knew what [the Kilesas] were up to, it [the Citta with Sati/ Paññā] extricated itself from them.
What do we believe they are? We hold the view that they are animals and people but where exactly is the animal? Investigate and see that they are just the shape of a skeleton. So, exactly where is the person or the animal? Where are they beautiful and attractive? They are just faeces and urine through and through, so where is the beauty and attractiveness in that? This was how Sati/Paññā unravelled them.
After that, after the stage where Kāma Kilesa can be overcome by severing and discarding it, what remained was Nāma Dhamma. Now, I was to travel down the Aniccāṃ, Dukkhaṃ, Anattā route. My adeptness continued to improve.
In the beginning, I would bring up Asubha before Aniccāṃ, Dukkhaṃ, Anattā would intrude in even the slightest way and it was Asubha that was my strongest [practice]. It resolved [the issue of the body] being loathsome until there was no more need for Asubha. From there on in, it was all Nāma Dhamma. There was just Aniccāṃ, Dukkhaṃ, Anattā.
The use of Asubha relates to the body. At this stage, the body no longer has any meaning, so what would be the point of investigating Asubha? I was already full to the brim with it; I knew what it was. I didn’t need it, so I discarded it. What remained was Nāma Dhamma.
Where did Vedanā, Saññā, Sankhāra and Viññāna come from? I chased them down their hole. Where does Vedanā come from? Does a corpse have Vedanā? Vedanā is found in those who are alive. In those who are alive it comes from the Citta, doesn’t it? I chased it down its hole and went to its source. Vedanā, Saññā, Sankhāra and Viññāna emanate from there. They can be rounded up there anytime.
In the end, a slight adjustment was required to reach the source, which is Avijjā. This is the birthplace of these things; this is the place that goes crazy for them. These Nāma Dhammas are its tools. The group of Rupa, Vedanā, Saññā, Sankhāra and Viññāna are the highways of Avijjā. They are the tools that seek out a living for Avijjā.
When these Nāma Dhammas are analysed by disaggregating them in order to see their reality, they will come back together as Avijjā is reached. These things are merely tools; they are the highways. They are not the Kilesas nor are they Avijjā. The real Avijjā is not any of these. There! This was quite obvious.
While the Kilesas still rule the roost, any bright luminosity that there is in the Citta can’t be discovered completely until you actually get down there and obliteration happens. There has to be some level of obscurity and dullness there constantly. This murkiness is the Kilesas. They conceal and shroud that knowing Citta, preventing it from knowing all there is to know.
Now, when these things came under investigation to the extent that Avijjā (that which is the most refined and delicate shroud) was reached and obliterated, the Citta shone forth a bright luminosity. That is, it was like heaven and earth subsiding. Avijjā separated from the heart.
At that time, knowledge sprang up with all its might because there was no longer anything to conceal it. There was no such thing as dullness. Dullness is for the Kilesas. As soon as the shroud of the Kilesas has been completely lifted, there is nothing to conceal [this knowledge]. Dullness is nowhere to be found.
This is what is meant by Āloko Udapādi. A bright luminosity arose and there was no need to confirm this with anyone. In the end, all I can say is Sādhu!
There would be no need to confirm this with the Lord Buddha even if He was sitting in front of us. It’s the same Dhamma. Sandiṭṭhiko. Its announcement already reverberates throughout Lokadhātu. It lets you know and understand for yourself. He taught so that we could know for ourselves. When we know for ourselves, what would we turn around to ask Him about? If you had to do that, Sandiṭṭhiko would be meaningless.
When you do actually get there you have the realisation, “Oh, okay. That’s what it is!” It’s an immediate realisation.
When you reach this level, you’ve reached Dhammadhātu.
The Lord Buddha is Dhammadhātu. He is entirely Dhammadhātu.
How extensive is Dhammadhātu? It is as vast as the ocean which is the delivery point for the water from all the various rivers. All the river water that flows cumulates there; it’s transformed into the ocean. Now, how extensive is that?
Those who, through their own efforts, have reached the ultimate state of pristine purity, their Cittas are Dhammadhātu. They are one and the same. However much this extends to the Lord Buddha, what would there be to question Him about? There is no past and no future. The Lord Buddha reaching Nibbāna so many years and months ago – there’s none of this. There is only Dhammadhātu.
It’s like the waters of the ocean cover the entire earth. Can you see that?
Who knows what the ocean is? The same applies to Dhammadhātu. The sum of all of those who “know”, all of those who are pure, flows into Dhammadhātu and, at this, everything is identical. Oh, and there’s no need to ask the Lord Buddha to confirm this. It’s absolutely crystal clear that the number of times that Buddhas have reached Nibbāna in the past or will do in the future has no meaning whatsoever. They will all combine into Dhammadhātu. All the Arahants, all the Pacceka-Buddhas and all the Buddhas are all Dhammadhātu. They all know this quite clearly.
So, when talking about the practice, this is the result that They see. The Citta within them is bright and dazzling. There is nothing concealing or shrouding the heart that can create obstacles for it; nothing at all.
When the Kilesas, the obstacle builders, are all gone, there is nothing left to create obstacles. There is just consistent emptiness all the time as the Lord Buddha explained to Venerable Mogharāja:
Suññato lokaṃ avekkhassu, Mogharāja sadā sato, attānudiṭṭhim ūhacca, evaṃ maccutaro siyā,
evaṃ lokam avekkhantaṃ, maccurājā na passati11.
‘Watch Mogharaja, you must be someone who has Sati at all times.’
Listen! Sati at all times! Do you understand this? Sadā Sato having Sati at all
‘Investigate the world and see it as being void, empty.’
‘Pull out Attānudiṭṭhi.’ This is having the opinion that there is a person, a self; there is us and there is them. Attānudiṭṭhim Ūhacca.
‘Then you will pass beyond the king of death. The king of death looks but cannot find those who consider the world as void, in this way.’ There! Maccurājā Na Passati.
This is the complete translation. There’s nothing here that can be objected to.
There! It’s completely void, so what can you do? What could there possibly be that could affect you or that you could become attached to? When there’s no attachment to oneself, what is there to cling to? The self is the Kilesas, they’re the self and they have been completely destroyed. The Kilesas have been totally severed so what’s going to appear as a self, as a person? In this state, attachment and clinging are gone. When this is the situation, what in the three spheres of Lokadhātu could you become attached to?
As an example, suppose we see various things that we’ve never seen before. We acknowledge that we have never set eyes on them. However, as we have no attachment to ourselves, are we going to get attached to those things? Can you see this? You’ll see we’re not attached. This is called not being attached to oneself at all; not being attached to anything in the three spheres of Lokadhātu.
So, this is what the Citta is like when it has stepped forward with all its might. It is Dhammadhātu, through and through. Dhammadhātu is the ultimate Dhamma; it’s the extreme limit of one’s ability.
The Lord Buddha was despondent about the normal world. When He looked at the wheel of life of Sattaloka, He saw it as nothing but a rubbish bin; a rubbish bin full of urine and faeces; of fuel and fire that scorch Sattaloka endlessly. It’s a place where peace can’t be found as the fire incinerates the world. It’s the Kilesas that burn these beings. Their hearts are full of Kilesas but they can’t be seen.
Whichever beings you care to look at in the three spheres of Lokadhātu, they are beings who perpetuate and who are obsessed with the Kilesas. They pull out the red carpet for the Kilesas. The carpet of the Kilesas is pleasure and the things that give pleasure. They see all these things as good. This is the Kilesas’ carpet, their sitting cloth12 good and proper. [These beings] lay out the carpet of the Kilesas. In the end, they have satisfaction in being dissatisfied.
Anger and ill-will, well, they are satisfied with being angry. They spread that carpet everywhere. They sugar-coat everything.
When looked at through the eyes of Dhamma, there is nothing more revolting than the Kilesas. However, the Kilesas tell us that they are the ultimate in being spick and span. In the eyes of Dhamma they are the ultimate in filth. Nothing outdoes the Kilesas in the filthy stakes. So listen to what I’m telling you.
This is what made the Lord Buddha despondent. What does this world mould and fashion? It spreads and smooths out the carpet everywhere, giving beings pleasure in appearance, pleasure in eating, pleasure in sleeping and pleasure in resting. It provides enjoyment in sights, in sounds, in smells and in tastes. Moral or immoral, it takes pleasure in them all. In the Sattaloka there is no such thing as being displeased. There’s addiction to everything. This is the carpeting of the Kilesas doing a really good job of completely sugar-coating everything.
Sentient beings, therefore, have no way to improve their situation if they don’t use Dhamma to make improvements. So, you must rely on the Dhamma, starting with meditation. Well then, get going. You’ll then come to realise what I’ve been telling you and you won’t have to refer back to the Lord Buddha at all.
With regard to how the Kilesas lay out the carpet, this will be perceived clearly through Dhamma’s vision which dwells in our hearts. When this is certain in the heart, why would you ask someone about it? When you know the same things and you understand the same things as them, what would you be after in asking questions of these people? This is what certainty in the heart is all about.
This is the Dhamma that is most splendid. It is more splendid than anything else. To call this splendid implies there’s still some coarseness, so even this description still doesn’t do it justice. This goes beyond any comparison that can be made with the world of urine, the world of faeces and the toilet world. These are the worlds carpeted by the Kilesa which deceive their inhabitants and let them die under the piles of one another with no qualms about repeating the process. This is what their carpet is.
The eyes of Dhamma can’t bear to look. So, what have you got to say about that?
How could the Lord Buddha not be despondent about this? Who wouldn’t be displeased with this carpet, the carpet of the Kilesas? Where does this find happiness in the Dhamma? It’s cheerful about carpeting the toilet of the Kilesas. The toilet of the Kilesas which does nothing but deceive and which shows no interest in the Dhamma.
Consequently, it’s here that we need to blaze the trail and in no uncertain terms. This is what we need to do, clear a trail for Dhamma to come out and challenge the Kilesas that spread out the carpet. We need to clear a trail so that Dhamma can see these Kilesas distinctly. Then, wherever we look, wherever we observe, we know: “Oh yes, there is only the filth and foulness of the Kilesas.”
After they get together, there is nothing that beats the Kilesas for grubbiness. However, the Kilesas have their own version of what is first rate, which they believe is the pinnacle of cleanliness. In the eyes of blind people such as you there is utter delusion about this.
The vision of Dhamma is twenty-twenty. That’s the way it is.
So, all of you, make up your minds, alright!
I’m quite apprehensive for those practitioners who are close to me. Who will give serious and thorough desanas that are beyond doubt, as I do? I want to say this. It’s not that I’m bragging, you understand. I say these things to engender confidence in my companions. There’s nothing incorrect in what I teach to my fellow practitioners. You can rely on this because I’ve passed this way already; in the rough and ready, the middle and the refined stages of both the Kilesas and Dhamma. I’ve been through all this; it’s filled my heart. Consequently, I can expose [the truth] for all my followers to listen to, allowing them to make a resolution to practise.
This world is the most foul and dirty world that there is. It really is disgusting. It lacks ethics and standards wherever you look. Just see for yourselves. All over, the world is embroiled in the wheel of Dukkha, the wheel of life. It’s turned by the fire of the heap of Dukkha that roasts the heart endlessly.
Have you got a heart that has adequate sides, a lid, and the high ground that you can have as an anchor which you can be confident in? You don’t, do you? You wriggle and squirm like someone drowning in the sea. That’s exactly what it’s like. You bob up and down, splashing and thrashing about in there. You have no idea where the shore is. If you swim or float, this is where you remain. If you don’t swim or float, you die. Sometimes the swell subsides but there’s no firm ground to hold on to.
So, sentient beings sinking in the immense conventional or popular world are exactly the same as this. There’s not even the slightest bit of difference. There’s no shore, no bank, if there is no Dhamma to act as the support; just the same as the person drowning in the ocean.
We, therefore, have to construct solid ground for ourselves by way of Samādhi.
As for Sila, don’t let malicious intention smother it. Be vigilant. Take pride in maintaining your Sila. When there’s no hint of worry about one’s Sila, then developing Samādhi is easy because of the absence of worry.
Likewise, you should force yourselves to develop Samādhi as I have already mentioned. Give it all you’ve got. When you don’t give in, stillness and tranquillity will arise. From then onwards is the path to tread in order to throw stillness and tranquillity wide open. This is Samādhi.
Advancing from Samādhi is the blossoming of Paññā, as I said, right up to Vimutti, freedom from suffering. At this point, everything will be brilliant and beyond doubt.
When everything has been transcended, the behaviour of the elements and the Khandhas such as those of myself who’s a monk, I contrast in every way [with the conventional world] but I talk about this only to the inner circle. That is, I use this approach but only to be in keeping with the behaviour of the conventional world. To refer to this as a vice, or as good fortune, or as an offense13 doesn’t get to the heart of the matter. However, when these elements and Khandhas are in the conventional world, conventional practices have to be observed. The Lord Buddha and all the Arahants observed the same etiquette. They did not exceed the basic principles of the Dhamma or the Vinaya because this is the custom of this conventional world.
I have to observe the conventions of we monks, just like the rest of the world observes conventions. I am a monk pure in the principles of Dhamma/Vinaya. I have to maintain the purity of my practice to the extent that the conventional world agrees is acceptable.
The natural element of the Citta that is free from suffering remains a unique category. The elements and Khandhas that belong to the conventional world have to perform in their own natural way.
If you wanted to make the Lord Buddha distressed about things that aren’t right, well, you can’t. Such concepts as wrong, faulty and right don’t exist. He has gone beyond all of these. These concepts of right, wrong, good and bad belong to the conventional world. His Citta has surpassed all this. This is called Vimutti and this is something else.
What I am speaking about is a kind of secret. I must practise this way all the time until these Khandhas break up. Taking care of monks’ business has to be done perfectly, as it was in the beginning. It has to be suitable for the conventional world of elements and Khandhas.
Impudence is a behaviour found in the conventional world so I exhibit only an amount that is in keeping with the principles of a monk who lives in the conventional world. I’m not speaking about this element of the Citta. That is, I’ve gone beyond this and I’ve acknowledged that I have done so. Living in the conventional world, I have to act in accordance with the standards of the conventional world.
Right now, the Buddhist religion leaves me choked up and speechless. Wherever I look these days I can’t see even an inkling of the religion rubbing off on the monks, novices, the lay people or us Buddhists. There’s just the Kilesas covering us from head to foot; all over the lay community, all over the monastics, all over them and all over us. I can’t see an inkling of Dhamma, of prudence. The time when we practised in order for some of the Dhamma to rub off on us has passed us by. There’s just the Kilesas leading us by the nose nonstop and we are drowning in them.
The religion of the Lord Buddha is, therefore, slowly shutting down through the power of the Kilesas that have remoulded themselves into bars of gold. They badmouth the real gold, which is the Dhamma, deriding it as being full of piss; giving up on it as leftovers and waste that has no value at all.
The things that are seen as valuable are the things that the Kilesas fashion and praise so that all beings become well and truly infatuated with them. This is the way it is. Consequently, it’s our behaviour to go and use these things. This is nothing but the behaviour of the Kilesas.
This world is therefore transformed into a “clean world”, a world cleaned by the Kilesas, things which are extremely grubby. Can you see this? It’s because of this that Dukkha is never far away from sentient beings who are deluded by the Kilesas, things that never stop deceiving.
The Dhamma of the Lord Buddha doesn’t deceive. Dhamma of any magnitude leads to peace and tranquillity. The more Dhamma is exposed, the brighter the heart becomes. Where would Dukkha come from? What higher happiness could there be than a Citta that is pure? We know the problem with the elements and the Khandhas is that they suffer aches and pains all over. Their happiness is superficial and we are aware that that is all it is.
At the moment, the Buddhist religion is about to sink completely. There will be nothing left of it. This is due to the power of the Kilesas that put themselves on offer. Oh dear, I watch the Kilesas putting themselves on offer and it disgusts me. I’m being straight with you. It’s reached the stage where I can’t bear to look.
I look at monks and the novices and those in our tradition, though not extensively as they’re not something you can have any faith in. They’re an eyesore. That’s because they hinder Sila and thwart the Dhamma and that’s the way it is.
I can’t bear to look. The physician lives here.
The rascals who are heedless and bent on doing damage [to the religion] do so right in front of my eyes. It’s like they have no shame. They are brazen-faced for all to see. So what’s this all about? How can I agree with them on this? It doesn’t matter whether they are of our tradition, such as monks and novices like us, I can’t possibly agree with them.
Because the one person who will care for and protect [the religion] lives right here, how can I become friendly with someone bent on damaging the religion right in front of my eyes?
This is what I mean about the splitting of the various sects. When they are too daring and brash they can split apart. Then, other sects get established. Later, they split up again. This is the way it is because the Kilesas don’t take a backward step to allow the differences to be patched up in the absence of Kilesas. There’s just the continual push before separation.
You know, if we’re not interested in having the Dhamma firmly established, we can’t patch over the differences. There’ll only be division.
This is as much as I am going to say today. This is enough. I’m tired now.